Harris, Thales Compete Multi-Billion JTRS Radio Procurement


The US Department of Defense selected Harris and Thales Communications Inc. as the two contenders to compete for multiyear deliveries of new ‘multiband radios’ to the US armed forces, as part of Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS). The Consolidated, Interim, Single-Channel, Handheld Radio (CISCHR) award has consolidated all handheld radio purchases for the U.S. Department of Defense, thus accelerating the transition to JTRS technology, while significantly reducing unit costs by allowing all participating agencies to purchase compatible JTRS equipment through the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) procurement authority.

Both companies are expected to deliver JTRS compliant systems, which will support existing waveforms (SINCGARS) and UHF line-of-sight communications supporting ground-to-air communications for close-air support and tactical satellite communications. The systems will feature JTRS Software Communications Architecture (SCA), thus accepting all future JTRS capabilities as they are fielded.

Under the CISCHR IDIQ contract, Thales and Harris will compete for future awards of formal delivery orders, which will ultimately determine contract value. CISCHR has a one-year contract period with four additional one-year options. Currently, only Harris and Thales have JEM compatible radios. In the future more competitors will be added to the programs, as more systems from other providers will be certified as ready for fielding and compatible with JTRS and JEM.

Harris was awarded $2.7 billion while Thales Communications Inc. received $3.5 billion to cover the first year procurement. Both orders are representing framework awards, enabling the two companies to compete on segments of the five year program, totaling $7 for Harris and $9 billion for Thales. This is the first production contract vehicle issued by the Joint Program Executive Office for the next-generation, software-defined radios.

Harris is offering the Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C) backpack radio and AN/VRC-110 50-watt vehicular radios. Later in JUly 2007 the company received an additional IDIQ contract for a projected procurement of up to $212 million Falcon III radios over three years for the Marine Corps. Harris will supply the Falcon III series AN/VRC-110 20-watt vehicular radio systems. The Falcon III AN/VRC-110 handheld-based transceiver provides a quick “grab-and-go” feature allowing the Falcon III AN/PRC-152(C) handheld radio to offer continuous communications when removed from the vehicle, an important capability in urban environments. These radios are destined for the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP).

Under the IDIQ framework Thales Communications, Inc. is offering its AN/PRC-148 Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Enhanced Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (JEM) system to all services of the U.S. Military. There are almost 100,000 AN/PRC-148 MBITRs fielded, almost 10,000 AN/PRC-148 JEMs shipped or on order, and more than 12,000 VAAs shipped or on order. As part of this contract, Thales will also be supplying its dual radio AN/VRC-111 Vehicle Adapter Amplifier (VAA) and Base Station enabling units to convert SINGCARS installations to JTRS.

The VAA consists of two Thales Vehicle Adapters, two JEM handheld radios, and a SINCGARS interface tray. This installation supports multi-band and multimode capability, beyond the basic SINCGARS performance. The VAA configuration retains the dismounted operation capability of the AN/PRC-148 utilizing the cable-free radio dismount. The power-boosting Base Station, designed for fixed command center operations, supports and maintains all functionality of the JEM and Vehicle Adapter. The JEM, VAA, Vehicle Adapter, and Base Station are part of a complete system solution for the warfighter that also includes a self-contained Tactical Repeater for range extension; compact, rugged Man Portable System for dismounted operations requiring higher power output; and a complete line of accessories.