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Industry News

News from Washington

December 1, 1999
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News from Washington

Artillery Shell Direct Y-code GPS Receiver Trials Successfully Completed

Rockwell Collins and the UK’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency have successfully completed trials of a Global Positioning System (GPS) contained in an experimental 155-mm artillery shell. The trials concluded a two-year development and test program that demonstrated the ability of a GPS system to acquire and track satellite signals while mounted in a spin-stabilized shell. The Low Cost Course Correction Module program firings were conducted under a variety of test conditions to simulate course correction artillery applications. In recent test firings, four GPS receivers survived in excess of a 15,000 g launch shock, acquired the first satellite on Y-code in three seconds and demonstrated a Direct Y-code navigation solution in less than six seconds while spinning at more than 260 Hz. The GPS receivers, which had not previously tracked satellites, were initialized from a Rockwell Collins hand-held PLGR GPS receiver. Following gun launch, the receivers directly acquired the encrypted GPS Y-code and computed an in-flight navigation solution. The 2.5-cubic-inch receivers weigh approximately two ounces, consume an average of 2 W and fit within the volume of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization standard fuse. With completion of these trials, the UK Ministry of Defence is expected to establish a program for the procurement of course correction capability for large-caliber artillery shells.

Raytheon Consortium to Develop 21st Century Digital Radio

Following a two-month competition, Raytheon Co. has been awarded a contract to develop and validate the software architecture for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a 21st century digital radio. The $21.7 M award follows the completion of JTRS Step 1 in which Raytheon’s consortium defined the architecture that is now the basis for Step 2 — architecture development and validation. Additional provisions of the Step 2 procurement will enable the Joint Program Office to procure hardware prototypes for use as test beds for software architecture. As part of Step 2 of the contract, the consortium is expected to define and develop JTRS’ architecture, validate it on a variety of hardware prototypes, implement core functions specified in the operational requirements document and prove it can meet all essential mission objectives. The consortium also must demonstrate the architecture’s ability to handle wideband waveforms, security algorithms and complex networking configurations. The architecture will be modeled on PC attributes such as ease of operation and program transportability, but JTRS must provide capabilities such as guaranteed message delivery, message security and service speed, which PC-based commercial Internet architectures do not support. Consortium members include ITT Industries, Rockwell Collins and Marconi Aerospace Systems Inc.’s CNI Division with Raytheon as the team leader.

Enhanced Position Location Reporting System Contract Awarded

Raytheon Co. has been awarded a modification to a multiyear US Army contract for procurement of the Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS). An EPLRS is a UHF data radio used on the tactical battlefield to provide secure, reliable data communications in real time. As part of the Tactical Internet, each EPLRS delivers information to air defense batteries and provides command and control data that may help battlefield commanders make critical decisions. EPLRSs also position location and identification information, thereby increasing warfighter situation awareness and preventing fratricide. Results of field tests during Task Force XXI Advanced Warfighting Experience at Fort Irwin, CA and the Limited User Test at Fort Hood, TX indicated that units equipped with EPLRSs increase combat effectiveness significantly.

Under the terms of the initial two-year contract valued at $211 M, Raytheon is expected to deliver 1736 EPLRS systems and spare parts to the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The contract also includes additional options that could potentially increase the number of delivered systems to more than 6500 and extend the contract by more than two years. System engineering work will be performed at Raytheon Systems Co.’s Communications Systems Division in Fullerton, CA and production will occur at the company’s manufacturing facility in Forest, MS.

CECOM Joins Partnership to Develop Multimedia Communications System

SRI International, Cisco Systems Inc. and the US Army Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM) have entered into a two-year partnership to engineer a highly reliable integrated voice and real-time multimedia communications system for military and commercial asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networks under the government’s Dual Use Science & Technology program. Project goals include the evaluation of quality of service and security capabilities required to support integrated voice, data and video systems utilizing voice telephony over ATM and voice over IP technologies. SRI, Cisco and CECOM intend to demonstrate the integration of these requirements by implementing an operational test bed utilizing multimedia prototype systems. The three companies will work to implement national, industrial and military standards for the adaptation, compression and security of voice and multimedia services. SRI will research the effective utilization of limited bandwidth for quality multimedia communications; Cisco will evaluate the combined companies’ work for use in the private and public sectors; and CECOM will develop, integrate and deploy a reliable and efficient architecture for battlefield communications. Technical issues will be addressed in terms of developing a solution that meets the military’s requirements and is also relevant to the corporate and consumer marketplaces.

GAO Defines Challenges Faced by JTRS Program

A recent report issued by the US General Accounting Office (GAO), “Challenges Associated with Implementing the Joint Tactical Radio System” (GAO/NSIAD-99-179), evaluates the JTRS acquisition strategy and management plans and identifies the challenges program officials will face when implementing the JTRS acquisition strategy. The JTRS program arose from congressional and Department of Defense (DoD) concerns about the inability of service radios to adequately work with one another and the cost of buying and maintaining different systems. The concerns triggered a move by officials to define DoD requirements for digital, modular, software-programmable radios and to establish a family of radios that would consolidate similar programs such as the Army’s Near-term Digital Radio, the Navy’s Digital Modular Radio and the Air Force’s Airborne Integrated Terminal Group.

The report concluded that the JTRS program is in a startup stage and, since JTRS products are not available, the DoD has granted waivers allowing services to buy non-JTRS products to meet near-term requirements. The report also identifies three major challenges that must be met in order to achieve program objectives. First, key technologies that are not available from commercial sources or other DoD radio programs must be integrated into JTRS products. Second, an architecture that will be acceptable to commercial industry must be defined, validated across a wide range of operations scenarios and useful to the services in developing plans to replace existing radio systems. Finally, interoperability requirements and an acquisition strategy must be established to procure and test products that meet these requirements. The DoD is currently developing a JTRS architecture and a detailed acquisition strategy. A major program decision is expected to be determined by October 2000. 

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