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Joint Tactical Radio System Airborne, Maritime-Fixed Station (JRTS AMF)
Joint Tactical Radio System Cluster 3 (Maritime/Fixed)
Joint Tactical Radio System Cluster 4 (Airborne)

The Army's AMF JTRS program planned to acquire two non-developmental software-defined radios, the Small Airborne Link 16 Terminal (SALT) and the Small Airborne Networking Radio (SANR), and associated equipment for integration into Army rotary wing and unmanned aerial systems. In 2014, the Army split SALT and SANR into separate sub-programs. The Army is currently reassessing its approach to the SANR program.

In July 2012, as part of an overall JTRS reorganization, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics directed a restructured acquisition approach to acquire a modified non-developmental item which leverages the prior investment in the AMF program to the maximum extent practical. The procured radios will be post-production items and will be tested for technical maturity as part of the formal testing process. AMF JTRS will not be part of the development process.

The JTRS program was developing software-defined radios that would interoperate with existing radios and also increase communications and networking capabilities. A Joint Program Executive Office provided a central acquisition authority and balanced acquisition actions across the services. Program/product offices were developing radio hardware and software for users with similar requirements. The JRTS AMF program would develop radios that will be integrated into nearly 100 different types of aircraft, ships, and fixed stations for all the services.

The original Cluster 3 (Maritime/Fixed domain) and Cluster 4 (Airborne domain) were the primary responsibility of the Navy and the Air Force, respectively. Each service was responsible for the development and fielding of each domain's product. In November 2003, the Air Force and Navy Acquisition Executives decided to create a single bi-Service program that capitalized on commonality and synergy between the two former programs. This decision recognized that the primary difference driven by the Airborne and Maritime/Fixed Station operating domains would be in the packaging of the radio for different operational environments.

Merging Cluster 3 and Cluster 4 enabled synergy in the design process, and maximized the possibility of hardware commonality as well, if not at the system level, then at least at the module or component level. By enabling a common baseline design across the AMF JTRS form factors, there is an expected increase in interoperability for all the users of this system. The merger of Cluster 3 and Cluster 4 was possible because both programs were at nearly the same point in the acquisition cycle. The program was subsequently renamed JRTS Airborne, Maritime-Fixed Station (JRTS AMF).

The Air Force and Navy established a joint management and oversight structure between the two military Departments for the combined program. Program leadership would rotate between the Air Force and Navy at appropriate times during the acquisition cycle, with the Air Force initially taking the lead. The Navy's Cluster 3 organization, located at PEO C4I and Space/PMW 179, San Diego, California, was merged with the Cluster 4 program office team at the Air Force Electronic Systems Center, Networks and Information Integration Directorate (ESC/NI4), Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, resulting in a virtual program office.

The AMF JTRS team consisted of subject matter experts and functional specialists assigned to three geographic locations (Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, San Diego, California, and Charleston, South Carolina). The JTRS AMF program office developed a new program strategy to fulfill the requirements previously assigned to the JTRS Cluster 3 and JTRS Cluster 4 programs. The Navy and Air Force Acquisition Executives conceived of a shared program governance structure with key leadership positions changing, on a rotational basis, at key points during the program life cycle. The Air Force Electronic Systems Center (ESC) at Hanscom AFB was leading the initial phase of the combined acquisition. The Air Force provided the Program Manager (PM) and the Navy provided the Deputy PM. The Air Force PM and Navy DPM reported to the Navy Program Executive Officer (PEO) for C4I and Space, supported by an Air Force Deputy PEO from ESC. The Navy PEO reported to the Air Force Acquisition Executive.

Acquisition of the AMF

The Pre-SDD phase was to last approximately 15 months. Lockheed Martin and Boeing were selected through a full and open competition, as competing Prime System Contractor (PSC) teams. Each PSC would deliver a preliminary design and associated documentation for a modular/scalable JTRS design, including JTR form factors, associated ancillary equipment, and Service Integration Kits (SIK). The SIK designs would be needed only for Maritime/Fixed Station platforms since the aircraft integration would be handled by the aircraft program offices. The Pre-SDD contracts required a design that used commercial-based products and standards to the maximum extent possible and fostered high component commonality across form factors, to minimize the total cost to the government (looking beyond the radio cost, to include platform integration and sustainment costs as well). The Pre-SDD scope also included trade studies and risk reduction analyses. These studies included design impact analyses for emerging requirements, including >2GHz capabilities and new waveforms like JPALS and TACAN. The studies also evaluated the impact of design drivers within the existing requirements baseline such as IFF and ATC waveforms.

The second part of the development, called the SDD phase, would be awarded to a single PSC via full and open competition at the completion of the Pre-SDD phase. The selected SDD prime contractor would be responsible for qualifying a minimum of two sources for each JTR form factor and associated ancillary equipment. The SDD phase would consist of critical design, prototype and engineering development model (EDM) fabrication, and initial testing and certification, as well as options for low rate initial production. The SDD phase was expected to nominally last 50 months. However, the source selection criteria would incentivize the bidding contractors to propose ways to compress the overall schedule without accepting undue risk.

System production was anticipated to span at least 10-15 years. LRIP units would be used for developmental testing and multi-service operational test and evaluation. LRIP units would be procured from the SDD PSC, who would be required to compete the LRIP JTR Set production between at least two qualified JTR production sources. The PSC would be responsible for the integration, test, and delivery of the complete system to the Government.

Prior to completion of the Pre-SDD contract, the JTRS AMF Program Office would review the JTRS AMF quantity requirements to determine the best approach to be implemented for FRP.

The estimated combined cost for the contract portion of the Pre-SDD phase was $107M. The initial program office estimate for the SDD phase would be validated via the CAIG, which would do an Independent Cost Estimate as part of the preparation for the Milestone B decision. There was a single JTRS AMF cost estimate. The Navy and Air Force separately budgeted for their Service's contribution to the JTRS AMF program costs, based on their respective responsibilities as executive agents for the former Cluster 3 and Cluster 4 programs.

The Pre-SDD phase was started in September 2004 with the award of competitive system design contracts to two industry teams led by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Through this acquisition strategy, program officials expected competitive designs that would help mitigate costs and other risks. While challenges remained, program officials noted that significant progress had been made by both industry teams in demonstrating technology and design maturity. The program was scheduled to enter system development in June 2007. The JTRS AMF system development program would be designed to introduce capabilities incrementally, consistent with the approved 2006 restructuring of the overall JTRS acquisition program.

In June 2007, after a full and open competition, a contracting team was to be selected for the JTRS AMF system development. The program office would use an Army organization to prepare an independent Technology Readiness Assessment before entry into the system development and demonstration acquisition phase. The identification of critical technologies was completed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin in early 2006, and validated by the independent assessment team through the design work leading up to the preliminary design reviews. Both companies submitted self-assessment reports of their design's critical technologies to the program office and the independent assessment team. The independent assessment of the maturity of the program's critical technologies was completed by the independent assessment team in October 2006, and was submitted to the Joint Program Executive Officer for review and completion of the Technology Readiness Assessment prior to the program Milestone B decision, scheduled for June 2007.

Both teams have demonstrated progress in developing key functions of the radio through in-lab and field demonstrations with representative hardware and software components of their designs according to a 2007 assessment by the Government Accountability Office. Preliminary design reviews were held in August 2005 for both teams, and program officials indicated that both preliminary designs met the National Security Agency's information assurance requirements for that stage of development. As the JTRS program was being restructured in late 2005 and early 2006, the JTRS AMF contracts were extended to continue risk reduction and design maturity work. These extensions to the contracts were completed in October 2006, with each company presenting its detailed preliminary designs during 3-weeks of reviews. These reviews focused on the design details necessary to meet the JTRS AMF Increment 1 requirements. Although the program was likely to face challenges as it proceeded through systems development and demonstration, program officials were confident that the program could enter the system development and demonstration phase in June 2007 with sufficiently mature technologies. This assurance was based on the independent technology maturity assessment results, the technical exchanges and design reviews held with the contractors, along with rigorous risk reduction and demonstration activities done by both the contractors and program office during the 2-year pre-system development and demonstration contracts.

The restructuring of the JTRS program under the Joint Program Executive Office was in place by March 2007 and its emphasis on an incremental approach would defer costly nontransformational requirements to later increments. The first increment of the had been defined and prioritized development of high-priority networking waveforms and achieving interoperability with key legacy waveforms. For JTRS AMF, Increment 1 would include the development of a small radio variant for airborne platforms that would support the Wideband Networking Waveform, the Soldier Radio Waveform, the NATO Link 16/Tactical Digital Information Link J (TADIL-J) waveform, and the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) waveform. Increment 1 would also include the development of a large radio variant for ships and fixed stations that would support MUOS and legacy UHF satellite communications (SATCOM). As of 2008, the JTRS AMF program office assesses the delivery of the MUOS waveform to the program as high risk. If the final development documentation and software for the MUOS waveform were delivered late, then the design and development of JTRS AMF would likely experience cost growth (estimated at $10 million to 25 million), schedule delays (estimated at 4-7 months), and performance problems (a significant loss of required functionality and/or required operational performance).

In early 2008, after a full and open competition, a contracting team was expected to be selected for the JTRS AMF system development.

During 2006 and 2007, an independent technology readiness assessment was completed by the Army in support of the start of system development. This assessment found that all critical technologies had been demonstrated in a relevant environment. An independent review team representing the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology concurred with that assessment. As a result, the JTRS AMF program was expected to enter system development with all critical technologies approaching full maturity.

While noting the maturity of the JTRS AMF technologies, the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology also expressed concern about four critical technologies on which JTRS AMF was dependent, including waveforms and network management services. These technologies were being developed by the JTRS Network Enterprise Domain, a separate domain under the Joint Program Executive Office. To address the concern, the Deputy Under Secretary recommended that the Joint Program Executive Office conduct an independent technical assessment of the Network Enterprise Domain's waveforms, networking, and network management approaches. In addition, the Deputy Under Secretary recommended that a technology readiness assessment be conducted on the networking and Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) waveforms, as well as network management software, to show that they are mature before being inserted into the JTRS AMF program.

According to a 2008 assessment by the GAO, Differences among the program's estimated costs and approved budget were resolved at the November 2007 JTRS Board of Directors meeting. The effort to reach a joint consensus caused a delay in the program schedule, but resulted in a full-funding decision for system development. However, production funding and quantities had not yet been finalized.

The disparity between the cost estimates and approved budget was attributable to a number of factors. For example, program office cost estimates were influenced by assumptions about the number of JTRS AMF variants and waveforms, the number of engineering development models, test costs, and contract costs for award fees and engineering change orders. The Cost Analysis Improvement Group estimate was derived, in part, from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter communication, navigation and identification friend or foe cost history and cost performance reports. The approved budget included the effects of prior congressional adjustments and reductions to the overall JTRS budget, the overall restructuring of the JTRS program, and transfers to the Multifunctional Information Distribution System part of the JTRS program. Exacerbating the concerns about the difference between cost and budget was that estimates of overall program risk for the JTRS AMF program ranged from moderate to high.

While program officials have identified critical technologies, as of 2015 the program intended to procure existing radios which will be tested to demonstrate technology maturity as part of the overall test and demonstration process. The program does not intend to develop any new technologies for the program. In July 2012, as part of an overall JTRS reorganization, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics directed a restructured acquisition approach to acquire a modified non-developmental item which leverages the prior investment in the AMF program to the maximum extent practical.

This restructuring shifted the program from a development effort supporting Army, Air Force, and Navy platforms to one that supports Army aviation efforts. In 2014, the Army split the Small Airborne Link 16 Terminal Radio (SALT) and Small Airborne Networking Radio (SANR) into separate sub-programs. Both the SALT and SANR subprograms are in the pre-solicitation phase and no contracts have been awarded. Program officials werey awaiting approval of the revised acquisition strategy before they proceed with the release of the request for proposals. AMF JTRS will not be part of the development process. Program officials stated that, due to the non- developmental approach, they did not have an estimate of the maturity of the design.

The Army will not develop any software for the program. The vendor will be required to complete the software development effort prior to delivery. Program officials noted that there are no plans to conduct any additional systems engineering design reviews beyond what was completed for the earlier developmental program. However, program officials plan to conduct risk reduction testing for the non-developmental items in the SALT sub-program in preparation for operational testing, currently scheduled for fiscal year 2017 after the low-rate initial production contract has been awarded.

The Army approved a new acquisition program baseline for AMF JTRS in May 2014. Under this new baseline, the program's acquisition cost decreased slightly. Program officials told us that this decrease resulted from delays to the SANR sub-program, which has been deferred past fiscal year 2019. Program officials also stated that they plan to complete an affordability analysis for each sub-program.

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