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Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Cluster 4
Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Airborne

The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Airborne Cluster Program (Cluster 4) was part of a broader DoD JTRS initiative. The Joint Tactical Radio System was to be a DoD family of common, software-defined radios that would form the foundation of wireless communications in support of Joint Vision 2010/Joint Vision 2020. JTRS would introduce new capabilities to the warfighter and would eventually replace existing tactical radios through the Services' migration plans. The program employed a Software Communications Architecture (SCA) to allow common software waveform applications to be implemented across the family of radios.

Per the JTRS Operational Requirements Document (ORD), the JTRS family consisted of the Airborne, Maritime/Fixed Station, and Ground (vehicle, manpack, and handheld) domains. To reduce overlapping RDT&E efforts and capitalize on DoD investment, Service requirements for JTRS were grouped into common "Clusters" based on similarity of requirements and required fielding schedules. As the Lead Service for the Airborne JTRS, the Air Force would acquire, test, and field Airborne Joint Tactical Radio (JTR) Sets for all Services.

The objectives of the JTRS Airborne Cluster program in ESC/DIGR were:

1) Design a family of software-reprogrammable, multi-band/multi-mode airborne radios meeting user's needs as defined in the JTRS ORD, as well as platform-specific needs.

2) Leverage the JTRS Airborne program to achieve the vision for an airborne communications network, as an extension of the Global Information Grid (GIG). JTRS Airborne could provide an airborne communications system that supports network-centric joint and combined operations, including use of the new Wideband Network Waveform (WNW) being developed by the JTRS Joint Program Office.

The JTRS Airborne Cluster development program had two Phases.

Phase 1 was a full and open competition, focusing on 1) defining an airborne network architecture and attributes that can be used to derive platform integration requirements for JTRS, 2) an evolutionary acquisition model to provide airborne JTRS to fulfill near term legacy system replacement requirements, transitional requirements for a gateway capability, as well as requirements for full networkability, and 3) a packaging concept for a family of cost-effective, flexible radio modules to accommodate platform constraints to the maximum extent practical. The Government would award multiple requirements definition contracts in this phase. Phase 1A results (7 months after award) would be used to finalize the statement of objectives and performance requirements document for the Phase 2 solicitation. Phase 1B results (12 months after award) would feed directly into the front end of Phase 2, kick-starting the effort to allow a more efficient Phase 2 development schedule.

Phase 2 was the full and open competition for the system development, demonstration, and options for low rate initial production for JTRS Airborne Radio Systems. Networking attributes and platform constraints identified in Phase 1, as well as the initial concepts for a family of flexible, cost-effective radio modules to supply the Airborne domain, would feed directly into the detailed design and demonstration efforts of Phase 2.

As part of restructuring, Cluster 4 was merged with Cluster 3, forming a joint USAF/USN program office for what was then renamed JTRS Airborne, Maritime-Fixed Station (JTRS AMF).




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