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Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radio (JTRS GMR)
Joint Tactical Radio System Cluster 1

JTRS Cluster 1 was first managed by the Army's Project Manager for Tactical Radio Communications systems (PM TRCS), and then by the Warfighter Information Network (WIN-T Project Office), part of the Program Executive Office, Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO-C3T) at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. The JTRS program was developing software-defined radios that would interoperate with select radios and also increase communications and networking capabilities. Eventually a Joint Program Executive Office was established to provide a central acquisition authority and balance acquisition actions across the services, while product offices are developing radio hardware and software for users with similar requirements.

The restructed Cluster 1 was renamed JTRS Ground Mobile Radio (JRTS GMR), and its product office plaed within the JTRS Ground Domain program office, was developing radios for ground vehicles. The restructuring, including program costs, received final approval by the Milestone Decision Authority in late November 2007, and was completed with the report to Congress on the significant Nunn-McCurdy unit cost breaches in late January 2008.

Cluster 1 was established to provide the warfighter with a multi-channel software programmable, hardware-configurable digital radio networking system. Cluster 1 was to support requirements from the Army Aviation Rotary Wing, Air Force Tactical Control Party (TACP), and Army and USMC Ground Vehicular platforms.

Cluster 1 would meet Army ground requirements to continue Force digitization efforts, as well as TACP and airborne digitization efforts for the Army helicopter fleet. It would meet Marine Corps requirements for its combat operations centers and mobile field users. The JTRS program was to be a key enabler for the Army's transformation to the Future Combat system (FCS) and Objective Force (OF) (Subsequently Future Force).

In order to meet warfighter requirements and compress the production schedule, Cluster 1 combined JTRS hardware and waveform applications under a single contract. A contract for the System Development and Demonstration Phase of Cluster 1 was awarded to a Prime System Contractor, Boeing Space and Communications Unit, which selected a team of subcontractors to develop and build Cluster 1 radios. Subcontractors included: Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (ground vehicle systems integration and network management), Rockwell Collins (waveform and hardware development), and BAE Systems (waveform and hardware development) with Harris RF Communications Division, (hardware).

The Army's FY06-FY07 budget requests for Cluster 1 were $230.3 million. The estimated cost of a Cluster 1 unit was $270 thousand per 5-channel (LRIP- low rate initial production).

As of a March 2007 assessment by the Government Accountability Office, the maturity of JTRS GMR critical technologies was said to questionable. The program reported that 13 of its 20 critical technologies were mature indicating that progress has been made since the program entered system development in 2002, when none of the program's critical technologies were mature. However, this progress was based on a series of contractor demonstrations conducted in spring 2005 that used only partially functioning prototypes. Among other things, the demonstrations did not show extensive Wideband Networking Waveform capabilities. For example, the demonstrated network only linked 4 users, far fewer than the required 250. The Wideband Networking Waveform represented the core of the JTRS networking capability and its integration was the most significant technical challenge to the radio's development, according to program officials. In addition, critical technologies such as the network bridging software were immature. The program expected to demonstrate the maturity of all critical technologies during a System Integration Test in early FY10. This test would be conducted in an operational environment using fully functioning prototypes.

The program, in collaboration with the user community, continued to reconcile size, weight, and power requirements according to the 2007 GAO report. The delivery of new power amplifiers that were developed as part of a science and technology program could help address these concerns. Nonetheless, these challenges and the uncertainty of technology maturity raised concern about the program's design stability. The program was scheduled to undergo a second design review in November 2007.

By the time of a 2008 GAO assessment 12 of JTRS GMR's 20 critical technologies were mature. The 5 other technologies were approaching maturity, but 3 were not expected to mature until the production qualification test in early 2009. This included 2 technologies, security architecture and the modem hardware and software, that were recently downgraded because early prototypes did not meet performance requirements. In addition, the program was still working to obtain security certification from the National Security Agency and had only demonstrated limited networking capabilities. The program reported a nearly stable design and expected to have fully functioning prototypes in early FY09. The program's restructuring received final approval by the milestone decision authority in November 2007.

Developing multiple levels of security and obtaining security certification from the National Security Agency continued to be a challenge for JTRS GMR. Security challenges persisted, in part because waveform software was being developed while security requirements were still evolving. Nonetheless, the program office said that it was on track to obtain security certification in FY10, as scheduled, in time for its low-rate production decision later that year.

A central feature of JTRS GMR's networking capabilities was the Wideband Networking Waveform being developed under the JTRS Network Enterprise Domain, a separate domain under the JTRS Joint Program Executive Office. Progress had been made in developing the waveform, but testing and demonstrations on the JTRS GMR have been limited. The radio's closing range and throughput performance had both exceeded requirements in field tests. However, the tests were completed using a network of only two to six nodes, and key networking functions had yet to be demonstrated. Program office officials expected to demonstrate progressively greater Wideband Networking Waveform functionality, including mobile ad hoc networking, subnetting, and throughput tests, in field experiments leading up to the Limited User Test scheduled to begin in the first quarter of FY10, when 35 nodes would be tested. More extensive functionality would be demonstrated in the Multi-Service Operational Test and Evaluation scheduled for early FY12. This test was expected to include 60 nodes and could be augmented with additional assets from the Future Combat Systems program. The program was also in discussion with the testing community regarding the possibility of using complex modeling to test up to 150 nodes.

Previous Information

Cluster 1 would provide radios for ground platforms, Apache, Chinook and Blackhawk helicopters, as well as the Air Force TACP. In June 2002, Boeing was awarded a six-year contract to provide up to 20,000 ground and airborne JTRS sets through LRIP. In the systems design and demonstration phase, the program had met milestone dates for a series of design reviews through December 2003. Early operational assessment testing was anticipated during Summer 2004. Evolving security requirements, known design changes and extended formal testing added cost and schedule to the program.

The Early Operational Assessment delivery was re-scheduled for December 2004. In December Boeing notified DoD that the company would need more time and money to finish the job. Technical challenges were encountered during development and integration that indicated the need for upgrades in performance and modifications in design. The Boeing configuration faced size, weight and power issues. Defense agencies and the military services added requirements to the radios that caused the schedule delay and cost increase. One key area of concern was the encryption technology. The National Security Agency [NSA] requested changes in the JTRS security architecture that potentially delayed delivery of JTRS Cluster 1 units by up to two years.

The planned JTRS Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) had been a hurdle in developing the first cluster of JTRS. The WNW standard would cover a 6.2-mile range, and provides data rates up 5 megabits/sec.

In January 2005 the Army ordered the contractors to halt JTRS-related work for at least six weeks. The "early operational assessment," was slated for April of that year.

Successful testing of the Cluster 1 system would allow the start of low-rate initial production of hardware in 2005. The System Development and Demonstration phase would be full and open competition with contract award anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2005. Future production quantities generated by the Cluster 1 program were expected to exceed 100,000 units.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:44:03 ZULU