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BAE Field-Tests Prototype JTRS Radios

WAYNE, N.J. --- The U.S. Army's Electronic Proving Grounds (EPG) recently operated and tested a network of Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) Engineering Development Model (EDM) prototype radios, during a three-week exercise at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

The JTRS prototype is produced by BAE Systems Communication, Navigation, Identification, and Reconnaissance (CNIR) business unit in Wayne, New Jersey.

Army Lt. Col. David E. Lockhart, JTRS Army program manager, said, "We have seen many presentations and simulations illustrating the JTRS concept, but what happened here (at Fort Huachuca) proves that this is real and achievable."

The exercise, part of the JTRS Step 2C project, simulated battlefield conditions in which ten systems (nodes) were deployed, then tested, to validate the network produced by the two-channel systems. The testing also included operation of the network with radios on-the-move. The exercise was the first time that JTRS technology had been formally tested in a field environment.

Testing included sending programmed scripts that simulated message traffic from a command center to ten networked radios up to 20 kilometers from the command center. It is noteworthy that the test radios experienced only one hardware failure in nearly 800 hours of accumulated test time. Exercises tested the systems' ability to:

--Plan, load, and monitor a network of radios using the Network Management terminal --Automatically form networks --Maintain an operating network as mobile radios (nodes) moved within the area --Accurately exchange and process data on two channels simultaneously

"This is a significant first step toward network centric warfare. We are pleased to work with the Army to clearly demonstrate the feasibility of the JTRS architecture in a field environment. The JTRS Step 2C program represents a critical risk reduction effort that supports all the Cluster programs that will follow," said CNIR Programs Vice President Joseph McCarthy, who was on site during the testing.

Under the contract, awarded in June 2000, the systems were developed, tested and shipped to Fort Huachuca for testing that begin in November 2002.

JTRS is a key part of fulfilling the Army's goal for information superiority. As part of the effort, multiple, now incompatible, single-band radios will be replaced with a software programmable, wideband, secure, open architecture communications system. The JTRS will provide capability to transmit, receive, bridge and gateway between similar and diverse communications waveforms and networks.

JTRS Step 2C provides packet-switched datagram service, which guarantees reliable, simultaneous, multichannel voice, data, imagery, and video transmission in the battlefield. Wireless Local Area Network (LAN) service for both line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight is possible. The system's adaptive routing makes network survivability possible, even in the most challenging environments.

This prototyping effort began in June 2000.

JTRS is a critical program in the Army's effort to revolutionize the way it communicates. Part of the mission statement for JTRS reads:

"The single-function hardware design of legacy communications systems cannot take advantage of rapid changes in commercial technology and so cannot provide the functionality and flexibility necessary to achieve and maintain information superiority or to support the rapid mobility required by today's armed forces."

"Therefore, a software programmable and hardware configurable digital radio system is required to provide increased interoperability, flexibility, and adaptability to support the varied missions requirement of the warfighters. The JTR System lays the foundation for achieving network connectivity across the radio frequency spectrum and provides the means for digital information exchanges both vertically and horizontally, between joint warfighting elements, which enables connectivity to civil and national authorities."

BAE Systems North America is a high-technology U.S. company employing more than 22,000 Americans who live and work in some 30 states and the District of Columbia. The company is dedicated to solving its customers' needs with both highly innovative and leading-edge solutions across the defense electronics, systems, information technology and services arenas.

BAE Systems Communication, Navigation, Identification and Reconnaissance, headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, employs more than 2,200 professionals, innovating technically superior solutions that transform the armed forces' communication, mobility, and mission effectiveness. BAE Systems Field Tests First Operating Prototype JTRS Radios