I have been following the JTRS Radio project for years. One time down at a reality of radio course at AFCEA I had the chance to see a real-time simulation of the JTRS network in action.
At the time they were running a maximum of about 30 nodes. JTRS had been a project of about 15 years and was still short of network goals. The question I had, which I guess has been the question since the inception of the project, was "Can the full network requirement of JTRS be met?"
We, at CJ Component Products, have designed and supplied various tactical headsets and military handsets for use with JTRS GMR, as well as JTRS Manpack radios. I have heard from various high level army officers that bringing communication to the soldier in real time is crucial and critical to mission success.
In what may be the latest expansion of defence vernacular, senior US Army leadership has confirmed a "graceful termination" of the joint tactical radio system ground mobile Radio (JTRS GMR).
Speaking before the subcommittee on tactical air and land forces, US House of Representatives armed services committee on 26 October 2011 Lt. Gen. William Phillips, principal military deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics and technology was asked about the "cancellation" of that program.
"The ground mobile radio went through a rigorous comprehensive review between the army and the Secretary of Defense," he explained. "That took about 60 days of intensive review of the program itself."
"Up front I will state that the GMR program itself is critical to the army’s network strategy," he said. "We must have a GMR radio that will run the wideband networking waveform and the soldier radio waveform – that’s absolutely critical. So when we say ‘termination,’ I’ll use these words; it’s a ‘graceful termination.’ The current contract is with Boeing. We are going to let that contract expire in March 2012. And it will terminate on its own. We are not going to renew the contract."
"Sir, at the end of the day this is positive for us," he stated. "We will get this radio quicker. It will be at a lower cost than what the formal program would have delivered. And we will get it in what we call ‘Capability Set ’13 – ’14’, so eight brigades that will deploy into combat operations will have a GMR radio running those two waveforms."
A new RFP will be forthcoming for a 2-channel radio and the concept of putting the solution in the lap of industry will begin. For CJ, we are hopeful to be a part of that solution team, providing expertise in lightweight audio solutions to the industry radio manufacture teams.