The US Pentagon has chosen Lockheed Martin to develop a next-generation radio system for the Joint Tactical Radio System programme.

The US$766m contract will see the new radio system replace current radios throughout the US military and will provide secure internet-like capabilities and networking for voice, text, audio and video.

Lockheed will design a modular radio system able to operate on several different waveforms currently in use by the armed forces, which is also adaptable to future waveforms and vehicles.

The company will build 42 engineering development models of small radios for airplanes and helicopters, and initial models for use on Navy destroyers and in ground stations.

The contract includes an option for low-rate production of 104 airborne sets and 45 maritime or ground station sets.

Defence analysts say a later production contract could translate into business deals for Lockheed valued at US$10bn or more over the long-term, Reuters reports.

By staff writer