Air Force plan to cut its JTRS military radio program may acknowledge developments in private industry

By John Keller

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) plan to upgrade military radio communications by injecting software defined radio (SDR) technology into land, sea, and airborne RF transceivers is taking a hit with news that the U.S. Navy and Air Force are seeking to cancel their JTRS programs in an effort to save at least $1.8 billion.

The Air Force in its new five-year budget plan is proposing to eliminate its JTRS military radio program, and the Navy is proposing similar cuts to its JTRS radio communications initiative, according to published reports. The Air Force's five-year plan also calls for cutting a program to upgrade avionics software for the C-130 turboprop transport aircraft, as well as eliminating several other programs.

It just might be that JTRS is like the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program -- too juicy a target to succeed, instead of too large a program to fail.

Not only that, however, but it seems clear that private industry -- on its own initiative and in response to market demand -- is outpacing the DOD on software defined radio technology that lies at the heart of JTRS.

In fact, it could well be that the DOD no longer needs the JTRS technology-development program at all. Nearly everything that U.S. military forces need in software-defined radio capability is available, or emerging, in the private sector.

Perhaps the Air Force's proposal to cut its JTRS initiative is an acknowledgement of superior industry development of software defined radio technology.

This is an indication, after all, of what the DOD intended in its shift to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology back in the early 1990s. DOD, with its COTS initiative, sought to harvest the best technologies from the private sector, rather than develop its own, which in the old days often resulting in re-inventing the wheel.

Software-defined radio these days has a lot of momentum behind it -- and not just from potential military applications. First responders, civil transportation, and even private communications stand to benefit from advances in SDR technology.

With so much attention, and so many resources from private investors going into software defined radio, it simply no longer makes sense for DOD to devote serious resources into this technology -- except where the military needs unique SDR waveforms or other technology that will not be available on the private market.

Improvements and additions to software-defined radio technology are common, from radio systems manufacturers like Harris RF Communications, Rockwell Collins, and Thales, to embedded signal processing specialists like Pentek, TEK Microsystems, and Nallatech, to real time software providers like Green Hills and LynuxWorks.

I think we'll see additional cutbacks in other DOD JTRS programs as top military leaders realize they can put resources into other more crucial areas.

The Air Force's newest five-year plan also proposes suspending the Boeing Wideband Global high-speed communications satellite system after the company finishes a constellation of six satellites; eliminating the Northrop Grumman Corp. program to build new engines for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft, better known as Joint STARS; stopping the Boeing Small Diameter Bomb program -- a 250-pound satellite-guided munition; and building eight more Global Hawk long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, rather than 22 more of the unmanned aircraft as had been planned.

President Obama is putting pressure on DOD to reduce its long-term budgeting plans, and U.S. military leaders are scrambling to protect the programs they consider crucial to long-term national defense.

The Air Force's five-year plan is putting high priority on protecting the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Air Force's V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and an initiative to build a new aerial refueling tanker.

The DOD has asked the Air Force to reduce its budget by about $24.2 billion, or about 3.8 percent, from the current five-year plan. Air Force officials have been told not to cut spending on salaries, personnel housing, science and technology, building infrastructure.

Subscribe

-- Posted by John Keller, jkeller@pennwell.com. www.milaero.com.

Follow me on Twitter


Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:


  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

Printed Circuit Board Assembly

Printed Circuit Board Assembly (PCB ASSY) is as critical a process as circuit board manufacturing.

Flexible Printed Circuit Board

Flexible Printed Circuit Boards are one of the most popular types of circuit boards used in a var...

Rigid Printed Circuit Boards

Rigid printed circuit boards can only meet diverse industrial applications if the best materials ...

Velmex XSlide™ Stages

The Velmex XSlide Assembly is a compact positioning stage highly suitable for high performance in...

UniSlide® Stages

UniSlide Assemblies deliver precise movement in one, two or three dimensions with linear motion. ...

BiSlide® Stages

Velmex manual or motorized BiSlide positioning stage's modular design makes it highly configurabl...

Velmex VXM™ Motor Controller

Velmex VXM Controller Systems are integral components of the power systems that efficiently drive...

XPand6020 | Small Form Factor (SFF) System Featuring XPedite5205 Running Cisco IOS® and XPedite7450

The XPand6020 is a Small Form Factor (SFF) system that features an XPedite5205, which runs Cisco ...

Video Borescope ORION

Ø 4mm (0.16”) to 10mm (0.44”)Working Lengths: up to 30 meters (98')3.5” color LCD display, with 7...

Micro Borescope Ultra Thin

German made, it is the best choice for extremely small inspection areas, with diameters as small ...

Related Companies

Uniforce Sales and Engineering

Provides solutions to machine vision and image acquisition in many applications, including in the fields of medical, ...

A-FLEX

Provides customized Printed Circuit Board fabrication in California. The entire process can be customized according t...

Velmex Inc

Manufactures linear and rotary motion-control positioning equipment for scientific, research, photonics, machining an...

TASC Technical & Assembly Services Corporation Electronic Equipment Manufacturing

Electronic Manufacturing sub-contractor. Circuit Board assembly, Cable Assembly, Wire Harness Assembly, Box Build Ass...

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

GA-ASI is a leading manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-opt...

BellowsTech LLC

Develops, designs and manufactures metal bellows using edge welded bellows technology. Expertise in design, machining...

HC Controls Inc

Specialists in design, installation, commissioning, calibration, training and support services to aero engine test fa...

DDC-I Inc

Offers complete solutions for embedded software developers with a focus on mission- and safety-critical applications....

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...

Medit Inc

Supplies remote visual inspection devices. The company is one of the important players in the industry, serving clien...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Model INCX-4001

The INCX-4001 consists of a high quality audio transceiver specifically designed to implement a complete fiber optic intercom.

Model PS-1210

The PS-1210 is a 1A, 12VDC stand-alone or rack mountable non-switcher (no RF noise) power supply.

Model OS-3121

Optical switches are utilized to disconnect, bypass and reroute fiber optic communications. All of these optical switches are purely optical path, there is no optical to e...

Webcasts

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

July 2015
Volume 26, Issue 7
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE