Three companies to build and upgrade MIDS-JTRS tactical networking radios in potential $2 billion contracts

July 2, 2024
MIDS JTRS are four-channel software-defined radios that deliver existing Link 16 tactical networking with multi-netting-4 and TACAN functionality.

SAN DIEGO – Three U.S. military communications companies won contracts potentially and collectively worth nearly $2 billion in June to provide digital tactical networking and voice communications capability for U.S. and allied aircraft, ground vehicles, and surface warships.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Information Warfare Systems Command in San Diego are asking L3Harris Technologies in Salt Lake City; the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Wayne, N.J.; and the RTX Collins Aerospace segment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to build, upgrade, and maintain the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) terminals.

MIDS JTRS terminals are line-of-sight radios for collecting and transmitting broadband, jam-resistant, secure data and voice across a variety of aircraft, surface ships, land vehicles, and command posts.

The MIDS JTRS terminal is a four-channel software-defined radio that delivers existing Link 16 tactical networking and situational awareness with concurrent multi-netting-4 and tactical air navigation (TACAN) functionality.

Related: DARPA moves forward with two companies on second-phase project for secure radio communications technologies

L3Harris won a $998.8 million MIDS-JTRS contract on 24 June, and BAE Systems and Collins Aerospace -- working together as Data Link Solutions LLC -- won a $998.8 million MIDS-JTRS contract on 20 June. Both deals are five-year contracts.

At one time ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., was a MIDS-JTRS manufacturer, but that company sold its tactical radio link business to L3Harris in 2022 for $1.96 billion, turning over its MIDS-JTRS business to L3Harris.

There are three variants of MIDS JTRS terminals: the Concurrent Multi-Netting-4; the Tactical Targeting Network Technology; and the F-22 variant.

L3Harris, BAE Systems, and Collins Aerospace will build, upgrade, and maintain MIDS JTRS radios that provide three channels for future growth, including JTRS advanced networking waveforms such as tactical targeting network technology, multifunction advanced data link, intra-flight data link, and other advanced networking waveforms.

Related: Army network modernization seeks to buy affordable tactical radios, while maintaining secure communications

This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, defense agencies, National Guard, military reserve, and U.S. allies.

The system is designed to provide interoperable, affordable, and secure MIDS tactical data link and programmable networking technologies and capabilities for the joint, coalition, and international warfighter, Navy officials say.

MIDS JTRS terminals combine network-centric communications capability with a real-time operating picture in one unit. The terminal’s dedicated Link 16 channel is interoperable with fielded MIDS-Low Volume Terminals (LVTs) and backward-compatible with legacy communications systems to exchange tactical picture information in real-time.

Related: Researchers ask defense industry for technologies leading to next generation secure military tactical radio

By retaining the existing MIDS-LVT form factor and interfaces, the MIDS JTRS terminal facilitates integration into aircraft, vehicles, and ships that already host MIDS-LVT. This approach minimizes life-cycle costs by leveraging past expenditures for platform integration of Link 16 and TACAN, while providing a gateway for new JTRS and other enhanced capabilities, officials say.

On this contract, L3Harris, BAE Systems, and Collins Aerospace will do the work in Salt Lake City; Carlsbad, Calif.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Wayne, N.J., and should be finished by June 2029.

For more information contact L3Harris online at, BAE Systems Electronic Systems at, Collins Aerospace at, or the Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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