Navy awards nearly half-billion-dollar contract to ViaSat to provide MIDS JTRS tactical networking

SAN DIEGO, 29 May 2015. U.S. Navy communications experts are awarding ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., a nearly half-billion-dollar contract to provide MIDS JTRS digital tactical networking and voice communications capability for U.S. and allied aircraft, ground vehicles, and surface warships.

May 29th, 2015
Navy awards nearly half-billion-dollar contract to ViaSat to provide MIDS JTRS tactical networking
Navy awards nearly half-billion-dollar contract to ViaSat to provide MIDS JTRS tactical networking
SAN DIEGO, 29 May 2015. U.S. Navy communications experts are awarding ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., a nearly half-billion-dollar contract to provide digital tactical networking and voice communications capability for U.S. and allied aircraft, ground vehicles, and surface warships.

Officials of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego announced a $478.6 million five-year contract to ViaSat on Thursday to build and maintain Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) terminals.

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.

ViaSat will provide MIDS JTRS terminals 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, Navy officials say.

Related: SPAWAR aims at upgrading MIDS LVT terminals to comply with JTRS software and protocols

The contract encompasses MIDS JTRS purchases for the U.S. Navy, as well as the governments of Austria, Chile, Finland, Israel, Jordan, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, NATO, and all NATO nations under the Foreign Military Sales program.

SPAWAR awarded the contract to ViaSat sole-source because ViaSat is the only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements, Navy officials say.

The MIDS JTRS terminal is a line-of-sight radio system for collecting and transmitting broadband, jam-resistant, secure data and voice across a variety of air, sea and ground platforms.

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, SPAWAR officials say.

Related: Data Link Solutions nets $32.6 million contract for MIDS on Ship Modernization equipment

ViaSat is one of two U.S. companies that build MIDS JTRS terminals. The other is Data Link Solutions LLC in Cedar Rapids, Iowa -- a joint venture of Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems.

The ViaSat 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.

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, ViaSat officials say.

On Thursday's contract ViaSat will do the work in Carlsbad, Calif., and should be finished by May 2020. For more information contact ViaSat online at www.viasat.com, or SPAWAR at www.spawar.navy.mil.

More in RF/Analog