Viasat and Data Link Solutions each won a $998.8 million deal
for the production, retrofits, development and sustainment of the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS)
terminals. Currently, there are three variants of MIDS JTRS terminals: the Concurrent Multi-Netting-4, the Tactical Targeting Network Technology and the F-22
variant. 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. These terminals will continue to be procured, sustained and updated for future growth, including JTRS advanced networking waveforms such as: multifunction advanced data link, intra-flight data link and other advanced networking waveforms. The MIDS JTRS terminals make use of high-speed jam-resistant Link-16 tactical data exchange network. The Link 16 allows for real-time transfer of combat data, voice communications, imagery, and relative navigation information between dispersed battle elements, using data encryption and frequency hopping to maintain secure communications. The system facilitates the exchange of data over a common communication link, allowing participants to obtain and share situational awareness information and interoperate within the battlespace. Viasat will perform work in Carlsbad, California. Data Link Solution will perform work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Expected completion is by May 2025.
The Pentagon’s JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) aimed to replace existing radios in the American military with a single set of software-define radios that could have new frequencies and modes (“waveforms”) added via upload, instead of requiring multiple radio types in ground vehicles, and using circuit board swaps in order to upgrade. Trying to solve that set of problems across the entire American military meant taking on a very a big problem. Maybe too big. JTRS has seen cost overruns and full program restructurings, along with cancellation of some parts of the program.
JTRS HMS (Handheld, Manpack & Small Form-Fit) radios, for use by the individual solder, have survived the tumult, and are now headed into production. They offer soldiers more than just improved communications, and have performed in exercises and on the front lines. Now, production is ramping up.