ITT Wins $9.7 Million Contract to Produce "Netted Iridium" Tactical Radio Handsets
Iridium Communications and ITT Corporation today announced that ITT has received a contract from the US Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division to supply 1,450 Iridium-based handheld tactical satellite communication devices for use by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Under the firm, fixed-price contract, valued at $9.7 million, ITT will manufacture and deliver the Distributed Tactical Communications Systems – Radio Only (DTCS-RO) transceivers by March 2010. The DTCS-RO handheld push-to-talk radios use the Iridium satellite network to provide over-the-horizon, beyond-line-of-sight tactical networks for warfighters on the move.
In June, NSWC awarded Iridium a five-year development contract valued at up to $21.7 million for Phase Two of the DTCS program, also known as “Netted Iridium.” In Phase One, launched in 2006, Iridium worked with the US Department of Defense (DoD) and industry partners under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to demonstrate the feasibility of using Iridium’s satellite network to support a multicast architecture for tactical voice and data communications. The DoD tested proof-of-concept units, and has successfully deployed early prototypes and low-rate production devices in combat operations.
Under Phase Two, Iridium is making in-orbit upgrades to the satellites and ground infrastructure to expand the footprint of DTCS nets from 100 to 250 miles, and to permit more than 2,000 nets to be activated simultaneously on the satellite network. The upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of December 2009.
“The initial production contract to ITT validates DoD’s commitment to deploying this important tactical communication capability to warfighters in the field as quickly as possible,” said Lt. Gen. John Campbell, USAF (Ret.), executive vice president for government programs at Iridium. “DTCS fulfills an immediate mission-critical requirement for beyond-line-of-sight and over-the-horizon communications in mountainous terrain. The DTCS-RO handsets are lightweight, easy to use, require no deployed infrastructure, and represent a real breakthrough in handheld mobile satellite communications.”
“Keeping our soldiers connected with tactical comms-on-the-move capabilities is vital to their missions,” said Mark Adams, vice president, ITT Corporation. “DTCS will allow commanders and other network users at all echelons to exchange information throughout the theater of operations regardless of terrain features.”
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