Skip to comments.Future JTRS work put on hold (Boeing steps in it again)
Posted on 02/22/2005 9:07:45 AM PST by ladtx
DOD officials await April tests to determine future of software radio
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. Amid concerns that the innovative Joint Tactical Radio System may be behind schedule and over budget, Defense Department officials are considering a wholesale change in the system's delivery.
Pentagon officials are considering asking JTRS' prime contractor, Boeing, to build and deliver a part of the system for ground vehicles and rotary-wing aircraft. The change comes after Boeing officials notified DOD in December that they would need more time and money to finish the job.
The multibillion-dollar system is actually a computer with a radio front end. DOD officials believe JTRS will help eliminate communications problems that result from warfighters using different radio bands that keep them from talking with one another. JTRS is being developed in parts, referred to as clusters.
Last month Pentagon officials instructed Boeing to halt work on future development and instead focus on short-term goals.
DOD officials will decide whether to change JTRS' delivery schedule in April, after they test the Cluster 1 radios.
Linton Wells II, DOD's acting chief information officer, said he may tell Boeing officials to build and deliver the Cluster 1 radios in spirals so they can be delivered more quickly to troops in combat with new capabilities added as they become available. Wells was interviewed after his presentation at a luncheon sponsored by AFCEA International's Washington, D.C., Chapter Feb. 11.
Air Force Col. Steven MacLaird, director of the JTRS Joint Program Office, confirmed that Boeing might build the radio system in installments. "There is a way ahead," MacLaird said. "We will have to assess them."
Wells said he sent officials from the DOD CIO's office to meet with Boeing and Army officials earlier this month to get a status report on Cluster 1.
He declined to comment on how much more time and money Boeing officials might need until after his staff reports back to him. He did say, however, that he is disappointed with JTRS' progress.
Proposals under consideration include a 22-month delay and a $29.7 million increase, according to military and industry officials familiar with the contract.
DOD officials planned for the devices developed through the $6.8 billion JTRS program to replace existing tactical radios, which soldiers carry or mount on vehicles, aircraft and ships. Those 750,000 radios would be replaced with 180,000 software-defined radios, which could operate in battlefield environments and across a wide swath of the radio frequency spectrum.
Col. Nick Justice, deputy program executive officer in the Army's Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical, said officials in Defense agencies and the military services added requirements to the radios that caused the schedule delay and cost increase.
"The original design cannot do all the capacity," Justice said.
"Evolving security requirements, known design changes and extended formal testing have added cost and schedule to the program," Army officials said in a statement.
Members of the Defense Acquisition Board are expected to make a decision on the future of the program this summer.
"The Army is confident that the results of early operational assessment will prove that the JTRS vision is a viable and effective transformation enabler," the Army statement says.
"We look forward to the early operational assessment to show what the radio can do," said Ralph Moslener, Boeing's JTRS program manager.
As a former developer on the project, do you know what became of NMIP/ISYSCON?
Never heard of it.
It is Boeing's fault that DoD procurements are so onerous only large companies can afford to prime them? I work for a great little company. We do all our DoD work through Raytheon, Boeing, CSC, NG and all the other suspects.
Same here on the commercial side, our government side does a lot of direct work. Boeins expertise definitely is not in the field of communications although their business is directly affected by it.
Through a combination of some good employees and some incompetent upper management Boeing keeps managing to get enough new contracts to keep the bad news about them comming.
Too many Boeing project managers and executives just seem to fit the stereotype of the slimy DOD Contractor way too well.
They're pissing off the government, and they're pissing off their subs. Sub contractors are that have been happy to work with Boeing in the past are starting to get reluctant and are looking for other partners to work with.
If Boeing doesn't make some significant internal changes, they're going to continue to slide downward.
I agree. I worked for Boeing for about 10 years and now work for a company that does a lot of work for and with Boeing and have seen them operate from both sides of the fence. I'm glad I'm where I am now.
"Boeing needs another CEO overhaul."
Living it here on Wichita on the 767 tanker program
I worked for Boeing for 10 years at the mod facility in Shreveport. It never ceased to amaze me and many others there at the poor judgement constantly displayed in the upper echelons of management, particularly when they closed our facility. It was never a big plant and we specialized in low rate mods for the US and foreign govts. Did a lot of interesting things there. We always made money but because we weren't the size of Seattle or Wichita so our contribution to the Boeing bottom line was minimal, but we could do things quicker than many other places could and at a lower cost due to our low labor rates. We upgraded avionics and self-defense suites for the AC-130 gunships, the E4s and E6s, plus did all the avionics upgrade installations for the UK on the new CH-47D's they purchased in the late 90's.
Just saw on our company website that Boeing has sold its commercial plants in Wichita and Oklahoma to a Toronto based firm. I'm assuming since you're in the 767 tanker program you're not affected. How's everyone taking it there?
"Just saw on our company website that Boeing has sold its commercial plants in Wichita and Oklahoma to a Toronto based firm. I'm assuming since you're in the 767 tanker program you're not affected. How's everyone taking it there?"
The IAM union is taking it poorly. They had solidarity show in front of the admin build in the rain. I saw them through the window on our forced bus trip to our ethics refresher (what a load of BS that was). It is interesting when the local news interviewed end of shift employees the common thread was that no matter what happens they feel better off without Stonecipher. Onex claims they want to expand the payroll to 18,000 in the next two to three years. Right now it is operating at 43% capacity.
Onex is planning on all in commercial reapplying for their job. The ones that wanted out got out and transfered to WDMC last month (the only openings in our group, few that they were, covered only electrical and avionics engineers.
The big 767 tanker roll out is tomorrow, somehow I got invited, not sure why. A jacket and tie affair.