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Air Force-Navy Combine Forces to Develop Joint Radio System

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2003 – The Air Force and Navy have agreed to merge their two formerly separate programs for the acquisition of improved radio systems.

The decision to combine forces in developing the Joint Tactical Radio System -- a single family of radios designed to replace incompatible units in use across the services -- was made in early November, according to Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Cheryl Law.

Senior DoD leaders have hailed the initiative as a victory for jointness or interoperability among the separate armed services. Increasing jointness across the armed forces is a key tenet of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's transformation goals.

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Dr. Marvin Sambur noted in a DoD news release that combining Air Force and Navy efforts in the JTRS realm "will yield large dividends for the Navy, the Air Force and DoD in general."

Such collaboration, Sambur continued, "will ensure that a truly joint radio system is efficiently developed for our aerospace and maritime forces."

Working with the Air Force in developing JTRS "can assure interoperability, reduce development costs and lower acquisition costs," John J. Young Jr., the assistant Secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, noted in the release.

And, the Navy official added, "We can be certain that our war fighters will be able to easily communicate in the joint war fighting environment that Secretary Rumsfeld is creating."

The joint Air Force-Navy initiative is expected to produce more than 17,000 units, Law noted.

She said initial deliveries of the new radios under the Air Force-Navy program are expected to occur in late 2008.

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