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News Release


Release No: 231-97
May 08, 1997


The Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office, in conjunction with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency who will act as the contracting and technical agent for DARO, has selected three contractor teams for Phase I of the Tactical Common Data Link program. Following negotiations, each team will receive $1 million for their Phase I efforts.

The winning teams are:

Harris Corp., Melbourne, Fla.; GEC Marconi Hazeltine Corp., Wayne, N.J.; and TSI TelSys Inc., Columbia, Md.

Lockheed Martin, Salt Lake City, Utah; Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Motorola, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Raytheon E-Systems, Falls Church, Va.; and Cubic Defense Systems, San Diego, Calif.

The TCDL program is a multiple phase, multiple award program to develop a family of CDL interoperable digital data links to support both unmanned and manned airborne reconnaissance platforms including Outrider, Predator, Reef Point, Rivet Joint, Joint STARS, Airborne Reconnaissance Low, and others. The TCDL data link will support air-to-surface transmission of radar, imagery, video, and other sensor information at a range of up to 200 kilometers. The TCDL will interoperate with existing CDL systems operating at the 10.71 Mbps return link and the 200 Kbps command link data rates.

Goals of the TCDL program are to increase capability, lower cost and increase competition of CDL interoperable equipment. Further goals of the TCDL program are to emphasize an open systems architecture using state-of-the-art communications technology and commercial off-the-shelf systems and components. Programmable features of TCDL design will enable the system to operate at up to 45Mbps using commercial products and waveforms while still retaining CDL interoperability.

Phase I, during which the teams will develop designs for airborne and surface TCDL terminals for Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle applications, will last six months. DARO and DARPA will then choose up to two contractors to continue on into Phase II, an 18-month prototype development and demonstration effort. Phase II awards are expected to be approximately $6 million each.

DARPA is acting as DARO's contracting and technical agent for this effort. The program will be executed under the authority of Section 845 of the 1994 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 103-160), as amended. Section 845 provides for the acquisition of prototype projects using other transactions, a non-standard procurement method that gives DoD and industry increased flexibility.

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