Northrop Grumman [NOC] and ITT Exelis [XLS] yesterday said they have teamed to compete for the  Army’s new vehicle-mounted, software-defined radio.

The Army issued a draft request for proposals Nov. 4 for the Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radio (MNVR). The radio is expected to replace canceled Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Ground Mobile Radio (GMR) being developed by Boeing [BA]. The GMR incurred cost growth of more than 50 percent, primarily due to a reduction in the numbers of radios to be acquired, triggering a Nunn-McCurdy breech and an intensive review leading to the program cancellation. The service contract will terminate at its expected expiration date in March.  

The Army wants, and Defense Department acquisition officials approved, a program to pursue a low cost, reduced size, weight and power non-developmental item (NDI) acquisition of a mid-tier networking radio (Defense Daily, Oct. 18, 20, Nov. 16).

This new radio is to meet the Army’s fiscal year 2014 Brigade Combat Team fielding requirement. The first quarter of FY 2014 is the target date to have the new radio in soldier’s hands.

The NDI radio is temporarily called the Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radio (MNVR).

If selected for the MNVR program, innovation and expertise will be the hallmarks of the team the companies said in a statement.

Northrop Grumman will lead the team and provide its Freedom 350™ multifunction radio system. ITT Exelis will support radio development, manufacturing, vehicle installation and integration, and logistical support services.

Claude Hashem, vice president of the Network Communication Systems business at Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector, said: "Northrop Grumman pioneered software-defined radio technology, has expertise in more than 50 waveforms and functions used on advanced networks and applications, and is a recognized leader in the design of open architecture systems and network management solutions. Exelis brings unparalleled radio technology experience and proven design, manufacturing and integration expertise having developed the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System with more than 550,000 fielded and the JTRS Soldier Radio Waveform."

Ken Peterman, president of ITT Exelis’ Communications and Forces Protection Systems business, said the two companies provide synergy with high performance networking radio design, waveform integration, vehicular system integration and affordability through world-class manufacturing.

The Northrop Grumman-Exelis radio system will provide mobile Internet-like voice, data and video capabilities, connecting warfighters in on-the-move tactical platforms with each other and back to command centers. It is interoperable with other radios and uses multiple waveforms, including the Soldier Radio Waveform and Wideband Networking Waveform