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Lockheed beats out Boeing for Pentagon award

business Updated: Mar 29, 2008 18:37 IST

Lockheed Martin Corp beat out Boeing Co to win a USD 766.1 million Pentagon contract to design and build a radio system connecting aircraft, ships and ground stations military wide.

The deal, announced late on , could lead to the installation of tens of thousands of radios and ultimately be worth billions to the company.

The award is a key piece of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), a major Defence Department programme to replace much of the military's existing radio equipment with radios that will let Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine troops communicate. The new system will be able to transmit video and other data and as well as conversations.

"Lockheed Martin is honoured and excited to provide affordable, open, network-enabled, communications out to the tactical edge," said John Mengucci, president of Mission & Combat Support Solutions for Lockheed Martins Information Systems & Global Services.

"This system is crucial to support information sharing and combat readiness, a must for today's war fighters."

According to Loren Thompson, a defence analyst and consultant based in Virginia, different branches of the military purchased so many different radio systems on a haphazard basis that many of the radio systems are not compatible - or "interoperable" - right now.

In some cases, he noted, military radios cannot even communicate with other radios inside the same service.

There are at least two dozen types of incompatible radio systems now in the field, Thompson estimated.