Lockheed Martin has reduced the cost of its Airborne and Maritime/Fixed Station Joint Tactical Radio System by 74 percent from an initial program estimate two years ago, said Martin Jenkins, the company’s director of maritime programs development. What was then pegged at nearly $16 billion stands at just over $4 billion today, he told the Daily Report. “We are very focused on an affordable, deployable system and we are working with the Air Force to do a cost analysis,” said Jenkins. AMF JTRS, which remains in the development phase, will modernize the communications systems on aircraft and ships, providing nearly instant transmission of voice, data, and video anywhere on the battlefield. This will allow airmen, marines, soldiers, and sailors to communicate more efficiently. Lockheed started integrating the system onto a C-130 last week. Officials will conduct a live-fly demonstration with a C-130J at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., in October. The company is expected to reach low-rate initial production of its small airborne radio and the maritime radio designs in early Fiscal 2013.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.