BAE Systems submitted its Phoenix radio for the US Army's Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radio competition. (BAE Systems)
WASHINGTON — On Sept. 20, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall authorized the US Army to launch its long-awaited full and open competition to buy up to 232 mid-tier networking vehicular radios (MNVR) for testing and evaluation purposes before a decision is reached to begin low-rate initial production.
That award is expected to be made Tuesday, according to a source with knowledge of the governmentís plans to replace the canceled $2 billion Ground Mobile Radio program.
A contracting document released in July 2012 said the award should be worth about $140 million over two years, and the Army has issued estimates that it would eventually buy about 2,500 radio sets to equip its brigade combat teams.
The MNVR program is expected to play a key role in the Armyís overall modernization program, with the radio systems acting as a bridge between battalion- and brigade-level communications and soldiers on the move either in vehicles or on foot.
In July, industry sources told Defense News that some of the competitors involved in the competition have started to manufacture the radios in anticipation of the award, since deliveries are scheduled to begin in April, and it will take time to build enough of the complex, vehicle-mounted two-channel communications systems.
BAE Systems, General Dynamics C4 Systems, Harris and the team of Northrop Grumman and ITT Exelis are all awaiting word on the Armyís decision.
Kendallís Sept. 20 memo also said that the Army must have a complete MNVR acquisition strategy on his desk by Dec. 1.