General Dynamics C4 Systems division in Scottsdale said Tuesday it is the corecipient of a $7 billion to $12 billion Army contract to develop a battlefield master communications network.
Called the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical — WIN-T — the high-speed communications system will link commanders using an array of combat communications setups into a common network.
"WIN-T supports primarily soldiers that are on the ground," said Bill Weiss, General Dynamics’ vice president of future force programs, "but we are using communications assets in the sky as well, including relays from aircraft and satellites.
"This is a very large scope — basically the entire system for the tactical Army, including voice, data, multimedia communications and networking capability. This is the equivalent of an enterprise network for a large company."
The C4 Systems division will share the contract with Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Mission Systems on a 50-50 basis.
Formerly competitors for the program contract, the U.S. Army proposed dividing the contract between the two defense contractors in a plan to speed up development of the project.
Under terms of the collaboration, C4 Systems will serve as the prime contractor, with Lockheed Martin providing technical expertise. The Army will evaluate and determine which of each contributor’s products will be jigsawed into the completed system. The final system that emerges will undergo a series of development, evaluation, training and deployment phases continuing through 2018.
Weiss said a specific allocation of the work responsibilities has yet to be established between the former competitors.
"Ultimately, General Dynamics has the responsibility to make and deliver the system and make it work," he said.
Weiss said the majority of General Dynamics’ work will be accomplished by existing staff at C4’s Taunton, Mass., facility.
He said the Army is excited over the synergy that will occur between the WIN-T project and the the Joint Tactical Radio System Cluster 5 program, a software-based military radio system under development in Scottsdale. The $295 million contract to develop the JTRS, one of the systems that will be compatible with WIN-T, was awarded in July.
That contract, with an initial three-year term, will have an overall value of more than $1 billion through 2011, with the revenue being shared among C4 Systems and several partners.
General Dynamics spokeswoman Fran Jacques said this most recent award underscores C4’s commitment to the nation’s military objectives. "Our Informations Systems and Technology division is definitely receiving the benefit of what the military is trying to accomplish by modernizing and equipping soldiers," she said.
The contract follows an announcement Monday that the company received a separate five-year, $30 million Army contract to develop an improved communications and life support system for military helicopter pilots.