Pentagon Awards Near-Billion-Dollar Radio Contract to 4 Defense Contractors

The Department of Defense awarded only eight defense contracts Wednesday yet still managed to hand out almost $1.77 billion in awards. The biggest contract of the day, consuming more than half of the funds on offer, was a sizable award that will be split among defense contractors Exelis (NYSE: XLS  ) General Dynamics (NYSE: GD  ) , Harris Corp. (NYSE: HRS  ) , and Thales Defense & Security. These four firms will split a $988 million firm-fixed-price contract to supply Soldier Radio Waveform, or SRW, Applique Radio Systems to the U.S. Army for use by Brigade Combat Teams, or BCTs.

SRW radios are single-channel radios mounted within vehicles operated by Army BCTs. The Applique moniker refers to the fact that these radios will be added to the Army's current Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, permitting the transmission of voice messages and data between the squad- and team-level Joint Tactical Radio System Rifleman Radios and the Army's larger tactical communications network.

The Army originally intended to buy about 5,000 SRW Applique Radio units. But at a cost estimated at approximately $20,000, it would now appear that this contract envisions purchases of more than 49,000 radios, stretching over a period from now to April 8, 2024.

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