Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) and Jotron have teamed up to pursue an anticipated five-year, $200 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contract for next-generation radios that will support the agency’s future air/ground communications needs.

Harris, an international communications and information technology company, has a long history of developing and integrating system solutions for the FAA and the global air-traffic control network. Jotron has a 40-year history of supplying aviation and maritime radios and communications systems around the world.

The companies are competing for phase two of the FAA’s next generation air-to-ground communications system (NEXCOM) initiative. The FAA is seeking commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) radios for voice communications between FAA facilities and aircraft in the terminal and flight services environments.

Harris and Jotron worked together to optimise the design of the Jotron 7000 series multi-mode digital radio to meet FAA specifications, and also to provide additional benefits with voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and internet protocol (IP) transmission. In addition to helping the FAA reduce overall procurement cost, the design of the 7000 series radio also will reduce logistics costs by providing a single source for both UHF and VHF radios. The radios will be manufactured at Harris facilities in Malabar, Florida, US.

“The combination of Jotron’s high-performance technology, combined with Harris communications and manufacturing expertise, makes this a winning team with a powerful advantage to provide the FAA exactly what it needs at a competitive price,” said John O’Sullivan, vice-president of Harris mission-critical networks. “The Harris/Jotron team is strongly committed to winning this contract.”

“We are very pleased to be combining our respective technology and manufacturing expertise to address the specific COTS radio needs of the FAA with our 7000 series ground-to-air, multi-mode digital radios,” said Merete Berdal, chairman of Jotron.

Harris is the prime contractor and system architect for the FAA telecommunications infrastructure programme. Other FAA programmes developed by Harris include: the weather and radar processor, a weather system serving the en-route air traffic control environment; OASIS, which provided integrated weather briefing and flight planning capabilities for preflight weather briefings and in-flight updates; the voice switching and control system, which provides the critical air-to-ground communications links between en-route aircraft and air traffic controllers throughout the continental US; and the satellite-based Alaskan National Airspace System (NAS) inter-facility communications system.