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JAST avionics competition to be launched in August

A REQUEST FOR proposals covering the first avionics for the US Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) aircraft programme is expected to be issued around mid-August.

The JAST programme office says that the design, research and technology maturation contracts will probably be awarded on 10 November. The effort covers the development of an integrated avionics system common to the three major versions of the aircraft (for the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps).

A total of four contracts totaling $198 million is expected to be awarded. The largest two, valued between them at $119 million, cover the development and demonstration of multi-function integrated radio frequency systems (MIRFS). The other two, valued at $79.5 million, cover integrated core processing (ICP).

The MIRFS will be a conceptually similar system to the integrated communications/ navigation/ identification and inertial-navigation subsystem being developed for the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22. Work on the MIRFS will run through from November 1995 to April 1999.

The ICP effort, which also strongly parallels the use of the Hughes-made common integrated processor at the heart of the F-22's integrated avionics, is due to be completed by November 1999.

The winners of the technology demonstrations will eventually link up with one of the JAST prime contractor teams now led by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas. The JAST programme office is expected to prune its shortlist to two finalists in 1996 with each of the winning avionics teams joining the prime contractor teams.