The US Air Force (USAF) has selected an industry team of Raytheon and FlexRadio to develop and qualify an airborne high-frequency (HF) radio.

The Raytheon-FlexRadio team secured a $36m other transaction agreement (OTA) contract with Consortium Management Group (CMG).

CMG awarded the OTA on behalf of Consortium for Command, Control and Communications in Cyberspace (C5) to meet the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s needs.

The industry team will develop a new HF radio capable of enabling beyond-line-of-sight long-distance communication for aircrews.

Raytheon Integrated Communication Systems vice-president Barbara Borgonovi said: “High-frequency radios provide the military with secure communications in an increasingly complex and congested threat environment.

“Raytheon’s partnership with FlexRadio combines commercial innovation with advanced military hardening techniques to rapidly deliver a next-generation operational capability that supports strategic and tactical missions.”

The team is one of the two contract awardees for the radio development programme. The contract involves 31 months of performance, which will be followed by the USAF selecting one team to advance the programme to the production stage.

FlexRadio CEO Gerald Youngblood said: “Worldwide high-frequency communications is what our commercial customers do every day using virtually every mode of operation and type of propagation.

“Our partnership brings together the vast resources and experience of Raytheon in airborne tactical communications systems with FlexRadio’s commercial off-the-shelf high-frequency software-defined radios to deliver a modular, extensible, and flexible communications platform for the warfighter.”

The partnership will adapt FlexRadio’s SmartSDR/FLEX-6000 architecture ‘for HF modernisation of airborne communications platforms’, FlexRadio said in a release.

In July, the USAF selected L3Harris Technologies to develop a prototype for the L3Harris Falcon Wideband Airborne HF Radio as part of the programme to replace the USAF’s AN/ARC-190 airborne HF radio.