The award, from U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory, is worth $7 million.
ITT Exelis said that under the contract, the team will complete development of a system that will be used for ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore and ground-to-ground mission applications by both the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
"Today's missions require moving huge amounts of data -- more than 3 gigabytes per second -- all in near real time," said Gary Tarantino, manager of advanced systems and strategic initiatives for Exelis Electronic Systems. "Using laser communications gives our forces the information they need without competing with radio frequency transmissions. It's like having your own traffic lane at rush hour."
ITT Exelis and Innovative Technical Solutions have already field-demonstrated their laser capability using both short- and long-range transmission within a simulated Marine Corps network. They have also participated in Navy maneuvers to improve the technology used to transmit and receive data.
In the partnership for the system ITT Exelis is responsible for systems engineering, product development and production. Innovative Technical Solutions, known as NOVASOL, is engaged in the design and development of the laser communication technologies to be used.