The design of radio equipment for the military market has evolved significantly from the use of transistor-based circuits to specialized and powerful integrated circuits (ICs). Designs may be geared towards rigid, single-purpose platforms or towards flexible, application-agnostic systems with dedicated digital signal processors (DSPs), such as software-defined radio (SDR). The one thing all of these approaches have in common: difficulty in estimating and understanding the cost/performance trade-offs of new designs.
Software-defined radio (SDR) is not a new technology for the military, having been developed for defense communications. However, it has evolved beyond the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program, which is now obsolete. Although JTRS is no longer an active program, some variations of the system have survived, like the Rifleman Radio, MIDS J, and the HMS Manpack.