Army awards competitive radio contract
April 14, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 11, 2014) -- In another step to extend digital communications to the tactical edge, the Army has issued its first multiple award, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) Appliqué radio systems.
Four companies, offering five different SRW-Appliqué radio systems, were awarded a basic contract, which will allow the companies to compete on future orders to support fielding requirements.
"SRW-Appliqué provides an important link to voice and data for our lower echelons, down to the dismounted Soldier," said Col. Russ Wygal, the Army's project manager for tactical radios. "It's also one example of how the Army is driving competition among multiple industry partners to streamline the development and production of software-defined radios."
The SRW-Appliqué is key to achieving the Army's mobile, adaptive tactical communications network. It will provide a single channel of SRW-enabled voice and data communications, allowing the dismounted Soldier to seamlessly connect with company and higher echelons.
The system is planned for installation on select vehicular platforms that do not require the more robust two-channel Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) Manpack radio. The SRW-Appliqué solution is expected to be available for fielding beginning with the Army's network Capability Set (CS) 16.
The operational need for SRW-Appliqué was confirmed through the Army's Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs), a series of semi-annual evaluations designed to further integrate and mature the tactical communications network, and accelerate and improve the way network technologies are delivered to Soldiers.
The four companies that were awarded contracts on April 9 are Exelis Inc. Night Vision & Communications Solutions; Thales Defense & Security, Inc.; General Dynamics C4 Systems; and Harris Corporation, which offered two different radio solutions. Each company received an initial award of approximately $115,000 per radio solution to support participation at the NIE 14.2 in May.
NIE 14.2 will serve as a risk reduction event prior to conducting a formal operational assessment at a future NIE. That assessment will facilitate a Material Release decision for SRW Appliqué in order to qualify the vendor systems for future procurement in support of Capability Set fielding requirements.
The Army will then competitively solicit for future delivery orders on the contract, which also includes on-ramp opportunities to allow additional vendors to participate. The contract supports potential procurements over a 10-year period (a five-year base ordering period, plus five one-year options).
"This approach will enable the Army to maintain a competitive environment and encourage further technical progress while meeting CS fielding needs," Wygal said.
The new contract awards complement two initial contracts that were issued in 2013 through the General Services Administration (GSA) for a limited amount of hardware to support fielding requirements. The first contract for $7.6 million was awarded in May to General Dynamics C4 Systems Inc. for 287 Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) SRW-Appliqué systems. The second contract for $4.3 million was awarded in July to Harris Corporation for 119 Secret SRW-Appliqué systems.