Modernizing and equipping the force (Part 3)
December 30, 2010
By U.S. Army
JLTV BRINGS CAPABILITY BACK TO WARFIGHTERS
The Army and Marine Corps' joint light tactical family of vehicles and companion trailers will be able to deliver a balance of protection, payload and performance within a transportable and expeditionary vehicle, meeting the service's rotary- and fixed-wing, air, sea and overland transport requirements-something no existing light tactical wheeled vehicle can do.
The Army and Marine Corps have taken delivery of Technology Development phase vehicles, seven from each TD phase contractor (BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and General Tactical Vehicles), marking the beginning of a 12-month test and evaluation effort at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz. Additionally, right-hand operation vehicles were delivered in June and July 2010, and will undergo concurrent testing with the U.S. vehicles, enhancing global interoperability between the U.S. and Australia.
The development of the JLTV reinforces the Army's approach to interoperable platforms that provide expeditionary and protected maneuver to forces currently supported by Humvees. The intent of the JLTV is to facilitate brigade combat teams' symmetric and asymmetric approaches to tactical and operational maneuvers by improving their versatility and agility. The JLTVs also improve payload efficiency through chassis engineering, enabling the vehicles to deploy with the appropriate amount of force protection through scalable armor solutions.
-PEO Ground Combat Systems
THOUSANDS OF OFF-ROAD-CAPABLE M-ATVs FIELDED TO AFGHANISTAN
As forces began drawing down in Iraq and the troop surge started in Afghanistan, combatant commanders identified the need to equip Soldiers with an off-road-capable vehicle that had Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle levels of survivability.
Unlike Iraq, which has a mature infrastructure, Afghanistan has very few paved roads, and the rugged mountainous terrain challenges a vehicle's ride quality and off-road mobility. In response to this requirement, the Pentagon ordered thousands of the MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV.
Like the baseline MRAPs, thousands of M-ATVs have been procured and are already in the fight. Also like the MRAP, the M-ATV is built with a V-shaped hull, designed to deflect blast debris away from the vehicle while securing Soldiers in an armored protective capsule.
The M-ATV mission is for small-unit combat operations in highly restricted rural, mountain and urban environments to include: mounted patrols, reconnaissance, security, convoy protection, communications, command and control, and combat service support. It can carry up to five personnel (four plus a gunner). Service-specific variants of the M-ATV have been produced and fielded for the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The Special Forces variant is under testing, and plans are underway to field this version. As of August 2010, more than 4,900 M-ATVS were in the hands of joint warfighters.
-PEO Ground Combat Systems
ARMOR SOLUTIONS FOR MEDIUM, HEAVY TACTICAL TRUCKS PROVE USEFUL
As the primary means of transporting warfighters and logistics throughout the theater of operations, tactical wheeled vehicles have been under increasingly destructive and lethal attacks.
At the onset of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the legacy heavy and medium tactical vehicle fleets were not designed to protect Soldiers against the threats they encountered. From rocket-propelled grenades to small-arms fire and improvised explosive devices in the current operating environment, in addition to the threats imposed by asymmetrical warfare, force protection upgrades across the medium and heavy tactical fleets became a top priority.
As an interim solution and in response to an Operational Needs Statement, the Army's Product Manager for Medium Tactical Vehicles fielded nearly 1,900 bolt-on Radian Armor Crew Kits for the family of medium tactical vehicles beginning in 2004. The RACK was a fast-fix solution, providing the vehicles with additional ballistic and mine blast protection, but was not intended to serve as a long-term armor solution, because the base cab wasn't manufactured with the ability to accept additional armor. The additional armor placed undue strain on the suspension and vehicle frame, hindering vehicle mobility.
In 2005, a replacement cab-the low signature armored cab-was fielded, which provided 360-degree protection for the FMTV crew while addressing vehicle reliability concerns associated with adding armor to a "soft-skinned" cab.
At the same time, the Army's Product Manager for Heavy Tactical Vehicles fielded more than 3,100 bolt-on, add-on-armor kits for the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, Palletized Load System, Line Haul Series, and Heavy Equipment Transport vehicles. More than 1,300 armored HEMTT A4s, 1,100 Line Haul Series, and 750 HET systems have been fielded since 2004.
While AoA kits were fielded to address the immediate need for improved armor protection on the medium and heavy fleets, the Army's long-term armor strategy was underway in an effort to increase crew protection levels effectively, while eliminating the sacrifice made to vehicle performance. The basic concept behind the LTAS is two essential vehicle configurations: an A-cab, armor-ready vehicle, and a scalable armor B-kit. The A-cab is considered the soft-skinned base vehicle and features built-in mounting provisions for the B-kit and hard to install armor components. The B-kit, which is the armor kit, can be easily mounted onto the vehicle as missions dictate.
-PEO Ground Combat Systems
THE NETWORK: CENTERPIECE OF ARMY MODERNIZATION
The network is the centerpiece of Army modernization efforts. It will provide robust digital connectivity down to the Soldier level, and enable Soldiers to access information at the right place and time to achieve a decisive advantage over any enemy.
Using the network-a layered system of interconnected computers and software, radios and sensors-Soldiers will be able to connect to the proper sensor data and communication relays to ensure battlespace situational awareness. Commanders will be able to fuse data more efficiently, enabling a more accurate understanding of the battlefield and better collaboration to enhance decision making.
The integrated tactical network enables horizontal and vertical communications-voice, data, imagery and video-throughout the brigade combat team formation. It will connect Soldier-leaders to the network through Nett Warrior, and connect the BCT sensor layer at the company/platoon level via vehicle-based Network Integration Kits. This enhances the company command post-the intersection of all three network layers-allowing for improved communications and robust battle command applications.
Advanced radios and waveforms including the Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radio and Handheld Manpack, Soldier Radio Waveform and Wideband Networking Waveform will be used to form the network, allowing data to flow throughout the company and link communications to higher echelons via the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical.
Soldiers will be able to access the Army's Global Enterprise Architecture and distribute critical situational awareness information, both terrestrial and aerial. The mobile, ad-hoc network will increase the speed of maneuver on the battlefield as commanders and Soldiers will no longer need to stop or slow operations to access critical information. The network is designed to be self- healing to support communications on the move, down to the platoon level and below.
The accelerated network allows the digital distribution of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information; real-time battle tracking; integration of Army attack aviation with ground forces; reach-back into the National Intelligence Database from the company level; digital posting, distribution and archiving of combat reports; and digital medical evacuation requests from Soldiers to higher headquarters.
The Army is in the process of testing the network, which will support the capability package construct as part of BCT modernization. Recently, a BCT integration exercise was conducted to test the development of the network and help the Army continue to formulate its long-term network strategy.
-PEO Command Control Communications-Tactical
WIN-T INCREMENT 2 BRINGS ON-THE-MOVE COMMUNICATIONS TO SOLDIERS
For the first time, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 will bring mobility to the Army's tactical network down to the company level. It will eliminate the need to stop to communicate, increasing maneuver speed on the battlefield and allowing Soldiers and commanders to stay connected at all times.
WIN-T Increment 2 is the early introduction of mature on-the-move technology. Its mission is to successfully deliver a self-forming, self-healing mobile communication infrastructure to Army combat units down to the company level, giving commanders the ability to communicate seamlessly on the move, and providing a solid foundation of program management and systems engineering for the increments that follow.
A key strength of WIN-T is its ability to adapt to changing battlefield conditions in real time, without the pre-planning and configuration required of traditional enterprise networking infrastructure. It enables network mobility by employing military or commercial satellite connectivity and line-of-sight radios and antennas, to achieve end-to-end connectivity and dynamic networking operations.
Increment 2 maintains a constantly viable self-healing network by providing instant alternate connections in the event its connection is broken. As the vehicles that carry the mobile network move in and out of areas of blockage or beyond normal range of connectivity, the network will automatically adapt, allowing for continuous communications between Soldiers.
From division down to battalion, Increment 2 will provide an OTM line-of-sight radio known as the Highband Networking Radio. This new radio will greatly increase line-of-sight capacity and ease of use. With the help of smart multi-beam antenna technology, the HNR can automatically detect all other HNR radios within range and allow users to pass video, voice or Internet Protocol data traffic to and from each other.
WIN-T Increment 2 completed its limited-user test, which led to a successful Milestone C decision in early February 2010, and award of the low-rate initial production contract. With the initial production funding released, the Program Manager WIN-T has started equipment production for its initial operational test in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012. The first unit equipped is expected by the second quarter of fiscal year 2012.
WIN-T Increment 3, which is still in development, will provide the air tier, using an advancement of the HNR radio, known as the Joint Command Control Communications and Computers Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Radio, or JC4ISR, mounted on unmanned aircraft. The warfighter will possess a three-tiered communication network providing connectivity for the full spectrum of operations.
-Amy Walker/PEO Command Control Communications-Tactical