Army to buy radios following Network Integration Evaluation
February 21, 2012
By PEO C3T
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ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Feb. 20, 2012) -- In its first procurement action resulting from the Network Integration Evaluations, or NIEs, and Agile Process, the Army is issuing a "sources sought" notice for a single-channel, vehicle-mounted radio.
Running the Joint Tactical Radio System, or JTRS Soldier Radio Waveform, known as SRW, the radios will transmit information between the squad- and team-level JTRS Rifleman Radio and the Army's larger tactical communications network. They will act as a conduit for voice and data between the dismounted Soldier, his unit and higher headquarters, increasing situational awareness and reducing fratricide.
The Army plans to buy approximately 5,000 of the vehicle-mounted radios, also known as SRW Appliqué. Recently conducted Network Integration Evaluations confirmed an operational need for these single-channel radios.
"This procurement illustrates how the NIEs and the Agile Process allow the Army and industry to work together to quickly fulfill our network hardware and software capability gaps," said Col. Dan Hughes, director of the Army's System of Systems Integration Directorate. "This is the first formal procurement action for commercial technologies as the Army continues to mature the Agile Process and align existing acquisition policy with our new way of doing business."
The Agile Process is the Army's new quick-reaction acquisition methodology to address defined capability gaps and insert new technologies into the overall network at a lower cost. This approach will accelerate the pace of network modernization to a rate unachievable by traditional acquisition strategies.
Procurement and fielding of the radios will be managed by the Army's Product Manager for Network Systems, assigned to the Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical or PEO C3T. The sources sought notice was posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website at https://www.fbo.gov/.
"The last NIE was an excellent chance to look at how single-channel, vehicle-mounted radio solutions align with the Army's network modernization plans," said Lt. Col. Troy Crosby, product manager for Network Systems. "Soldier feedback and test data indicate that these solutions will meet operational needs as a vital communications link to the tactical edge."
The Army plans to field Rifleman Radios as part of Capability Set 13, the first integrated group of network technologies that will be fielded to up to eight brigade combat teams starting in fiscal year 2013. The two-pound radio, which is carried by platoon-, squad- and team-level Soldiers for voice communications, will also link with handheld devices to transmit text messages, GPS locations and other data. Through SRW, it connects lower echelon Soldiers to one another and back to their leaders at the company level so they can rapidly exchange information.
The vehicle-mounted SRW Appliqué radio procured under the Agile Process will provide the conduit for this information to higher echelons within the brigade. It is intended as an interim solution until the two-channel, vehicle-mounted component of the JTRS Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit, or HMS, family of radios is approved for fielding. The Rifleman Radio is also part of the HMS program.
The NIE is a series of semi-annual evaluations designed to further integrate and mature the Army's tactical communications network, and accelerate and improve the way network technologies are delivered to Soldiers. Two NIEs have already taken place at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., with the next event scheduled for April-June 2012.
In preparation for a Request For Proposals, or RFP, the sources sought was issued Feb. 17 and responses are due by March 1. The government anticipates contract award end of August 2012 with first equipment deliveries starting in October 2012 and ending in February 2013.