ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 5, 2014) -- The U.S. Army hosted an industry day on May 27 to discuss its plans to procure next-generation Rifleman Radios through full and open competition.

The industry day was attended by 36 people representing 15 different companies.

The Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), Product Manager Handheld, Manpack and Small-form Fit (PdM HMS) and the Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground (ACC-APG) hosted the event, which gave industry partners the opportunity to discuss the acquisition timeline and ask questions regarding the draft Request for Proposals (RFP) released May 21.

The Army will use information from industry day to prepare the final RFP, which is scheduled for release during the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2014. The Army plans to award multiple vendors a base indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, as well as an order to go through Qualification Testing and an option for Operational Testing.

"This event gave us an opportunity to communicate our needs and provide a clear path so that industry partners have the right information going forward," said Lt. Col Rayfus Gary, product manager for HMS. "As an integral part of the Army's tactical communications network, the Rifleman Radio is a powerful tool that Soldiers use to keep in touch with each other and higher headquarters. We look forward to working with our industry partners to continuously improve Rifleman Radio capabilities."

Under the full and open competition approach, the Army is creating a "radio marketplace" where vendors will compete for delivery orders as needed, after they achieve technical and operational requirements.

Vendors whose technologies mature after the initial competition and operational tests will have an opportunity to on-ramp, as part of the competitive Non-Developmental Item (NDI) acquisition strategy.

The Rifleman Radio, which recently obtained Type-1 National Security Agency (NSA) certification for secure voice and data communications up to the secret level, is a lightweight, rugged, hand-held radio that transmits voice and data via the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW). With the SRW, the Rifleman Radio acts as its own router and allows information to be transmitted up and down the chain.

The Rifleman Radio can also be linked to Nett Warrior, an Android-based, smartphone-like capability that enables Soldiers to send messages, access mission-related applications and track one another's locations with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

Through Low Rate Initial Production, the Army has already purchased 21,379 Rifleman Radios. The Army's total acquisition objective for the Rifleman Radio is 193,276 radios.