By Ms. Argie R Sarantinos Perrin (PEO C3T)August 10, 2015
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (August 4, 2015) -- The U.S. Army has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for full and open competition to procure additional Manpack Radios -- the Army's first two-channel, software-defined radio capable of supporting advanced and current force waveforms.
The RFP, which was posted August 3 to the Federal Business Opportunities website
(http://go.usa.gov/3As6H), is the next step as the Army moves toward Full Rate Production (FRP) of the Manpack Radio. The Manpack Radio is part of the Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (HMS) program.
Under full and open competition, the Army will award contracts to multiple vendors in the "radio
marketplace,"and vendors will compete for delivery orders as needed, after they achieve technical and operational requirements.
"By using the competitive radio marketplace to procure the next generation of Manpack Radios, we are maximizing our buying power," said Col. James P. Ross, project manager for Tactical Radios. "In each step of the process, we are working closely with industry partners to procure superior radios at lower costs."
Since the draft RFP was released in April, the Army has refined the requirements. As an example,
the Army lowered the full mission weight of the Manpack Radio. The current full mission weight of
the Manpack Radio is 19.33 pounds, which includes the radio with two batteries and supporting gear (two hand-held mikes, antennas, a GPS antenna and the battery bucket). The new full mission weight requirement, which is reflected in the RFP, is 16 pounds with equipment necessary to meet the current dismounted range requirements.
"We are using an incremental approach to the weight of the Manpack Radio," said Lt. Col. Rayfus
Gary, product manager for HMS. "Starting with 16 pounds, our goal is to get down to 14 pounds by Fiscal Year 2025."
Industry has been an active partner in refining the RFP. In addition to an industry day that was
held in April, which gave vendors an opportunity to ask questions and gather information, the Army also hosted a one-day forum prior to releasing the fin l RFP. The forum gave vendors an opportunity to provide feedback from the draft RFP.
Vendors have sixty days to respond to the final RFP; the responses will undergo several
levels of peer reviews and evaluations. Contract awards are expected in Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2016.
Once the contracts are awarded, each vendor will provide 30 radios at no cost to the government for Qualification Testing, which will determine if threshold requirements have been met. Vendors who do not meet requirements will be off-ramped. Vendors that do meet qualifications will move to the next phase, which will be further testing. The Army will then purchase 60 Manpack Radios from each vendor for the tests.
FRP is scheduled to begin in Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year 2017, and the Army has been authorized to purchase up to 60,296 Manpack Radios. The five-year base, plus a five- year option indefinite
delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract can be awarded to multiple vendors who meet the
technical and service requirements to support the radio. With the IDIQ contract, the Army can
release a new contract if radio technology changes significantly after the initial five-year award.
If a new contract is released, vendors will have an opportunity to on-ramp if they meet the
The Army has already purchased 5,326 Manpack Radios through Low Rate Initial Production. These radios have been fielded to seven Brigade Combat Teams in the 10th Mountain (Light Infantry), 101st Airborne (Air Assault) and 82nd Airborne Divisions. The radios were used during training missions and by Soldiers who were deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.