By Bridget Lynch, PEO C3T Public AffairsSeptember 19, 2016
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD (September 19, 2016) -- To achieve mission success and gain a decisive edge on the battlefield, Soldiers need fast, safe and secure communications.
The Vehicle Intercommunications System (VIS) provides intercom system components, headsets and ancillary hardware that enables communication between Soldiers. VIS improves both security and situational awareness, as well as safety, by providing Soldiers with the critically needed hearing protection needed in the extreme-noise environments of combat vehicles.
The program transitioned earlier this year from the Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) to the Product Lead Common Hardware Systems (PdL CHS) within Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications - Tactical (PEO C3T).
PdL CHS assumed responsibility for the VIS program on January 4, 2016 and last month, received its official designation from the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)). As directed in the memo, PEO C3T will evaluate stakeholder requirements for VIS solutions and formulate acquisition alternatives consistent with evolving needs.
By coordinating across stakeholder organizations to identify and consolidate requirements, VIS provides a common solution that meets the Army's operational needs. VIS, a customer funded program, receives orders from the Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), and Army and Navy platform offices. The VIS solution encompasses commercial solutions and two different Government-Furnished Equipment (GFE) systems, known formally as AN/VIC-3 and AN/VIC-5.
VIC-3 has been fielded to more than 120,000 platforms, and is currently in sustainment. It supports legacy, non-data radios. The VIC-5, which supports the Army's next generation of software-defined tactical radios, is the newest intercom system.
The VIC-5 is 80 percent software based and digital, making it an improvement upon the VIC-3 which is 90 percent analog. Additionally, the VIC-5 is backwards compatible, meaning that it can be used with the VIC-3 without special adaptation or modification, but the most important difference between the two systems is that the VIC-5 is able to connect to the tactical network, while the VIC-3 cannot.
"Many platforms are already planning to use the VIC-5 and have provided a schedule of when VIC-5 systems will be needed for testing," said Mr. Breck Tarr, product lead for CHS. "The CHS team is actively collaborating with stakeholder organizations to better understand the Army's continued requirements for VIS, to assess the ongoing sustainment of fielded VIC-3 systems, and to ensure continued execution of the current VIC-5 contract."
The current VIC-5 contract provides a developmental VIS solution consistent with earlier performance specifications. However, since then, technology has matured and new commercial capabilities have emerged. As a result, CHS is conducting market research to potentially seek commercial VIS solutions that meet program-specific requirements for all of the platforms.
The desired solution is a product capable of wireless communications, compatible with existing Army headsets, can directly connect with military vehicle headsets, can integrate with a commander's smart display and be compatible with Army tactical radios, among many other preferred features.
A Request for Information (RFI) was released on September 7 in order to seek feedback from industry on current capabilities relating to commercially-available VIS solutions. More information can be found on the Federal Business Opportunities website.
Solicitation Number: VIS-Solutions