By Argie Sarantinos-Perrin, PM TR
This article was originally published in the March 2014 issue of Armor & Mobility.
As the Army works to simplify the communications tools that soldiers rely on every day, the Project Manager for Tactical Radios (PM TR) is using innovative ways to procure software-defined radios that keep the complexity “inside the box.”
“Today’s soldiers have grown up with technology that is very advanced, and they expect the radios to connect to the network quickly and be easy to operate,” said Colonel Russ Wygal, project manager for TR. “The radios that we provide must have these features to meet our soldiers’ needs.”
The process of procuring radios has evolved along with the technology itself, and the Army’s latest strategy involves a new acquisition approach that looks to industry to fill a vital role in streamlined radio development and production. Procuring Non-Developmental Item (NDI), or commercially developed products, rather than investing government development resources opens competition to industry partners that can meet government requirements. Vendors can develop radios that use already existing government-owned waveforms that are housed in the Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC) Information Repository, in lieu of creating new waveforms. Using non-proprietary waveforms ensures interoperability across the Services, streamlines the development process, supports competition, and promotes greater affordability.