Tag Archives: US military

Securing the Best: Army Drives Competition for Soldier Radios

Staff Sgt. Shelby Johnson, a squad leader with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), observes the area around Forward Operating Base Torkham, Afghanistan, while wearing the new Capability Set 13 communications suite.

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.

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Today’s Links

  • Time’s Battleland has an excellent obit for the USS Enterprise. After fifty years of service, the aircraft carrier is being retired. A sad day for some, but also comforting to know she worked hard and well for five decades.
  • The robotic mule is coming soon to a USMC squad near you! DARPA’s $54 million Legged Squad Support System (LS3), which mimics a mule, just completed a couple weeks of field testing and is no worse for the wear. Among many other great features, the LS3 can recharge batteries and follow basic commands (“sit!”).
  • In allies news, Japan will up its defense budget a bit, though it is still a very low share of GDP. Canada’s love-hate relationship with the F-35 continues to twist and turn: Ottawa claims it will have to use private companies and allies for mid-air refueling because it will not modify tankers for the job.
  • (more…)