Defense

August 6, 2012

Networked vehicle production in full swing at U.S. Army Detroit Arsenal

by Katie Cain
Army News

Pictured here is the Prototype Integration Facility at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, in Warren, Mich., where the first five “super configuration” mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle prototype vehicles equipped with Capability Set 13 assets are being built. The MRAP configurations include Soldier Network Extension, Point of Presence, Vehicular Wireless Package, MaxxPro MRAP and MRAP-Lite.

Beginning in October, the U.S. Army will begin fielding the first integrated group of networked technologies – radios, sensors and associated equipment and software – that will for the first time deliver an integrated voice and data capability throughout the entire Brigade Combat Team, or BCT, formation, from the brigade commander to the dismounted soldier.

This networked package, known as Capability Set 13, or CS 13, is the Army’s tactical network baseline designed to extend the network down to the individual Soldier and significantly enhance Mission Command on the Move and soldier connectivity.

The connectivity, architecture and components of CS 13 were validated at the service’s most recent Network Integration Evaluation, NIE 12.2, conducted May-June at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., but the ongoing integration and planning work began months before.

A large part of the planning involves bringing together the Army’s Program Executive Offices, PEOs, and Program Managers, known as PMs, during the NIE/Agile Process using the Capability Set Integrated Master Schedule, or IMS, for integration, production and deployment. The IMS is the backbone of CS 13 as it serves to synchronize the network and vehicle PMs’ master schedules as they relate to integrating and fielding capability sets.

The Army’s Capability Set fielding plan supports a synchronized vehicle and network fielding strategy, prioritizes capabilities for our deployed forces and improves alignment of limited resources.

In May, the Army completed the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, or MRAP, final design review, which solidified how CS 13 assets will be integrated into that vehicle platform. MRAPs will be utilized in the first Infantry Brigade Combat Team, or BCT, formations that will be equipped with CS 13. The NIE has been vital to validating MRAP network design and architecture.

Currently, the first five “super configuration” MRAP prototype vehicles are being built at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, located in Warren, Mich. The five MRAP super configurations include Soldier Network Extension, Point of Presence Vehicular Wireless Package, MaxxPro and MRAP-Lites.

“This project is considered a level one because it’s so large,” said Marc Mroczka, project engineer for the Center for Ground Vehicle Development and Integration at TARDEC. “There are five trucks, a lot of electronics equipment, a lot of design and a lot of integration.”

Mroczka leads the CS 13 performance efforts, which include running technical meetings, following the integration activities that take place on a day-to-day basis, and bringing together the different facets within engineering groups at TARDEC, as well as the overall design.

Support personnel at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, in Warren, Mich., review vehicle blueprints for the first five “super configuration” mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle prototype vehicles equipped with Capability Set 13, or CS 13, assets. CS 13 is the first integrated group of networked technologies – radios, sensors and associated equipment and software – that will deliver an integrated voice and data capability throughout the entire Brigade Combat Team formation, from the brigade commander to the dismounted soldier.

Each BCT has 373 vehicles, and under the current construct, there are 42 combinations under the five super configurations, which allows the Army to build any combination within each configuration without altering the vehicle.

“This allows you to change what you put in a vehicle while protecting the vehicle space,” said Mroczka. “For example, if you needed to swap out a radio for a different one, it can easily be done.”

This was one of the things we learned during NIE, Mroczka explained. There is some overlap in the individual systems but it wasn’t necessary to put every CS 13 systems on every vehicle in the NIE. The main thing we had to do was figure out how to pull all those systems together afterward. That’s how we designed the super configurations, he said.

Soldier feedback out of the NIE process has been invaluable as it has led to many significant design and user interface improvements that are currently being incorporated into the final MRAP configurations.

“One of the things we learned during the IOT&E was that both the commander and the driver needed to be able to see the display screen in an MRAP,” said Jerry Tyree, System of Systems Integration lead engineer. “Based on Soldier feedback, we were able to move a screen to the back of the seat so the commander and the driver could see what was going on.”

These screens, known as Multi-Domain Atlas,’ were not part of NIE 12.2, but they will be installed on the CS 13-equipped vehicles.

In addition to changes spawning from the NIE and the ongoing MRAP integration, TARDEC is also working the design for networked Humvee platforms that will be used as training sets by continental U.S.-based units as they prepare to deploy. Roughly 30-35 TARDEC employees, plus personnel from SoSI and PM MRAP are involved with the MRAP and Humvee design/production.

“One of the most challenging aspects of this project is the rigid schedule,” said Mroczka. “We’ve never had these types of requirements and design builds due in such a short time frame and everything we do affects the other organizations involved in CS 13 vehicle production.”

The remaining prototype vehicles to be equipped with CS 13 will be built at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or SPAWAR, in Charleston, S.C., and the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas. SPAWAR will build the MRAP production assets to support the October fielding of CS 13, while Humvee training set production will be done at Red River.

Once the prototype vehicles are fully built, they’ll be shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., where they will undergo initial safety release and network verification testing. This will begin mid-August, and the last set of vehicles will be shipped mid-September.

Following this, the vehicles will be turned over to the 3rd and 4th Brigades from the 10th Mountain Division, the first two BCTs to receive CS 13, to begin New Equipment Training, Oct. 1. The units will train on the equipment until they deploy with CS 13 assets in 2013.

The Army will field CS 13 to eight BCTs, with priority going to deployed forces (three BCTs), units scheduled to deploy next (three BCT training sets), a forward-stationed brigade in Korea, and the 2nd Heavy BCT, 1st Armored Division, which was the first unit to receive CS 13 equipment during NIE 12.2.

After fielding CS 13, the Army will program to field up to six BCT sets of network equipment per year for the fiscal year 2014-2018 Program Objective Memorandum, to better synchronize its platform and network modernization efforts.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 1, 2015

News: Marine F-35 jets deemed ready for combat – A small batch of the highly anticipated – and much criticized – F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets have been approved for combat by the U.S. Marine Corps.   News: Reports: China to sell J-10 fighter to Iran, Syria? – Iran is rumored external link to be buying 150...
 
 

News Briefs August 3, 2015

Russian military helicopter crashes during air show, one dead A Russian military helicopter crashed Aug. 2 during an aerobatic display, killing one of its crewmembers and injuring another, the Defense Ministry said. The Mi-28 helicopter gunship was part of a flight of helicopters performing aerobatics at the Dubrovichi firing range in Ryazan region, about 170...
 
 
Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton

Improved Multiple Launch Rocket System tested at White Sands Missile Range

Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton A Multiple Launch Rocket System with an improved armored cab fires a training rocket during a test. The rockets were simple training rockets and not equipped with a warhead, but still gen...
 

 

Missile Defense Agency, Raytheon demonstrate SM-6’s new anti-ballistic missile defense capability

In a first-of-its-kind test, the U.S. Navy fired a Raytheon Standard Missile-6, intercepting and destroying a short-range ballistic missile target at sea. The successful U.S. Missile Defense Agency test proved a modified SM-6 can eliminate threat ballistic missiles in their final seconds of flight. “SM-6 is the only missile in the world that can do...
 
 

Northrop Grumman-developed stealthy data link validated as combat ready with U.S. Marine Corps

the U.S. Marine Corps achieving F-35B initial operating capability, the Multifunction Advanced Data Link waveform developed by Northrop Grumman has been proven a key combat-ready capability of the F-35 Lightning II program. MADL is a high-data-rate, directional communications link that allows fifth-generation aircraft to communicate and coordinate tactics covertly. During testing of the Lockhee...
 
 

Lockheed Martin technology helps pilots, UAS operators share data, stay safe

As Unmanned Aircraft Systems take to the skies, it is essential for safety that UAS operators and pilots are aware of each other. To help provide this shared situational awareness, Lockheed Martin has deployed the first components of a UAS traffic management system that is available to the UAS community now. Lockheed Martin’s online Flight...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>