Defense

October 16, 2012

Army receives go-ahead on Manpack radio production

The two-channel, software-defined Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit , or HMS Manpack will enhance current communications capabilities by allowing small units in austere environments to exchange voice and data information with their higher headquarters, without having to rely on a fixed infrastructure.

The Army has received authorization to continue production of an advanced radio that will link Soldiers at the company level and below with real-time information passed on its holistic tactical communications network.

The Department of Defense granted approval to the Army Oct. 11, to purchase 3,726 Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit, or HMS Manpack radios under a second Low Rate Initial Production, or LRIP order. Those radios will support future test events, development up to a Full Rate Production decision and potential fielding as part of Capability Set 13.

Thus far, the Army has purchased 100 of the two-channel, software-defined radios, which are designed as a “mid-tier” radio solution allowing lower-echelon soldiers carrying Rifleman Radios and Nett Warrior handheld devices to connect to the network backbone through the Soldier Radio Waveform, or SRW, and Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, SINCGARS waveforms.

“The Manpack will enhance current communications capabilities by allowing small units in austere environments to exchange voice and data information with their higher headquarters, without having to rely on a fixed infrastructure,” said Col. Russ Wygal, the Army’s project manager for tactical radios.

A Soldier uses a Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit, or HMS Rifleman Radio to communicate during the Network Integration Evaluation, NIE 12.2 in May 2012. The HMS Manpack provides a Soldier Radio Waveform-enabled “gateway” between the Rifleman Radio and the Army’s satellite communications backbone, known as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical.

The decision was based on test results from the Network Integration Evaluation, NIE 12.2, held in May-June at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., as well as a Government Developmental Test, or GDT, conducted by the Army Test and Evaluation Command, held earlier this month at the Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

The Manpack completed a key operational test in May as part of the NIE 12.2, the latest in a series of semi-annual, Soldier-driven evaluations designed to integrate and mature the Army’s tactical network. The evaluation showed that the radio significantly enhanced the mobile, ad-hoc network formed through SRW, a high bandwidth waveform that draws upon a larger part of the available spectrum compared to legacy radios in order to share mission command information. With both mounted and dismounted variants, the Manpack also provided beyond-line-of-sight connectivity through satellite communications, improving units’ ability to communicate despite obstacles such as buildings and nearby terrain.

The NIE assessment also identified areas in need of improvement, such as the performance of the radio using the SINCGARS waveform and the approach to training Soldiers who are unfamiliar with software-defined networking radios. Technical and human factor issues have since been addressed, and the fixes were evaluated as part of the GDT. The test allowed the Army to collect additional data and validate improvements to the Manpack in a focused environment.

“This test is one piece of the Army’s effort to work with the vendor and the Department of Defense to evaluate issues identified during the Network Integration Evaluation 12.2 and improve the Manpack system.” Wygal said. “There is nothing like Soldier feedback to help us improve our products.”

Ultimately, the Manpack is envisioned as a piece of the Army’s network Capability Sets – an integrated communications package that spans the entire brigade combat team formation, connecting the static tactical operations center to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted Soldier. The first such package, known as Capability Set 13, began fielding to two BCTs of the 10th Mountain Division earlier this month and will continue fielding to additional brigades through 2013.

Along with the Manpack, the HMS program includes the Rifleman Radio, which will be carried by platoon, squad and team-level soldiers for voice communications. The Rifleman Radio can also connect with the smartphone-like Nett Warrior devices carried by dismounted leaders in order to transmit text messages, GPS locations and other data. The Manpack provides an SRW-enabled “gateway” between the Rifleman Radio and the Army’s satellite communications backbone, known as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T.

“HMS radios will network small units with individual Soldiers, providing game-changing information at the lowest echelons,” Wygal said.

The Army was authorized to procure an additional 13,077 Rifleman Radios based on a July 2012 Department of Defense decision.

 




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


 
 

 
Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton

Rapid Equipping Force, PEO Soldier test targeting device at White Sands Missile Range

Army photograph by John Andrew Hamilton SFC Justin Rotti, a combat developer from the Training and Doctrine Command Fire Cell, Fires Center of Excellence, uses a developmental hand held precision targeting device during a test ...
 
 

Strategic agility is the future of the Air Force

As the Air Force prepares for new challenges and opportunities of the coming decades, it faces sobering 21st-century realities: global centers of power have become more distributed and the terrorism threat more dispersed. Most importantly, the emerging environment is demonstrating a trend that could prove to be the defining one of current times: the accelerating...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds

F-35B successfully completes wet runway, crosswind testing

Lockheed Martin photograph by Tom Reynolds F-35B aircraft BF-4, piloted by Lockheed Martin Test Pilot Dan Levin, starts down the runway as part of wet runway and crosswind testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In an important program ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox

Tyndall AFB takes F-22 pilot training to next level

Air Force photograph by MSgt. J. Wilcox Two F-22 Raptors and a T-38 Talon from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, fly together during a 43rd Fighter Squadron Basic Course training mission Oct. 7, 2013 over Florida. A sortie begin...
 
 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>