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.


 
 

 

Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India¬†– French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year¬†– In line with the Pentagon’s...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 

 

Hurricane Hunters to fly Tropical Storm Erika

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters are operating out of Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla., flying their state-of-the-art WC-130J Super Hercules into Tropical Storm Erika in support of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew four missions into the tropical storm from their deployed location at St. Croix in the...
 
 
LM-MUOS

U.S. Navy, Lockheed Martin ready to launch MUOS-4 Aug. 31

The U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin are ready to launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System secure communications satellite, MUOS-4, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Aug. 31 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V...
 
 

Pentagon probing alleged distorting of war intelligence

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating an allegation that the military command overseeing the anti-Islamic State campaign distorted or altered intelligence assessments to exaggerate progress against the militant group, a defense official said Aug. 26. The official was not authorized to discuss the probe publicly and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The investigation was...
 




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>