The Army has received approval to continue with further limited additional production and fielding of its mobile tactical communications network backbone, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, or WIN-T, Increment 2.
The Army remains on track to field Capability Set 14 to brigade combat teams, known as BCTs, and will continue developing follow-on capability sets in support of its network modernization strategy, officials said.
As the centerpiece of CS 13, the Army’s advanced, integrated package of tactical communications equipment that was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this summer, WIN-T Increment 2 is supporting operations by the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, across vast distance and challenging terrain.
From inside their WIN-T Increment 2-equipped vehicles, soldiers and commanders can now provide and receive real-time situational awareness using on-board mission command systems, Secure Voice over Internet Protocol calls, chat and other collaborative enterprise capabilities. Units can exchange critical information and send and receive mission orders anywhere on the battlefield.
“The ability to access these capabilities has greatly increased situational awareness and coordination, while decreasing the ‘time’ load on leaders as they can file reports while en route, vice having to wait until they return to base,” said Col. Mario Diaz, commander of the 4th BCT, 10th Mountain Division. “Capability Set 13 and the PoPs [WIN-T Increment 2 Point of Presence vehicles] are game changers.”
The 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division, will also be deploying with WIN-T Increment 2 and CS 13 capabilities this year. Meanwhile, two more BCTs from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), are conducting fielding and training operations with CS 13 and WIN-T Increment 2.
WIN-T Increment 2 provides Soldiers with high-speed, high-capacity voice, data and video communications down to the company level for the first time. It provides major enhancements over the previous WIN-T Increment 1, which began fielding in 2004.
Within the last two years, the Army executed two large-scale operational tests for WIN-T Increment 2. During the most recent test in 2013, the program demonstrated significant improvements over 2012, meeting the vast majority of its requirements, officials said.
At the same time that it fields to CS 14 units, the Army will continue to coordinate with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the test community to address remaining issues and simplify the system.
“WIN-T Increment 2 brings mobility to the tactical network backbone for the first time and provides mission command on the move,” said Col. Ed Swanson, project manager for WIN-T. “By continually improving WIN-T Increment 2 throughout its lifecycle, we will provide Soldiers with the best capabilities available.”