Defense

April 4, 2014

Suitcase-sized capability keeps coalition network running during retrograde

As depicted here with night vision goggles, the Global Rapid Response Information Package provides network communications and access to mission command applications, as well as supporting calls-for-fire and MedEvac requests. These terminals provide secure and non-secure communications to forces operating in austere and demanding environments such as embedded training teams and other small units that do not have access to the network equipment and infrastructure of established forward operating bases.

As U.S. and coalition forces draw down in Afghanistan and take most of their communications infrastructure with them, a new capability the size of a suitcase will enable soldiers to connect to the coalition network from anywhere on the planet.

Fitting into a single handheld transit case for rapid mobility, this satellite network communications kit, known as the Global Rapid Response Information Package, or GRRIP, provides secure, beyond-line-of-sight voice, video and data communications without the need for local network infrastructure.

“Lessons learned from the drawdown in Iraq taught us that as networks get disassembled, mistakes can happen; things can go down when you weren’t expecting them to,” said Lt. Col. Leonard Newman, product manager for the Army’s Product Manager Satellite Communications, or PdM SATCOM, which is assigned to Project Manager WIN-T. “This solution has the potential to solve many of those problems and increase the expeditionary nature of the Army for future missions in remote areas or involving coalition forces.”

The Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System, or CENTRIXS – International Security Assistance Force network, or CX-I, is the U.S. branch of the coalition network used in Operation Enduring Freedom. To support operations during the drawdown of forces in this region, a new CX-I enclave located at the WIN-T Satellite Network Operations Center at Fort Dix, N.J., went live in late March, ensuring frontline troops can access the coalition network anytime, anywhere utilizing the GRRIP.

The Global Rapid Response Information Package is designed for small teams entering locations where the infrastructure has either been dismantled, destroyed or hasn’t been built up yet, and is perfect for first responder communications.

Previous to this effort, the CX-I network gateway and terminals in Afghanistan were provided by a private contractor, but that contract is due to end shortly and the company’s infrastructure is being taken down. The Army’s new CX-I enclave will ensure operations continue in Afghanistan without skipping a beat. Utilizing GRRIPs, Soldiers can now draw coalition network services over satellite transport from the CX-I enclave at the Fort Dix SNOC, instead of the contractor facilities in Afghanistan. Not only does this solution provide continuity of operations, but it is expected to save approximately $900,000 a year by consolidating the Afghanistan Network Operations Center and all of the associated services into the WIN-T SNOC, leveraging the existing network and services.

The PdM SATCOM team completed this intensive effort in four months, from the time it received funding, to the full approved operation of the new CX-I enclave at the SNOC. This included the testing, configuration and fielding of all the GRRIP “kits.”

“Afghanistan could shut down completely and with the GRRIP kit, users will still be able to connect to the coalition network and operations can continue seamlessly,” said Jim Sawall, PdM SATCOM’s assistant PdM for the Commercial Satellite Terminal Program and GRRIP project lead.

GRRIPs are small enough to fit in the overhead bin of an airplane, and can be set up and on the air in less than five minutes. They provide network communications and access to mission command applications, as well as supporting calls-for-fire and MedEvac requests. They provide secure and non-secure communications to forces operating in austere and demanding environments such as embedded training teams and other small units that do not have access to the network equipment and infrastructure of established forward operating bases. This commercial-off-the-shelf terminal is designed for small teams entering locations where the infrastructure has either been dismantled, destroyed or hasn’t been built up yet, and is perfect for first responder communications.

Fitting into a single handheld transit case for rapid mobility, this satellite network communications kit known as the Global Rapid Response Information Package, provides secure, beyond-line-of-sight voice, video and data communications without the need for local network infrastructure.

“When you’re working in a coalition environment, which we are in Afghanistan, you need communications to be up and running to coordinate command and control operations,” Sawall said. “From a wartime risk mitigation perspective, GRRIP will keep operations going even if the network infrastructure in remote areas has been destroyed.”

This version of GRRIP is designed to enable small teams to gain access to CX-I. From a broader scope both WIN-T Increment 1, the Army’s at-the-halt tactical communications network backbone, and WIN-T Increment 2, which provides advanced network services on-the-move, have assets in Afghanistan that are connected to CX-I. As U.S. forces draw down, these WIN-T network assets will return to the U.S. Other capabilities managed by PdM SATCOM along with the GRRIP will help fill that network gap, such as Secure Internet Protocol Router/Non-secure Internet Protocol Access Pointm ground satellite terminals, which are used at the company echelon and small combat outposts; and Deployable Ku-band Earth Terminals, which support larger hub locations for long haul transport both intra- and inter-theater. Together with the GRRIP, these capabilities will pick up the remaining load and help support enduring forces as WIN-T assets are returned to the states, said Pat DeGroodt, deputy product manager for PdM WIN-T Increment 2.

If needed, depending upon mission requirements, GRIPPs can also be reconfigured for use on SIPR, NIPR or CX–Korea networks. Whichever configuration is utilized, GRRIP capabilities fall in line with the Army priorities to provide a rapidly deployable, expeditionary and capable force. This solution provides critical communication anywhere in the world in less than five minutes with absolutely no reconfiguration required

“GRRIP allows you to keep that connection wherever you go,” Newman said. “You don’t need an infrastructure; you don’t need a building; as long as you have this kit with you, you have connection to CENTRIX-I.”




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


 
 

 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




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>