Army enters next phase of tactical network construction

The Army has awarded the low-rate initial production of its next-generation tactical communications network to General Dynamics Corp. under a contract with a ceiling of $2.8 billion.

The Army has awarded low-rate initial production of its next-generation tactical communications network to General Dynamics Corp. under a contract with a ceiling of $2.8 billion.

The Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 contract calls for General Dynamics to support 20 maneuver units through two years of initial production, the Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical said today. The contract, which was finalized with General Dynamics December, 30, 2010, also includes an option for one year of full-rate production.

The award continues production of a network designed to deliver mobile, ad-hoc communications to Army warfighters at the company level. Through the network, warfighters will be able to communicate via voice, video and data in a mobile environment.

Whereas WIN-T Increment 1 focused on delivering satellite communications capabilities to warfighters at the battalion level and above, Increment 2 extends satellite communications down to the company level.

The awarding of Increment 2 carries forward the program from its conceptual stage to a point where it will be used in a training and operational employment environment, said Brig. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, program executive officer for C3T said in a statement. “For the first time, we can evaluate this equipment in dynamic, operational conditions,” she said.

WIN-T Increment 2 will furnish the additional bandwidth to enhance Army modernization efforts, added Lt. Col. Robert Collins, WIN-T Increment 2 and 3 product manager.

The communications network, once in place, is expected to accelerate the speed at which units maneuver on the battlefield and enable commanders to adjust network priorities to suit mission needs, he said.

WIN-T Increment 2 will tie terrestrial line-of-sight communications and satellite networks together to meet the difficult communications challenges of urban warfare and also mountain fighting where units need “over-the-horizon” communications capabilities to communicate with higher echelons.

While Army officials have not established an exact fielding schedule, they do expect fielding to begin by the end of 2012.

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