Tactical radio testing gets ULTRA streamlined

New facility combines three organizations, helping to ensure interoperability and integration for new systems.

The Army has combined three organizations into one facility in order to streamline testing of new tactical radio systems.

The new Unified Lab for Tactical Radios - Army (ULTRA) opened this month on the C4ISR campus at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., combining personnel and resources from Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) and Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC).

"The synergies that can exist on this campus are amazing for the Army," Brig. Gen. Daniel P. Hughes, program executive officer for C3T, said in an Army announcement. "This lab will enable a future for Army communications for our radio procurements and for the expansion and enhancement of the technology that we have in the field today."

ULTRA will perform testing, integration, capability upgrades and troubleshooting for new tactical radios, which become increasingly capable but also more complex to use, the Army said. Combining resources can streamline the process, ensuring that radios are properly maintained and integrated into the network before being sent to units in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The facility also will support acquisition of tactical radios, which will allow it review systems from multiple vendors and ensure Soldier Radio Waveform interoperability among multiple platforms.

In addition to combining three organizations into one, ULTRA will be able to share information with other network labs and integration facilities on the C4ISR campus, including the C4ISR Systems Integration Laboratory and the Tactical Systems Integration Facility, the Army said.

"We're going to leverage the investment that we made in the CSIL," said Scott Newman, ULTRA lab manager and program director for Systems Engineering and Integration of CERDEC Space & Terrestrial Communications Directorate. "We're going to work hand-in-hand to make sure this new lab is a success."

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