Smaller satellite terminal solution being fielded following Network Integration Evaluations

Smaller satellite terminal solution being fielded following Network Integration Evaluations

By Amy Walker   ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 12, 2013) — Taking advantage of lessons learned through several Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) cycles, the Army is fielding to its first unit a new, smaller ground satellite terminal designed to provide high-capacity, beyond-line-of-sight communications to newly digitized command posts at the company level. “One of the main goals the Army had in creating the Company Command Post (CoCP) was the reduction of size, weight, and power consumption, referred to as SWaP,” said Lt. Col. Greg Coile, product manager for Satellite Communications (PdM SATCOM), which manages the terminals. “We leveraged the NIE Process to inform a SATCOM solution that would reduce […]

Heftier unmanned ground vehicle offers more lifting, hauling strength

Heftier unmanned ground vehicle offers more lifting, hauling strength

By Robert Karlsen and Bob Van Enkenvoort   DETROIT ARSENAL, Mich. — A small car can’t pull a heavy trailer. Sports utility vehicles don’t have a compact car’s fuel efficiency. A perfect, one-size-fits-all vehicle doesn’t exist. The same goes for unmanned ground vehicles, known as UGVs. Soldiers use UGVs — such as the 40-pound PackBot or the larger, 115-pound TALON — to detect and defeat roadside bombs, gain situational awareness, detect chemical and radiological agents, and increase the standoff distance between Soldiers and potentially dangerous situations. Just as SUVs offer utility smaller cars can’t match, larger UGVs provide capabilities not available with smaller platforms. The 300-pound iRobot Warrior, developed in […]

Engineers work to better monitor missile health

Engineers work to better monitor missile health

By Evelyn Teats   REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s (RDECOM) aviation and missile center is leveraging micro-electro-mechanical systems research in a new application to detect potentially damaging vibrations encountered by missiles during handling, transport and operation. Stephen Marotta, Engineering Directorate project principal investigator, said MEMS research has been ongoing at Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center for many years and many different applications have been successfully transitioned from the lab to the Soldier in the field. In an effort to improve missile health monitoring, Marotta began collaborating with Mohan Sanghadasa, from AMRDEDC’s Weapons Development and Integration Directorate, and Stephen Horowitz, an […]

Mobile Tower System delivers life saving upgrades

Mobile Tower System delivers life saving upgrades

By Sofia Bledsoe   When Soldiers and aircraft deploy in any part of the world, air traffic control operations become one of the most important functions to ensure that all aircraft supporting military operations maintain safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic. The Mobile Tower System, or MOTS, provides the effective and reliable solution that can be deployed anywhere in the world, in any weather condition and will support both military and civilian air operations. MOTS will also network with other air control and battle-management systems, and complies with Federal Aviation Administration/International Civilian Aviation Organization regulations. The Air Traffic Control Product Office, under the Project Office for Aviation Systems, […]

Army engineers enhance EOD Soldiers’ safety with ‘batwings’

Army engineers enhance EOD Soldiers’ safety with ‘batwings’

By Daniel Lafontaine   ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — U.S. Army engineers in Afghanistan recently designed and fabricated a tool to help Soldiers investigate possible improvised explosive devices from a safer distance. Capt. Chad M. Juhlin, commander of the 53rd Ordnance Company (EOD), said his Soldiers needed an attachment for use with the iRobot 310-SUGV when searching for IEDs. The iRobot’s explosive ordnance disposal capabilities were limited, requiring Soldiers to operate close to the potential hazards. The forward deployed engineering cell from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, took on the challenge. The RDECOM Field Assistance in Science and Technology-Center developed the first iteration […]

From Smartphones to satellites: Soldiers use new network preparing for advise and assist mission

From Smartphones to satellites: Soldiers use new network preparing for advise and assist mission

By Claire Heininger   FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 22, 2013) — For Staff Sgt. Stephen Kovac, getting important information and instructions to the rest of his platoon was a struggle. He could radio back to higher headquarters and wait for the calls to filter back down, losing precious seconds during an operation. Or, he said, he could “yell and scream back to the rear, use hand and arm signals, anything possible to get it across.” That was before Kovac began training with Capability Set (CS) 13, an integrated tactical network that extends digital communications down to the lowest echelons. “Using CS 13, you can send reports and you can see […]

10th Mountain Division unit marches forward with network training

10th Mountain Division unit marches forward with network training

By Claire Heininger   FORT DRUM, N.Y. (April 8, 2013) — As the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) prepares for potential deployment with the Army’s new tactical communications network, a recent training exercise marked a key step in increasing unit proficiency and network performance, leaders said. Built around battalion operations and platoon-level live fire scenarios, the Spartan Peak event used the Capability Set (CS) 13 network to connect dismounted infantry Soldiers with the rest of the brigade more than 25 kilometers away. On the move inside tactical vehicles, leaders used voice and digital connections to exchange information and collaborate on a common operational picture as they […]

Army prepares for next Network Integration Evaluation

Army prepares for next Network Integration Evaluation

Claire Heininger, U.S. Army   FORT BLISS, TEXAS — With two units now readying for Afghanistan with the Army’s new tactical communications network, the service will continue to drive technology forward through its next Network Integration Evaluation this spring. Soldier training, vehicle integration, system check-outs and other preparations are well underway in advance of NIE 13.2, which begins in May at Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. It is the fifth in the series of semi-annual field evaluations designed to keep pace with rapid advances in communications technologies and deliver proven and integrated network capabilities to Soldiers. The NIEs are not stand-alone events, but build on previous exercises […]

First unit readies for Afghanistan with new network

First unit readies for Afghanistan with new network

Claire Heininger, U.S. Army   FORT POLK, La. — When they deploy to Afghanistan this summer to assist in the drawdown of U.S. forces, the Soldiers of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, will have a new edge. The unit will be the first to use an on-the-move communications network that stays connected over vast distances, providing information throughout the brigade down to the lowest echelons. That capability will be critical as U.S. troops work closely with the Afghan forces, take down fixed infrastructure and become increasingly mobile and dispersed in their operations, leaders said. “This is much needed in Afghanistan,” said Brig. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, deputy […]

Long-term strategic planning spurs agile consolidation

Long-term strategic planning spurs agile consolidation

Katie Cain   Army Acquisition leaders are implementing a new approach to equipment modernization—a comprehensive 30-year strategic planning process designed to harvest key lessons learned from more than a decade of war, identify current and anticipated capability gaps, recognize emerging threats and provide a detailed analysis of the service’s investments in science and technology (S&T) and material development. As part of the 30-year plan, the Army is re-assessing S&T across all portfolios to create a detailed road map of our future capabilities, linking S&T investments with Programs of Record (PORs) and long-term sustainment strategy. This approach seeks to harness near-term capability and identify emerging technologies for the future in order […]