The Army took another step toward deploying its next generation battlefield communications system outfitting the first five Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles set to deploy with the 10th Mountain Division to Afghanistan.
Called Capability Set 13, the Army has trumpeted the communication system that includes smartphones for squad leaders as an important step in establishing the Army's Network -- the service's top modernization priority. The 10th Mountain Division will receive the radios, laptops, mission command software and the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) satellite communications suite in October.
Army officials equipped the MRAPs with the necessary ports, radios and laptops at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, Mich. The MRAPs will be shipped to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., for testing before they arrive at Fort Drum, N.Y, with the 10th Mountain Division.
The 3rd and 4th Brigade Combat Team with the 10th Mountain Division will be the first to deploy with the next generation communications network designed to provide unprecedented levels of connectivity for infantry soldiers on the battlefield.
Engineers at TARDEC prototyped the five sets of MRAPs that will receive Capability Set 13: MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Soldier Network Extension (SNE), M-ATV Point of Presence (PoP), M-ATV Vehicular Wireless Package (VWP), M-ATV-Lite and MRAP MaxxPro Dash.
Soldiers tested Capability Set 13 during the Network Integration Evaluations at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Paul Wilson, director of Synchronized Fielding for the Army's System of Systems Integration, credited the NIE with equipping the MRAPs as quickly as they did.
“In order to quickly get these capabilities to the field, we incorporated lessons learned from the NIEs that allowed us to streamline engineering, prototyping and production build designs near simultaneously,” Wilson said in a statement.
Army acquisition officials have credited the NIE for saving the Army Network and ensuring the service could deploy Capability Set 13 in 2013.