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Geo-Location Tool Delayed on Army's New Smartphones

Nett Warrior 2Soldiers will have to wait at least two years for the new smartphones recently deployed to Afghanistan to perform a key geographic location function.

The Army's new smartphones under the Nett Warrior program are supposed to be able to track the location of the soldiers using the phones. However, the smartphones need to be connected to the Rifleman Radio in order to do so. Due to the fact the Nett Warrior program is connected to a classified system and the Rifleman Radio is not, the two systems are not currently able to link up.

The Nett Warrior program is the Army's classified handheld situational awareness and mission command system used by team leaders. The Rifleman Radio sends out the geographic location message the smartphones need in order for the Nett Warrior system to know the soldier's location.

The Army has known about the problem since 2009, according to Army release. The Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command's Communication-Electronics Center has been working on a solution since and announced Monday that it has one. Engineers developed the Tactical Army Cross Domain Information Sharing, or TACDIS, which is a chord that can connect the classified and  unclassified systems in order to link the radios to the phones.

The one catch is that the TACDIS won't be ready to field until 2015 -- and that's at the earliest. The Army sent the Nett Warrior phones with soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division to Afghanistan in October. Army officials will don't plan to test the TACDIS in a combat setting until October 2014 at the the Network Integration Evaluation in New Mexico.

Army leaders had highlighted the ability for soldiers to see on their Nett Warrior devices their exact location on the battlefield as one of the most important tools of the program. The wait for that tool will continue until 2015.

A call to the Army for further explanation on the TACDIS and the future of the Nett Warrior program was not immediately returned.

TACDIS

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