Army, Joint Combatant Commands, Raytheon

Video – Raytheon's First Person Shooter

http://www.youtube.com/v/QfyxJvGG4Jg&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0

A (poorly recorded) video of Raytheon’s demonstration at AUSA of the company’s Counter IED trainer — a full-immersion simulation that the company has developed for squad-level training of troops in a highly realistic, 3-D environment that physically stresses them in similar ways to actual patrols.

Sorry for the quality — this was recorded on an iPod Nano.

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Army, Joint Combatant Commands, Raytheon

Video – Raytheon’s First Person Shooter

A (poorly recorded) video of Raytheon’s demonstration at AUSA of the company’s Counter IED trainer — a full-immersion simulation that the company has developed for squad-level training of troops in a highly realistic, 3-D environment that physically stresses them in similar ways to actual patrols.

Sorry for the quality — this was recorded on an iPod Nano.

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Army, Boeing, Harris

Harris says it delivers “JTRS capabilities today”–Boeing begs to differ

On Monday, I got a walkthrough of a demo by Harris Corp. of  the Falcon III AN/PRC-117G radio being used as the basis for a battlefield network — both using currently available waveforms and the yet-to-be-released Joint Tactical Radio System Wideband Networking Waveform.

In the demo, Jaime Rubscha, a product manager for the RF Communications Division of Harris, showed how intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data , voice circuits (including Voice over IP phone circuits) and video could all be piped over an IP  network, and bridged between Harris’ Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) and the JTRS WNW waveform. Additionally,  Harris demonstrated that the 117G could be connected via a satellite “hump” to INMARSAT’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) in places where line-of-site communications didn’t work (though it was clearly difficult to demonstrate BGAN connectivity from inside the Washington Convention Center).

It was all fairly impressive; handheld and laptop computers running the TIGR tactical intelligence application developed at DARPA, as well as phones, push-to-talk mics, and video feeds were connected to each of the endpoint radios, while one pair of radios acted as a bridge between ANW2 and WNW. The demonstration was Harris’ way of showing that it was already providing the types of data services that WNW and the pending JTRS program-of-record Ground Mobile Radio (GMR) from Boeing and its partners (Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems, with support from Harris Corp.) would provide, at a fraction of the projected cost.

On Tuesday morning, I was briefed by Boeing on the status of the GMR. Boeing’s Ralph Moslener, program director for JTRS GMR, said that the program had finally begun its Formal Qualification Testing, and that code for all of the waveforms has been “frozen” under configuration management (except for the Soldier Radio Waveform, which is being managed by another program of record, General Dynamics C4 System’s Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) ).

Moslener spent a good deal of time making the point that Boeing’s GMR is the only radio that will meet all of the JTRS GMR requirements — all 37,298 of them — and that the radio’s expected cost is declining, approaching $25,000 per channel per radio. He offered up a number of direct comparisons to the 117G, noting that it doesn’t have internal traffic routing and retransmission capability of the GMR, and has less frequency range and transmitting power.

When presented with Boeing’s points, Harris representatives agreed with Boeing’s assessment. The 117G doesn’t meet all of the JTRS requirements, which is why it’s available now. The 117G doesn’t have the internal routing and depends on an external router for that task, but the GMR isn’t integrated completely into a single box, and both rigs would have a similar footprint. And since Harris’ design is modular, an external amplifier could get the 117G up to the GMR’s 100-watt transmission strength.

As GMR finally approaches its own formal testing, having been used only in engineering design model (EDM) form in a few Future Combat Systems Limited User Tests (LUTs), the underlying question is whether the JTRS program-of-record radio will be cost-effective enough to be purchased in volume by the DOD. With major RESET re-equipping coming, and thousands of 117Gs already deployed, that’s not exactly guaranteed.

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Army, Boeing, Harris

Harris says it delivers "JTRS capabilities today"–Boeing begs to differ

On Monday, I got a walkthrough of a demo by Harris Corp. of  the Falcon III AN/PRC-117G radio being used as the basis for a battlefield network — both using currently available waveforms and the yet-to-be-released Joint Tactical Radio System Wideband Networking Waveform.

In the demo, Jaime Rubscha, a product manager for the RF Communications Division of Harris, showed how intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data , voice circuits (including Voice over IP phone circuits) and video could all be piped over an IP  network, and bridged between Harris’ Advanced Networking Wideband Waveform (ANW2) and the JTRS WNW waveform. Additionally,  Harris demonstrated that the 117G could be connected via a satellite “hump” to INMARSAT’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) in places where line-of-site communications didn’t work (though it was clearly difficult to demonstrate BGAN connectivity from inside the Washington Convention Center).

It was all fairly impressive; handheld and laptop computers running the TIGR tactical intelligence application developed at DARPA, as well as phones, push-to-talk mics, and video feeds were connected to each of the endpoint radios, while one pair of radios acted as a bridge between ANW2 and WNW. The demonstration was Harris’ way of showing that it was already providing the types of data services that WNW and the pending JTRS program-of-record Ground Mobile Radio (GMR) from Boeing and its partners (Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems, with support from Harris Corp.) would provide, at a fraction of the projected cost.

On Tuesday morning, I was briefed by Boeing on the status of the GMR. Boeing’s Ralph Moslener, program director for JTRS GMR, said that the program had finally begun its Formal Qualification Testing, and that code for all of the waveforms has been “frozen” under configuration management (except for the Soldier Radio Waveform, which is being managed by another program of record, General Dynamics C4 System’s Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) ).

Moslener spent a good deal of time making the point that Boeing’s GMR is the only radio that will meet all of the JTRS GMR requirements — all 37,298 of them — and that the radio’s expected cost is declining, approaching $25,000 per channel per radio. He offered up a number of direct comparisons to the 117G, noting that it doesn’t have internal traffic routing and retransmission capability of the GMR, and has less frequency range and transmitting power.

When presented with Boeing’s points, Harris representatives agreed with Boeing’s assessment. The 117G doesn’t meet all of the JTRS requirements, which is why it’s available now. The 117G doesn’t have the internal routing and depends on an external router for that task, but the GMR isn’t integrated completely into a single box, and both rigs would have a similar footprint. And since Harris’ design is modular, an external amplifier could get the 117G up to the GMR’s 100-watt transmission strength.

As GMR finally approaches its own formal testing, having been used only in engineering design model (EDM) form in a few Future Combat Systems Limited User Tests (LUTs), the underlying question is whether the JTRS program-of-record radio will be cost-effective enough to be purchased in volume by the DOD. With major RESET re-equipping coming, and thousands of 117Gs already deployed, that’s not exactly guaranteed.

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Army, Contractors & Vendors, Defense Department, tech

SecDef Gates speaks of the importance of ISR technology at AUSA

Deployable wind power demo at Oshkosh booth, AUSA

Deployable wind power demo at Oshkosh booth, AUSA

The latest technology for soldiers –and some technologies that are still at best “under development” — were on display in the cavernous expo halls of the Washington Convention Center this week at the Association of the US Army Annual Meeting. Meanwhile, Army leaders discussed the future of the service, including force structure and modernization.

Secretary of Defense Gates spoke on the first day of the conference, praising the Army’s NCOs and outlining the challenge facing the Army going forward.

“The challenge I posed to the Army two years ago was to retain the lessons learned and capabilities gained in counterinsurgency and irregular warfare,” Gates said. “From all I’ve seen, heard, and witnessed, that certainly has taken place. In fact, today’s Army bears but a passing resemblance to that of eight years ago – a force mostly designed to repeat another Desert Storm. The Army we have is a supremely adaptable and flexible force – able to deploy rapidly, operate with more autonomy, and slide along the scale of the conflict spectrum to confront very different types of threats.”

Gates cited the technological changes in the Army. “There have been tremendous advances in our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities – advances that have led to an unprecedented fusion of intelligence and ops on the ground. Other communications improvements have led to much greater command and control, and more tools to improve this further are getting out to the field. The Army has recognized that the most important part of its procurement strategy is the network as opposed to the platform. In coming years, there should be revolutionary breakthroughs in the ability of our troops to see themselves and other allied forces – even if the inevitable fog of war and resourceful enemies prevent us from ever achieving total

The Qinetiq MARS armed recon robot, at AUSA

The Qinetiq MARS armed recon robot, at AUSA

situational awareness.”

He also pointed to changes in operational concepts that have come from the field. “One of the most important is the Advise and Assist Brigade – the AAB – that has three main functions: traditional strike capabilities, advisory roles, and the enablers and command and control to support both functions. In July, I visited the first AAB deployed to Iraq. I was impressed with the ability to retool a standard brigade combat team in only a few months and with relatively small force augmentation. By the end of next year, we plan for the Iraq mission to be composed almost entirely of AABs, and the expectation is that, some time down the road, the same will be true in Afghanistan.”

Gates also said that the Army needed to institutionalize the view that advisory positions are not “second-tier jobs”. “The advisory, train, and equip mission is a key role for the Army going forward, given that America’s security will increasingly depend on our ability to build the capabilities of other nations. These capabilities are all the more necessary considering the steep human, political, and financial costs of direct U.S. military intervention.”

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