Army begins development of battlefield net

The Army has begun the development and demonstration phase of its $10 billion Warfighter Information Network-Tactical project.

Last week, Michael Wynne, acting undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, gave the Army the green light to proceed beyond the concept phase of WIN-T.

The decision came the day after the Defense Acquisition Board met to review the project, said Donald L. Keller, WIN-T project director.

Through the WIN-T program, the Army plans to build a high-speed, high-capacity network for wired and wireless voice, data and video communications for soldiers on the battlefield.

'The Army had to demonstrate that the requirements are sound, that a system and operational architecture have been developed and that the program is affordable,' Keller said.

In this second phase, the service will spend 27 months working with Lockheed Martin Corp.'s mission systems group and General Dynamics Corp.'s C4 systems division. The trio will design the system, run models and simulations of the communications network, and build equipment prototypes, Keller said.

The Army has awarded $68 million to General Dynamics and $63 million to Lockheed Martin for Phase 2 work.

By 2006, the Army wants to pick one of the two vendors to begin rolling out an operational WIN-T.

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