Army WIN-T program enters Phase 2

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

Michael Wynne, acting undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, has given the Army approval to proceed beyond the concept phase of WIN-T.

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

Wynne also gave the program the Defense Department's top acquisition designation, which means that because the program's total procurement is more than $10 billion, DOD 'will maintain a higher level of visibility into WIN-T, which is an essential element of the department's transformation strategy,' Wynne said.

The decision came the day after the Defense Acquisition Board met to review the project, said Donald L. Keller, WIN-T project director. The Army Communications-Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, N.J., oversees the project.

Through the WIN-T program, the Army plans to build a high-speed, high-capacity network for wired and wireless voice, data, video and imagery 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. That's what consumed much of the first phase, he said'developing the system architecture, performing technology assessments and running cost estimates.

In this second phase, the service will spend 27 months working with Lockheed Martin's mission systems group and General Dynamics' command, control, computers and communications systems division.

The contractors will work with the Army to design the system, run models and simulations of the communications network, and build equipment prototypes, Keller said.

Selection by 2006

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

The network will replace the Tri-service Tactical Communications system, which is based on military technology from the 1970s. Signal battalions are required to use the system for most communications functions.

The new system will use commercial products and standards so that new technology can be incorporated as soon as it becomes available. The network will be part of the user's platform and not dependent on the Signal Corps to provide the communications link.

WIN-T will require interfaces with other Defense combat systems as well as the Army's Future Combat Systems, Joint Tactical Radio System and ultimately the equipment for the Objective Force Warrior, the Army's high-tech vision for 21st-century combat forces.


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