Army gets a GRRIP on remote communications
- By Mark Pomerleau
- Nov 03, 2015
For soldiers, portability is critical, and the ability to easily carry communications equipment saves time, provides situational awareness and extends the mission’s range.
The Global Rapid Response Information Package, or GRRIP, is small enough to fit in the overhead bin of an airplane and gives soldiers the ability to exchange data with their headquarters. The satellite network communications kit provides secure, beyond-line-of-sight voice, video and data communications without the need for local network infrastructure, so that soldiers can communicate anytime and anywhere on the planet.
The commercial-off-the-shelf terminal is designed for small teams entering locations where the infrastructure has either been dismantled, destroyed or is non-existent. GRRIP was recently tested at Network Integration Evaluation 16.1 by the Army’s 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command in an exercise to identify communications requirements regarding potentially dangerous contaminants .
During operations, GRRIP provided access to unclassified Non-secure Internet Protocol Router and classified Secure Internet Protocol Router networks. Soldiers were able to connect an extra laptop into the system to enable them to work on both NIPR and SIPR simultaneously. They could also use the GRRIP to take and send video of the sites and potential contaminants, or conduct video teleconferences with remote subject matter experts.
"Because the GRRIP is a compact piece of equipment, it's easy to carry and mobile," said Lt. Col. Dirk Barber, chief of Nuclear Disablement Team 3, 20th CBRNE Command. "Once on the ground, we can set it up at the scene to push information in a matter of minutes, and when you're saving time, you might be saving someone's life."
GRRIP-enabled response teams sent forensic information, such as nuclear spectra data, and photos and video of potential chemical sites for outside experts to confirm targets. They were even able to pass spectra of suspected highly enriched uranium from an event site to the battalion tactical command post and the Department of Energy in near real-time during exercises.
"Whether we get to the site through air mobility or ground movement, the key is that the GRRIP will enable us to pass information back and forth as to what we find or what we suspect is going on at the site," Barber said. "By doing an analysis and passing on the information upfront, we may be able to prevent a situation from occurring or predict what type of situation we are going into before more soldiers get there."
Previously, soldiers had to travel back to tactical operations centers to use network communications capabilities to pass certain data for definitive confirmations. GRRIP eliminates the travel time, and relays the information in minutes. GRRIP also provides situational awareness to Army battalion task force headquarters and brigade command posts that was previously unavailable.
Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.