Friday, January 11, 2013

US Army to Evaluate Tactical Routers for Combat Vehicles

The U.S. Army, through the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate, plans to evaluate the use of tactical routers on vehicles. Such routers will enable multiple users and systems on board and nearby combat vehicles to access vehicular networks and distributed IP based services while maintaining high level of security. The systems will be tested as part of the upcoming Network Integration Experiment (NIE 14.1) scheduled for October 2013 at Fort Bliss, Texas and White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

This marks the first RFP to support the NIE events. The Army has defined the tactical vehicular router as a capability gaps. SoSI also relies on Sources Sought notifications to target vendor solutions for broad capability gaps. “By executing two NIEs per year, the Army will conduct the first evaluation to assess broad industry capability gap solutions, and then use feedback to validate and refine requirements prior to additional targeted gap industry solicitation for participation in the second NIE,” said Colonel Robert Carpenter, director SoSI.

The RFP will result in a NIE support contract award. After supporting the initial NIE cycle, the RFP is designed to allow Army Program Managers, through an Indefinite Delivery-Indefinite Quantity (ID-IQ) arrangement, to have opportunities to acquire additional capability, for both product and technical support from the supplier.

Industry who respond to the RFP will provide Vehicle Tactical Routers and engineering/field service support for laboratory network integration and Laboratory Based Risk Reduction for the NIE activity. The RFP is anticipated to be a multiple (ID-IQ) task order contract with a base order with potential for future orders for production and related support.
In addition to this specific RFP, the Army plans to issue a broad Sources Sought notice in early January 2013 to supplement NIE 14.1 assessments of: Brigade and Battalion Command Post Mobility, Operational Energy, Integrated Trouble Ticketing, Small Unit In-garrison Training, Aerial Layer Network Extension, Air Ground Network Architecture and Enterprise Wide Trouble Ticket Improvements

“NIE 14.1 will allow the Army to assess these broad gaps, and then provide lessons learned to target requirements as we enter NIE 14.2, which is planned to be the first Joint Service NIE construct,” said Carpenter.

The Army is seeking only those solutions that address the specific identified gap, that are at the representative model or prototype system stage and that have been tested in a relevant environment.

The semi-annual NIE is helping shape “agile” capability integration by assessing soldier provided and technical operational test data to influence not only how the Army procures capability, but also how integrated network capability requirements are validated and refined. NIEs also shape the ways the Army will field, train, sustain and continuously improve capability acquisition and life cycle management and provide a relevant operational test environment to meet mandatory Program of Record test requirements. Previous NIEs and laboratory assessments have helped inform requirements for this Request for Proposal release.

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