Army to open Rifleman Radio procurement to full and open competition
- By William Welsh
- Oct 22, 2012
The Army has issued a request for information
for the purchase of upwards of more than 80,000 additional Rifleman Radios under full and open competition that will serve as the principal networked radio for soldiers at the platoon level and below throughout the entire force.
The Army has so far committed to purchase 19,327 Rifleman Radios through low-rate initial production orders via the existing program of record with General Dynamics and Thales Communications.
The full and open competition for the opportunity to produce the additional radios is being launched in an effort to leverage commercially available technology to meet network capability needs at the tactical edge, the officials said.
The Rifleman Radio is a key component of the Army's network capability sets, which provide integrated voice and data communications spanning the entire brigade combat team formation.
The RFI posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website seeking industry feedback will help the Army finalize its requirements before issuing a full-rate production solicitation later this year, the officials said.
The Rifleman Radio, part of the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (HMS) program, is carried by platoon, squad and team-level soldiers. It furnishes voice communications, and it also can connect with external devices to transmit text messages, Global Positioning Systems locations and other data.
The Army recently made its Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW) available to operate on new industry partners' radios. SRW allows the radios to form a network that connects lower-echelon soldiers to one another and back to their leaders at the company level so they can rapidly exchange information.
The full-rate production phase will support production and fielding of the Rifleman Radio along with enhanced capabilities for future capability sets, and eventual fielding across the entire force, officials said.
William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.