General Dynamics apologizes for remarks on Army radio testing, says general

General Dynamics has apologized in written correspondence to the Army for remarks that seemed to criticize how the service handled testing of the company's troubled Manpack radio, a top Army official said Oct. 23.

General Dynamics C4 Systems President Christopher Marzilli wrote a recent letter to the service to offer his apologies for remarks he made on the testing process, MG Genaro Dellarocco, commanding general of the Army Test and Evaluation Command, said during a briefing with reporters at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. In the letter, Marzilli said his remarks were taken out of context.

Dellarocco, who had a copy of the letter in hand, said Marzilli conceded there had been key problems with Manpack radio and that the letter was intended as an apology.

The Army had tested the General Dynamics-built Manpack radio and the smaller Rifleman radio at its Network Integration Evaluation at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., and found problems with the system. Those problems led the Defense Department's independent Director of Test and Evaluation to brand the Manpack radio unsuitable for use.

Dellarocco vigorously defended the NIE process, citing multiple benefits of the approach. "White Sands provides a good operational environment. We see integration problems that we hadn't seen before...we're shaking out the systems stateside, not on the battlefield." Such an approach, he said, will save soldiers' lives.

Dellarocco said that General Dynamics is currently making adjustments to the Manpack radio that will improve its performance and make it work as intended.

The Army announced Oct. 22 that it intends to conduct a full and open competition for full-rate production of the Rifleman radio to all interested bidders. General Dynamics and Thales hold contracts for low-rate initial production of the radio.

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