Preparations for NIE 15.2 focus on tactical vehicles
- By Mark Pomerleau
- Mar 11, 2015
Personnel at Fort Bliss inspect a newly integrated ‘golden’ vehicle.
In the next test of its tactical battlefield network, the Army will focus, among other things, on further integrating tactical vehicles into the network, a process that involves outfitting one-of-a-kind, or “golden” vehicles in preparation for the test.
Tactical vehicles at Fort Bliss, Texas are being outfitted with high tech communications solutions that will be tested at the Network Integration Evaluation 15.2 this spring. The NIE is a series of semiannual evaluations that examine and integrate the Army’s tactical network to include joint tactical radio systems. The evaluations, which include soldier feedback, have led to changes and improvements in the way in the tactical network capabilities. The NIE also has created a better process for acquisition to keep up with industry advances and modernization, the Army said.
In preparation for NIE 15.2, typical Army tactical vehicles will become prototypes. "Our triad mission is to ensure that a synchronized, integrated, and validated NIE network is established," Col. Terrece Harris said. "Our processes, which include fleet build, enables us to achieve our ultimate objective, which is ensuring that soldiers receive approved NIE equipment through the capability set fielding efforts."
An entire new fleet of vehicles is being constructed to be integrated with communications equipment. A baseline of 20 vehicles described as “golden vehicles” are first built and tested before constructing the more than 200 the Army aims to outfit. "We design and build vehicles that don't currently exist, [so] getting the golden vehicles just right is crucial to the entire NIE timeline" said John Pollard, chief of System Integration Division within CPD. "Once we begin our fleet build, there is no room for error."
In addition to outfitting vehicles with state-of-the-art equipment, the Army will also be conducting Limited User Tests at NIE 15.2 on the Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radios, or MNVR, which allow soldiers at the company level to talk and send data, images and video to the battalion and brigade levels. The MNVR provides line-of-sight communication using two high-bandwidth waveforms -- the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) and the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), according to an Army release.
Information and data collected at NIE 15.2 will be used to make adjustments to systems in the future ensuring maximum efficiency, reliability and impacting future decisions.
Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.