The U.S. Army has announced that the network integration of the first five Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) prototype vehicles equipped with Capability Set 13 (CS 13) is complete and the vehicles have shipped from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), located in Warren, Mich., to Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Md., where they will undergo safety release testing.
The CS 13 architecture was refined during the semi-annual Network Integration Evaluations held at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico and validated during the most recent event, designated NIE 12.2.
CS 13, validated as part of the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIEs), is the Army’s first fully-integrated package of radios, satellite systems, software applications, smartphone-like devices and other network components that provides integrated connectivity from the static Tactical Operations Center to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted soldier, and will begin fielding in October 2012 to two Brigade Combat Teams in the 10th Mountain Division.
A total of eight brigades are projected to receive the CS 13 package, although the exact radio hardware elements will likely differ between the initially fielded brigades and those that will receive their equipment later in the fiscal year.
In an Aug. 28, 2012 press announcement, Army representatives credited TARDEC, with support from the Red River Army Depot, Program Manager MRAP, the Communication and Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) and the System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate, with completing the design, integration and production of the five prototype vehicles in a mere six months – reducing the normal prototyping timeline by six to eight months in order to meet the aggressive schedule the Army set for CS 13 fielding.
It identifies the five “super configuration” MRAP configurations prototyped at TARDEC as:
- MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) Soldier Network Extension (SNE);
- M-ATV Point of Presence (PoP);
- M-ATV Vehicular Wireless Package (VWP);
- M-ATV-Lite, and;
- MRAP MaxxPro Dash.
All of the vehicles are equipped with the latest Army tactical radios, mission command software and the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) satellite communications suite. These vehicles will provide soldiers and commanders with mobile networking, or mission command on the move, allowing them to take valuable network capability with them as they maneuver around the battlefield.
The remaining MRAP production assets to support the October fielding of CS 13 are currently being integrated and produced at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in Charleston, S.C., with some being shipped to APG throughout August and September for additional safety release/network verification testing prior to arriving at 10th Mountain Division in October.