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Archive for the ‘MARCORSYSCOM’ Category

Handheld Digital Targeting System Provides Fire and Air Support to Marines

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

A Marine Corps Systems Command fire support device will be one of several communication technologies demonstrated at Island Marauder 2019.

The Target Handoff System version 2.0 is a lightweight, fire control system that employs commercial off-the-shelf, shock-resistant tablets to perform various targeting functions. The man-portable technology helps ascertain global positioning coordinates and call for fire support.

It allows Marines to use a single system to control close air support as well as artillery, mortars and naval surface fire support missions.

“THSv2 is the digital fire support Program of Record for the Marine Corps,” said Jeff Nebel, Fire Support Coordination team lead at MCSC. “It is a modular equipment suite that provides the warfighter with the capability to quickly and accurately identify and locate targets, and transmit that information digitally to fire support systems or weapons platforms.”

Fielded in fiscal year 2018, THSv2 enables the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to view an updated satellite image of the topography of a location. The technology provides a platform for receiving and manipulating video information. It can also be used as a controller for unmanned and autonomous systems.

“The system decreases the probability of incorrect data transfer of the initial fire request by providing a digital communication link between the observer and fires platform,” said Nebel.

The Corps has leveraged electronic tablets—including the MAGTF Common Handheld—to support the warfighter. Like MCH, THSv2 is software embedded into a tablet. However, MCH is primarily used for situational awareness on the battlefield, while THSv2 feeds information to Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System and other fire support and weapons platforms.

THSv2 is interoperable with several other technologies, including the AN/PRC-117 radio, Naval Fire Control System and the Common Laser Range Finder-Integrated Capability. At Island Marauder 2019, Marines will demonstrate the interoperability of THSv2 with other communication systems, including Networking on the Move.

Engineers and analysts for the THSv2 emphasize its significance in completing missions on the battlefield.

“The Target Handoff System version 2.0 is important to the warfighter because it speeds up the kill chain and reduces human error by not requiring targeting information to be passed via voice,” said William Bensch, an analyst for THSv2. “Everything is done digitally.”

Since its fielding, THSv2 has received positive feedback from Marines who participated in various live-fire events and other training. Nebel hopes annual hardware and software updates will make the technology even more useful to the warfighter.

 “It’s a piece of the latest and greatest in cutting edge technology,” said Bensch. “The system is robust enough to be expanded upon. We’re looking to provide the warfighter with the best equipment to engage the enemy faster and more efficiently—and THSv2 does that.”

Story Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Photos by PFC Taylor W. Cooper

Handheld Tablet Improves Situational Awareness for Marines

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

During Island Marauder 2019, Marines will demonstrate the effectiveness of several Marine Corps Systems Command technologies—including a handheld system that helps the warfighter navigate on the battlefield.

The Marine Air-Ground Task Force Common Handheld is a tablet-based communication system that enhances situational awareness on the battlefield. The device enables dismounted Marines to leverage commercial smart devices to plot and share locations.

The device includes pre-installed tactical applications to eliminate the need to juggle multiple technologies for various capabilities, lightening the load for the warfighter.

“MCH is essentially an interactive tactical mapping program with a GPS navigation software and a chat functionality,” said Maj. Richard Beeson, MCH project officer at MCSC. “The technology feeds the battalion’s current operational picture with real-time friendly force positions and allows this battlespace awareness to be shared down to the squad-leader level.”

The tablet feeds the information into Networking On-the-Move, while simultaneously transmitting it to the Combat Operations Center, where command leaders can use the information to make critical battlefield decisions.

Through MCH, commanders can disseminate orders, graphics and digital data, providing Marines the ability to visualize the commander’s intent and scheme of maneuver.

“It helps Marines to share enemy locations in real-time in an easily understood digital, moving map format,” added Beeson.

MCH enables warfighters to pass messages to one another in real-time—similar to text messaging—allowing the commander to make faster, more effective, decisions. It also assists the warfighter in deciphering whether an explosion was caused by enemy or friendly fire.

“MCH is a Command and Control situational awareness system that gives the squad leader and platoon commander a better understanding of the battlefield to make tactical decisions,” said Justin Meidinger, an engineer for MCH. “This system helps them have a better idea of what is going on around them.”

Earlier this year, the Corps fielded an early release version of the system to Marines. In fiscal year 2020, the warfighter will receive an updated version of the MCH that allows Marines to communicate with one another through several additional joint communication systems.

Later this month at Island Marauder, Marines will demonstrate the effectiveness and interoperability of MCH by linking it with other satellite technologies. The risk-assessment evaluation is intended to reduce miscommunication among Marines who use communication technologies. Beeson raved about the benefits of MCH and how the system supports the warfighter.

“MCH allows for communication, collaboration and coordinating among units,” said Beeson. “It helps everyone to be on same page. MCH increases the digital lethality of Marine infantry squads while reducing the risk of friendly fire.”

 

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Marine Corps Awards Contract for New Night Vision Goggles

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Less than 11 months after seeking industry proposals for a new helmet-mounted night vision system, Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded a contract to provide an updated system to Marines.

Harris Corporation of Roanoke, Virginia, was awarded a maximum $249,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract Sept. 6, for the purchase of the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle system. Approximately 14,000 systems will be delivered, and the work will be completed by September 2024.

The SBNVG combines two systems: a binocular night vision device and enhanced clip-on thermal imager. It is lighter than the current Army/Navy Portable Visual Search devices, or AN/PVS-15. The SBNVG also has improved depth perception, and the ability to detect and recognize targets in extreme low light, in inclement weather and in the presence of obscurants.  

“Additionally, the use of white phosphor provides a greater capability to see at night with more clarity, giving Marines enhanced situational awareness,” said Lt. Col. Tim Hough, program manager for Infantry Weapons at MCSC.

The Corps previously used an existing Defense Logistics Agency contract to procure 1,300 systems to see how an interim solution could best meet the capability requirement.

“We made the investment to procure the 1,300 systems and fielded them to two infantry battalion, so we already had a good, robust understanding of the technology we were chasing,” said Roberto Gonzalez, team lead for Combat Optics at MCSC. “That allowed us to quickly get through the source selection process [for this contract].”  

Using full and open competition, MCSC also realized approximately $70 million in savings across the Future Years Defense Program.  

Marine infantry units will be the first to receive the new night vision goggles when fielding begins in the spring of 2020.

“Awarding this SBNVG contract and fielding these systems to the warfighter is one more step toward increasing the command and control, lethality and ability of the infantry squad to overwhelm our adversaries,” said Hough.

Story by Monique Randolph, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

U.S. Marine Corps photos by Joseph Neigh

Marine Corps Announces Winners of Elbow, Knee Pads Prize Challenge

Friday, September 6th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marine Corps Systems Command completed its second of a series of prize challenges in August, awarding cash to two businesses for their innovative ideas in creating knee and elbow pad protection for the warfighter.

The Knee and Elbow Pad Equipment Challenge called for innovators to submit ideas for replacing the Corps’ current knee and elbow padding. From May to July, MCSC received creative prototypes from various organizations—but two companies stood out from the rest.

Team G-Form, known for their padding technology for athletes, was the overall winning team, receiving $4,000. Team Viconic Defense—a Michigan-based company whose technology supports military vehicles—won the innovation prize and took home $1,000.

“We really wanted to explore the innovative market,” said Guy Callahan, the project officer for Cold Weather Clothing and Equipment in MCSC’s Infantry Combat Equipment program office. “The challenge enables new chemistry that affords a greater type of protection for knees and elbows.”

MCSC sought a padding solution to provide greater comfort and blunt-force protection that integrates into the Corps’ uniform, without compromising marksmanship, said Callahan. Based on the physical submissions received, a panel of Marines concluded that Team G-Force demonstrated the greatest overall potential for padding.

G-Form is honored to win Marine Corps Systems Command’s Knee and Elbow Pads Challenge,” said Glen Giovanucci, the company’s chief executive officer. “We pride ourselves in developing the best impact protection that is truly comfortable to wear. This recognition is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our research and development, and factory operations teams.”

Team G-Form’s mission is to provide innovative gear comfortable enough to wear and strong enough to prevent injury. The company is an active participant in the Semper Fi Fund annual event in Grass Valley, California, and will donate their $4,000 prize to this event.

Many of the innovation submissions shared similar concepts. However, the panel decided that Team Viconic Defense offered the most cutting-edge solution and blunt-force protection. The company expressed appreciation for the recognition.

“It’s an honor for Viconic to win the Innovation Prize of the U. S. Marine Corps Knee and Elbow Pad Equipping Challenge,” said J.B. Audi, vice president for Viconic Defense. “Viconic is pleased to partner with the Marine Corps in the goal of better protecting our warfighters.”

Since 2010, the federal government has conducted more than 1,000 challenges and has awarded prizes to everyone from students to small business owners, according to challenge.gov. The Prize Challenge offers to the program office a cost-effective market research vehicle to identify the current market space.

In April, MCSC awarded monetary prizes for ideas to improve the Corps’ helmet retention system.

“These challenges offer some really cool, cutting-edge concepts,” said Callahan. “We get some very creative submissions.”

The competition leveled the playing field for smaller businesses with whom the Corps does not traditionally work, said Callahan. He said prize challenges spark interest in many innovators and give them an opportunity to support the warfighter.

“That is a significant benefit of these challenges,” said Callahan. “It gets your nontraditional market players out in the open.”

The prize challenge winners demonstrated the potential to use nontraditional materials to improve comfort and impact protection. Further research and development is required to determine the best method for integrating improvements into existing knee and elbow pads.

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Marine Corps Issues Pre-Solicitation for Squad Common Optic Contract

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Back in May we told you of the Marine Corps’ desire to field a Squad Common Optic for the M27 Infantry Assault Rifle which is becoming the standard weapon for Marines in the Infantry Squad. The Marines envision the SCO as a magnified optic to improve target acquisition and probability of hit P(h) between 0-600 meters (m).  The SCO includes a non-caliber specific reticle, is variable power, and incorporates a user selectable illuminated or non-illuminated aim-point. 

Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), Portfolio Manager Ground Combat Element Systems (PfM GCES), Program Manager Infantry Weapon just released a pre-solicitation to industry, which serves as a Warning Order that they plan to open a Full and Open Competitive solicitation for the SCO on or about September 13, 2019 with proposal due date on or about October 21, 2019.

The Corps’ JLTV Achieves Initial Operational Capability

Monday, August 12th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Marine Corps’ Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is officially ready to deploy and support missions of the naval expeditionary force-in-readiness worldwide.

Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Combat Development and Integration declared the JLTV program—part of the Light Tactical Vehicle portfolio at Program Executive Officer Land Systems—reached initial operational capability, or IOC, on Aug. 2, nearly a year ahead of schedule.

Photo by Cpl Juan Bustos

“Congratulations to the combined JLTV Team for acting with a sense of urgency and reaching IOC early,” said Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James Geurts. “Changing the speed in which we deliver, combined with coming in under cost and meeting all performance requirements, is a fine example of increasing Marine Corps capabilities at the speed of relevance which enables our Marines to compete and win on the modern battlefield.”

The JLTV, a program led by the Army, will fully replace the Corps’ aging High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle fleet. The JLTV family of vehicles comes in different variants with multiple mission package configurations, all providing protected, sustained, networked mobility that balances payload, performance and protection across the full range of military operations.

Photo by Cpl Matthew Kirk

“The warfighting capabilities the JLTV provides our Marines far exceed the capabilities offered by its predecessor,” said PEO Land Systems John Garner. “I’m proud of what our team, in collaboration with the Army, has accomplished. Their commitment to supporting the warfighter delivered an exceptional vehicle, ahead of schedule, that Marines will use to dominate on the battlefield now and well into the future.”

Several elements need to be met before a program can declare IOC of a system, which encompasses more than delivery of the system itself. The program office also had to ensure all the operators were fully trained and maintenance tools and spare parts packages were ready.

“IOC is more than just saying that the schoolhouses and an infantry battalion all have their trucks,” said Eugene Morin, product manager for JLTV at PEO Land Systems. “All of the tools and parts required to support the system need to be in place, the units must have had received sufficient training and each unit commander needs to declare that he is combat-ready.”

For the JLTV, this means the program office had to fully field battle-ready vehicles to the Marine Corps schoolhouses—School of Infantry East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; School of Infantry West at Camp Pendleton, California; The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia; and the Motor Transport Maintenance Instruction Course at Camp Johnson, North Carolina—and to an infantry battalion at II Marine Expeditionary Force. The program office started delivering vehicles to the schoolhouses earlier this year and started delivering vehicles to the infantry battalion last month.

Photo by Sgt Timothy R. Smithers

On Aug. 2, Lt. Col. Neil Berry, the commanding officer for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, notified Morin and his team of the unit’s combat readiness with the JLTV. On Aug. 5, The Director, Ground Combat Element Division at CD&I notified PM LTV of its IOC achievement. The JLTV is scheduled to start fielding to I MEF and III MEF before the end of September.

According to LTV Program Manager Andrew Rodgers, during the post-acquisition Milestone C rebaseline of the JLTV schedule in January 2016, IOC was projected to occur by June 2020.  

Rodgers says that detailed program scheduling, planning and, most importantly, teamwork with stakeholders across the enterprise enabled the program office to deliver the vehicles and reach IOC ahead of schedule.

“It was definitely a team effort, and we built up a really great team,” said Rodgers. “In terms of leadership, our product managers’—both Gene Morin and his predecessor, Dave Bias—detailed focus and ability to track cost, schedule and performance was key. Neal Justis, our deputy program manager, has significant prior military experience working for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, so having him on board knowing how to work the Pentagon network was a huge force multiplier.”

Rodgers is quick to note that, although the team has reached IOC, this is really only the beginning of the JLTV’s future legacy.

“We are really at the starting line right now. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will see JLTVs in the DOD,” said Rodgers. “We’ll easily still have these assets somewhere in the DOD in the year 2100. Welcome to the start of many generations of JLTVs.”

By Ashley Calingo, PEO Land Systems Public Affairs | Marine Corps Systems Command

Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. Awarded Lightweight Body Armor Insert Contract by the United States Marine Corps Systems Command

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

POMPANO BEACH, Fla., June 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has been awarded a $215.9 million USD body armor contract by the United States Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM). The Marine Corps Low Intensity Threat Environment (LITE) body armor insert is a new small arms protective insert that is designed to improve the survivability and mobility of Marines by maximizing ballistic protection at a reduced weight.

“We are honored to be selected by the United State Marine Corps to provide this new lightweight body armor solution. Reducing Marine burden by providing innovative and lightweight armor solutions along with our high quality manufacturing capabilities is our expertise.” said Brian Kopan, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology. “Whether we are designing armor systems for vehicles or individual protection equipment, our mission is always focused on saving the life of those that protect us.”

For over 43 years, Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has been the industry’s leading innovator of advanced products and designs engineered to maximize ballistic protection. The Company has shipped millions of body armor solutions to America’s service men and women, law enforcement professionals, corrections officers, Federal agents, and other key national and international customers. Point Blank will be exhibiting the full range of armor systems at this year’s AUSA Annual Meeting and Symposium in Washington, D.C. 14-16 October 2019.

www.pointblankenterprises.com

Corps Begins Fielding Mobile Satellite Communication System

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Corps recently began fielding a next-generation narrowband satellite communication system that assists warfighters in connecting to networks on the battlefield.

Fielded in the first quarter of 2019, the Mobile User Objective System provides satellite communication capabilities to mobile or stationary Marines. The system enables the warfighter to leverage cellular technology to increase access to voice and data communication while using the MUOS network.

“MUOS is another way for warfighters to communicate in a tactical environment,” said Eddie Young, project officer of Multiband Radio II Family of Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command. “The system brings SATCOM capabilities in various formats to Marines.”

The MUOS capability encompasses updated firmware to the AN/PRC-117G radio system and one of three antenna kits. The antennas help Marines simultaneously access SATCOM networks and gives them secure and nonsecure internet access. MUOS also improves overall reliability in urban environments, challenging vegetation and other arduous conditions.

“MUOS is essentially software and an antenna capability augmenting existing hardware,” said Noah Slemp, systems engineer at MCSC. “It’s similar to adding an application to a cellphone.”

The first service to widely employ MUOS, the Corps is deploying thousands of antenna kits for the AN/PRC-117G radio system and hundreds of diplexers that enable vehicular systems to access MUOS satellites.

“The Marine Corps is leading all services in terms of getting MUOS to warfighters,” said Young.

Satellite communication has become increasingly important for the Corps in the 21st century. According to the Department of Defense, more than 50 percent of DOD satellite communication involves narrowband communication. Yet, this form of communication accounts for less than 2 percent of the DOD’s bandwidth, making it an efficient way to transmit information.

MUOS is particularly important because the SATCOM infrastructure of the legacy system is nearing its expiration, said Slemp. As a result, the Corps intends to incrementally replace the older capabilities with the MUOS waveform, enabling more Marines to access ultra-high frequency tactical satellite communications.

Prior to fielding MUOS, MCSC had to demonstrate to the Milestone Decision Authority that the system was safe, met technical performance and was ready to use by the warfighter. Since MUOS’s Field User Evaluation in 2017, Marines have raved about the benefits of the system.

“Our Marines find MUOS useful in completing their missions,” said Young. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback thus far.”

The efforts of Young’s team in getting the system out to the warfighter have not gone unnoticed. In May 2018, at a Narrowband Working Group conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Joint Staff J6 and the DOD Chief Information Officer recognized Young and Slemp for leading the services in employing MUOS.

The J6 and DOD CIO also emphasized the joint effort between the Multiband Radio II team and the Naval Information Warfare Center in using the Multiple Reconfigurable Training Systems, an interactive training aid that will be used to assist in the rapid fielding of MUOS.

“It was motivating to see that we were recognized for our efforts, because the team had put in a considerable amount of time and effort to make this happen,” said Young. “We recognize the warfighter needs this capability, and we’ve done everything we can to get it to them in a timely manner.”

Story by Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Photos by LCpl Jason Monty, LCpl Tawanya Norwood & Eddie Young.