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Breaking News – Nett Warrior Purchase Cancelled

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Nett Warrior was the Army’s latest, in a long line of digitization efforts designed to increase the situational awareness of the Soldiers. But, earlier today we received reports that Nett Warrior, the culmination of over 20 years of development and testing, has been cancelled in favor of a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) based handheld device combined with a Soldier radio. Numerous reports have recently mentioned experiments using the Android operating system on board the Joint Battle Command-Platform, developed by MITRE Corp. Apparently, they’ve paid off. Look for an RFQ on this piece soon.

This decision will come as a blow to three major defense contractors who have not traditionally participated in the Soldier Systems industry: Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. All three were contenders for the production version of Nett Warrior and all three invested a great deal of capital in preparing for this program. What’s just as bad are the countless small business vendors who had partnered with these companies who will have to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks.

One question comes to mind. Is this the first casualty of the new defense budget environment or a preemptive move by new PEO Soldier BG Camille M. Nichols to cut some chaff and protect the rest of her portfolio of programs from the budget axe?

While it’s not really all that surprising from an operational standpoint that Nett Warrior was cancelled, there has been a great deal of Congressional interest in the concept as it has transitioned from one program to the next over the past 20 years beginning with Land Warrior. You can go back a few more if you include SIPE (Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble). It will be interesting to see if Congress once again breathes life into this program considering the number of jobs it represents.