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Posts Tagged ‘Nett Warrior’

PEO Soldier – Overview of Nett Warrior

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Nett Warrior (NW) provides unprecedented situational awareness and battle command to the dismounted Soldier. Using commercial-off-the-shelf technology, Soldiers can access detailed geo-referenced maps and digitally communicate through their End User Devices. The Army is fielding NW now, giving Soldiers maximum awareness on the battlefield.

What They Meant to Say Was…

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

JTRS isn’t cancelled. JTRS is like a Hydra with tentacles into each of the services. Think of it as “Too Big to Fail.” Despite press reporting to the contrary, it just isn’t so.

“Army Kills JTRS, Goes ‘Platform Agnostic’ With Network Plan” AOL Defense
“Boeing Army Radio Program Said to Face Termination for Cost” Bloomberg Business Week

For one thing, the Joint Tactical Radio System is actually several radios, and at least one of those, the Rifleman’s Radio, works.

So, cut the authors of those stories a little slack. I too have meant one thing but said it in a way that could be construed entirely differently. Recently, I said that Nett Warrior was cancelled. This was partially true. The Army isn’t going to buy that beast that we had. Instead, they’re restructuring the program to make it more relevant. So, the Army cancelled that solicitation but they didn’t kill the program. Killing a program is actually much easier said than done due to the hoops that you have to jump through to get a program approved and funded. Never fear, the same thing will happen with JTRS. Some of the segments will be restructured allowing industry to apply Moore’s Law and deliver more at a lower cost.

And, this isn’t the first time the press has said that JTRS is cancelled. That thing is like a cockroach. It will survive us all.

Vuzix Delivers Sunlight Readable See-Through HMD Systems to the Army

Monday, October 10th, 2011

When the big, heavy, cable-laden Nett Warrior went away it took the Helmet Mounted Display along with it. But, with technologies like this new Sunlight Readable See-Through HMD from Vuzix they may remain an option in the future. Vuzix just delivered two different sets of the technology to the Army’s Natick Soldier RD&E Center (NSRDEC). Unlike previously used HMDs these are see-through. The monocular design clips on to ballistic glasses or helmets and are compatible with any device featuring a VGA or composite video out capability. They use a Liquid Crystal light shutter as a means to control the level of translucency.

According to a press release from Vuzix:

Each of Vuzix’ waveguide and quantum beamsplitter optical systems delivered to NSRDEC demonstrate various performance characteristics. The first design affords a smaller form factor, and the second, a super high brightness system achieving a display screen outputting 2400 nits for use in direct sunlight.

Soldier-Worn Power Manager

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

The unsung hero of last week’s PEO Soldier media roundtable is the SPM-611 Soldier-Worn Power Manager which allows a Soldier to harvest power from a variety of sources. Combined with the new End User Device’s decreased power requirements, the SWPM goes a long way to lighten the load.

Over at KitUp!, Matt Cox put together a piece on this new technology currently undergoing testing.

The End User Device

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Already the techno websites are making much hay of the Army’s move to a new End User Device that will, most assuredly, wipe the notion of what was Land Warrior/Nett Warrior from our collective bad memories. By removing 70% of the weight from the Soldier, the End User Device is simultaneously enhancing the capability of the system as a whole.

What has tongues wagging is that, thankfully, the Android-based systems currently being evaluated are not phones. That’s right. As PEO Soldier, BG Camille Nichols stated at yesterday’s media roundtable, they are NOT 3G devices. Instead, the Army will connect these End User Devices to the Rifleman’s Radio variant of the Joint Tactical Radio System or JTRS. It is pronounced “jitters” as in, that radio system that is still in development hell after 15 years gives me the JTRS. At any rate, the Rifleman’s Radio segment of JTRS actually works and much better than its predecessors the PRC 126, 127 or God forbid 68 (if you are old enough). Plus, it handles data pretty well which is critical for a system like this.

Why no 3G you might ask? Simple, it’s all about the infrastructure, or lack thereof. Oddly enough, we rarely fight in places with a nice, new 3G (or better) network in place. And even if it is there, the bad guys are using it so we have to knock it out in order to disrupt their Command & Control. Sure, there are new portable mobile networks being developed, but they are still just phone networks that rely on switches. A radio on the other hand does not. Radios can talk to other radios without a switch and if a redundant mobile network goes down, radios continue to Soldier on. Yes, we know that a cellphone uses a radio. Unfortunately, it requires a complex infrastructure to work. Like it or not, the Rifleman’s Radio is the key here.

This strategy can also be cheaper. If a newer End User Device is approved you aren’t stuck with that pesky contract. Instead, you just go out and buy the new one. Likewise, if we upgrade radios there’s no need to replace everything.

And then, there’s that whole accreditation issue. How do you keep the data and access to the network safe safe from the enemy? That’s the current long pole in the tent, working out the security for the device. But, we are very pleased to hear, that the Army gets it. Unfortunately, those writing about it don’t seem to.

Most of the comments flying around the interwebs about this issue are confounded about why we can’t just go buy the latest ‘Droid, let the troops upload some apps, and go kick ass. That’s because those commenting know two things about warfighting. That’s “Jack”, and you can guess the other one. What’s worse, they don’t seem to have much of a grasp on telecommunications either.

So, big points here:
Army looking at Android based tablet or handheld devices.
Army is not going 3G with the End User Device.
Mobile Devices require a network, networks don’t exist in places we tend to fight.
Consequently, radios are not going away.

Discuss amongst yourselves…

Tactical NAV 2.5 Just Released

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Rev 2.5 of the popular Tactical NAV app was recently released with increased GPS accuracy as well as the ability to turn the crosshairs off. Once iOS 5 hits, there will be another minor update.

Additionally, the brains behind the app, Army CPT Jonathan Springer informed us that he has begun to work on an Android version of the software which will include all of the functionality of the iOS app. Development will take 60-90 days due to the complexity of the code. This is huge news considering that the Army is investigating the Android platform as their answer to the Nett Warrior program. Unfortunately, the Army won’t help support the development so CPT Springer is having to fund the project out of pocket.

Regardless, both apps will be able to work together seamlessly to share waypoint as well as other data.

To get the iOS app visit iTunes.

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.