Army releases major network RFP

WIN-T RFP page

The Army last week released its request for proposals for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) program, a tactical intranet that will use commercial technologies for wired and wireless voice, data and video communications.

WIN-T is a potential multibillion-dollar, 15-year systems integration program to develop the Army's tactical communications network for offensive combat and joint operations for the Objective Force, which will transform the Army's armored forces to make them better able to survive an all-out fight.

WIN-T will be mobile, secure and survivable and will integrate ground-, airborne- and satellite-based capabilities into a network infrastructure and will support the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS).

FCS is envisioned to create an integrated battlespace, where networked information and communications systems provide a competitive edge to soldiers in the field and commanders in the control room. Last month, the Army selected Boeing Co.'s Space and Communications group and Science Applications International Corp. for the $154 million FCS lead systems integrator contract.

The WIN-T contract has two phases and is a competitive award that will be given to up to two contractors to help maintain competition throughout development and provide the "best value," according to a March 20 presentation by Col. Thomas Cole, Army program manager for WIN-T, at a pre-solicitation conference for vendors.

Phase 1 is designed to accomplish certain activities leading up to a milestone in one year, including:

* Conducting technology readiness assessment to assist in program scheduling.

* Preparing documentation to support the milestone decision.

* Producing a technical baseline requirements document that will serve as the contractor baseline for Phase 2.

* Developing an "initial architecture."

* Initiating risk management and cost reporting processes to be used throughout the life of the program.

* Establishing a dialogue among the WIN-T contractor, the FCS lead systems integrator and other Objective Force contractors.

Phase 2 is scheduled to last 23 months and will include the system design and development phase, according to Cole's presentation. WIN-T's near-term proposed funding calls for $3 million for fiscal 2002, $20 million for fiscal 2003 — which includes completion of Phase 1 and initiation of Phase 2 — $31 million for fiscal 2004 and $21 million for fiscal 2005.

"This will be a complex systems integration challenge," said David Kelley, vice president of information operations and program executive for WIN-T for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems, one of the many companies vying for the contract. "WIN-T will provide the framework to horizontally integrate the joint battlespace, and it will give our 21st-century soldiers an overwhelming advantage of having the right information at the right time to decisively defeat the enemy."

Kelley said WIN-T also would provide mobile battle command capabilities that will enable commanders to "plug in" to the network from any location in the battlespace.

Lockheed Martin's WIN-T team includes Harris Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., ACS Defense, Integrated Solutions, SRI International and Innovative Logistics Techniques Inc.

The deadline for proposals is May 9, and the contract is scheduled to be awarded in mid-August, according to Army officials.

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