Army's WIN-T hits milestone

Defense Department officials this week gave the nod for the next step in developing an ambitious system for high-speed communications on the battlefield.

Following a July 30 meeting of the Defense Acquisition Board, Michael Wynne, acting undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, approved the system development and demonstration phase "valued at more than $130 million" for the Army's multibillion-dollar Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T).

General Dynamics Corp. will get $68 million, and Lockheed Martin Corp. will receive $63 million, according to Army officials at Communications-Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, N.J. The command is the contracting office for the Warfighter network.

Wynne also designated the program as an Acquisition Category 1D major defense acquisition based on its total value of more than $10 billion. Getting a 1D classification means defense officials will keep closer tabs on the Warfighter network because of its importance to the department's broader plans to remake itself into a modern, technically-savvy organization.

The network is meant to provide high-speed communications and real-time voice, video and data services to soldiers in battle. It will complement the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS), the cornerstone of the service's transformation effort. FCS — which entered its own nearly-$15 billion development and demonstration in May — ties together 19 systems using advanced communications and technologies to link soldiers with air and ground platforms and sensors.

In August 2002, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and General Dynamics Corp.'s C4 Systems were awarded the first projects in contracts worth more than $70 million to define and test the technology at the core of the Warfighter network.

The contracts announced this week are the second part of the three-year, down-select contracts for developing the tactical network. In the first phase, which lasted one year, the teams defined system architecture, focusing on risk management, tech readiness and coordination with related systems. Now the teams will spend the next 23 months on modeling and simulation of the network, and developing a prototype for Army testing.

A production contract award is expected in 2005.

Lockheed Martin is the lead systems integrator for Team WIN-T, which includes Harris Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., ACS Defense Inc., SRI International, CACI Inc., Innovative Logistics Techniques Inc. and Integrated Solutions, Inc.

The General Dynamics team includes some of its own subsidiaries, as well as BAE Systems, BBN Technologies, DynCorp, Northrop Grumman Corp. Information Technology, Rockwell Collins Inc., Research Triangle Institute, Veridian Corp. and others.

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