General Dynamics to provide Joint Network Node equipment

Army officials awarded a $9.3 million contract to General Dynamics Corp. to deliver more equipment for the crucial Joint Network Node (JNN) program.

JNN consists of vehicles equipped with satellite communications as well as voice-over-IP and dynamic IP technologies and systems that connect to military networks. It will give soldiers more mobile communications than the current Mobile Subscriber Equipment-Triservices Tactical terminals, which company employees built in the 1980s, but not as much as the future Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) now in development at General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin Corp.

The contract calls for General Dynamics' C4 Systems to deliver the JNN Simulator that includes the JNN Open Rack Equipment and the KU-Band Simulator consisting of Ku-band satellite terminals, according to an Oct. 4 Defense Department statement. Army officials initiated the sole-source contract Sept. 3. General Dynamics officials must deliver the equipment by Sept. 27, 2005, according to the statement.

JNN will give soldiers more mobile battlefield communications and bandwidth, make it easier for them to talk to U.S. and coalition forces, and improve access data from military systems worldwide. Army officials learned from experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan that they need systems that transmit voice, video and data when forces operate out of sight from one another.

Army officials delivered the first JNN last month to Fort Irwin, Calif., so troops from the 3rd Infantry Division could train with it before returning to Iraq later this year, said Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle, the Army's chief information officer. He spoke last month at the Network Centric Operations 2004 conference in New Jersey.

Boutelle said they ordered JNN for the 101st Airborne Division and the 10th Mountain Division. He said Army officials would try to find or budget funds to deploy the system to the 4th Infantry Division and perhaps an Army Reserve unit.

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