Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Army to Field New Radios in Wake of Pentagon Criticism | Military.com

Army to Field New Radios in Wake of Pentagon Criticism | Military.com: The U.S. Army will soon equip units from the 82nd Airborne Division with special radios designed for satellite-denied battlefields, despite a Pentagon memo criticizing the system's performance during recent field tests.

Officials plan to field the Mid-Tier Networking Vehicular Radio, or MNVR, to the 82nd's 1st Brigade Combat Team this fall and to its 3rd BCT in the spring, said Col. James P. Ross, who runs Project Manager Tactical Radios.

To Ross, the radio represents a new capability for commanders because it links company-level communications -- Soldier Radio Waveform -- to battalion- and brigade-level comms -- Wideband Networking Waveform – without the need of satellites.

Since the first Gulf War, satellites have provided combat units with tools such as Blue Force Tracker to help them communicate well beyond the capabilities of conventional terrestrial radios, allowing commanders to spread their formations out over a much wider area, Ross said.

But this reliance on satellites has left combat units vulnerable since potential adversaries, such as Russia, can now deny satellite coverage to large areas, he said.

That's where the MNVR comes in, providing "a huge data throughput at the battalion and brigade level, terrestrially, that wasn't there," Ross said.

"When they try to deny [satellite], this radio capability now provides you the only throughput you are going to have at the terrestrial level," he said.