The U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command is evaluating a next-generation mobile tactical network designed to use as part of armored formations.
According to a recent Army news release, Soldiers assigned to the “Spartan Brigade,” 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, are testing and assessing three commercial On-The-Move network equipment sets during the U.S. Army’s three-week Armored Formation OTM Network Pilot at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
The Army will use the Soldier feedback and data collected to inform the Army’s Capability Set 25 network design and market research to determine currently available and maturing industry solutions for potential armored formation network integration.
The Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical is one of the U.S. Army offices that delivers the Army’s network modernization strategy. Fielders from the PEO C3T’s tactical network project office arrived at Fort Stewart in mid-November 2021 to receive the equipment by rail, inventory it and sign it over to the Spartan Brigade units executing the pilot. Engineers from General Dynamics, the industry lead integrator for the pilot, arrived in early December to begin internal network testing and network terminal and vehicle-server initialization in preparation for new equipment training.
“The new equipment training conducted prior to the event is critical to the success of the pilot,” said John Gillette, product manager for Mission Network, Project Manager Tactical Network, the PEO C3T office leading the pilot. “Soldiers received in-depth training on the diverse commercial technologies that they will be operating for each of the equipment sets and will be afforded the opportunity to provide feedback on the systems and how they interact. This feedback, used in conjunction with technical data gathered throughout the field portion of the pilot, will inform future Army design decisions for armored formation OTM capability.”
The Soldier new equipment training ran from Jan. 6 to Jan. 21 and consisted of seven different classes. The training included formal classroom instructions in the mornings leading to practical exercises with hands-on training in the afternoons.
The Army Test and Evaluation Command will operate as an independent evaluator during the pilot and will use direct Soldier feedback to develop a report to inform Army design decisions.
“There are obvious challenges integrating new and existing technologies into armored formations, but the effort is needed and necessary if we are to determine which technologies could best support the tactical commander’s ability to make accurate and timely decisions,” said Maj. Todd Klinzing-Donaldson, the top communications and network officer for the 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “Even with these challenges, the development team has done an incredible job assimilating a diverse showcase of industry technology prototypes so we can find out how these technologies could potentially improve warfighter survivability and lethality.”