TSM update

TSM-Tactical Radio

Enhanced Position-Location Reporting System

The Enhanced Position-Location Reporting System is completely fielded to 3d Battalion, 2d Infantry Division (Initial Brigade Combat Team 1), 4th Infantry Division(-) and elements of 3d Infantry Division. This year EPLRS will complete fielding to 1st Battalion, 25th Infantry Division (IBCT Team 2), and 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment. It will also continue fielding in 1st Cavalry Division, which will complete in Fiscal Year 2003.

While fielding continues, so do system improvements. Two major improvements will be featured in the EPLRS systems for fielding in FY03. First, the EPLRS radio-set capacity will grow from 57 kilobits per second to 288 kbps. Second, the EPLRS network-control station will be replaced by the EPLRS network manager.

The 288-kbps EPLRS radio will provide greater bandwidth and, equally important, greater flexibility of bandwidth allocations. The 288-kbps EPLRS radio provides the capacity that a division with three maneuver brigades needs to support its lower-tactical-Internet data requirements. The 288-kpbs EPLRS radio will also allow more Army Battle Command System users to participate on the lower TI.

Production of the 288-kbps EPLRS radio set will begin this summer. All fielding thereafter will be satisfied with 288-kbps-capable radios. EPLRS radios fielded before the production cutover will have to be retrofitted for 288-kbps capacity.

FY03 will also mark the initial replacement of NCS-E with ENM. ENM will better support the warfighter and the Army’s transformation initiatives by providing a control system that requires fewer operators and having a smaller footprint than NCS-E. For example, a heavy division currently requires 28 NCS-E operators (seven crews of four soldiers each), while ENM will require 15 operators (five crews of three soldiers each). Each management node will be reduced from a shelter-mounted humvee and support humvee to one humvee with trailer. Also, ENM will reduce the number of required nodes in a division from seven to five.

All these enhancements are necessary to support the growing lower-TI requirements, which support systems such as Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below, Maneuver-Control System, Advanced Field-Artillery Tactical-Data System, Forward-Area Air-Defense System, All-Source Analysis System and Combat-Service-Support Control System.

Multifunctional Information-Distribution System

The Multifunctional Information-Distribution System Low-Volume Terminal II successfully completed a validation test of the Core software Dec. 3-7, 2001, at the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command software-engineering directorate in Huntsville, Ala. The test used two MIDS LVT-2 engineering-manufacturing-development terminals previously provided at AMCOM.

Full-Volume Terminal II has also been scheduled for testing in AMCOM for more verification after the low-rate initial-production terminals are delivered in February or March. MIDS terminals will also undergo supplemental testing for reliability before the initial operational test and evaluation, scheduled to be held during the Joint Combat Identification Evaluation Team test in April.

MIDS’ essential mission is to improve secure, jam-resistant information flow and interoperability among Army, Navy, Air Force and North Atlantic Treaty Organization elements as well as Army elements on the battlefield. The Army’s MIDS variant, LVT-2, features near-real-time, high digital data-throughput communications, position-location reporting, navigation and identification. MIDS will be assigned to division, corps, echelons above corps and air- and missile-defense units conducting Army operations across the operational spectrum.

Near-term digital radio, Joint Tactical Radio System

Near-term digital radio and the Joint Tactical Radio System Step 2C are interim radios designed to provide tactical-operations center-to-TOC data communications to units at brigade and below. The first digitized division (4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas) has been equipped with NTDR. Based on an operational-needs statement generated by Forces Command, the Army has initiated an action to allow procurement of 248 more NTDRs, which will facilitate a “pure fleet” of NTDRs to III Corps. This procurement will ensure interoperability within the corps.

Fielding NTDRs to 1st Cavalry Division started in January and will keep pace with the unit-set-fielding schedule planned for 1st Cav’s brigade combat teams. JTRS Step 2C will be fielded to select BCTs at Fort Lewis, Wash. Although NTDR has been fielded to some BCTs at Fort Lewis, plans are to retrofit these units with the JTRS Step 2C radio. Availability of JTRS Step 2C for fielding is planned for 4th Quarter FY02.

The first block procurement of the JTRS program will undergo Milestone B decision review by the defense acquisition executive during 2d Quarter FY02, followed by the contract award. The first block will satisfy Army-aviation recapitalization and digitization efforts as well as ground-vehicle requirements for all services.

In the operational environment, JTRS operators will load and execute software modules that fit various mission needs to provide interoperability among tactical-radio networks. This capability will enable connectivity for interoperability among our warfighter systems regardless of geography, organizational affiliation, tactical boundaries or currency of the fielded radio systems. Using a standard design for tactical radios, the JTRS concept is a great qualitative leap forward in attaining interoperability across joint forces while simultaneously working to modernize the tactical-radio architecture. JTRS also promises to reduce the logistical burden in future operations.

Acronym QuickScan
AMCOM – Aviation and Missile Command
BCT – brigade combat team
ENM – E(nhanced Position-Location Reporting System) network manager
EPLRS – Enhanced Position-Location Reporting System
FY – fiscal year
IBCT – initial brigade combat team
JTRS – Joint Tactical Radio System
Kbps – kilobits per second
MIDS – Multifunctional Information-Distribution System
NCS-E – network-control station E(nhanced Position-Location Reporting System)
NTDR – near-term digital radio
TI – tactical Internet
TOC – tactical-operations center

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