[SatNews] ...significantly increased their communications reach and improved their call-for-fire response time.
During the recent Warfigher Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 Development Test 2, a U.S. Army field artillery team found that the WIN-T Soldier Network Extension (SNE) significantly increased their communications reach and improved their call-for-fire response time. The SNE supported call-for-fire mission 'threads' during the Development Test 2 and Network Integration Evaluation 15.1 that took place in October and November at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Prior to the SNE, forward observers and fire support officers relied on legacy line-of-site (LOS) radios to transmit calls for fire and counter fire at the far-edges of a mission area. During the tests, soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment (4/27), 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, used the SNE's satellite communications capability to accomplish their mission.
In a recent story published by the Army, Capt. Sean Williams, a battery commander with the 4/27 said, "Before, we were constrained by terrestrial location systems; since this is a satellite-based system, there is much greater range to digitally call for fire and process fires missions on the battlefield."
Line-of-sight radios only work when one radio can locate another radio using line-of-sight, which makes communications very difficult when soldiers work in mountainous or remote locations. With the SNE, artillery soldiers use satellite communications to exchange information from any location within the Brigade's mission area.
"Every day, digital-savvy soldiers discover new capabilities using the SNE," said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics Mission Systems. "With recent improvements that make the SNE easier to learn and use, soldiers find creative ways to increase their mission effectiveness while improving their safety."
Updates to the SNE include reducing the steps and the time needed to power-up and power-down the system by half, making trouble-shooting tools more intuitive and streamlining the soldier's graphical interface to look more like the electronic devices they use at home. The SNE also extends the reach of the WIN-T secure communications backbone network to the company level and, for the first time, dismounted soldiers equipped with the AN/PRC-154A Rifleman radios can reach the WIN-T Increment 2 network via the AN/PRC-155 two-channel Manpack radio.
Last summer, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, discovered an innovative use of the SNE. Assigned to an observation point during the recent Afghan elections, soldiers used the SNE as a network 'hotspot.' The SNE securely connected their laptop computers, radios and other equipment to WIN-T Increment 2 for voice, chat and email communications, including distribution of situational awareness directly from their location.
WIN-T is a cornerstone communications capability achieving the Army's vision of Force 2025, a rapid-response, expeditionary global force. Using WIN-T, soldiers and mission commanders can connect with Army personnel during a mission while simultaneously communicating with officers in the command post and on up to regional headquarters using satellite communications.
More information about WIN-T, tactical radios, satellite communications and the cyber-defense products that defend the Soldier's Network is available at www.thesoldiersnetwork.com.