ST. LOUIS, Aug. 12, 2010 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced positive results from the recently completed Technical Tests for Increment 1 of the Brigade Combat Team Modernization (BCTM) program.
"The results demonstrate substantial improvement across the board in terms of system performance, usability, and most importantly, reliability," said Paul Geery, Boeing vice president and BCTM program manager. "As a result of an aggressive, ongoing risk reduction effort, we were able to meet or exceed test requirements in numerous areas. We will now focus our efforts on the Limited User Test and delivering the best possible product to the U.S. Army."
The month-long tests, which ended in early July, involved Army engineers, Boeing, SAIC [NYSE: SAI], industry partners and Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF) soldiers at the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), N.M. The tests were conducted in an operationally-relevant environment -- seven times larger than previous tests -- that simulated conditions in Afghanistan, where the capabilities are scheduled to be initially fielded in 2012. All test activities were completed 10 days early, while still exceeding the required number of test hours.
Since the end of the 2009 testing cycle, the program has implemented more than 160 hardware and software improvements, including 86 design changes, as part of its design-for-reliability efforts.
The Increment 1 capabilities that were evaluated included the Network Integration Kits (NIKs), Tactical and Urban Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS), the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) and the Class 1 Unmanned Air Vehicle (CL 1 UAV).
The NIKs demonstrated significantly improved performance during the Technical Tests. Composed of the Integrated Computer System and the Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radios and powered by the most current battle command software, the NIKs integrate and fuse sensor data to form the common operational picture from the solider up through brigade level.
Fielded on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that formed a network greater than 900 square kilometers and utilizing the most recent versions of the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), the test demonstrated NIK-to-NIK communications using WNW at ranges exceeding 28 kilometers as well as on the move. The SRW also exceeded the threshold requirement for both connection and transmission distance. The NIKs also demonstrated improved reliability, with a number of upgrades identified so that the system can meet the LUT requirements.
The Technical Tests also generated strong improvements in sensor image transfer time and quality, as well as connection time and distance to the NIKs. For example, the Tactical-UGS exceeded the image transfer time objective for the test while the Urban-UGS exceeded both the connection time and distance requirements to the NIKs. The SUGV exceeded the image transfer requirement for the test. It also increased the distance it can recognize personnel in daylight by almost 700 percent and met the distance recognition requirement at twilight. The CL I UAV completed 250 successful flights without a hard landing, while exceeding the test’s image transfer requirement and meeting the requirement for operating distance from the NIK.
BCTM Increment 1 capabilities also took part in the Army Brigade Combat Team Integration Exercise (BCT IE) conducted July 12-16 at WSMR. The exercise demonstrated the integrated network’s ability to function with the Army’s current force systems and the future force represented by the BCTM program. Soldiers from the AETF executed several vignettes using all Increment 1 capabilities, demonstrating the importance of the NIK to the Army’s tactical network strategy.
In addition to the Technical Tests and the BCT IE, the Boeing-led industry team held a System of Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE) demonstration at Boeing’s Huntington Beach, Calif., facility the week of June 21. SOSCOE is the tactical middleware, or software that connects command and control systems to services, legacy systems and operating system software. It forms the backbone that helps the NIKs connect to the different sensor platforms, including current force capabilities and Increment 1 systems. The demonstration also featured a SOSCOE-enabled smartphone that demonstrated an initial capability to extend network capabilities to dismounted soldiers. A team of West Point cadets working at Boeing on summer assignment developed two applications for the demonstration after receiving a brief SOSCOE tutorial.
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