A Soldier moves across the battlefield, relying on his radio and a satellite connection to gather mission critical information from higher headquarters. Suddenly, the satellite connection is lost. What does he do? With a new “smart” radio that does not rely on the satellite network and finds the best route between a sender and receiver, communication can continue.
Using the Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radios, Soldiers at company level can talk and send data, images and video to battalion and brigade. The MNVR provides line of sight communication across complex terrain, using two high-bandwidth waveforms — the Wideband Networking Waveform and the Soldier Radio Waveform. Although this information can currently travel by satellite at upper echelons of the force, only the MNVR will provide ground-level connectivity that allows Soldiers to exchange data across echelons, even with restricted satellite communications.
“Before we field the MNVR, we are testing the radio extensively and working with U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command to meet their requirements,” said Col. James Ross, project manager for Tactical Radios. “TRADOC’s requirements include providing a radio that has line of sight communications, a continuous level of situational awareness and the ability to pass critical mission command information.”
A key feature of the MNVR is its ability to operate as a node in a mobile network and hop from one MNVR to another, sending large data packages, using the SRW and WNW waveforms. Both the SRW and WNW enable communication without a fixed infrastructure such as a cell tower or satellite network. WNW, however, can push much more information (approximately ten times the amount as the SRW) and over greater distances.
The MNVR is also compatible with legacy systems, such as the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, as well as the new single-channel Rifleman and dual-channel Manpack Radios. By interoperating with these radios, the MNVR provides enhanced connectivity and more rapid distribution of data, imagery and other information between forces at the company and below echelons and their higher headquarters.
Since the MNVR will be integrated into Army tactical vehicles, including Stryker, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles and the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, it ensures wireless communications and networking services for both mobile and stationery forces.
The MNVR team recently completed a Government Integration Test Over-the-Air event at the Army’s Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and a lab based GIT at the Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems Integration Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground , Md. Testers evaluated the radios using 23 different test cases to ensure the network routing is properly configured and that the SRW and WNW waveforms will operate in various situations.
The radio performed as expected during the tests, including one scenario where the radio was tested in an environment that included the Rifleman and Manpack Radios, as well as various mission command systems and no satellite network. The data from these tests will be used to make adjustments to the radio, if necessary, in advance of the MNVR Limited User Test that will be performed at the Network Integration Evaluation 15.2 in the spring.
NIE 15.2 will provide the initial data to evaluate the operational effectiveness, suitability and survivability of the MNVR radio. The LUT will determine how the system interfaces with the lower tier, as well as the upper tier of the tactical network, or Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, and also measure performance of the WNW and SRW. The Army will use information that is gathered from all of the tests, including results from NIE 15.2, for future fielding decisions.
In addition to extensively testing the MNVR capability, the Army has developed a new equipment training program to familiarize Soldiers with the new technology. The training, which will be divided into operator, maintainer and leadership modules, will consist of an overview of the MNVR system, as well as information about its network architecture, capabilities, limitations and mission threads.
The MNVR is scheduled to be fielded as part of the Army’s network Capability Set 17 in Fiscal Year 2017. A CS is an integrated communications package that spans the Brigade Combat Team formation, connecting the static tactical operations center to the commander on-the-move to the dismounted Soldier. While the currently fielded CS 13 provides communications specifically for the squad and the rifleman, CS 17 will extend communications to the company, battalion and brigade echelons; the MNVR will provide the capability for small units to communicate with their higher headquarters.
“By providing a link between the lower and upper tier of the tactical network, the MNVR increases communication throughout the Brigade Combat Team,” said Eric Goodman, product manager for MNVR. “This gives Soldiers the information they need for an advantage over enemies.”