The US Army has conducted the initial demonstration of the Harris Falcon III AN/VRC-118 mid-tier networking vehicular radio (MNVR), during the network integration evaluation (NIE) 14.2 at Fort Bliss, Texas, US.
During the event, the radios, operating the joint-tactical radio system (JTRS) and wideband networking waveform (WNW), successfully connected soldiers on the move with their command headquarters by providing wireless enterprise services, including email, tactical chat and rapid-file downloads.
Harris RF Communications Department of Defence business president George Helm said: "This successful demonstration represents a very important step for the army in fielding a critical mid-tier solution that will enhance the robustness of the tactical network.
"The performance of Harris' AN/VRC-118 MNVR solution with WNW sets the stage for a successful limited-user test ... and showcases [the] industry's ability to quickly deliver breakthrough capabilities through full and open competition in tactical radios."
Having secured a $140m MNVR contract in September 2013, Harris had supplied the radios for demonstration within six months, while the initial delivery of production units is scheduled to begin this month.
Designed to provide two channels of tactical voice and data capability, the Harris AN/VRC-118 system also operates the government-owned, open-standard soldier radio waveform (SRW).
Launched by the JTRS joint programme executive office (JPEO) in November 2011, the MNVR programme aims to acquire up to 2,500 low-cost, vehicle-mounted, software-defined radio systems to equip eight to ten army brigade combat teams (BCTs) in 2014.
Primarily designed to connect vehicular-based soldiers to the army tactical network, the programme can also extend soldier information network-tactical (WIN-T) services into the terrestrial network, offering enhanced throughput and range for communication requirements at the tactical edge.
The programme replaces the multi-billion JTRS ground-mobile radio (JTRS GMR), which was cancelled due to cost overruns and system failures in October 2011.
Image: The US Army's mid-tier networking vehicular radio programme aims to connect vehicular-based soldiers to the army tactical network. Photo: courtesy of Pfc Chris McKenna, US Army.