The US Army has issued a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the acquisition of additional Rifleman radios under a full and open competition approach.
Posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the RFP moves the army toward full-rate production for the Rifleman radio, a lightweight, rugged, hand-held device designed to transmit voice and data through the soldier radio waveform (SRW).
Using the full and open competition approach, the army is expected to award contracts to multiple vendors, creating a radio marketplace where vendors will compete for delivery orders after achieving technical and operational requirements.
Command, Control and Communications-Tactical Programme executive officer brigadier general Daniel Hughes said the full and open competition provides the opportunity for companies to work together to build the army network.
"The radio marketplace will support continuous innovation to deliver better radios for our soldiers," Hughes said.
Expected to be awarded to multiple vendors who meet both the technical and service requirements, the five-year base, plus a five-year option, indefinite-delivery indefinite-contract will be followed by an initial laboratory testing on each radio to determine if requirements have been met.
Those that meet the qualifications will proceed to the next phase, which includes an operational test at one of the army's network integration evaluations.
A part of the handheld, manpack and small-form fit programme, the Rifleman radio can also be linked to Nett Warrior, an Android-based, smartphone-like capability that enables soldiers to send messages, access mission-related applications and track locations with GPS technology.
Having already purchased 21,379 radios through low-rate initial production (LRIP), the army intends to purchase a total of 193,276.
Used as part of the integrated capability set 13 network package, the radios are currently supporting dismounted operations in support of the advise-and-assist mission in Afghanistan.
Image: A US soldier uses the Rifleman radio and Nett Warrior end-user device of the army's network capability Set 13 at Nangalam Base, Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class E. L. Craig, Task Force Patriot PAO.