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4 Mar 03. The U.S. Army’s Electronic Proving Grounds (EPG) recently operated and tested a network of Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) Engineering Development Model (EDM) prototype radios, during a three-week exercise at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The JTRS prototype is produced by BAE SYSTEMS Communication, Navigation, Identification, and Reconnaissance (CNIR) business unit in Wayne, New Jersey.

Army Lt. Col. David E. Lockhart, JTRS Army program manager, said, “We have seen many presentations and simulations illustrating the JTRS concept, but what happened here (at Fort Huachuca) proves that this is real and achievable.”

The exercise, part of the JTRS Step 2C project, simulated battlefield conditions in which ten systems (nodes) were deployed, then tested, to validate the network produced by the two-channel systems. The testing also included operation of the network with radios on-the-move. The exercise was the first time that JTRS technology had been formally tested in a field environment.

Testing included sending programmed scripts that simulated message traffic from a command centre to ten networked radios up to 20 kilometers from the command centre. It is noteworthy that the test radios experienced only one hardware failure in nearly 800 hours of accumulated test time. Exercises tested the systems’ ability to:
Plan, load, and monitor a network of radios using the Network Management terminal
Automatically form networks
Maintain an operating network as mobile radios (nodes) moved within the area
Accurately exchange and process data on two channels simultaneously

“This is a significant first step toward network centric warfare. We arepleased to work with the Army to clearly demonstrate the feasibility of the JTRS architecture in a field environment. The JTRS Step 2C program represents a critical risk reduction effort that supports all the Cluster programs that will follow,” said CNIR Programs Vice President Joseph McCarthy, who was on site during the testing.

Under the contract, awarded in June 2000, the systems were developed, tested and shipped to Fort Huachuca for testing that begin in November 2002.

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