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By Julian Nettlefold

03 Jul 12. BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold met up with Bill Guyan Vice President, Strategy, DRS Network Communication Solutions, to discuss the latest addition in the DRS range of tactical mission critical network systems, the DDU (Data Distribution Unit), at Eurosatory on June 14th.

“To meet the growing need for integrated platform electronic systems which can communicate seamlessly over networks, DRS developed using its own development money with software developed by DRS using added functionality form other DRS legacy systems. The DDU was trialled during NIE 12.1, 12.2and will also be there at NIE 13.1.” Guyan told the Editor.

“We established our credentials supplying advanced computer systems to our military customers world-wide, we now need to develop this expertise to include systems not modules. We feel very strong in our ability to develop these systems as we have already supplied and delivered 400,000 systems to our customers. The US Army has seen the need to modernise its inventory of computers to streamline models and types to one family the Mounted Family of Computer Systems or MFOCS. The Requirement was issued earlier last year and is now being recompeted. Three models are required a Basic tablet with a similar specification to our tablet, an Intermediate which will have a DDU half the size of our JV5 and an Advanced system which will be the same size of our JV5. We responded to the draft RFP last week and we expect the full RFP to come out in 6 months for $450,000 contract for common family of computing and display systems. We expect the usual industry players to submit bids!”

“Tell us more about the DDU.”

“We see the DDU as the central platform processor unit connecting all the sensors and communications systems to one box. The DDU uses a combination of hardware and software to enable centralized interaction with platform C4ISR, EW and weapons subsystems. The DDU is based on a modular design that uses industry standard interfaces and protocols, like VICTORY. This enables the DDU to be seamlessly integrated into current C4 platforms to aggregate disparate subsystems via a single operator interface that provides a Common Operational Picture. DRS’ integrated systems approach allows data to be disseminated across the network in near-real-time to other platform workstations, adjacent units and higher headquarters.” Guyan continued.

“How has the DDU been deployed at the NIE?”

“For NIE 12.2 we deployed the DDU as a tactical router. For NIE 13.1 it will have a number of roles. DDU is a multi-purpose, low weight, converged product which lowers the cost of systems as the budgets are no longer there to purchase 5 separate boxes. The second application is in the new potential iteration of the Mission Command On The Move (MCOTM) Ground application which was originally won by Lockheed Martin, as Mounted Battle Command on the Move (MBCOTM) and then cancelled, MCOTM also has a separate Air application. The third capability is as a Tactical Router. The fourth a computing gateway for Maingate system delivered with Raytheon as Prime with their WIPN radio. The DDU will deliver a cross-banding and bandwidth management capability giving networking capability for different radios and cell phones at secure levels.

“Does your On-Board Vehicle Power System we saw at AUSA Winter fit into the Command Post application for NIE 13.1?”

“Absolutely we had the OBVP system on a HMMV during NIE 12.1 and will be there on a HMMV at 13.1. As you know we had it mounted on a NAVISTAR MAXPRO cargo variant vehicle at AUSA. The addition of an embedded OBVP capability enables expeditionary deployments with smaller footprint, because stand-alone generators are not required. The ONVP capability also provides some important redundant power generation capability to forces that have increasing power requirements.

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