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18 Jun 15. Athena Mechanism joins EU SatCom market. Athena Administrator Hans-Werner Grenzhäuser signed the declaration to join the EU SatCom Market, an ad hoc project of the European Defence Agency. Speaking about the cooperation, Hans-Werner Grenzhäuser said: “As part of the ongoing efforts to improve the procurement process of the different operations, I am convinced that Athena will benefit from its participation in this already existing mechanism with several other EU Member States being able to pool the purchase of satellite communications and related services through the European Defence Agency.” EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq added: “With Athena now part of the EU SatCom Market project, CSDP military operations will benefit from an easier procurement process thanks to the framework already in place, instead of using ad hoc outsourcing. The foreseen additional use of this pooled procurement initiative will increase the pooling and sharing effect, while making the project more attractive to the service providers.” Within the EU SatCom Market project, EDA acts as the central purchasing body on behalf of the contributing members. It purchases the services from a commercial provider. Airbus Defence & Space holds the current contract. Since May 2013, more than 20 orders have been placed for a total value of almost €4m. So far, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and the United Kingdom are part of the EU SatCom Market. The project uses a ‘pay-per-use’ model, so members do not have to contribute with a regular fee, instead they only pay for what they order. Under the arrangement with Athena all present and future EU-led military operations will be able to draw this option to cover their SatCom requirements. Athena is the mechanism established to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications governed by Council Decision 2015/528/CFSP. The Council Decision allows for arrangements to be signed with union bodies to facilitate procurement in operations in the most cost-effective manner.
25 Jun 15. Harris Corporation’s (NYSE:HRS) Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radio (MNVR) has completed testing at the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation 15.2 held at Ft. Bliss, Texas. The MNVR Limited User Test (LUT) was conducted to test the ability of soldiers at the company level to effectively use the MNVR to talk and send data, images and video to the battalion and brigade levels. Harris will review the results and incorporate changes as necessary before the Initial Operation Test and Evaluation in the spring of 2016.
“These tests are important because they subject the radios to a wide range of operational and environmental conditions that soldiers may face during real-world missions,” said George Helm, president, Department of Defense Business, Harris RF Communications. “The MNVR LUT is a great example of the benefits of defense marketplace competition because it demonstrates the value of private sector innovation to quickly bring better solutions from concept to fielding.”
The Harris MNVR, which uses the Wideband Networking Waveform (WNW) and Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW), operates as a node in a mobile network, so information can hop from one MNVR system to another until it reaches its destination. At the LUT, battlefield conditions were used to determine how the WNW and SRW waveforms would perform with regard to message completion rates, latency and voice quality. Testers evaluated the radio using 23 different cases that ensured the network routing was properly configured.
“MNVR meets the need of getting data down to the soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Dail, communications officer, or S6, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD). “The fact that you