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WIN-T Increment 2

The Army informed Congress 27 September 2017 that it did not want the 10-year-old tactical network known as WIN-T (Increment 2), and asked for the money designated for the network's procurement to be redistributed toward other purchases. "After almost a year of careful review we have come to the conclusion that the network we have is not the network that we need to fight and win against a peer threat in a congested or contested environment," Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, the Army's chief information officer, said. Testifying before the House Armed Services Air and Land subcommittee on September 27, Crawford informed the lawmakers that the army has come to the conclusion that WIN-T was too vulnerable to hacking and jamming, its parts present too big a target for enemy artillery, and it takes far too long to get its equipment set up and running.

Crawford failed to provide the panel with a plan of what the US Army is going to procure instead. Crawford mentioned that a system called Joint Battle Command Platform might serve as a replacement to WIN-T, but it is only expected to enter service by 2022. WIN-T Increment 2 began fielding in October 2012. The Army would continue to provide the proven capability of WIN-T Increment 1 where unit requirements can be satisfied with at-the-halt networking capability. But those units where mobility was critical to mission success received WIN-T Increment 2.

Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) was designed to be the cornerstone tactical communications system supporting the implementation of the LandWarNet strategy during the 2007 to 2025 timeframe. The WIN-T program was to establish a single integrating framework creating a network of networks for the Army, subject to commander's intent and security policy. Warfighter Information Network - Tactical (WIN-T) was the Army's communications system for reliable, secure, and seamless video, data, imagery, and voice services that would enable decisive combat actions. It would be focused on moving information in a manner that supported commanders, staffs, functional units, and capabilities-based formations - all mobile, agile, lethal, sustainable, and deployable. It would be optimized for offensive and Joint operations so that the theater combatant commander would have the capability to perform multiple missions simultaneously.

Increment 2 capability supported limited collaboration, mission planning and on-the-move. It enables distribution of information via voice, data, and real-time video from ground-to-ground and ground-to satellite communications. Increment 2 capitalized on COTS/GOTS, mature technologies and added mobility to the Brigade Combat Team (BCT) including Battalions and Companies. Increment 2 initially enabled planning, monitoring, controlling and prioritizing (PMCP) the Div Headquarters (HQs) and/or the Bde network. It was expected to disseminate critical information in less than five seconds and time sensitive information in less than eight seconds.

Mobile communications for select users were enabled at 256 kbps for speeds up to 20 mph. It provided vehicular personnel force protection. It extended wide area/GIG network connectivity to the lower tactical subnets at the company level. Network survivability was enhanced by automatically reconfiguring the network due to node(s) or link loss (es). Spectrum reuse was accomplished with the Highband Network Waveform (HNW) and Net Centric Waveform (NCW). The Quality of Service (QOS) capability enabled message trafficking prioritization by level of importance to the warfighter. This Increment provided commercial and military band satellite communications to Div, Bde, Bn and Company (Co).

WIN-T Increment 2 was focused on Brigade Combat Teams (BCT). This increment would provide BCT and maneuver battalion commanders and their command posts, as well as maneuver companies the ability to access and receive relevant, near-real, tactically-relevant needed information, unfettered by range, terrain, or vegetation limitations, without tethering them to traditional static locations. Additionally, this increment would provide the Division G6 and BCT S6 the ability to allocate communications capacity consistent with the commander's priorities, as well as controlling, monitoring, and maintaining the network.

Currently, Army combat communications capability was based on "fixed backbone" technology that relied on a string of base stations equipped with satellite terminals or high-capacity radio terminals dispersed among front line units and connecting to rearward elements. The communications nodes were co-located with operations centers, which were at the nexus of operational information, decision-making and communications.

The dilemma with existing systems was if a commander were to direct their unit forward they also had manage the risk of degraded communications at a time when critical or unexpected events could take place. When a combat formation moved toward an objective that's was beyond the reach of their communications systems, however, operations centers had plan and execute a "jump," which was the planning-for, taking-down and setting-up a forward base station to support operations. During the "jump," the combat formation could be pressing forward against enemy locations and resistance. At the same time, access to critical information would be limited because primary communications systems were en-route. After the systems arrived at a new location, setup would also take additional time.

In order to set up a base station for a TOC (tactical operations center), soldiers have to stop, point satellite antennas, find out where the other TOC is, erect a mast and point a radio antenna at the other TOC's antenna. Soldiers also have to set up the software to control all the devices.

WIN-T was developing a network that persisted so that a commander had access to the information needed, wherever located. WIN-T Increment 2's persistence would work by eliminating the need for a fixed base-station. This was accomplished by including high-capacity radios and mobile satellites terminals, on Tactical Communications Node vehicles that would be dispersed among the deployed unit.

Each TCN vehicle was expected to be equipped with a "smart antenna," that would send and receive a high throughput radio to other ground nodes while on-the-move or at-the-halt. A smart antenna automatically finds its neighbor, so it knows which direction it wants to radiate. The antenna would be controlled by a specialized radio called the Highband Network Radio that could send, receive and relay radio traffic. Such radios were classified as "line-of-sight" radios, referring to the fact that they work when not blocked by terrain.

Another antenna on the TCN vehicle was to be a mobile satellite communications (SATCOM) terminal for "non-air breathers," so-called because they signal to space-based satellites. The satellite antenna would be controlled by a SATCOM modem, which is basically a satellite radio. Mobile satellite communications terminals have the advantage of extending communications beyond the limitation inherent with "line-of-sight" radios. Their drawback is less communications throughput.

Each TCN had a processor that could choose between "air-breathing" and "non-air-breathing systems. It would decide, 'if I can see you, I'll transmit over line-of-sight radio; If I can't see you, I'll transmit over SATCOM,'." Having the high throughput of air-breathing radios and the range extension of the non-air breathing satellites in one vehicle was expected to provide the best of both worlds. It would all be brought together by software. The antenna pointing, network configuration, planning functions and network management, would be wrapped up in one software package. It could be set up in minutes. Once set up, it would continue to operate and reconfigure itself on the move. One person with one computer terminal could monitor all the equipment and all the nodes.

The radios, modems, and antennas in the mobile TCN's work with the software to form the mesh-like "mobile backbone" that extends across land and into space. The decision-makers and planners could operate anywhere within the mesh with full access to information on the network.

The Army conducted an engineering field test of its future tactical communications network between 15 and 26 October 2007 and demonstrated a new mode of combat communications with a "mobile backbone," between 5 and 6 November 2007. Demonstrated were the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 engineering models being developed to allow brigade, battalion and company key leaders to continue to collaborate and exchange information using Internet-based voice, video and data technologies whether their combat formations are moving or halted.

WIN-T would fall into the Army's Future Combat System network, so there was a need to perform tests to identify and reduce areas of risk during development. In the summer of 2008 an Army unit was expected to perform more comprehensive limited user test with 30 nodes. The engineering field test was part of a schedule that would see delivery of WIN-T Increment 2 technologies to Army units, expected to begin in 2010. The Increment 2 capability would be provided for urgent communications needs and addressed the network technology to meet those needs within the FY09 to FY14 timeframe.

Increment 2 funds in FY09 supported continued System Development and Demonstration, Development Test, New Equipment Test, Limited User Test, Milestone C preparation/documentation, Request for Proposal process and Low Rate Initial Production Contract Award. The project manager's office for WIN-T was part of the US Army Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications-Tactical.

Integrated into the Armys holistic tactical communications network, Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 provides interoperable mobile network connectivity to deliver dynamic networking operations to the entire battle space. The system provides robust on-the-move mission command capability enabled by a mobile network communications infrastructure employing military and commercial satellite connectivity and line-of-sight radios and antennas.

Combat vehicles integrated with WIN-T Increment 2 provide the on-the-move communications, mission command and situational awareness that commanders need to lead from anywhere on the battlefield. WIN-T Increment 2 enables operations down to the company level in remote and challenging terrain while maintaining voice, video and data communications connectivity rivaling that found in a stationary command post. With WIN-T Increment 2, Soldiers can utilize applications for maneuver, fires and intelligence from inside vehicles, enabling commanders to make decisions on-the-move rather than being tied down to a fixed command post. This capability ensures effective and less predictable offensive and defensive operations. In the fires battalions, the system improves the speed and reliability of the fires network while also extending range and increasing the survivability of artillery units.

In support of expeditionary, quick reaction and Air Assault missions, the Army is providing lighter weight, more transportable alternatives to the current Tactical Communications Node (TCN) and Network Operations (NetOps) and Security Center (NOSC). The new configurations provide the same support to commands posts and on-the-move operations as the current configurations but are integrated onto sling-loadable HMMWV platforms.

WIN-T Increment 2 began fielding in October 2012. The Army will continue to provide the proven capability of WIN-T Increment 1 where unit requirements can be satisfied with at-the-halt networking capability. But those units where mobility is critical to mission success will receive WIN-T Increment 2.

Main Components

  1. The Tactical Communications Node (TCN) provides the principal backbone element and supports command post operations for the WIN-T Increment 2 network. The TCN provides communication and networking equipment and allows the Soldier the ability to access the network at a variety of security levels. While at-the-halt, the TCN is equipped with a 10 meter, extendable mast to improve line-of-sight connectivity and larger satellite assemblage for high throughput.
  2. The Point of Presence (PoP) is installed on select combat platforms at division, brigade and battalion echelons, enabling mobile mission command by providing on-the-move network connectivity, both line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight.
  3. The Soldier Network Extension (SNE) is installed on select vehicles to provide on-the-move network communications to extend the network from the brigade down to the company level. Using its on-the-move satellite communication systems, the SNE can also be used to heal and extend lower echelon tactical radio networks for geographically separated elements blocked by terrain features.
  4. The Vehicle Wireless Package (VWP) is a communications package for non-WIN-T Command and Control (C2) vehicles. The VWP B-Kit provides remote connectivity to a TCN via a Local Access Waveform for command and control vehicles during at-the-halt and on-the-move operations. It is a small form factor Local Area Network extension of the TCNs satellite and terrestrial line-of-sight network systems.
  5. The Network Operations (NetOps) and Security Center (NOSC) provides network management and enhanced tactical network planning, administration, monitoring and response capabilities. The hardware is located on the vehicle and is connected by cables to the laptops and large display screens inside the tactical operations center where the communications officers manage the network.
  6. The Satellite Transportable Terminal Plus (STT+), a trailer-mounted ground satellite communications terminal with a generator, is used in conjunction with the TCN at the halt to provide relatively high throughput satellite communications.



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