Army goes with two WIN-T contractors

The Army is proceeding with a revised acquisition strategy under its $10 billion Warfighter Information Network-Tactical program that names General Dynamics Corp. as the prime contractor and Lockheed Martin Corp. as the major subcontractor.

Both companies have been competing for the design and development contract since last September, working on their own models and simulations of prototype WIN-T systems.

Under the revised strategy, announced today, the contractors will work together to build the tactical network, rather than as "two possibilities as offered by competing WIN-T teams" explained Col. Angel Colon, WIN-T project manager.

Michael Wynne, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, authorized the agreement Sept. 10, the Army said.

"This combined effort will allow us to settle the WIN-T network architecture within the next four months," Colon said in a release. "A single-baseline approach sets the conditions to incrementally provide capabilities to the current force. Soldiers will benefit from this combined effort because it opens the door for the latest in information technology to be fielded where real-time, quality information is most highly valued?with our deployed and combat-ready units."

When built, WIN-T will become the Army's tactical extension of the Global Information Grid.

"The single baseline approach also provides a single focus for other interdependent developmental efforts, including the Future Combat Systems and Joint Tactical Radio Systems," said Don Keller, project director for WIN-T. "The Army will also benefit in the final product by incorporating the strongest features of each contractor's design in a 'best-of-breed' approach."

The Army initially expected to award the development deal in late 2005, but asked the Defense Department for permission to expedite the process to bolster combat capabilities, especially in Iraq.

WIN-T will replace the 1970s-era Tri-service Tactical Communications system still used by signal battalions. The Army's plans for WIN-T call for a high-speed, high-capacity infrastructure for wired and wireless voice, data, video and imagery communications.

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