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Rifleman Radio Approaches Full Rate Production

May 22, 2014
By George I. Seffers
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U.S. Army releases draft request for proposals.

The U.S. Army has released a draft request for proposals to procure additional Rifleman Radios, moving the system toward full rate production. The Rifleman Radio is part of the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit program. Under the full and open competition approach, the Army will award contracts, and qualified vendors will compete for delivery orders as needed.

The five-year base, plus a five-year option indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract will be awarded to multiple vendors who meet both the technical and service requirements to support the radio. This structure enables the Army to choose from numerous technologies and release a new contract if radio technology changes significantly after the initial five-year award. The acquisition strategy is expected to reduce radio procurement costs as the Army continues to modernize the network amid fiscal constraints. It also includes on-ramp opportunities for vendors whose technologies mature after the initial competition and operational tests.

The draft RFP will be followed by an informational industry day on May 27 to obtain additional industry feedback prior to the release of a final request for proposals. A contract award is expected in fiscal year 2015.

The Rifleman Radio is a lightweight, rugged handheld radio that transmits voice and data via the Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW). With the SRW, the radio acts as its own router and allows information to be transmitted up and down the chain, as well as into the network backbone the Warfighter Information Network–Tactical provides. It also can be linked to Nett Warrior, an Android-based, smartphone-like capability that enables soldiers to send messages, access mission-related applications and track one another’s locations with Global Positioning System technology. The Army already has purchased 21,379 Rifleman Radios, which are carried by soldiers at the platoon, squad and team levels.

Fielded as part of the integrated Capability Set network package, the radios currently are supporting dismounted operations as part of the advise-and-assist mission in Afghanistan. Fielding is now underway to additional Brigade Combat Teams as part of Capability Set 14; eventually the entire force will carry the Rifleman Radios. The Army’s total acquisition objective is 193,276 radios.

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