The Army will move forward with full-rate production and deployment of the second increment of WIN-T, or the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, the service's mobile tactical communications network backbone.

Approval to move into full-rate production and fielding comes after a Defense Acquisition Board review of the program conducted in May, and was announced in a June 8 release from the Army.

The board's decision to grant full-rate production means that the program has been deemed mature, has met all its basic requirements and reduced its risk to the point where the program can proceed with fielding for the duration of the program lifecycle. The go-ahead enables the program office to procure and field the capability to all remaining Army units that are projected to receive WIN-T Increment 2 through fiscal 2028, according to the release.

Related: Exit Interview: COL Ed Swanson is leaving the WIN-T program

"This marks a major milestone in the program and allows the Army to field the remaining Low Rate Initial Production lots of capability and to begin full rate production efforts," said Paul Mehney, Army spokesman. "WIN-T Increment 2 provides on-the-move capability and a mobile infrastructure by employing military and commercial satellite connectivity, line-of-sight radios and antennas to achieve high-band width networking across brigade formations. WIN-T Increment 2 is serving as the 'soldier's tactical internet' connection in overseas operations in Afghanistan, Africa and Iraq and is currently fielded to 12 brigade combat teams and four division headquarters."

Combat vehicles integrated with WIN-T Increment 2 provide on-the-move communications, mission command and situational awareness to soldiers down to the company level in remote locales. The system enables voice, video and data communications with connectivity while on patrol, and has been integrated into platforms that include Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs), High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWVs) and Stryker platforms.

Getting Increment 2 fielded "was critical given the fiscal environment we are in," said Col. Ed Swanson, WIN-T project manager, in an interview with C4ISR & Networks. "Over the past three years, [WIN-T Increment 2 Product Manager] Lt. Col. LaMont Hall and the WIN-T Increment 2 product office have conducted three of the largest operational tests in Army history and made significant improvements in reliability and reducing complexity of the Increment 2 system and individual components ... Now we can focus on making further improvements to the system and fielding Increment 2 to the rest of the Army."

With the full-rate production and fielding approved, Army officials already are looking at the next steps.

"There are a number of improvements planned for size, weight and power reductions, increasing system performance, strengthening the cyber security posture and upgrading network operations capabilities," Swanson said. "As we receive more feedback from soldiers, we will continue to look for opportunities to improve system performance, continue to reduce complexity and leverage commercial technology advances."

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