WASHINGTON — A CACI International team will spend the coming months refining software and concentrating on “signals of interest” after winning a $1.5 million electronic warfare contract from the U.S. Army.

The service last month tapped CACI-owned Mastodon Design to develop the Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team Manpack. The award followed a half year of whitepaper submissions and technical evaluations.

The TLS-BCT Manpack is meant to provide soldiers a mobile means of jamming and collecting signals intelligence. It is a smaller, portable offshoot of the TLS-BCT, to be installed aboard Stryker and Armored Multi-Purpose vehicles, and the heftier TLS-Echelons Above Brigade, envisioned for use by divisions and corps amid preparations for conflict with Russia and China.

“We spent years and years and years in a permissive environment, in Afghanistan, in the counterinsurgency-type of fight. When you’re going into a more sophisticated peer environment, you need more sophisticated kit,” Todd Probert, president of national security and innovative solutions at CACI, told C4ISRNET at the Association of the U.S. Army convention in Washington.

“This is a pathfinder, working through the signals of interest and the threat information that the Army needs to go work through,” he added.

The Army is reinvesting in electronic warfare — and the mastery of the electromagnetic spectrum — after years of atrophy. CACI’s Manpack is designed on a foundation of existing tech, including its Kraken and Beast offerings.

“Our philosophy, be it in our hardware, be it in our software, is to build something that addresses today’s threat with today’s technology, but fundamentally has the ability to grow as the threat grows,” Probert said.

Contracts for the TLS line have so far totaled tens of millions of dollars. CACI is also involved with TLS-EAB, alongside Lockheed Martin. The manpack variant is expected to move from prototype to production in fiscal 2024, according to the Army.

New York-based Mastodon Design was purchased by CACI in 2019 for $225 million. Probert said the deal was part of the company’s “long journey” of “best-in-class acquisitions.”

CACI in 2022 earned $4.3 billion in defense-related revenue, clinching the No. 27 spot on Defense News’ Top 100 list of the world’s largest defense contractors.

Colin Demarest was a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covered military networks, cyber and IT. Colin had previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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