Have you heard of the Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2?
It’s the Army’s high-capacity, mobile tactical communications network backbone. Recently, soldiers covered more than 1,250 miles in the sweltering heat and completed the last of a series of two arduous developmental tests aimed at evaluating the improvements to WIN-T Increment 2, successfully.
What Is WIN-T Increment 2?
Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 is a network that can be compared to commercial network services delivering cellular communications and internet services to people at home and on the move. For the U.S. Army, they cannot depend on a commercial provider for security reasons, so they have to carry their own secure and highly reliable network capability. WIN-T Increment 2 features voice, data, and video services which are essential in helping commanders to make decisions faster and from any point on the battlefield.
First Developmental Test
During the first developmental test conducted at the Aberdeen Test Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, the Army installed a complete suite of instrumentation – to help capture data, on each Stryker vehicle equipped with WIN-T Increment 2 which monitored the entire network and its performance including:
- Network availability
- Software performance
- Data throughput
Collected and sent back within 2 days to Aberdeen Proving Ground were hundreds of gigabytes of daily data, for analysis.
Afghan-Deployed Soldiers Familiar With The System
Almost a third of the soldiers from the Light Infantry (10th Mountain Division), Air Assault (101st Airborne Division), and the 82nd Airborne Division who supported the WIN-T Increment 2 DT2 had already used the system during their deployment to Afghanistan, thus providing them with a unique real-world comparison of the new changes on the system. For some soldiers, it was their first time to encounter the system.
New System More User-Friendly
One of the Afghan-deployed soldiers is Staff Sgt. Brandon Miller. He had observed significant changes to the system. Miller supports network operations for the 4th Brigade Combat Team from the Light Infantry (10th Mountain Division). Having graduated from using traditional radio communications equipment including PRC-117G accessories, Miller finds the new system to be more instinctual and user-friendly. More importantly, any average user will find it a lot easier to interface with this system.
Other Improvements To The System
Miller also noted the great changes he had observed in terms of the system’s resiliency – being self-correcting to some degree. He cited an example where a soldier loses his satellite communications links. The WIN-T Increment 2 system will attempt to re-establish the links on its own after which proper steps will be undertaken just like any operator or S6 would do to get the link back.
Feedback From First-Time User Of System
Spc. Mark Clark shares that it’s his first time using the WIN-T Increment 2 system and despite that, he felt comfortable using it because it’s pretty straightforward. Clark is a soldier from the Air Assault Division (101st Airborne Division) and he operated the Point of Presence (PoP). For a first time user, Clark said it would only take a day or two to be familiar with the system which is so simple. It’s almost like using a cell phone.
System Passed All Tests
During the test, soldiers were required to exercise all of the improvements, capabilities and applications in the WIN-T Increment 2-equipped Stryker vehicles including chat, email, fires communication, mission command applications, and Combat Net Radio (CNR) Gateway calls.
In terms of efficiency, the new system reduced more than a dozen switches and buttons to a single start-up switch, improving the time to get a network-equipped vehicle up and running from 12 minutes down to just 4 ½ minutes.
Will the enhanced WIN-T Increment 2 System raise the level of efficiency of the Army’s tactical mobile network system?
3 thoughts on “How Will Win-T Increment 2 Help U.S. Army Soldiers On The Battlefield?”
I read somewhere that the 2015 budget effectively kills the Army’s top priority weapons program. Nevertheless, what you’re seeing happening at the latest NIE is the realization of the Army’s goal of networking the individual soldier. Individual systems like WIN-T Increment 2 and networked tactical radios are reaching maturity, providing soldiers with greater connection and situational awareness than ever before.
As a military soldier, our job is to quickly grasp, and react to, changes in the evolving battle; you must possess good situation awareness. This problem is known as command and control in the military community. However, understanding the huge positional data and combining it into a single comprehensive view of the battlefield can be extremely difficult, error prone and time consuming. That is why these advancements are so crucial for the U.S. military.
I would love to have access to such an efficient and fast mobile communications network. Something tells me this beats the 4G cellular networks. I would love to have a Satellite phone, but those things are expensive as all heck. That is just the gadget freak in me. The men and women putting their lives on the line are the ones that need to have the best of the best of technology.
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