WASHINGTON – The Army plans to continue building its Integrated Tactical Network (ITN) as it finishes testing of its handheld and man-packable system radios with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team this month.
The ITN is a critical element of Capability Set 21 that incorporates commercial components and transport capabilities into the Army’s tactical network to create a simplified, independent network solution that provides enhanced, flexible network availability at the brigade level and below.
The Army is delivering the radios, satellite terminals, servers, applications, and other devices associated with ITN to four brigade combat teams as part of CS21. The second iteration of Project Convergence, a series of joint, multidomain exercises, will inform future capability set design.
This month, the 173rd Airborne Brigade from Vicenza, Italy, is scheduled to be the next brigade to receive the fielding kit.
“An additional five brigades will receive kits in fiscal 2022,” said Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, who leads the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical, or PEO C3T.
The Army is also looking to partially field Stryker brigades, starting with 2nd Cavalry Regiment at Rose Barracks, Germany, in fiscal 2022.
Collins spoke Thursday at the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association virtual conference while attending the radio test at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
A full-scale, ITN operational testing had originally been slated for August but had to be bumped due to mission requirements and unexpected impacts from the pandemic.
The 1st BCT had a no-notice deployment from January to February last year, and COVID-19 delayed some of its planned tests, including the cancelation of an exercise planned for Defender Europe. Smaller-scale tests were performed instead to inform the ITN production decision that took place in 2020. The Army intends to use upcoming combat training center rotations to continue to assess and inform Capability Set design.