Army chooses rugged Ethernet switches from Sixnet for battlefield network-centric warfare

WARREN, Mich., 3 Feb. 2013. U.S. Army network-centric warfare experts needed commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) rugged Ethernet switches for a project to provide voice and data networking for command and control of brigade combat teams, and enable commanders and soldiers to send, receive, and share information. They found their solution from Sixnet in Ballston Lake, N.Y.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., announced their intention last Thursday to award a contract to Sixnet for as many as 400 Sixnet ET-8MG-MIL-1 Gigabit (10/100/1000) Ethernet switches with an option to purchase an additional 106 Sixnet Ethernet switches.

These rugged battlefield Ethernet switches are for the Army's Capability Set 13 (CS 13), which began fielding to eight brigade combat teams last year as integrated voice and data networking. The value of the contract has yet to be negotiated.

The CS 13 seeks to provide command on the move capability that gives battlefield leaders access to network capabilities found previously only in tactical operations centers in moving in combat vehicles.

CS 13 also seeks to give network access to individual soldiers at the squad level. The CS 13 initiative is composed of Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2, Joint Capabilities Release/Blue Force Tracking 2, Joint Battle Command-Platform, Company Command Post capability, Mission Command Common Operating Environment v1.0, as well as tactical radios that include the AN/PRC-117G (ANW2), the JTRS Rifleman Radio and HMS Manpack and Soldier Radio Waveform appliqué radios.

The Nett Warrior component of CS 13 is to provide situational awareness and networking down to the squad leader level, while connecting individual soldiers with the Rifleman Radio -- a software-defined radio communications system small enough for infantry soldiers that conforms to the Army's Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS).

The Army will field CS 13 to three infantry brigade combat teams that are deploying or preparing to deploy in Iraq to Operation Enduring Freedom, one that is forward-deployed in Korea, and to the final brigade combat team in place for evaluation.

Army officials say they plan to use the Sixnet Ethernet network switches primarily for motorized vehicles, and will negotiate solely with Sixnet, which is the original equipment manufacturer of the ET-8MG-MIL-1 Gigabit (10/100/1000) 8-port Industrial Ethernet switch.

Sixnet’s ET-8xG-MIL-1 is a 10/100/1000 managed or unmanaged industrial Ethernet switch with military-style D38999 connectors for battlefield communications, combat vehicles, avionics, and shipboard applications.

The switches have eight fast Ethernet ports for 10/100-megabit-per-second links. The military-rated MIL-DTL-38999 series III connectors protect against vibration, shock, and water.

The Sixnet ET-8xG-MIL-1 meets MIL-STD-810F, MIL-STD-461E, IP67/NEMA 6, and MIL-STD-1275B standards for protection against dust, water, oil, and debris, come in a corrosion-proof aluminum enclosure with conductive cooling. The switches operate in temperatures from -40 to 75 degrees Celsius.

For more information contact Sixnet online at www.sixnet.com, or the Army Contracting Command Warren at http://contracting.tacom.army.mil.

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