Army approaches industry for off-the-shelf Ethernet networking for MRAP combat vehicles

Posted by John Keller

WARREN, Mich., 24 May 2013. U.S. Army vetronics experts are reaching out to industry to find companies able to provide off-the-shelf rugged Gigabit Ethernet networking equipment for the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored combat vehicle.

The Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., issued a sources-sought notice this week (W56HZV13R9999) on behalf of the Army MRAP program manager for a Survey for Managed Gigabit Ethernet Switches, which seeks to find alternate sources for MRAP Gigabit Ethernet networking.

PM MRAP officials until now have relied on the ET-8MG-MIL-1 managed Gigabit Ethernet switch from Sixnet, a Red Lion business, in Ballston Lake, N.Y., for MRAP networking capability. PM MRAP officials say that future capability sets will require performance equivalent to this item.

This sources-sought notice represents a market survey, and not a formal solicitation, officials say.

The MRAP Ethernet Switch Unit is a rugged, high-performance unit for Ethernet signal routing to and from several Ethernet ports supporting Ethernet operations at 10, 100, and 1,000 megabits per second per IEEE 802.3-2005.

The switch can be configured for managed and unmanaged network operation. Component interfaces to external hardware and software must be non-proprietary. Army officials are looking for rugged Ethernet switches that measure 11 by 6 by 3 inches and weigh as much as 4.5 pounds.

Ethernet switches for the MRAP combat vehicle should use MIL-DTL-38999 series III connectors. Ethernet port connectors should be 23 size socket (female) contacts (9-9 with N-keying), and should have at least eight Ethernet ports. The switch should support RS-232 and USB2 ports in connector type 22D socket female contacts (9-35) with A-keying.

The switch should provide auto-detecting, auto-crossover, auto-polarity, store forward wire speed switching, support to 8192 MAC addresses, full-duplex operation with flow control (no collisions), be true plug-and-play capable (not require user setup), and support memory bandwidth of not less than 32 gigabits per second.

The switch also should not store any of the network traffic data internally after power shutdown, run on 28-volt DC power, and meet MIL-STD-810F for environmental conditions.

Companies responding should describe the temperature, humidity, elevation, shock, vibration, noise, salt fog, dust, fungus, steam and water jet, explosive atmosphere, and immersion capabilities of candidate switches.. The Ethernet switch should have a mean time between failures of not less than 100,000 hours.

Companies interested should respond by email to the Army's Elena Hunt no later than 11 June 2013 at elena.hunt.civ@mail.mil. For questions or comments, Hunt's phone number is 586-282-5685.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/notices/2d242c038d21acc7e68a5dfbc7999738.

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