Commercial Waveform TSM Brings Scalability to Army Comms

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With the battlespace constantly becoming more contested and congested, the need for reliable, secure, and scalable communications in-theater remains a top priority for defense leaders. In an effort to continue improving on the communication capabilities for warfighters and meet the changing needs in the battlespace, the U.S. Army recently completed its Close Out demonstration for the TrellisWare TSM™ Waveformutilizing manpack radios from Collins Aerospace and L3Harris, TDSI and L3Harris handheld radios, and TrellisWare® radios.

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Image from the demo courtesy of TrellisWare

This major milestone for Project Manager Tactical Radios (PM TR) showcases the implementation of commercial waveform technology in preparation for the Product Manager (PdM) Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (HMS) Integrated Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), planned for early 2021 with the 1st Brigade, 82nd Division.

According to an article by Kathryn Bailey published by the U.S. Army, Col. Garth Winterle, project manager for TR, assigned to PEO C3T stated, “The IOT&E will determine the effectiveness, suitability, and survivability of both the Manpack and Leader radio product lines, and will influence an Army decision to proceed to full rate production of both radios, followed by radio buys in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 and large scale fielding scheduled for FY 2021.”

To gain a deeper understanding of the TSM and WREN-NB waveforms, their potential impact on military communications, and their unique benefits as a commercial waveform, we spoke with Jim Stevens, Technical Fellow with Collins Aerospace. Stevens spoke to the specific capabilities of the Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) TSM waveform for the Army Integrated Tactical Network (ITN), noting that it demonstrated a network of 93 radio nodes working with voice, data, and situational awareness services in this demonstration.

“In this specific application, the key capabilities are the scalability, reliability, and combined voice and data services of the commercial TSM waveform from TrellisWare Technologies,” Stevens stated. “There have been multiple tactical networking waveform developments over the past 40 years, going back to Packet Radio and the original DARPA Internet program. WREN provides the desired performance, such as scalability to large sized networks, that the prior waveform programs did not quite achieve.”

According to Stevens, scalability was a top priority that Collins Aerospace and TrellisWare set out to tackle with the TSM and WREN-NB waveforms, with the platform’s flexibility manifesting in a few different ways: backwards compatibility with prior TSM systems, a layered security architecture with different channels for different classification levels, and denser, more robust networks via the Barrage Relay™ networking technology (BRN), and optimized IP networking to support roaming between networks and rapid unit task reorganization (UTR).

Stevens added that starting with a commercial option like the TSM waveform significantly reduced the non-recurring engineering (NRE) schedule and cost to develop the WREN waveforms. Additionally, government risks were reduced by starting with a TRL 9 waveform and enhancing it versus developing a new waveform from scratch.

The application of more agile and scalable networks in the field for the warfighter is crucial as the battlespace evolves. We look forward to seeing the results from the operational test of the TSM network in 2021 and WREN-NB in 2022.

Interested in learning more about Modernized Waveforms? Download our Waveforms Whitepaper here.

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Chelsea is an Editor for The Modern Battlespace, and oversees editorial strategy and content development for the site. Chelsea writes for other federal government and technology industry publications. Her background lies in B2B and enterprise technology, specifically cloud computing, SaaS, travel IT, and mobile devices.