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Army Commanders Nix Key Satellite Communications System

Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division utilize Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2-equipped vehicles.

Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division utilize Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2-equipped vehicles. // U.S. Army

Army tactical company commanders universally panned satellite communications equipment installed on their vehicles in tests last year, the Pentagon’s test organization has reported.

The Soldier Network Extension portion of the Army’s Warfighter Information Network  – Tactical, or WIN-T, was developed by General Dynamics C4 Systems to provide voice and broadband satellite communications to tactical vehicles while on the move.

After tests last year at Ft Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range N.M., “fifteen of fifteen company commanders found the SNE distracting and indicated they would not take it to war,” J. Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation for the Defense Department, said in an annual report submitted to Congress and released last Thursday.

“The SNE was useful for conducting Voice over Internet Phone calls but the utility of VoIP was limited by long call set-up times,” the test report said. “The SNE’s startup and shutdown procedures were complex, lengthy and required the vehicle to be at-the-halt.”

Congress slashed $204 million from the Army’s $974 million WIN-T funding in the 2014 budget signed by the president on Jan. 16.

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