Army Evaluation Task Force Expands 'Increment 1' Testing
Gourley, R., Army
As part of the December 2009 acquisition decision approving low-rate initial production for one Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team (EIBCT) set of "Increment 1" ("Spin Out 1") hardware, the Army was directed to confi" testing of all of the Increment 1 ssets over the next two years, increentaily growing and demonstrating fetwork maturity and system reliability of components to support confined production and fielding of future EIBCTs.
The initial EIBCT hardware set will soon be delivered to 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, named as the Arrmy's first EIBCT, with that unit plated to conduct initial operational test and evaluation prior to likely deployment to Afghanistan in 2012.
Meanwhile, the 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division (Army Evaluation Task Force [AETF]) has continued expanded testing of Increment 1 systems (less the canceled non-line-of-sight launch system) in increasingly challenging environments established at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The results of that testing, culminating in U.S. Army Training and Doctrine [Command (TRADOC) Force Development Tost and Evaluation (FDT&E) and Limited User Test 2010 (LUT '10) in the August and September time frames, will feed a pending acquisition decision on the additional sets of EIBCT hardware.
Along with a new training environment, the test preparation process has focused on enhancing the reliability of the Increment 1 systems through hardware design improvements - 17 on the Class I unmanned aerial system (UAS), 52 on the small unmanned ground vehicle (SUGV), 12 on the tactical unattended ground sensor (TUGS), five on the urban unattended ground sensor (U-UGS) - coupled with the implementation of more developed radios and waveforms.
During the early August train-up period, COL Daniel Pinnell, commander, AETF, provided ARMY Magazine with an overview of the expanded test process. COL Pinnell noted that the single Adobe Village setting used in the LUT '09 testing had been replaced by two new villages - Mountain Village and Yucca Village - separated by 36 kilometers of non-line-of-sight terrain and punctuated by additional urban operations conducted within the former White Sands Missile Range control complex.
"Both of the newly created villages are in an Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) setting," he said. "They are not direct replications of OEF, but we are using the OEF background, basic scenario and experiences - as well as enemy and friendly tactics, techniques and procedures (IiPs) - to provide the scenario into which we will insert the forces and equipment items to evaluate equipment performance, utility and reliability."
Pointing to a list of 20 tasks that needed "to be performed to standard as platoons and as companies before we put them into physical tests by TRADOC for the FDT&E and then the LUT," COL Pinnell explained, "First and foremost, Tm certifying them on their core skills-whether they can perform their basic infantry tasks. Then I ask if they can perform those tasks as modified for irregular warfare/counterinsurgency. Finally, I ask if they can do those tasks to OEF standard with the spin-out equipment as they have been instructed. Then we bring them out and cut them loose.
'The companies have with them the basic spin-out items: The Class I UAS, the SUGV, the Network Integration Kit, and the T-UGS and U-UGS. We also have a system called expendable UGS, which is another ground sensor system that is already in Afghanistan. We have been asked to take a look at it, evaluate its performance and determine whether we want to add it as an additional item to future capability packages - check its feasibility and utility - and also examine its use in the context of an organization [that] already fielded the Capability Package 1 spin-out items. The [EIBCT] brigades that deploy to Afghanistan will bring the items mat they have been fielded, but then they will also fall in on a huge amount of theater-provided equipment. …