The Wideband Revolt Begins

The Pentagon’s strategy for network-centric warfare used to be pretty simple. In the short-term, everybody is supposed to live with a bunch of narrowband data links. Later on, big-ticket programs like Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), Warfighter Information Networking Technology (WIN-T) and Transformational Satellite Communciations (TSAT) are supposed make on-the-move wideband networking a reality.

That strategy is suddenly starting to unravel. There are three problems.

The first starts with the fact that JTRS, WIN-T and TSAT won’t be fully operational until well into the NEXT decade. The second problem is that they aren’t really needed — the same basic technology is widely available on the commercial market today. And the third problem is that the "warfighters" want this stuff today — not in 2017.

Thus, it’s no surprise when Harris and BAE Systems announce today that they’ve stripped the Highband Networking Radio (HNR) off of WIN-T, and have commenced marketing it as a stand-alone upgrade for a supposed gapfiller called the Joint Network Node. Once more people realize that on-the-move wideband can be purchased today, The DEW Line predicts the big-ticket programs are going to be in more trouble than most are already in.


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