E-IBCT Begins Testing

By Tony Bertuca / September 17, 2010 at 8:03 PM

EL PASO, TX, -- Officials from the Army, the Pentagon and the Government Accountability Office converged at White Sands Missile Range, NM, today to conduct the limited user test of the Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a suite of "spin-out" technologies left over from the canceled Future Combat System.

The test was scheduled to include the Network Integration Kit, the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle, the Class 1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and two varieties of Unattended Ground Sensors.

Army spokesman Paul Mehney said the test would also involve pulling other elements of the service's network plan together, including the use of aerostats and the Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radio.

E-IBCT has been criticized by some members of Congress and officials from the Pentagon after a poor performance during a 2009 LUT. The Army, however, has asserted that E-IBCT has improved dramatically over the span of one year, and service officials have predicted a far more successful test this time around.

Test results were not yet available this afternoon. “It's like an election; the results are still coming in,” said Col. Steve Duke of the Army's Operational Test Command.

Spc. Conrad Slater, a soldier testing the equipment here, said he finds Tactical Unattended Ground Sensors useful but would prefer that they transmit video as opposed to still images. “Right now, you're either catching the tail of something or the front of something,” he told a reporter.

In recent weeks, Army leaders have increasingly pointed to the development of the network as the service's top priority.

Check back to InsideDefense.com next week for more.