Army awards 2 contracts to develop concept for long-range EW system

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to "Wild Bill" Platoon, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment conduct electronic warfare training during Combined Resolve XV, Feb. 23, 2021 at the Hohenfels Training Area. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Julian Padua)

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Army recently awarded Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics Mission Systems contracts to develop a proof of concept for a ground-based electronic warfare capability aimed to have effects over thousands of miles.

The program for the Terrestrial Layer System-Echelons Above Brigade is designed for signals intelligence, electronic warfare and cyber operations and will be used by the Army’s Multi-Domain Task Force. It comes as advanced adversaries are forcing the Army to operate at greater distances, and therefore, the service needs to be able to sense farther and at higher echelons, such as divisions and corps.  

There are no procurement dollars budgeted for the system, as it is still being developed, but the Army is asking for $29.6 million in research and development funds in 2023 and $85.7 million across the future years defense program, which would go towards continued prototyping and integration.

“What we’ve asked the industry is: ‘OK, how would you approach this problem – with these types of threats?’” Mark Kitz, program executive officer for intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors, told FedScoop in an interview at the AFCEA TechNet Augusta conference. “We’ve awarded to two contractors to go through a design phase to show us what they believe is in the art of the possible and we’ll use that to make decisions about building a prototype for that long-range sense and effect on the ground from those echelons.”

As part of the other transaction agreement awards, which were issued within the last month, the contractors will also look to design for the specific vehicle TLS-EAB will be mounted to.

“Right now, I think it’s [Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles] is what we said would be available to you,” Kitz said. “We’ve left it sort of open for proposers to say, ‘OK, would I need a tethered drone? Would I need an untethered [drone]? What is the art of the possible here from and not necessarily constraining it by platform?’”

Lockheed Martin was awarded for the next phase of TLS-Brigade Combat Team in July, which will pave the way for it to be delivered to soldiers. TLS-BCT will be the first brigade-organic cyber, electronic warfare and signals intelligence platform and is expected to field to units in fiscal 2022.

General Dynamics also designed one of the primary risk reduction platforms for TLS-BCT, the Tactical Electronic Warfare System.

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Army, electronic warfare, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, TLS-BCT, TLS-EAB
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