On April 1, the Joint Program Executive Office, Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS) of the Department of Defense announced a contract award to Scalable Network Technologies Inc. (SNT), Los Angeles, CA. The $11 M contract is for a product called JNE (JTRS Network Emulator) to be used by numerous DoD programs/agencies.
JNE is a virtual laboratory that supports real-time emulation of large-scale communication networks of current and future force radios and associated waveforms. Based on SNT's EXata™ emulation engine, JNE is used to create "hybrid" networks that can emulate the intensity and distribution of traffic typical of battlefield deployments, and perform with all the complexity and realism of an actual large-scale network. This high degree of fidelity makes it possible to integrate a JNE network into live exercises using real hardware, real users and real applications connected to operational networks.
"As the core of the Battle Command Network Integration and Simulation, the JTRS Network Emulator is the culmination of more than a decade of focused development, and the first time this capability will be used in operational testing," said US Army Operational Test Command commanding general, Brig. Gen. Don MacWillie.
As a major stakeholder in keeping the United States at the leading edge of technology, the DoD leans on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs to stimulate innovation among entrepreneurial companies and research institutions.
Through a staged program that encourages and rewards the maturing of nascent concepts, the government provides funding nurturance and a degree of partnership to evolve new technologies that hold promise of bolstering military advantage, improving security, reducing costs, saving lives, or perhaps reducing environmental impacts.
The brass ring for both the DoD and contractors involved in the SBIR program is to advance successfully from a phase I feasibility study - through phase II concept/prototype - to a SBIR phase III, whereby the product or service is deemed mature enough to be commercially viable. This is the win-win outcome that the SBIR/STTR program was created to produce, but in practice, advancing new science and technology concepts to an "acquisition-ready" state is challenging. From a field of more than 80 SBIR grants in the JTRS program alone, SNT is the first phase III contract recipient.