General Dynamics Mission Systems–UK (GDMS-UK) is designing a next-generation tactical information gateway for the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD), as part of the Netherlands Improved Operational Soldier System (VOSS) programme.

The new gateway, which is based on the NATO STANAG 4677 standard, will enable the exchange of information between the New Integrated Marines Communications and Information System (NIMCIS), the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps tactical C4I system, and the Smart Vest soldier system that is also in development as part of VOSS.

The gateway is being designed to field with NIMCIS, which is based on the ComBAT Infrastructure and BCIP 5.5 system used by British Armed Forces. The NIMCIS programme was awarded to GDMS–UK in 2005, and has undergone a number of enhancements over the last decade.

We have worked closely with the Dutch Marines for a decade in delivering the C4I capabilities they need, and this latest proof of concept programme demonstrates how the NIMCIS system can be extended to meet the emerging requirements of our customer,” Steve Rowbotham, Vice President of GDMS–UK, said.

The initial contract, which was awarded earlier this year, is for a short study phase during which the detailed requirements and design for the gateway will be developed. The contract will also develop a proof-of-concept gateway for use in technical testing and user validation trials in March 2017. The gateway software is derived from GDMS–UK’s NetLink product, which is the datalink translation technology that is also used as the core of the Interoperable Gateway for Universal Access Networking Applications (IGUANA).

The proof-of-concept gateway is being demonstrated during the International Data Links Symposium (IDLS) in the Netherlands on 1 to 4 November 2016. This is part of a collaborative demonstration with the Netherlands MoD.

In 2015, Elbit Systems announced that it was awarded a contract from the Dutch MoD to supply Smart Vests to equip the infantry soldiers in the Benelux countries, valued at approximately U$150 million. The initial contract called for the delivery of 135 pre-production systems – 80 for the Netherlands, 40 for Belgium, and 15 for Luxembourg. Each Smart Vest includes wearable and protective systems for the soldier, command and control systems, including advanced audio and data radio systems, specialised displays and C4I capabilities as well as support systems integrated in combat vehicles. The mobile communication gear consists of the PNR-1000 Software Defined MANET soldier radio from Elbit Systems’ Tadiran division, and a hand held terminal. Operated with touchscreen and integral GPS, soldiers can see each other’s location on a map, access and send information and communicate with other units or headquarters.

Smart Vest is a co-operative programme intended for implementation by the Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg (Benelux) Armed Forces. The Netherlands are the single contracting nation for the Smart Vest capability, which sits at the core of its own VOSS programme. Smart Vest systems will be deployed to soldiers and marines, primarily aimed at infantry platoon level and below, and will provide improved situational awareness and superior protection for the individual soldier. (Photo: Dutch MoD)

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