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USMC takes MEWSS to IOT&E.

Running in parallel with the Army tests of its GBCS-L at Ft. Huachuca last month (see lead story) the US Marine Corps (USMC) took its IEWCS-equipped Mobile Electronic Warfare Support System (MEWSS) through initial operational testing and evaluation (IOT&E). While results are not expected until later this year, a MEWSS program official said, the tests leading up to the IOT&E were very encouraging. In the meantime, the Marines are planning interim and long-term jammer upgrades for the vehicles.

Installed on a 14-ton armored chassis, the MEWSS is designed to support fast-moving Marine units. Under the MEWSS Product Improvement Program (PIP), the USMC's 12 fielded MEWSS vehicles will receive new SIGINT equipment and possibly some jamming upgrades based on the Army's IEWCS equipment.

While the Marines and Army will share common equipment, the two services must meet differing requirements. "We have more of a single-platform situational awareness requirement," said the Marine Corps source, "with less of a [mutliplatform] precision-targeting requirement [than the Army.]" Despite the differing requirements, part of the IOT&E program was used to demonstrate interoperability between the single MEWSS prototype and the Army's GBCS-L platforms - believed to be the first time Marine Corps and Army intelligence operators have networked to gather real-time SIGINT data. If the MEWSS passes IOT&E, the new systems will be upgraded one vehicle at a time, to minimize the impact on operational units. The' first upgraded system could reach the field in eight months.

Although operational tests focused on the SIGINT portion of the program, the MEWSS PIP also includes a pre-planned product improvement that will select a new jammer for the vehicles. Originally, the MEWSS was to receive the jammer portion of TACJAM-A, similar to the IEWCS program. But because the Army has delayed the jammer portion of its IEWCS program while it updates its operational requirements document and transitions to Prophet, the Marines have started to look for an interim solution, said the source. "[In the near term,] it looks like we're going to integrate an existing jammer, something from the DOD inventory," he said. "That will be an interim jammer until either the TACJAM EA [electronic attack] package is developed or we decide to pursue our own commercial-off-the-shelf or non-developmental solution." The Marines will add the interim jammer to the vehicle and retest the MEWSS in a follow-on test program, probably in FY00, said the source. Once tests are successfully completed, all vehicles will receive the interim jammer until a long-term solution is developed.

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Title Annotation:Marine Corps; Mobile Electronic Warfare Support System; initial operational testing & evaluation
Author:Knowles, J.
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 1998
Words:416
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