Communications between the U.S. National Guard and local safety personnel is vital in protecting the lives of U.S. citizens at home, especially when incidents such as natural disasters are becoming more prevalent and destructive.
When seconds count, National Guard members need devices and infrastructures that allow them to converge networks between their own Land Mobile Radio systems, Project 25 systems and LTE to maximize communications throughout their home states and across the country.
The Massachusetts National Guard can now break down barriers between disparate communications networks through a full suite of L3Harris Technologies public safety communications solutions.
L3Harris is providing the Minutemen an infrastructure with a full VIDA® core for four radio-frequency sites between two Guard bases in the commonwealth. The company is also equipping the Guard with 20 XL OnBoard™ 200M and 450 XL Converge™ 200P radios as well as an ISSI Gateway to maximize Guard members’ interoperability with Massachusetts’ state system, according to Richard Kowal, L3Harris Account Management lead. L3Harris’ BeOn® Mobile Application allows Guard units to connect LMR and LTE in the same network.
The Guard awarded L3Harris the contract through ADS, Inc. as part of a Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support contract.
“We’re bringing state of the art communications to the Massachusetts National Guard and modernizing their network with leading-edge features and functionality,” Kowal said, noting other Guard units with similar systems can communicate between each other as a beyond-line-of-sight, push-to-talk capability.
A First with The Nation’s First
This project is the first direct interaction between L3Harris and the Massachusetts National Guard, according to Kowal; previous support has been at the program level with the National Guard Bureau.
The Guard unit initially reached out to L3Harris for a “simple radio quote,” Kowal added. Through a series of discussions regarding their operational capability needs and end goals, a more-expansive plan was developed to satisfy the unit’s holistic requirements.
“BeOn wasn’t something they were originally looking at, but they realized its advantages and how they could leverage it throughout the entire commonwealth once they saw it in live demonstrations,” Kowal said. “The application is a very cost-effective way to leverage the commonwealth’s LTE infrastructure to tie their radios to the LMR structure back at their bases.”
All radios part of the Massachusetts National Guard’s procurement contract have been fielded, and a Critical Design Review was conducted on July 14, 2023, according to Kowal. L3Harris will begin installation of the base repeater sites this fall.
“We were ultimately able to successfully meet the Massachusetts Guard’s needs by ensuring we understood what the customer wanted and proposed capabilities that met their requirements at an appropriate price,” Kowal said. “We listened to what they needed, and we were able to meet that.”