Suppliers for the General Dynamics [GD] Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) and the Handheld, Manpack and Small Form Fit (HMS) Radio program visited their congressional representatives last week to bring home the scope of the radio programs that are the Army’s top priorities as it builds the network.

There were 93 companies from 27 states telling their congressional members how financial uncertainties and potential risks could affect them, their business and their employees during this uncertain financial time.

As they walked the marble halls, the network components they helped build–WIN-T Increment 2  and the Rifleman Radio (HMS) are in the hands of soldiers with the Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. They are training for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan as part of the U.S. military’s Security Forces Advise and Assist Team.

Once deployed, soldiers will rely on the AN/PRC-154 Rifleman and two-channel AN/PRC-154 Manpack radios that connect with WIN-T to form secure on-the-go networks, connecting squad level soldiers to commanders in their vehicles and up to the highest levels of command.

The on-the-move network allows mission command and provides situational awareness that is vital to soldiers as they conduct their missions.

"I think it will save people’s lives in combat,” Lt. Col. Alan Boyer, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, said recently. ”I think it will help us save our partners’ lives.”

In December 2012, the Army ordered 136 additional WIN-T Increment 2 network nodes. The order will raise the number of WIN-T Increment 2 network nodes to 532, extending the reach of the Army’s soldier network to the company level.

Sandra Wheeler, vice president of Tactical Networks for General Dynamics C4 Systems, said in a statement: “WIN-T Increment 2 is the secure communications backbone for soldiers and commanders at the company level to connect with each other, access mission-critical situational awareness and stay connected while on the move. The network also enables company commanders to communicate with higher headquarters in their vehicle, receiving their orders in real-time, which is a game-changing capability.”

Thoroughly tested by the Army, HMS radios are part of the Army’s Capability Set 13, the first fully integrated suite of network components that are being distributed to elements of the 10th Mountain and the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Led by General Dynamics, the WIN-T network, HMS radio and other Army networking programs rely on support from a diverse group of suppliers.

General Dynamics suppliers deliver vital technologies and products supporting the network, the company said. Located in more than 30 states, these suppliers include small, veteran-owned, woman-owned and other businesses and represent more than 4,800 skilled workers. These suppliers and the employment they represent support local economies and are an essential component to job creation.

Suppliers include: Lockheed Martin [LMT]; Thales Communications Inc.; Mair Mac Machine Company Inc.; Harris Corp. [HRS]; ACE Electronic Defense Systems; Ritronics Inc; BAE Systems and Aerospace; Newcomb Metal Products; Arizona Components Company; L-3 Communications [LLL]; Wroble Engineering Company; The Will-Burt Company; Rockwell Collins Inc. [COL]; VTron Electronics Corp.; and Hunter Defense Technologies.