Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2018 Contents established in the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.
The Joint Product Leader for Radiologi-
cal and Nuclear Defense (JPDL-RND),
in collaboration with DTR A’s Research
and Development Enterprise Nuclear
Technologies Division (DTR A-NTD),
is executing this middle tier strategy to
develop and accelerate the acquisition of
enhanced radiological and nuclear detec-
tion and reconnaissance capabilities for
the Army’s mounted forces. (See Figure
1.) This streamlined acquisition approach
enables JPDL-RND, assigned to the
Joint Project Manager for Guardian, to
produce the M2PRDS a year sooner than
through the standard approach because
it facilitates rapid prototyping and rapid
An exceptional degree of partnership
made possible the design, development
and testing of the detection and recon-
naissance prototypes and their transition
to JPDL-RND, along with the technical
data packages. Specifically, the effort fea-
tured the direct contributions of not only
the acquisition program manager but also
the combat developers, traditionally not
part of a typical science and technology
(S&T) project. All stakeholders took part
in decisions on the design, test strategy
and transition plan, while DTR A-NTD
funded the prototype development.
DTR A-NTD spearheaded the rapid
maturation of the M2PRDS internal
point-detection sensor, a smaller and more
sensitive radiation detector that resembles
the currently fielded AN/VDR-2 detec-
tor. The sensor is slated for use across
militar y ground vehicle platforms and
provides vehicle crew protection through
early warning of radiological-nuclear
hazards. DTR A-NTD also developed an
externally mounted radiological-nuclear
sensor that provides vehicle crews with
warning of radiological-nuclear hazards
and situational awareness of threats from
outside their vehicles through standoff
radiological detection, threat localiza-
tion, isotope identification, visualization
and mapping. These sensors are known,
respectively, as the Vehicle Integrated
Platform Enhanced Radiation Detection,
Indication, and Computation (VIPER
RADIAC or VIPER) and the Mounted
Enhanced R ADIAC Long-Range Imag-
ing Networkable (MERLIN) system.
MERLIN has two subsystems: the
MERLIN-Imager (MERLIN-I) and the
The MERLIN-I and MERLIN-A sensors
are complementary but operate indepen-
dently of each other. The MERLIN-I
sensor, mounted on the outside of the
vehicle, enables rapid stationary stand-
off radioisotope detection and provides
source location and imaging of radio-
active hot spots. MER LIN-A , which
consists of four sensors mounted on the
corners of a vehicle, enables on-the-move
CURRENT ACQUISITION SYSTEM
and Risk Reduction
tabletop exercises, hackathons, tech
scouting, challenge competitions, etc.
Prototyping, testing and evaluation,
refining, developing concept of
• Scale up.
• Harvest technology and better
understand operational needs.
• Continue limited production.
This streamlined acquisition approach enabled the product team to produce the M2PRDS a year
sooner than the standard approach because it freed up the team to prototype and field quickly.
The approach requires early involvement of all stakeholders, as well as constant communication.
(SOURCE: “Future Foundry: A New Strategic Approach to Military-Technical Advantage,” by
Ben FitzGerald, Alexandra Sander and Jacqueline Parziale, Center for a New American Security,
Dec. 14, 2016)
This new approach to acquisition provides a successful example of how to improve
efficiency by reallocating resources from business operations and redundant testing
to technology development.
52 Army AL&T Magazine
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