Mission-critical wireless vendor M/A-COM yesterday announced that it has deployed the first fully operational, IP-based, P25 system for the Department of Defense (DoD) in the National Capitol Region.

Phase I of the P25 system has been accepted and is fully operational at 11 U.S. Army bases in the NCR region, including greater Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Fort Hamilton, N.Y., said Kevin Fleming, M/A-COM’s director of federal sales. A second phase, expected to be completed during the next several months, will add U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force sites to the network, making it one of the first tri-service DoD systems.

“It’s one of the largest military systems out there—it encompasses 11 bases in the National Capital Region in a wide-area system and a base in New York,” Fleming said in an interview with MRT. “Including Phase II, we’re talking about 17 bases.”

While the DoD has been mandated to use P25 equipment for some time, using an IP-based P25 system is unprecedented and provides significant advantages to the military, Fleming said.

“In the past, the DOD has employed technology that focused on a central controller, so it had what we would consider to be a single point of failure,” he said. “With the National Capital Region, not only do we have a compliant P25 system, … we’ve encompassed IP on the backbone. We have switches at each of the bases for the U.S. Army, which provides quite a bit of flexibility and durability—there’s no single link that goes to any of the [southern NCR] bases.”

Operating in the 380-400 MHz band, the NCR system features the latest federal encryption standard and over-the-air rekeying (OTAR). Using M/A-COM’s NetworkFirst interoperability solution, IP gateways in the network allow interoperable communications with 58 public-safety agencies in and around the NCR region, Fleming said.