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May 16, 2011
By George I. Seffers, SIGNAL Connections
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Firebird Spycraft

 
The Firebird intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft, which can be either manned or unmanned, will attempt to prove spy-in-the-sky power, during Joint Forces Command’s May 23 to June 3 Empire Challenge 2011 military exercise. Firebird, developed by Northrop Grumman, is designed to gather real-time, high-definition video, view infrared imagery, use radar and listen in on communications signals simultaneously through a universal interface. The universal interface is similar to plugging a jump drive into a personal computer that is automatically recognized with no need for additional software, according to Northrop Grumman officials.

Enhanced Mobile Alerts

Newly available software applications for the most commonly deployed mobile devices—Android smartphones, iPhone, iPad and select BlackBerry phones—are designed to enhance the AtHoc Installation Warning System, a mass alert system. The applications provide: the ability for warning message recipients to receive and reply to pop-up alerts, in addition to telephone, text and email alerts; geographical-based alert targeting based on real-time location information captured from a recipient’s mobile device; location tracking of first responders or other designated personnel; and the ability for operators to locate and account for recipients who respond to alert messages. In addition, operators or first responders can: activate mass or targeted alerts while in the field, activate mass notification devices based on proximity and deliver a quick field report up the chain of command.

Dismounted Modernization Kit

 
The recently announced GENESIS Soldier Modernization Kit provides the dismounted soldier with communications, audio, radio frequency processing and intelligent power management technologies. The modular kit adapts to changing mission requirements by combining a wide range of peripherals and accessories, including Protonex Technology Corporation’s Soldier Power Manager, which allows dismounted soldiers to power all equipment from a single source. The configuration-free power manager recharges and optimizes alternative energy such as solar panels, while managing, prioritizing and monitoring primary and rechargeable batteries. Power can be scavenged and harvested not only from military batteries and solar panels, but fuel cells, chargers, adapters and automotive batteries. It accommodates virtually any alternating current or direct current power source. The modernization kit, provided by Ultralife Corporation, Newark, New York, provides a wide range of military batteries and devices to power communications and related devices such as amplifiers, the headset that controls three push-to-talk radios and a satellite communications antenna that fits in a coat pocket, among other devices.

Secure Telecommuting

Government workers who require secure access to multiple sensitive networks outside of a traditional office environment can turn to a new version of Raytheon’s Trusted Thin Client (TTC), a product that allows field agents and other remote workers to securely connect to back-end networks with protection from data loss or compromise. TTC enables users who require access to information residing on multiple sensitive networks to work from a single endpoint rather than having multiple endpoints connected to each network. Network separation protects classified or sensitive data from being compromised by advanced persistent threats or ending up in the wrong hands. The user’s endpoint can be a thin client device, a virtual machine within a workstation or a virtual machine securely running TTC from a locked-down device such as an encrypted memory stick.