Modularity on the Move

September 16, 2013

The U.S. Army is replacing the swivel-chair approach to viewing situational awareness information in combat and tactical vehicles with a standardized family of build-your-own tactical computers. In addition to enabling tactical computers to interoperate, the family of systems reduces the basic configuration computer cost by as much as 36 percent while increasing performance by more than 350 percent.

Based on modularity, the Mounted Family of Computer Systems (MFoCS) includes three models that are interchangeable so it can be customized for specific missions. A tablet computer is the basic building block of the MFoCS. The intermediate model adds a processing unit with a 12-, 15- or 17-inch display, and the advanced configuration includes the tablet plus two intermediate units for a total of three workstations.

The MFoCS is designed to work with Joint Battle Command–Platform (JBC-P), which includes hardware, software, communication equipment and network management infrastructure. However, it also will support other command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications.

DRS Technologies is developing and producing the MFoCS, which also will support the JBC-P’s Mounted Computing Environment, one of six computing environments that are part of the Army’s common operating environment.

AFCEA Answers: The Five "Vs" of Big Data

September 13, 2013
By Max Cacas

In considering how best to manage the challenges and opportunities presented by big data in the U.S. Defense Department, Dan Doney, chief innovation officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), says the current best thinking on the topic centers around what he calls, “the five Vs”.

Appearing on a recent episode of the AFCEA Answers radio program, Doney says it’s important to always consider “volume, velocity, variety, veracity and value” when trying to manage and take advantage of big data.

“Volume gets the most attention,” he says, noting that most people focus on datasets measured in terabytes and petabytes. “In fact, though, that’s the one in which we’ve made the most progress. When it comes to “velocity,” or the rate at which large datasets often pour into servers, Doney notes that many algorithms originally designed for static databases now are being redesigned to handle datasets that require disparate types of data to be interconnected with metadata to be useful.

Doney goes on to say that “variety” remains one of the last three challenges when it comes to big data for his agency because of the DIA’s mandate to create a “big picture” that emerges from all that information. And he says that solutions have so far not caught up with the DIA’s needs.

Doney says “veracity,” or the “ability to put faith behind that data,” becomes a challenge when one needs to put equivalent amounts of context to disparate data types to add important detail to that “big picture.”

Brian Weiss, vice president, Autonomy/HP, says that when it comes to “value” in consideration of big data, some of the most exciting innovation is coming in terms of how to distinguish and sort out important information from the huge datasets.

Lockheed to Provide Sniper Targeting Pods to Belgium

September 13, 2013
George I. Seffers
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Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., has been awarded a not-to-exceed $12,226,992 firm-fixed-price, undefinitized contract award for five sniper advanced targeting pods (ATPs) for the Belgian Air Force. Additionally, the contractor will supply eight 1K forward looking infrareds, four two-way data links, one 1K TV, two pylons, one depot lay-in, 12 retrofit power supplies, and three retrofit 1K TVs along with integration, training, support and program management. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Warner Robins, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8540-13-C-0025).

General Atomics to Develop Lynx Radar for Reaper

September 13, 2013
George I. Seffers
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General Atomics - Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a $12,844,738 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the MQ-9 stationary targeting improvements. This contract action is for the development and delivery of an improved targeting capability with the Lynx synthetic aperture radar (SAR) on the MQ-9 platform to allow for a more streamlined approach to targeting and quicker decision making by the crew. This effort also builds a certifiable Lynx SAR community sensor model (CSM) in order to allow for future implementation in the full MQ-9 CSM effort as well as a trade study to identify a format for encoding SAR imagery and moving target indicator data within the MQ-9 architecture that enables a common digital video format. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Medium Altitude Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-10-G-3038 DO 0054).