Defense Notes: Radios,Smartphones, and Renewable Energy for the Army; Drones Get a Bad Rap

  • The Army has awarded General Dynamics a $5 million contract for 100 MUOS channel kits to upgrade its 100 PRC-155s, reports DoD Buzz. “With a smartphone-like flow of information, the upgraded PRC-155 radios will allow soldiers to access the MUOS communications system wherever they are deployed, on foot or from land vehicles, ships, submarines and aircraft.”
  • Aoptix and CACI recently received a contract from the Pentagon to develop Smart Mobile Identity devices. Aoptix will be integrating its biometric (iris,face, voice) capabilities into smartphones. This should lessen the load of deployed soldiers who now use a device devoted solely to this purpose. “We are pleased to have been selected by the DoD for this important project which will leverage our next-generation Smart Mobile Identity platform,” said Dean Senner, Chairman and CEO of AOptix. “Users of these systems in-field will benefit from a more compact, lightweight, versatile and accurate identity verification device than has previously been available. We are especially pleased to be working with CACI, leveraging its experience deploying sophisticated solutions for government agencies.”
  • The Iowa Army Ammunition Plant is planning on using more geothermal and solar energy to power its administration building. The effort is part of the “Netzero Energy” program. From the Army Times: “IAAAP received funding for this project through the American Recovery Act’s stimulus program. Congress awarded $1.46 million to convert the administration building’s cooling system to a more energy-efficient system…Already installed, the geothermal system incorporates a vertical closed, ground loop system. Vertical loops are used where the soil is too shallow for trenching, and minimize the disturbance to existing landscaping.”
  • A panel at the recent Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International discussed the future of “drones” last week. Peter SInger of the Brookings Institution noted that the stigma around unmanned aerial vehicles stems from both the public and military: “So you’ve got this challenge where everything from the military use to when people talk about using them on the domestic side, they keep coming back to the image of some kind of counterterrorism strike into Pakistan…Just as unmanned aerial systems face the public-perception problem, that same kind of perception problem is happening within the senior military leadership. That argument that is being made … that they are not good for anything else, in my opinion, is fundamentally wrong.”