Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, a division of Raytheon in Waltham, Mass., can lay claim to unveiling what is arguably the hottest news to come out of AUSA 2010, the annual meeting and exposition of the Association of the United States Army, held last week in Washington, DC. It’s RATS. I’m not kidding.
The acronym is unfortunate, but the system may hold the key to greater mission effectiveness, increased safety and more lives saved, significantly improved information sharing, and well-informed, split-second decision-making. RATS is the Raytheon Advanced Tactical System. It’s fast, it’s the latest innovation in the growing Google Android revolution, it’s COTS (commercial off-the-shelf), and it’s ready for the battlefield.
“RATS provides our U.S. military forces with a last mile of connectivity for delivering images and full motion video to our warfighters,” says Mark Bigham, vice president of Raytheon’s Defense and Civil Mission Solutions. “We are providing an innovative technology that is available in the commercial market and applying it to warfighter needs. Utilizing existing technologies provides developers the ability to focus on requirements that our warfighters need now.”
Raytheon’s tactical mobile platform is designed to deliver multimedia content to warfighters fast. In fact, that very thing—getting the right information into the right hands at the right time—has been the goal of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for some time. Raytheon’s latest is helping the mil/aero industry get that much closer to a truly efficient and effective network-centric (or net-centric) battlefield.
Compact, portable, and handheld, the new common mobile device “disseminates vital intelligence data via the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) Intelligence Backbone (DIB) architecture system,” says a company representative. “Information is instantly viewed on the DIB and searchable to mobile device users and other users. Raytheon has demonstrated how the device provides the warfighter the ability to make decisions in seconds and minutes, rather than hours.”
This geek is encouraged by Raytheon’s new mobile device and its robust use of Android; but (and there’s usually a “but” when it comes to mil/aero use), is it secure?