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Black Diamond Introduces New Tactical Computer System

Black Diamond Advanced Technology recently introduced its Modular Tactical System (MTS), a lightweight, wearable and rugged computer system that is integrated into the user’s uniform and equipment, and optimized for dismounted C4ISR. What’s more, it’s available now as a Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) product.

On of the major issues with “tactical computers” is that they become attention hogs. It’s kind of like texting while driving. You end up taking your head out of the fight in order to deal with the computer. Black Diamond recognized this and took steps to mitigate the effect. The equipment is integrated directly into your equipment. This means you don’t have to take time to put a computer away and can instantly transition from learning of a threat to dealing with it. The system is well suited for Command and Control use by small unit leaders, targeting (JTACs, TACPs and Forward Observers), combat medics, explosive ordnance disposal as well as combat weather and military intelligence applications.

Additionally, this modular approach of deconstructing the computer and communications system to fully integrate it into the uniform and common equipment means it is lighter than other models. It can be integrated into most plate carriers with a new cummerbund for cable management. Additionally, the entire system can be integrated into a low profile pack or bag for a more self contained operational capability.

The heart of the MTS is the Tactical Mission Controller (TMC), a low-profile processing platform, peripheral controller and power manager which is carried on the rear of the plate carrier. Cables are routed through an interchangeable cummerbund that integrates with body armor. A flip-down front pocket opens quickly for access to the removable 6.5-inch, sunlight-viewable, night vision goggle (NVG)-compatible Universal Tactical Display (UTD). A Tactical HUB for interfacing with mission-specific peripherals like rangefinders is routed along the cummerbund to provide easy, non-intrusive access to I/O ports. Power is sourced from a wide range of existing military batteries already carried by the Soldier.

“Black Diamond’s goal was to approach the wearable computer solution as a complete system, providing true on-the-move performance and situational awareness for a variety of applications,” said Justin Dyster, Black Diamond’s vice president of engineering. “By offering the MTS as a COTS system, we’re eliminating the cost and developmental delay for applications that may be too small for a full-blown development program and are too complex to employ basic soldier system computers.”

For those of you concerned about security, Black Diamond has thought about that as well. It features a Trusted Platform Module, can be zerorized and can detect tampering. Additionally, the UTD produces no detectable light beyond 10 meters when used in NVG mode.

Finally, if you have been using a battlefield computing device you will be at home with MTS. It is a Windows or Linux-based system and is available loaded with the applications you already use: FBCB2 JCR-V, TACP CASS, BAO Suite, StrikeLink, Falcon View, PSS-SOF as well as any other specialized applications pending verification of compatibility with the standard load. Additionally, MTS features a couple of software applications like LaunchPad that, when used with the UTD remind you of using a smart phone. You tap an icon and the application launches. No scrolling through a bunch of menus to find what you are looking for. When used in conjunction with AppConfig, your applications are launched, sized and placed exactly where you want them on the screen. There is also software on the system to control radios as well as the Coastal Defense MVR-IV from the UTD. Finally, Black Diamond has included a Built In Test every time the system powers up to verify integrity.

All in all, a lot of thought has been into the MTS and it is obvious Black Diamond has taken input from users and applied it. To learn more visit www.bdatech.com.

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12 Responses to “Black Diamond Introduces New Tactical Computer System”

  1. M@ says:

    Wonder if that will fit an iPad or other types of tablets?

  2. 0321 says:

    iPads aren’t sturdy enough for tactical situations, unless you want it to be the cool guy at the range (in which case there would be better choices to put your money in).

  3. Levi says:

    That’s retawded

  4. Administrator says:

    What’s “retawded”?

  5. Hartmann says:

    …if your brain wants your finger to hit the “r” key and your finger then hits the “w” key – that’s “Retawded” … 😉

    BTT: Use the iPad with the OtterBox Defender Case. It is “sturdy” enough. Connect to external antennas for communication, navigation and a solar panel. Then imagine tactical apps. Combined with all existing app solutions it could be very helpful. Libraries with first aid, survival, calculators, log books, translators etc the possibilities are endless.

  6. D says:

    The Otterbox Defender may be “sturdy” but it does not carry any mil spec ratings. You get that thing near water or in a sand storm and its toast. The main reason for the size is environmental seals and all the connectors for comm, nav, and power. Add all of these features and you will have something the size of the MTS. Seems like the Ipad is the answer to everything these days…

  7. Administrator says:

    It’s a common misconception that you can hand Joe a “insert commercial technology here” and it will solve all of his problems and work flawlessly. The truth is, Joe will break it or pawn it, or the gizmo will be crushed, immersed in beverage of choice, or meet some other equally horrid end. OR…it just plain old won’t work in the field and Joe will bad mouth it.

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  9. BumpInTheDark says:

    I’d venture to say that the MTS is not necessarily the most elegant solution for so-called “battle command” tasks with regards to software, which makes the hardware of this system so heavy and complicated. Windows XP? The time will soon come when the Army will need to adopt a mobile platform to replace the OS, or better yet develop a proprietary platform.
    The reason why people are mentioning the iPad, I believe, is because the underlying platform is better suited for mobile solutions, including possibly those of the Army. Yes, the hardware is not ruggedized, C4ISR software does not exist for the platform, but if these issues were to be fully addressed, I can imagine that such a solution would be far more economical, secure, responsive, and lightweight than what we see here today. IMHO

  10. m4shooter says:

    Considering that the programs mentioned in the article are all Windows based it seems to me that it makes sense to use a windows platform.

    An iPad isn’t going to do you any good with nothing to run on it.

  11. Administrator says:

    I have an iPad and I can tell you that an iPad is not going to cut it. It’s not robust enough and the OS is not suited at all to this type of use.

    m4shooter brings up a very valid point. Complain about MS all you want, but almost all of our applications run on Windows. On top of that, when you take a program like FalconView, applications or plug-ins have been developed that run in the background to enhance its capability or provide additional capability. You need a full computer to do that.

    Then there is the entire network issue which everyone seems to be ignoring. A Soldier carries his network with him in the form of a radio. He can’t waltz into country X and rely on their existing cellular system to fight a war. He might as well carry a string and a can around. Bandwidth remains a serious concern as well.

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