SIG Sauer Academy

New Computer for Israeli Dismounts

Black Diamond Advanced Technology has been awarded the production and manufacturing contract from Computech International (CTI) for a ruggedized, wearable tactical computer system for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The production award follows a successful prototype phase, which began in January 2009 and culminated in a successful 6-month end-user evaluation. Dubbed the Digital Army Computer System (DACS) it will be deployed by the IDF in late 2010.

DACS, an integral part of the IDF’s Digital Army Program (DAP), is a networked communications and navigation system designed to be worn primarily by the dismounted warfighter or vehicle mounted to provide real-time situational awareness and communications.

Its modular approach allows for the integration of communications, networking, positional information (GPS) and data acquisition required to provide real-time situational awareness to fighting forces. DACS’ reconfigurability — integrating application-specific components — offers the flexibility of mission-specific deployment across the ranks, from frontline warfighters to command and communications personnel. DACS is a basic building block within C4I Corp, the IDF’s telecommunications branch.

“DACS is a significant development for the IDF because it marks the first time that dismounted commanders are not tethered to their stationary or mobile command posts. The dismounted commander can be anywhere in the field and still have and provide the reliable situational awareness needed to carry out their mission,” said Yehoo Even-Zahav, Brig. General, retired (former head of the IDF’s C4I Technical division).

DACS recently won the Program of the Year award from the IDF Ground Forces Chief of the C4I Brigade, based on its technical merit, the completeness of the program and the overall program performance.

Black Diamond’s contribution to the DACS solution is an adaptation of its combat-proven, ultra-rugged SwitchBackTM computer platform and comprises three main components: the Switchback Wearable Computer, which integrates the IDF encrypted radio interface and communications; a handheld, sunlight-viewable display; and a docking system that is incorporated into a soldier’s body armor or mounted in a vehicle.

“Wearable technology is the next logical step for dismounted warfighters in the 21st century, and Black Diamond is currently developing wearable systems for two of the top five militaries in the world,” said Justin Dyster, Black Diamond’s vice president of engineering. “Our extensive research and experience gives us unique insight into the battlefield challenges of wearable systems. That’s why DACS can run existing battle-management software, can manage the embedded secure wireless communications seamlessly, and includes an FPGA capable of aiding in security management and providing additional inputs/outputs for tasks like real-time encoding and decoding of video.” DACS was developed in partnership with the Israel Ministry of Defense Department of Defense Research and Development and the IDF Ground Forces Technical Logistics Brigade “Yahtal.”

“DACS represents a breakthrough in the practical and reliable deployment of the soldier-borne computer,” said Eyal Shachi, CEO of CTI. “With its ultra-rugged design, modularity and forward-thinking architecture, DACS will remain a viable military tool for many years to come. As technology progresses, DACS can grow to meet tomorrow’s situational awareness needs. We started down this road many years ago; by partnering with Black Diamond we’ve been able to achieve our goals.”

Like all SwitchBack rugged computers, the DACS components are sealed to IP67 and qualified to MIL-STD-810 for temperature, altitude, vibration, shock, salt fog, drop and explosive atmosphere. The SwitchBack Wearable Computer is additionally qualified to MIL-STD-461 for EMI performance. The system features a removable hard drive, up to 4 GB RAM, a hot-swappable battery and operates in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 55°C (-4°F to 131°F).

Black Diamond is also providing hardened, wearable computing hardware for Raytheon Company’s Ground Soldier System for the U.S. Army.

Black Diamond is in the Liteye’s booth #609 this week at SOFIC in Tampa.

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