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Persistent Systems Improves MPU5 Radio – Releases Software Update

Thursday, January 16th, 2020


NEW YORK, NY. – Dec 04, 2019 – Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) is excited to release Firmware Version 19.5.3 for the MPU5 and Embedded Module. This firmware addresses feedback from a readiness exercise conducted by the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division.

“Thank you to the Rakkasan’s for the in-depth after-action report. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and helps Persistent continue to improve the MPU5 in ways that are most beneficial to the warfighter,” said Eric Stern, Director of Engineering at Persistent.

Firmware Version 19.5.3 contains significant performance improvements specifically intended to benefit dismounted end users.  Improvements include:

• Improved Battery Life: about 3-hours increase in MPU5 runtime on a standard 6.8 Ah battery pack reduces the number of batteries soldiers must carry to support their mission duration. Power consumption improvements also benefit Embedded Module users.

• Improved Audio Quality: new Opus audio codec implementation, delivers crystal clear audio and an 8x reduction in network utilization for voice traffic. Improved audio clarity further reduces the cognitive load on the soldier.

• Rotary Knob implementation: users can now modify Audio Volume or select their Intercom Talk Group via the 8-position knob on the MPU5.

• LED Blackout Mode: users can now disable the status LED to support low-visibility operations.

• Simplified Web Management: Web interface is now streamlined based on the cables currently connected to the radio and displays only relevant settings to the user, improving ease of use and ensuring users are maximizing the capabilities of the MPU5.

• Multicast Firmware Upgrade: firmware upgrades to large MPU5 networks now occur via multicast, enabling a rapid upgrade of a large number of nodes.

• Rapid Configuration Tool: implementation of a tool to help automate the mass configuration of MPU5s. As users continue to create larger networks, rapid configuration becomes even more critical. 

“We want to empower warfighters with industry-leading capabilities, and receiving direct user feedback from operational units is extremely beneficial. Their feedback allows us to focus on improving existing capabilities and developing new ones to address capability gaps that can only be discovered in real-world deployments of the network,” Stern added.

Firmware Version 19.5.3 is immediately available. Existing customers will receive an email notification and can download the firmware from the new Persistent Customer Support Portal. All customers are encouraged to upgrade.

New Customer Within the US Department of Defense Selects INVISIO and Places a First Order of SEK 28 Million

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

A new customer within the US Department of Defense, has selected INVISIO to provide a suite of hearing enhancement devices that will enable users to communicate in critical situations while at the same time protecting their hearing. The order is valued at approximately SEK 28 million, and deliveries will take place in the first half of 2020. 

“We are very proud to be selected by another unit within the US Department of Defense. It is an important reference win for us, as the rest of the world closely studies what solutions the US forces use,” says Lars Højgård Hansen, CEO of INVISIO.

ENVISTACOM Awarded Million Multi-Year Task Order By U.S. Army for Deployable SATCOM Terminals

Saturday, December 14th, 2019

ATLANTA – December 4, 2019 – Envistacom today announced a $47.8 million, three-year award to support the Deployable Ku Band Earth Terminal (DKET) program managed by the U.S. Army’s Product Manager Satellite Communications (PdM SATCOM).  The task order was awarded under the Deployable Adaptive Global Responder Support (DAGRS) indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract worth up to $480 million over five years. Envistacom will provide installation, training, relocation, integration, and upgrades for new, legacy and existing DKETs, DKET LT (“Lite” version) and mobile DKET (MKET).

PdM SATCOM is responsible for the Army’s tactical multi-channel satellite ground and commercial terminal programs and Envistacom will help upgrade existing terminals, as well as spares, new terminals, installation, relocations and necessary interface equipment and services. Additionally, the new deployable SATCOM terminal antennas provided by Envistacom will be multi-band capable, operating in Ku, Ka and X-Band frequencies.

“Envistacom will help support the Army’s PdM SATCOM achieve its modernization goals through the implementation of virtualization, and other new technologies,” said Nelson Santini, Senior Vice President of Sales at Envistacom. “We have built a strong rapport with the Army, and we are pleased to be selected for such an important program providing satellite transmission capability within the Department of Defense global network for almost 20 years.”

The DKET is the backbone of long-haul transmissions for the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), with over 80 DKETs deployed to support multiple areas of operation (AOs). DKET provides intra-country communications within and between regional commands globally, and inter-theater communications with reach back capabilities to other countries and continents.

For more information on company solutions or contract vehicles, follow Envistacom online at, and on Facebook , @Envistacom on Twitter, as well as on LinkedIn and YouTube.

82nd Paratroopers Test Command and Staff Palletized Airborne Node

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Recently, the 82nd Airborne Division’s Devil Brigade conducted an Airborne Operation. While many Devils were in flight to the drop zone, members of the Brigade Staff were testing the CASPAN (Command and Staff Palletized Airborne Node) – a large, roll-on/roll-off workstation designed for in-flight mission command collaboration with the Key-Leader Enabler Node, allowing Devil 6 to maintain communication with subordinate commanders during flight.

The CASPAN – equipped with ten airline-style seats, four LED screens, ruggedized laptops and headsets – provides yet another advancement to the Devil Brigade, and will allow them to maintain real-time comms during Airborne operations and exercises, like next Spring’s Defender 20 in Europe.

New Anti-Jam GPS Systems From General Dynamics Fielded To Soldiers In Europe

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

General Dynamics Mission Systems subsidiary GPS Source, Inc. has developed jam-resistant GPS systems designed to provide soldiers in combat vehicles with more reliable access to positioning, navigation, & timing data.

Imagine a soldier in a U.S. Army vehicle convoy using GPS to travel through harsh terrain in unfamiliar territory. Suddenly, their GPS signal is interrupted. The soldier may not even know it yet, but his convoy is now hundreds of miles from their destination without their primary method of navigation.

Attacks on GPS signals from adversaries are becoming more frequently reported in the news and are an active threat to U.S. Forces. These attacks affect not only navigation systems, but also warfighters’ ability to fire GPS guided missiles, identify the locations of friends and foes, and maintain precise timing for their communications systems.

In response to this threat, the U.S. Army has begun fielding Mounted Assured Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (MAPS) systems designed to provide soldiers in combat vehicles with more access to GPS signals and alternative GPS data input and validation.

The 1st Generation (Gen-1) version of the MAPS GPS system was developed by General Dynamics Mission Systems subsidiary, GPS Source, Inc. These jam-resistant GPS systems are designed to provide trusted and reliable positioning, navigation, and timing data, independent of the availability or integrity of GPS signals. The MAPS Gen-1 system includes GPS Source’s latest Assured Positioning, Navigation, & Timing (APNT) products:

Enhanced D3 (ED3) Receiver – Provides access to SAASM and M-Code protected GPS data

VICTORY CSAC Accessory Module (VCAM) – Contains a Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC), software designed for electronic surveillance / electronic protection (ES/EP), and allows for integration of other solutions such as an Inertial Navigation System (INS) and anti-jam antennas

Anti-Jam Antenna System (AJAS) – Mitigates impact of enemy jammers with the use of a FRPA antenna and Anti-Jam Antenna Integration Module (AJAIM)

The MAPS Gen-1 GPS system has been shipped out for use by the Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany in the Fall of 2019, to generate quick feedback from the field, allowing for rapid improvement and development in the 2nd and 3rd generation phases. Eventually, the Army hopes to roll out the systems on a larger scale to troops throughout the world.

Mounted Assured PNT System (MAPS) Gen 1 is now available for order via the Common Hardware Systems (CHS-5) contract for indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) acquisitions.

US Army Project May Improve Military Communications by Boosting 5G Technology

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Nov. 21, 2019) — An Army-funded project may boost 5G and mm-Wave technologies, improving military communications and sensing equipment.

Carbonics, Inc., partnered with the University of Southern California to develop a carbon nanotube technology that, for the first time, achieved speeds exceeding 100GHz in radio frequency applications. The milestone eclipses the performance — and efficiency — of traditional Radio Frequency Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor, known as RF-CMOS technology, that is ubiquitous in modern consumer electronics, including cell phones.

“This milestone shows that carbon nanotubes, long thought to be a promising communications chip technology, can deliver,” said Dr. Joe Qiu, program manager, solid state and electromagnetics at the Army Research Office. “The next step is scaling this technology, proving that it can work in high-volume manufacturing. Ultimately, this technology could help the Army meet its needs in communications, radar, electronic warfare and other sensing applications.”

The research was published in the journal Nature Electronics.

The work, funded by ARO, an element of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, is a part of a Small Business Technology Transfer Program. The program focuses on feasibility studies leading to prototype demonstration of technology for specific applications.

For nearly two decades, researchers have theorized that carbon nanotubes would be well suited as a high-frequency transistor technology due to its unique one-dimensional electron transport characteristics. The engineering challenge has been to assemble the high-purity semiconducting nanotubes into densely aligned arrays and create a working device out of the nanomaterial.

Carbonics, a venture backed start-up, and USC, successfully overcame this challenge. Projections based on scaling single carbon nanotube device metrics suggest the technology could ultimately far exceed the top-tier incumbent RF technology, Gallium Arsenide.

Carbonics employs a deposition technology called ZEBRA that enables carbon nanotubes to be densely aligned and deposited onto a variety of chip substrates including silicon, silicon-on-insulator, quartz and flexible materials. This allows the technology to be directly integrated with traditional CMOS digital logic circuits, overcoming the typical problem of heterogeneous integration.

“With this exciting accomplishment, the timing is ripe to leverage our CMOS-compatible technology for the 5G and mm-Wave defense communication markets,” said Carbonics’ CEO Kos Galatsis. “We are now engaged in licensing and technology transfer partnerships with industry participants, while we continue to advance this disruptive RF technology.”

In 2014, Carbonics spun-out from the joint center of UCLA-USC and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia called the Center of Excellence for Green Nanotechnologies.

The research is based in part, on work funded by the Army more than 10 years ago at University of California Irvine. A graduate student who worked on that project for his doctoral thesis research, Dr. Christopher Rutherglen, is now Carbonics’ chief technology officer.

By U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

Army Prototypes Radio Network Management Software Tool Suite

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

To address Soldier feedback requesting easier and faster ways to plan and manage the Army’s advanced software defined radios, such as the 2-Channel Leader Radio, the service is piloting a new software tool suite that reduces the time it takes to initialize, plan and load a brigade’s worth of radios, from four weeks to minutes.

These new user-friendly software prototypes also lay the foundation for rapid unit task reorganization and enable tasks once performed by advanced Signal Soldiers to be performed by general purpose users for increased operational flexibility.

The Army’s Program Executive Office for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T) leveraged its Unified Network Operations Middle Tier Acquisition (UNO MTA) authority to develop these pioneering capabilities in just three months, compared to a traditional full custom Army development effort that would have taken 12 to 18 months, or more.

“Our new user-friendly Network Operations planning and management software prototype tools work hand-in-hand to initialize, plan and load a brigade’s worth of radios faster than ever before,” said Cpt. Nicholas Milano, assistant product manager for Tactical Cyber & Network Operations, Project Manager Tactical Network, assigned to PEO C3T. “Each integrated piece of software works in unison in an end-to-end network planning and initialization workflow.”

The prototype software tool suite includes:

– The Integrated Planner: an overarching system that plans and creates configuration files for numerous network elements, including the software defined radios supporting the Army’s tactical network. This planner was developed to integrate or replace existing network planners.

– Network Operations Management System (NOMS): an overarching prototype system used to manage the network and support non-classified, classified and coalition network enclaves with common look, touch, feel, and functionality.

– Initialization Tool Suite (ITS): enables Soldiers to manage and modify their network initialization data products network design on the ground in theater. Data Products provide the information required to enable end-to-end network connectivity and interoperability across the Army’s tactical internet.

— Codex: an authoritative database with a common data model and open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), enabling standard access to the data product network design. APIs enable applications to “talk” to each other.

— Atom: a simplified radio planner that provides intuitive workflow and an open API that uses the data product network design to provide a radio waveform plan. The Atom prototype will inform enhancements and future capability and fielding decisions on the final new solution to support existing and emerging planning requirements, potentially replacing the legacy Joint Enterprise Network Management Capability.

–Black Sails: a simplified radio configuration tool that uses the waveform plan through an open API to configure software defined lower tactical internet radios. Atom and Black Sails work hand-in-hand — Atom creates the plan and Black Sails generates the configuration files and loads the radios.

The UNO MTA is helping the PEO rapidly deliver a more robust, integrated, and standardized set of network management capabilities that enable Soldiers from tactical edge up through corps to plan, configure, manage, monitor, provision and secure/defend their network assets. UNO efforts simplify and reduce the number of tools Soldiers use to manage and defend the tactical communications network.

“We are leveraging the OTAs to prototype solutions to configure and integrate tactical and enterprise networks, enabling the delivery of information and communications among Soldiers at all echelons, utilizing network resources prioritized according the commander’s intent,” Milano said.

To create the unified radio planning and management software tool suite, the UNO MTA team-of-teams concentrated on prototyping commercial-off-the-shelf software applications for network planning and management, integrating them into existing government programs of record, and then quickly inserting them into military formations to gain feedback for further enhancements and to support future Army capability decisions.

The team is working with operational units to pilot these software tools and leverage Soldier feedback to inform requirements as part of the Army’s developing Integrated Tactical Network, or ITN. The ITN capabilities work together to enable commanders to leverage both military and commercially available networks for secure and reliable multi pathway communications and information sharing between Army, joint and coalition partners. The ITN commercial-off-the-shelf equipment includes new expeditionary satellite terminals, line-of-sight backhaul, mobile broadband kits, radio waveforms, a two-channel Leader Radio, single channel radios, end user devices, network gateways, unified network operations tools and data products.

As part of a developmental operations construct, PEO C3T engineers are implementing continuous exploration, integration, and deployment of the software prototypes that include quarterly Soldier touch points with various units, including the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division; and the 10th Mountain Division. Using this common cadence, each program office has the dedicated resources necessary to continuously define, build, test and deliver value to the Army, said Keith Whittaker, network planning product lead for PM Tactical Network.

“We gain continuous feedback on the prototype design, which is immediately fed back into the software development sprint cycles, to be refined again as part of the next quarterly release cycle,” Whittaker said. “This construct has already proven its value, enabling the program offices to observe Soldiers interacting with prototype mock-ups before a single line of code is ever written.”

Through requests for proposals and technical exchange meetings–initiated by the Network-Cross Functional Team– PEO C3T determined the best options for integrating existing capabilities with minimum development efforts.

Throughout the development process of the radio planning and management software tool suite, the team purposely laid a foundation for an open framework and open standards, including open APIs.

“This open architecture ensures future DoD software and system development can most effectively and efficiently share information between systems and more easily and rapidly integrate future systems to improve functionality and capability,” Whitaker said.

The open construct will be critical to future network modernization endeavors, as the DoD continues to develop integrated capability, such as the ITN, which includes multiple vendors, hardware, software, configurations, and systems that overarch multiple programs.

Story by Amy Walker, PM Tactical Network, PEO C3T public affairs

Photos by Kathy Bailey, PEO C3T public affairs and 1st BCT, 82nd Airborne Division public affairs

US Army Army Issues Over 10,000 Modern Simple Key Loaders to Units

Saturday, October 26th, 2019

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland — In an ongoing effort to modernize the Army’s network capabilities, Program Executive Office Command, Control and Communications-Tactical’s (PEO C3T) Project Lead Network Enablers (PL Net E) is conducting a Simple Key Loader (SKL) Turn-In and Exchange Program for units all over the world.

The SKL is a hand-held device that Soldiers use to load cryptographic keys onto their equipment; thereby, enabling secure communication. The legacy SKL V1 and V2 are now obsolete, due to their limited capabilities, and are being removed from the field — primarily through the Turn-In and Exchange Program managed by PL Net E’s Product Lead Communications Security (PdL COMSEC) whose responsibility is to develop, procure, test, field and sustain COMSEC solutions to protect the tactical network.

The main objective of the program is to collect legacy devices still in the field, which will reduce vulnerabilities associated with using older equipment, and replacing them with the new SKL V3.1. PL Net E coordinates the shipment of the collected devices back to the Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD), who then marks them for demilitarization and disposal. The issuing of the newer equipment continues to push the Army forward by deploying modern capabilities that are easy to use, resilient and hardened to protect against adversarial cyber threats. To date, the team has issued over 10,000 SKL V3.1s.

The Turn-In and Exchange Program is a coordinated effort with the U.S. Army Forces Command, National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, Communications Security Logistics Activity (CSLA) and TYAD. “The SKL V3.1 Exchange Program schedule is developed in accordance with the Department of the Army Master Priority List, with the focus on deploying units and high priority missions. However, this doesn’t account for units that are not on the priority list that need modern or replacement SKLs,” said Mr. Scott Lambert, PdL COMSEC SKL Assistant Product Manager.

PdL COMSEC and CSLA came together and developed a strategy to address the backlog of units requiring upgraded devices who are not on the priority list. As a resolution, CSLA contributed 2,500 reconditioned V2.1 and V3.0 SKLs from depot stock to the Exchange Program. PL Net E is now collaborating with CSLA to issue the reconditioned V2.1s and V3.0s, as well as new V3.1s to units, depending on the circumstance. The partnership with CSLA frees up V3.1 assets that can fill the requirement of units not on the priority list, but in need of SKLs. “As a result of the collaboration, PdL COMSEC will avoid having to procure those 2,500 assets to meet demands,” said Mr. Lambert.

By Robin Schumacher, PL Network Enablers/PEO C3T Public Affairs