TYR Tactical

Archive for the ‘Digitization’ Category

U.S. Inauguration’s Military Units Used Draper-developed WebTAK for Communications, Situational Awareness

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

CAMBRIDGE, MA—April 15, 2021—At the recent presidential inauguration, public safety was top of mind as thousands of military personnel were posted throughout the U.S. Capitol and the surrounding neighborhoods. Behind the scenes, a new software program developed by Draper called WebTAK gave military units a way to communicate and respond to potential threats in real-time.

The software is based on the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK), which was developed by the Department of Defense and used by Special Operations forces and warfighters. ATAK has been tested through years of real-world use in combat situations, by more than 10,000 active warfighters.

After countless successful military operations, ATAK has grown to a broader product line known as TAK, which is also known as the Tactical Awareness Kit. The software has been deployed on popular technology platforms that include Android OS (ATAK), Microsoft Windows OS (WinTAK) and soon on Apple OS (iTAK). Now, along with contributing to the development of ATAK and WinTAK, Draper has developed a web-based version called WebTAK.

At the inauguration, WebTAK was used to share situational awareness and coordinate across multiple agencies. While specifics of the deployment are unavailable for security reasons, the goal of WebTAK is to enhance decision support, situational awareness (SA) and protect military and civilian populations from threats, both intentional and incidental, including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives (CBRNE).

Like ATAK, WebTAK is a geospatial collaboration platform that allows teams to share information and access data to improve real-time situation awareness. WebTAK provides a wide variety of useful SA functions including mapping and navigation, range and bearing, text chat, force tracking, geospatial markup tools, image and file sharing and video playback.

“For the first time, operators can access TAK from a password protected and encrypted website on any internet-connected device, instantly,” said Dan Nissen, a software engineer on Draper’s WebTAK team.

As the company’s technical director on WebTAK, Kyle Finley says Draper is not just about creating new technologies, but also ensuring that the full potential of those technologies is realized. “WebTAK’s foundation is a set of core capabilities built using modern web software principles and practices. The recent addition of plugin support to that core opens WebTAK to a whole new world of uses,” Finley said.

WebTAK’s Software Development Kit (SDK) gives developers a framework to quickly develop those custom plugins. These plugins enable rapid integration of innovative technologies into WebTAK, allowing the application to adapt to the continually evolving user needs for situational awareness. In other words, WebTAK was built to be flexible enough so when there is a new “must have” communication device or other technology, anyone with general coding skills can quickly write code enabling the use of that technology within WebTAK.

With WebTAK running on an internet-connected device, a user enters a URL, logs into the system and instantly receives information that can inform situational awareness of an event. The software offers protections through a secure socket layer and end-to-end encryption. As a device-agnostic application, WebTAK is designed to run equally well across various mobile or desktop devices.

“Maintaining continuous situational awareness is the foundation for maintaining security. With WebTAK, warfighters, first responders and public safety officials can customize their operating environment, depending on their role or mission, and benefit from anywhere, anytime secure connectivity through the internet,” explained Brad Vautour, sound designer and senior enterprise software engineer at Draper.

The work is sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). DTRA is funding development of ATAK, WinTAK, and WebTAK decision support tools, along with supporting leading edge technologies.


Machine Learning Shows Potential to Enhance Quantum Information Transfer

Friday, March 26th, 2021

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Army-funded researchers demonstrated a machine learning approach that corrects quantum information in systems composed of photons, improving the outlook for deploying quantum sensing and quantum communications technologies on the battlefield.

When photons are used as the carriers of quantum information to transmit data, that information is often distorted due to environment fluctuations destroying the fragile quantum states necessary to preserve it.

Researchers from Louisiana State University exploited a type of machine learning to correct for information distortion in quantum systems composed of photons. Published in Advanced Quantum Technologies, the team demonstrated that machine learning techniques using the self-learning and self-evolving features of artificial neural networks can help correct distorted information. This results outperformed traditional protocols that rely on conventional adaptive optics.

“We are still in the fairly early stages of understanding the potential for machine learning techniques to play a role in quantum information science,” said Dr. Sara Gamble, program manager at the Army Research Office, an element of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. “The team’s result is an exciting step forward in developing this understanding, and it has the potential to ultimately enhance the Army’s sensing and communication capabilities on the battlefield.”

For this research, the team used a type of neural network to correct for distorted spatial modes of light at the single-photon level.

“The random phase distortion is one of the biggest challenges in using spatial modes of light in a wide variety of quantum technologies, such as quantum communication, quantum cryptography, and quantum sensing,” said Narayan Bhusal, doctoral candidate at LSU. “Our method is remarkably effective and time-efficient compared to conventional techniques. This is an exciting development for the future of free-space quantum technologies.”

According to the research team, this smart quantum technology demonstrates the possibility of encoding of multiple bits of information in a single photon in realistic communication protocols affected by atmospheric turbulence.

“Our technique has enormous implications for optical communication and quantum cryptography,” said Omar Magaña?Loaiza, assistant professor of physics at LSU. “We are now exploring paths to implement our machine learning scheme in the Louisiana Optical Network Initiative to make it smart, more secure, and quantum.”

Visit the laboratory’s Media Center to discover more Army science and technology stories.

By US Army DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs

GNARBOX 2.0 Drone Edition and Edge Compute Platform

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

This week GNARBOX announced two new products, GNARBOX 2.0 Drone Edition and Edge Compute Platform. For those of you unfamiliar, GNARBOX hit the imagery storage and exploitation scene a few years ago with a crowdfunded device which allows both storage and digital manipulation of image files outside of a computing environment like a laptop or handheld device. Rather, the heavy lifting is accomplished on the GNARBOX via wireless control from apps on a handheld.

Although intended for photographers, the tech was quickly picked up by others who work with various forms of imagery data sets.

The company claims the GNARBOX features “Mil-Spec” environmental hardness, so take it with a grain of salt until we verify what that actually means. It does however, include a 1TB NVMe SSD with two USB-C ports, an SD card slot, and a Micro HDMI port. The USB-C ports have a transfer rate of 390 MB/s, while the SD card has a transfer rate of 75 MB/s.

DNG images, H.264, H.265, and ProRes formats are supported by the GNARBOX 2.0 Drone Edition and can be backed up to Dropbox.

Additionally, it uses xxHash64 Checksum with byte-for-byte verification checks for corruption in the field automatically with progress displayed on the GNARBOX screen.

Essentially, Drone Edition is just software. It still resides on the GNARBOX. For the drone operator, it offers automated file organization using tagged geo-location and flight data to find specific image data. It also incorporates Pix4D’s cloud software to make workflows simpler and transfer data seamless.

Data sets may utilize a iOS hotspot to deliver from the GNARBOX to your cloud for additional 2D and 3D processing.

“While developing a complete solution for Photo and Video workflow, we built our stack on a containerized architecture with future markets in mind. The capabilities of a computer like ours are driven by software, and expanding offerings to new applications has been the vision since the beginning. It doesn’t matter if the data being collected is off a photographer’s camera, a powerline inspector’s drone, or an autonomous vehicle at an industrial site — it’s all data in need of storage, processing, and upload from the edge. We believe our proven track record in delivering rugged computing ecosystems will help us bring significant value to these markets.”
-Tim Feess

Interestingly, access to the software is via annual subscription and GNARBOX is offering a very optimistic 10-year plan.

It gets better (or worse, depending upon your point of view) as they also launched their Edge Compute Platform GNARBOX which allows drone operators to deploy software right in the platform, at the edge, rather than at a central server. This will make it more difficult to conduct some forms of countermeasures against threat systems.

Army, Air Force Fund Research to Pursue Quantum Computing

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Joint Army- and Air Force-funded researchers have taken a step toward building a fault-tolerant quantum computer, which could provide enhanced data processing capabilities.

Quantum computing has the potential to deliver new computing capabilities for how the Army plans to fight and win in what it calls multi-domain operations. It may also advance materials discovery, artificial intelligence, biochemical engineering and many other disciplines needed for the future military; however, because qubits, the fundamental building blocks of quantum computers, are intrinsically fragile, a longstanding barrier to quantum computing has been effective implementation of quantum error correction.

Researchers at University of Massachusetts Amherst, with funding from the Army Research Office  and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, identified a way to protect quantum information from a common error source in superconducting systems, one of the leading platforms for the realization of large-scale quantum computers. The research, published in Nature, realized a novel way for quantum errors to be spontaneously corrected.

ARO is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory. AFOSR supports basic research for the Air Force and Space Force as part of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“This is a very exciting accomplishment not only because of the fundamental error correction concept the team was able to demonstrate, but also because the results suggest this overall approach may amenable to implementations with high resource efficiency, said Dr. Sara Gamble, quantum information science program manager, ARO. “Efficiency is increasingly important as quantum computation systems grow in size to the scales we’ll need for Army relevant applications.”

Today’s computers are built with transistors representing classical bits, either a 1 or 0. Quantum computing is a new paradigm of computation using quantum bits or qubits, where quantum superposition and entanglement can be exploited for exponential gains in processing power.

Existing demonstrations of quantum error correction are active, meaning that they require periodically checking for errors and immediately fixing them. This demands hardware resources and thus hinders the scaling of quantum computers.

In contrast, the researchers’ experiment achieves passive quantum error correction by tailoring the friction or dissipation experienced by the qubit. Because friction is commonly considered the nemesis of quantum coherence, this result may appear surprising. The trick is that the dissipation has to be designed specifically in a quantum manner.

This general strategy has been known in theory for about two decades, but a practical way to obtain such dissipation and put it in use for quantum error correction has been a challenge.

“Demonstrating such non-traditional approaches will hopefully spur more clever ideas for overcoming some of the most challenging issues for quantum science,” said Dr. Grace Metcalfe, program officer for Quantum Information Science at AFOSR.

Looking forward, researchers said the implication is that there may be more avenues to protect qubits from errors and do so less expensively.

“Although our experiment is still a rather rudimentary demonstration, we have finally fulfilled this counterintuitive theoretical possibility of dissipative QEC,” said Dr. Chen Wang, University of Massachusetts Amherst physicist. “This experiment raises the outlook of potentially building a useful fault-tolerant quantum computer in the mid to long run.”

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

USAF’s Agile Combat Employment Demonstration Leverages Persistent Systems MANET Technology

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Company’s mobile ad hoc network enables capabilities necessary to establish and operate small, rapidly deployable air bases in geographically dispersed areas, during conflict with near-peer power.

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”) announced today that its Wave Relay® mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) technology successfully supported the U.S. Air Force’s demonstration of its Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept.

ACE seeks to counter the threat near-peer powers like China and Russia pose to American force projection by shifting from large, established air bases to smaller, rapidly deployable, temporary airstrips manned by skeleton crews.

“Normally, you would have hundreds of people on a large Air Force base to support a squadron of fighter jets,” said Todd Grant, Persistent’s Director of Business Development for the Air Force and C4ISR. “With ACE, you get the same capability from a smaller, harder-to-target footprint that moves.”

To accomplish this, the U.S. Air Force requires a highly versatile and mobile command-and-control network that can tie together the core elements a combat wing required to plan missions, maintain jets, put them in the air, and defend the airstrip. An additional goal is to minimize the cost by leveraging existing Air Force assets, such as legacy radios, computer servers, and satellite terminals.

“That’s what we have shown with our Wave Relay® MANET during this recent demonstration,” said Adrien Robenhymer, Persistent’s VP for Business Development for Air Force, Intelligence Community, and Department of Energy Programs. “We connected geographically dispersed units at different military bases, providing users with direct communication, situational awareness, full motion video, and audio.”

The demonstration proved that the Air Force has the networking capability to support expeditionary air bases in an A2AD environment while saving hundreds of millions of dollars.

Persistent also demonstrated automated PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, and Emergency) communications via satellite, internet, and 5G cellular, as well as by local area network for conditions when a beyond-line-of-sight capability is not available.

“In a world where technologies increasingly depend upon Cloud Computing availability, Persistent’s Base Defense and Missile Field Solutions can operate completely standalone when the Cloud is not available, enabling operation in a ‘CloudNONE’ scenario,” said Robenhymer.

But the implications of the ACE demonstration are even greater than that.

“The interoperability lessons that were learned here flow into the Advanced Battle Management System, the Air Force’s multi-billion-dollar effort to connect computers, sensors and shooters at machine-speed, in keeping with the U.S. Department of Defense’s vision of Joint All Domain Command and Control,” he said.

The next step, Persistent officials say, is to take the real-life capabilities shown with ACE and merge them with future Advanced Battle Management System work.

RfPatrol and MPU5 Create Integrated Soldier System

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the integration of its body-worn UAS passive detection device RfPatrol with the Persistent Systems MPU5 – the worlds most advanced, scalable, and efficient Mobile Ad Hoc Networking (MANET) soldier radio system. The MPU5 is offered in Australia by CISTECH Solutions, the premier Radio over IP and Network Services integrator.

Together, RfPatrol™ and the MPU5 offer a body-worn passive detection capability, with RfPatrol™ output via its Battle Management System securely relayed in real time to a central command point via the MPU5, for a common operating picture showing location of the dismounted forces carrying the RfPatrol devices, displaying UAS and other threat alerts in real time and locations.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “This is world’s first capability of its kind, enabling a common operating picture of C-UAS and other improvised threat detection from dismounted units in the field. We are excited to partner with CISTECH Solutions and Persistent Systems to deliver this solution to our customers.”

Breakthrough Lays Groundwork for Future Quantum Networks

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — New Army-funded research could help lay the groundwork for future quantum communication networks and large-scale quantum computers.

Researchers sent entangled qubit states through a communication cable linking one quantum network node to a second node.

Scientists at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, funded and managed by the U.S. Army Combat Capability Development, known as DEVCOM, Army Research Laboratory’s Center for Distributed Quantum Information, also amplified an entangled state via the same cable first by using the cable to entangle two qubits in each of two nodes, then entangling these qubits further with other qubits in the nodes. The peer-reviewed journal, Nature, published the research in its Feb. 24, 2021, issue.

“The entanglement distribution results the team achieved brought together years of their research related to approaches for transferring quantum states and related to advanced fabrication procedures to realize the experiments,” said Dr. Sara Gamble, program manager at the Army Research Office, an element of the Army’s corporate research laboratory, and co-manager of the CDQI, which funded the work. “This is an exciting achievement and one that paves the way for increasingly complex experiments with additional quantum nodes that we’ll need for the large-scale quantum networks and computers of ultimate interest to the Army.”

Qubits, or quantum bits, are the basic units of quantum information. By exploiting their quantum properties, like superposition, and their ability to be entangled together, scientists and engineers are creating next-generation quantum computers that will be able solve previously unsolvable problems.

The research team uses superconducting qubits, tiny cryogenic circuits that can be manipulated electrically.

“Developing methods that allow us to transfer entangled states will be essential to scaling quantum computing,” said Prof. Andrew Cleland, the John A. MacLean senior professor of Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise at University of Chicago, who led the research.

Entanglement is a correlation that can be created between quantum entities such as qubits. When two qubits are entangled and a measurement is made on one, it will affect the outcome of a measurement made on the other, even if that second qubit is physically far away.

To send the entangled states through the communication cable—a one-meter-long superconducting cable—the researchers created an experimental set-up with three superconducting qubits in each of two nodes. They connected one qubit in each node to the cable and then sent quantum states, in the form of microwave photons, through the cable with minimal loss of information. The fragile nature of quantum states makes this process quite challenging.

The researchers developed a system in which the whole transfer process—node to cable to node—takes only a few tens of nanoseconds (a nanosecond is one billionth of a second). That allowed them to send entangled quantum states with very little information loss.

The system also allowed them to amplify the entanglement of qubits. The researchers used one qubit in each node and entangled them together by essentially sending a half-photon through the cable. They then extended this entanglement to the other qubits in each node. When they were finished, all six qubits in two nodes were entangled in a single globally entangled state.

“We want to show that superconducting qubits have a viable role going forward,” Cleland said.

A quantum communication network could potentially take advantage of this advance. The group plans to extend their system to three nodes to build three-way entanglement.

“The team was able to identify a primary limiting factor in this current experiment related to loss in some of the components,” said Dr. Fredrik Fatemi, branch chief for quantum sciences, DEVCOM ARL, and co-manager of CDQI. “They have a clear path forward for increasingly complex experiments which will enable us to explore new regimes in distributed entanglement.”

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

Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments (AEWE) 2022 Calls for White Papers

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

The Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) 2022 will assess concepts and capabilities of merit for individual Soldier and small unit modernization within the context of Multi Domain Operations (MDO) and Cross Domain Maneuver (CDM).  

The AEWE 2022 learning demands will be examined in terms of SEE, TALK, SENSE, DECIDE, and ACT. The end state is that small units overmatch peer threats in lethality, maintain momentum to pursue threats over extended distances for more than 72 hours of continuous operations. Capabilities of interest enable the small unit to:

SEE: Understand the terrain in three dimensions, the electromagnetic spectrum, the threat, non-combatants and friendly forces through technologies like enhanced small unit mission command systems enabled by artificial intelligence, applications on ATAK and Nett Warrior, and heads up displays.

AEWE 2022 is open for Submissions. White Papers and Quad Charts due NLT COB 01 APRIL 2021. See our website to download and complete all AEWE 2022 documents:


Please send all submissions to:

[email protected]mail.mil


Janet Sokolowski

[email protected]

(706) 544-8107