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Archive for the ‘Digitization’ Category

Maztech x Magpul Partner to Present the X4-FCS

Friday, January 14th, 2022

With a week of awesome new products from Magpul, this one was the most surprising and offers biggest chance at being a game changer.

The Army has long indicated their desire for a Round Counter capability to inform both the shooter and others an idea of how many rounds they have in their weapon as well as data on how many rounds the weapon has fired for maintenance. The X4-FCS does that and so much more.

Designed in conjunction with Maztech Industries, the X4-FCS is an appliqué for your existing LPVO, transforming it into a smart optic.

The system takes multiple independent inputs from around the firearm and fuses the data to communicate with the shooter (and others if needed) to build situational awareness on the target area and weapon status. The system provides powered or unpowered magazine awareness with data sent to multiple displays.

It offers a secure communications capability with Bluetooth, Near Field Communication and Ultra Wideband systems.

They aren’t stopping here. They anticipate other systems on the X4 roadmap integrate into the FCS to provide selectable inputs, ranging and target illumination, and shooter enhanced visual awareness.

The X4-FCS promises to do provide most, if not all of the capability of the recently selected Next Generation Squad Weapon – Fire Control except this can be used in conjunction with existing optics.

The photos shared here are of a developmental system and what Magpul shows at SHOT Show next week isn’t even the final product.

-Eric Graves, Editor

Army Software Factory’s Second Cohort Gears Up for Phase 2 of Program

Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

AUSTIN, Texas — The Army Software Factory, the Army’s newly launched effort to train a select cadre of Soldiers and Army Civilians in modern software development, is frequently recognized for its innovation, tech collaboration and future-oriented approach, but is equally defined by the enthusiasm of its rising coders.

Participants in the Austin-based program, who are selected through a competitive application process, arrive from all over the country to learn the essentials of coding, app development, platform management and user design – all in a concerted effort to build a stronger, more agile Army.

Many of the current participants were drawn to apply to the Software Factory in part because of its unique model, which offers the ability to transform an individual with no previous experience in software development to an advanced software developer within the span of three years.

The program — which welcomed an initial, 25-person cohort in January and a second, 30-person cohort in July — begins with immersive classroom learning but quickly transitions to peer mentor-paired training. During this second, hands-on phase, participants learn the ins and outs of software development from experienced tech industry partners while working in small teams to tackle real-life projects for Army clients.

While the initial cohorts have yet to reach later stages of the program, the plan is for students to gradually attain a level of knowledge that allows them to assist in training new Software Factory members, creating a learning and growth framework that embraces the program’s motto of “By Soldiers. For Soldiers.”

With the Software Factory already preparing to welcome its third cohort in early 2022, we sat down with some of its second cohort members earlier this month to learn more about their motivations for joining the groundbreaking program, as well as to hear about their experiences thus far.

Below are some of the insights they shared, which highlight not only how the Software Factory is molding Army leaders, but how current software development efforts are helping to shape future tech readiness at the tactical edge.

Cpt. Keyshawn Lee, 26, joined the Software Factory because he “wanted to be a part of something trailblazing, something that can really drive change,” he said.

He was working as a human resources officer at Fort Carson, Colorado, when he found out about the chance to join the program’s second cohort.

Lee, who grew up in a military family, was motivated to apply because he saw how advancing software resources could improve Army systems as a whole, with potentially life-saving implications.

“The faster we can iterate, the faster we can pivot, the faster we can deploy software, that’s equated to seconds on the battlefield, time on the battlefield and lives on the battlefield, which is most important,” Lee said.

In terms of the immersive classroom learning phase of the program, “it was everything I expected,” Lee said. “It was fun, I learned a lot and it was very applicable being able to learn it and then implement it right then and there.”

Lee particularly appreciates the teamwork emphasis of the program and the support of his colleagues at the Software Factory; “they motivate me to do better,” he said.

He looks forward to applying skills he has learned thus far in the program with his own background knowledge — including project management insights gained through his master of business administration degree — when delving into projects for Army clients.

“I really want to continue to step outside my comfort zone and just really learn to make great products to help our Soldiers,” Lee said.

Cpt. Ammar Masoud, 47, is not new to the world of coding, having previously worked for a software development company in the private sector, but he is nevertheless thrilled to be learning new software skills as a member of the Software Factory.

“Right now, I’m living the best of both worlds,” Masoud said. “I love coding, I love technology and I love IT, but I love serving at the same time.”

“I’m still a military officer, but I’m an Army coder,” Masoud reflected. “That’s unheard of before.”

Masoud has been in the Army for 16 years, serving in both Reserve and active-duty roles. His previous experiences as a Soldier include working as a cryptologic voice interceptor, a civil–military relations and a civil affairs officer, as well as completing deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the first civil affairs officer to have been selected from the Army Special Operations Forces community to join the Software Factory.

Now that he has finished the classroom portion of the program, Masoud looks forward to “working on very complex projects that will bring value to Soldiers, to the Army, to DoD and our country.”

“I want to be part of creating software tools that will save lives, will add value, will save time for Soldiers and just make their work better over time,” he said.

As a former Soldier and current Department of the Army civilian, Lawrence Eckles, 56, is familiar with the opportunities and constraints presented by legacy Army IT systems.

During his early deployments, “the intelligence we got was usually about four days old,” he said. Thankfully, “the digital systems the Army uses now are much more responsive,” providing information within minutes instead of days.

Eckles, who is from Cleveland, Ohio, and joined the Army at 17, left active duty in 2002 due to medical reasons but still felt the urge to serve. “I wasn’t finished yet,” he said.

He went on to serve as a contractor for the Army, eventually joining the DA in 2017 as an IT specialist.

He is now one of the first five DA civilians to have joined the Army Software Factory.

“What they’re trying to do here — getting applications in the hands of Soldiers within a matter of months — is amazing, and it’s never been done before,” Eckles said.

He added that he has “felt very welcomed” to the team, which has helped “set the standard for what we are going to do next.”

“I’m just really, really grateful to have this opportunity, and grateful to everyone who has laid the groundwork for this,” Eckles said.

Andrew Graham, 26, is a DA civilian who worked as a computer engineer for the Army for four-and-a-half years before joining the Software Factory.

He was based out of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, when he saw the announcement for the program and jumped at the opportunity to learn additional software skills while experiencing life in Austin.

Graham, who grew up in the suburbs of Oklahoma City and received an electrical engineering degree from Rice University, has enjoyed the mix of learning and contributing to learning that he has been able to partake in at the Software Factory.

As a former League of Legends amateur tournament organizer, a job that involved “a lot of people asking the same question over and over again,” he also understands the importance of clear guidance. He has been able to apply that understanding to his role at the Software Factory, where having helpful software development instructions is essential for learning, conveying and preserving information.

During his time at the Software Factory, Graham has observed the benefits of having both Soldiers and DA Civilians present. “You need to make sure you’re not making echo chambers or silos and are bringing in other perspectives,” he explained.

Graham looks forward to the hands-on aspects of Phase 2 and hopes to play an integral role in further Army initiatives, including by continually exploring the question of “What’s the best thing we can do for bettering the whole Army?”

Staff Sgt. Aaron Lawson, 34, joined the Software Factory after working as a unit logistics specialist for the Army.

A native of San Antonio, Lawson lived in Texas and Georgia with his grandfather, a command sergeant major, before joining the Army at 17.

He served on active duty for a number of years before transitioning to a Reserve role and working as a software developer and integrator for a private company. However, he soon found that he “really missed being with Soldiers and wearing the uniform every day,” so decided to rejoin the Army as an active-duty Soldier.

Lawson sees the Software Factory as offering a compelling blend of his interests as a Soldier and as a software developer. He also has firsthand experience with some of the Army’s existing software systems and is eager to learn the tools to help improve them.

Thus far, he has been very pleased with the journey toward that aim.

“I’m incredibly impressed and extremely proud to work with everyone here at the Software Factory,” Lawson said.

He has found the Software Factory’s culture to be “very inviting,” and describes its efforts as highly impactful and rewarding.

“I love being a Soldier and doing things for Soldiers,” Lawson said.

DA Civilian Stephen Scott, 25, had never lived outside of New Jersey before moving to Austin earlier this year to join the Software Factory.

He learned about the chance to get more involved in furthering Army software development while working as a weapons systems software engineer at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

“I was always interested in technology in general,” Scott said, sharing that he was a member of his high school’s robotics team before studying computer science in college.

He was inspired to apply to the Software Factory after reading a description of the program in an email and remembers thinking “that would be a cool experience; that’d be a good way to learn, a good way to build my skillset and have an immediate impact.”

“It’s a very different type of programming,” Scott said of the app-focused programming he is learning. He added that “everyone has completely different backgrounds and different skillsets coming in, which I think is a good thing.”

“I have learned a lot, and I definitely feel like my overall knowledge of skills has drastically improved over the past few months,” Scott shared.

Josh Farrington, 29, is a DA Civilian who comes to the Army Software Factory from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, where he worked as a software developer for the Aviation Mission Planning System.

Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Farrington was familiar with the defense community growing up. He joined the DA after graduating from college with a degree in industrial and systems engineering.

Farrington views the Software Factory as providing a valuable opportunity to expand his software programming experience while also working more closely alongside Soldiers and experiencing life in Austin.

“I’m excited to write code that’s actually going to get used to start solving problems,” Farrington said.

He added that he was “really drawn by the ability to work directly with Soldiers,” explaining that the Soldiers he works with frequently provide helpful insights into the ways in which certain technologies would be useful in the field.

“It has made it more real, the impact I’m having as a DA civilian,” Farrington said.

The Army Software Factory acknowledged the achievements of Lee, Masoud, Eckles, Graham, Lawson, Scott, Farrington and the remaining members of Cohort 2 during a Dec. 17 recognition ceremony in Austin, which marked the transition from the cohort’s classroom learning phase to a hands-on training stage.

By Maureena Thompson, Army Futures Command

Cytta Corp Development of SUPR TAK Video Streaming Solution for Integration Into TAK – Tactical Assault Kit/Team Awareness Kit Well Underway

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

Tackling a $12.78 Billion Market with Proven Technology

LAS VEGAS, NV December 20, 2021 / Cytta Corp. (OTCQB:CYCA), a leader in video streaming solutions, announces the development program for their SUPR TAK full HD video streaming solution for the $12.78 Billion TAK/ATAK market. TAK is the Tactical Assault Kit for the military, the Team Awareness Kit for civilian applications, and ATAK (Android Tactical Assault Kit) when integrated into the U.S. and NATO’s preeminent battlefield management application. A Beta launch is expected in Q2 of 2022.

Mr. Gary Campbell CEO stated, “Cytta Corp’s. SUPR TAK development program will allow us to meet the demand for high quality video and audio throughput in demanding environments under stressful situations where life or death depends on the effectiveness of timely resource deployment and management. Currently, operators and users of these applications are being held back by the lack of quality video streaming abilities. The SUPR TAK video streaming technology that Cytta Corp. will deliver is proprietary and unique, creating a significant opportunity in the current market.”

The current TAK management application system that is utilized in 15 Department of Defense (“DOD”) programs and has a user base of over 380,000, does not sustain multiple, reliable full motion video (FMV) from live streaming assets and cameras in higher resolutions. Cytta Corp. will be able to solve the lack of quality video streaming that TAK faces with its SUPR video streaming by integrating the Cytta proprietary SUPR streaming technology. Beneficiaries of Cytta’s full resolution streaming capabilities and technology span federal, state, and local government departments as well as in the recreational environment with users that hike, research, and explore our world through various means. With more state and local agencies coming onboard, this will continue to expand in the government level sectors.

The Soldier System Market was valued at USD $12.78 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD $14.14 billion by 2023 according to ‘Soldier System Market, Industry Analysis and Market Forecast to 2023′.

Cytta was asked to develop the SUPR TAK, for the TAK/ATAK ecosystem, by various military partners like UK SOF, US Air Force, US National Guard, SOCOM, Border and Customs, and other Mil Spec users. By integrating Cytta’s patented SUPR technology capabilities, TAK will now be capable of delivering full resolution streaming over low-bandwidth with low-latency. All users will be able to utilize this exclusive solution that Cytta alone can provide

This is yet another unique and significant step forward for a Company already trusted by major players in the military, first responders and industry. This new SUPR TAK initiative will enhance integration of the Company’s proprietary technology and is in response to customer requirements. Cytta’s technology applications make a critical difference to the safety and operational effectiveness of personnel in the defense, first responder and security industries.

SOFWERX – Hyper-Enabled Awareness Kit (HEAK) Assessment Event

Monday, December 20th, 2021

SOFWERX, in collaboration with USSOCOM PEO SOF Warrior (PEO-SW), will host an Assessment Event (AE) 22-24 February 2022 to identify solutions for a situational awareness and messaging capability through a Hyper-Enabled Awareness Kit (HEAK).

Technology Focus Areas

• Blue Force Picture

• Basic Messaging

• Check-in Messaging

• Quick Reference Navigation

• Mission Payload

• Workflow Configurator

• Mission Planner

• Wired and Wireless Capability

Submit NLT 24 January 2022 11:59 PM ET, with details at

‘Can’t Miss’ Tactical Assault Kit Event Kicks Off Nov. 30

Thursday, November 25th, 2021

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Nov. 22, 2021) — The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)-led Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) Product Center, in partnership with the Army, will host the eighth annual TAK Offsite in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.

TAK is a map-based software application that enables coordination among operational users in the Department of Defense and other federal agencies with features such as positioning data, chat, mission planning and shared overlays. It is compatible with Android, Apple iOS and Windows.

“The TAK offsite is an excellent opportunity to collaborate with mission partners across various operational use cases to share feedback, to expand the capability, and to continuously make the products better,” said Bill Newmeyer of the Army’s Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center, where the TAK Product Center resides.

The C5ISR Center, part of Army Futures Command, supports the TAK development and user community by providing engineering expertise for the development and technical management of the core TAK software platforms as well as through participation in a Configuration Steering Board (CSB). Program Executive Office – SOF Digital Applications, part of USSOCOM, funds the product center, chairs the Configuration Steering Board and sponsors the TAK Offsite.

“The TAK community has grown from a dozen users to a hundred users to now over 200,000 users,” said Ryan McLean, TAK Product Center director. “As more users adopt TAK, we’ve continued to make TAK products more widely available. The TAK CSB amplifies and extends that growth through events such as the TAK Offsite.”

The TAK Offsite brings value to all stakeholders – users, developers, program managers, and even to people and organizations new to TAK. Real-world users attend and learn about new features and integration possibilities within TAK, while developers learn about how the TAK application programming interface (API) and core capabilities are constantly improving. Many program managers also attend the event to promote their initiatives that use TAK.

“TAK has been successful largely due to our open-architecture, open-source model that’s very developer-friendly,” said McLean. “That means staying synchronized with industry and listening to the needs of equipment providers and solution builders. TAK grows and improves not because of TAK alone, but because of TAK’s ability to break down the old barriers to system integration.”

As with previous years, the 2021 TAK Offsite will foster efforts to get more feedback to improve platforms and generate cross-team collaboration. This confluence of minds spurs the new waves of innovation in TAK development, integration, and use cases.

“This is a can’t-miss event for anyone developing situational awareness and geospatial capabilities. Anyone who attends should expect full immersion in the TAK community across four days packed with content,” said McLean. “If you use TAK, if you develop TAK, if you field capabilities that use TAK, or if you just want to learn about TAK, this is where you need to be.”

To register, attendees must create a account at Attendees may then register for the event under the Events page of Questions should be directed to [email protected] with questions.

Draper Tapped by US Department of Defense to Provide Services and Support for Tactical Assault Kit

Friday, November 19th, 2021

Engineering company awarded DTRA contract to expand its role from R&D to maintenance and operation of the TAK communications platform

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Draper, one of the nation’s leading technology developers for national security, will build on its support for the warfighter under a new contract to operate and maintain the Tactical Assault Kit, or TAK, a widely used communications system for the military. The company recently received a sole-source contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the U.S. Department of Defense.

TAK is a mobile computing solution which gives users a map-based common operating picture on a shared network and provides enhanced situational awareness for command and control. The app is designed for installation on tablets and other lightweight handheld devices, and employs a plug-in structure, which allows users to design applications specific to their mission needs. TAK has been used through years of real-world situations, including the U.S. presidential inauguration, by more than 10,000 active warfighters.

The $415,000 contract calls for Draper to provide maintenance support, technical services, testing, evaluation and training for TAK. The TAK application supports the Nuclear Enterprise Contingency Operations Department’s (NE-COs) various chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) detector systems.

Draper has developed software for every version of TAK since it was first developed by the Department of Defense. The software is available as ATAK for Android devices, WinTAK for Windows and WebTAK for the web. The company’s long experience with the application and with warfighter systems overall were major reasons Draper will expand its role from research and development to operation and maintenance of the TAK platform, according to Brian Alligood, Draper’s program manager for TAK.

“Draper is building stronger ties with our government customer and demonstrating the value we bring as an engineering innovation company which can integrate technology development with global maintenance and deployment,” Alligood said. “Our goal with this contract is to ensure TAK continues to deliver situational awareness at the tactical edge.”

TAK’s versatility means it can accommodate military personnel on the battlefield, homeland security officers working along the border and first responders during rescue-and-recovery operations. The map-based interface enables users to share information and maintain constant situational awareness, by allowing the addition of context to raw video feeds, such as labelling buildings as schools or hospitals to protect them against strikes, or designation of pickup points for evacuation. Fire and rescue crews have been trained to use the app for location tracking of fire equipment, establishing fire perimeters from aircraft and building fire model forecasts.

The contract is expected to last five years and will be performed primarily at Draper’s offices in Cambridge, Mass. and St. Petersburg, Fla., with additional support from the company’s regional offices.

AUSA 21 – Fischer Connectors

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Fischer Connectors offered a sneak peek of their new six port hub which showcases their cables with NETT Warrior standard connectors. This hub features dedicated ports for radio, EUD, and battery as well as three additional ports for the personal area network. It is IP68 rated and PALS compatible.

AUSA 21 – T-Worx Intelligent Rail

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

You may have heard of a Picatinny Smart Rail or Powered Rail which is the NATO STANAG 4740/AEP-90.

The T-Worx Intelligent Rail offers centralized weapon enabler power and control. The intelligent rail is Mil Std 1913 compatible but features an embedded, ruggedized printed circuit board (PCB). The battery is located in the butstock and connects to the rail via jumpers which follow contours of the lower receiver. Alternatives include a pistol grip battery or a mount directly to the rail.

Technically, it’s a power AND data rail but most users have concentrated on the ability to centrally power their enablers. The new Gateway Node seen in this photo, attached to the 3 o’clock rail position allows all of the enablers attached to the rail to communicate with other item’s in the Soldier’s network like an End User Device. It is compatible with the U.S. Army’s Intra-Soldier Wireless (ISW) protocol.