iPhone apps go to war

Defense giant Raytheon rolls Apple iPhone, iTouch apps for military

Raytheon today said it was working on a series of Apple iPhone and iPod Touch applications that could turn the smart devices into handy mobile battlefield tools. 

The first application helps soldiers with situational awareness and is based on military messaging standards that offer multimedia access, audio and textual points of interest, free text messaging, collaborative planning, spot reports, and call for emergency or fire.  The application will let soldiers track other friendly troops as well as enemy soldiers. The application, dubbed One Force Tracker, could also be used by non-military police, firemen and emergency medical technicians, Raytheon stated. 

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The company announced similar apps for Android-based smart phones this month. The Raytheon Android Tactical System (RATS) delivers multimedia content faster to soldiers. Now common mobile devices similar to the ones used at home can be used in the battlefield, Raytheon stated. 

Raytheon is developing applications for intelligence collection and analysis to be used on the Android platform, such as license plate reading, streaming video camera feeds and biometric collection, such as facial recognition, Raytheon stated. 

The company has also designed other improvements for the device, including disruptive-tolerant networking, content-centric networking and augmented reality, incorporating security guards for tactical operations. 

Raytheon also said it was working on training modules running on iPhone that let air traffic controllers practice aircraft vectoring and separation exercises on the small screen and at their convenience outside of traditional classroom training environments. 

The company said it was working with Apple to deliver these new apps and others but did not say when exactly they would available. 

Meanwhile Raytheon's BBN Technologies subsidiary this week was awarded an $81 million contract by the Army Research Laboratory to build what the company, which is involved in myriad network research projects for the military, called the largest communications lab in the country. 

With the five-year contract, the company will take on research in network science to identify diverse network similarities, the company said. Called the ARL Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance, the consortium will examine communication, information, and social and cognitive networks and will include leading researchers from all of these disciplines. 

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