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U.S. Military To Utilize Android As Communications Tool

According to CrunchGear, SOCOM, a branch of the U.S. military which deals with special forces, is looking into an Android-based system to help soldiers under their command stay informed of important battlefield information and communicate in real-time.

We've seen that DARPA has already expressed interest in using Android devices to aid soldiers with real-time translating in the field. It now appears that the military is interested in using the devices in a more tactical role, with some custom made apps to keep soldiers informed about their surroundings.

According to Federal Business Opportunities, SOCOM is looking for specially designed software to fulfill their goal of TactSA, or Tactical Situational Awareness Application Suite:

" suite that will provide reliable and standardized data between battery operated micro-computers over Mobile Ad hoc Wireless Networks (MANETs). The data will traverse peer-to-peer networks without centralized servers or syncs. It will consist of numerous video streams, file transfers, Position Location Information (PLI), and whiteboarding collaboration tools."

Take a look at the image below to see the kind of apps or software that are already available and running on mobile devices:

The image above is of BattleTac, an app which uses Layar, based around augmented reality, and which, according to the BattleTac site, "provides real-time GPS tracking, instant messaging and navigation on the battlefield."

Another app developed for the military is called RATS (Raytheon Android Tactical System), which takes satellite and UAV imagery and gives access to troops on the ground, as well as provide a communications system and even track the position of friendly units (and possible enemy combatants.)

The fact that Android is an open-source platform is likely a large reason why the military has chosen Android as platform for future battlefield technology. I imagine there will be much more functionality that the military can wrangle out of these devices, if they haven't already.

AndroidGuys reminds their readers that for everything you do see the military announce, there are likely many more secretive and astounding projects still in development:

With an abundance of great apps already for "civilian" use, the Armed Forces have a huge lead in development just in "modding" already useful apps. The future Military has the funds, they have the man power and now they have Android.

Other Sources: AndroidGuys, BattleTac, Federal Business Opportunities

Images from BattleTac

Source: CrunchGear

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