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Stauder to improve USMC Android apps

20th January 2022 - 10:29 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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US Marines using the MCH tablet on an exercise in August 2018. (Photo: USMC/Sgt Gloria Lepko)

Will unspecified ‘software enhancements’ for KILSWITCH and APASS address previously recognised cybersecurity issues?

The US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division has awarded Stauder Technologies a $49.15 million IDIQ contract to develop and deliver unspecified software enhancements to the Joint Effects Coordination Link (JECL) family of digital interoperability software.

The company is expected to complete this work by January 2027 via a series of individual orders, the DoD announced on 14 January.

Stauder will also provide plugins for the Digital Precision Strike Suite (DPSS) family of software applications used by the DoD and FMS customers.

JECL and DPSS include the Digital Imagery Exploitation Engine for C2, the Kinetic Integrated Lightweight Software Individual Tactical Combat Handheld (KILSWITCH), Android Precision Assault Strike Suite (APASS), and the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Common Handheld (MCH) lightweight tablet communications device.

KILSWITCH is an Android app used by the USMC to improve situational awareness via Google Maps-style graphic displays, even without a server connection.

APASS (another Android app) works in a similar way to KILSWITCH by showing satellite imagery of surroundings, including objectives, mission goals, and the position of enemy and friendly forces.

Both APASS and KILSWITCH are designed to replace radios and hardcopy maps, but a USN Inspector General report (compiled in March 2018 but only released to the public nine months later) revealed potentially severe cyber vulnerabilities in live combat scenarios.

The report added that neither app was designed to be deployed in combat scenarios, noting that cybersecurity ‘was not a concern for the developers’  as they expected APASS and KILSWITCH to be used mainly for training purposes.

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