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Contract Win – Rugged Servers for WATCHKEEPER

Secure Systems & Technologies Reports Contract Win

SST clocks up another win for its TEMPEST and Rugged solutions, a contract for WATCHKEEPER UK UAV programme

Specialist defence and security IT manufacturer, Secure Systems & Technologies, (SST) reports a major contract win for its specialist TEMPEST Military R ugged hardware solutions. Reflecting its capabilities for Military Rugged EMC product specialisation, SST has won a contract to supply rugged network devices for the WATCHKEEPER Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programme. SST's latest contract includes developing and supplying the rugged military flight-critical Ground Control Server Systems, as well as the powerful image data processing hardware.

Watchkeeper UAVThe WATCHKEEPER Unmanned Arial Vehicle will provide the UK armed forces with an essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability, and will be a key component of the UK's network enabled capability (NEC).

Once operational the WATCHKEEPER autonomous flights will be under the system guidance of the WATCHKEEPER ground control software, fully integrated within the Ground Control Station (GCS).

The ground control station is network enabled to ensure comprehensive communications links, for example to airborne stand-off radar, attack aircraft and battlegroup headquarters. Watchkeeper will be capable of full integration with both the US network-centric warfare (US NCW) and the UK network-enabled capability (UK NEC). The use of NATO standard data links and international standards for image data transfer will contribute to system interoperability.

“WATCHKEEPER will provide the UK armed forces with an essential Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability, and will be a key component of the UK's network enabled capability (NEC). Thales UK, as Prime Contractor for the WATCHKEEPER programme, will deliver equipment, training and facilities, with the capability planned to enter service from 2010.”

The front of the SC8338TTRM Rugged TEMPEST Tracked Vehicle ServerBecause the Watchkeeper Ground Control System is responsible for flying the vehicle, the systems are treated as flight critical, the challenge is to make them rugged enough for worldwide deployment into diverse areas of operation.

The back of the SC8338TTRM Rugged TEMPEST Tracked Vehicle ServerSpecialist UK Company Secure Systems & Technologies Ltd (SST) was selected to supply the rugged processors. SST designed and now manufactures the rugged military server hardware on which the Watchkeeper flight-critical GCS system runs.

Another component of the Watchkeeper system is the Tactical Party housed in a Viking tracked vehicle deployed in support of elements, which receives the data from the UAV.

Tanks on manouevreSST also manufactures the extremely rugged and powerful processor used for this mission critical element, which has to meet exacting standards in environmental, TEMPEST and the highest military EMC requirement: Def Stan 59-41 Land Class A.

SST has also been selected to design, test and manufacture a networking device for the Tactical Party, requiring the same exacting ruggedisation and EMC requirements. This device will provide robust firewall capabilities and gigabit switching, allowing the system to securely connect into other Military networks.

Commenting on this latest WATCHKEEPER win Managing Director Matthew Richards comments “SST’s integrated capability including 3D CAD design and modelling, TEMPEST and EMC, environmental and shock/vibration testing with flexible production facilities in a purpose built 22,000 sq ft facility makes for a compelling proposition.”

As well as supplying hardware for the programme, SST acted as the TEMPEST authority for the system, advising on installation and system test plans. SST continues to provide support of ground troops in the extreme conditions experienced in today’s and tomorrow’s areas of conflict.

About SST

Established in 2002 as the product of two synergistic organisations, Secure Computer Systems Ltd and Secure Systems Production Ltd, SST operates to ISO 9001 standards. Its comprehensive service set includes a dedicated engineering and test division, matched by consultancy and training facilities, majoring on COMSEC and EMSEC requirements. 

SST's emphasis is on providing state of the art solutions from concept to deployment, with its design and development facilities backed up by a specialist service organisation. Combined with dynamic Service Partner Agreements, SST maintains full service coverage across the European and NATO theatres.

SST's success is substantially based on its long-standing ability to deliver a complete end-to-end service. This is achieved by working in partnership with its customers, major prime contractors and global IT product leaders – identifying and adapting current technologies, and creating individual solutions that meet a project's stringent requirements for data security.

A critical element of SST's philosophy involves managing obsolescence effectively, ensuring that customers receive lifetime product support. SST employs a high percentage of skilled staff comprising Subject Matter Experts, highly qualified consultant engineers, designers and expert technicians, operating from a purpose-built facility on the outskirts of Gloucester.

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