CTI Unveils the Octopus, Wearable Computer for the IDF

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The Modular Tactical System (MTS) is already operational with various special forces and is one of the candidates for the US Army Nett Warrior (NW) soldier system wearable computer. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

At the Israeli ISDEF 2011 defense show ComputerTech International (STI) has unveiled several Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) computers designed for military operations, introducing higher performance yet cost effective computing solutions for military users. The new Tamnun (Octopus in Hebrew) was developed to support the IDF dismounted command and control system.

CTI developed the DACS system based on of the shelf hardware to provide an advanced, yet affordable wearable computer. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

Originally the IDF considered a fully militarized solution, but the Digital Army Computer System (DACS) was proven to deliver more affordable and flexile solution using off the shelf hardware which typically advances faster than military systems. DACS is now being integrated with the IDF Digital Army System (Zayad) army-wide C4I system provided by Elbit Systems.

At a weight of 7.76 lbs. (3.52kg) DACS comprises a computer ‘core’ provided by Black Diamond, integrated with GPS receiver and customer specific interface panel mounted on a wearable dock and universal tactical display carried on the soldier’s chest. Both elements are mounted on a load bearing harness. The IDF configuration also comprises an external battery pack supporting almost nine hours of operation for the entire suite. The rugged computer is designed to Mil-Spec 810F standard and sealed to IP67 immersion, enabling continuous use in harsh combat conditions.

DACS uses the new Intel Celeron M 1.2GHz processor, powered by hot swappable 3850 mAh batteries. The magnesium made made dock weighs only 760 grams, interfacing with the computer through a integrates high speed data and power connector. The dock has multiple USB, RS232 and Ethernet connections, battery input and multiple display connectors. The dock also provides connectivity to backpack radio, integrating into a wearable soldier system. The dock is designed to be used as a wearable backpack system or a vehicular mount, enabling the soldier to pull a computer from the vehicle straight into his wearable system, with no loss of data. The UTD has a 6.5 inch sun-visible XGA (1024×768) display, it also features USB and power input connectors.

According to Eyal Shachi, CEO, the system was developed specifically to address the IDF requirement for using COTS based hardware where possible. In addition to the DACS, CTI has also displayed at ISDEF the new Modular Tactical System, developed by Black Diamond for the U.S. military. MTS is lighter and less powerful compared to the DACS, which also uses a Black Diamond computer. The system uses an Intel Atom 1.1 or 1.6 GHz processors running Windows XP, 7 or Linux operating systems; similar to DACS, the system uses a computer, wearable dock and display, mounted on a load carrying vest. System expansion utilizes standard SD cards supporting up to 32GB additional memory. The display uses the same 6.5 inch display used by the DACS. The overall weigh of the MTS is about two pounds less than DACS. The computer has five programmable buttons and dedicated on-screen ‘hot zones’ for ease of use in the field. MTS is now available for the U.S. military And international users As an ITAR exportable Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS).

A derivative of this Black Diamond Modular Tactical System (MTS) shown here is also offerred for the U.S. Army. Insert: the 6.5 inch Universal Tactical Display (UTD) is common to the DACS and MTS displayed at ISDEF by CTI. The unit folds on top of the body armor vest, at the chest level. When opened, the user can monitor the display while operating other systems (like weapons, observation equipment or radio) with both hands. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update