CAMBRIDGE, MA—Draper, one of the nation’s leading technology developers for national security, will build on its support for the warfighter under a new contract to operate and maintain the Tactical Assault Kit, or TAK, a widely used communications system for the military. The company recently received a sole-source contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the U.S. Department of Defense.
TAK is a mobile computing solution which gives users a map-based common operating picture on a shared network and provides enhanced situational awareness for command and control. The app is designed for installation on tablets and other lightweight handheld devices, and employs a plug-in structure, which allows users to design applications specific to their mission needs. TAK has been used through years of real-world situations, including the U.S. presidential inauguration, by more than 10,000 active warfighters.
The $415,000 contract calls for Draper to provide maintenance support, technical services, testing, evaluation and training for TAK. The TAK application supports the Nuclear Enterprise Contingency Operations Department’s (NE-COs) various chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) detector systems.
Draper has developed software for every version of TAK since it was first developed by the Department of Defense. The software is available as ATAK for Android devices, WinTAK for Windows and WebTAK for the web. The company’s long experience with the application and with warfighter systems overall were major reasons Draper will expand its role from research and development to operation and maintenance of the TAK platform, according to Brian Alligood, Draper’s program manager for TAK .
“Draper is building stronger ties with our government customer and demonstrating the value we bring as an engineering innovation company which can integrate technology development with global maintenance and deployment,” Alligood said. “Our goal with this contract is to ensure TAK continues to deliver situational awareness at the tactical edge.”
TAK’s versatility means it can accommodate military personnel on the battlefield, homeland security officers working along the border and first responders during rescue-and-recovery operations. The map-based interface enables users to share information and maintain constant situational awareness, by allowing the addition of context to raw video feeds, such as labelling buildings as schools or hospitals to protect them against strikes, or designation of pickup points for evacuation. Fire and rescue crews have been trained to use the app for location tracking of fire equipment, establishing fire perimeters from aircraft and building fire model forecasts.
The contract is expected to last five years and will be performed primarily at Draper’s offices in Cambridge, Mass. and St. Petersburg, Fla., with additional support from the company’s regional offices.