The smartphone goes to war, sort of.

Lockheed Martin's deployable 4G solution gets into the hands of the Marines
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

While we often talk about the battles between the fans of different smartphone architectures, we rarely see those arguments come to blows. In fact, the closest that 99% of smartphone users will get to an actual battle is by playing a FPS game on their smartphone of choice. But it looks like the military has decided that there is real value in forward deploying smartphone technology and the US Marine Corps has purchased mobile 3G systems to support their disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions (is that the first mission that comes to mind when someone thinks "Send in the marines!"?).

The MONAX system from Lockheed Martin, development of which was announced last year, combines off-the-shelf smartphones with their own modification of commercial 3G wireless technology to deliver a secure, encrypted connection between a base station and hundreds of users. The system uses non-traditional frequencies and the wireless technology is based on a standard known as 3GPP (3G Partnership Project) which includes standards for enhanced data rates, which may be why some of the MONNAX press information refers to it as a 4G solution.

While the core of the deployable technology is the MONAX XG base station, the users are all outfitted with the Lynx sleeve, basically a handheld device into which an iPhone is inserted. The system takes advantage of the smartphone model, with their own 24x7 app store that includes appropriate military applications, ranging from mission reporting to facial recognition to enterprise intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The system has been purchased by the Office of Naval Research and issued to the Marine Corps Pacific Experimentation Center so one can presume that the system is still being evaluated before it receives broad deployment to actual combat zones or wide implementation in humanitarian relief missions.

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