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Cyber warfare and electronic warfare threats have been rapidly advancing. The US Army is interested in developing new cryptographic technologies, designed to ensure secure and compartmentalized communication capabilities. For this purpose, the Army is soliciting industry proposals, anticipating the development and fielding of a maximum of 265,000 Next Generation Load Device-Medium (NGLD-M) units, at an estimated cost of 850 million $.
The NGLD-M is a network-enabled device allowing the network manager to reconfigure cryptographic products, perform Over-The-Network-Keying, conduct remote software downloads, and improve operational environment awareness. According to janes.com, It will support all command echelons across the services, other government agencies and foreign military partner organizations.
According to the request for proposals, the new NGLD-M systems will replace the army’s more than decade-old fleet of Simple Key Loaders (SKLs), which are designed to transfer, issue, fill, and manage electronic cryptographic keys to highly sensitive End-Cryptographic Units (ECUs), used by combat units to transmit and receive secure communications transmissions.
Designed to meet the Type 1 cryptologic standards for secured data transmissions established by the National Security Agency (NSA), the NGLD-M will provide “the functionality of legacy fill devices while providing network connectivity to support Over the Network Key (OTNK) distribution”, the RFP stated. The new NGLD-M will also provide end users with a “reprogrammable crypto subcomponent to meet future modernisation requirements”, it added.