WASHINGTON: The Army has awarded a 10-year contract with a potential $774.2 million total value for major updates to its cryptographic tech, the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical (PEO-C3T) announced Wednesday.
The contract will be split initially between General Dynamics Mission Systems and Sierra Nevada Corporation for development of a Next Generation Load Device-Medium (NGLD-M). The contract includes an option for open competition among other qualified vendors for production, beginning in fiscal year 2025.
NGLD-M is a network-enabled fill device, sometimes called a cryptographic key loader, which allows network administrators to “reconfigure cryptographic products, perform over-the-network-keying, conduct remote software downloads, and improve operational environment awareness,” according to the Army.
“NGLD-M will be the biggest material change in cryptographic key delivery in 20 years,” said Michael Badger, Army product lead for COMSEC. “It will transform COMSEC, both in the strength of keys NGLD-M can handle and in the security of its delivery mechanisms.”
“The NGLD-M will enable delivery of the strongest [National Security Agency]-generated cryptographic keys to tactical, strategic, and enterprise network systems operating from secret to the highest levels of security classification,” said Paul Mehney, director of public communications at Army PEO-C3T. “Through over-the-air capability, modern cryptographic algorithms will be transferred by NGLD-M to counter the threats posed by increased proliferation of adversarial cyber and electronic warfare.”
Development will begin immediately using the initial contract award totaling $73.9M, to be split between General Dynamics and Sierra Nevada, Mehney said.
Low rate initial production is slated to begin in fiscal year 2024, with an operational test scheduled the same year, Mehney said. Full rate production through multiple delivery orders is slated to begin in fiscal year 2025, with the total quantity estimated to reach 265,000 units.
While the contract is being administered by the Army’s Contracting Command, the new NGLD-Ms will be used broadly across the US government and allies.
“In addition to the Army, NGLD-M will change the face of COMSEC for all DoD Services, U.S. domestic agencies, and more than 40 foreign partners,” Badger said.
Army Awards Contract For Major Crypto Update – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense is written by Brad D. Williams for breakingdefense.com