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Air Force wants to go lighter on crypto tools in the field

The Air Force is looking to lighten the load warfighters have to carry into the field, in this case by researching new developments in cryptographic key loading devices, including whether they could be incorporated into wearable technology.

In a request for information posted to the FedBizOps website, the Air Force said it was interested in next-generation portable key loaders that are as small and light as possible while still meeting military ruggedness requirements.

The RFI sets parameters for two types of devices: a portable key loader no heavier than 3 pounds and no larger than 8.75-by-10-by-2.75 inches, with rechargeable, low-maintenance batteries and a range of power-input capabilities; and a smaller PKL-Tactical weighing no more than 1.5 pounds.

The Air Force also wants to explore the feasibility of building key loaders into wearable technology, with dimensions of 1.14-by-1.03-by-1.46 inches. Among the questions to be answered are whether the wearable device could meet MIL-STD-810G or another, lesser, ruggedness standard, and how the device could be powered. 

The request is part of the military’s continual Size, Weight and Power (SWAP) efforts to find smaller, lighter devices for the field while at the same time improving performance.

Portable cryptographic key loaders allow warfighters in the field to securely receive, store and send data to compatible equipment. One example is the N/PYQ-10 Simple Key Loader, developed by SAIC in concert with the Army and National Security Agency.

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