Drone Encryption Hardware to Be Deployed in British Army Tanks

ViaSat wins General Dynamics contract for Scout SV encryption tech following successful use in Watchkeeper drones.

encrypted storage

By Ben Sullivan

Satellite communications equipment maker ViaSat UK has secured a £3.8 million contract from General Dynamics to provide an encrypted data storage system for the British Army's Scout SV armored vehicles.

ViaSat is no stranger to developing this encryption technology, having already deployed similar platforms that are employed in the British Army's Watchkeeper WK450 drones, manufactured by Thales and Elbit Systems.

Top Secret

But now the drone technology, which can prevent top-secret data from ending up in the wrong hands, will be used in the Scout SV armored vehicle program.

The U.K. Ministry of Defense has tasked General Dynamics UK to deliver SCOUT SV platforms to provide an armored vehicle capability for the British Army, and ViaSat's technology will be equipped in the vehicles starting from 2017.

"Our experience providing secure systems to programs including the Lynx Wildcat helicopter and Watchkeeper Remotely Piloted Air System has stood us in good stead for ensuring that sensitive information remains safe," said Chris McIntosh, CEO of ViaSat UK.

"With this expertise, we can provide peace of mind for both vehicle crews and commanders in the increasingly data-driven, 21st century battlefield."

ViaSat's on-board encrypted data storage system is based on its CAPS-accredited data encryption: one of the only hardware-based encryption technologies that is certified to protect top-secret data at rest by CESG, the accreditation arm of the U.K. government.

"The secure data storage system provides modular technology, that can be upgraded as needed to ensure that SCOUT SV has modern, up-to-date capabilities across its entire lifespan," said McIntosh. "By taking this approach, we can help ensure that any future SCOUT SV variants, as well as other vehicle programs, have the information assurance security they need whilst also reducing investment risks for U.K. military procurement."

In June, ViaSat announced a partnership with drone manufacturer TEKEVER Group. The deal will see ViaSat help expand the civilian use of drones with advanced satellite communications.

The collaboration will bring ViaSat's communication technologies onto TEKEVER's drone platforms to push the boundaries of UAS (unmanned aerial systems) range in civilian Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) applications.