AMMAN, Jordan — Cubic Global Defense is looking to build its C4ISR business in the international market after acquiring three key businesses in order to put the company on such a path, according to the general manager of Cubic in Saudi Arabia.
The company is already well known in the international world, especially the Middle East, for its training solutions. Jordan has been a customer.
But Cubic is looking to break into the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) market abroad as a new part of its business, John Farris Naff told Defense News at Jordan's special operations exhibition called SOFEX.
Acquisitions by Cubic within the last 16 to 18 months of three niche C4ISR providers — DTECH, GATR Technologies and TeraLogic — prime the pump for business in the market, according to Naff. DTECH was acquired in December 2014 and Cubic bought GATR and TeraLogic last December.
"Yes, it's a targeted approach by Cubic to enter into the C4ISR market," but additionally, Cubic is hoping to offer uniquely expeditionary solutions, Ronnie Rinaldi, who is a senior business developer for Cubic's new C4ISR products, said at SOFEX.
All three companies bring to Cubic products used in major US military programs particularly with special operations forces.
DTECH brings its modular and miniaturized Internet-on-the-move capability. GATR brings a highly portable, inflatable satellite antenna in various sizes. And TeraLogic is the industry standard in the US intelligence community and at the combatant commands with regard to cloud-based full-motion video or just video management solutions.
Cubic's new acquisitions made their international debut at SOFEX. For the Middle East market and many other regions, while the company envisions selling all three capabilities in a package deal, countries are likely going to be more interested in buying one capability within the whole C4ISR system, according to Rinaldi.
"Each piece of our solution and capability is agnostic with other existing capabilities," Rinaldi said. "We are not going to try and force the entire thing together, there are many cases where we are now just looking at putting in our Internet-on-the-move tactical communications equipment, which is separate. Maybe [a customer] already has antennas," for example, he said.
The solutions from each of the companies are interchangeable and work with any technology, Rinaldi added.
Here's a closer look at each part of Cubic's C4ISR end-to-end solution.
GATR's inflatable antennas
GATR provides the most mobile satellite antennas in the world, according to Rinaldi. Not surprisingly, the product that possible Middle Eastern customers were most interested in was the antenna. "It could be because it's just very cool-looking, but the fact that it's inflatable, it's really small, the majority of people coming through here find that to be fascinating," he said.
GATR, when Cubic bought the company, was a Huntsville, Alabama-based business selling varying sizes of antennas.
The smallest antenna is less than 1 meter in diameter, according to Rinaldi, and the biggest is more than 4 meters. The most popular is the 1.2 meter, he noted, because it fits in one case.
US Special Operations Command uses the 1.2-meter antennas for a "get-out-the-door capability," Rinaldi said, but also has other sizes in its inventory.
The antennas can also withstand multiple gunshots. The mechanisms that inflate the ball adjust to the pressure changes caused by bullet holes and keep it from collapsing,
TeraLogics' Unified Video
Unified Video "is like YouTube for live video," Michael Bell, a business developer for TeraLogics, said. "A lot of people understand YouTube," he said, but it's "all archived video."
Customers "are interested in, whether it's security or [unmanned aerial vehicles] or any of those sort of things, a lot of people want [live video] for situational awareness, they want it for exploitation and analysis, they want live video, they want to see what is happening now," Bell said.
Unified Video is within multiple programs already. It's cloud based and can be accessed on the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network and the Joint Wordwide Intelligence Communication system through the Defense Information Systems Agency.
The video program has the second highest number of visits — ranging in the thousands — on the SIPRNet, next to Intelink, Bell noted.
TeraLogics has developed many tools that can help a user process live video for analysis. The company can overlay video on a map that shows, for instance, a UAV and what it's seeing in relation to where it is on the map.
Symbology helps point to the right areas of interest, a chat function allows analysts to share notes in real time and video can be tagged with such identifiers as geolocation, time of the video or something else, Bell said.
Particularly important to special operations forces, video can be encrypted in the field where it's taken and then decrypted once they are on the secret network, Bell noted.
Additionally, the program can bring in any video source out there as long as there is a communication link somewhere, whether that is WiFi, 4G, radio frequency or satellite communications.
Trying to sell Unified Video to Middle Eastern customers is challenging. "They don't have some of the technology that is built for this," Bell said. "What we have been trying to do is focus on the idea of security, so you are talking about replacing [closed-circuit television], putting videos in the palms of commanders and military officials' hands."
Countries in the region don't have such capabilities, Bell said, and don't understand why Unified Video is needed until it's talked about from a security angle, which tends to hit home.
DTECH has a rich history in providing network-on-the-move capability for the US military, according to Rinaldi.
The capability is resident in major programs like the Army's Warfighter Information Network-Tactical system, the Marines Corps' Network-on-the-Move as well as within US SOCOM programs.
The company's bread and butter is taking big communications and network platforms and making them smaller, Reg Saxton, a systems engineer for DTECH, said.
The company "takes these big servers, routers, computers, radios and packages it in a small form factor and makes it hard and ruggedized," he said.
DTECH's "newest baby" the M3SE - that stands for mobile, modular and micro secure enclave -- "lego stacks" communications equipment such as routers, switches, wireless devices and servers in a modular way, Saxton said.
On the miniaturization front, for example, DTECH has managed to take a 19-inch standard server rack and, using the same real estate, tripled the capability, according to Saxton.
Additionally, the capability DTECH has developed is highly reliable with a 1.72 percent equipment failure rate since 2001 while its competitors average an 18 percent failure rate over three years.