Lockheed Martin [LMT] is answering the need to enable military vehicles to serve multiple mission roles by offering soldiers a mobile network in a carrying case.

Lockheed Martin’s Communications-on-the-Move (COTM) kit gives warfighters access to various networks without having to incorporate racks of equipment in their vehicles. 

"Lockheed Martin offers the potential for each vehicle to be a network node without having to return to a depot for extensive installation of communications equipment," said Jim Quinn, vice president of C4ISR Systems with Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense. "This kit offers warfighters a proven, transportable communications capability."

Lockheed Martin’s Whetstone™ COTM network kit is an affordable, platform agnostic system for extending the network to soldiers at the tactical edge of the battlefield, the company said in a statement.

This "network in a box" has a configuration that can be tailored to meet changing mission requirements, eliminating the need for vehicles to be tailored specifically for mobile communications. Depending on the mission performed, the kit can be integrated from one platform to another in less than one hour. It is completely scalable, provides SATCOM connectivity and can support anything from small unit missions with critical voice, data and video mission command services to filling the communications needs for a brigade combat team command post with complete battle staff.

The suite of communications gear includes servers, solid state storage, a network switch, and a router. The kit can push various types of broadband data, such as satellite imagery down to small, company-level units that lack wideband connections. It can also equip vehicles with communications link to satellite, Enhanced Position Location Reporting System, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System and UHF/VHF Line of Sight.

Developed as a Lockheed Martin research and development project, the COTM kit was recently tested at the 2011 Joint Users Interoperability Communications Exercise. During the exercise, a larger scaled version of the kit showcased a tailored network infrastructure system which can insert additional functionalities to a third party system.

As a result of its participation in the exercise, the kit is designated at Technological Readiness Level (TRL) 7, which means that the technology is sufficiently proven, and can be immediately incorporated into vehicles.