On November 7, GE Intelligent Platforms and Juniper Networks announced at MILCOM 2011 (November 7-10, Baltimore, Maryland) that the two companies will collaborate to develop a family of rugged, highly secure routing and network security appliances designed for military/aerospace deployment in harsh environments where security of data is a mission critical requirement. The resulting solutions will be sold by GE Intelligent Platforms.
This new family of GE products responds to the adoption by military forces around the world of a network-centric approach to battlefield operations and systems design, according to both companies. With this solution, converged data, voice and video are carried over an IP-based network, and routers form the core of such a network. Cybersecurity also represents a significant concern, as well, as the coexistence of allied forces through multi-national battlefield engagements underscore potential language barriers and security concerns. This results in a requirement for purpose-built rugged routers with advanced security capabilities since commercially-available routers are not designed for harsh environments encountered in most military combat situations.
The RTR8GE, the first product to be announced, is a battle-ready, rugged, and security-focused network router, featuring Juniper's Junos operating system. Its firewall, intrusion prevention and detection, and quality of service capabilities enable secure IPv4/IPv6 connectivity for military vehicles, aircraft and forward operating bases supporting net-centric operations. The RTR8GE is designed to have eight Gigabit Ethernet ports integrated in a SWaP-optimized enclosure that meets the demanding environmental requirements of military and aerospace applications.
The RTR8GE router also supports radio-aware router protocols that monitor network efficiency, available bandwidth and regulate traffic flow, choosing the most efficient network route in mobile, ad-hoc battlefield network environments. It also includes anti-tamper protection and information-assurance technologies in recognition of the sensitive nature of the data it is designed to transport.
For the remainder of this decade, improved routing performance, for traffic load balancing, for countering radio channel performance disturbance and for inter-domain routing in the heterogeneous networking environment will grow in importance. VDC believes collaborative technology agreements such as this between GE and Juniper represent a best-of-breed approach to network-based embedded design and development projects, for any number of real-world applications, including military and defense.
By bringing together Juniper's network technology and its Junos operating systems for mission-critical, rugged, and net-centric military applications, GE Intelligent Platforms will be better positioned to participate in programs where C4ISR/electronic warfare interoperability specifications are an integral component of the ultimate solution. However, VDC also believes even with the obvious technical benefits of a GE-Juniper combined communications platform, U.S. military expenditures on advanced net-centric technology will be rationalized - just as virtually every Department of Defense program receives extensive reviews in 2012. Adjustments in U.S. military strategy and global posture are likely, and could result in large budget savings that could contribute to deficit reduction, a key priority for the current administration.