SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Lockheed Martin has begun testing a new communications network that was created with young, tech-savvy soldiers in mind.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

The idea behind MONAX was to pair the soldiers’ skills with their needs on the battlefield. For instance, many of the younger soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan were put into situations where they had to rendezvous with other soldiers or units at a specific location.

“The last time I looked at a map was probably something like fifth grade,” acknowledged 20-year-old Morwenna Rowe. She has since returned to her studies at U.C. Berkeley, but recalled not being familiar with more traditional tools typically employed in war zones.

MONAX was based on smartphone technology, which would make it easier for soldiers to receive and transmit vital information.

“They have iPhones, they download apps, they play games on them. You know, they will text mom from the bedroom to ask what’s for dinner,” pointed out Lockheed Martin’s Paul Butterfoss. “We send them over there with these twenty-year-old walkie talkies and paper maps. And it’s a bit of a culture shock and so enabling a network to provide them cell phone capabilities, smart phone capabilities, is really important.”

MONAX would allow soldiers to share video and photos, plus write reports on a secure network.

“Imagine using the same smart phone device that you use here in the states now in a tactical environment. So instead of having our soldiers deployed overseas using walkie talkies and paper maps, Monax provides a network to allow them to use the full functionality of a smart phone.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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