Air Force buys secure data units

The Air Force awarded a $73 million contract to Northrop Grumman Corp. to replace the devices on aircraft that lets them securely send and receive information.

The company's Mission Systems division, located in Clearfield, Utah, will provide the new KS-60 secure data unit replacing the older KI-22 device. The KS-60 encrypts information when leaving aircraft and decrypts it when receiving data, according to a March 2 Defense Department contracts' announcement.

Secure data units use algorithms to encrypt and decrypt data supplied by the National Security Agency. The intelligence agency, located at Fort Meade, Md., makes codes for the government, breaks codes of foreign governments and develops and provides information security solutions.

Northrop Grumman will build the KS-60 devices at Boeing Co.'s Anaheim, Calif., facility and will complete the work by 2007. The Air Force gave the company $9.9 million on contract award and will award more money as it delivers units, said the DOD announcement.

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