NSA picks General Dynamics for secure cellular PDAs

General Dynamics has won an $18 million contract from the National Security Agency to develop personal digital assistants that support secure voice communications and secure access to government Internet systems.

The PDAs, which will permit access to the Defense Department’s Secure IP Router Network, will work on the Global System for Mobile Communications cellular networks used by carriers worldwide, including Cingular Wireless.

The company said it will also provide NSA with PDAs that can operate under the Code Division Multiple Access standard, used primarily by U.S. carriers, including Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless. The PDAs are designed to protect secure communications, including top-secret messages.

General Dynamics already supplies its NSA-approved secure Sectera GSM phones to government users.

“The secure PDA shone is the critical next step to providing a robust and secure link to the next-generation battlefield communications network and will be responsive to the government’s global information grid,” said John Cole, the company’s vice president of information assurance.

Cole added that the new PDAs will “support the government’s emerging secure communications standards for homeland security and will be scalable to meet coalition government and military requirements.”

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