ITT Exelis takes on Air Force encryption project

Work on drives for laptops and unmanned aerial vehicles will protect data at rest.

ITT Exelis has been picked by the Air Force to build a prototype of self-encrypting drives for laptops and unmanned aerial vehicles.

If successful, the technology would let these systems store information while mitigating the risk of being compromised, the company said.

The contract, valued in the low millions of dollars, was awarded by the Air Force Cryptologic Systems Division, according to a company statement.

The drives will be solid state and will build off of Exelis’ work on the National Security Agency-certified Havasu secure network processor. The processor will allow for reduced size, weight, power and cost, the company said.

“Current laptops and [Defense Department] mobile applications use commercial drives, which provide significant security risks if they are lost or captured,” said Chris Bernhardt, Exelis executive vice president and president of the electronic systems division. “These secure drives are direct commercial drive replacements and are based upon our Scorpion Data-at Rest program.”

The prototype work will be completed in December.