Draper Lab Creates Android App to Call in Air Support

Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, Mass., is leading an industry group that is developing an app for the Android operating system to allow US military personnel to call in air support more easily using handheld electronic devices. Special operations forces recently began limited use of the Android Terminal Assault Kit, or ATAK, in prototype form during operations overseas, and wider fielding could follow next year, according to the Oct. 8 release from the not-for-profit engineering research and development organization. ATAK is “a map-based interface that enables the troops on the ground and those in aircraft to share information and maintain constant situational awareness,” states the release. It provides airmen with battlespace awareness, navigation, and the ability to deconflict airspace and control remotely piloted aircraft. Among its other features, “troops on the ground can use the app to add context to raw video feeds, such as labeling buildings as schools or hospitals so they are avoided during battle,” states the release. The lab began work on the app in 2010.