This is Northrop Grumman’s SmartNode Pod, which just had a demonstration at Mojave, California.
It’s part of the future of communications for the military. It serves as a node which allows real-time information to be exchanged between boots on the ground and commanders at base. It allows for the high speed transmission of real-time video and radio talk.
The Pod will allow for unprecedented expansion of data transmission range, and is pictured here affixed to a Firebird aircraft.
he data is encrypted, and Northrop demonstrated the applicability of the pod during the demo. Northrop likely hopes that it will be integrated into the upgrades to the Navy’s upgraded communications system in a big way.
Here’s a picture Northrop Grumman released, with the Pod being the grey device under the Firebird:
Photo credit to Alan Radecki / Northrop Grumman, from the press release.
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