Feeds

US Navy buys Linux to guide drone fleet

Ground control to Uncle Linus

Boost IT visibility and business value

The US Navy has signed off on a $27,883,883 contract from military contractor Raytheon to install Linux ground control software for its fleet of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones.

The contract covers the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River in Maryland, which has already spent $5,175,075 beginning to install Linux systems. The no-bid contract was awarded to finish the work and get the Navy's drone fleet fully operational using a Linux backbone.

The Navy's only listed VTOL drone is the Northrup-Grumman MQ8B Fire Scout, which is designed to be carried by frigates and to provide electro-optical and infrared reconnaissance over a range of 110 miles, while allowing five hours on station. The Navy plans a fleet of 168 of the drones; some are currently deployed scouting-out drug shipments in the Caribbean, but can also be fitted 70mm rockets as needed for other missions.

US Navy MQ8B Fire Scout

US Navy Fire Scout scouts and fires

While the US military has been a growing user of Linux, the contract might also have something to do with the swabbies learning from the mistakes made by the flyboys and girls in the US Air Force. After a malware attack on the Air Force's Windows-based drone-control system last year, there has been a wholesale move to Linux for security reasons.

"If I would need to select between Windows XP and a Linux based system while building a military system, I wouldn't doubt a second which one I would take," F-Secure's security researcher Mikko Hypponen pointed out at the time.

As for those worried over GPL licensing, the US Department of Defense is well ahead of you. The DOD has already issued guidelines on the use of open source code in its systems, and says the matter is in hand.

"The US government can directly combine GPL and proprietary/classified software into a single program arbitrarily, as long as the result is never conveyed outside the U.S. government, but this approach should not be taken lightly," it states. "When taking this approach, contractors hired to modify the software must not retain copyright or other rights to the result (else the software would be conveyed outside the US government.) ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.