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News

Eurofighter Typhoon gains next generation encryption technology


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EADS
: 23 November, 2009  (Application Story)
The Aircraft Crypto Variable Management Unit for on-board encryption will be fitted to Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for securing multiple communication systems
The Eurofighter Typhoon will be the first aircraft in the world to be equipped with next generation encryption technology called Aircraft Crypto Variable Management Unit (ACVMU) a variant of Ectocryp Steel.

Delivered with the support of Raytheon Systems, the technology has been developed by crypto experts EADS Defence and Security, Ectocryp steel is cutting edge technology that has been designed to manage electronic key distribution for multiple communication systems on board an aircraft using one secure single point.

Traditionally, modern military aircraft and ground installations require multiple communications systems to enable them to operate in a network centric environment; these systems include radio, IFF, GPS and data links.

The need for high demands of security also requires multiple cryptographic protection devices, each of which have different requirements for key variables and fill devices.

This has made key management a time consuming and labour intensive task, often requiring erasure and re-keying between missions when aircraft are powered down.

Against a backdrop of reducing staff numbers and response times, there is a requirement to minimise the key management burden without compromising security.

Ectocryp Steel allows crews to pre-load and store multiple mission scenarios. This helps improve mission responsiveness, reduces key filling errors and also brings exceptional through-life cost savings.

The typical through-life costs for an aircraft fleet of 350 over 20 years without using Ectocryp Steel costs over 200m compared to approximtely 26m when using Ectocryp Steel.

The technology has a suite of approved security mechanisms and has a full erase function.

Today, the Eurofighter programme not only represents the largest industrial programme in Europe, supporting 100,000 jobs in 400 companies, but it is also the most advance example of technology within the European industry base. Some of these jobs are at the EADS Defence and Security facility in Newport, South Wales, where cutting edge encryption technology is developed.

Ectocryp steel is due to be installed into Eurofighter early next year and will also be made more widely available to a range of military aircraft.
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