Strength test: Termite LT450, LXI

    By the early 1990s, modern personal computers had come to replace cryptographic machines and other specialized cryptographic devices, in a simple way - PCs. Often it was necessary and necessary to work with such encryption machines in suvory military conditions. Therefore, reliability and durability are the two most important parameters in the development and creation of military portable PCs. Stay unharmed and fully functioning, passing through fire, water and copper pipes!

    Protected laptops are a very special class of mobile devices. They have their own special requirements, even compared to conventional corporate laptops. The main requirement for a protected laptop is to work in adverse environmental conditions and withstand various accidents that may occur during field work. Rain, blows, falls, use at low and high temperatures - this is the most approximate list of what happens with a laptop. Nor does he simply have to withstand this — he must have a sufficient margin of safety so that these events do not go beyond the limits of normal operating conditions.
    If not all, then most military computers are based on Intel processors and are capable of running popular operating systems, such as Windows, Linux and Unix. Ruggedized PCs are large and heavy, although they consist of a standard keyboard and an LCD screen. Therefore, for use in the field, mobile devices have been developed that, in addition to being reliable and durable, also weigh much less than ruggedized PCs. Such oversized car soldiers can easily carry from place to place.

    Military-grade computers are unequivocally resistant to physical impact, but due to the use of commercial operating systems (COTS), such as Windows, are quite vulnerable. That is why it is so important to consider the availability of an additional block for data encryption.

    Below are a couple of first military-grade secure laptop computers.

    1. LT450 Termite

    LT450 Termite (Photo by CryptoMuseum) The

    LT-450N is a very small but reliable personal computer (PC), known as a rugged laptop, designed and manufactured by EDO MBM Technology in Brighton (United Kingdom). It was designed to provide secure communications on the battlefield and to control the fire. The machine with a 6.3 or 6.1 inch LCD screen and multiple outputs for connecting peripheral devices is known as TERMITE.

    On the right was a small removable cover, under it are two PCMCIA specifications, which are known to have been developed for the standardization of memory expansion cards (usually network cards, modems and hard drives are connected via the PCMCIA interface). For connecting peripheral devices - for example, USB and two serial COM ports (RS232) - at the back of the LT450 was a junction box or adapter.

    The LT450 was equipped with a high-quality color 6.1-inch TFT-LCD monitor with a VGA input, used for video surveillance because of its ability to display video in real time. This laptop was also available with a 6.3-inch XVGA screen. On the left was an external power supply. The car was powered by a 7.2 V / 5 Ah lithium-ion battery in a durable rubber casing. The battery could easily be attached to the left side of the case. In offline mode, the laptop worked for 2.5 hours (or 5 hours in energy-saving mode). Using a suitable adapter, the LT450 could also work on other batteries, such as BB2800 or standard Clansman batteries.

    To provide secure messaging, the LT450 was equipped with tamper switches and push buttons. Any cryptographic materials (algorithms and keys) were stored in a separate memory block, and not in the PC memory. On the LT450 case, two red buttons were located in front of the keyboard, the operator had to simultaneously press them at the time of the attack (EE1 and EE2). As a result, the algorithms and keys were deleted instantly, even if the laptop was turned off.

    The system control unit (SCU) connected to other modules through a complex network of cables. On the front panel were four controls, because of the ease of use, the operator could work with them "blindly."

    Messages from the Termite PC could be transmitted over the RDM 600 radio (Radio Data Modem), they could also be printed on a durable thermal printer, it was attached with bolts over the SCU 700 system control unit. The printer was equipped with its own lithium-ion battery.

    Termite used a set of customizable cables to connect to the various components of the system.

    The LT450 was used by the British multinational defense company QinetiQ, headquartered in Farnborough. Later the car was sold to the US Department of Defense (DoD). By 2003, more than 600 LT450 units were removed from service, although most Termite were in operation before 2010.

    DRS - LXI

    LXI is a hardened PC that was developed in 2000 by DRS Technologies in the UK. A durable case, an integrated LCD screen (like a laptop), a removable keyboard and a number of peripheral connections on the back of the device — that's what the safe LXI is all about.

    DRS LXI worked on Windows, there was a built-in hard drive. The removable keyboard was easily detached, to the right of the keys was the trackball, which was used instead of the mouse. On the front panel of the PC, behind the TEMPEST flap, was a removable 3.5 "hard drive.

    All connections were located at the back: 15-pin subminiature analog VGA connector (for connecting a monitor), two RS-232 serial ports (COM1 and COM2), 25-pin parallel port for the printer.

    The amount of memory could be increased by the SCSI interface. The DRS LXI had a built-in modem and was connected directly to an analog telephone line. In addition, there were connections for ethernet (NET) and BSMS.

    Later LXI was improved, the version was seen in the LXI-3 version (2003). In addition to general improvements in performance, disk capacity, etc., the device is almost identical to its predecessor LXI.
    Although DRS’s rugged laptop case protected the device from external ill effects, the laptop was usually packed in a large sealed container. Inside the container was a printer.

    These are only two representatives of military-grade laptops, if this topic is interesting - we will continue). Thanks to the magical work of CryptoMuseum

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