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Better mileage. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, under its Connectionless Networks program, has hired seven contractors to develop techniques for reducing the amount of energy required for data transmission.

'As much of the world is shifting to an IP-centric approach for communicating data digitally, we realize the inherent inefficiencies that the IP headers create for sending small amounts of data,' said Preston Marshall, DARPA's Connectionless Networks program manager.

In the first phase of the program, DARPA is paying the contractors a total of $4.6 million over the next year to study innovative technologies such as new protocols and low-power transmitters.

The contractors are BAE Systems North America of Rockville, Md.; BBNT Solutions LLC of Cambridge, Mass.; GE Global Research of Niskayuna, N.Y.; General Dynamics Decision Systems of Scottsdale, Ariz.; HRL Laboratories LLC, of Malibu, Calif.; Raytheon Co.; and Wescomm LLC of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Contractors will 'look at ways to exploit a radio's inherent multicast capability to efficiently transmit and communicate a few bits of data at a time,' Marshall said.

DARPA hopes to develop technologies that increase the data transmitted while decreasing the power used by radios to deliver it.

Planning edge. The Air Force is testing a new command and control tool for planning air battles.

Lockheed Martin Corp. recently delivered to the service and the Strategic Command a $2.8 million prototype C2 system that lets commanders plan precise strikes by integrating Global Positioning System navigation and satellite information.

The system also gives battle planners access to flyover data so they can determine when enemy satellites can view battlefield conditions.

Through two contracts held by Lockheed Martin, the Air Force wants to integrate 40 systems that support space controls, missile defense and air surveillance for the Strategic Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

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