General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) has secured a US Army contract to design and develop a cryptographic key loader.

The multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract was awarded by the US Army’s Program Executive Office, Command, Control, Communications-Tactical. It carries an initial value of $229m.

As agreed, GDMS will deliver a National Security Agency (NSA)-certified key-loader called the next generation load device-medium (NGLD-M). The hand-held device will enable the management and transmission of cryptographic key material and mission planning data.

GDMS president Chris Brady said: “We are proud to partner with the Army to bring our industry-leading crypto experience to bear, along with a powerful user experience team.

“Our device will be designed with the mobile soldier in mind, to ensure security and ease of use while standing up to the rigours of a tactical environment.”

The US government agencies and global partners will use the NGLD-M to transfer the strongest NSA-generated cryptographic keys to tactical, strategic, and enterprise network systems, from different levels of security classifications.

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During the ten-year period of performance, the US Army plans to procure approximately 265,000 units.

According to GDMS, the device is scheduled to replace the ageing simple key loader fill devices.

General Dynamics Mission Systems Cyber Systems line of business vice-president Brian Morrison said: “By leveraging our demonstrated crypto, key management, and tactical computing expertise, we will deliver an accelerated, low-risk, sustainable, NSA-certified NGLD-M solution.

“It will be built from the ground up to support useability and security, with significant modularity to allow future upgrades.”

A business unit of General Dynamics, GDMS focuses on delivering mission-critical solutions to defence, intelligence, and cyber-security customers.

The parent firm recently reported full-year revenues of $38.5bn in 2021.