39_L-3 Communications

L-3 has its hands in almost every part of the military's initiative to improve soldiers' "battlefield awareness." You've probably seen images of U.S. Special Ops guys toting laptops into the mountains of Afghanistan to direct airstrikes. L-3 built some of the first such devices, called Rovers, early in the "war on terror."

They came in two parts, weighed 15 pounds, and had to be lugged around in backpacks. This year, the military will deploy L-3's Rover 5, a 3.5-pound handheld that fits into a cargo-pants pocket. The device boasts what Evan Deneris, director of Rover engineering, calls a "John Madden feature," which lets a soldier see real-time video from manned or unmanned aircraft and use a stylus to zero in on the target. On the home front, the Rover aided Hurricane Katrina rescues and the battle against California wildfires. (L-3 is also behind the controversial airport screening equipment that renders travelers virtually naked on-screen as they go through security.)

Rover 5: The 3.5-pound handheld lets soldiers on the ground see aerial views of the battlefield and identify targets with a stylus.

Fighter Jet: The soldier's annotation is sent to the attack aircraft and displayed on a small video screen the pilot uses for targeting.

Command Center: Rover allows commanders to approve targets remotely.

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