News | Jun 2, 2017

The Widespread Adoption of ATAK, a Revolutionary Smartphone App

News Article Image of The Widespread Adoption of ATAK, a Revolutionary Smartphone App

A 96th Security Forces Squadron uses the android tactical assault kit to send a message from his patrol vehicle July 5 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The ATAK is a new communication system implemented at Eglin that so far has provided significant improvements in the base’s defense mission. The tablet-based system provides written communication, pictures, mapping, GPS and data access to defenders more quickly than previous methods which relied heavily on radio transmissions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Black Hawk Down (Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia) was the incident that triggered the development of a powerful situational awareness tool by engineers at the AFRL Information Directorate. “People could not execute their missions because they didn’t know where everyone else was,” said Ralph Kohler, Principal Engineer at the directorate and chief architect of the technology development.

Thinking about the incident, Kohler realized that there was a strong need for a tool that would provide users with an up-to-the-second understanding of their operational environment. He and a group of engineers and specialists at the Air Force Research Lab developed the software and packaged it as a smartphone app called ATAK.

The ATAK situational awareness tool now has thousands of DoD, Homeland Security, law enforcement agency, and civilian users. It can be used in many different industries where team awareness is critical such as event management, entertainment, recreation, energy, and transportation.

The ATAK smartphone app is a prime example of Air Force technology transfer benefiting the U.S. defense mission and the American public.

For businesses that want to license and develop ATAK, click here.

Cleared 01 Jun 2017, Case No. 88ABW-2017-2749

Headshot Image of Sean Patten, CLP

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