NRL InfraLynx Deployed to Gulf Coast

11/14/2005 - 53-05r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541

At the request of Rear Admiral Christopher Weaver, Commander, Navy Installations Command, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) deployed two InfraLynx communications vans to the Gulf Coast area devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The InfraLynx team departed the Laboratory in Washington, D.C., on September 6, 2005, enroute to the New Orleans area.

InfraLynx provides critical communications infrastructure, such as phone, fax, networks, cellular phone capability, and bi-directional satellite communications following a disruption of normal communications channels. Packing abundant capability into a single vehicle, InfraLynx can operate as a local telephone service provider for emergency workers, and as a cellular tower, beaming consumer cell signals to a satellite and sending them to another city. Most notable, however, is the system's interoperability - InfraLynx allows emergency workers from different organizations to talk to one another, patching one radio frequency into another, bridging the signals so that anyone can talk to anyone else.

While assigned to Joint Task Force Katrina, the NRL team used the InfraLynx vans to provide network, non-secure phone connections, and commercial television capabilities for the Eighth Coast Guard District, headquartered in New Orleans. InfraLynx allowed the Eighth District office to reestablish its presence in the city, following Katrina. The group also provided services to the Army National Guard's 35th Infantry Division, which was coordinating 2,000 troops from several states. Navy reservists served as liaisons between the NRL technical team and Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security activities in New Orleans.

Technical assistance was also given by NRL to the U.S. Northern Command, which had deployed its own NRL-designed InfraLynx vehicle to the distressed area, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander, and the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

NRL's Katrina mission assistance was completed shortly before the arrival of Hurricane Rita, after which, at the request of the Department of Justice, the team was relocated to Jasper, Texas. After arriving in Jasper, the InfraLynx provided Internet and non-secure telephone connections to the Jasper County Sheriff's Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

The InfraLynx team consists of NRL engineers, technicians and Program 38 Naval Reservists. NRL's InfraLynx development and field support team is part of the Naval Center for Space Technology's Tactical Technology Development Laboratory. Members of NRL's Information Technology Division provided satellite networking support for InfraLynx. Program 38 is the science and technology component of the Naval Reserves that supports the Office of Naval Research and NRL.

Fully developed following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City, InfraLynx has previously been deployed to high profile events such as the 2002 IMF World Bank Conference; the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah; and Superbowl XXXVII in San Diego, California.

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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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