Cubic Corporation denies via a press release (and a comment posted on the Darker Net site) that it owns TrapWire, but there is another layer to this that exposes how this denial does not completely add up – details below. Also, Cubic, which runs your transportation smart card – and it has just put in a new bid for the Melbourne Myki card contract – has its darker side and we provide four examples. First, about that denial…
A. Cubic Corporation and TrapWire: a case of musical chairs?
When Cubic Corporation acquired Abraxas Corporation, there were some interesting changes made – see Merger document here. The document refers to Ntrepid, which was assigned to the shareholders of Abraxas Corporation as part of the merger. And then there is Abraxas Dauntless, which was acquired by Cubic, also as part of the merger (in that it is a subsidiary of Abraxas Corporation). Basically the document outlines how Cubic Corporation was keen to distance itself from some of these companies. However, if one looks at the senior staff at Abraxas Dauntless, Ntrepid and Trapwire (now run by Abraxas Applications) an interesting picture emerges.
Annual reports filed only six months back showed that the directors for these three companies are as follows:
Abraxas Dauntless’: Michael Martinka (President), Margaret A. Lee (Secretary), Richard H. Helms (Chief Executive Officer) and Wesley Husted (Chief Financial Officer).
Ntrepid: Richard H. Helms (Director), Wesley R Husted (CFO), Margaret A. Lee (Secretary), Michael Martinka (President).
Trapwire Inc: Jack Reis (President), R. Daniel Botsch (Vice President), Margaret A. Lee (Secretary), Wesley R. Husted (Chief Financial Officer) and Richard H. Helms (Chief Executive Officer).
The lesson: ownership can also be about knowledge-sharing and collaboration and that is what is obvious here, whatever sleight of hand took place at the time of acquisition.
Note 1: All stories about Cubic Corporation and/or TrapWire have been removed from Australian newspapers. Is this an example of jumping before you’re pushed, lazy journalism (corporate connections are not only about acquisitions) or Government putting the frighteners on the newspaper proprietors who like their counterparts in the USA of late, can be a timid lot when it comes to criticising Government.
Note 2: It is rumoured that activists are intending to turn the tables on Cubic Corporation and register for millions of Anonymizer nyms (emails) to block the nyms system up – the equivalent of a DDoS.
B. The darker side of Cubic.
Here are four examples of military systems developed by Cubic Corporation, with some going back as far as 2004. (There are more examples – too many to list here).
1. Recently DARPA (part of the Pentagon) awarded Cubic Corporation $6 million to develop a “laser-emitting targeting computer” for American military snipers. It’s called ‘One Shot XG’ (see photo above) “that will allow the sniper to make kill shots “under crosswind conditions, at the maximum effective range of current and future weapons.”
2. In 2004, Cubic Corporation were granted a $6.5 million subcontract from General Dynamics Amphibious Systems to develop and produce a Driver Simulator and a Turret Simulator for the Marine Corps new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).
3. Cubic Corporation were also awarded another $6 million contract from Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture to produce tactical trainers for RLM’s shoulder launched, “fire-and-forget” anti-tank missile.
4. Cubic are also building the Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (STARS), an air/ground data link system for the US military.
5. Two days ago Cubic Corporation put out a press release denying any link with TrapWire, which we now know is questionable (if we go by their directors listings). Well here’s another Cubic Corp press release (from May 2010):
ORLANDO, Florida – May 17, 2010 – Cubic’s Simulation Systems Division, a defense systems unit of Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB), has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $4.8 million to supply 27 of its COMBATREDI systems to the Florida Army National Guard, along with four 180-degree Warrior Skills Trainers (WST), a vehicle trainer that works with COMBATREDI. The award represents Cubic’s first sale of the new COMBATREDI system, which immerses users in a highly realistic 360-degree “virtual reality” environment. COMBATREDI is a new approach for Cubic, its first completely tetherless, user-worn virtual training system. It features a high-definition helmet-mounted OLED video display that delivers game-quality graphics with a 60-by-45-degree field of view, and an integrated 3D stereo headset for sound effects. Trainees are able to move through a 360-degree virtual environment, including entering buildings, as if it were real. The user carries a realistic wireless “surrogate” rifle that performs like a real one, requiring things like magazine changes and selecting the correct firing mode to operate correctly. Cubic introduced the new system to potential military users late last year. “Cubic is pleased that it hasn’t taken long for the groundbreaking characteristics of COMBATREDI to be recognized by the user community,” said Tony Padgett, Immersive Product Line Manager for Cubic Simulation Systems in Orlando. “COMBATREDI fully immerses trainees into the virtual environment. This is a whole new way to train the dismounted soldier.” Padgett said COMBATREDI allows individual soldiers to be trained almost anywhere, incorporating virtually limitless scenarios without the need for dedicated facilities. The WST system also being delivered to the Florida Army National Guard projects realistic high-fidelity scenes on large screens using the Virtual Battle Space 2 (VBS2) engine. This system is in use in multiple U.S. Army locations.
So, next time you use a transport system with your Cubic-managed smart card, whether in London, San Francisco, Sydney or Hong Kong, you may be inadvertently contributing to a war effort that uses Cubic Corporation developed military systems. Have a nice day.
Note: for more on One Shot XG, see http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/08/darpa-one-shot-xg-sniper-system-should.html