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Secondary Imagery Dissemination Environment & Resource Manager (SIDEARM)

The Secondary Imagery Dissemination Environment & Resource Manager (SIDEARM) is a NITFS certified secondary imagery dissemination management system sponsored by the U.S. Army Space Program Office (ASPO). NITFS is mandatory for all Secondary Imagery Dissemination Systems in accordance with the memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence ASD(C3I) Subject: National Imagery Transmission Format Standard (NITFS), 12 August 1991. This GOTS software solution for NITFS 2.0 certification supports both UNIX (SIDEARM-X) and PC (SIDEARM-W) platforms SIDEARM was used to support Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) development/validation of NITFS 2.0 certification test procedures As requested by the Central Imagery Office (CIO), SIDEARM has been provided to the CIO to be used by the imagery community (SENDS) Distribution to non-ARMY TENCAP users will be handled by the CIO SIDEARM-X fielded in the FAST.

Most TENCAP systems have the requirement to transmit and receive exploited secondary imagery products. Early implementations of this capability were proprietary stovepipes. The origination of the National Imagery Transmission Format (NITF) program in the late 1980's provided the opportunity to migrate from proprietary formats to military standard based formats and protocols. The SIDEARM program was initiated in 1989 to provide the capability to transmit and receive imagery products to a wide variety of users in the joint environment of DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM. The capability provided by SIDEARM (then called FAISS SID System) was one of the few success stories of the war related to interoperability of imagery systems. SIDEARM is a multi-platform, multi-operating system software application which implements the NITF suite of military standards for transmitting- and receiving secondary imagery products. It runs on both UNIX and MS-Windows computer systems. SIDEARM also implements MIL-STD-2045-44500, the Tactical Communications Protocol, version 2 (TAC02). This is the only communications protocol that works in the tactical environment.

SIDEARM has been modified to remain current with various iterations of the NITF. Initial fielding of SIDEARM included NITF version 1.1 capabilities. In cooperation with DISA and CIO, ASPO upgraded SIDEARM to NITF 2.0 to assist DISA in developing their testing and certification requirements for NITF 2.0 systems. SIDEARM was used at the Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) to develop NITF 2.0 test procedures. SIDEARM was the first software application to successfully complete NITF 2.0 certification testing by the JITC.

SIDEARM, Government Off-The-Shelf (GOTS) software, is available without cost to any government program. SIDEARM is specifically designed for the low-end user who doesn't have sophisticated exploitation requirements. Unlike commercial packages, it contains robust, easy to use communications capabilities optimized for tactical Army communications. SIDEARM is fielded in all the TENCAP FAST systems has been distributed to hundreds of other government users. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) is upgrading NITF from 2.0 to 2.1 requiring SIDEARM modification to ensure its compliance with the new standard.

SIDEARM Version 1.0 Functionality


Fully NITFS 2.0 Level 3 Certified:

  • Up to 20 images per file
  • Up to 100 symbols per file
  • Up to100 labels per file
  • Up to 32 text files
  • Up to 2048 x 2048 images:
  • 8 or 24 bit color
  • 1 or 8 bit grayscale
  • Integrated text data processing
  • TACO2 validity file merging
  • Backwards compatible with NITF 1.1


Full TACO2 capabilities

Crypto interfaces:
KG-84, STU-III, KY-57/58,KIV-7

Synchronous and asynchronous operation:
300 - 32,000+ bps
Simplex, half-duplex, full-duplex

FILE queue transmission
TACO2 criticality and validity



  • UNIX
  • X-Windows


  • Non-destructive annotations
  • labels, lines, polylines, arrows
  • north arrow, rectangles, circles
  • ellipses, bit mapped symbols
  • GCM symbols
  • Sub-images
  • create, place
  • Move / erase objects


  • Graphical user interface (GUI)
  • Intuitive, user friendly
  • Common GUI between both applications

*** NOTE ***
Commonality promotes usability

  • Image Manipulation
  • Overview
  • Magnify
  • Minify
  • Smooth roaming
  • Interpolated zoom
  • Resize
  • Enhancement
  • Image format conversions


  • PC
  • MS-Windows
  • SVGA

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:51:08 ZULU