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COMBOX

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COMBOX was an intelligent communication system of the Bundeswehr in the format of a 5¼-inch drive and was used to connect computer systems to communication networks. The COMBOX could be used with computers with SCSI connection. The manufacturer of the device was Siemens AG in Unterschleissheim.

The possible applications concerned the DEC 5000 / Ultrix computers with PC/MS-DOS or PC/LYNX OS operating systems. In conjunction with user-specific software, the COMBOX could process independent communication protocols without loading the host computer.

There were three device variants: “control”, “network” and “interfaces”. The control module was mandatory as the central processing unit. Application-specific network and interface modules were SCSI, V.24 radio, V.24 HDLC, X.21 and LAN.

The hardware of the COMBOX consisted of a 80386SX CPU with 16 MHz and 4 MB RAM as well as 3 MB Flash-PROM, 8 DMA channels and a serial interface 10 Mbit/s synchronous and 2 Mbit/s asynchronous.

In the mid-1990s, the Bundeswehr used about 600 subsystems in the HEROS (Army Command and Control Information Systems for computer-aided operational command and control in staffs) and HFlaAFüSys (Army Air Force Reconnaissance and Command and Control System) systems.