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U.S. Army awards US$396 million battlefield digitization contract


June 13, 2006

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June 14, 2006 Information is power, and there is no greater need for the information to make good decisions than the ultimate adversarial, winner-takes-all scenerio of the battlefield. And there can be no greater testimonial to a product than yesterday’s announcement that the U.S. Army’s Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) program will invest US$396 million in an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with DRS Technologies to provide rugged Applique Computer Systems and peripheral equipment. Installed on over 40 vehicle platform types, including wheeled and tracked vehicles, as well as Tactical Operations Centres and other command post platforms, Applique Computers support beyond line-of-sight reporting and tracking, and offer improvements in vertical and horizontal information integration for incorporation into the military’s overall battlefield visualization efforts.

Incorporating the latest developments in digital information processing and networking, FBCB2 systems provide improved combat support for lower-echelon battle command tactical mission requirements, including near real-time command and control capabilities, enhanced interoperability, situational awareness, and graphical combat area displays, throughout the force structure at the soldier, weapons and platform levels.

The situational awareness component collectively displays the geographical location of all weapons, platforms, soldiers, command posts and other facilities and is being used in conjunction with the Army’s Tactical Internet (TI) and celestial communications, a seamless Internet connection, for ease in communication. The TI interfaces with the Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS), collects information from both the operation center and the individual units and disseminates the data through the FBCB2 computers for improved situational awareness.

The contract was awarded to DRS by the U.S. Army’s Communication-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command (CELCMC) in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. For this award, the company’s DRS Tactical Systems unit in Melbourne, Florida, will provide rugged Appliqué Computer Systems, including processor, display and keyboard units, as well as rugged solid-state hard disk drives and mission data loaders. Under an initial US$79.9 million order, product deliveries will commence in October 2006 and continue through July 6, 2007.

“Thousands of DRS-built Appliqué Computer Systems have been fielded successfully under the FBCB2 program, and this contract ensures they will continue to serve as crucial assets for our forces as part of the Army’s network-centric communications infrastructure,” said Steven T. Schorer, president of DRS’s C4I Group.

The FBCB2 program is focused on developing a digital battle command information system designed to provide commanders, leaders and soldiers, from brigade to individual soldier and across all the battlefield functional areas, with improved information for command and control and enhanced situational awareness. Supporting the Army’s overall battlefield visualization efforts, the Appliqué Computer Systems provide a seamless flow of battle command information and interoperability with external command and control and sensor systems.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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