Army buys rugged PCs for battle management

DRS Technologies Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., won a $39.5 million Army contract for ruggedized computers for the Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below program.

The rugged Appliqué computers are installed on M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles; both run the FBCB2 troop and vehicle tracking application. The company will begin delivery of 4,000 Appliqué systems early next year.

The Army's Blue Force Tracking initiative and the related FBCB2 use the same application software running under Sun Microsystems Solaris, but Blue Force Tracking uses ground-based radio links for communications, and FBCB2 uses satellite transmissions. The systems display the location of friendly and enemy forces.

In June, the Army awarded DRS a five-year contract to provide FBCB2 systems. The contract is expected to net the company more than $100 million.

The Army's Communications-Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, N.J., placed the order.

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