Army hangs hat on General Dynamics for helmet system

General Dynamics Corp. won two contracts totaling $2.7 million from the Army to develop and equip an advanced combat-helmet system for vehicle crewman, the company announced this week.

General Dynamics of Falls Church, Va., will outfit the Mounted Warrior helmet system for integrated, wireless voice communications. The company also will configure it for additional capabilities, such as the ability to see operational data and video on a helmet-mounted display, when tethered to a combat vehicle.

The Mounted Warrior system initially will be integrated with the eight-wheeled Stryker armored combat vehicle. General Dynamics C4 Systems unit will perform the work.

General Dynamics' teammate on the project is Microvision Inc. of Bothell, Wash., which will provide the helmet-mounted display systems.

The first contract, valued at $500,000, funds initial planning to provide equipment to a Stryker battalion for operational evaluation. The second contract, for $2.2 million, gives the Army 165 helmet-mounted displays for installation into an in-theater Stryker battalion for operational feedback.

Mounted Warrior is being developed and delivered using a spiral approach, which enables faster deployment. Spiral 1, designed for use in the Stryker combat vehicle, includes integrating the advanced combat helmet, cordless voice communications, improved goggles and a rechargeable battery that is powered through a connection to the vehicle power supply.

Future spirals will be configured for use in a wide variety of Army vehicles and will enable integrated wireless voice, data and video communications.

General Dynamics has about 70,100 employees and annual sales of $19.2 billion. The company ranked No. 6 on Washington Technology's 2004 Top 100 list, which measures federal contracting revenue. The 2005 Top 100 list will be released May 9.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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