Comtech unit to continue Army GPS work

Originally posted Sept. 4 at 11:30PM; updated Sept. 10 at 3:49PM

(UPDATED) Comtech Mobile Datacom won a three-year, $605.1 million contract from the Army to support a satellite-based system that tracks vehicles on the battlefield.

The award follows a previous contract presented to the company in 1999 for the Army's Movement Tracking System. The new contract runs through July 12, 2010.Under the new contract, the company will provide equipment for MTS and satellite support services for the program office overseeing the system.

MTS allows Army logistics personnel to track and communicate with vehicles in the field through the use of global positioning system technology. The system also features messaging capability that lets vehicle crew and logistics personnel communicate with each other.

The system has been deployed around the globe to support Army ground logistics operations, said Dan Wood, president of Comtech Mobile Datacom. The Germantown, Md., company's contracting team includes Science Applications International Corp., San Diego; Gamber Johnson LLC, Stevens Point, Wisc.; and NCS Technologies Inc. of Manassas.

SAIC provides program management expertise, Gamber Johnson assembles the kits used to mount transceivers on the vehicles, and NCS supplies both control station computers and rugged computers designed for harsh field conditions. Another Comtech unit -- Comtech EF Data of Tempe, Ariz. -- manufactures equipment and provides systems integration services.

Comtech Mobile Datacom, which is a subsidiary of Comtech Telecommunications Corp., of Melville, N.Y., was founded in 1998. The unit has about 135 full-time employees and another 40 to 50 contract employees, Wood said.

Ten to 15 employees are assigned full-time to the MTS contract. They handle a variety of duties such as program management, network operations, engineering and customer service, he said.

In addition to MTS, Comtech Mobile Datacom also supports the Army's Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below Blue Force Tracking program. The Blue Force Tracking program uses computers, satellites and global positioning system technologies to identify friend from foe on the battlefield and, in so doing, prevent friendly fire.

The company's other military customers include the Air Force, Marines and Army National Guard.

About the Author

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

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