Comtech wins Army battlefield communications contract

The Army awarded Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp. a $418 million contract today that will provide commanders the ability to precisely locate and communicate with battlefield support vehicles, such as ammunition and fuel trucks, anywhere in the world.

Army commanders will use the information provided by the Movement Tracking System to incorporate digital information about battlefield support vehicles into the service's high-profile Force XXI battlefield digitization programs. The system will track and locate tanks, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and scouts in Humvees.

The MTS system will relay signals from GPS receivers installed in 39,000 vehicles through commercial satellite communications pipes to control stations installed at tactical headquarters. Besides providing vehicle-mounted systems, which include computers with moving map displays, Comtech also is required to deliver another 12,000 battery-operated handheld units without the mapping function.

Comtech partnered with American Mobile Satellite Corp. to provide the communications pipes for MTS domestic operations and with the International Maritime Communications Satellite Organization for communications with units operating internationally.

MTS is based on proven commercial technology that is used to track everything from commuter buses in Perth, Australia, to the next-generation high-speed trains Amtrak plans to start operating in the Northeast United States this fall.

Other bidders on the MTSD contract included Arinc Inc., GTE Government Systems Inc., Litton/PRC Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp.

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