Industry Watch

Lockheed ships training unit

Lockheed Martin Information Systems recently completed the first production-line model of the Close Combat Tactical Trainer simulation system for the Army's M1A1 main battle tank.

The CCTT system provides distributed, real-time, interactive training for individual or company-level tank units and has the potential to support up to battalion or regimental levels. The distributed simulation environment is powered by high-end workstations capable of generating realistic 3-D terrain features and semi-automated enemy forces against which tank crews battle over local- and wide-area networks.

The system is the first of 54 that Lockheed Martin will produce under a $70 million contract with the Army's Simulation, Training and Instrumentation Command. A follow-on production contract for 229 more CCTT systems is planned for November, according to a Lockheed Martin spokesman.

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Postal Service OKs Internet stamp

The U.S. Postal Service certified a new product from StampMaster Inc. for use during the market test of the agency's Information Based Indicia Program (IBIP), which allows users to print postage from a PC. The company's electronic commerce product, StampMaster Internet Postage, allows users to securely print postage— which is delivered over the Internet— directly on an envelope. So far the only other product certified by USPS for the pilot test is E-Stamp Corp.'s Internet Postage software. The IBIP pilot is scheduled to run through year's end and go live next year.

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IRS awards mail-sorting contract

In an effort to process tax forms faster, the Internal Revenue Service this summer awarded a $25 million contract to purchase 20 mail-sorting systems from Bell & Howell Mail Processing Systems, North Carolina.

The new Jetstar 9000 will sort incoming and outgoing mail and detect checks in sealed envelopes using special magnetic ink character-recognition scanners developed especially for the IRS, said Terry Fischer, vice president of the sorting business unit at Bell & Howell.

Fischer said the company set up a preliminary version of the mailing system in Philadelphia, and a system should be installed in Atlanta in September. All 20 should be installed by next year, he said.

The IRS sorts by hand only 300 large pieces of mail per hour because its current sorting system cannot process large envelopes.

The new system will be able to process 10,000 to 15,000 large envelopes per hour, said Frank Courtell, the project leader at the IRS.

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Northrop announces layoff

Northrop Grumman Corp. has announced plans for a series of cutbacks and realignments in almost every area of the company, resulting in cuts of almost 8,000 workers by the end of 2000. All the programs are aimed at reducing the company's annual operating costs by about $300 million beginning in 2001.

The restructuring, which will cut almost 2,100 jobs by 2000, will include the realignment of Northrop Grumman's operating units, consolidation of its facilities and laboratories, and restructuring of its management.

The realignments will form two new operating sectors: the Integrated Systems & Aerostructures Sector and the Electronic Sensors & Systems Sector.

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RedCreek nabs GSA contract

RedCreek Communications Inc., a network encryption and security product company, was scheduled to announce today that its Ravlin product line has been added to Patriot Technologies Inc.'s General Services Administration contract.

One of the first products Patriot will offer via the GSA schedule is RedCreek's Ravlin 3.0, which is designed to offer enforcement of network traffic, privacy, authentication and access-control policies.

As part of this newly released version of the Ravlin product family, Patriot also offers Ravlin Node Manager, which is designed to enhance users' ability to manage and monitor Ravlin hardware units and software users on a link-by-link basis.

The node manager also is designed to offer real-time views of Ravlin-supported virtual private networks.

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Equinox offers digital modem pool

Equinox Systems Inc., Sunrise, Fla., has announced its new Digital Modem Pool, which allows a Microsoft Corp. Windows NT server to support dial-in users at 56 kilobits/sec through standard communications software. The Modem Pool supports up to four T-1 lines in each server slot and up to 16

T-1 lines, or 384 modems, per server. It runs outside the server, connecting through an Equinox SuperSerial controller board.

The Modem Pool will ship by the end of September. General pricing for the Modem Pool ranges from $2,790 for a six-modem fractional T-1 configuration to $6,975 for a complete 24-modem unit. GSA schedule pricing will be 5 percent lower than half the list price.

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Ingram beefs up reseller program

Ingram Micro Inc. has announced the addition of 50 vendors to its Partnership America reseller program for the federal government. Vendors include Allaire Corp., Dragon Systems Inc., Pinnacle Systems, Toshiba Networks Division and Verbatim. Ingram, a distributor in Santa Ana, Calif., established the Partnership America program in 1995.

The program offers a range of technology products and services through several channels, including the GSA schedule, and now includes almost 300 manufacturers.

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Sideware opens federal sales office

Officials at Canadian independent software vendor and IBM business partner Sideware Systems Inc. said last week they were preparing to open their U.S. headquarters office in Reston, Va., in an effort to target the federal government market as well as the high-tech companies operating in Northern Virginia.

- Compiled by Dan Verton, Heather Harreld, Colleen O'HARA, Diane Frank and Orlando de Bruce.

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