Tooth and nail fight for Navy contract goes another round

Stratos Mobile Networks won another round in a seesaw battle with Communications Satellite Corp. for a $48 million Navy contract to provide satellite services to deployed carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups.

Last October, COMSAT won the contract — the key communications component of the Navy's Information Technology for the 21st Century project. But U.S. Court of Claims overturned the contract and ordered a re-competition after a successful appeal by Stratos. The satellite circuits provide classified and unclassified services to deployed ships, which use the satellite circuits for e-mail, World Wide Web browsing and other types of Internet Protocol-based data traffic.

The Navy appealed the Court of Claims ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. If Stratos wins, the company will start providing service to the Navy Jan. 1, 2001.

Comsat currently provided satellite service to deployed ships through a total of 75 channels of 64 kilobits/sec circuits via satellites operated by the Inmarsat. If Stratos prevails in court, it will use the same satellites to provide the service.

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