Armored vehicles to get rugged systems

Officials at DRS Technologies announced last week the company received new orders worth almost $36 million to build more than 3,600 rugged Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) systems for the Army and the Marine Corps.

DRS officials said they will start delivering the appliqué FBCB2 processor, keyboard and removable hard drive units in June. The hardened systems will be installed in the Army's and the Marine Corps's M1A2 Abrams tanks and M2A3 Bradley infantry carrier vehicles, according to a Jan. 13 company statement.

"The FBCB2 systems have proven to be crucial assets for our forces in Iraq as part of the Army's network-centric communications infrastructure by providing improved interoperability and networked battlefield command information," said Steven Schorer, president of DRS's C4I group. The company received an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract in June from the Army to manufacture the systems.

FBCB2 gives troops access to warfighting information including intelligence, weather and friendly and enemy troop position data via computer terminals in their vehicles. The system also lets soldiers communicate using instant messaging preserving radio silence in combat.

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