General Dynamics to build more Marine ops centers

The General Dynamics C4 Systems business unit has received a $13.3 million contract modification from the Marine Corps System Command for 16 additional unit operation centers (UOCs).

Company officials said they expect the new UOCs to be ready for deployment to Iraq by early 2006.

The order follows a December 2004 contract for 21 UOCs that also included funding for the 16 additional production units. All 37 UOCs include engineering upgrades produced by feedback from Marine leadership. To date, General Dynamics officials have delivered 15 UOCs, eight of which are deployed in Iraq.

The UOCs are equipped with 12 computer stations, servers and touch-screen displays. They also incorporate voice-over-IP technology to hook the command centers into tactical radio networks. With this technology, Marines don't need to haul bulky coaxial cable in the field to handle analog voice circuits from a command post to a remote tactical radio site.

A single fiber-optic cable handles communications between the UOC and the remote tactical radio site, with voice traffic treated as a form of IP communications. The UOCs are housed in tents and are field-deployable on one C-130 transport aircraft or two CH-53 helicopters.

"These latest orders are a clear indication that the UOC has become a critical component of the Marine Corps battlefield command and control network," Manny Mora, vice president of Battle Management Systems for General Dynamics C4 Systems, said in a statement.

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