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17 Mar 08. DRS Technologies, Inc. received a $19m, five-year indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract from the United States Naval Surface Warfare Center, in Crane, Indiana, to provide the U.S. Marine Corps with vehicle Vision Enhancement Systems (VES). The Marine Corps will incorporate the systems onto their Joint Assault Bridge (JAB) vehicles. The work will start immediately, executed by the company’s DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems – California Division in Cypress, California.

The VES is a non-developmental item DRS is providing to the U.S. Marine Corps’ JAB vehicle program by leveraging existing DRS-manufactured products currently in use by U.S. and international military forces. The company’s VES provides the Marine Corps with a solution that is more affordable and quicker to manufacture, deliver and install since it doesn’t require new designs and engineering specifications. The VES uses combat-proven DRS infrared sensors and displays currently in wide spread use on tactical vehicles deployed with the Marine Corps and U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. The VES consists of four uncooled infrared thermal imaging sensors, one display, one wide field-of-view monochrome CCD, and one control interface box. It is designed to provide 165-degree situational awareness, enhancing the forward vision of the driver and commander during movement, bridge launch and recovery operations, and under conditions of limited visibility such as night, dust, smoke, or fog.

“By providing the Marine Corps with this vision enhancement system based on existing and combat-proven DRS products, we are delivering a system that military forces always desire – a low risk, affordable and dependable solution that can be delivered and installed extremely quickly anywhere in the world,” said James M. Baird, president of DRS’ Reconnaissance, Surveillance & Target Acquisition business segment.

The Army and Marine Corps’ JAB vehicle program was instituted to provide its land forces with a better tactical gap crossing capability and replace the U.S. military’s existing armored vehicle bridging system. The JAB vehicle consists of an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank chassis modified to accommodate and deploy an 18.3-meter MLC-70 bridge. The program is being managed by the Tank-Automotive and Armaments Life Cycle Management Command and manufactured by the Anniston Army Depot in Anniston, Alabama.

BATTLESPACE is running a feature on vehicle EO/IR systems in our May and June issues.

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