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23 Jul 03. As part of the Common Hardware/Software III program, (CHS-3) 10-year, $2bn computer contract between the Army and General Dynamics, DRS Tactical Stystems has won subcontracts that could reach $200m, the segment’s largest contract in its 20-year history. DRS Technologies Inc. is looking to add jobs locally and expand its operations.

The company, employs more than 600 people in Brevard County at DRS Optronics in Melbourne, and DRS Tactical Systems, formerly Paravant, in Palm Bay. DRS Tactical already has added 22 jobs since the beginning of the year, increasing its staff to 142. Because of the computer deal, the company is planning to hire as many as 15 more people.

“It’s a substantial win for us,” said Rick McNeight, president of DRS Tactical Systems, adding that his unit would do all of the design and engineering on the project and some of the manufacturing of Handheld Terminal Units, or HTUs. “It could have an impact of between $10 and $30m annually.”

The terminals feature an 8-inch, sunlight-readable display and an Intel-based Pentium 4, 1.4-gigahertz processor wrapped in an aluminum or hard plastic case, which is sealed against water, dirt and dust. The units have sophisticated ways to keep the computer from overheating and must work in temperatures ranging from minus 40 degrees to plus 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They have to be resistant to radio-frequency interference, but not emit energy that would disrupt a soldier’s own radio. Users type into the sturdy system on a flexible rubber keyboard.

The Editor visited DRS Tactical Systems at their Florida base last week and saw at first hand the brand new Scorpion computer production line for the UK BOWMAN requirement. Whilst we were there the company was poised to announce another contract for the BOWMAN system worth around $20m.

“We are going full steam ahead to deliver these systems on time and to contract,” Al Zimmerman told the Editor, “We also expect to announce some exciting news with regard to expanding production of these computers in the UK to meet the BOWMAN and other European requirements during the DSEI show in September.”

The Editor will be interviewing Mark Newman CEO of DRS Inc. during DSEI, for publication in our AUSA October issue.

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