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10 Oct 03. DRS Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: DRS – News) has been awarded an initial order on a potential multi-year contract, expected to exceed $20m in value over the next four years. For the award, DRS will support the conversion and upgrade of U.S. Air Force MH-53J Pave Low III Helicopters to meet the common configuration and operational mission requirements of the MH-53M Pave Low IV helicopters.

The initial $4.8m contract was awarded to DRS by Modern Technologies Corporation, a unit of MTC Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: MTCT – News), based in Dayton, Ohio, for the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Work for this award, including initial engineering and trial installation, will be performed by the company’s DRS Engineering Development Labs unit in Dayton, Ohio, with completion expected in 18 months. Future contracts for conversion and upgrades to a common, modernized MH-53M configuration are anticipated by the company, following successful completion of the trial upgrades.

For the award, DRS will provide system electronics and interfaces to aid in the integration and installation of these upgrades. This effort will ensure that modifications made to the maintenance and operation of these helicopters also will increase the longevity and safety of the MH-53 helicopter fleet.

“The upgrade of these helicopters will provide our forces with increased situational awareness and improved vision of the battlefield,” said Steven T. Schorer, president of DRS’s Electronic Systems Group. “This award, combined with the technology we supply for the improvements of the platform’s Altitude Hold and Hover Stabilization System, is a significant milestone for DRS. Our affordable solution and experience in support of the MH-53 make us the low-risk supplier of choice for this important upgrade program.”

The MH-53 helicopter is considered the largest and most powerful helicopter in the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) inventory. MH-53 helicopters operate in various special operations missions, including search and rescue, and are often acknowledged as one of the most technologically advanced helicopters in the world. Typically employed for defensive missions, MH-53 helicopters contain a full suite of defensive systems, detection avoidance systems and complete armor plating, and can transport more troops with its stronger lift capacity than the HH-60 platform.

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