DRS Tactical Systems to provide rugged in-vehicle computers in $455 million contract

Posted by John Keller

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., 19 June 2013. Rugged computer designers at DRS Tactical Systems Inc. in Melbourne, Fla., will build a variety of vehicle-mounted command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment under terms of a potential $455 million U.S. Army contract announced Tuesday.

The Army Contracting Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., selected DRS Tactical Systems to produce the Mounted Family of Computer Systems (m-FoCS) hardware for the Army Mounted Common Operating Environment.

The vetronics project calls for DRS Tactical Systems to build rugged computers, displays, radio controls, and on-board sensors to help alleviate growing size, weight, and power (SWAP) concerns of C4ISR equipment in command and control vehicles.

DRS Tactical Systems will carry out the contract requirements in a series of separate orders. The contract has a maximum value of $455 million.

The Army's attempts to improve Brigade Combat Team (BCT) equipment have introduced a multitude of new and improved C4ISR equipment to enhance the soldier's ability to plan, monitor, and communicate, Army officials explain.

In recent years installing C4ISR systems designed with their own unique hardware into command and control vehicles has become difficult due to space restrictions, and has caused several different processors, displays, input/output and communications devices, and installations kits in Army vehicles have reached the saturation point.

SWAP issues involved with duplication of computing hardware for all these C4ISR systems is a major concern, and the m-FoCS hardware is a means to alleviate these concerns, Army officials say.

For the m-FoCS hardware contract, DRS Tactical Systems will design and build processing capability to minimize SWaP by using vehicle-mounted electronics, as well as a rugged tablet computer that can be used inside Army vehicles, and removed for use on foot when necessary, with sufficient processing capability for future software integration.

Among the goals of the m-FoCS contract is to DRS to reduce the size of currently fielded JV-5 ultra-rugged vehicle computing and display systems by half to accommodate a variety of vehicle mounting situations. DRS also provides the JV-5 computer.

The m-FoCS hardware will include analyst workstation, artillery-control systems, network management, as many as four displays and user-input devices, and data integration for onboard and offboard sensors, as well as a dismountable tablet computer, radio controls, information security, the ability to view data from unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sensors, and other equipment.

The contract also includes vehicle installation kits, cables, secure mission data loaders, disk purging stations, and disk duplicators, as well as purging station to purge at least six hard drives simultaneously to prevent sensitive information from falling into enemy hands.

The m-FoCS hardware will use a set of computing technologies and standards set down in 2010 called the Common Operating Environment, or COE, to enable secure and interoperable applications to be developed rapidly that can function across a variety of environments. The Mounted Computing Environment, or CE, is one of six computing environments that support this goal.

For more information contact DRS Tactical Systems online at www.drs-ts.com, or the Army Contracting Command at www.army.mil/ACC.

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