As commercially oriented IT companies seek to enter the lucrative government technology market, experts continue to point out that the bulk of future federal contracts will go to existing suppliers, not new ones. For the past nine years, General Dynamics Corp.'s C4 Systems unit has been the prime contractor in a 10-year deal with the U.S. Army known as Common Hardware/Software II, or CHS-2, under which the company provides computers and software. The government has paid General Dynamics and its partners $888 million during this relationship, which will continue for another year.
General Dynamics this week said that the Army has awarded it another 10-year deal, known as CHS-3, that would dwarf the 1995 contract. CHS-3, with a potential value of $2 billion, will have C4 Systems furnish Army, Marine, and Air Force tactical computer users with next-generation commercial and ruggedized workstations and associated peripherals and software. Other federal agencies also can purchase computer products under the contract.
As the prime contractor, General Dynamics provides a complete hardware suite and associated software for integration into major Army command and control systems. In addition, the company said it will offer the military program management and user support with extensive testing and integration. CHS-3 uses commercial off-the-shelf architectures as the foundation for ruggedizing tactical computing platforms for the digitized Army. "Military users get access to the same power and performance levels available to their commercial counterparts," General Dynamics said in a statement.
Partnering with General Dynamics are Cisco Systems, Sun Microsystems, and DRS Technologies, a supplier of defense electronic systems. The Army has placed its first order under the contract: $8.3 million for ruggedized handheld computers, Sun UltraSparc III data servers, Cisco Fast Ethernet switches, a next-generation multiple processor unit, and state-of-the-art flat-panel displays and printers.
The contract was issued by the Army's Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and will be managed by the Project Manager Army Tactical Operations Center/Air and Missile Defense Command and Control Systems.