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General Dynamics Unit Gets More Funds for Robotics

By Dawn S. Onley
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, May 16, 2005

General Dynamics Robotics Systems of Westminster, Md., has received $50.7 million in additional funding for the Army's autonomous navigation system, designed to bring next-generation robotic ground vehicles to the battlefield.

The robotic vehicles are part of the Army's future combat systems, which ultimately would link 18 ground and air weapons systems and sensors through a common computer network.

The contract increase was awarded by Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego and brings the total contract value for the General Dynamics unit to $237 million. SAIC and Boeing Co. are the lead systems integrators for the $107 billion Future Combat Systems program.

General Dynamics Robotic Systems is designing and manufacturing a system for robotic control of several of the manned and unmanned ground vehicles that are part of the program. The autonomous navigation system is to provide navigational, perception, path-planning and vehicle-following algorithms and an on-board sensor package.

Scott Myers, president of General Dynamics Robotic Systems, said the autonomous navigation system -- the intelligence of the robotic vehicles -- would advance the Army's vision of a lighter, faster future force.

The contractor is to work on vehicles, including the Multi-functional Utility Logistics Equipment, which can move equipment and provide automated re-supply; the Armed Reconnaissance Vehicle and Manned Ground Vehicles.

Over the past two weeks, General Dynamics of Falls Church has secured three add-on contracts for its work on Future Combat Systems. The company's land systems division, in Sterling Heights, Mich., won a $282 million modification to its $2 billion contract for engineering development and demonstration of the family of manned ground vehicles. The work is to be performed in Woodbridge, and Sterling Heights and Muskegon, Mich.

And General Dynamics Corp. and Rockwell Collins Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won a $153.9 million contract modification to speed development of the Integrated Computer System, the common computer environment for Future Combat Systems. The Integrated Computer System is to be integrated into Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Stryker combat vehicles and Humvees.

Dawn S. Onley is a senior writer with Government Computer News. For more details on this and other technology contracts, go to www.gcn.com.

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