Finmeccanica subsidiary DRS Tactical Systems, Inc. in Melbourne, FL recently received a $248.3 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) installation kits, and engineering services to integrate them onto the relevant vehicles, helicopters, etc. Work location will be determined with each task order, with an estimated completion date of Sept 22/14. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 10 bids received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (W15P7T-11-D-C601).
FBCB2 is more commonly known to the public as “Blue Force Tracker,” though that is only part of a system designed to enable a diverse array of communications, while showing the positions of friendly forces and detected enemies (hence its popular name). Blue Force Tracker has profound implications for land warfare, and related contracts extend from computers to back-end services. Over the last 16 years, more than 95,000 FBCB2 systems have been deployed worldwide. The latest FBCB2 Joint Capabilities Release was approved for fielding in February 2011, offering bandwidth improvements, faster updates, and a common platform for the US Army and Marine Corps. DRS also supplies the system’s current JV-5 Block II ultra-rugged computer/ display, which runs on the same Intel Core i7 chipset found in high-end Apple machines. Other key participants in the FBCB2 program include Northrop Grumman (prime contractor), and ViaSat (communications component).