Soldiers in Kuwait drive with satellite tracking, e-mail

Hundreds of ground tactical vehicles in Kuwait have been outfitted with the Army's Movement Tracking System, which uses satellites to transmit e-mail messages between troops and commanders and to show vehicle operators their precise positions.

Although the eight-year, $418 million MTS contract was awarded in June 1999, the Army only recently has begun installing it on tactical vehicles such as Humvees, officials said. During the Army's tests, a satellite message from Germany to Texas took less than 10 seconds to arrive, they said.

Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp. of Germantown, Md., built 5,600 of the systems for the Army. It takes less than an hour to install MTS equipment in most vehicles; larger vehicles take a little longer, officials said.

Via global positioning and commercial satellites, MTS makes it possible to identify positions and track progress of tactical vehicles. 'MTS will help get logistics faster to where it needs to be to support the soldiers,' said Robert Straub, the deputy assistant project manager.

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