Army to buy more rugged Unix notebooks

The Army's Program Executive Office for tactical command, control and communications will order more rugged Unix notebooks under a follow-on contract to lighten up battlefield hardware.

Under the Common Hardware/Software III contract, the PEO office had already paid more than $12 million for about 700 SPARCbook notebook systems built by Tadpole Computer Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., and ruggedized by General Dynamics Corp. of Falls Church, Va.

Under the new CHS-3, PEO officials said they expect notebook spending to grow. (Click for June 4 GCN story)

'It's only going to go upwards,' said Lt. Col. Gale Harrington, product manager for common hardware systems in the PEO office at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

The Sun Solaris 9 systems come preloaded with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StarOffice 6.0 suite, which is familiar to Army personnel who use Unix. The combination of small size, ruggedness and open-source support spurred the Army office to write in that style of notebook as a specific requirement for CHS-III.

'This is a new product coming out in a ruggedized version,' said Ashok Jain, the office's technical adviser for common hardware systems.

Tadpole officials said they estimate their portion of the $2 billion CHS-3, a 10-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, will be about $90 million. PEO officials said the notebooks are undergoing testing and haven't been deployed in the field yet.

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