National Guard orders portable RFID kits

Savi Technology's portable RFID deployment kit

The U.S. National Guard has purchased $4.6 million worth of mobile radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems to improve real-time tracking of supplies at National Guard armories and for deployed operations.

The contracts were awarded to Savi Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Co. in Bethesda, Md.

Under the contracts, each state's Joint Force headquarters, as well as National Guard units in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, will receive portable deployment kits (PDKs) and related equipment. The initial orders will provide 54 PDKs, 5,400 active RFID tags and 120 mobile handheld readers, in addition to associated training for National Guard logisticians nationwide. Mission applications include disaster relief, homeland security and other emergency efforts.

The suitcase-sized PDK is an advanced 'mobile chokepoint solution' that integrates several automatic identification and data collection technologies, including bar codes, 2D bar codes, active RFID and GPS location with satellite communications, in a single carrying case. The PDK is fully configurable and quickly operational, with no additional software configuration required.

By embedding the RFID tags in supplies and equipment and using the portable kits, Guard units will be able to communicate with the Defense Department's global In-Transit Visibility cargo tracking network, giving the National Guard mobile capability to assign and track assets throughout the United States and its territories, particularly as it assists local, regional and national relief efforts. National Guard logisticians will be able to access the ITV and feed all relevant tracking information in their own decision-support software to know what's where and what's coming.

'The contracts with the National Guard demonstrate the growing need to rapidly and efficiently track critical materiel throughout their own facilities and into austere environments where there is little or no available communications or power infrastructure,' said David Stephens, general manager of Savi's Public Sector. 'There's a force multiplier effect here since the National Guard--and potentially other civilian agencies'can leverage an off-the-shelf solution that links with the DoD's existing communications network.'

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