Army taps General Dynamics for tactical IT hardware

Warranty will replace damaged equipment within 72 hours

A major procurement contract will supply Army soldiers with vital IT equipment and services ranging from rugged handheld devices to network servers.

The Common Hardware Systems-4 (CHS-4) contract is intended to keep the Army ahead of its procurement requirements for key tactical IT hardware and services. Awarded to General Dynamics C4 Systems (GDC4S) Aug. 25 by Army Contracting Command, CHS-4 is a $3.7 billion, five-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract. The award uses two types of contracts, firm-fixed price and cost-plus fixed-fee, for services on noncommercial items.

The goal of the contract is to improve interoperability, compatibility, sustainability and lower life-cycle costs on the battlefield through standardization and centralized, commercial and non-developmental equipment. "We initiated this contract to help us stay at the edge of modern technologies to meet soldiers' needs for years to come," Ashok Jain, product director for CHS under the Army's Project Manager Mission Command, said in a Aug. 30 statement.

Four different hardware versions will be procured under the contract:

  • Non-ruggedized.
  • Nonruggedized with some ruggedization.
  • Fully ruggedized.
  • Near military specifications ruggedized with a comprehensive five-year warranty program.

Hardware covered under the contract includes handheld devices, notebook computers, servers, network devices, peripherals, cables and operational transit cases. “Think of everything in your office that you want to take with you when you deploy. We provide that,” said Mike DiBiase, vice president and general manager of Computing Technologies for GDC4S.

The warranty program will provide worldwide repair, maintenance and logistics support through regional supply centers. Although CHS-4 is a five-year contract, the warranty extends for an additional five years. “It’s really a 10-year contract,” DiBiase said.

Included in the warranty is a 72-hour turn-around time to replace damaged equipment. To support this globally, GDC4S has established support centers at key Army facilities globally. In forward operating areas, such as Afghanistan, the company is including in-field support by technicians deployed to the region. “You can’t afford the down time,” DiBiase said.

The CHS-4 contract supports Army programs of record such as the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical as well as other Defense Department customers. One of the advantages of the contract is that some users can purchase equipment directly through the contract, which will help with the Army’s agile acquisition process, DiBiase said. This is especially important for events such as the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation exercises, where the service may need to quickly acquire newly identified hardware and systems, he said.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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