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Monday November 8, 1999

Boeing Expands Role in Underwater Surveillance With Recent $82 Million Contract Win

ANAHEIM, Calif., USA ( Boeing Company Press Release) - The Boeing Company has been awarded a four-year, $82 million U.S. Navy contract for the development of the Longterm Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS). The LMRS is an unmanned, underwater surveillance system that provides the Navy with a clandestine capability to determine the existence of mines in potential threat environments.

``This win is a significant victory for Boeing. It is indicative of the fact that Boeing is emerging as a leader in the design and development of autonomous, unmanned, underwater vehicle systems for the U.S. Navy,'' said Ken Medlin, vice president and general manager of Boeing Information & Communications Systems (I&CS).

``Our strategic thrust is to build systems that manage the collection and integration of data to allow commanders to make informed decisions,'' Medlin added. ``LMRS is a very important step in making this vision a reality.''

Work on the LMRS will be performed by Boeing employees in Anaheim, Calif., and will be managed by the Program Executive Office, Undersea Warfare, in Arlington, Va. Program officials say that Boeing will develop six initial systems, which will deploy with both Los Angeles and Virginia-class submarines beginning in 2004. Each system is comprised of two unmanned underwater vehicles, a recovery system, and onboard handling equipment and support electronics. A shore-based facility will maintain and store the system between deployments.

The contract award is the culmination of a three-and-a-half-year competitive process that incorporates many of the Navy's acquisition reform initiatives. In a final downselect, Boeing was successful over rival Northrop Grumman, which had developed the service's first undersea mine location system called the Near-term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS). Testing on the NMRS system was completed this year.

The LMRS will improve on the early system by featuring autonomous operation without the use of fiber optic cables. An underwater vehicle -- launched, recovered and maintained from existing U.S. submarines -- will have the ability to transit to an area, search it and report back to the submarine via satellite every 12 hours over several days.

Where current mine location systems require the use of helicopters or ships which can be seen by potential threats, a submarine-based system, like the LMRS, will allow for mines to be located without detection. The information gathered will then be used by the Navy to provide safe routes for ships.

Boeing was credited with several strengths that helped secure the contract award. Strengths included an ``outstanding'' electronic database that provided ``excellent insight into Boeing's design process'' and the development of a full-scale prototype of the LMRS recovery system, an accomplishment that has never been done before without extensive submarine modifications. The entire design and prototyping effort was performed in a paperless engineering environment that enabled the team to achieve two to three times as much work for the same cost as prior programs.

``We are very proud of this win. It is the result of almost four years of hard work and dedication by our LMRS team,'' said Bill Van Vleet, director of Communications & Information Management Systems (C&IMS), the I&CS business unit responsible for developing the system. ``This win is representative of Boeing's ability to be the technology leaders in the markets we serve. Good solid systems engineering and key innovative approaches to the challenges of developing this system were critical in our overall selection.''

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