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U.S. Defense Department Picks Four for RFID III

The U.S. Department of Defense has authorized Savi Technology, Northrop Grumman, Unisys and SPEC to bid for orders to supply 433.92 MHz active RFID tags and readers, as well as related software and services.
By Beth Bacheldor
Jan 09, 2009After more than two years of requests and reviews, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has chosen four prime contractors to compete for orders under its RFID III contract, which calls for active 433.92 MHz RFID tags and interrogators compliant with the ISO 18000-7 standard. RFID III is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract established by the U.S. Army on behalf of all U.S. armed services. The contract, administered by the Army's Product Manager Joint-Automatic Identification Technology (PM J-AIT) office, entitles the four companies to compete for purchase orders from any authorized organization supporting the DOD, the U.S. Coast Guard, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), coalition partners and other foreign military agencies.

The four prime contractors are Savi Technology, Northrop Grumman Information Technology, Unisys and Systems & Processes Engineering Corp. (SPEC). The award is worth up to $429.4 million for the total of all procurements, which would be the aggregate of the hardware, software and services solicited from the selected vendors over the life of the 10-year contract. The first three years are allocated for new purchases of hardware, software and services, with the remainder of the contract pertaining only to options and upgrades for products already purchased, as well for services and maintenance to those goods.

At least three of the four companies specified subcontractors as part of their winning bids. Unisys—which has worked extensively with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on projects involving the implementation of RFID interrogators at border crossings to capture information from new RFID-enabled travel documents, such as RFID-enabled passports and driver's licenses being produced by several states—selected RFID hardware vendors Hi-G-Tek and Identec Solutions to serve as the subcontractors that would supply the actual tags and readers.

Those two vendors had also teamed up and bid for a primary contract on the RFID III request for proposal (RFP), though they were unsuccessful in that effort. SPEC's subcontractors include Honeywell, Identec Solutions and management and technology consulting firm BearingPoint.

Savi has eight vendors, most of whom are systems integration and consulting firms, serving as subcontractors on its RFID III contract: advanced technology and aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which owns Savi; systems integrators Computer Sciences Corp., RFID Global Solution and CDO Technologies; ASD, a systems integrator and software developer; IT services firm Teracore; wireless device manufacturer Fortress Technologies; and RFID hardware maker Intermec Technologies.

Northrop Grumman could not be reached for comment by press time. A spokeswoman for PMJ-AIT says the division can divulge only the names of the four prime contractors, and that public information regarding subcontractors is the responsibility of those prime contractors.

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