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Marine Corps Systems Command News

Marine tactical computer to receive boost in power

23 Sep 2003 | Capt. Chad Walton

Marines in the field will soon see new laptop computers that will allow them to better track friendly forces, process intelligence and imagery data, and stand up to the extreme environments in which deployed forces are required to operate.

Recent lessons learned in Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrated a need for more processing power, storage capability, and a better ability to maintain performance under harsh environmental conditions than in the laptops Marines presently use.

"Technology has leaped forward in a short period of time and the power available in a laptop computer is much greater now than even a few years ago," said Capt. Chris Sample, Intelligence Analysis System project officer, Marine Corps Systems Command.  "At the same time the software we use requires much greater processing speeds and our older machines just can't keep up."

Commanders have increased the demand for real time situational awareness along with a three-dimensional visualization of their battlespace requiring a way to present more and more 3-D video and imagery to enhance their situational awareness using more advanced software.  These demands have further necessitated the replacement of existing tactical workstations.

Tactical Combat Operations, Intelligence Analysis Systems and Global Command and Control Systems programs allow workstations to display maps; friendly and enemy unit location; and develop, display and disseminate intelligence in a timely manner to support tactical decision-making.

The Tactical Combat Operations, Intelligence Analysis System and Global Command and Control Systems project offices for the new computer workstations are planning to begin fielding somewhere in the October/November 2003 timeframe and hope to be finished by January 2004.

Training will also be provided for the new workstations on site and for the new MAGTF Software Baseline program that will be fielded along with the new laptops.

In May 2003, project officers from Systems Command tasked Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston, S.C., to evaluate candidate replacement laptop computers in a Comparison and Performance Test to determine the best platform to replace their workstations across all echelons of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. 
Eleven laptop computers from five vendors were initially evaluated using a list of seventeen requirements developed during recent wartime operations.  These laptops were then subjected to twenty-one individual functional and technical tests, followed by an extensive environmental test.  At the conclusion of the CPT in June 2003, the IBM T-40p laptop emerged as the lead replacement candidate.   

Overall, the IBM T-40p more than doubles the processing power and storage capability of the tactical workstation currently employed throughout the Marine Corps.  Here is how the new laptop stacks up against the old:

- 1.6 Gigahertz Intel Pentium M Processor
- 80 Gigabyte Hard Disk Drive
- 64 Megabyte Video Card
- DVD/CDRW Combination Drive

-600 MHz Intel Pentium III processor
-1024 Megabyte Random Access Memory
-20 Gigabyte Hard Disc Drive
-4 Megabyte Video RAM
-CD R-W/RW disc drive

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