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Metters Industries wins shot at $4 billion contract.

Technology firm looks to build weapons training systems

Metters Industries Inc., ranked No. 80 on the BLACK ENTERPRISE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $36 million in sales, is one of 17 firms that have won the right to compete for a portion of $4 billion in contracts to develop virtual simulators used to train soldiers to wage war. The McClean, Virginia-based company is one of five small businesses and 12 major corporations that will bid on specific projects over the next eight years from the Army's Simulation Training and Instrumentation Command, or STRICOM.

Metters Industries CEO Samuel Metters, Ph.D., points out that his firm hasn't been guaranteed any contracts. "This just gives us a license to fish," he says. The former Army colonel and engineering professor has prepared Metters Industries for this opportunity over the past two decades by developing an expertise designing simulators used to train soldiers in the operation of the military's helicopters, tanks, and other tools of war.

Jim Exter, general manager for Metters Industries' Orlando division, which will handle all bidding on the contract, says he expects about one-fourth of the $4 billion to go to the five small businesses. He is confident that his firm will win about $40 million in contracts because of its expertise.

"We are going to bid for anything that involves the design of any air or ground vehicle simulators," Exter said. "Our edge is in the use of composite material to build training devices. Nobody else does this to the extent that we do."

Exter explains that Metters Industries is on the cutting edge of developing military training technology, from building mock components of the M1A2 tank to designing mock helicopter cockpits that train pilots to fly military helicopters in realistic situations.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:bidding rights to defense contracts
Author:Harris, Hamil R.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
Previous Article:Growing outside the box.
Next Article:New plant, new profits.

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