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PRC WINS AWIPS CONTRACT VALUED AT SOME $227 MILLION

 MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded PRC, a subsidiary of The Black & Decker Corporation (NYSE: BDK), its Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) contract -- an 11-year program to update the computer and communications systems that support the National Weather Service in providing the nation's weather warnings and forecasts. The contract is worth approximately $227 million.
 "AWIPS is the heart of the National Weather Service's modernization effort," explained Gene Benuzzi, a former U.S. Air Force weather forecaster and PRC's Department of Commerce account manager. "In the hands of the National Weather Service forecasters, AWIPS will provide the most responsive and effective weather warning and forecasting capability in the world."
 AWIPS will be the core computer system to acquire, process and distribute weather information from a battery of sophisticated new weather sensors, such as new radars, satellites and automated instrumentation. It will provide comprehensive analysis, display and computing tools for National Weather Service forecasters to exploit the high-resolution information produced by the other new sensors. AWIPS also provides the communications resources to rapidly disseminate the weather warnings and forecasts generated by the forecasters using the system.
 "AWIPS is an exciting program because it integrates some of the most technologically advanced computer capabilities into the world's most advanced weather forecasting system," added Hal Wilson, PRC's AWIPS program manager. "This is technology that's going to help our forecasters save lives, because it will help them pinpoint fast- breaking, life-threatening weather systems such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, and deliver timely and detailed warnings."
 The AWIPS contract includes three phases. The first is the development phase, which starts immediately upon contract award. It calls for PRC to begin installing applications development workstations at five key National Weather Service development sites. In addition, PRC will develop the production version of AWIPS, conducting system testing, training National Weather Service personnel, and installing and supporting a network of 16 pre- production sites in the "tornado belt," which is located in the area centered on Kansas and Oklahoma. The National Weather Service will use these pre-production sites to conduct operational tests and evaluation.
 The remaining two phases -- deployment and operations -- are part of a single option exercised at the completion of the three-year development phase. The two-year deployment phase calls for PRC to install 144 AWIPS systems at 125 geographically dispersed locations across the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
 The operations phase provides for PRC to maintain and update the fully deployed AWIPS system for six years.
 PRC's principal teaming partners on the contract include GTE Spacenet of McLean, which will provide satellite broadcast services; Atmospheric Environmental Research (AER) of Cambridge, Mass., a small business specializing in the development of sophisticated meteorological software algorithms; and Hewlett-Packard of Palo Alto, Calif., which will supply the primary AWIPS workstation and applications processing hardware.
 This contract culminates a procurement cycle that began in April 1987 with seven initial bidders submitting design concept proposals. In November 1988, the National Weather Service selected two bidders to develop parallel prototype systems.
 This announcement represents the culmination of the competition between the two companies, with PRC's solution chosen to take the National Weather Service into the future. PRC's core management and meteorological team has supported the AWIPS program continuously since 1985.
 "Winning AWIPS caps an absolutely brilliant year for PRC's new business wins," commented Jim Leto, executive vice president of PRC.
 Headquartered in McLean, PRC provides information systems and services to government and commercial clients worldwide. With revenues of approximately $700 million, PRC employs 7,200 people working in over 200 offices.
 -0- 1/4/93
 /CONTACT: Chuck Taylor of PRC, 703-556-2749/
 (BDK)


CO: PRC; The Black & Decker Corporation; National Oceanic and
 Atmospheric Administration ST: Virginia IN: CPR SU: CON


DC -- DC003 -- 1182 01/04/93 09:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 4, 1993
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