Army contract for new heating-cooling unit

July 26, 2006 at 6:06 AM
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NEW YORK, July 25 (UPI) -- DRS Technologies has received a $44 million contract for heating-and-cooling units for the U.S. Army.

Known as Improved Environmental Control Units (IECU), the devices keep troops in base camps comfortable within an outside temperature range from 50 below zero Fahrenheit up to a sizzling 125 degrees.

The eventual delivery of the units from the DRS plant in Kentucky will be good news to U.S. soldiers scattered around the sultry Middle East and in Afghanistan, where hot summers always give way to frigid winters.

Such units not only keep troops comfortable, but also keep medical supplies and electronics at optimum temperatures and act as air filters to keep out dust and, if necessary, biological and chemical agents.

Dan Rodrigues, president of DRS's New Jersey-based Sustainment Systems & Services Group, said Tuesday, "These systems and previously developed environmental control units will ensure the sustainment of our armed forces deployed worldwide."

DRS has been producing the currently deployed MIL-A-52767 ECU, which is also a lightweight unit, rugged and capable of withstanding harsh conditions including dust, sand, rain, vibration and electromagnetic interference.

The IECU cranks out a robust 60,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) of energy and includes a higher level of energy efficiency as well as an environmentally friendly refrigerant.

The contract announced Tuesday funds design, development and testing of prototype IECUs followed by Low Rate Initial Production and then Full Rate Production.

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