King of Prussia, Pennsylvania-based Human Designed Systems Inc is now two for two, having won both of the two largest X-terminals contracts ever awarded. Last week, the US Defense Department let its massive $2,500m AFCAC 300 Super-Mini-Computer contract to PRC Systems Inc as prime contractor. As a res ult, Human Designed, which PRC bid as part of its offering, could see orders potentially worth 43,000 units over the next five years, for an estimated value of $75m. All of them would be colour versions. The AFCAC 300 win follows on the heels of the RCAS award to Human Designed last October, the largest single X-terminals contract in existence.
It has Human Designed supplying the US Army with close to 60,000 colour and monochrome units over 30 months. Human Designed says that shipments now amount to $5m. The RCAS contract however is one of those rare governmental birds, a Firm Fixed Price contract, meaning that all of those 60,000 terminals are going to get ordered and delivered. PRC and Human Designed are on less solid footing with AFCAC 300. It’s what they call in governmental circles, an IDIQ or Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contract, described elsewhere as merely a hunting licence. PRC officials believe they can move at least half of the potential totals. Human Designed, which now has about 10 sales staff, might be able to up the ante with a sales drive of its own. PRC, a $700m Black & Decker Corp subsidiary with 7,200 people and 200 offices, will have the greater impact provided it gets to keep the contract. As is very much the fashion these days, the contract could be protested by the losers who in this case are believed to be Control Data Systems Inc and its subcontractors. The number of bidders on AFCAC 300 is thought to have been limited because of the amount of money needed to pursue it. PRC is said to have spent $15m getting the contract with sources attributing the expense to hardware components and the integration work PRC did on the systems. It is intended as a procurement vehicle for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Defense Logistics Agency, and some civilian agencies. The systems are to be used for office automation, database and engineering applications. Mostly it is a modernisation effort and the installations are likely to be large, making PRC more confident that it will make its numbers. PRC will be supplying Hewlett-Packard Co HP 9000 Series 700 and Series 800 boxes (CI No 2,036), which were apparently secured by SecureWare Inc; secure iAPX-86 Santa Cruz Xenix; Oracle Corp and Uniplex Ltd applications; and Everex Systems Inc’s personal computers. Human Designed claims the award makes it the largest supplier of X-terminals for commercial applications in the business, a new area for the things. Network Computing Devices Corp, the acknowledged industry leader with deliveries of 100,000 units, laughs at the notion, retorting that Human Designed isn’t even a contender and is only measured by market researchers as an other. Human declined to specify its installed X-terminal base, saying it had 200,000 units in the field, most of them serial terminals. Network Computing’s base is believed to be largely in technical sites.
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