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Another army goes hi-tech


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(from the Jerusalem Post)

IDF spends $18m. on laptops for officers
By Miriam Shaviv

JERUSALEM (September 15) - The IDF will purchase 6,000 Gateway laptop computers to distribute to its officers in an order worth $18 million, Gateway‘s local distributor said yesterday.

The first 1,200 computers will be delivered around Rosh Hashana to senior officers above the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The remaining 4,800 computers will be distributed to officers above the rank of platoon commander over the next few months. Each computer has a value of some $3,300, but the army has paid only some $2,000.

According to the IDF Spokesman, the army decided to purchase the computers as part of a program meant to "improve commanders‘ work environment." The spokesman noted that the decision to go with Gateway rather than with IBM, Dell, HP, or Compaq, the other companies who bid for the Defense Ministry‘s tender, means savings of $1.2 million.

According to the president of Telecode Computers, Gateway‘s local representative, Ben-Zion Haber, more orders are possible.

The chosen computer is a Pentium 3 with 600 megahertz power and 512 megabytes of memory. The laptops come with a docking station that enables the computers to connect to external peripherals.

In order to maintain the computers, Telecode had to recruit up to 80 technicians with appropriate security clearance. Officers will also need clearance to remove the computers from their bases.

The army‘s laptop purchase comes one week after the Soldier‘s Welfare Association announced that it is supplying 85 combat units with internet access.

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