Savi to Track US Marine Corps Supplies in Afghanistan

Lockheed Martin's Savi Technology got a US Marine Corps (USMC) order for 50 Portable Deployment Kits (PDKs) to locate, track and manage RFID-tagged supplies anywhere, anytime in support of expeditionary force surges in Afghanistan.

This most recent order from the USMC automatic identification technology office brings the total number of kits procured to nearly 1,300 kits over the past several years by the US Department of Defense (DoD), National Guard, NATO and allied international defense forces.

The updated PDKs in the USMC's latest order operate on dual RFID modes to provide real-time visibility of assets tagged with devices based on pre-existing standards or to new standards the DoD has adopted. The compact “out-of-the-box” system uses RFID, GPS and Iridium Modems to communicate via satellite with DoD's In-Transit Visibility (ITV) network. The highly portable solution, which can be carried like luggage and used where fixed infrastructure is not practical, enables military logisticians to know where mission-critical assets are located while they are transported to and from supply depots in the U.S. to the last tactical area in the field of operations.

“The PDK help war fighters to be properly equipped, especially in remote and austere environments where rapidly moving expeditionary forces need to be self-sustaining,” said David Stephens, CEO of Savi Technology. “In addition to providing end-to-end supply chain visibility, Savi's PDK helps to improve operational efficiency, lower transportation costs and minimize inventory and excessive supply orders.”

“There's a force multiplier effect when civilian agencies involved in rapidly-moving disaster relief efforts can leverage an off-the-shelf solution that links with the DoD's existing communications network,” Stephens added. The DoD used PDKs and other RFID fixed infrastructure to track supplies shipped this year to Haiti during disaster relief efforts there. PDKs also can be used in the commercial sector where large and complex supply chains extend to remote locations, such as oil and gas exploration and production, construction and mining.

Because of their ruggedized portability, Savi PDKs can be set up anywhere as mobile reader checkpoints, including at transfer locations from air, land or ocean modes of transportation, or at Supply Management Units in theater. Through satellite communications with the DoD's ITV network, field logisticians can communicate their requirements with supply depots in the U.S., which can then better manage both incoming and outgoing inventory. The PDKs ordered by the USMC track everything needed by expeditionary forces, ranging from ammunition and tires to meals and boots.

The PDK integrates in a single carrying case several wireless tracking and data collection technologies, including bar codes, 2-D bar codes, active RFID and GPS location systems with satellite communications. It also includes a laptop, handheld computer, mobile reader, printer, software and communications equipment needed for asset tracking, and cargo and personnel manifesting. In addition, the PDK provides active RFID tag read and write capabilities, and prints Military Shipping Labels with updated shipment information.
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