General Dynamics Awarded $169
Million Contract to Build Antennas for Advanced Radio Telescope
Millimeter-wavelength telescope will be world’s most sensitive,
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit
of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has been awarded a $169 million contract
by Associated Universities Inc. (AUI) to design, manufacture and deliver
25, 12-meter antennas for the North American portion of the Atacama Large
Millimeter Array (ALMA) project, an international astronomy facility.
ALMA’s primary goal is to provide a radio telescope array that
will allow scientists to observe and image galaxies out to the edge of
the universe, and stars and planets in their formative stages with unprecedented
An international collaborative effort to build and operate the world’s
most sensitive millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelength telescope, ALMA
ultimately could consist of an array of up to 64 antennas, and an additional
compact array supplied by Japan, all in Chile’s Atacama Desert,
16,500 feet above sea level. The sky above the site has the clarity and
stability essential for the required level of imaging fidelity. The antennas
will work together as one telescope to provide a spatial resolution 10
times higher than the Hubble Space Telescope.
"Imaging qualities and the ability to change the configuration
of the antennas will make ALMA astronomy’s most versatile imaging
instrument,” said Gary Kanipe, the General Dynamics C4 Systems
vice president responsible for the program. “General Dynamics has
reached an unprecedented level of radio telescope sophistication as evidenced
by the decision to award the ALMA contract.”
Millimeter and submillimeter-wave astronomy is the study of the universe
in the spectral region between what is traditionally considered radio
waves and infrared radiation. In this realm, ALMA will study the structure
of the early universe and the evolution of galaxies; gather crucial data
on the formation of stars and planets; and provide new insights on our
own solar system.
The first antenna is scheduled for delivery in 2007 with final delivery
of all the antennas expected by the end of 2011. Pre-assembly work on
the contract will be done at General Dynamics C4 Systems’ Kilgore,
Texas, and Duisburg, Germany, facilities.
Previously, in February 2000, Vertex Antenna Systems was awarded a contract
by AUI to build one of two antenna prototypes. This business was acquired
by General Dynamics in September 2004.
ALMA construction and operations are led on behalf of North America
by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), operated by AUI for
the National Science Foundation. ALMA is a partnership between North
America (the United States and Canada), Europe, and Japan, in cooperation
with the Republic of Chile. The NRAO received funding for ALMA in North
America from the U.S. National Science Foundation in cooperation with
the National Research Council of Canada.
General Dynamics C4 Systems is a leading integrator of secure communication
and information systems and technology. With more than 10,000 employees
worldwide, the company specializes in command and control; communications
networking, space systems; computing; satellite communications; and information
assurance for defense, government and select commercial customers in
the United States and abroad.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately
70,100 people worldwide and had 2004 revenue of $19.2 billion. The company
is a market leader in mission-critical information systems and technologies;
land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding
and marine systems; and business aviation. More information about the
company is available on the Internet at www.generaldynamics.com.
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