Another Iridium pact won by Essex Corp.


February 27, 1996

Columbia-based Essex Corp. said yesterday that it landed a $1 million contract to supply additional engineering and software work on the Iridium System, a global wireless communications system for mobile telephones and pagers that Motorola Corp. is developing.

Essex, which employs about 200 people nationwide, 70 of them in Maryland, will perform systems analysis and develop computer software for Iridium's 66-satellite network.

Essex, a defense electronics contractor that is attempting to apply its technological know-how to more commercial needs, was hired in 1990 by Motorola to help it develop the wireless communications system.

"This is a very big deal for a small company. It really highlights how we're trying to apply our defense-related work to more commercial uses," said Matthew Bechta, vice president and director of Columbia operations.

The company has been diversifying by developing technologies for booming industries, such as medicine and telecommunications, Mr. Bechta said.

So far, the Iridium deal has been worth about $7 million to the publicly held company, he said.

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