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W.Va. firm shows off equipment to be used in Iraq

January 12, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - New surveillance and assessment equipment going to Iraq was demonstrated Thursday for retired U.S. Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey at the testing site of STS International, the company that developed and sold it to the U.S. Army.

McCaffrey is an STS consultant and frequent television commentator on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served in the military with West Point classmate Ted Morgan, STS International president, who is also a Vietnam veteran, McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey said before the demonstration, "We are right on the verge to deploy this system to Iraq."

He said all the equipment, including the camera-assisted monitoring system (CAMS), will provide security and works with wireless technology.

Six systems are going operational in March, said Mike Aldridge, STS project leader, and 10 people will be trained to operate the systems, he said.

Four STS employees will be traveling with the systems and will maintain the equipment and provide the initial training, said Doug Mattingly, STS facilities manager.

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"In March, we can provide a capability to assist the men in Iraq," McCaffrey said.

According to an STS International news release, "the STS systems, designed for force protection and homeland security applications, are developed and built in Morgan County, W.Va. The Army system is force-multiplier technology, meaning a smaller force can provide effective security of a given site through the use of high-tech cameras, radar and sensors."

"Our products will make soldiers and Marines more effective in counter-insurgency operations. These systems are also well-suited for border security missions and homeland defense," Morgan said in the press release,

Mattingly said Morgan is from the Washington, D.C., area and "fell in love with West Virginia." STS International has been operating in Morgan County since the mid-1990s, he said, and Morgan set up the testing site about a year ago.

STS International has three locations in Berkeley Springs and employs about 75 people. The main office is on Sand Mine Road at the U.S. Silica Co. office building north of town, and it has a fabrication facility in town and the testing site on W.Va. 13 in the Greenwood area, he said.

"The system saves lives, and it was primarily built in Morgan County, West Virginia," Mattingly said. "I'm proud of that."

"It can be used any place where there is a security deficiency," Mattingly said. "The equipment can be set up around areas to be protected, and a device will be triggered if someone wants to get in," he said.

"STS designed the software in Berkeley Springs, and more is to follow, we hope," McCaffrey said.

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