General Dynamics makes deal for wireless player

Move by defense company positions itself for new first responder networking opportunities.

General Dynamics is buying a 3G and 4G LTE equipment provider to boost its law enforcement and first responder capabilities.

Terms of the deal for IPWireless Inc. were not disclosed, but the company makes 3G and 4G LTE equipment and solutions that give high speed access to lifesaving data and applications, the company said.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which should close during the third quarter of 2012. IPWireless is based in San Francisco and has 90 employees.

IPWireless produces network components, user devices and end-to-end systems that are built on commercial networking standards.

The company’s products should position General Dynamics to exploit new opportunities coming out of the nationwide interoperable broadband network required under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, General Dynamics said.

The law mandates a network that can provide municipal agencies with priority access to services such as mobile field reporting and photo and crime databases.

“First responders need fast, reliable and secure access to full-motion video and other high-bandwidth services to protect the public and themselves,” said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems. “Recent legislative initiatives have accelerated the adoption of these technologies throughout the public safety community and IPWireless provides the end-user devices and scalable networking components that enable that access.

The acquisition builds on General Dynamics' experience providing mission-critical military network capabilities and applications, he said.

Current IPWireless projects include the New York City Wireless Network, which spans all five boroughs with 400 cell sites. It provides prioritized and preemptive network access by government officials and emergency response personnel. Applications delivered over the network include wireless video, remote traffic control, sensor management and automatic vehicle location.

When the transaction is completed, IPWireless will be renamed General Dynamics Broadband and will operate as a subsidiary of General Dynamics C4 Systems.

General Dynamics Corp., of Falls Church, Va., ranks No. 5 on Washington Technology's 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal contractors.