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January 05, 2010

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U.S. Trains Iraq Navy with Ocean Container Simulators

Pittsburgh-based specialty vehicle manufacturer rises to the challenge of container modification

Mount Pleasant, PA - Housing for naval training simulators is the next big project rolling out the doors of one small company located in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Mobile Concepts by Scotty, a specialty commercial vehicle and trailer manufacturing company, completed the first of two Department of Defense contracts for ocean shipping container modification last Friday— a project turned away by other companies due to time constraints.

Mobile Concepts was contacted about the project in July by Brian Wythe from VSD, LLC., who is handling the training program and curriculum, in Virginia Beach, Virginia:

1. The custom modification and conjoining of two shipping containers into a Full Mission Bridge Trainer  
    (FMBT), a training center that simulates the bridge of a naval ship and
2. The custom remodeling of a single shipping container to accommodate a Small Arms Trainer (SAT).

The obstacle was that the first portion of the project had to be completed by the end of 2009.

“The time constraint wasn’t a deterrent for us,” stated Chris Simon, Mobile Concepts’ Vice President of Sales. “We’re not a huge company, but you would think so by what comes out of our manufacturing facility.  We have the unique ability to give you that one-on-one attention you might not get somewhere else, but we’re large enough to get the job done when and how you need it.”

After leaving the Mobile Concepts factory, the FMBT containers will be shipped to Northrop Grumman in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, for a 3-month installation of ship simulator components on their replica naval ship. The next leg of the trip will take the fully-equipped FMBT to Morgan City, Louisiana, where it will be housed by Swiftships, who are known for their top quality military vessels.

It will be used to train members of the Iraq Navy in ship navigation. It will eventually be transported to its final destination in Iraq after the initial group of Iraq Naval personnel has completed training stateside.  

The second portion of the project, the SAT container, will be completed by Mobile Concepts by the end of January, 2010.  It will be used to train the Iraq Navy on the use of deck-mounted weaponry on their ships. Virtual reality training equipment and software will be installed by Dynamic Animation Systems, Inc., of Fairfax, Virginia.

Mobile Concepts’ 50,000-square-foot factory is manned and equipped to handle the many challenges that can arise during projects like these.

“Although we’ve modified ocean shipping containers in the past [Mitsubishi Electric], this project challenged our design team because of the need to join  two containers together to accommodate the large Northrop Grumman pilot house simulator, but Mobile Concepts will always accommodate Department of Defense customers,” explained company president Anne Degre.

“I welcome those projects that the faint-hearted are afraid of.  My facility has been operating on a 24/7 schedule to meet this crucial deadline, and I am proud of my talented staff of management and production team members whom have completed this project on time. They are always up for the task and are willing to accept challenges,” continued Degre.

The biggest challenge that faced Mobile Concepts during this project was finding the best way to keep the structural integrity of the shipping container after removing a 22 foot piece of the wall in order to join the two containers.

“We worked together as a team to finalize and execute the best plan to keep the container structurally sound because the customer needed to be able to walk around on top and install antennas as well as hold up to the elements and shipping  wear and tear for years to come,” said Simon.

This creative-spirit is inherited from Mobile Concepts’ roots. Degre added, “My father and grandfather started this company more than 50 years ago from an idea sketched on the back of a napkin, and since then we’ve become the leader in several industries – adapting our approach as needed to better serve our customers.”

Today, the company custom designs and manufactures specialty vehicles for agencies in government, military, law enforcement, police, utility, healthcare and private enterprise.

Visit www.MobileConcepts.com for more information about the many other custom vehicles Mobile Concepts offers.

The Naval Air (NAVAIR) Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity (N61339-09-C-0034).