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L-3, Northrop to bid jointly on Army translation work

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp. will jointly bid on a U.S. Army contract valued at as much as $2.6 billion to provide interpretation, interrogation and translation services in Iraq.

The five-year contract is expected to be awarded in January by the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, New York-based L-3 said Tuesday. The current contract is held by Titan Corp., which L-3 bought July 29 for $1.97 billion.

Communications Systems-West, the Salt Lake division of L-3, employs 2,200 people in Utah. Northrop Grumman has Navigation & Space Sensors Division operations in Salt Lake City, information technology operations in Layton and mission systems operations in Clearfield.

With the purchase of Titan, L-3 added about 5,000 linguists in 24 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan, making it the largest provider of translators to the U.S. military. Work under the current contract is valued at $432 million this year, the company said Nov. 3. Northrop had said in September that it would compete against L-3 for the new award.

Los Angeles-based Northrop has provided about 700 translators for the U.S. Army in Europe's Balkans region since 1995, speaking languages including Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian. Demand for Northrop's services is declining there as U.S. troops are increasingly being replaced with European forces.