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Fargo companies get millions for defense

Three Fargo businesses will receive millions of dollars in research funding from the Department of Defense. The funding was included in a bill approved by President Bush, U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Friday at a news conference. - Appareo...

Sen. Byron Dorgan

Three Fargo businesses will receive millions of dollars in research funding from the Department of Defense.

The funding was included in a bill approved by President Bush, U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said Friday at a news conference.

- Appareo Systems will receive $1.6 million.

Appareo is considered a leading company in the emerging field of augmented reality, a form of virtual reality used to train pilots, a news release stated.

Appareo has developed a product that can "bring a lot of safety and operational efficiency to the way we train pilots for our military today," said David Batcheller, Appareo's director of quality, process and program management.

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The funding will be used to evaluate a flight tracking and data program that identifies risks that could lead to accidents.

- Pedigree Technologies will receive $2 million.

Pedigree is a leader in the field of machine-to-machine sensoring, which allows devices to talk directly to one another using Internet and wireless technology, a news release stated.

The funding will be used to develop technology that will improve the military's ability to monitor borders and facilities in remote areas.

"It will be very, very helpful to our troops on the ground and to our intelligence about what's happening on the battlefield," Dorgan said.

The funding "contributes to our development efforts and adds a lot of new developers for us," said Alex Warner, Pedigree president and founder.

The U.S. Navy has also awarded Pedigree Technologies an $8.7 million contract through 2011, Dorgan said.

- SpaceAge Synthetics will receive $1.6 million from the Defense appropriations bill.

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The funding will be used to improve the performance of the Spartan, an unmanned Navy patrol vessel.

The Navy hopes to use the Spartan against unconventional threats, but its performance has been hampered by weight problems, a news release stated.

The SpaceAge Synthetics project will show whether the Spartan's performance can be improved by using composite materials to significantly reduce the vessel's weight, a news release stated.

"The Navy has much to gain by integrating our technology," said John Hertsgaard, SpaceAge Synthetics president and CEO. "We will be strengthening our (research and development) efforts here in Fargo by partnering with the fine mechanical engineering department at North Dakota State (University) and also by adding staff to our own engineering department."

Dorgan said the three companies illustrate the future of business and new technology in North Dakota.

"We're building a foundation," Dorgan said. "I want us to understand the opportunities here are almost unlimited."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526 Fargo companies get millions for defense Tracy Frank 20071208

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