Jul 23, 2013 16:25 UTC
DMSP: points of light
Military commanders have always been subject to the whims of mother nature. Napoleon’s attempt to take Moscow stalled in the bitter cold and snow of the Russian winter. The D-Day invasion was postponed because of a poor weather forecast.
To better predict the weather, the US Department of Defense began an effort in the 1960s called the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) to use satellites to monitor weather from space. Data from DMSP satellites are used for strategic and tactical weather prediction to aid the US military in planning operations at sea, on land and in the air.
The aging DMSP is being replaced by the National Polar-orbiting Observing Satellite System (NPOESS); however, that system is $3 billion over budget and is not expected to be ready until 2012. In the meantime, DMSP replacement satellites are being launched to keep the system functioning. On Oct 18/09, the DMSP F-18 satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 2 more DMSP satellites – F-19 and F-20 – are expected to be launched before the program ends…
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Jul 22, 2012 20:14 UTC
The Israeli Air Force has known since December 2008 that its fleet of A-4 Skyhawk jet trainers and light attack aircraft would leave service. It took until July 2012 to sign a contract for the Skyhawk’s successor, despite justifiable complaints from South Korea that the process lacked full professional formality. The first M-346 Master trainers should begin arriving in Israel around mid-2014, where they will be operated by the IAI/Elbit “TOR” joint venture as a public-private partnership service to the IAF.
Italy’s M-346 eventually beat KAI’s supersonic T-50, thanks to a combination of air force evaluations, geo-political considerations, and countervailing industrial offers. For most countries, “industrial offsets” mean sub-contracting work in their country, sometimes even in sectors of their economy outside of the defense industry. Israel’s weapons industry is far more developed, however, and so their advanced trainer competition saw “industrial offsets” as the purchase of full-fledged Israeli weapons systems. South Korea was already a customer for Israeli radars, UAVs, and missiles, and was seen as the favorite thanks to their relationships and their jet. Italy was a much smaller customer, but relations between Silvio Berlusconi and the Jewish state had been good for a long time. By October 2011, reports surfaced that Italy had made Israel a very impressive offer – one that would make Italy a major export customer for strategic systems, even as it equalized purchases on both sides. In the end, it was an offer the Israelis couldn’t, and didn’t, refuse.
The deal’s components are as follows:
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Dec 07, 2011 16:15 UTC
Lockheed Martin Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA recently received a $92.2 million cost-plus-award-fee contract to continue service under the 5-year,sole source MILSATCOM Orbital Operations and Logistics Support contract. Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA, and the contract will run to Nov 30/12. The SMC/PKL at Peterson Air Force Base, CO (FA8808-10-C-0002, PO 0029).
That contract support operations and sustainment for older Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) satellites. New secure AEHF broadband satellites are just beginning to come on station to supplement the older Milstar birds, and the 1st block of broadband WGS satellites is operational as the successors to DSCS, but maintaining older systems is also important to the US military. See December 2009 coverage for more details.
Sep 02, 2011 15:57 UTC
Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) has recently released the following Requests for Proposals (RFP), modifications and other notifications:
- The US Navy adds an additional clause and extends the closing date to 9th September for its RFP for a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract for the acquisition of engineering and technical support services for the Virginia Class (SSN 774) submarine and the Ohio Replacement Program (ORP).
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Jul 18, 2011 17:52 UTC
USNS Bridge & USS Nimitz
Far out at sea, no-one can hear your cell phone. That’s why ships of all kinds need satellite communications, in order to stay in touch beyond their immediate task group. The USA’s Military Sealift Command operates government ships, but they’re crewed by civilian mariners. To provide them with the satellite communications they need, the US Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization has awarded Inmarsat subsidiary Stratos Government Services Inc. in Washington DC a maximum $315 million, 8-year indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract.
MSC’s next generation wideband commercial satellite communications infrastructure and service will replace the current MSC Afloat Bandwidth Efficient Satellite Transport (BEST) contract. Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband service delivers simultaneous broadband data and voice, with data rates up to 432 kbps and guaranteed data rates on demand up to 256 kbps, using Inmarsat’s I-4 satellite constellation. The contract is structured as a 4-year base period from July 2011 – July 2015, plus 4 more 1-year option periods that could run the contract to July 2019 (HC1013-11-D-0102).
Jun 30, 2011 10:17 UTC
Latest updates: ORS-1 satellite launched aboard Minotaur 1 rocket.
(click to view larger)
At a time when defense budgets are being cut, the era of the multi-billion dollar military satellite program might be over. Witness the fate of the massive $12 billion TSAT program, which was shut down in 2009. As a much cheaper alternative, governments are exploring the possibility of using microsatellites to perform many of the functions currently performed by expensive large satellite systems: GPS navigation, communication, surveillance, and earth imagery.
At a 10th of the cost of their larger cousins, microsatellites are much easier sell to budget conscious procurement officers. They are much cheaper and faster to build and launch. For key military missions, however, their reliability and longevity are an issue. They might be cheaper, but if the military has to use 10 times as many to do the job of traditional satellites, would that be a cost savings?
This DID Spotlight article will focus on the US military’s microsatellite development and launch programs, as well as the Army’s development of nanosatellites for battlefield communication, and take a brief look at the problem of space debris.
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