Sep 23, 2007 17:44 UTC
Confronted by a waffling buyer, most vendors don’t immediately think of hostile acts a preferred sales tactic to close the deal. Putin’s Russia, on the other hand, seems to be taking exactly that approach as India remains locked in price negotiations over the former Admiral Gorshkov carrier and SU-30MKI fighters, and considers non-Russian aircraft in its MMRCA medium fighter competition.
Plans called for rotating Indo-Russian joint operation of the Ayni air base, located just 15km from Tajikstan’s capital. Its location above Afghanistan and Pakistan, and next to Uzbekistan et. al., makes it an important forward base for India to project special forces into the region, and send aid to Afghanistan over land routes. In July 2007, however…
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Sep 23, 2007 16:07 UTC
MQ-1 MTS turret
Sept 13/07: Raytheon Company of McKinney, Texas received a firm-fixed-price contract for $86.1 million, in exchange for 27 AN/AAS-52 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems Model A (MTS-A) and 54 MTS-A Retrofits to support the MQ-1 Predator UAV; 19 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (MTS-B), 3 MTS-B Pre-Production Retrofits to support the MQ-9 Reaper UAV program; and associated Shop Replaceable Unit (SRU) Spares. These systems provide the UAVs with electro-optical viewing, infrared viewing, laser designation, and laser targeting illumination.
Wright Patterson AFB, OH is the contracting activity (FA8620-06-G-4041, Delivery Order 0004), and at this time $10.1 million has been obligated.
Sep 23, 2007 15:28 UTC
Hydroid, LLC at the has carved out a very strong position in the global market for unmanned anti-mine underwater vehicles. Its modular Remote Environmental Measuring Unit (REMUS) systems were developed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and are already serving with Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, the US Navy, and the UK’s Royal Navy.
BAE Systems has been racing to catch up, rapidly developing their Talisman UUV using fast, iterative prototyping. The UK MoD continues to purchase Hydroid systems thus far, however, including a recent GBP 5.5 million (about $11.1 million) purchase of 2 complete Remus 600 systems for mine countermeasures work.
The REMUS 600 vehicles will provide a detailed maritime survey and mine detection and classification capability in the 30m to 200m depth range, although the vehicle can operate down to 600m. It is fitted with a range of sensors and runs on re-chargeable batteries giving it an endurance of over 70 hours. The Remus 600 can be deployed from any vessel equipped with a one tonne crane or davit, and is intended to enter service in 2009. UK MoD release.
Sep 23, 2007 13:15 UTC
Saegheh, IRIAF photo
Back in September 2006, there was a bit of a kerfuffle in some quarters over an Iranian news agency (IRNA) announcement that quoted the commander of the Iranian army General Attollah Salehi as saying their new indigeous Saegheh/ Saeqeh [DID: "thunder" or "lightning", reports vary] aircraft is “similar to the F-18 fighter jet, but it is more capable and has been manufactured domestically… designed, remodeled, optimized and made more capable by our engineers… no country has aided us in its production.” Reports are also repeating Iran’s claim that it is developing a 5th generation “Shafagh” stealth fighter, without appropriate laughter or ridicule.
Readers may recall past Iranian claims re: “stealth” flying boats that obviously used stealth-killing propellers, and other such nonsense. At the time, DID offered a more sober and reasoned light on this new development. Now that IRNA news reports are resurfacing, including pictures, the issues seem worth revisiting.
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Sep 20, 2007 16:05 UTC
UGM-84 Harpoon launch
Rockwell Collins announced that it has been awarded an $18 million contract by Raytheon Missile Systems to design, develop, and produce the Strike Common Weapon Data Link for the JSOW Block III precision glide bomb and the next generation of Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The Strike Common Weapon Data Link Program is ultimately sponsored by the U.S. Navy’s PMA-201 program management office.
The 2-way, anti-jam, dual waveform (UHF and Link 16) datalink will add the ability to provide target updates from the launcher to the weapon or vice-versa, retarget the weapon while in flight, abort if desired, and provide bomb hit indication (BHI). Because the data link is fully networked and available to other platforms, available options go well beyond conventional launch platform-to-weapon communications. This allows warfighters to destroy critical time-sensitive and moving targets in all weather conditions, expanding delivery options and target choices to near real-time.
For instance, a frigate launches a pair of Harpoon missiles, which travel ahead into contested territory and target an enemy corvette, flying a slightly indirect path to hit it from two sides. An F/A-18F is roaring through the area on the way to an airstrike, flying low to the water and staying 50 miles away from the enemy ship so it remains below the radar horizon. Suddenly, ts APG-79 AESA radar picks up a hostile diesel-electric submarine as it surfaces for air nearby. The pilots retarget one Harpoon missile to hit the submarine instead of the lower-priority surface ship, while the other missile continues on. The Harpoon’s datalink quickly confirms a hit on the sub, which is silently relayed to other units via Link 16. High above, an E-2D Hawkeye receives the information and switches a sub-launched Harpoon to join the frigate’s attack on the enemy corvette, since its own original target was destroyed and it still has some range left.
Sep 20, 2007 15:22 UTC
In for upgrades
Link 16 is a secure, jam-resistant, digital data link transmitted via radio that allows military aircraft, ships and ground units to exchange their tactical pictures with each other in near real time. Link 16 also supports the exchange of text messages and imagery data and provides additional channels for digital voice. Work is underway to improve its bandwidth, and the system itself can be installed in a number of ways on aircraft, ships, even land installations like air-defense missile systems.
This capability helps all participating nodes see more clearly within the fog of war, since a target seen by one platform is soon seen by all. In can also help cut down on accidental ‘fratricide’ accidents in which one’s own side is targeted. Saudi Arabia chose to buy Link 16 capabilities back in 2006, and they are now in the process of integrating it into the E-3 Sentry AWACS(Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft that monitor Saudi airspace.
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Sep 20, 2007 12:42 UTC
Most people never see services like wastewater management and water distribution. The cost is built into their taxes, or into initial subdivision fees. Military bases have to deal with this, too, and the preference in the USA seems to be moving toward very long-term fixed-price contracts. A pair of recently-announced contracts from the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) in Fort Belvoir, Va. worth over $240 million serve to illustrate. Both are firm-fixed-price contracts with prospective price re-determination, covering a 50-year contract period for ownership, operation and maintenance of water distribution system and wastewater collection systems:
Sept 14/07: American States Utility Services, Inc. in Costa Mesa, Calif. won a $143.8 million contract for the US Army’s Fort Jackson Army Installation and environs in South Carolina. Date of performance completion is December 2057. There were 340 proposals originally solicited, and also web solicited, with 5 responses to the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) in Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-07-C-8251).
Sept 14/07: American Water Operations and Maintenance, Inc. in Voorhees, N.J., won a $98.1 million contract for the US Army’s Fort A.P. Hill Army Installation and environs in Virginia. Date of performance completion is December 2057. There were 340 proposals originally solicited, and also web solicited, with 5 responses (SP0600-07-C-8254).
Sep 19, 2007 18:08 UTC
It’s a surprisingly simple concept. Why ship walls, concrete, or even concrete barriers, when you can ship collapsible forms that can quickly be filled with sand or dirt by any untrained person? Why use sandbags with their inherent gaps and manual fills when the collapsible forms provide full cover, and can be filled in a fraction of the time using engineering vehicles? Uses abound, from gabions and flood control, to stopping bullets and even rockets. When you’re done, just empty the forms, fold them flat again, and ship them out. Systems of this type have been used by the military since the 1991 war in Kuwait. Someone in the US military obviously understood their extreme usefulness to current “seize and hold” operations, because…
Hesco Bastion Ltd. of Leeds, UK (there is also a Hesco Bastion USA in Hammond, La.) received a $717 million fixed price with economic price adjustment, bridge contract for Hesco Bastion Concertainer Defense Walls. Concertainer(R) is a prefabricated, multi-cellular system, made of Galfan coated steel Weldmesh and lined with non-woven polypropylene geotextile. It is delivered flat-packed on standard timber skids or pallets. Units can be extended and joined, then filled.
The Hesco forms will be used the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps., and the contract is for an odd period: 90 days, with two 90-day options. The date of performance completion is Dec 17/08. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA (SPM500-04-D-0239).
Sep 19, 2007 17:02 UTC
In January 2007, DID asked “Contractors on the Battlefield: Has Their Legal Status Just Changed?” Whether or not their legal status has changed under US military law, one of the world’s largest security contracting firms just got a very sharp reminder that accountable host governments will have a say as well.
At least 11 Iraqis were killed on Sept 17/07 when Blackwater USA contractors protecting a U.S. diplomatic convoy moving through a Baghdad neighborhood outside the fortified international zone came under attack and returned fire. Reports regarding the incident are conflicting, with the firm contending that its guards came under attack and acted lawfully. In response, Iraq’s Interior Ministry has suspended Blackwater’s license to operate in country pending its ongoing investigation, and added that it is reviewing all security companies working in the country.
Iraqi Prime Minsiter Maliki called Sunday’s shooting is the 7th “troubling incident” involving Blackwater. On the other hand, the Shia police force’s attempt to block a reinforcement convoy, and known police infiltration by terrorists loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, does make one wonder. Meanwhile, there are wider repercussions. The U.S. embassy in Iraq has temporarily banned diplomatic convoy movements outside the international zone until this situation is resolved. In addition, the U.S. and Iraqi governments are setting up a joint commission to examine the role of private security companies operating in Iraq.
Sep 19, 2007 14:36 UTC
The USA’s Mine Protected Ambush Resistant (MRAP) vehicle program has received a DX rating from the Pentagon – a rating normally restricted for items like nuclear missile submarines. That rating gives MRAP vehicles supplier priority over almost every other Pentagon weapons program, and the Defense Department has been rushing to ensure that items earlier in the supply chain like tires, steel, radios, et. al. are ordered well in advance to avoid slowing production. Military-grade and high-alloy steel are inputs of especial concern, since they’re produced in large but nonetheless limited quantities.
Small business qualifier (and Meterra subsidiary) Waukesha Foundry Inc. in Waukesha, Wis. received a $10.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for P900 Plates for MRAP Vehicle Armor Kits. The order is a validation of the new owners’ “specialized niches” business strategy, which has enabled the firm to survive despite the foundry industry’s recent slowdowns.
Work will be performed in Waukesha, Wis., and is expected to be complete by April 22, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on Aug. 22, 2007 by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-07-C-0621).
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