Dec 22, 2011 12:32 UTC
USNS Comfort, Haiti 2010
Boston Ship Repair, LLC in Boston, MA recently won a $9.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for a 60-day regular overhaul/dry-docking of Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort [T-AH-20] for ship repair and maintenance. Work will include dry-docking and undocking of the ship; tank preservation; freeboard preservation; underwater hull painting; switchboard upgrade, sea valve repair; and pump overhauls. The contract includes options which could raise its value to $11.9 million.
Comfort’s primary mission is to provide emergency, on-site care for deployed U.S. military forces, and the ship is also used extensively for humanitarian engagement missions around the world. Work will be performed in Boston, MA, and is expected to be complete by April 13/12. This contract was competitively procured via a solicitation posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, with more than 50 companies solicited and 3 offers received. US Navy Military Sealift Fleet Support Command manages the contract (N40442-12-C-5001).
Dec 18, 2011 17:44 UTC
In mid-December 2011, Northrop Grumman Corporation announced a 30-month, $540 million contract extension, covering Total System Support Responsibility (TSSR) for the 17-plane operational fleet of E-8C JSTARS ground surveillance and battle management planes, or about $1.06 million per plane per month. This contract runs from May 1/11 to Oct 31/13 (TSSR periods 11.5 to 13). To date, Joint STARS planes have accumulated over 72,650 combat hours in 6,750 missions, most recently over Libya.
Under TSSR, Northrop Grumman is partnered with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (ALC) for all facets of base and depot level maintenance. While the planes are built on the Boeing 707′s C-135 military relative, Northrop Grumman manufactures the radar and systems, and is responsible for overall support. They’ve has been providing comprehensive performance-based logistics support to the USAF/ Georgia ANG 116th Air Control Wing for over a decade, in the United States and at its forward operating locations. In late October, the E-8 J-STARS fleet’s mission availability and falling operating costs resulted in the 2011 Performance-Based Logistics Award from the US Secretary of Defense.
Dec 18, 2011 16:45 UTC
Hungary’s air force (Magyar Honvedseg Repulo Csapatai; MHRCS) shrank quickly after the Soviet Union fell, and its helicopter force was not spared. Its transport fleet reportedly consists of just 8 remaining Mi-8s and 7 related Mi-17s, including 2 helicopters that Finland discarded in favor of its new NH90s. The country remains active abroad, including a team training Afghanistan’s military to use Mi-17s, but their lift capacity is limited. That’s a potential issue at home as well, given vivid recent memories of the 2010 central European floods.
Like most European countries, Hungary is facing tight budgets and difficult decisions as 2011 ends. To address this situation, Hungary had been planning to buy about 30 used twin engine UH-1 Huey helicopters from the US military. The USAF is looking to replace its UH-1Ns with a new CVLSP buy, and the USMC is already replacing its aging UH-1Ns with much-improved new UH-1Y Venoms. In December 2011, the process of restoring Hungary’s helicopter fleet took its 1st official steps…
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Dec 18, 2011 11:11 UTC
Latest updates: JSTARS 20th anniversary; PDR for bleed air system; 1st flight with full new propulsion system.
E-8C JSTARS: Before
The USA’s E-8 JSTARS is a Boeing 707-300 derivative that provides a picture of the ground situation analogous to the E-3 AWACS’ picture of the air situation. JSTARS aircraft use their radars to determine the direction, speed and patterns of military activity of ground vehicles, helicopters, and even groups of people. They then send this information via secure data links with air force command posts, army mobile ground stations and centers of military analysis around the world.
These surveillance and communications relay capabilities are somewhat unique, and have proven extremely useful in a series of conflicts from Desert Storm in 1991 to the present day. Europe originally intended to field a similar, smaller AGS aircraft based on the Airbus A321, but that project has now been cut to a small fleet of RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs. With the Global Hawk limited by its payload capacity, and the USA’s E-10A program canceled, the USA’s 17-aircraft operational JSTARS fleet is likely to remain very popular for some time to come. The question is how to keep that fleet relevant, flying, and allocated among all of the units clamoring for their attention:
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Dec 16, 2011 09:30 UTC
- The US Senate voted 86-13 for the FY12 defense bill which President Obama is now expected to sign. Congress is also on the verge of finding another midnight hour funding compromise to avoid a government shutdown, pending votes later today. Meanwhile Republicans and Democrats are putting stakes in the ground for or against rolling back the forthcoming sequester.
- Some senators worry about how more work at military depots may be moved to the private sector; others want the Pentagon to stop getting in a situation where it ends up paying millions of dollars in extra fees to shipping companies because of containers that are returned late.
- According to La Tribune [in French], the French defense sector looks about to go through a round of product portfolio shuffling, consolidation and privatization. Companies involved: Thales, DCNS, Nexter, but also potentially Safran, Renault Trucks Defense and Panhard.
- France is about to launch the Elisa project [in French]. It’s a constellation of 4 smaller satellites flying at 700km altitude, that aims to refine the collection of intelligence about opposing radars (SIGINT/ ESM) from space. The DGA is preparing for an operational effort called CERES, which aims to be up and running by 2020.
- SBIRS GEO-2 is done testing, and SBIRS GEO-1 has completed on-orbit checkout. They’re the USA’s new missile launch warning satellites.
- More reports that Taiwan is moving toward its own submarine program. The Taipei Times adds one expert’s recommendation that the money and time might be spent on fast-attack missile boats like the Chinese Type 022. Which makes industrial sense, but not military sense, since the Chinese PLAAF will control the air.
- US Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer dismisses his suit against BAE OASYS, which was allegedly triggered by corporate retaliation when he objected to selling thermal weapon scopes to Pakistan. The firm didn’t end up selling the scopes.
- The US GAO found that of the 40 former high-ranking Coast Guard officials who left the service from 2005 through 2009, 22 have been compensated by Coast Guard contractors.
- The Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) is going to test small fail robots to dispose of anti-personnel mines.
- Australia decommissions its H-3 Sea King helicopters. They’ll be replaced by the RAN’s 6 ordered MRH-90s (NH90 TTH).
- a preliminary report [PDF] on defense procurement procedures by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
References Committee of the Australian Senate notes some improvements but oozes frustration about the bureaucratic mess it has to wade through: “[i]t only takes a cursory glance at a Defence procurement chart to see the convoluted and incomprehensible web of documents, committees and milestones.”