$113M to Raytheon to Support U-2 Spy Planes
Raytheon Company announced a $113 million follow-on Air Force contract for consolidated field support for all sensors, data links and ground systems related to the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft program. The program includes pre-flight system checks, mission support during flight, and post-mission problem analysis. New system installations and upgrades will also be performed under this effort. This marks the U-2 field support contract’s second option; the original contract was issued by Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA (this may be it).
Unfortunately, the program has hit something of a snag…
The U-2 was originally slated to be retired by the USAF in favour of the RQ-4 Global Hawk, but its ability to carry certain key payloads (like broad area synoptic imagery equipment) that the Global Hawk can’t yet match is keeping it in service for now.
The contractor field service contract provides support at the Air Force’s Distributed Common Ground Systems (DCGS) sites for all U-2 sensors, ground systems, and data links. Raytheon is the prime contractor for the DCGS 10.2 contract, but as DID noted, they lost the Block 20 contract after former partner Lockheed Martin dropped Raytheon and switched to Northrop Grumman as their team-mate for the Block 20 bid.
Jan 30/07: In “Changes planned for ISR community,” the USAF sheds some additional light on this aspect of the program:
“Recently, the Air Force was upgrading software for the Distributed Common Ground System, a global processing system that provides analysis and distribution of intelligence data from anywhere on the planet. The software upgrade for the system ended up being incompatible with the new sensors aboard U-2 and Global Hawk aircraft. The incompatibility was unexpected, the general said, and may now take as many as 20 months and $17 million to fix.
To prevent those kinds of mishaps in the future, General Deptula is creating a position that will integrate ISR assets and manage them as capability areas…”