DID has covered a number of contracts for wheeled armored personnel carriers; in Europe, the 3 perennial combatants are GD-MOWAG’s Piranha/LAV, GD-Steyr’s Pandur II, and Patria’s Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV). Now Denel Land Systems has announced a contract from the South African government’s Armscor procurement agency to develop the South African Army’s new generation infantry combat vehicle. The “Hoefyster” program aims to produce an 8×8 wheeled APC in the 25 ton class, designed as a family of vehicles that can be equipped with various turrets and on-board options.
The Rand 8.3 billion program for 264 vehicles involves the largest single contract Denel has landed in its 16-year history, and South African companies will deliver more than 70% of the total value of the contract. The other 30% will be delivered by Finland’s Patria Oyj, whose amphibious AMV will be Project Hoefyster’s base vehicle…
Pentagon contracts occasionally refer to the Global Broadcast Services (GBS), a system linked to the Wideband SATCOM program. A variant was first fielded in Bosnia during 1996, and special nodes were also set up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It sounds almost like a form of global satellite TV – which is close, but not quite right. GBS is not intended to replace existing MILSATCOM (MILitary SATellite COMmunications) systems in any way. Instead, GBS uses a form of “push and store” to distribute high-bandwidth information for local relay, thereby saving critical two-way military satellite communications systems from having to handle every field request.
The other thing that makes GBS so attractive is the ability to provide high-volume data directly into 18-inch antennas, allowing streaming to and storage in devices that can move with units in the field. The GBS “pushes” a high volume of packaged data to these widely dispersed, low-cost receive terminals, whose function resembles the set-top smart cable TV storage box or TiVO used at home.
The US military has come to rely more and more on contractors to provide linguist services to function effectively in non-English speaking regions. The need for these services is particularly acute in the Middle East and Central Asia where US troops are actively engaged. Technically, there are 2 primary types of linguist services: interpreters and translators. Contractors usually offer both services as part of their contracts.
This DID FOCUS free sample covers US military linguist services contracts and key events.
The ship was deployed on operations, and proved out a number of the concepts behind her construction, but questions about the long-term durability of composite hulls prevented the type’s adoption into full US Navy service. The ship has been pushed to a maritime technology experimentation and demonstration role, but her saga remains interesting.
TML’s work with the US military began in July of 2007, via a request by the US Army to design 3 new man-portable EOD robot systems with a 4-axis arms, video display OCU, multiple cameras, swappable batteries and chargers, all of which had to weigh under 35 pounds. Those MMP-15 systems were finalized and shipped by the end of October 2007, and saw use in Iraq. The follow-on MMP-30 touts itself as a “bare bones simple but rugged machine.”
That seems to be a strong selling point for a country like Afghanistan, with few technical support and repair resources. The MMP-30 also appears to be cheaper than the MTRS robots, which boast more versatility thanks a wider range of add-ons.
iGovTech created Team TACLAN, based in Tampa, FL, to execute the contract, which included additional industry and academic partners. Until a 2012 award appeared to have placed TACLAN’s near-term future in other hands…
When reading about modern body armor one often hears about small arms protective inserts (SAPI) or Enhanced SAPI (ESAPI) ceramic plate inserts. While these inserts are more fragile than past generations of inserts, they offer a significant improvement over their 1990s predecessors in terms of both weight and protection. After episodic issues with production ramp-up and quality control, this gear is widely fielded with the US Army and several allied militaries. The US Marines replaced it with the MTV. The Army itself has introduced the Improved OTV. Privately developed body armors like Blackwater Gear were also present in theater. All of these designs rely on a “vest and plates” approach that uses a similar set of inserts to give the vests most of their bullet-stopping power.
This DID spotlight article covers the USA’s purchases in this area from mid-2004 to the end of 2012.
The US Marines have been using the M249 5.56mm light machine gun since 1984. Many were worn from use, and at 15-17 pounds empty, these belt-fed weapons are rather heavy. They can be more hindrance than help in some of the close-quarters urban warfare situations dominating current battlefields, especially since they have a reputation of jamming more often than standard rifles.
Their initial 2005 FedBizOps.com solicitation for an “Infantry Automatic Rifle” (IAR) wanted two big things. First, the gun had to fire from either the open or closed bolt position. This would give it the single-shot and “first through the door” capabilities that the M249 lacks, while allowing for more sustained fire than an M16 can handle without risking ammunition “cook off” in a heated barrel. It also had to be considerably lighter than the M249, at just 12.5 pounds maximum and 10.5 pounds desired weight. In exchange, the Marines decided they were willing to trade the SAW’s belt-fed design for switchable 30 round magazines, which are used up much more quickly but can be changed in battle much more quickly.
The result was not a true light machine gun, but something in between an LMG and an assault rifle. That shift in the 13-man Marine squad has its advocates and detractors. DID offers more background concerning the USMC’s IAR contenders, contracts… and controversy.
The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) is the world’s largest instrumented testing and training missile range, located on the far Hawaiian islands of Kaua’i and Ni’hau. The Barking Sands shore facility used to belong to Kekaha Sugar Company. It became Mana Airport during World War 2, and was renamed Bonham Air Force Base in 1954. The Navy has owned it since 1964, and is currently using PMRF to launch ballistic missile targets for the naval AEGIS BMD/ SM-3 missile combination, and the Army’s THAAD missile system. It will have an Aegis Ashore complex that will be used for testing purposes, but could also serve operationally, and has also been a deployment site for THAAD in response to threatening North Korean tests that posed a risk to Hawaii.
PMRF’s size and scope make it a valuable resource beyond the US Navy, and that role will grow as global interest in naval ballistic missile defense grows. Contracts include:
In June 2012, Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions Division in Manassas, VA won a competition, transferring the keystone GSM-O IT services contract away from SAIC, a 15-year incumbent. GSM-O pays for the worldwide support services necessary to carry out day-to-day operations of the US military’s Global Information Grid networks and related services, and to update them with new technologies. The contract could be worth up to $4.6 billion over 7 years, making it a major win for Lockheed Martin, and a big loss for SAIC.
So, what is the USA’s Global Information Grid? And how will this contract work?