The MK7 MOD 2 Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS) is used to clear mines or wire obstacles, and create a safe footpath for troops. APOBS can be carried by 2 people, takes 30 to 120 seconds to be set up, and fires a rocket from a 25-meter standoff position, sending a line charge with fragmentation grenades over the minefields or wire obstacles. The grenades clear the mines, and sever the wires. Developed by the US Army Armaments Engineering and Technology Center in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, APOBS won a US Army top military inventions of the year award in 2004. It replaces the Bangalore Torpedo, which was heavier, took longer to set up, and required 4 times the number of people to carry.
In 2006, small business qualifier Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Co. in Simsbury, CT received a maximum $150.8 million, 5-year contract for up to 3,000 units. In 2011, however, the Army/USMC contract shifted to Chemring Ordnance, Inc. in Perry, FL…
Recent years have seen a variety of unmanned helicopter options introduced into the market. Boeing’s entry lays a breathtaking challenge before the field: what could the military do with a helicopter-like, autonomously-flown UAV with a range of 2,500 nautical miles and endurance of 16-24 hours, carrying a payload of 1,000-2,500 pounds, and doing it all more quietly than conventional helicopters? For that matter, imagine what disaster relief officials could do with something that had all the positive search characteristics of a helicopter, but much longer endurance.
Enter the A160 Hummingbird Warrior (YMQ-18), which was snapped up in one of Boeing’s corporate acquisition deals. It uses a very unconventional rotor technology, and Boeing’s Phantom Works division continues to develop it as a revolutionary technology demonstrator and future UAV platform. With the Navy’s VTUAV locked up by the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout, Boeing’s sales options may seem thin. Their platform’s capabilities may interest US Special Operations Command and the Department of Homeland Security, and exceptional performance gains will always create market opportunities in the civil and military space. At least, Boeing hopes so.
In June 2012, US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic in Charleston, SC issued 14 multiple-award contracts to help secure and defend American military networks and data. These 14 contractors may compete for the task orders under the indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, performance-based, multiple award umbrella contract, with provisions for fixed-price-incentive and firm-fixed-price orders.
Contract options which could bring their cumulative value to $98.7 million, and extend the timeframe from June 2013 to June 2017. The winning firms were all small business qualifiers under US government rules, and include:
Latest updates: Up to $228M in contracts, FY 2012-2015.
Low-velocity parachutes are so named because they’re used for cargo airdrops made below about 1,200 feet, with the cargo aircraft flying at low speed as parachute-rigged containers roll out the rear ramp. US Army Soldier Systems Natick developed them in 2006, aiming to offer a lower-cost low altitude system that did not require specialized parachute manufacturers. US Army PM FSS engineer Bruce Bonaceto’s designs hit those targets, and low velocity parachutes have been doing the same on the front lines. They’re generally used to deliver basic supplies such as gas, ammunition and food to troops in rough terrain and isolated locations, without having to use a more expensive high-altitude GPS-guided parachute system like JPADS, or a more expensive standard parachute like the G-12.
As one might imagine, demand is high in Afghanistan, and some of the small business contract recipients are an interesting set of stories in and of themselves…
In February 2012 the Inspector General (IG) at the US Department of Defense released a report [PDF] finding that DOD had awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) program funds to potentially ineligible contractors. The IG also found $1.3B worth of additional contracts that were inaccurately coded in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG) federal procurement database. This reflects two sets of issues that have plagued federal and defense contracting for years.
Medical supplies are a requirement for any military, and are used by many other government agencies as well. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (now Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support) in Philadelphia, PA manages a series of firm-fixed-price contracts for distribution of medical and surgical supplies to the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, federal civilian agencies, Coast Guard, and other non-DoD organizations in the federal government.
Unsurprisingly, the contract totals run to billions of dollars. This Spotlight article covers a series of contracts and option periods, stretching from 2005 – 2012.
Most people think “defense procurement” and think “weapons,” but the truth is that infrastructure and associated services consumes at least as much money. In December 2007 (FY 2008), the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP, now the US Defense Logistics Agency’s Troop Support group) in Philadelphia, PA issued awards by region for “tailored logistics support” involving fire and emergency equipment on behalf of US military installations, other federal agencies and departments, and other approved customers. In practice, all of the contracts below may involve the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, federal civilian agencies, or even state and local governments as end customers.
These FES contracts involved hundreds of millions of dollars over a 2-year base contract, followed by 3 more 1-year options, with FY 2012 as the final option year.
Latest updates: Re-competes lead to a winner other than Maersk.
USNS Sgt. Matej Kocak
The USA’s Maritime Prepositioning Ships serve as vast, floating stocks of equipment, ammunition, and supplies that can be sailed into friendly ports to meet up with flown-in Marines. This critical but often-unrecognized force includes a combination of U.S. government-owned ships and chartered U.S.-flagged ships, and can also include ships activated from the Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force. They are not crewed by US Navy personnel, but use U.S. civilian mariners (“CIVMARs”), who work for ship operating companies under contract to the federal government.
Most of Military Sealift Command’s prepositioning ships are able to discharge cargo pierside, or use shallow-draft barges (lighterage), that are carried aboard in case ports are non-existent or in poor condition. In May 2010, US MSC made one of the largest buys in its history – which, of course, led to a GAO protest and accompanying delays. Those are all resolved now…
In October 2011, Data Solutions & Technology in Lanham, MD received a $9.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Anti-Armor Analysis Program (AAAP) Services Support from the US Army. AAAP’s goal is to analyze current and historical data on enemy attacks against US vehicles, in order to draw conclusions about protection. DSTI personnel will deploy in mobile teams of at least 2, equipped with specialized tools to survey armor vehicles as well as the surrounding scene, photograph damaged vehicles, inspect and document findings, and review and conduct analysis of maintenance/supply documentation.
The firm has done this work before; indeed, Betty Tingle was promoted to VP Business Development in February 2011, after playing what was described as “a key role in the company’s contract regarding the National Ground Intelligence Center’s Anti-Armor Analysis Program (AAAP) in the U.S. and abroad.” Work will be performed in Charlottesville, VA; Afghanistan; and other contingency locations overseas as necessary; with an estimated completion date of Sept 29/12. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by the US Army Intelligence and Security Command in Charlottesville, VA (W911W5-11-C-0016). See also FBO.gov.
Most people never see services like wastewater management and water distribution, maintenance of the electric grid, etc. The cost is built into their taxes and utility bills, or into initial subdivision fees. Military bases have to deal with these sorts of issues, just as homeowners and developer do – but on a much larger scale. The preference in the US military seems to be shifting toward very long term (about 50 year) term fixed-price or regulated tariff contracts, often coupled with partial privatization or conveyance of assets, in order to make the contractor 100% responsible for the utility.
This Spotlight article covers billions of dollars in contracts that fall under this format, from 2007 to the present.