Latest updates[?]: The US Navy has sent its third and final ship Zumwalt Class destroyer off to sea trials, its maker, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, announced. The USS Lyndon B. Johnson, christened in April 2019, left the Bath Iron Works shipyard on Friday and is expected to be commissioned by the Navy in 2023, after its combat systems are fully installed and activated.
67% of the fleet
DID’s FOCUS Article for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class “destroyer” program covers the new ships’ capabilities and technologies, key controversies, associated contracts and costs, and related background resources.
The ship’s prime missions are to provide naval gunfire support, and next-generation air defense, in near-shore areas where other large ships hesitate to tread. There has even been talk of using it as an anchor for action groups of stealthy Littoral Combat Ships and submarines, owing to its design for very low radar, infrared, and acoustic signatures. The estimated 14,500t (battlecruiser size) Zumwalt Class will be fully multi-role, however, with undersea warfare, anti-ship, and long-range attack roles. That makes the DDG-1000 suitable for another role – as a “hidden ace card,” using its overall stealth to create uncertainty for enemy forces.
True, or False?
At over $3 billion per ship for construction alone, however, the program faced significant obstacles if it wanted to avoid fulfilling former Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter’s fears for the fleet. From the outset, DID has noted that the Zumwalt Class might face the same fate as the ultra-sophisticated, ultra-expensive SSN-21 Seawolf Class submarines. That appears to have come true, with news of the program’s truncation to just 3 ships. Meanwhile, production continues.
Latest updates[?]: Greece received 70 Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopters and one Boeing CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helo. The Hellenic Army purchased the OH-58Ds through the US Excess Defense Articles program. The shipment consists of 36 fully equipped aircraft, plus 24 that lack certain avionics, navigation, and communication equipment, and will be dedicated to training. The remaining 10 airframes are to be used for spares. Six of the helicopters came ready to fly. The deal for the Kiowa Warriors is valued at $44,2 million.
YRH-70 test, 2005
The US Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program aimed to replace around 375 Bell Textron OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, after the $14.6 billion RAH-66 Comanche program, was canceled in 2004. Instead, the Army would buy a larger number of less expensive platforms, with reduced capabilities. Bell Helicopter Textron initially won the ARH competition with a militarized version of its highly successful 407 single-engine commercial helicopter, but despite significant private investment after Army funding stopped in March 2007, spiraling costs killed the ARH-70 in October 2008.
What hasn’t changed is the battlefield need for on-call, front-line aerial surveillance and fire support. With its existing OH-58D stock wither wearing down, or shot down, the Army needs to do something. But what? The eventual answer: scrap the Kiowa fleet for a combination of attack helicopters and UAVs.
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin contracted Saab to deliver Sea Giraffe AMB 3-D surveillance radars to the Royal Canadian Navy’s two new Protecteur Class Joint Support Ships. According to a press release by Saab, the Sea Giraffe AMB will form part of the command management system for the new ships. The Sea Giraffe Agile Multi Beam (AMB) is a C-band maritime 3D mid-range multifunction radar. The radar provides airspace reconnaissance and simultaneous target tracking, weapon system targeting and high-resolution navigation. The Sea Giraffe AMB has been optimized for use on the Swedish Visby Class corvettes and the Independence Class US Coast Guard. The AMB contains a number of independent elevation-angle antenna beams. Saab will perform work in Gothenburg, Sweden and Halifax, Canada with deliveries scheduled between 2020 and 2022.
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As part of its spate of military modernization announcements issued just before Canada Day (July 1) 2006, the Canadian government issued an RFP that began the process of defining and building 3 “Joint Support Ships.” The aim was to deliver 3 multi-role vessels with substantially more capability than the current Protecteur Class oiler and resupply ships. In addition to being able to provide at-sea support (re-fueling and re-supply) to deployed naval task groups, the new JSS ships were envisioned as ships that would also be capable of sealift operations, as well as amphibious support to forces deployed ashore.
This was expected to be a C$ 2.9 billion (USD $2.58 billion) project. This article describes the process, the industry teams participating, and some of the issues swirling around Canada’s very ambitious specifications. Specifications that ultimately sank the whole project, twice, in a manner that was predictable from the outset. Leaving Canada’s navy with a serious problem, as its existing ships were forced into retirement. Will another go-round in 2012-13 help any? And what will Canada do in the meantime?
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon has been denied a request that would have stopped the Air Force re-evaluate bids for the 3D Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) system. The program has seen several legal challenges by the three competitors - Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin - with Raytheon lodging an appeal in May against a federal judge's decision to allow the Air Force to re-evaluate bids. The dispute centers on the Air Force's decision to allow the recovery of internal research and development costs, with the service failing to notify Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin of this detail, allowing Raytheon to lower its bid price and win the competition.
The US Air Force’s AN/TPS-75 radar has been in service since 1968. Threats have evolved, and they want to replace it as their main long-range, ground-based radar for detecting, identifying and tracking aircraft and missiles, then reporting them through the Ground Theater Air Control System. The US Marines are considering a similar move, to replace their own AN/TPS-59s. Hence the USA’s Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR, pron. “Three Dealer”).
3DELRR is intended to provide up to 35 radars for long-range surveillance, air traffic control, and theater ballistic missile detection. It will correct AN/TPS-75 shortfalls by being easier to maintain, thanks to AESA technology, and by detecting and reporting highly maneuverable and/or stealthy targets. Its improved resolution may even allow it to classify and determine the type of non-cooperative aircraft that cannot or do not identify themselves – a trait that allows faster engagement of hostile planes, and reduces the odds of friendly fire incidents. As long as the program itself can avoid friendly fire from the USA’s budget wars.
The Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), named for U.S. Air Force pioneer Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, bills itself as “The World’s Premier Flight Simulation Test Facility.” Nearly half of the AEDC’s 58 test facilities are unique in the U.S., and 14 are unique in the world. These specialized test facilities have played a crucial role in the development and sustainment of virtually every high performance aircraft, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon, missile, and space system in use by all four of the U.S. military services today. The Center has also been involved in the development of every NASA manned space system, many satellites, and numerous commercial aircraft and spacecraft systems.
In 2003, the Air Force consolidated the test operations contract and the base services contract into a single contract for operations, maintenance, information management, and base support, which was awarded to Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) in Tullahoma, TN.
The RAID program is a combination of cameras and surveillance equipment positioned on high towers and aerostats, in order to monitor a wide area around important locations and bases. The RAID concept began with a smaller TCOM 17M aerostat as the base platform, instead of the TCOM 71M JLENS aerostats used for cruise missile and air defense. Its sensors were also optimized for battlefield surveillance, rather than JLENS’ focus on powerful air defense radars. The result is a form of survivable and permanent surveillance over key areas that has been deployed to Afghanistan & Iraq.
“Aerostats” has actually become something of a misnomer, however – RAID can also be deployed as a tower system, and this “Eagle Eye/ GBOSS” deployment is turning out to be the preferred mode. Raytheon continues to receive contracts from the US Marine Corps and US Army for new towers, as well as maintenance of existing systems…
At the end of February 2012, the US Navy moved to diversify its sources of contracted UAV services. Boeing’s ScanEagle has performed that role since 2004, providing a complete turnkey service for the US Navy and Marines. ScanEagles were involved in some of Iraq’s fiercest fights, the SEAL operation that rescued the Maersk Alabama, and other operations ranging from concept tests to full combat. They’ve also been used by American allies as an outsourced service, with rent-a-UAV customers in Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Under the new umbrella agreement, which could issue up to $874 million in contracts over 5 years, the US Navy and its international partners will be able to choose between 2-3 vendors, each of whom offers a different platform.
The MDA is expected to spend more $100 billion over the lifetime of the BMD program. The agency has come under criticism from the GAO for its lack of transparency and accountability.
“MDA’s flexible acquisition approach has limited the ability for DOD and congressional decision makers to measure MDA’s progress on cost, schedule, and testing…MDA’s baselines have been inadequate to measure progress and hold MDA accountable. However, GAO also reported that new MDA initiatives to improve baselines could help improve acquisition accountability.”
To help it improve financial accountability, the MDA is turning to 4 contractors:
The US Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk Contracting Department’s Philadelphia Office recently awarded a trio of contracts that provide program management and technical support services for the Naval Operational Logistics support Center’s Ordnance Information System, which is used for the important job of tracking US Navy ammunition, bombs, missiles, etc. located around the world.
The 3 contracts were competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce On-line, with 5 offers received. They are all 1-year contracts running to September 2011, with 4 one-year option year periods after that: