A couple of years ago, it looked like the Land Warrior program was dead due to soldiers’ concerns that the equipment was too heavy and complex. However, after trimming down the system from 17 pounds to 7.2 pounds, the Army is moving ahead with the program.
While those efforts are underway, the US Army still owns more than 900 Land Warrior ensembles, 300 vehicle-integration kits, and related equipment as of October 2009. Now, a new set of contracts enables General Dynamics’ field service engineers to deploy with all Land Warrior-equipped units and provide support for housing, repairing and shipping spare and replacement Land Warrior gear worldwide.
Inmarsat Navigation Ventures, Ltd. in London, England recently received an $18 million firm-fixed-price demonstration contract to develop and certify a transceiver terminal for their 3-satellite I-4 constellation’s Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service. The terminals must be capable of operation from on-board low Earth orbit satellites, and the BGAN network will require modifications to support space-based terminal equipment. Under the contract, Immarsat will support the integration of the space-based BGAN terminal with a government demonstration satellite, and support the on-orbit connectivity via the BGAN network for the demonstration satellite mission.
Work is to be performed in London, England (20.60%); Golden, CO (64.76%); Aylesbury, England (11%); Norresundby, Denmark (2.15%); and Ontario, Canada (1.49%), with an estimated completion date of Sept 13/15. One bid was solicited with one bid received by DARPA in Arlington, VA (HR0011-10-C-0149).
Inmarsat currently operates a fleet of 11 satellites, and their customers include governments and the military. In November 2009 they bought managed secureIP provider Segovia, whose clients include the US military. The I-4 constellation is based on EADS Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 bus, but in August 2010, Immarsat announced a $1.2 billion contract with Boeing for 3 702HP-based satellites, in order to field a more advanced I-5 constellation delivering up to 6.25MB/s (50 megabits) each.
Lockheed Martin Corp. in Eagan, MN recently received an $8 million contract to design and develop “highly integrated photonic devices for transition into current emerging tactical platforms for the Air Force.”
Optical integrated circuits would have a wide variety of technology applications, but their biggest impact would be in the field of networking devices. Right now, information can be encoded into light pulses and fired down a fiber-optic tube, but it can only be routed electronically. This means the signal has to be converted into electronic signals, processed electronically, then converted and sent out as light pulses again. Removing the need to convert those signals could speed up networking devices by a couple orders of magnitude. There is also some reason to believe that photonic circuits would be more resistant to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks.
Under this contract, Lockheed Martin’s specific task will be to “develop key technology to overcome several of the existing constraints with respect to the integration and packaging aspects of the current generation of photonic [devices] by defining the technology path to a realizable system using an optimum combination of optical devices in a chip.” At this time, $2 million has been committed by the USAF Research Laboratory in Rome, NY (FA8750-10-C-0133).
Four teams get up to $100 million in DARPA funding to develop superfast supercomputers. (Aug 6/10)
The US Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) was set up in 1992 to modernize DoD’s supercomputing capabilities. The HPCMP was assembled out of a collection of small high performance computing departments run by the services, each with supercomputing capabilities independent of the others.
The HPCMP brings these capabilities together. The program provides supercomputer services, high-speed network communications, and computational science expertise that enables the DoD labs to develop new weapons systems, prepare US aircraft for overseas deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, and assist long-term weather predictions to plan humanitarian and military operations throughout the world…
Seaport-Enhanced (Seaport-e) is a $5.3 billion multiple-award umbrella contract that let the US Navy and Marine Corps use an integrated approach to contracting for support services. Most requests involve engineering, financial, and program management support. Receiving an award makes a firm eligible to big on jobs under a pre-set contract vehicle, and the SeaPort-e portal provides a standardized means of soliciting bids and awarding task orders.
In FY 2010, the US Navy awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple-award contracts to 556 contractors. These contracts are in addition to the existing 1,675 contracts previously awarded under the SeaPort Enhanced (SeaPort-e) acquisition program…
The US military has a vast store of supplies and equipment around the world. Keeping track of all that stuff has always been a challenge. In World War II, the US Army kept track using IBM punch cards and electric accounting machines (EAMs).
Well today, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags have replaced punch cards and RFID readers and computers have replaced the EAMs. The RFID tags work like “wireless bar codes” that record, track, and manage the supplies and equipment of a modern networked military.
Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have focused attention on the performance of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) supply chain management in support of deployed US troops. The availability of spare parts and other critical supply items affects the readiness and operational capabilities of the forces, and the supply chain can be a critical link in determining outcomes on the battlefield.
So, not only does RFID technology help keep track of supplies and equipment, it also helps get critical supplies to the battlefield at the right time and place and to secure supplies en route.
US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic in Charleston, SC recently awarded an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee multiple-award contract for telephony and telecommunications system maintenance and support throughout the contiguous U.S. (70%); military installations in Southwest Asia (20%); and other government stations worldwide (10%). The multiple award contracts allow winners to compete for task orders, and each contractor receives $50,000 at the time of award. All task orders together can be worth up to $100 million.
Work under the base contract would end in July 2011, and contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, but if all options are exercised, work could continue until July 2015. The contracts were competitively procured by full and open competition via the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center e-Commerce Central and the Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with 4 offers received. The winners are both small business qualifiers:
Boeing announces completion of the final milestone for the MHFCS project. (July 8/10)
To provide Australian armed forces with an integrated communications system, the Australian Defence Force contracted with Boeing Defence Australia, a subsidiary of US-based Boeing, to deploy an integrated HF communications system throughout the country, replacing the separate HF communications systems operated by each service.
The A$628 million (US$547 million) system – called the Modernized High Frequency Communications System (MHFCS) – provides the ADF with a nation-wide secure command and control network for all of the armed forces. The project is divided into two phases [pdf] – the MHFCS core system and the final system. The core system was delivered in October 2004, and the final system was introduced into service on Sept 24/09. The Australia Minister of Defence Material and Science formally accept the final system from Boeing on May 13/10.
Carnegie Mellon has long been one of the USA’s best universities for computer science, and was well known in those circles long before Prof. Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture made it more broadly famous around the world. Platforms like Alice are gaining wide traction for teaching computer science, and their Capability Maturity Model for software development has become a certification goal for many defense industry systems integrators. On the security side, their Software Engineering Institute’s Computer Emergency Response (CERT) group remains one of top public resources in the world for computer security, and their CyLab is a multi-disciplinary cybersecurity education and research center, involving 6 colleges from Carnegie Mellon, over 50 faculty, and over 130 graduate students.
The SEI was established in 1984 at Carnegie Mellon University as a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) dedicated to advancing the practice of software engineering and improving the quality of systems that depend on software. Their CMMI defines 5 levels of proficiency under a Total Quality Management approach; most commercial organizations are at Level 1 or Level 2. Through its sponsor, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, the SEI carries out its mission by focusing on software engineering management and technical practices.
June 9/10: Finmeccanica subsidiary SELEX Sistemi Integrati announces [PDF] a 5-year, EUR 238 million contract from the Italian Ministry of Defence’s Land Armaments General Directorate, for a digitized system known as Forza NEC (Network Enabled Capability). The contract covers the manufacture and integration of command posts in shelters and vehicles; communication, command and control devices for soldiers under the Soldato Futuro program; unmanned vehicles equipped with sensors; and systems offering full interoperability between the Italian armed forces and the forces of other countries. A test laboratory consisting of numerous military centers connected in a network will also be delivered.
SELEX Sistemi Integrati is the main supplier and system integrator, but they will work with a very broad alliance of Italian firms. Other Finmeccanica companies such as SELEX Communications, SELEX Galileo, Elsag Datamat, Oto Melara, AgustaWestland, and MBDA Italia are included. So are independent firms like Elettronica, Iveco, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, the Iveco-Oto Melara consortium, and the Soldato Futuro consortium.
Battlefield command systems are becoming the backbone of any modern land force…