Latest updates[?]: Viasat and Data Link Solutions each won a $998.8 million deal for the production, retrofits, development and sustainment of the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) terminals. Currently, there are three variants of MIDS JTRS terminals: the Concurrent Multi-Netting-4, the Tactical Targeting Network Technology and the F-22 variant. The MIDS JTRS terminal is a line-of-sight radio system for collecting and transmitting broadband, jam-resistant, secure data and voice across a variety of air, sea and ground platforms. These terminals will continue to be procured, sustained and updated for future growth, including JTRS advanced networking waveforms such as: multifunction advanced data link, intra-flight data link and other advanced networking waveforms. The MIDS JTRS terminals make use of high-speed jam-resistant Link-16 tactical data exchange network. The Link 16 allows for real-time transfer of combat data, voice communications, imagery, and relative navigation information between dispersed battle elements, using data encryption and frequency hopping to maintain secure communications. The system facilitates the exchange of data over a common communication link, allowing participants to obtain and share situational awareness information and interoperate within the battlespace. Viasat will perform work in Carlsbad, California. Data Link Solution will perform work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Expected completion is by May 2025.
PRC-154 with 75th RR
The Pentagon’s JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) aimed to replace existing radios in the American military with a single set of software-define radios that could have new frequencies and modes (“waveforms”) added via upload, instead of requiring multiple radio types in ground vehicles, and using circuit board swaps in order to upgrade. Trying to solve that set of problems across the entire American military meant taking on a very a big problem. Maybe too big. JTRS has seen cost overruns and full program restructurings, along with cancellation of some parts of the program.
JTRS HMS (Handheld, Manpack & Small Form-Fit) radios, for use by the individual solder, have survived the tumult, and are now headed into production. They offer soldiers more than just improved communications, and have performed in exercises and on the front lines. Now, production is ramping up.
Latest updates[?]: Saab has signed an agreement with Australia to provide combat management systems for Navy's surface ships. According to the agreement, Saab will deliver its Next Generation’ Combat Management System (CMS) to Australia’s new Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and the Supply class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships. Saab will also modernize the 9LV CMS currently in use in the Anzac Class frigates and will provide the software for the future tactical interface for the Hobart class air warfare destroyer (AWDs) when their current CMS is modernized.
The FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates make for a fascinating defense procurement case study. To this day, the ships are widely touted as a successful example of cost containment and avoidance of requirements creep – both of which have been major weaknesses in US Navy acquisition. On the other hand, compromises made to meet short-term cost targets resulted in short service lives and decisions to retire, sell, or downgrade the ships instead of upgrading them.
Australia’s 6 ships of this class have served alongside the RAN’s more modern ANZAC Class frigates, which are undergoing upgrades of their own to help them handle the reality of modern anti-ship missiles. With the SEA 4000 Hobart Class air warfare frigates still just a gleam in an admiral’s eye, the government looked for a way to upgrade their FFG-7 “Adelaide Class” to keep them in service until 2020 or so. The SEA 1390 project wasn’t what you’d call a success… but Australia accepted their last frigate in 2010, and the 4 remaining ships will serve until 2020.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon won a $61.5 million delivery contract for Global Positioning System-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Services (GPNTS) software support. GPNTS is used to receive, process and distribute three-dimensional position, velocity, acceleration, attitude, time and frequency in the formats required by shipboard user systems. The software support will include development, integration and test of improvements, correction of deficiencies, preparation and delivery of engineering interim/final software builds and inputs for the GPNTS software requirements and configuration baseline. The delivery contract includes a base ordering period of five years, with a subsequent three-year option and a final two-year option for a total of 10 years should all options be exercised. Raytheon will perform work in San Diego, California and is expected to be finished by November, 2024.
At the end of June 2010, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in San Diego, CA received a 4-year, $32.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to design, develop, test and deliver the Global Positioning System Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Service (GPNTS). If all options are exercised, work could continue until June 2021, and run the contract to $77.1 million. $4.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (88%), and Fairfax, VA (12%), while the competitively procured contract will be managed by US Space and Naval Warfare Command in San Diego, CA (N00039-11-C-0089).
The DoD description said that “…GPNTS will support mission critical real-time positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) data services for weapons, combat, navigation, and other C4I systems requiring PNT information.” That’s technically true, but misleading. Discussions with Raytheon confirm that GPNTS systems will replace existing NAVSSI integrated navigation systems on board US Navy ships. They receive GPS data from the ship’s receivers, and act as a shipboard navigation data distribution hub. That could mean loading current coordinates from the ship into an aircraft or a GPS/INS-guided weapon, working with an aircraft carrier’s precision GPS landing system, or just handling routine navigation and reporting systems on board.
Contracts & Updates
November 19/19: Software Support Raytheon won a $61.5 million delivery contract for Global Positioning System-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Services (GPNTS) software support. GPNTS is used to receive, process and distribute three-dimensional position, velocity, acceleration, attitude, time and frequency in the formats required by shipboard user systems. The software support will include development, integration and test of improvements, correction of deficiencies, preparation and delivery of engineering interim/final software builds and inputs for the GPNTS software requirements and configuration baseline. The delivery contract includes a base ordering period of five years, with a subsequent three-year option and a final two-year option for a total of 10 years should all options be exercised. Raytheon will perform work in San Diego, California and is expected to be finished by November, 2024.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon announced that the US Air Force used the company’s GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System, known as GPS OCX, to support the launch of its second GPS III satellite into space. The ground system will spend 10 days maneuvering the satellite into its final orbit, demonstrating GPS OCX's ability to simultaneously support multiple GPS III spacecraft on-orbit throughout the checkout and calibration process. GPS III SV02 is the newest generation of GPS satellites designed and built to deliver positioning, navigation and timing information apparently with three times better accuracy, and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capability than its predecessor. Prime contractor is Lockheed Martin. The GPS III satellite, also called Magellan, was launched on August 22 after years of delays. United Launch Alliance used a Delta IV rocket to launch the second Global Positioning System III (GPS III) satellite for the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
GPS IIIA concept
GPS-III satellites, in conjunction with their companion OCX ground control, system are the Global Positioning System (GPS) future. They offer big advantages over existing GPS-II satellites and GCS, but most of all, they have to work. Disruption or decay of the critical capabilities provided by the USA’s Navstar satellites would cripple both the US military, and many aspects of the global economy.
The time-based GPS service is the most-used application of Einstein’s Theories of Relativity. GPS has become part of civilian life in ways that go go far beyond those handy driving maps, including crop planting, timing services for stock trades, and a key role in credit card processing. At the same time, military class (M-code) GPS guidance can now be found in everything from cruise missiles and various precision-guided bombs, to battlefield rockets and even artillery shells. Combat search and rescue radios rely on this line of communication, and so does a broadening array of individual soldier equipment.
This DII FOCUS article looks at the existing constellation, GPS-III improvements, the program’s structure, its progress through contracts and key milestones, and extensive PTN (Positioning, Timing & Navigation)/ GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) research links.
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin won a $56 million deal for combat system engineering support on the Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS). Under the contract, the SSDS combat system engineering agent and software design agent primary deliverables will be SSDS tactical computer programs, program updates and associated engineering, development and logistics products. The contract will manage the in-service SSDS configurations as well as adapt and integrate new or upgraded war-fighting capabilities. Lockheed will perform work in Moorestown, New Jersey and San Diego, California. Estimated completion date is in December.
Right now, in many American ships beyond its Navy’s top-tier AEGIS destroyers and cruisers, the detect-to-engage sequence against anti-ship missiles requires a lot of manual steps, involving different ship systems that use different displays. When a Mach 3 missile gives you 45 seconds from appearance on ship’s radar to impact, seconds of delay can be fatal. Seconds of unnecessary delay are unacceptable.
Hence Raytheon’s Ship Self Defense System (SSDS), which is currently funded under the US Navy’s Quick Reaction Combat Capability program. It’s widely used as a combat system in America’s carrier and amphibious fleets. That can be challenging for its developers, given the wide array of hardware and systems it needs to work with. Consistent testing reports indicate that this is indeed the case, and SSDS has its share of gaps and issues. It also has a series of upgrade programs underway, in order to add new capabilities. Managing these demands effectively will have a big impact on the survivability of the US Navy’s most important power projection assets.
Latest updates[?]: Alliant Techsystems Operations LLC won a $167.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for 263 full-rate production Lot 8 Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles or AARGM. The deal for the subsidiary of Northrop Grumman includes the conversion of US government-provided AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles into 260 AGM-88E AARGM all-up rounds and 3 Captive Air Training Missiles as well as supplies and services needed for manufacture, spares and fleet deployment. AARGM is a supersonic, medium-range, air-launched tactical missile compatible with US and allied strike aircraft, including all variants of the F/A-18, Tornado, EA-18G, F-16, EA-6B, and F-35. Designed to upgrade the AGM-88 High-Speed, Anti-Radiation Missile system (HARM), AARGM features an advanced, digital, anti-radiation homing sensor, millimeter wave radar terminal seeker, precise Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) guidance, net-centric connectivity, and Weapon Impact Assessment transmit. Missile Impact Transmitter capability is available for approved customers. The missile offers extended-range engagement, as well as organic, in-cockpit emitter targeting capability and situational awareness. Work under the contract will take place in California and is scheduled to be finished by March 2022.
The AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile whose primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. AARGM is a US Navy major acquisition program, with around 1,750 expected orders from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The Italian Air Force is expected to buy up to 250 of these successors to the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, and Germany may also join.
So, why is AARGM a big deal? Perhaps the story of how a Serbian unit using an antiquated SA-3 battery managed to survive the 1999 NATO air campaign – and shoot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane – will help put things into perspective. DID recounts those events, explains the new weapon, and offers updates on contracts and key milestones.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon won a $15.3 million contract in support of the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). The deal includes design agent and engineering service efforts. According to Raytheon, the CEC program provides a sensor network with integrated fire control capability that significantly improves strike force air and missile defense capabilities by coordinating measurement data from strike force air search sensors on CEC-equipped units into a single, integrated real-time, composite track air picture. CEC improves battle force effectiveness by improving overall situational awareness and by enabling longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies. CEC will be designed to help the military service coordinate measurement data from sensors during strike force air search missions and facilitate battle force situational awareness. Raytheon will perform work in Florida. The scheduled completion date is in September 2022.
(click to enlarge)
Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) is the US Navy’s secret weapon. Actually, it’s not so secret. It’s just that its relatively low price means often leads people to overlook the revolutionary change it creates for wide-area fleet air and ballistic missile defense.
CEC is far more than a mere data-sharing program, or even a sensor fusion effort. The concept behind CEC is a sensor netting system that allows ships, aircraft, and even land radars to pool their radar and sensor information together, creating a very powerful and detailed picture that’s much finer, more wide-ranging, and more consistent than any one of them could generate on its own. The data is then shared among all ships and participating systems, using secure frequencies. It’s a simple premise, but a difficult technical feat. With huge implications.
This DID FOCUS Article explains those mechanics and implications. It will also track ongoing research, updates, and contracts related to CEC capabilities from 2000 forward.
Latest updates[?]: India signed a $3 billion contract for the lease of an Akula-1 class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia for a period of ten years. The submarine will be ready by 2025 and the contract includes refurbishment of the submarine with Indian communication and sensor systems, spares support and technical infrastructure for its operations. This submarine will replace INS Chakra, a submarine taken on a ten-year lease from Russia in 2012. The existing lease will be extended until the new submarine becomes operational. The so called Chakra III will not be equipped with long-range nuclear missiles because of international treaties and because it is not meant for deterrence patrols. In November last year, India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, completed its first deterrence patrol. A second nuclear submarine, INS Arighat, will be commissioned later this year, with two more currently under construction.
SSN Akula Class
According to GlobalSecurity.org, India’s ATV (advanced technology vessel) program to build a nuclear-powered submarine began in 1974, and became a serious effort in 1985. The Federation of American Scientists’ December 1996 document “The Indian Strategic Nuclear Submarine Project: An Open Literature Analysis” remains one of the best single open sources on India’s program. Unfortunately, it was compiled over a decade ago and has become rather dated. That project has continued, and this DID Spotlight article continues to collect open source information on the ATV program.
More and more sources were claiming that a rented Russian Akula class boat would be operational as a training vessel by 2009. The concept was correct, but the date was not. A deadly accident during K-152 Nerpa’s sea trials delayed that project, and further complications pushed its hand-over date to 2012. As efforts to move the Nerpa into service continue, India has finally launched its indigenous nuclear sub Arihant, to begin sea trials and testing.
Latest updates[?]: The US Army Contracting Command awarded Textron Systems with a $7.1 million contract modification for contractor logistics support of the One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT) for Australia. The OSRVT delivers dismounted troops full-motion video and telemetry from the aircraft’s payload, just as it can be seen from the ground control station. It is able to receive information from a very wide range of UAVs and sources. The modification is part of the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Work will be performed in Hunt Valley, Maryland and is expected to be completed by May 7 this year.
Can the Army create a universal ground control system for UAVs? The ability to use hundreds of comparatively cheap UAVs from different manufacturers has been a blessing to ground forces, who finally have the comprehensive aerial coverage they want. It can also be a curse. If each system has its own unique controller and vehicle – or worse, its own receiver and screen – the result will be chaos.
Enter AAI’s One System ground control offerings, which are a step toward a more universal future. This Spotlight article covers the One System concept, its ongoing development, its current reach, and future technology initiatives and requirements that will affect UAV ground control.
F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Block IIs fighters are beginning to enter service with the US Navy and Australia, carrying significantly improved AN/APG-79 AESA radars and other electronic upgrades. Recent years have seen another spreading improvement within global fighter fleets, however: Infra-Red Search & Track (IRST) systems that provide long range thermal imaging against air and ground targets. Most of these deployments have been on Russian (MiG-29 family, SU-30 family) and European (Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen NG) fighters, or special American exports (UAE’s F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons, Korea & Singapore’s F-15K/SG Strike Eagles).
IRST: B-2, ICU
That absence puts American fighters behind an important curve. This IRST approach can defeat radar stealth in some instances, by focusing on engine exhaust, or on the friction of the aircraft as it powers through the atmosphere. As F-14 pilots will recall, long range electro-optics also offer positive identification, conferring the ability to use a plane’s aerial missiles at their full ranges. Best of all, IRST offers a passive way to locate and target enemy aircraft, without triggering the target’s radar warning receivers. When coupled with medium-range IR missiles like some Russian AA-10 variants, France’s MICA-IR, or even future versions of AMRAAM NCADE, an IRST system offers a fighter both an extra set of medium-range eyes, and a stealthy air-to-air combat weapon. Programs are underway to give some American “teen series” fighters this capability, albeit in a somewhat unusual way.