Latest updates[?]: Great Eastern won a $9.1 modification to exercise and fund the second 12-month option on a firm-fixed-price contract with reimbursable elements for the offshore support vessel Hercules. This vessel will be utilized to support refueling and resupply of the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1). The contract includes a 12-month base period, three 12-month option periods, and one 11-month option period. Work will take place in the US Pacific Command’s area of responsibility. Estimated completion date is July 15, 2024.
SBX-1, Pearl Harbor
As rogue state proliferation by the likes of North Korea made missile defense a growing priority for nations including the USA, Japan, and Israel, the USA began to look at the linchpin of any defense: powerful radars that could both track ballistic missiles, and guide interceptors. The USA has its BMEWS tracking system, but that would not serve. America’s Safeguard ABM system was dismantled long ago – though Russia still maintains its counterpart System A-135 network around Moscow. Something new would be needed.
Enter Raytheon’s new XBR radar, based on an SBX-1 platform that looks a lot like a mobile oil drilling rig. Basing the radar at sea offers numerous advantages. One is the obvious ability to move the radar as threats materialize, allowing much greater coverage with fewer radars. Another is the ability to protect allies, without having to invest in expensive systems whose regional capabilities and value to the USA could be put at risk by the decisions of a single foreign government. In exchange for this freedom from political interference, of course, the designers must contend with nature’s interference in the stormy Pacific.
Boeing SBX system is linked to its land-based GMD (Ground-based Mid-course Defense) missile system but can also operate with other naval and land elements.
Back in 2008, the Navy signaled its desire to its desire to incorporate the “far term sea-based terminal defense” capacity of the SM-6 into its Aegis system, with one hurdle being some ships’ radars being capable of handling the sensor data requirements. They then hoped for operational capability in 2015. Yesterday, Raytheon announced in a widely-parroted release that the Navy had indeed approved the SM-6 for additional Aegis systems, to include those Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers from the 1994-keel-laid The Sullivans (DDG-68) onward.
The USA’s University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System conducts research throughout the world’s oceans, and their fleet has shifted to 4 basic research vessel types: Global, Ocean/Intermediate, Regional and Coastal/Local. From 2014 onward, new Ocean Class ships will replace aging Intermediate Class ships in current use, and serve alongside the new SWATH-hulled RV Kilo Moana [T-AGOR 26]. Growing trends towards larger, interdisciplinary science teams, using more sophisticated research equipment, means a need for larger and more sophisticated ships. They new Ocean Class will provide parties of up to 25 scientists with an advanced blue-water platform that can stay at sea for up to 40 days, and cover up to 10,000 nautical miles.
Can they be built affordably? The US Navy is managing the competition, construction, and chartering process, and the 1st build contract was issued in October 2011.
Military meds are big business. In March 2010 the US DLA’s Defense Supply Center Philadelphia awarded a pair of 5-year contracts worth up to $807.1 million to Cardinal Health in Dublin, OH, for drug distribution to US military medical facilities.
For these contracts, the European region encompasses all US military medical treatment facilities (MTFs) located on the Continent of Europe, including Turkey plus the surrounding seas and oceans as well as Oman and Bahrain. The Pacific region encompasses all MTFs located in the Pacific including Guam, Diego Garcia and the surrounding seas and oceans. Another 5-year contract with wider reach involves deliveries to American ships.
HDR engineering-environmental Management (e2M) in Englewood, CO won a indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for marine species monitoring, evaluations, and/or assessments at various locations within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic and Pacific area of responsibility. The maximum amount of the contract is $50 million.
The US Navy carries out marine species monitoring in live-fire ranges and areas where naval exercise are conducted to assess the impact on marine life.
For example, the Navy monitors bird colonies, turtle nests, and marine mammal activity around its Farallon de Medinilla target range in the Northern Marianas Islands. The range, located 150 miles north of Guam, is the Pacific Fleet’s only US range available for live-fire training for forward deployed naval forces…
The base contract also includes priced options to allow the government to procure full-rate production units over a 4-year period beginning in 2011
The SSEE is a signals exploitation system that provides ship commanders with threat ID information. It allows the operators to monitor and analyze signals of interest within the Ship’s Signals Exploitation Space (SSES) aboard a variety of ship classes…
The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific in Pearl Harbor, HI awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award contracts to 4 small business qualifiers in support of the Environmental Remedial Action Program at various sites in NAVFAC Pacific’s area of responsibility (AOR).
The maximum dollar value, including the base period and 4 option years, for all contracts is $30 million.
Towed arrays create a longer baseline than other types of underwater sensors, which enhances detection capabilities. According to the 2002 edition of the US Navy’s Vision…Presence…Power: A Guide to U.S. Navy Programs, the TB-29A is a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) version of the legacy TB-29 towed array:
“[The TB-29A] arrays will be used for back-fit on Los Angeles (SSN-688 and SSN-688I) and Seawolf (SSN-21) submarines and forward-fit on the Virginia (SSN-774) class. TB-29A will also be used for the SURTASS [Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System] Twin-line towed array system. It will provide greater capability than the current TB-23 Thin Line towed arrays and achieve enhanced supportability through commonality. TB-29A uses COTS telemetry to significantly reduce unit cost while maintaining superior array performance. These arrays were recently tested with SURTASS ships and will support the IUSS [Integrated Undersea Surveillance System] community…Coupled with the submarine A-RCI system, TB-29A arrays are expected to provide the same 400-500 percent increase in detection capability against quiet submerged platforms in blue-water and shallow-water areas, as the current TB-29 has demonstrated recently.”
Submarines with improving stealth and attack capability – particularly modern diesel attack submarines – are proliferating worldwide. Locating these relatively inexpensive but extremely quiet boats presents a challenge to the US Navy, then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen warned Congress in 2007 testimony [pdf].
To counter this threat, the Navy is investigating a distributed and netted approach to anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Among the ASW programs the Navy is considering is the Reliable Acoustic Path Vertical Line Array (RAPVLA). The RAPVLA is a deep water, bottom-mounted, high-grain sensor system that can automatically detect, classify, localize, track and report contacts of interest, such as stealth submarines.
Lockheed Martin recently received a $7 million order for applied research in support of the RAPVLA program…
When US Navy carrier battle groups are rapidly deployed to hot spots, they need supply ships fast enough to keep up with them. That is the purpose of the US Military Sealift Command’s T-AOE-6-class fast combat support ship.
The T-AOE-6-class, which is the MSC’s largest combat logistics ship, can carry more than 177,000 barrels of oil; 2,150 tons of ammunition; 500 tons of dry stores; and 250 tons of refrigerated stores. There are currently 4 in service.
L-3 Systems in Camden, NJ recently won a contract worth up to $44.7 million to design and produce the ships’ machinery control systems…