The USA’s Mine-Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) program has been a long road for BAE Systems. In the wake of the US Army’s belated realization that mine protection was critical for vehicles in theater, BAE’s designs, long-standing experience in the field, and production capacity had made them an early favorite. Early results were a deeply humbling experience for the firm, but a combination of acquisitions, persistence, and product development combined to recover 2nd place status by the time MRAP orders ceased.
This in-depth, updated DID feature shines a spotlight on BAE Systems’ family of MRAP offerings, order record, and associated contracts. That includes its RG-33 family, the derivative MRRMV recovery vehicle, and the FMTV-based Caiman family, but not the RG-31s offered in partnership with General Dynamics. The MRAP program appears to have reached its vehicle limit, but upgrades and maintenance contracts are still a significant source of business.
General Dynamics is one of the biggest suppliers of land equipment to the US Army and Marines, alongside firms like BAE and Oshkosh. As IED land mines became an unmistakable trend in modern warfare, however, the company had nothing of its own to respond with. To fix that, they fell back on a focused partnership with BAE and the Canadian government, and created another limited partnership with newcomer Force Protection. Those kinds of partnerships can be preludes to an acquisition, and that was true in this case as well. In late 2011, the firm bought Force Protection, bringing all of its vehicles, technologies, and experience in house.
General Dynamics Land Systems is now a legitimate player in the global marketplace for blast-resistant vehicles. The long-term question involves competitiveness, as both the RG-31 (BAE) and Cougar (Force Protection) faded in the face of newer MRAP competitors. GDLS will reap maintenance and upgrade contracts for the RG-31s and Cougar in the US fleet, and consolidating accountability may strengthen their position if the Army decides to rationalize its MRAPs. That cash flow buys time; beyond, exports beckon. The Cougar family has a strong customer in Britain, where General Dynamics is supplanting BAE as a major land forces supplier, and it is used by several NATO and Middle Eastern countries. The Buffalo heavy mine-disposal vehicle has a unique niche, and offerings like the Ocelot and Jamma light patrol vehicles may yet pick up. Will it be enough?
The global trend toward mine-resistant vehicles has become unmistakable, and Iraq was the catalyst and proving ground. RG-31s of the US 101st Airborne and Australian Bushmasters were the first examples in Iraq, followed by the M1117 ASVs for American military police, and Cougar and Buffalo vehicles among US Marines et. al. Britain quickly adopted the ‘Mastiff’ Cougar variant for use in Iraq, and in 2007 the US military’s “MRAP” program began surging over 15,000 vehicles of various types into theater. And the Iraqis? Up-armored Hummers were a big upgrade over the Ford commercial pickups some units were using, but by 2006 they knew that they, too, needed a mine-resistant vehicle that could serve as as EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) vehicle, perform patrols in urban areas, and keep their country’s roads clear.
Iraq’s choice featured a familiar vehicle base, but an unfamiliar partnership. Why would BAE Systems bid a Cougar variant, instead of existing BAE products? How has the design evolved since 2006? And what’s the status of production orders and orders so far to Iraq, Yemen, and beyond? Previous discussions, and a new order, shine light on those questions.
United Technologies subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT recently received a $16.6 million firm-fixed-price order to repair 13 line items used on the EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare fighter’s J-52/JT-8A turbojet engines. The J-52 was picked to power the A-6 Intruder in 1958, and its most recent variant is the J-52 P-408, with 11,200 pounds of thrust. Keeping them in service is an important part of the keeping the twin-engine, 4-seat EA-6B Prowler fleet in service, until the EA-18G Growlers can replace them over the next several years. Under this particular order, Pratt & Whitney will also provide manufacturing, engineering, and technical support to the US Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, Jacksonville, FL, with a goal of improving monthly output.
Pratt & Whitney, as the original manufacturer, was the only offeror solicited for this particular sole-source requirement and the sole offeror responding. US NAVSUP also has issued a number of solicitations lately to refurbish components like turbine blades, and combustion chamber case assemblies. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, FL, and is expected to be complete by July 31/13. The FY 2012/2013 Navy Working Capital Funds, will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. US Navy NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA manages the contract (N00383-07-G-003M, #0004).
The US Army’s Constant Hawk program feeds into 2 big trends. One is the need to create systems that dip into the gushing firehose of data from UAVs, aircraft, ground-mounted stations like GBOSS/RAID, etc., in order to create information that people can use. “Too Much Information: Taming the UAV Data Explosion” covered some aspects of those efforts, and the critical area of “change detection” is an additional element.
US Army Program Manager – Aerial Common Sensor’s (PM ACS) Constant Hawk program is one of several change detection systems in operation, in the service of the second big trend: the drive to find solutions to the land mine problem, which has been the #1 killer in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
In mid-September 2011, Alutiiq 3SG, LLC in Anchorage, AK received a $289.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award small business contract for “global business support.” Alutiiq isn’t what most people would call a small business, but the rules for Alaska Native Corporations allow for manipulation, using holding companies and subsidiaries that can still qualify.
Work involves a wide range of temporary support services…
In late August 2011, the AECOM/EnSafe joint venture, Resolution Consultants in Virginia Beach, VA won a maximum $200 million cost-plus award-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity architect-engineering contract for comprehensive long-term environmental services at NAVFAC Atlantic’s installations.
Both firms have extensive experience in this area, and have worked with the Navy on similar efforts; indeed, Resolution consultants is just one of AECOM’s joint ventures in this area…
Sometimes, Special Operations forces need to move around in highly protected vehicles, like their customized, blast-resistant RG-33 and M-ATV MRAPs. Other times, it’s better to blend into the background and disappear, using vehicles that wouldn’t look out of place on your home street. Armoring vehicles like that is a steady civilian business in places like Brazil, South Africa, and parts of Asia and the Middle East. It’s also the subject of a maximum $44.6 million contract from US Special Operations Command.
Aug 22/11: Ultra Armoring, L.L.C. in Kings Mountain, NC receives a 1-year indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity firm-fixed-price contract, to provide “non-standard commercial vehicles.” That begins with a $23.5 million task order, triggered by “Combat Mission Needs Statement 168”. Work will be performed in Shelby, NC, and is expected to be complete by August, 2012. This contract was awarded through other than full and open competition, justified under IAW 10 U.S.C. 2304c2, “Unusual and Compelling Urgency,” as implemented by FAR 6.302-2 (H92222-11-D-0027).
The United Arab Emirates is best known for its city of Dubai, an ultra-modern port city that has become the trading and commercial hub of the Middle East. As a May 2005 article in National Defense Magazine notes, however, it has also acquired a reputation for a strong and respected military procurement system.
One of their current initiatives involves the Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters the country acquired in 1991 and 1994. The plan involves remanufacture and modernization of 30 AH-64A aircraft to the current AH-64D Longbow Block II standard. Deliveries to the UAE were scheduled to begin in May 2008 and continue through November 2009, with support activities continuing through November 2010. Ancillary equipment requests also come with that effort. DID presents a timeline that extends back to the original 2002 DSCA announcement.
Latest updates: $313 million to KBR for LOGCAP work in Iraq; 2009 contracts backfilled.
Fluor builds LOGCAP housing in southern Afghanistan
The US Army’s sole provider LOGCAP 3 contract, which provided food, housing and fuel for U.S. troops worldwide, generated lots of controversy because government audits of the sole supplier’s (Halliburton-KBR) work were unable to fully account for millions of dollars or justify all charges to the Pentagon’s satisfaction.
To address perceived problems of LOGCAP 3, the Army awarded the follow-on contract, LOGCAP 4, to 3 companies – KBR, DynCorp and Fluor – who compete for task orders.
The LOGCAP 4 contracts are indefinite-quantity/ indefinite-delivery contracts with 1 base year and 9 option years. Each contract has a maximum value of $5 billion per year. This allows the Army to award a total annual maximum value of $15 billion and a lifetime maximum value of $150 billion.