Bradley vehicles carry a crew of 3 (commander, gunner and driver), plus additional soldiers in some variants. Overall, the Bradleys fulfills 5 critical mission roles for the US Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Teams: infantry fighting vehicle, carries 6-7 troops as well (M2); cavalry fighting vehicle, carries 2 scouts as well (M3); fire support vehicle (A3 BFIST or M7 BFIST based on A2-ODS); battle command vehicle; and engineer squad vehicle (EBFV, or M2A2-ODS-E).
General Dynamics’ reactive armor system [pdf] uses tiles that fasten to the exterior of the Bradley, allowing it to withstand direct hits from anti-armor munitions, such as all shoulder-fired weapons and most tube-launched, shaped-charge systems.
Wyle Information Systems in McLean, VA received a $13.9 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract modification to provide technical services and space operations support to the Space Innovation and Development Center located at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado.
The contract is directed toward examining, assessing, and developing the means to integrate national system and US DoD space systems support to enhance combat and research and development capabilities within the US Air Force. This includes integrating existing and advanced-technology weapons, platforms and special test facilities as well as the technical expertise such as knowledge of emerging space-based technologies and systems.
Space Innovation and Development Center at Schriever Air Force Base manages the contract (FA2550-01-D-0003, P00026). The center’s mission is to advance warfare through rapid innovation, integration, training testing, and experimentation…
The global proliferation of advanced, ultra-quiet diesel electric submarines has prompted a number of responses around the globe, from initial-stage efforts to mimic a shark’s senses in the USA, to the most obvious route of using more powerful active sonars. In Western countries, concerns have been expressed that these sonars may disorient or scare marine mammals, leading to decompression sickness or disruption of their biological sonar navigation systems. This has led to (unsuccessful) lawsuits aimed at curtailing submarine exercises by Western navies.
In December 2007, USN Rear Adm. Lawrence S. Rice, director of Naval Operations Environmental Readiness, discussed some of the measures that are being taken to investigate the issue, and also mitigate any possible effects. In January 2008, a court battle erupted over undersea training off the coast of San Diego, CA, throwing the issue back into the limelight and potentially crippling Navy training before a dangerous deployment to the Persian Gulf. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ follow-on ruling was predictable, but in November 2008, the US Supreme Court issued its ruling.
In light of that favorable ruling, a settlement has now been reached on the Navy’s terms. The Navy has just been given permission to conduct exercises near Hawaii, and this, too, is likely to end up in court, along with its planned training near Florida. Meanwhile, the US Navy continues to fund marine mammal research – which may begin to include UUVs and/or USVs…
The U.S. Army Joint Munitions & Lethality Life Cycle Management Command (JM&L LCMC) awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite quantity contracts with cost-plus-fixed-fee/ firm-fixed-price orders to 5 companies to support the Army’s effort to get high-tech weapon prototypes in the hands of soldiers in the field as soon as possible. The effort, known as the Rapid Prototyping and Technology Initiative (RPTI), is run by the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC).
The maximum value of the 5 contracts is $300 million.
DID has a list of winners, contract numbers, as well as work to be performed under these contracts…
Environmental Leader links and summarizes a recent Los Angeles Times report that covers the push for energy efficiency within the Pentagon. The LA Times reports that the US Defense Department already derives 9.8% of its power from alternative sources and is looking to expand the use of wind, solar, thermal and nuclear energy.
Their report also includes this anecdote from Iraq:
In a great victory for Power Point warriors everywhere, American troops discovered that same powerful but eye-safe green laser pointers used in their civilian jobs were much more effective than bright spotlights, when it came to stopping oncoming vehicles without the need for gunfire. That’s a very important consideration in counterinsurgency campaigns, where maintaining the support of the populace and acting as its protector forms the foundation of the American approach. America’s allies have a similar mindset, and increasingly a similar doctrine as well. Not to mention a similar penchant for military nomenclature.
The easiest way to clear mines is to trigger them. Heavy armored vehicles often use mine ploughs to clear the way. Lighter wheeled vehicles tend to use mine rollers instead, pushing the weighted devices in front of their vehicle so that any pressure mines detonate under the roller instead.
In January 2006, a DefendAmerica.MIL article noted that the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment mechanics serving in Afghanistan have created a mine roller system from scavenged parts, and verified its effectiveness. As an additional safety measure, a cable to the Humvee frame becomes taut if their roller triggers an explosion, in order to keep the roller from flipping back and crushing the drivers inside the vehicle.
Subsequent orders for similar equipment by the US Marine Corps haven’t been as cheap…
In 2009, the Ottawa Citizen’s defense reporter David Pugliese reported that the US military was about to spend $100 million to upgrade the facilities at Kandahar, Afghanistan, in order to accommodate up to 26 aircraft for a local “Task Force ODIN”. At first glance, this might seem like just another infrastructure play – unless one realizes that Task Force ODIN (Observe, Detect, Identify & Neutralize) may be the second-most underrated fusion of technology and operating tactics in America’s counter-insurgency arsenal.
Task Force ODIN was created on orders of Gen. Richard A. Cody, the US Army’s outgoing vice chief of staff. Its initial goal involved better ways of finding IED land mines, a need triggered by the limited numbers of USAF Predator UAVs in Iraq, and the consequent refusal of many Army surveillance requests. Despite its small size (about 25 aircraft and 250 personnel) and cobbled-together nature, Task Force ODIN quickly became a huge success. Operating from Camp Speicher near Tikrit, it expanded its focus to become a full surveillance/ strike effort in Iraq – one that ground commanders came to see as more precise than conventional air strikes, hence less likely to create the kind of collateral damage that would damage their campaigns. From its inception in July 2007 to June 2008, the effort reportedly killed more than 3,000 adversaries, and led to the capture of almost 150 insurgent leaders.
Governments like umbrella “multiple award” contracts that let them deal with specific areas on set terms. It cuts administrative overhead costs, creates known pools of familiar competitors, and shortens the gap between requests and service. Hence the US Army’s recent announcement of their $497 million Biometrics Operations and Support Services Unrestricted (BOSS-U) multiple award contract awards, run by the Information Technology, E-commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) on behalf of the Biometrics Task Force.
The opportunity was initially announced on May 23/08, and proposals from 12 offerors were received by the closing date of Aug 18/08. The winners were announced in late December 2008, and include:
The SSN-774 Virginia Class submarine was introduced in the 1990s as a Clinton-era reform that was intended to take some of the SSN-21 Seawolf Class’ key design and technology advances, and place them in a smaller, less heavily-armed, and less expensive platform. The resulting submarine would have learned some of the Seawolf program’s negative procurement lessons, while performing capably in land attack, naval attack, special forces, and shallow water roles. In the end, the Seawolf Class became a technology demonstrator program that was canceled at 3 ships, and the Virginia Class became the naval successor to America’s famed SSN-688 Los Angeles Class. The Virginia Class program was supposed to reach 2 submarines per year by 2002, removing it from the unusual joint construction approach between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding – but that goal has been pushed back to 2012 in progressive planning budgets.
In FY 2005 dollars, SSN-21 submarines cost between $3.1-3.5 billion each. According to Congressional Research Service report #RL32418, and the Navy is working toward a goal of shaving FY05$ 400 million from the cost of each Virginia Class boat, and buying 2 boats in FY2012 for combined cost of $4.0 billion in FY 2005 dollars – a goal referred to as “2 for 4 in 12”. In real dollars subject to inflation, that means about $2.6 billion per sub in 2012, and $2.7 billion in 2013. The Navy believes that moving from the current joint construction arrangement will shave FY05$ 200 million from the cost of each submarine, leaving another FY05$ 200 million (about $220 million) to be saved through ship design and related changes. “Virginia Block III: The Revised Bow” chronicles some of the significant cost-saving design changes underway to the Virginia Class Block 3 subs, which begin at SSN-784, the 11th ship of class.
How is the program doing? The good news is, they just won a major procurement award for their efforts…