In early October 2011, BAE Systems Survivability Systems, LLC in Fairfield, OH received a $67.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for Overhead Gunner Protection Kit (OGPK) sub-assemblies. OGPK is an open gunner protection turret, which uses a combination of metal and transparent gunshields to stop small-arms fire. It’s mounted on patrol vehicles like HMMWVs and MRAPs, and won an Army award as #9 of the 10 best inventions of 2007. More recent versions are beginning to include some level of overhead protection. As OGPK kits have gotten heavier, however, they have triggered a companion buy: electric drive kits, to help the gunner move the turret quickly, or move it against gravity when the vehicle is on an incline.
Work will be performed in Fairfield, OH with an estimated completion date of Sept 28/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-11-D-0131).
W.M. Robots, LLC in Colmar, PA already supplies their Vallon GmbH subsidiary’s hand-held mine detectors to the US military, and in September 2011 they added a $9.6 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract from the government of Afghanistan, plus options that could bring the cumulative value to $12.4 million. Afghanistan is clearly moving to beef up their mine-detection and removal capabilities; September also saw a buy of MMP-30 robots for these roles.
Work will be performed in Colmar, PA, and is expected to be complete by September 2012. $7.9 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. As this is a Foreign Military Sales program buy, the US military is acting as Afghanistan’s agent. This contract was synopsized as a sole-source buy, therefore, and is managed by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division in Indian Head, MD (N00174-11-D-0015).
June 29/11: The U.S. Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground’s Natick Contracting Division in Orlando, FL recently issued a 7-vendor, multiple-award contract for “non-intrusive” systems that can scan the inside of personnel, vehicles, and cargo containers; and Entry Control Point (ECP) systems for protecting bases in war zones. The ECP Hardware Sets will include day/night cameras, command and control stations, environmentally protected work stations, biometric systems, barriers, and protective shelters. Most of these systems will be used in Afghanistan, but some few systems will be bought for for training in the United States.
Up to $248.5 million in equipment will be bought, with the winning vendors competing for task orders. In several cases, the vendors listed below are actually leading teams of sub-contractors. The contract will run until August 31/14. Bids were solicited through the Internet, with 7 bids received. The winners were:
US Marines deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan face numerous hazards in close-combat urban environments. Certainly, small arms fire and fragments from IED explosions are high on the list. To lessen those risks, the USMC turned to BAE Systems to develop a transparent, bulletproof shield that can be attached to gun turrets on a number of types of armored vehicles.
It is called the Marine Corps Transparent Armor Gun Shield (MCTAGS), and BAE Systems received a contract in 2005 to develop and produce MCTAGS to replace the Gunner’s Protection Kit used on most USMC armored vehicles.
April 25/11: SRCTec, Inc. in North Syracuse, NY wins an unfinalized $14.1 million maximum bridge contract from the US Army, to provide spare parts for the AN/TPQ-48 Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar System (LCMR). The LCMR is an artillery locating radar, with less performance than higher-end models like the Firefinder, but far more portability.
This contract will end on March 23/12. The Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime at Aberdeen, MD manages the contract (SPRBL1-11-C-0009).
The SRCTec CREW Duke system is a vehicle-mounted electronic jammer designed to prevent the remote detonation of land mines. The CREW Duke V2 is the US Army’s CREW 2.0 system, comparable to the Joint CREW (JCREW) 2.1, according to Lisa Mondello, a SRCTec spokesperson. The Duke V3 Upgrade improves the Duke’s capability to the level of the JCREW 3.2 system, she added.
The CREW Duke system was developed to provide US forces protection against a range of land mine threats. The field-deployable CREW Duke system uses jamming technology, and the design has been engineered to keep weight, size, and power requirements at a minimum. CREW Duke mounts into HMMWVs and other military vehicles.
Artillery-locating radars like the AN/TPQ-36 and TPQ-37 Firefinder radars, and the lighter LCMR, automatically detect, track and locate enemy mortars, artillery and rocket launchers. Once incoming rounds are picked up, the radar system backtracks the projectile’s flight, in order to pinpoint the launcher before the incoming round has even landed. Meanwhile, back-end systems can trigger alarms, giving people in the target area the critical seconds they need to get under cover. The TPQ-36 radar is specifically designed to counter medium range enemy weapon systems out to a range of 24 km/ 15 miles, while the TPQ-37 can locate longer-range systems and even surface launched missiles out to 50 km/ 31 miles.
Mortars and rockets have been common threats in Iraq, and advanced counter-battery radars have been the first line of defense for military bases and key civilian sectors. The systems do suffer from “false positives,” but on the whole, they’re very valuable. Michael Yon, embedded with 1-24 (“Deuce Four”) in Mosul in 2005, offered a first hand description of counter-battery radars’ effect on enemy tactics. With American forces drawing down and leaving, it’s no surprise that Iraq wants some.
Sweden’s Saab Group announced a SEK 450 million (WON 77.04 billion, $69 million) subcontract order from South Korea’s LIG Nex1, for more of its ARTHUR artillery tracing radars. South Korea first ordered Saab’s Arthur Mod C in 2007, and this is a follow-on order. Saab adds that “The main part of the production for this program will be done at LIG Nex1 under a localisation agreement between Saab and LIG.”
Latest updates: System handed from Army to Luftwaffe.
Rheinmetall’s MANTIS C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortars) system is a further development of their Skyshield system. Also known by its German initials NBS (Nachstbereichs-Schutzsystem, very short range protection system), it is intended to detect and physically intercept incoming rocket, artillery and mortar rounds, in order to protect stationary bases.
The USA and Britain have already taken similar measures, deploying and using modified Mk15 Phalanx “Centurion” land-based systems equipped with special self-destructing ammunition. While the German C-RAM system looks set to reach the field 2 years late, reports indicate that the German government has approved a purchase – and signed a pair of contracts:
In early December 2010, WM Robots, LLC in Colmar, PA won a maximum $48.6 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for hand-held detectors of low-metallic and non-metallic buried explosives, for use in Afghanistan. One legacy of the war against the Soviet Union is a tremendous number of buried land mines, which continue to present a danger to anyone who ventures off of known safe routes. Then there are land mines emplaced by the Taliban and their allies. It makes for a dangerous environment, where mine-clearing has benefits beyond just roads and trails.