James Hasik looks at future options for the American super-carrier fleet, and delivers a preliminary cost analysis for various scenarios – including a scenario that involves halting the new CVN-21s after the 2nd-of-class CVN 79, mothballing 2 existing Nimitz Class boats, and dropping to 8 operational carriers.
Today’s video (embedded below): the Panel on Defense Financial Management and Auditability Reform’s hearing last week with the House Armed Services Committee. Among the issues is whether the branches (let alone DoD at large) are able to reconcile their books with the Department of Treasury. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller Jamie M. Morin [PDF bio] says the USAF is now achieving 99.99% accuracy on its 1 million+ records/month ledger.
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).
Afghan forces have been ordering HMMWV vehicles from the US government, in order to equip their growing forces. That in itself is no revelation. Even before the 2010 order, the ANA already used up-armored Humvees. It’s the scale of recent orders that’s worth noting. If financed by the Afghan government, the 2010 order alone would represent about 85% of Afghanistan’s 2009/10 security budget all by itself, and about 41% of all domestic revenue, per the Ministry of Finance’s 2008-13 strategic plan [PDF].
June 24/11: The US DSCA announces [PDF] Morocco’s official request to buy 8 AN/MPQ-64F1 Improved Sentinel radars, 8 M1152 HMMWV Sentinel transports, 8 accompanying AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS Vehicular Dual Long-Range System Radios, plus Sentinel Software, HMMWV support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, and U.S. Government and contractor support.
The DSCA says that “The Government of Morocco is modernizing its armed forces and expanding its air defense architecture.” They could certainly use that…
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.
The UK’s Chief of the General Staff warns that the British Army faces “serious decline” if the government does not fulfill its pledge to increase defense spending after the 2015 general election. Speaking at at the Royal United Services Institute’s Land Warfare Conference General Sir Peter Wall said spending on the army would “require a real-terms growth in the latter part of the decade” in order to avoid such a decline.
The Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation says Russia and the United States will set up a maintenance center for Afghanistan’s Mil Mi-17 helicopters.
Skydex Technologies signs multiple contracts with the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to provide its blast mitigating Convoy Deck product for about 1,000 M-ATV vehicles.
DARPA’s crowd-sourced design crusade comes to the aircraft industry in the shape of a fly-off competition. UAVForge has been launched to demonstrate crowd-sourced design of small, persistent perch-and-stare unmanned aircraft.
Global Fleet Sales, Inc. is a member of the RM Asia Group of Companies, and has a long history of working in “difficult market situations” to produce modified and baseline Ford vehicles for companies and organizations involved in Humanitarian, Aid, Relief and Development Projects, and Police services around the world. The firm has been tapped for a number of US government contracts beginning in 2005, such as one for Afghan Police vehicles. GFS maintains all of the vehicles used by the Afghan National Army, with maintenance facilities in Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, Kabul and Gardez; its parent firm RM Asia has a full country office in Afghanistan.
Recent awards fall under a 3 year firm-fixed-price contract with the US military to provide modified vehicles for customers like the Afghan and Iraqi police, and for other foreign military sales customers who might choose to order under the set contract terms and advantageous prices the US military has negotiated.
Final update: article wrap-up as this fiscal period has come to an end.
USMC M1A1 settles a firefight in Fallujah
The RESET process takes used vehicles apart, inspects the parts, then replaces any defective parts and refurbishes the equipment to like-new condition. Sometimes upgrades are also performed. RESET and related processes like remanufacture/upgrades are being performed on M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley IFV/CFVs, HMMWV jeeps, and even helicopters. It usually takes place when the vehicles return from the front lines in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations, where sand damage and increased wear have taken their toll.
In truth, many of these vehicles were produced in the 1980s, and are reaching an age where “deep maintenance” is a wise and necessary measure. Note that this is not a complete list of RESET contracts.
Mine-resistant vehicles are emerging as a basic requirement for international deployments, and many advanced armies are making the shift. One of the quiet hotbeds for that trend has been Germany. They were an early adopter and fielder of mine-resistant vehicles, and appear to be building up KMW’s mine-resistant Dingo-2 as an important vehicle in their future force.
Meanwhile, German firms are innovating with new mine-resistant designs for a number of future roles, presaging the widespread hardening of the German Bundeswehr against land mine threats. The German Bundeswehr continues to buy the Dingos, as that process continues.