In the 1960s dark comedy Dr. Strangelove, a rogue US Air Force general succeeds in usurping the US “fail-safe” security system preventing unauthorized use of nuclear weapons. As a result, a nuclear weapon is dropped on the Soviet Union, the doomsday machine is activated, and the protagonists argue about who gets to ride out the war in mine shafts.
In the 21st century, the US Air Force is taking steps to make sure that nuclear-tipped ICBMs stay securely in their silos. Through the ICBM Security Modernization Program, the USAF has launched a number of initiatives to beef up silo security.
One of those initiatives is the Remote Visual Assessment Program, which is designed to improve the situational awareness of the security staff around the ICBM silos. To support that program, the USAF awarded Northrop Grumman a $31 million contract…
“[The C-130J Hercules] has since been deployed into theater by the USAF, where its vastly improved performance in “hot and high” environments has come in very handy. Unlike the pending Airbus A400M, however, the C-130J doesn’t solve the sub-survivable 20-ton armored vehicle limit that has stymied multiple US armored vehicle programs from the Stryker IAV to Future Combat Systems. As such, it represents an improvement that fails to address US tactical airlift’s key bottleneck limitation.”
Something called the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) may – or may not – represent a first step toward addressing that issue. It may also represent a US aerospace effort to avoid a looming future in which the Airbus A400M would be the only available tactical transport for survivable armored personnel carriers. With the light transport JCA made up of entirely foreign designs, the 20-ton transport market beginning to crowd, and the heavy-lift C-17 production line headed toward shutdown, the US aerospace industry risks a slip from a 1980-1990s position of market dominance in the military transport space to a position of fighting for its competitive life by 2020.
So where does ACAA fit in? How is it connected to the Composite Affordability Initiative, and the notional Advanced Joint Air Combat System (AJACS) program?
A Washington think-tank has gone so far as to call the planned cancellation of C-17 heavy transport aircraft production “The Dumbest Weapons Decision of the Decade.” With heavy usage that is accumulating fatigue hours far faster than originally planned, the US Air Force is loath to pay $1.5 billion to close the C-17 line – then pay another $4+ billion to re-open if their decision proves to be too hasty. Not to mention the larger $8+ billion economic effects and lost jobs. Still, the cost of its equipment means that funds are tight, and last-minute Congressional earmarks have been necessary to keep the C-17 line going. Concern has also been expressed that by shuttering the line, the USA is effectively handing the global strategic airlift market over to France and Russia; the Airbus A400M and Russia’s super-giant AN-124 would be the only games in town from 2010-2025, or longer.
Worse, there is almost no confidence in the Pentagon’s 2005 Mobility Requirements Study, whose assumptions hadn’t budged from a 2000 study – before 9/11 and the resulting global war saw airlift usage and flight hours skyrocket, before the Army’s Future Combat Systems’ failure to fit into C-130 transports as promised… before a lot of things happened. Now, as the battle in Washington heats up again, DID offers this updated article, readings – and accompanying interactive Excel spreadsheet – as a contribution to the discussions.
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded a $31 million contract to a team lead by Lockheed Martin to develop a network protocol to improve the confidentiality, integrity, and security of US military networks.
In developing this new protocol, Lockheed Martin’s team will develop router technologies that include strong authentication and self-configuration capabilities to improve security and bandwidth allocation and lower overall life cycle costs for network management.
Lockheed Martin’s Savi Technology in Mountain View, CA received a maximum $100 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity/ indefinite-delivery, sole source contract for radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and magnetic mounting brackets. RFID tags are similar to wireless bar codes and are used to track US military supplies and equipment.
The firm has worked with the US military for over a decade to build their RF In-Transit Visibility (ITV) network, which spans more than 45 countries and tracks military supplies through 4,000 sites. “US Getting Savi at Ammo Depots” has more on the RF ITV network.
Savi was selected in December 2008 to compete for work on the US Army’s RFID III contract…
Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors – Tactical Systems in Eagan MN received a $28.1 million contract to install an air command and control (C2) system at Ali Air Base, an airbase located near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. The Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA manages the contract (FA8706-09-C-0004).
Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will deliver a sector operation center (SOC), a SOC training suite, a ground-to-air transmitter and receiver (GATR) site, communication network infrastructure, and a long-range radar system…
US Defense Security Cooperation Agency requests can take a notoriously long time to turn into orders, but this article covers a pair of dedicated DSCA requests made over the last 2 years, including the latest $500+ million request with an interesting addendum.
Raytheon is helping the US Naval Oceanographic Office recover hydrographic educational materials lost in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. The office’s hydrographic training center located in south Mississippi was destroyed by the hurricane and 50% of the original hydrographic training curriculum was lost. Since then, about 25 percent of the materials have been recovered, leaving the remaining 25 percent, or about 222 hours, still missing, according to Kristin Patterson Jones with Raytheon Technical Services. Hydrographic information is used to draft nautical maps and enhance geospatial information.
A recent task order received by Raytheon directs the company to perform a gap analysis, develop the missing hours and fulfill the requirements of hydrographic recertification, she noted. The task order was issued under a $256.5 million contract vehicle awarded last year to 6 companies to provide education and training products and support services to the US Navy…