Back in August 2005, we noted that “ENCORE I.T. Contracts Raise Ceiling to $2.5B Until ENCORE II Arrives.” Services under ENCORE II will include high level enterprise IT policy, integration management, communications engineering, and asset management. According to the Encore II RFP, DISA intends to use the contract to support users in the military services and agencies as they transition from legacy systems to Net-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES), which embodies the new techno-organizational opportunities described above. Encore II will help them effectively use core NCES product lines, including collaboration and discovery tools, and a planned joint services knowledge portal. That’s the vision, anyway. In January 2006, we followed that up with “Pentagon’s $13 Bn “Encore II” RFP Gets Revised, Extended,” explaining the ENCORE vision, its origins, and its likely obstacles.
That wait ended on Jan 31/07, when 6 companies received indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity multiple-awards contracts. They include provisions for Firm, Fixed-Price, Time-and-Materials or Labor-Hour and Cost-Reimbursement (CPFF, CPAF, etc), and will run from March 12/07 through March 11/17. The maximum not-to-exceed value for the ENCORE II contract over a 5-year period, plus its 5 one-year option periods, is $12.225 billion. This is slightly less than the $13 billion projected. Performance will be at various locations within the Continental United States (CONUS), and also outside the CONUS (OCONUS), and each task order issued will be opened to competition among the ENCORE-II winners.
The solicitation was issued as a full and open competitive action with 16 large firm proposals received – but the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization DITCO) at Scott AFB, IL picked just 6 large firm winners with small business awards to follow. Whereupon, the protests began. Now, the small business roster has been added, and the large business roster has been expanded…
Think of RFID as wireless bar codes that don’t need to be swiped individually. The US military has invested heavily in RFID for its supply chain; recent years have begun to feature positive results, as well as the creation of an RFID solutions center near Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. The next-stage challenge is creating logistics networks that interoperate with allies to interoperate with systems like AGATRS to handle shipment, billing, and more.
Now Lockheed Martin subsidiary Savi Technology has been awarded a contract Army Sustainment Command on behalf of the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command (JMC). The initial $4 million contract would use Savi’s Munitions Total Management Systems-Field Module (MTMS-FM) to support depot-level ammunition logistics functions, and additional options that could drive its value higher over time. Savi Technologies release.
Lockheed Martin acquired Savi in May 2006. 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. The current RFID II contract, which totals almost half a billion dollars, belongs to Savi.
Singapore has used RAFAEL’s LITENING surveillance and targeting pods on its F-16s for a number of years. In 2006, however, the city-state elected to equip its new F-15SG Strike Eagles with Lockheed Martin’s long-range Sniper ATP pods instead. Now the MINDEF has decided to add Sniper ATP pods to its 2-seat Lockheed Martin F-16D Block 52+ fighters, which may become part of a broader F-16 modernization drive.
If current plans are followed, 2 major military aviation programs will close their production lines in 2009. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. Restarting a shuttered production line can cost billions of dollars. Worse, much of the human expertise will be gone and must be rebuilt over time, a factor that can add additional time, cost, and even quality issues to the project.
The USA’s super-maneuverable, supersonic cruising F-22A Raptor stealth fighter is also set to close its production line in 2009, at the end of a 3-year multi-year contract that would bring the USA’s total F-22A fleet to 180 planes. Now that serious doubts have arisen concerning the long term safety of the USA’s F-15A-D Eagle fleet, however, the F-22 is getting a strong second look as a potentially important insurance policy. The rise of Russian and European offerings that outclass other American fighters, and fact that the USAF believes it will need at least 277 F-22s, are also playing a role in this decision.
Now Reuters reports that the US House Armed Services Committee’s Air & Land Forces subcommittee has recommended $3.9 billion to buy 15 Boeing C-17 cargo aircraft, plus an additional $523 million as a down payment on 20 more F-22A fighters in FY 2010.
As of July 2007, Raytheon Technical Services held the US Army contract for live training support, Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) carries the contract for virtual training (simulators), and General Dynamics the one for constructive training (computer models & game-like simulations). More than 3,400 contractors served more than 150 manned sites and 458 unmanned sites with training devices world-wide.
The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office, Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) office has been working for the last couple of years on a new approach that does away with the 3 domains, in order to put the full focus on delivering whatever training support is needed and appropriate, in whatever manner works best. The Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support (Warfighter FOCUS) contract would consolidate operations, maintenance, systems integration and engineering support services for the Army’s live, virtual and constructive training systems into a single 10-year, $11-12 billion package once existing contracts expire on Oct 31/07.
On one side was the Warrior Training Alliance (WTA), led by prime contractor Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC and Computer Sciences Corporation. One the other side was the Warfighter FOCUS Alliance (WFA), led by General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Saab. Each team had a roster that included other major and minor players, and DID details both teams below. The winner was the Raytheon-led WTA, and integration is now proceeding…
Digitization and smaller electronics affect the battlefield in a number of ways. In the area of air defense, it has become possible to make small radars quite powerful, while also connecting them in networks that can provide a combined picture of a broader area. The result is a system that makes short-range assets like shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles far more effective. If careful attention is paid to integration issues, these systems can serve singly as quickly-deployable initial protection for key sites, be combined to extend coverage over a local region, or serve as a form of local distributed backup to guide larger and more advanced missiles if higher-echelon radars are knocked out.
Their usefulness even extends beyond enemy forces. One of the toughest problems involved in coalition warfare is ensuring that simple misunderstandings or lack of a common picture doesn’t lead to “friendly fire” tragedies. A deployable local air control system can minimize those odds.
Britain’s Land Environment Air Picture Provision (LEAPP) program is GBP 100 million contract with Lockheed Martin UK INSYS designed to address these needs, and provide ground forces with a detailed local picture of activity in the air…
Israel’s F-16I Soufa (“Storm”) is a highly modified version of the F-16D Block 52+ fighter, with a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engine, an internally mounted FLIR (forward looking infrared system, and replacement of American equipment by Israeli avionics, defensive systems, et. al. Its extra fuel and weight leans it toward the strike fighter role rather than the F-16’s dogfighter origins, and in fact these aircraft were chosen over the more expensive F-15I Strike Eagle. The original buy of 50 aircraft in 1999 was eventually upgraded to 102 Soufas in December 2001, as the F-16I was chosen over the F-15I for a second time. First flight took place in December 2003, with production expected to continue through 2008.
On March 21/08, IAF commander, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy ordered the F-16I fleet grounded after several F-16 pilots complained of fumes that triggered trigger coughing, watery eyes, etc. The substance has been provisionally identified as formaldehyde, which is used in a number of aerospace sealants and adhesives. Despite investigations by an outside firm, however, the cause remains a mystery. Thus far, only 1 aircraft of 20 tested has been found to have this problem. Defense News report.
In the meantime, Israel’s Cheyl Ha’avir can rely on many of its existing 95 F-16A+/B+ Netz (“Falcon”) and 127 F-16C/D Barak (“Lightning”) aircraft, along with its 25 F-15I Strike Eagles, and some of its 50 or so F-15 A-D Eagles. In-service numbers are never 100%, of course, and in addition to the aging problems faced by the global F-15 A-D fleets, some of Israel’s F-16C/D and F-15 A-D aircraft are temporarily out of service while undergoing an upgrade program.
Good car owners take their vehicle in for maintenance after a certain number of months, or a certain number of miles, whichever comes first. Depending on the vehicle’s age and mileage, the dealer’s mechanic will have a list of standard systems to check and/or replace. It’s the same for the military, with the added pressure that vehicle breakdowns in a combat zone are not acceptable. So the inspections and rebuilds take place regularly, and it’s considered better to replace a working part with a new one than risk problems later. Unless, of course, land vehicles included the same sort of proactive diagnostics (“prognostics”) that are making their way into aircraft and helicopters. Maintenance could then take place only when necessary, keeping a higher percentage of vehicles in service, saving some money, and creating faster turnaround time for real problems.
That’s the aim of the US Marine Corps’ Embedded Platform Logistics System…
The UK Ministry of Defence signed a 5-year, GBP 24.5 million (about $50 million) partnering contract with a team comprised of Lockheed Martin UK Simulation, Training & Support (STS) and BAE Systems, to operate and maintain the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) systems in the UK and in Sennelager, Germany. Matt Tovey, CATT programme manager at the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support Organisation, adds that “The high quality of training output will be further enhanced through a partnering approach which provides the basis for exploring further efficiencies.”
Lockheed Martin originally designed and built the simulator system in 2002. Each CATT installation covers an area the size of 3 soccer fields, has 170 vehicle simulators, and can accommodate as many as 700 troops in a simulated battle, either against each other or using computer-generates forces across thousands of kilometres of the Wiltshire and Hampshire countryside. Half of the vehicle simulators have interiors, software, et. al. that replicate specific vehicles such as Challenger II main battle tanks, Warrior armored fighting vehicles, and Scimitar armored reconnaissance vehicles. The remainder are designed to generic standards, and can replicate a variety of vehicles, helicopters and dismounted infantry. The system can replay an exercise for post-exercise analysis and assessment. Lockheed Martin release.
America’s Congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been conducting annual reviews of the F-35 A/B/C Joint Strike Fighter program for several years, analyzing everything from program approach to the wisdom of the program’s dual-source structure for the fighters’ engines. The GAO has a long-standing disagreement with the program over timing, and especially the decision to begin low-rate initial production before testing is complete in 2013. It has also backed the dual-source engine program as more expensive in the short run, but likely to save money in the long run; that backing has helped secure the votes in Congress to reinstate the dual-source approach for 2 years running.
In a sense, therefore, the most recent March 11/08 report and testimony could be seen as the running continuation of earlier disagreements. The report also contains summaries of program progress to date, however, and the warnings contained in its high level assessments are likely to have ripple effects in the USA and abroad…