Latest updates[?]: The US Navy completed its investigation into the fatal crash of a VFA-151 F/A-18E which killed the pilot on July 31, 2019. Lt. Cmdr. Charles Z. Walker was navigating through the Star Wars canyon in California’s Death Valley National Park when his jet slammed into a wall not far from seven French tourists. The report stated that the “flight profile created conditions where the processing time and subsequent reaction time required of the pilot made it difficult for the aircraft to exit the canyon safely.” Walker was not current in low altitude training and he was required to fly at least 500 feet above ground level. Investigators also did not find evidence that Walker was flying at a low altitude for thrills. All seven French tourists suffered burns from the fire started by the crash.
The US Navy flies the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighters, and has begun operating the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare & strike aircraft. Many of these buys have been managed out of common multi-year procurement (MYP) contracts, which aim to reduce overall costs by offering longer-term production commitments, so contractors can negotiate better deals with their suppliers.
The MYP-II contract ran from 2005-2009, and was not renewed because the Pentagon intended to focus on the F-35 fighter program. When it became clear that the F-35 program was going to be late, and had serious program and budgetary issues, pressure built to abandon year-by-year contracting, and negotiate another multi-year deal for the current Super Hornet family. That deal is now final. This entry covers the program as a whole, with a focus on 2010-2015 Super Hornet family purchases. It has been updated to include all announced contracts and events connected with MYP-III, including engines and other separate “government-furnished equipment” that figures prominently in the final price.
Latest updates[?]: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. is being awarded with three individual contracts for work on the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program. Awarded by the Naval Sea System Command, the contracts have cumulative face value of $1.7 billion and provide for various naval nuclear propulsion components. The components provide nuclear propulsion capabilities to power a variety of Navy vessels, including submarines and aircraft carriers, by drawing power from a small nuclear power plant installed on the vessel. FY 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds in the amount of $1.2 billion are being obligated which will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will to various levels be performed at the company's facilities in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and in Schenectady, New York.
Basic Nuclear Propulsion
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This DII Spotlight article covers American nuclear propulsion industrial base contracts since the beginning of FY 2006. The USA has had an all-nuclear submarine fleet for over 50 years, a policy that dates back to the visionary Admiral Hyman Rickover. On the surface, America’s aircraft carriers became an all-nuclear fleet with the retirement of the USS Kitty Hawk [CV 63], and FY 2008-09 spending legislation pushed the US Navy to use nuclear power in its future CG (X) cruisers and new amphibious ship classes. At present, however, carriers are the only nuclear-powered American surface ships on the drawing board.
The civilian nuclear sector has seen major advances over the last 2 decades, and so has the military sector. The commitment to a nuclear fleet includes funding for those technical advances, as well as work to maintain both the reactors on board American ships, and the industrial base that supports them.
Acting US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Frederick Vollrath testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee on the timeline of announcements leading to the reduction of the Pentagon’s civilian workforce to comply with sequestration. A first deadline is around September 21st, less than 2 months from now. Yet the Pentagon maintains its focus on rolling back sequestration, a matter that is out of its hands and is for Congress to address. This is starting to look like a reckless bet, if DoD is actually not planning for the sequester that is. Video abstract of the hearing at the bottom of this entry.
This comes just as the GAO states that it “remains concerned that DOD lacks critical information it needs to effectively plan for its workforce requirements.”
The US Navy’s SUPSALV isn’t glamorous, but they’re involved in a range of activities that include removing dangers to navigation, removing hazardous items (like oil & fuel) from sunken ships, and other underwater engineering. They’re also involved in emergency pollution and disaster response, including 2 of the decade’s most publicized American disasters. They’ve just released their Deepwater Horizon report [PDF] concerning the 2011 oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 have just led SUPSALV to field a containerized command post that’s 100% powered by renewable energy, so they can operate without being dependent on local fuel infrastructures
At the beginning of February 2012, US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued a pair of contracts worth up to $430 million.
On July 25/06 Al-Anbar commander and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer submitted an MNF-W priority 1 request. It pointed to the hazards inherent in American supply lines, and noted that many of the supply convoys on Iraq’s roads (up to 70%, by some reports) were carrying fuel. Much of that fuel wasn’t even for vehicles, but for diesel generators used to generate power at US bases. That is still true, and Afghanistan has even more daunting logistics. By some estimates, shipping each gallon of fuel to Afghanistan requires 7 gallons of fuel for transport.
Latest updates: Construction underway; Further details.
At the end of September 2011, Sunpower Corp. in Richmond, CA, won a $100.3 million firm-fixed-price task order under a previous multiple-vendor award contract, for up to 30 years of electricity from a renewable energy generating system at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA.
Many consumers know Sunpower as one of the no money down firms that will install solar panels on your house. NAVFAC seems to be pursuing similar initiatives at Navy facilities. It’s government land, but Sunpower will build, own, and maintain the solar system under 10 U.S.C. 2922(a) authority…
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.
In August 2011, US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific in Pearl Harbor, HI issued an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contract for “reliable locally generated solar alternating current power” at military installations in its area of responsibility.
In August 2011, Energy Focus, Inc. in Solon, OH received a $23.1 million firm-fixed-price contract to design and manufacture “energy efficient, solid state lighting for general illumination on Navy ships to upgrade all the legacy lighting systems with new energy efficient, solid state lighting as part of the Navy’s green initiative.” Work on this first delivery order will be performed in Solon, OH, and is expected to be completed by Dec 1/11, while $1.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. This contract was competitively awarded on a best-value basis, with 3 offers received by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Ship System Engineering Station in Philadelphia, PA (N65540-11-D-0009).
The SSL program actually began when a submarine sonar technician, irritated by the constant buzz of his LED bunk lamp, asked if the Navy could find an LED replacement…
Latest updates: $313 million to KBR for LOGCAP work in Iraq; 2009 contracts backfilled.
Fluor builds LOGCAP housing in southern Afghanistan
The US Army’s sole provider LOGCAP 3 contract, which provided food, housing and fuel for U.S. troops worldwide, generated lots of controversy because government audits of the sole supplier’s (Halliburton-KBR) work were unable to fully account for millions of dollars or justify all charges to the Pentagon’s satisfaction.
To address perceived problems of LOGCAP 3, the Army awarded the follow-on contract, LOGCAP 4, to 3 companies – KBR, DynCorp and Fluor – who compete for task orders.
The LOGCAP 4 contracts are indefinite-quantity/ indefinite-delivery contracts with 1 base year and 9 option years. Each contract has a maximum value of $5 billion per year. This allows the Army to award a total annual maximum value of $15 billion and a lifetime maximum value of $150 billion.