The base contract also includes priced options to allow the government to procure full-rate production units over a 4-year period beginning in 2011
The SSEE is a signals exploitation system that provides ship commanders with threat ID information. It allows the operators to monitor and analyze signals of interest within the Ship’s Signals Exploitation Space (SSES) aboard a variety of ship classes…
Defense was an issue in the 2007 Australian election. The center-left Labor Party attacked the center-right Liberal Party by citing mismanaged projects, and accusing the Howard government of making poor choices on key defense platforms like the F/A-18F Super Hornet and F-35A Joint Strike fighters. That sniping continued even after Labor won the election, and has been evident in more than a few Defence Ministry releases.
The new government made some program changes, such as canceling the SH-2G Seasprite contract. Yet it has been more notable for the programs it has not changed: problematic upgrades of Australia’s Oliver Hazard Perry frigates were continued, the late purchase of F/A-18F Super Hornets was ratified rather than canceled, and observers waited for the real shoe to drop: the government’s promised 2009 Defence White Paper, which would lay out Australia’s long-term strategic assessments, and procurement plans.
On May 2/09, Australia’s government released “Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030.” DID has reviewed that document, and the reaction to date including a new ASPI roundup of reactions from around Asia.
Argon ST in Fairfax, VA received $29.8 million in new contract awards for upgrades to U.S. maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems. The contracts call for Argon to provide multipurpose, modular, upgradable platforms for use in the U.S. littoral battlespace. Argon ST did not disclose the U.S. military customers for the contracts.
One of the platforms being provided to the U.S. military is Argon ST’s Lighthouse transportable signal intelligence sensor system that enables improvements in signal collection density and a reduction in overall system size, according to the company. Argon ST designs, develops, and produces SIGINT sensors that seek, exploit, identify, and locate sources of RF energy, underwater sound, light, heat, and other complex phenomena.
The Canadian Communication Security Establishment (CSEC) plays the same role in Canada that the ultra-secretive NSA (National Security Agency) does in the USA, and cooperates closely with its American counterpart. Unlike counterparts like the Canadian CSIS, or American CIA, both agencies stay firmly out of the public spotlight. They specialize in the tripartite domains of electronic eavesdropping, robust encoding, and cyber-security. The ECHELON interception system, which also features cooperation from the UK and Australia, is the allied agencies’ best-known cooperative venture.
The problem is that the agency’s activities are growing, and its buildings can’t hold them all. Since one can’t just rent random office space for an agency of this type, that means new buildings. One emergency contract is already underway. A second, much larger contract, is readying itself for a public-private partnership deal as the government seeks interested firms.
As video communications is integrated into robots, soldiers, and UAVs, and network-centric warfare becomes the organizing principle of American warfighting, front-line demands for bandwidth are rising faster than the US military can add it. The Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) System is part of a larger effort by the US military to address that need, and close the gap.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record – and TSAT is certainly significant. The final price tag on the entire program has been quoted at anywhere from $14-25 billion through 2016, including the satellites, the ground operations system, the satellite operations center and the cost of operations and maintenance. Lockheed Martin and Boeing each won over $600 million in risk reduction contracts to develop key TSAT SS satellite system technologies, and TSAT’s $2 billion TMOS ground-based network operations contract was already underway.
The TSAT constellation’s central role in next-generation US military infrastructure makes it worthy of in-depth treatment – but its survival was never assured. There was always a risk that outside events and incremental competitors could spell its end, just as they spelled the end of Motorola’s infamous Iridium project. This FOCUS article examines that possibility, even as it offers an overview of the US military’s vision for its communications infrastructure, how TSAT fits, the program’s challenges, and complete coverage of contracts and significant events.
The latest developments revolve around the end of the program. Despite a positive recent report from the GAO, TMOS/TSAT are being canceled outright as part of the program’s planned termination:
Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), in San Diego, CA won a $16.9 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a cost-plus-fixed-fee pricing arrangement to provide engineering, security engineering and technical support services for Navy cryptographic systems and solutions, and key management architectures and information systems. This 5-year contract includes 4 nine-month award terms which, if earned, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $28 million.
BAH will perform the work at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) facilities (85%) and at the BAH facility in San Diego (15%) and expects to complete the work in May 2014. This contract was competitively procured via FedBizOpps.gov (solicitation number N66001-08-R-0105) and posted to the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central web site, with 3 offers received by SSC Pacific (N66001-09-D-0061).
As UAVs begin to take on a wider array of battlefield roles, the ability to carry radars for situational awareness, detection, and targeting will become more and more important. Radars are also important to UAVs’ current functions as long-endurance ground surveillance platforms, however, offering an option that can supplement visual and thermal optics in order to penetrate foliage, and scan over a wider field of view. Many medium and large size tactical UAVs carry them now, from the General Atomics AN/APY-8 Lynx that can equips the MQ-1/9 Predator family, to the 65 pound Thales I-Master that equips Britain’s Hermes Mk450B Watchkeeper UAVs, to the tiny 2-pound NanoSAR radar that Boeing has tested on its small ScanEagle UAV.
France DGA recently announced a tri-national SIMCLAIRS program (Studies for Integrated Multifunction Compact Lightweight Airborne Radars & Systems) research program aimed at keeping European industry competitive in this area…
General Dynamics C4 Systems Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ received a $70.8 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity with firm-fixed-price contract.
This “face” value is based on the expected aggregate value of orders issued over the contract’s 6-year life. The basic contract and first delivery order cover 37 Prophet Enhanced (PE) B-Kits, 19 PE A-Kits, and associated spares. That initial order also provides quality management services, non-recurring engineering and first article testing and refurbishment. Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL (66%), Scottsdale, AZ (14%), San Diego, CA (12%), Huntsville, AL (0.5%), and Fairfax, VA (0.5%), with an estimated completion date of Feb 28/15. Bids were solicited on the Worldwide Web with 3 bids received by the CECOM Acquisition Center in Fort Monmouth, NJ (W15P7T-09-D-W401).
Prophet, which is being developed under the Army Program Executive Office, Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S), is is a lightweight tactical signals intelligence and electronic warfare system designed to support the US Army division and brigade forces…
Think of RFID (Radio Frequency I.D.) as a bar code that can be read at a distance, instead of having to be scanned directly. RFID is becoming a pervasive feature in the American defense supply chain, and is beginning to make inroads into other markets as well. While supply chain solutions remain its main use, it is also a common feature in security solutions like ‘smart’ access cards. That latter use has led to a number of problems lately, including the posting of armed guards to secure sensitive government facilities in Europe.
NXP Semiconductors is currently filing suit in The Netherlands against Radboud University in Nijmegen, in an attempt to keep its researchers from publishing a paper about reported security flaws in NXP’s widely distributed MiFare Classic RFID chip. The chip’s 48-bit encryption was high end in 1994, but is considered very vulnerable by modern standards. The chip’s security flaws were publicized in a 2007 crack, but the downside of hardware-based security systems is the expense and time involved in changing them. In light of recent events, government agencies employing smart cards will need to factor that unpleasant reality into their purchasing decisions. Ken van Wyk, principal consultant at KRvW Associates is quoted by Computerworld on this issue:
“It turns out it’s a pretty huge deal… There are a lot of these things floating around out there. Using it for building locks is the biggy, especially when it’s used in sensitive government facilities – and I know for a fact it’s being used in sensitive government facilities.” Van Wyk noted in March that one European country had deployed soldiers to guard some government facilities that used the MiFare Classic chip in their smart door key cards… “You have an RFID chip deployed by the millions,” said van Wyk. “Switching that around is extremely costly and won’t happen very quickly. It could be it will take them months or a year to do that.”
In January 2006, “$8B ACS Spy Plane Program Shot Down By Pentagon” described the demise of the joint Army/Navy Aerial Common Sensor program. ACS intended to replace the King Air derived RC-12N Guardrail, Dash-7 derived RC-7B “Crazy Hawk”/ARL, and P-3 Orion derived EP-3E Aries aircraft, with a new multi-role reconnaissance platform based on a small regional jet airframe. The original Embraer ERJ-145 platform proposed by Lockheed Martin proved too small, and even an attempted move to the same Bombardier Global Express jet used in the UK’s new ASTOR Sentinel R1 reconnaissance platform did not avail them. The US Army expressed no confidence, and put the project back to square one as it revised both its specs and its approach.
Now the Army has also rethought its approach, and begun the process of revisiting the ACS project. A $460+ million program will refurbish and upgrade the RC-12N Guardrail fleet to extend their service life, UAVs have emerged to fill some of the short-range reconnaissance gap, and SIGINT(SIGnals INTelligence, i.e. electronic eavesdropping) capabilities are being added to the USAF’s RQ-4 Global Hawk UAVs reconnaissance sensors from Block 20 onward. The Guardrails will still have a limited lifespan, however, and this coverage set still leaves holes. Hence the new approach to ACS…