The US Navy and Marines recently awarded a pair of additional contracts as part of their ongoing recruiting efforts. Walter Thompson Co. USA in Atlanta, GA received a $36.2 million modification to previously awarded GSA Task Order M00264-02-F-0213 for marketing and advertising services in support of the Marine Corps recruitment programs. The cumulative value of this contract is $196.5 million. Work will be performed in Atlanta, GA and is expected to be complete by September 2006. The Regional Contracting Office Northeast in Quantico, VA issued the contract.
Australia’s six SSK Collins-Class diesel-electric submarines are undergoing a major A$ 857 million (USD $624 million) capability boost, as integration & testing of the same tactical combat system present in the USA’s most modern attack submarines commences. Upgraded state-of-the-art Mk 48 Mod 7 ADCAP heavyweight torpedoes are also on the way. Meanwhile, the Royal Australian Navy is changing some of its recruiting practices and recruiting submariners directly, in an effort to attract the high-skills individuals needed to operate their new fleet.
The Collins were designed in cooperation with Kockums AB, but largely built in Australia. They are the world’s largest diesel-electric subs and among the most advanced as well, successfully scoring kills on American SSN Los Angeles Class attack subs during joint exercises. Yet their history has been replete with cost overruns, schedule overruns, and serious teething problems. Most of these issues have now been resolved, albeit at additional cost; the combat system upgrade is simply the latest, last, and most significant hangover from those past problems.
Despite coverage of events like the installation of wind power at Guantanamo Bay, most people don’t automatically associate the US Navy with energy conservation. Yet the US Navy scores well above federal agencies in its research and application of new energy technologies, winning 40% and 37.5% of the prestigious Presidential and Federal Energy Management Program awards in 2005. Last year, the Department of the Navy even became the first U.S. government agency honored with a Industry Leadership Award at the 2004 Platts Global Energy Awards.
Alternative energy companies looking to find traction with government clients may wish to take that interest level into consideration. This DoD release details a number of alternative energy projects the US Navy has undertaken over the past year.
Modern diesel submarines have advanced propulsion systems and coatings, and many of them are hard to detect with the current sonar technologies aboard the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships. As nations in Asia and beyond race to buy these vessels, the US Navy’s Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Task Force is preparing for that future with a new “concept of operations” that includes new tactics and new technologies. It’s the first major revision of anti-submarine doctrine since the middle of the Cold War.
A Lockheed Aegis SPY-1D radar on board the USS Russell (DDG 59) Arleigh Burke Class destroyer successfully found and tracked a target missile needle from among a haystack of countermeasures, according to the contractor. The test, conducted just off of Hawaii, was part of the Critical Measurement and Counter-Measurements Program, an effort to introduce more stressful environment and battle conditions to equipment tests.
The AEGIS radar and combat system is now in its seventh generation, with the latest version arriving in February 2005. The most recent version of the AEGIS system is currently in use on 10 American vessels, with 8 more slated to be upgraded in the near term. Lockheed Martin’s AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense system, easily the most sophisticated ship-borne BMD yet deployed, extends the radar’s range, adds key functions like Cooperative Engagement Capability, and includes other enhancements. It is designed to work with the extended range SM-3 Standard missile.
AFA reports on Gordon England’s upcoming new air power review that seems designed to provide the analysis needed to make further cuts in the F/A-22 and F-35 programs. England, who awaits confirmation to be deputy secretary of defense, hired Whitney, Bradley & Brown, the same consultants he employed when he was Navy Secretary to justify the reduction of the Navy’s goals for acquiring F-35C’s. That review lowered the Navy’s planned inventory of Joint Strike Fighters by 400.
The Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT) is a small shop with a staff of 18 people – 11 military officers and 7 civilians. Its annual budget is just $20 million, amidst an annual US defense budget of over $400 billion. Its mission is to provide alternative views of the military’s future 20 years from now, producing key studies like the Alternative Fleet-Architecture Design (which recommended more, smaller, cheaper ships – see below), Operational Responsive Space Initiatives, a bigger role for blimps, and leading initiatives like Project Sheriff’s vehicle-mounted “pain ray.”
Until recently, OFT could open doors with the sheer force of its director’s name: Arthur Cebrowski, a Navy aviator who flew combat missions in Vietnam and served in Desert Storm, retired Vice Admiral, acknowledged transformation czar, and former president of the Naval War College. DID also notes the implied tribute in institutions like the “Cebrowski Institute for Information Innovation and Superiority (CINFINIS)” at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. Unfortunately for the OFT, Cebrowski is battling health problems and retired in January 2005. Can OFT continue to have an impact on decision-makers without Cebrowski behind it? What’s next for the OFT?
Alaska Ship and Drydock Inc. in Ketchikan, AK received a $9.7 millon cost-plus-fixed-fee agreement to build a prototype vessel to test various technologies for their usefulness in employment in potential new naval ship designs. Exact particulars were not specified, and the company has no web site, but it was noted that these prototypes and technologies tested will help the Navy’s define its future warfighting strategy Seapower 21. This agreement contains options that, if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value of this agreement to $29.9 million.
Work will be performed in Ketchikan, AK and is expected to be complete by October 2007 (2010 with options). This contract was awarded in response to a proposal submitted under a Broad Agency Announcement that was announced on the Federal Business Opportunities website. The Office of Naval Research in Washington, DC issued the contract (N00014-05-9-0001).