Despite a number of delays and cost overruns in programs like SBIRS High and AEHF Milstar 3, Air Force officials at the 21st National Space Symposium on April 5, 2005 said the Pentagon’s acquisition system for buying high-tech military satellites and launch vehicles is not broken.
The Air Force officials’ assessment contrasts with a Jan. 28, 2005, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which said that “many of the space programs we have reviewed over the past several decades have incurred unanticipated cost and schedule increases because they began without knowing whether technologies could work as intended, and invariably found themselves addressing technical problems in a more costly environment.” The report also acknowledged the Pentagon had made some progress in conducting space-related science and technology research within a broader strategy.
Various branches of the U.S. military recently issued a series of R&D contracts for items that promise significant improvements in existing military capabilities within a number of areas. These include:
The Air Force Research Laboratory in Kirtland Air Force Base, NM issued a $25 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (FA9451-04-D-0179) to develop high power fiber master oscillator power amplifiers for directed energy applications research. Southampton Photonics in Los Gatos, CA is contracted to fulfill all aspects of the contract in accordance with the contractor’s statement of work for the Air Force Research Laboratory, Phillips Research Site, Directed Energy Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. Solicitation began January 2005, negotiations were complete March 2005, and work will be complete by April 2010.
Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems in Clearfield, UT is being awarded a $7 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification to provide for the upgrade purchase of the auxiliary power supply test suite in support of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Flight Controls and Propulsion Replacement Program. This work will be complete by June 2007. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (F42610-98-C-0001).
Aerojet General Corp. in Sacramento, CA is being awarded a $48 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract. The contractor will modify up to 40 SR19 Flex Sal rocket motors to allow the SR19 motors to be utilized as a Stage 1 booster systems. In addition, the government will establish and fully fund deliver order 0001.
While the purpose of this order was not disclosed, the SR19 is normally used as a second stage for Minuteman ICBMs, and as a booster system for Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) test targets. Negotiations were completed February 2005, and work will be complete by April 2010. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., issued the contract (FA88818-04-D-0018).
A pair of Pentagon contracts have recently been issued related to chemical/biological preparedness. ITT Industries of Alexandria, VA received a $4.8 million increment as part of an $11,801,307 cost-plus-fixed-fee sole-source contract for the Joint Contaminated Surface Detector Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration. Work will be performed in Albuquerque, NM and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2008. The U.S. Army Robert Morris Acquisition Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD issued the contract (W911SR-05-C-0015).
On a more prosaic level, KCI Construction Inc. in Afton, MO won a $13.4 million firm-fixed-price contract to build a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear training building. Work will be performed at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and is expected to be complete by March 31, 2007. Bids were solicited via the Internet on Jan. 17, 2005, and four bids were received. The U.S. Army Engineer District, Kansas City, MO issued the contract (W912DQ-05-C-0011).
Twigg Corp. in Martinsville, IN is being awarded a $8.2 million firm fixed price contract for an estimated 203 flameholders and 203 afterburners per Air Force Requirements Applicable to the F101 jet engine. GE’s F101 delivers up to 30,000 lbs. of thrust and equips the USAF’s B-1B Lancer bombers; the F118 engine in the B-2 stealth bomber and the F110 engine that powers many F-15 and F-16 fighter jets are both derivatives of this core engine design. The last of 469 F101-GE-102 engines was produced in December 1987. Solicitation for this contract began January 2005, negotiations were completed February 2005, and work will be complete by September 2011. The Headquarters Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, OK issued the contract (FA8104-05-D-0022).
Lockheed Martin Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA received a $12.1 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification to the existing Space Base Infrared System (SBIRS) High engineering, manufacturing and development contract. SBIRS is especially helpful in tracking the heat “plume” from ballistic missile launches, and integrates with the Defense Support Program (DSP) to provide integrated warning systems. This modification provides operational and maintenance support for the Space Based Infrared Systems Increment 1 system that is not currently included in the existing contract. The locations of performance are Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems and Solutions in Boulder, CO and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Boulder, CO. This work will be complete by June 2010. The Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, CA issued this contract (F04701-95-C-0017, P00309).
In related news, Lockheed Martin’s $9.6 billion SBIRS High Component program is now over budget for the third time since 2002, triggering a formal notification to Congress this month because the costs of its third through fifth satellites could jump as much as 25% in FY 2006.
Aero Thermo Technology Inc. of Huntsville, AL is being awarded a $6.2 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide technical, analytical and program support services for SSBN (submarine launched) and ICBM (land launched intercontinental) nuclear missile guidance systems. This contract contains options would bring the total cumulative value of this contract to $25.4 million. The Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, DC issued this contract (N00030-05-C-0035), which was not competitively procured.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Co. of King of Prussia, PA received a $25.9M cost-plus incentive-fee contract to modify Minuteman III (MMIII) Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The Safety Enhanced Re-entry Vehicle (SERV) Support Equipment program will design an MMIII retrofit that would allow it to carry newer MK21 nuclear warheads from the soon-to-be-retired “MX” Peacekeeper missile, replacing the MK12RV warheads presently in use on the Minuteman fleet.
These efforts are part of a broader modernization program, including efforts aimed at ensuring the older MMIII missiles have a new rocket fuel that conforms to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines when launched. The SERV Support Equipment program will be carried out at Vandenberg Air Force Base, with depot support at Hill Air Force Base. This work will be complete by August 2007. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (FA8204-05-C-0005).
Sprint Communications Co. LP, Reston, Va., won an $8.7M firm-fixed price contract to provide a long-term lease of one OC-12 circuit between Misawa, Japan, and Andersen, Guam. The period of performance will be 12 years for the long-term lease. The requirement was solicited under full and open competition, and the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization-Pacific, Pearl Harbor, HI issued the contract (SPCC W 40012).