Just as the dog’s keen sense of smell makes it well suited to detect land mines, so the US Navy has found that the biological sonar of dolphins, called echolocation, makes them effective at locating and marking sea mines.
To take advantage of these skills, the Navy Marine Mammal Program studies, trains, and deploys dolphins, as well as sea lions, to carry out various underwater tasks for the Navy.
As part of the program, the Fleet’s Marine Mammal Systems (MMS) use dolphins and sea lions to find and mark the location of underwater objects…
STS International in Berkeley Springs, WV won a $23.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for operational capabilities for the surface and subsurface surveillance system (Quad-S). Quad S is a multifunction surveillance system that can be used in both military expeditionary operations and homeland security missions.
STS will perform the work in Tampa, FL and expects to complete it by September 2014. This contract was competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online and FedBizOpps websites, with 3 proposals received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NAVSEA) Panama City Division in Florida (N61331-09-C-0020).
Alion Science and Technology in McLean, VA received a task order (N00178-04-D-4066) from the US Navy valued at $48.5 million to research, design, develop, prototype, integrate and test a new torpedo detection system in conjunction with the Navy’s anti-torpedo countermeasure technology effort.
The task order, awarded under the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s Seaport-Enhanced (Seaport-e) contract, supports the Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) Undersea Defensive Warfare Systems Program Office with anti-torpedo torpedo defensive system (ATTDS) torpedo detection, classification and localization (TDCL) technology.
Seaport-e is a $5.3 billion multiple-award umbrella contract that lets the US Navy use an integrated approach to contracting for support services.
The ATTDS TDCL is a project [PDF] within the Navy’s Surface Ship Torpedo Defense (SSTD) program.
3PSC LLC in Cape Canaveral, FL won a $19.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for the operation and maintenance of 6 U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC) oceanographic survey ships worldwide. This contract includes options, including a 7th-vessel option, 4 one-year options and 5 six-month award-term options, which if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $266.5 million.
3PSC will perform the work worldwide and expects to complete it by Sept. 30/10. If all options are exercised, work is expected to be completed in March 2017. This contract was competitively procured via the MSC website, with multiple proposals solicited and 5 offers received by the Military Sealift Command in Washington, DC (N00033-09-C-2504).
DID has more on the MSC fleet of oceanographic survey ships…
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 Columbia Group, a small business based in Washington, DC received a $10.6 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide 3 Pluto Plus unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV), associated technical support and training to the Egyptian Navy under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The Pluto Plus system is a remotely operated UUV intended primarily for military use in mine identification and destruction.
Atlas Elektronik’s UK ubsidiary has reached an agreement to buy QinetiQ (pron. “kinetic”) Group plc’s underwater systems business based in Winfrith, Dorset, for a cash consideration of GBP 23.5m (EUR 26.5/ $40.2 million equivalent). That business has about 220 employees, and operates in the areas of hydro-acoustics, sonar, open architecture sonar and combat management systems, acoustic counter measures, submarine signatures, maritime security and control of unmanned maritime vehicles. Anthem Corporate Finance acted as Atlas’ sole financial adviser.
The parent firm Atlas Elektronik GmbH is now jointly owned by ThyssenKrupp and EADS. QinetiQ is a privatized government defense research organization, and regulatory approval is a normal requirement in these cases. In this case, it may be accompanied by debates about national industrial capabilities, per Britain’s still in draft Defence Industrial Strategy. The firms in question say that approvals are expected to finish in summer 2009.
Lockheed Martin will perform the work at its facilities in Arlington, VA, (40%); Riviera Beach, FL, (30%); Greensboro, NC, (25%); Groton, CN, (5%) and expects to complete it by Sept 2010. This contract was competitively procured by broad agency announcement, with proposals solicited and offers received via FedBizOpps by the Naval Sea Systems Command (N00024-09-C-5215).
“Virginia Block III: The Revised Bow” explains the program history and cost targets for the USA’s future Virginia Class nuclear submarine fleet, while detailing the new “six shooter” bow design.
Now Christmas has come early for General Dynamics Electric Boat Corporation in Groton, CT, thanks to a $14.011 billion fixed-price incentive multi-year contract. Working with their partner Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, the firm will be the lead contractor for 8 new Virginia Class submarines, as the Navy orders SSN 784 – SSN 791 between FY 2009 – FY 2013. The USS North Dakota [SSN 784] will be the first fielded example of the new Virginia Class Block III configuration, which has been redesigned in ways that improve its flexibility while reducing its costs…
USS Bunker Hill, a CG-47 Ticonderoga Class AEGIS cruiser, was launched in 1985. The Ticonderoga Class remains critical to American seapower, functioning as the fleet’s most powerful anti-air defense, and contributing substantial anti-ship and anti-submarine combat power to its assigned naval groups.
The Cruiser Modernization program aims to improve the CG-47 Ticonderoga Class by modernizing the computing and display infrastructure, and the Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E) systems. Weapons and sensor sets will also be improved, in order to upgrade their anti-submarine capabilities, add short range electro-optical systems that can monitor the ship’s surroundings without telltale radar emissions, and allow new air defense options like the quad-packed RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. The modernized cruisers are expected to become more cost efficient to operate, as their lives are extended to serve in the fleet through the year 2030. The USS Bunker Hill is just one representative example of the work underway.