The MDA is expected to spend more $100 billion over the lifetime of the BMD program. The agency has come under criticism from the GAO for its lack of transparency and accountability.
“MDA’s flexible acquisition approach has limited the ability for DOD and congressional decision makers to measure MDA’s progress on cost, schedule, and testing…MDA’s baselines have been inadequate to measure progress and hold MDA accountable. However, GAO also reported that new MDA initiatives to improve baselines could help improve acquisition accountability.”
To help it improve financial accountability, the MDA is turning to 4 contractors:
At the twilight’s last gleaming (click to view larger)
A $70 million contract for TPS-59 radar maintenance and sustainment. (April 28/10)
Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensor in Electronics Park, Syracuse, NY is responsible for developing, maintaining, and upgrading the AN/TPS-59(V)3 Long Range Radar System. The TPS-59 is an all solid-state L-Band, 3-dimensional air defense radar which is tactically mobile and provides long-range surveillance and ground-control intercept capability. It supports enroute traffic control to a distance of 300 nautical miles, and its 740 km/ 400 nautical mile range and full 360 degree azimuth scan results in a surveillance volume of 603 million km3 for tactical missile defense. The TPS-59 is in service with the USMC, Bahrain, and Egypt, and is the only long range 3D Radar in the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. The related FPS-117 family of solid-state radars is in service with the USAF, and 17 countries around the world.
Developed for the United States Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), the Missile Defense Agency’s predecessor, and the United States Marine Corps, the TPS-59 (V)3 is designed to operate with Patriot missile batteries. These radars have been modernized and upgraded several times during their lifespan, in order to keep them on the cutting edge of technology. In August 1996, at White Sands Missile Range, the AN/TPS-59(V)3/HAWK system completed a test program in which it intercepted and destroyed a LANCE short range theater ballistic missile and 2 air breathing drones simultaneously in an operational test. Those kinds of improvements and modernizations continue today…
In February 2009, the USA’s Missile Defense Agency instituted the Missile Defense Advanced Technology Innovation (ATI) Program to:
“…identify and develop innovative concepts, stimulate technology innovation, and exploit breakthroughs in science to offer robust technology improvements to all elements of the [missile defense system]… The MDA contracts with private industry, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations for research in those areas covered in this BAA… MDA does not have a specified amount of funding available for BAA awards, however, if MDA decides to pursue a concept the appropriate level of funding will be identified, and a final proposal will be requested by a MDA Contracting Officer in writing.”
That was pretty vague and non-committal, but it did lay out key research areas, and invite ideas. A February 2010 update to the solicitation has added some clarification around the involvement of “foreign persons.”
Buried deep beneath Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has monitored the skies above North America for more than 50 years. During the height of the Cold War, NORAD was the US and Canada’s early warning system for a Soviet 1st nuclear strike.
Following 9/11, NORAD moved to improve its ability to detect and monitor aircraft originating from within the US and Canada. One of those efforts, funded by the US Air Force, is development of the Battle Control System-Fixed (BCS-F). BCS-F integrates data from civil air traffic sensors, as well as airborne, ground and naval sensors, into an integrated air picture that allows commanders to better monitor the North American airspace.
BCS-F prime contractor ThalesRaytheonSystems in Fullerton, CA recently received an $8 million contract (FA8722-10-C-0001) to provide interim support for the program…
The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts to 3 small business qualifiers to provide advisory and assistance services to MDA’s Quality, Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate. Each contract has an ordering ceiling of $209.6 million.
The contractors will assist the directorate in assessing the engineering, technology, production and programmatic practices/ processes used to develop and operate the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system. MDA is developing a layered BDM system that is designed to destroy enemy missiles by engaging them in all phases of flight (see graphic).
The MDA has come under criticism for the slow pace of BMD development, cost overruns, questionable auditing practices, and repeated test failures. The 3 contracts are part of an effort by MDA to streamline is contracting processes. The winners of the contracts are:
Augusta-Bell 212 and 412 twin-Hueys, and Bell 205 single-engine Hueys, currently form the mainstay of Saudi Arabia’s current helicopter fleet. The RSAF also includes a squadron of AH-64A Apache attack helicopters, some S-70A-1L Black Hawks with desert modifications, AS365F Dauphins in naval attack and SAR (Search And Rescue) variants, AS532 Cougar SAR aircraft, AS332F-1 Super Pumas, Bell 406CS combat scouts, and a few Kawasaki/Boeing KV-107s (CH-46 Sea Knight variant) used in MEDEVAC (MEDical EVACuation) roles. In July 2006, “The 2006 Saudi Shopping Spree: “More Helicopters from Eurocopter” reported a tentative agreement for up to 132 helicopters: 54 NH90 TTH troop transports, 10 NH90 NFH naval, 32 AS 550 Fennec light helicopters, 20 AS 532-A2 Cougar CSAR(Combat Search And Rescue) helicopters, 4 AS 565 Panther naval CSAR helicopters, and 12 Tiger attack helicopters.
In October 2007, Defense-Aerospace, who announced the original agreement, announced that it has fallen through and been supplanted by a $2.2 billion Russian order. The expected French order has indeed been missing ever since, but reports of the claimed Russian order were also absent – until now.