Militaries around the world are moving to modernize and transform themselves to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Our mission is to deliver a regular cross-section of relevant, on-target stories, news, and analysis that will help experts and interested laypeople alike stay up to speed on key military developments and issues. Stories are broken down by military category and presented as fast bullet points that orient you quickly, with accompanying links if you wish to pursue more in-depth treatments.
Some of This Month’s Targets of Opportunity Include: Aging aircraft; F-22; F-35; India’s big fighter contest; 2018 bomber; Next-gen gunships; Japan’s stealth aircraft; JCA – just confusing; Poseidon down under; Boeing’s invisibility man; Odd new satellite; unmanned fighters & swarms; Cell phones & Patriots; Huge IT contracts; DARPA’s Deep Green; Lots of MRAP; FCS spinouts; Fire Ball; Better body armor; Australia’s new fleet; Korea: us too!; Britain’s new carriers; US Navy’s new bills; Russia’s stealthy Stereguschiy; Remote firefighting; Coast Guard cutters; ADVENT of breakthrough jet engines; $1M wearable power prize; Sub-finding ‘shark’; UK’s Grand Challenge & flying saucers; Boeing’s new plane design; DARPA’s robot dog; New Russian nukes; Britain’s new maintenance concept works; Israel prepares; Counter-insurgency air needs; Export controls and their blowback; CSAR-X: rescue me!; And much, much more:
Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems, Missile Defense Division in San Bernardino, CA received an $8,.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to investigate a concept for a conventional ballistic missile capable of destroying targets at global range in less than one hour flight time. Northrop Grumman will deliver: (1) a delivery vehicle parametric design study, (2) a mission/program planning study. It will be interesting to see how the latency issues are addressed in NGC’s studies.
At this time, all funds have been obligated. Solicitations began April 2007, negotiations were complete May 2007, and work will be complete June 2009. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA (FA8814-07-C-0005).
In order to make maximum use of existing system elements and reduce the cost and development risk associated with a future acquisition, Northrop Grumman will make use of Orbital’s Minotaur rocket, and a delivery vehicle designed to carry and dispense multiple BLU-108B/B sensor fused weapons to the target area. DID has covered these BLU-108 “cans of whup-ass” before; they’re tuna-can shaped explosively-formed penetrators (EFP) with millimeter-wave sensors that use parachutes to spread out in the air, then fire downward through the thin top-armor of enemy vehicles to kill those in their coverage area.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co’s Space and Strategic Missiles division in Sunnyvale, CA received $654.9 million for Modification PZ0001 under a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00030-06-C-0100) to provide for UGM-133 Trident II (D5) and UGM-96A Trident I (C4) nuclear sea-launched ballistic missiles. The Trident C-4 has been in service since 1979, but the D-5 Trident II is more recent. First deployed in 1990 and scheduled for operational deployment until 2042, 12 of the USA’s 14 SSBNs have been outfitted with Trident II D-5 missiles, and the other 2 will be backfitted as opportunity permits.
Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, Irvine, Torrance and Santa Ana, CA (33.42%); St. Mary’s, GA (15.76%); Brigham City, UT (15.76%); Cape Canaveral, FL (11.89%); Silverdale and Nepoulsbo, WA (10.5%); Gainsville, VA (2.34%); Kingsport, TN (1.65%); and miscellaneous sites throughout the U.S. (9.3%). Contract funds in the amount of $247.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, and work is expected to be complete by September 2010. US Strategic Systems Programs in Arlington, VA issued the contract.
SSBN-730 Class, tubes open
A Lockheed Martin release explains that work under the contract will include D5 production support, including reentry system hardware, and operations and maintenance to support the readiness and reliability of missile systems aboard SSBN-730 Ohio/Henry M. Jackson Class submarines and at on-shore facilities. Tory Bruno, vice president of Strategic Missile Programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, was quoted as saying that “Our work in the coming years will span research and development, design, production, testing, operations and maintenance on this important Navy program.”
Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems in Clearfield, UT, received a $53.1 million fixed-price-incentive-firm and cost-plus-award fee contract modification, exercising option 1 to continue upgrading the Environmental Control System for the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System. Work will be complete October 2008. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (F42610-98-C-0001/no modification number has been assigned at this time).
This effort includes production, deployment, and interim contractor support for launch facilities and missile alert facilities at the Missile Wings. The replacement system provides filtered, temperature and humidity control, circulating air to the electronic equipment as well as the missile combat crews located in the Launch Control Centers.
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA received a $195.75 million contract for tactical engineering support re: the Mk 6 guidance system used on American and British Trident II D-5 nuclear missiles. DID has covered the Mk 6 guidance system and its subcontractors, as well as where it fits within the larger set of modernization and procurement efforts for the Trident missile fleet. Contract funds in the amount of $76.6 million will expire at the end of current fiscal year, and this contract contains options which would bring its cumulative value to $201.9 million if exercised.
Work will include repair and recertification of Mk 6 guidance systems, including pendulous integrating gyroscopic accelerometers, inertial measurement units, electronic assemblies, inertial measurement units electronics, repair parts, test equipment maintenance, and related hardware; deliver a product and process improvement study to investigate approaches to reduce life-cycle cost and improve performance of the Fleet Ballistic Missile Guidance System program; and employ it’s personnel and facilities in the conduct of various important technical studies including the Guidance Application Program and the Radiation Hardened Application Program. It will be performed in Cambridge, MA (64%); Pittsfield, MA (23%); Andover, MA (5%); El Segundo, CA (3%); Clearwater, FL (3%); and Woodland Hills, CA (2%), and is expected to be complete September 2007. This contract was not competitively procured by the Strategic Systems Program in Arlington, VA (N00030-07-C-0001).
A series of contracts have been issued over the last week or so that involve maintenance and related activities for the USA and UK’s nuclear submarine fleets. The 3 contracts total $168.7 million between them, and were issued to General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in Clearfield, UT received a $225.2 million cost-plus-fixed fee, cost-plus-incentive fee contract modification to remanufacture Stage 1, 2, and 3 rockets motors and offer product quality assurance test support. The contractor shall provide 75 complete booster components sets (one each Stage 1, 2 and 3 motors and an ordnance kit) and 2 product quality assurance test motors. A similar contract was issued in January 2006.
This contract action by the Headquarters 526th ICBM Systems Wing at Hill Air Force Base, UT exercises the Propulsion Replacement Program Full Rate Production year 6 options. Which means the engines are destined for LGM-30G Minuteman III nuclear ICBMs. At this time, $220.9 million has been obligated, and work will be complete January 2009 (F42610-98-C-0001/will advise modification number).
DefenseTech brings us reports that American and Israeli intelligence seriously underestimated the amount and quality of weapons Hezbollah’s state sponsors have managed to smuggle to them, including advanced anti-ship missiles and an arsenal of rockets from Iran that include weapons considered SRBMs. Intelligence is always imprecise, however, and slip-ups like this are to be expected on occasion.
Recent events may have put a more serious dent, however, in some implementation doctrines around military transformation and “the Revolution in Military Affairs.” DID has talked about both transformation’s value and its limitations, as expressed in case studies and situations like the US military’s encounter at Objective Peach in 2003. The Israelis, too, may be finding the limits of transformation, according to some Israeli military observers.
Phase II involves detailed design test and manufacturing reviews of motor hardware to be fabricated. The reviews shall include detailed drawings, analysis, and any data generated to support the design of hardware to be test fired. The contractor will fabricate motor and test hardware and conduct any checkout testing identified in the preliminary Phase II test and instrumentation plan and coordinate test requirements with the Air Force. This action exercises the Phase II Option of the contract and implements a period of performance form 1 June 2006 through 31 May 2010.
ATK Thiokol Propulsion in Corinne, UT received $17.6 million (FA8204-06-C-0013/P00001)
Aerojet General Corp. in Sacramento, CA, received $17.5 million (FA8204-06-C-0014/P00001)
India relies on a number of delivery platforms for its nuclear deterrent, from combat aircraft to its Prithvi (150-300 km/ up to 180 miles) Agni I (700-800 km/ up to 500 miles) and rail-mountable Agni II (2,000+ km/ 1,200+ miles) ballistic missiles. Their location and range ensure that their coverage is largely restricted to Pakistan, but the two-stage Agni III missile was expected to change that with a range of over 3,000 miles. While this is not the ICBM it is sometimes made out to be unless its range is very substantially beyond that 3,000 mile figure, The Agni III would certainly be a capable MRBM(medium range ballistic missile)/ IRBM(intermediate range ballistic missile) capable of reaching many parts of China.
Yet India has put an indefinite hold on the maiden flight-test of the Agni III, despite assurances from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists that the missile is ready. Our fast round-up of background information and perspectives includes: