The U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, has issued a Feb. 18, 2005 Final Ruling revising the Export Administration Regulations to allow staff and employees of certain organizations to use License Exception TMP to export basic communications equipment to Sudan for up to one year, to be used in the activities of those organizations to relieve human suffering. Coverage includes cell phones, personal computers, personal digital assistants, global positioning systems or similar satellite receivers and related software. Cryptome: Export of Communication Devices to Sudan
The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren Michigan paid United Defense $15 million, half of the total order of $30 million initiated earlier this month to deliver armor upgrades for M113A3, M1 and Bradley Survivability Enhancement Armor. The work, done in Santa Clara, CA, should be done by the end of July.
The U.S. Navy awarded Warren, MI-based Campbell-Ewald a $10.2 million contract boost to its previously-awarded assignment as part of the Navy’s efforts to find new recruits in the first quarter. The Navy Recruiting Command is having the Fleet and Industrial Supply center Norfolk Detachment Philadelphia control the contract, which is part of the Navy Recruitment Advertising Program.
Two-way radios aren’t standard equipment for every soldier, but the battlefield can be a confusing place. Now convoy troops and other soldiers in Iraq have resorted to buying simple off-the-shelf walkie-talkie units for use in Iraq. Commanders aren’t pleased with the practice, as it allows a great deal of insecure radio chatter that could make troops vulnerable to ambush. Mind you, the Army shouldn’t be surprised. During the USMC’s “Urban Warrior 98” exercise, similar devices called “ISRs” were one of the big hits with the Marines.
To address this issue, FCW.com reports that 40,000 secure radios are being rushed (should arrive in Q1 or Q2 of 2005) to Iraq. Each brigade is to receive about 1,000 IC-F43G radios at a cost of about $1,200 per unit. An army spokesperson said the Army also started an emergency procurement of about 20,000 single-channel air/ground units that operate in the 30 MHz to 80MHz range. Those cost between $6,000 and $14,000 a piece. They are supposed to hit Iraq at a rate of about 300 per month until February, when the rate should increase into the thousands per month. See also FCW.com: Troops in Iraq buy own radios
BAE Systems Information and Greenlawn, NY-based Electronic Systems won a $14.1 million fixed price contract to make, test and modify AN/APX-117(V) and An/APX-118(V) beacons used in friend-foe detection systems to be used on ships and in the air. The work, which was not competitively bid, should be completed in about a year. The Naval Air Systems Command will run the contract.
The popular press analyses for the missile defense program look grim. Reuters’ review of the recent failed tests asserts that there seems to be more political will on the part of conservatives to make the system work than their are successful technology developments, forcing the Bush Administration to scale back deployment expectations. Weapons systems development programs seldom get the sort of popular attention that the missile shield program has, and contractors aren’t finding it a pleasant limelight. Reuters: Pentagon Misses Goal for Missile Defense System
The F/A-22 program seems to be in trouble, with the New York Times reporting that the Air Force’s new Raptor fighter jet will be the target of budget cuts. In a gelling agreement between Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and congressional leaders, the originally slated 277 planes may be cut to a total of 160. The jets cost more than a quarter billion dollars each. Primary contractor Lockheed Martin indicated it hadn’t yet been notified of any proposed changes. – Reuters and NYT report: Pentagon Planning Cuts to Fighter Jet Program – NYT
The New York Times reported that the Department of Defense will retire an unnamed aircraft carrier and buy fewer surface ships in an effort to save money. LPD-17 amphibious landing ships for the Marine Corps will be among those cut from expected procurements, setting back Northrup Grumman’s plans to build five of them in as many years. Altogether the Pentagon hopes to save $60 billion over six years. The cuts include an expensive new Army communications system, a new destroyer (again, primarily from Northrup Grumman) for the navy and the previously reported tamping down of purchases of the F/A-22 stealth fighter.
– Reuters: Pentagon to Retire Carrier, Buy Fewer Ships – Report
Raytheon announced it managed to guide a 155 mm shell to within ten feet of a target using a new GPS guidance system developed by L3 Communications’ Interstate Electronics Corporation. The December 15 test used an M777 howitzer, the system it plans to use with the GPS-guided shells when they roll out in 2006. – Space News: Raytheon Successfully Tests GPS-Guided Shell