The Washington Business Journal reports that United Technologies subsidiary General Dynamics is ordering add-on armor kits for the Army’s Stryker combat vehicle from fellow defense contractor United Defense Industries. The contract is initially worth $30 million but has a potential value of as much as $90.6 million. UDI says production of the initial lot of 289 kits will start this fall and be completed by October 2006.
Military officials turned on a new command center in Cheyenne Mountain, CO this month, complete with new hardware, software and big-screen displays. The event marks the second major milestone for the Air Forces $1.5 billion Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) program for NORAD. The renovation of the command center inside the granite-hardened facility occurred in two phases. Phase 1, completed by John Bowman Inc., involved construction of the center and “battle cab”. Phase 2, performed by Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems business unit, consisted of the design, purchase and installation of the hardware, software and big-screen displays. Federal Computer Weekly: Cheyenne center upgrade complete. See also NORAD’s March 4, 2005 news release.
Problems with key IT projects in the Veteran’s Administration may be about to lead to conditional budget cuts. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is recommending a $400 million cut in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ proposed FY 2006 IT budget until a review of the VA’s programs by PriceWaterhouseCoopers is completed. In addition, Committee Chair Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) told the Budget Committee that he is considering legislation that would give the VA chief information officer direct line and budget authority over tech spending and associated personnel within the entire department. Federal Computer Weekly: Committee Calls for VA Tech Cut
A recent D.I.D. article noted the recent launch of the Horizon class air defense frigates by a Franco-Italian consortium, and the platform’s coming modification to a multimission variant (Fregate Europeene Multi-Mission or FREMM). Now DefenseNews.com is reporting that Italy is in danger of reneging on its commitment to build 10 FREMM frigates at a cost of EUR 350 million (USD $468.6 million) per vessel. Analysts note that without the Italian work, economies of scale could be altered, affecting pricing for the French vessels as well. An Italian defense official has stated that funds for the program would be found before fall 2005. These kinds of procurement uncertainties are not uncommon in multi-national collaborative projects, including the Eurofighter.
In somewhat related news, two of the companies in the Franco-Italian consortium to produce the FREMM are denying merger rumours. Thales and Finmeccania have characterized the rumours as “premature”.
Northrop Grumman PRB Systems in Hollywood, MD received a $5.2 million modification under previously awarded contract (N00164-02-C-0059) to exercise two options for 36 (ea) electronic surveillance enhancements for the AN/SLQ-32 electronic detection systems. The electronic surveillance enhancements will replace existing AN/SLQ-32 shipboard replaceable units and update existing AN/SLQ-32 operational software in support of the AN/SLQ-32 anti-missile defense system program. Work will be performed in Goleta, CA and is expected to be completed by September 2006. The contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN issued the contract.
Triquint Semiconductor Texas L.P. of Richardson, TX won a $5 million increment as part of a $31.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Phase 2 and Phase 3 Research on Wide Band Gap Semiconductors. Work will be performed in Richardson, TX and is expected to be completed by Feb. 14, 2008. Bids were solicited via the web on April 12, 2004, and one bid was received. The U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command in Adelphi, MD issued the contract (W911QX-05-C-0087). Triquint is also working on Gallium Nitride semiconductor research for DARPA.
Small business qualifier Minowitz Manufacturing Co. of Roseville, MI won a delivery order amount of $412,022 as part of an $8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 169 Variable Speed Drive Used on the M113 Family of Vehicles. Work will be performed in Roseville, MI and is expected to be completed by Sept. 7, 2010. There were four bids solicited on Nov. 17, 2004, and four bids were received. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, Warren, Mich., issued the contract (W56HZV-05-D-0131). M113 vehicles are currently being taken out of storage by the U.S. Army and deployed to Iraq.