Boeing subcontractor L-3 Communications is under federal criminal investigation after Interstate Electronics Corp., one of its subsidiaries, supplied defective parts used in CSEL emergency radios to locate downed military pilots.
Interstate Electronics Corp. purchased many of the parts from lower-level suppliers, but it is responsible for supervising the manufacturing process, testing the parts and verifying they meet quality standards.
Pentagon criminal investigators and contract-management officials now suspect that Interstate Electronics may have supplied thousands of other, potentially substandard parts over the years to a wide range of Army and Air Force weapons systems. The Los Angeles U.S. attorney’s office is leading this investigation, and its expansion means that L-3 could be subject to greater penalties if found guilty of wrongdoing. The US government (primarily the military) accounts for more than 75% of the company’s business.
The Russian Navy has announced that 2006 will see the deployment of two new strategic nuclear missile submarines (SSBNs, a.k.a. “boomers”) armed with SS-NX-30 Bulava sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), a sea-launched variant of their new land-based SS-27 Topol-M ICBM. One sub will be a restored Typhoon Class vessel, while the other will be a new SSBN class design.
Despite a number of delays and cost overruns in programs like SBIRS High and AEHF Milstar 3, Air Force officials at the 21st National Space Symposium on April 5, 2005 said the Pentagon’s acquisition system for buying high-tech military satellites and launch vehicles is not broken.
The Air Force officials’ assessment contrasts with a Jan. 28, 2005, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which said that “many of the space programs we have reviewed over the past several decades have incurred unanticipated cost and schedule increases because they began without knowing whether technologies could work as intended, and invariably found themselves addressing technical problems in a more costly environment.” The report also acknowledged the Pentagon had made some progress in conducting space-related science and technology research within a broader strategy.
The Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services Group (I&S) is fitting two new Type-209MOD submarines for Portugal’s navy with the latest fuel cell propulsion equipment, which allows the non-nuclear attack submarines to have a quieter profile and run while submerged for far longer periods. The order is worth EUR 58 million, and the contract also includes a EUR 23 million option for the same equipment to be built into a third submarine. Handover of the submarines to the Portuguese navy is scheduled to begin in 2009 or 2010.
BBN Technologies (which played a key role in the invention of the ARPANET/Internet) has won a $12.9 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop low-power radio communications for the battlefield. The program’s aim is to reduce the energy required for mesh or ad hoc networking and communications. In Phase 1 of this program, BBN was able to cut the energy used for delivering information in a tactical, wireless, multihop network by more than 300 times.
Boeing officials must send a letter within 30 days to Army officials managing the program at Fort Monmouth, NJ to explain how they can execute the contract. After reviewing the letter, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and service officials can decide to terminate, restructure or continue the contract.
Satellites have short production runs, which means that most of the investment in building them should come during the research and development phase. The National Security Space Acquisition Policy 03-01, adopted in October 2003, recognizes some unique aspects of satellite procurement, and aims to give more senior-level attention to satellite programs at earlier stages of their development.
In keeping with that objective, the Air Force made revisions in late December to:
Small business qualifier Engineering Solutions & Products Inc. in Eatontown, NJ, won a $0 placeholder delivery order as part of a $134.1 million time and materials contract for Force XXI Battle Command and Below/Blue Force Tracking Global Services. “Blue Force Tracker” (BFT) is the technology’s colloquial name, and this digital command and control system that provides on the move, near real time, situational awareness to the vehicle mounted platform level by showing where friendly units and identified enemy units are located. The systems share positional updates, text messages and other information with other BFT equipped units across the battlefield. The BFT network also provides commanders the ability to digitally control and monitor their subordinate units’ status and position.
Performance location for this contract will be determined with each delivery order, and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2009. There were an unknown number of bids solicited via the Internet on Jan. 4, 2005, and two bids were received. The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, NJ is the contracting activity (W15P7T-05-D-J222).
Articles that offer stories and analysis of Blue Force Tracker’s benefits, uses in real-life situations, and present drawbacks include…
The University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Advanced Technology (IAT) Electromagnetic Systems Division showed off its electromagnetic rail gun (RailGun) technology demonstrator at the 24th Army Science Conference (ASC 2004). Founded in 1990, IAT Electromagnetic Systems is an autonomous research unit tasked with aiding the U.S. Army and Navy with rail gun technology. Rail guns are currently being contemplated as a later weapons upgrade on the USA’s DD[X] destroyer program, as part of the Army’s Future Combat Systems program, and in space.