The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has long underwritten open-ended “blue sky” computer research. Some researchers report that DARPA is cutting “blue sky” spending at universities in favor of financing more classified work at military contractors, adding restrictions for security reasons, and giving preference to narrowly defined projects that promise a more immediate payoff. DARPA has now acknowledged this shift to the senate Armed Services Committee.
Within a budget that rose from $546 million in 2001 to $583 million in 2004, the portion going to university researchers has fallen from $214 million to $123 million. DARPA has cited increased reliance on corporate research; a need for more classified projects since 9/11; Congress’s decision to end controversial projects like Total Information Awareness because of privacy fears; and the shift of some basic research to advanced weapons systems development as reasons for these shifts. The New York Times has an unsympathetic article that offers more details.
Hensel Phelps Construction Co. in Chantilly, VA received a $254.5 million modification to a fixed-price-incentive with award-fee contract for “Wedge 3” of the Construction of The Pentagon program. Work on this sole-source contract will be performed in Arlington, VA and is expected to be complete by Oct. 31, 2007. The Pentagon Renovation and Construction Program Office in Arlington, VA issued the contract (MDA947-01-C-2001).
The Pentagon Reservation Maintenance Revolving Fund (PRMRF) finances the Pentagon Renovation program, on-going tenant leasehold improvements, and operation of and facilities improvements to the associated Raven Rock Mountain complex. It was established by the FY 1991 Defense Authorization Act (10 USC 2674), and the PRMRF’s Pentagon renovation is expected to continue through FY 2010.
General Dynamics Team Trimaran LCS Design (click to enlarge)
Bath Iron Works in Bath, ME has received a $16 million cost-plus-fixed-fee option to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-2310) for the advance procurement of required Long Lead Material for the first “Flight Zero” models of General Dynamics’ trimaran Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) design. Work will be performed in Bath, ME and is expected to be complete September 2005. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC issued the contract.
The LCS is the U.S. Navy’s newest surface combatant, a member of the DD (X) family optimized for shallow seas and near-shore operations but able to deploy across the ocean. LCS will help to counter growing potential “asymmetric” threats like coastal mines, quiet diesel submarines and the potential to carry explosives and terrorists on small, fast, attack boats. It will also perform intelligence gathering and scouting via helicopter landing and UAV capabilities, and will share tactical information with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines, and joint units. Swappable “mission modules” will give the small ships the specialized capabilities they need to perform some of these roles.
The Defense Supply Center (DSC) in Philadelphia, PA issued a pair of firm-fixed-price indefinite-quantity contracts for the Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE) System. Proposals were solicited on behalf of the U.S. Army via the Internet, and the DSC received seven responses.
MOLLE is a modular quick-release backpack with removable compartments and components, plus a fighting load vest that can accept removable pockets for the Rifleman, Pistol, Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) Gunner, and Grenadier configurations. Its modularity allows individuals to tailor their load and configuration to meet mission needs.
BAE Systems Information and Electronic Warfare (EW) Systems in Nashua, NH is being awarded a $5.1 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification to provide for additional work for the Lightweight Modular Support Jammer (LMSJ) 2005 Congressional Plus Up Program. The LMSJ is intended to produce a compact new technology high power jamming system which would permit the easy integration of jamming packages with varying levels of aggregate power output and band coverage. The result would be a family of jamming modules suitable for installation in manned aircraft, but also UAVs – in effect a LEGO(TM) jammer.
Northrop Grumman Information Technology in McLean, VaA received a $19 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide for telecommunications management system for Air Force wide installation. The location of performance is all Air Force Bases worldwide. Solicitation began January 2005, and this work will be complete by December 2006. The Headquarters Engineering Installation Group at Tinker Air Force Base, OK issued the contract (FA8771-04-D-0004).
Kollmorgen Corp., Northampton, MA received a $9.9 million fixed-priced, not-to-exceed modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-02-C-4032) for MK 46 Optical Sight System (OSS) Provisioned Item Order (PIO) spare assemblies, subcomponents and kits. The OSS is an integral component of the MK34 naval gun, which includes the 5″ MK45 Gun Mount and the MK 160 Gun Computer System. The primary function of the OSS is to provide a safety-check sight to allow the gun operator to determine safe firing zones during gun operation. It is also used for gun targeting and target identification. The Mk46 OSS is found on DDG-51 Destroyers, United States Coast Guard Cutters and FMS Naval Ships.
Work will be performed in Northampton, MA and is expected to be complete by September 2006. This modification combines support of the U.S. Navy (96%), as well as the Governments of Japan (2.5%) and Korea (1.5%) under the foreign military sales program. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC issued the contract.