Authorized by the U.S. Congress since 1980, the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) program is administered by the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Advanced Systems and Concepts, in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). The principal objective of the FCT program is to support the warfighter by with equipment from allied and other friendly nations that may satisfy U.S. defense requirements more quickly and economically. Given a first-rate foreign non-developmental item, U.S. user interest, a valid operational requirement and good procurement potential, the FCT program finds and fields world-class systems and equipment that would not be available otherwise.
DefenseTech.org reports that the U.S. Marines are beginning to use aerostats (a.k.a. tethered blimps) as communications relays in Iraq. The Marine Airborne Re-Transmission Systems (MARTS), is a TCOM 32M Aerostat that will receive signals from ground forces and even pilots through a fiber-optic tether, then transmit messages up to 100 miles away via UHF and VHF radio frequencies. Its kevlar/mylar skin allows it to sustain minor small arms fire and remain afloat. One aerostat, first tested in February, is being deployed to Iraq, a second is being readied, and the Marines are scrounging up $14 million to buy four more.
For the second time in five months, Hizbollah militants operating an Iranian-made drone successfully penetrated Israel’s air defenses and flew unmolested for nearly nine minutes on April 11 over Western Galilee cities and settlements before returning safely to southern Lebanon. Local residents first reported the UAV which was not initially picked up by Israel’s elaborate, overlapping sensor-fused early warning network.
According to Lockheed-Martin, an acquisition decision information paper released by the Department of Defense on April 18, 2005 states “The Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) [Michael W. Wynne] approved the full rate production capability of the F/A-22.” This F/A-22 program milestone follows initial operational test findings in February and March by both the Air Force and the Department of Defense.
The F/A-22 Raptor, the world’s most advanced fighter, is built by Lockheed Martin in partnership with Boeing and Pratt & Whitney. Parts and subsystems are provided by approximately 1,000 suppliers in 42 states. F/A-22 production takes place at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facilities in Palmdale, CA; Meridian, MS; Marietta, GA; and Fort Worth, TX, as well as at Boeing’s plant in Seattle, WA. Final assembly and initial flight testing of the Raptor occurs at the Marietta plant facilities. The Raptor is slated to reach initial operational capability in December 2005 at Langley Air Force Base, VA.
Cardinal Health Inc. in Dublin, OH won a maximum $12.9 million firm fixed price indefinite quantity contract for the U.S. Navy to meet pharmaceutical requirements aboard routine Navy Fleet and hospital Ships USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. This is a 12-month base period contract with four 12-month option periods, and work will be performed in Ohio, Virginia, California, Washington State, Florida, Connecticut, Texas, Mississippi, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Performance completion date is May 20, 2006. Eleven proposals were submitted with 3 responses. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA issued the contract (SP0200-04-D-7020).
Allied Technology, LLC in Marshall, TX won an $11 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for the procurement of 700 launchers and 1,000,000 cartridges and associated support for the Battlefield Effects Simulator (BES) training system for the United States Army. Work will be performed in Marshall, TX and is expected to be completed in March 2006. This contract was competitively procured through an electronic request for proposals; three offers were received. The Naval Air Systems Command Training Systems Division, Orlando, FL issued the contract (N61339-05-D-0019).
Small business qualifier Technology Research Consultants of Haines City, FL received a $9.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for CN-1314B/A and CN-811 Displacement Gyroscopes for the UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-47 Chinook Helicopters. The CN-811 is a displacement gyroscope intended for use in CH-47 aircraft to provide an accurate vertical reference for roll and pitch display and aircraft control. Mechanical mounting is designed and machined with a high level of precision s o that the fore and aft axis is aligned to the fore and aft axis of the aircraft to within 1 degree, which requires use of the most accurate techniques available for precision assembly, testing and quality control.
Work will be performed in Haines City, FL and is expected to be complete by June 30, 2006. This was a sole source contract initiated on March 17, 2005 by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, NJ (W15P7T-05-C-D015).
J. Walter Thompson Co., USA in Atlanta, GA received a $7.7 million modification to previously awarded GSA Task Order (M00264-02-F-0213) for marketing and advertising services in support of the Marine Corps recruitment programs. Work will be performed in Atlanta, GA and is expected to be complete by September 2005. The Regional Contracting Office Northeast, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va., issued the task order modification. For a good illustration of the longer-term shifts in the U.S. military’s recruitment messages and methods, this 1999 memo “Recruitment Ads: New Strategies, New Messages” offers some useful background.