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.