Australia, Canada, and Italy were named by the U.S. government at the end of 2004 as being the most likely partners in the development of the P-8A Poseidon Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA), based on a Boeing 737 airframe. The US Navy is now in formal talks with these potential international partners, and India has also expressed interest. The U.S. market alone is estimated to be $20 billion, and the P-8 replaces the P-3 Orion aircraft currently in service with 15 countries.
Each potential international partner would be expected to contribute approximately $300 million toward the development of the P-8A. The U.S. also approached other allies but according to eDefense they were “less responsive,” raising the prospect of a competing European system at some future date based on an Airbus airframe – or even a more complete bifurcation of the maritime surveillance market.
Inflatable structural supports, also called airbeams, have swelled into a variety of products, and a team of engineers at the Center of Excellence for Inflatable Composite Structures headquartered at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center’s Collective (SSC-Natick) Protection Directorate form the backbone of research into the technology. With the assistance of industry partners Vertigo Inc. and Federal Fabrics-Fibers Inc., airbeams are finding uses in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and even outer space, shrinking the military’s logistics tail and vastly reducing the weight of deployed structures.
Pennsylvania State University at University Park, PA won a $27.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee task order for the Persistent Littoral Undersea Surveillance Network (PLUSNET) against Basic Ordering Agreement N00014-05-G-0106. The PLUSNET system concept is a semi-autonomous controlled network of fixed bottom and mobile sensors that communicate with each other and can make basic decisions independently as they try to track ships and even the quiet, diesel electric submarines operating in shallow water environments typical of the Western Pacific.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY received a $10.2 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-03-C-0044) to upgrade 10 E-2C Group II Hawkeye carrier-based airborne early warning & control aircraft to the Group II navigation upgrade configuration. Work will be performed in St. Augustine, FL and is expected to be complete in November 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. issued the contract.
Rohm & Haas Co., Philadelphia, PA received a sole-source $9.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for decontaminating powder for the M291 and M295 decontamination mask kits. Work will be performed in Philadelphia, PA and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2006. The Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, Rock Island, Ill. issued the contract (W52H09-05-C-0165).
The Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL has issued about $9.7 million in delivery orders to small business qualifiers for unspecified UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter parts. The UH-60 is the main troop transport helicopter of the U.S. Army.
Small business qualifier Hawkeye Glove Manufacturing Co. in Fort Dodge, IA won a maximum $6.1 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for the Army, Navy, and Air Force for flyer’s gloves. Performance completion date is Apr. 24, 2009. These were gateway-solicited proposals and six responded. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-05-D-4205).