India budgeted US$17 billion in 2004/05 for military spending, in addition to a carry over of $7 billion from the previous budget. Nevertheless, India Monitor reports that the modernization of India’s armed forces is still a way off as it struggles to shake off “bureaucratic bungling, political wrangling and the more than a sniff of scandal that has characterized arms deals in the past.”
India’s biggest defense-related issue, however, may be more basic: decision paralysis. The slowness of decisions and approvals can be a major issue for companies wishing to penetrate the Indian defense market.
Company executives at Ionatron, Inc. in Tuscon, AZ say they’re working on laser-induced plasma channel (LIPC) weapons that use uses femtosecond lasers to carve conductive channels of ionized oxygen in the air. The idea is that Ionatron’s weapon will then use these channels to send man-made lighting bolts up to 800 meters away to disable or kill people and vehicles. DefenseTech.org reports that the company has received $12 million in appropriations.
Investigations by DefenseTech.org and the New York Post, however, are raising questions about Ionatron. New York Post Business columnist Christopher Byron has alleged questionable award practices at the Congressional level and even potential technology ownership issues involving Raytheon and/or HSV Technologies. DefenseTech.org lays out what is currently known about the situation, and reports that Ionatron executives refused to comment on the contents of his story or on Byron’s more detailed allegations.
General Dynamics Land Systems has received a $5.9 million agreement modification to upgrade its Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle (RST-V). The upgrade supports continued operational evaluation of the vehicle as a utility carrier, prime mover and electrical generator for various U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) applications. System capabilities will be demonstrated in a relevant operational environment in early 2006.
General Dynamics Land Systems Advanced Programs Manager Tom Trzaska said, “The Marine Corps has asked us to make reliability and functional changes to the vehicle, including a 30 kilowatt export power capability, to power battlefield loads such as the Unit Operations Center and radars… We will make improvements based on feedback and lessons learned from the USMC and the U.S. Army Special Operations command operators who used the RST-Vs at Yuma.”
The Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) from Idaho Technology, Inc. in Salt Lake City, UT is designed to vastly increase the speed and accuracy of biological warfare agent detection and identification. Prior to JBAIDS, it took the military two to four days back in a lab to accurately identify the presence of a biological warfare agent, using a technology called RAPIDS. The new JBAIDS is a 40-pound device small enough to slip into a rucksack, and can reportedly do the job on the spot in 40 minutes with 85-90% accuracy.
The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense in Falls Church, VA, found the technology in 2002 while seeking a quicker way to detect biological warfare agents in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, and later anthrax scares…
Small business qualifier RMR Joint Venture in Minot, N.D., won a $34.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of family housing. Work will be performed at Minot Air Force Base, ND, and is expected to be complete by Oct. 15, 2006. There were 314 bids solicited on Dec. 1, 2004, and two bids were received. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha, NB issued the contract (W9128F-05-C-0007).
EDO MTECH Inc. in Huntingdon Valley, PA is being awarded an $11 million firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 135 BRU-55 Smart Racks (Bomb Release Units), first article acceptance testing, lot acceptance testing, integrated logistics support, and technical data. BRU-55 allows carriage of two smart weapons(up to 1000lb class) on a single aircraft station. BRU-55 weapons currently consist of JSOW missiles, 1000 lb JDAMs, and WCMD smart cluster bombs, and it is currently deployable on F-16 and F-18 aircraft. The BRU-55 uses the MIL-STD-1760 interface (A/C-to-Rack and Rack-to-Weapons), and future expansion to other MIL-STD-1760 aircraft and weapons is possible.
Work on this contract will be performed in Huntingdon Valley, PA and is expected to be complete in June 2007. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract (N00019-05-C-0026).
On April 21, 2005, Did noted that the U.S. Defense Department was moving closer to Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) for its telecommunications needs, expanding its control over this area and potentially reducing costs. Now General Dynamics Network Systems has been chosen by the U.S. Army to modernize communications and data network infrastructure at two of the Army’s strategic Power Projection Platform sites, Fort Drum, NY, and Fort Lewis, WA. The work is valued at approximately $7 million.