On June 13, DID covered the global expansion of the tactical radio market, esp. in the USA. Analysts at Frost & Sullivan’s “Aerospace and Defense Group, U.S. Tactical Military Communications Markets” noted that U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) spending for tactical communications was $4.78 billion in 2004 and predicted $5.68 billion by 2010. Meanwhile, Harris Corp. was noting growth in the sector and orders from around the world.
Now Forecast International is projecting that defense departments worldwide will spend some $12.88 billion on 28 different surface communications development, acquisition, or maintenance programs over the next decade.
The Joint Robotics Program Working Group meeting at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA offered a window into current progress in robotics. EOD robots and reconnaissance robots such as the backpackable Dragon Runner “throwbot” are performing in Iraq, where they’re affecting the direction of future military robotics and saving soldiers’ lives.
The U.S. Marines deployed a dozen Dragon Runners to Iraq a year ago. The four-wheeled device is only a little more than a foot long and not quite a foot wide and weighs 9 pounds. It can be thrown over walls, out a three-story window or up a flight of stairs; the flat, 5-inch-high machine can operate whichever way it lands.
Representatives from a coalition of Defense unions delivered a letter of protest and a list of recommendations for the new National Security Personnel System to Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England during an hourlong meeting Thursday morning. The letter was signed by Byron Charlton of the United DoD Workers Coalition. American Federation of Government Employee officials said they plan legal action to block the new system as soon as the final regulations are sent to Congress.
The Australian government has increased funding for its military capability and technology demonstrator (CTD) program by $31.5 million over the next three financial years – effectively doubling the annual average expenditure on the program. Australia will invest $20 million in 12 new technology projects during the next financial year, including a handheld underwater sonar device to detect mines, blast resistant anti-mine material for Army vehicles, and flexible solar panels to generate power for ADF operations in the field (similar to the Konarka products DID has previously covered).
Technologies shortlisted for the 2005-06 CTD program also include ISRV, a system to detect moving objects in real-time from existing video surveillance sensors; “Cuttlefish” countermeasures for lightly armed ships against modern imaging radars, BAE with a safe landing aid for helicopters operating in poor visibility conditions, ultra-thin fiber-optic laser for underwater towed array sensors, software for collecting geospatial information from multiple sources, a system to exchange such information with operational areas, and advanced communication and data links.
Small business qualifier Tug Hill Construction Inc. of Watertown, NY won a $30.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a Digital Multipurpose Range Complex at Fort Carson, CO. Work is expected to be complete by Dec. 22, 2007. There were 17 bids solicited on April 13, 2005, and five bids were received. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha, NB issued the contract (W9128F-05-C-0012).
Northrop-Grumman Space and Mission in Clearfield, UT received a $5.9 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification to ensure that the USA’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Reentry Vehicles (which carry nuclear warheads) remain functional until retirement and that an industrial base exists to support replacement follow-on systems. Negotiations were completed March 2005, and work will be complete by June 2007. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center issued the contract (F42610-98-C-0001).
Honeywell International Inc. in Redmond, WA received a $12.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for C-130 Hercules aircraft Terrain Collision Avoidance Systems. The contract covers 75 Terrain Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) TPS-81A processors, 131 TCAS Mode S/IFF Control Panels, 85 TCAS AN/APX-119/RT-1853 Mode S/IFF Digital Transponders without Crypto, 75 TCAS Displays and 100 TCAS Antenna. This equioment is especially valuable to special operations forces, who frequently have to fly their MC-130 Combat Talon II aircraft in nap-of-the-earth profiles in order to avoid radar detection.
Small business qualifier Jahn Corp. in Lexington Park, MD received a $6.9 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract (N00421-03-D-0045). The modification exercises an option for approximately 146,100 man-hours of advisory and assistance services to the V-22 Osprey program, including management/administrative and resource/operations support; development/ production analysis and technical services; and independent analyses, technical studies and management services. The V-22 Osprey is currently undergoing operational evaluation to clear it for full production and use.
Work will be performed in Patuxent River MD (90%); Edwards Air Force Base, CA (3%); Lakehurst, NJ (3%); Indianapolis, IN (2%); Fort Worth, TX (1%); and Lomita, CA (1%), and is expected to be completed in June 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.