The Indian Air Force plans to publish a $100 million tender in Sept/05 for a command and control system. Defense News reports that the system is an ambitious attempt to imitate NATO’s command and control network, and that the tender is for more than $100 million. The company chosen will also have to help integrate the Indian Air Force’s current air defense, control, surveillance, warplane mission management system, and airspace management systems with the new backbone.
This tender comes at an important time, and will test both India’s and Israel’s recent defense agreements with the USA.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in San Diego, CA received $60.2 million fixed price incentive contract to provide for ten RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft and other Low Rate Initial Production Lot 5 items: Five Airborne Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Processor enabled RQ-4 Global Hawk Production Air Vehicles; Four Air Vehicles equipped with Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suites (E-ISS); One Air Vehicle w/o E-ISS; one Mission Control Element; and one Launch Recovery Element. Solicitation began in April 2005, and work on this contract will be complete by May 2006. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8620-05-C-4692).
Most Global Hawk UAVs are configured with SAR radars for finding ground targets, plus electro-optical and infrared sensors (see examples of Global Hawk imagery). E-ISS is said to improve the range of both SAR and infrared system by 50%. Airforce-Technology.com also notes that in November 2003, Global Hawk completed a series of flight tests in the USA and Germany carrying an EADS electronic intelligence (ELINT) payload. The “EuroHawk” is being offered to the German Air Force as a replacement signals intelligence (SIGINT) platform, and the idea appears to be catching on in the USA as well. See all DID Global Hawk coverage.
Lockheed Martin has developed a new way to adapt its advanced strike weapons to existing aircraft interfaces, saving money and significantly shortening development times. Instead of creating unique interfaces that require special aircraft modifications in various systems, it’s using interfaces developed for other weapons. As an example, Lockheed Martin engineers modified the operational flight program software of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) so it responds to the F-16 aircraft’s existing Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) interface. The F-16 thinks it is launching a JSOW, and the JASSM flies off to strike its designated target.
This is not at all the way things are usually done, and it will be interesting to see if this expedient proves sustainable and evolves into “weapons architecture sets,” instead of the individual integration approach pursued to date. Spacewar.com has more.
Alaska Ship and Drydock Inc. in Ketchikan, AK received a $9.7 millon cost-plus-fixed-fee agreement to build a prototype vessel to test various technologies for their usefulness in employment in potential new naval ship designs. Exact particulars were not specified, and the company has no web site, but it was noted that these prototypes and technologies tested will help the Navy’s define its future warfighting strategy Seapower 21. This agreement contains options that, if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value of this agreement to $29.9 million.
Work will be performed in Ketchikan, AK and is expected to be complete by October 2007 (2010 with options). This contract was awarded in response to a proposal submitted under a Broad Agency Announcement that was announced on the Federal Business Opportunities website. The Office of Naval Research in Washington, DC issued the contract (N00014-05-9-0001).
Eagle Group International in Atlanta, GA received a $6 million firm-fixed-price 5-year contract for Management of the Military Vaccine/ Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program. Work will be performed in Falls Church, VA and is expected to be complete by Aug. 22, 2010. There were an unknown number of bids solicited via the World Wide Web on June 17, 2005, and two bids were received. The Center for Healthcare Contracting at Fort Sam Houston, TX issued the contract (W814K04-05-C-7011).
Chugach Management Services in Anchorage, AK is being awarded a $9 million fixed price award fee contract modification. This covers recurring services for maintenance and repair of accompanied family houses; mobile houses; mobile home parking lots, and associated grounds maintenance at Edward Air Force Base, CA.
The USA’s military has been shrinking for decades, but the politics involved in closing military bases in Congressional districts made it difficult to keep fixed costs in line. The level of waste involved finally resulted in the BRAC approach.
Under the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) process, the Secretary of Defense makes recommendations to a commission nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The commission reviews these recommendations and makes their own recommendations to the President – in 2005, this is scheduled to happen by Sept. 8/05. The President then reviews the recommendation and either sends it back to the commission for additional work or forwards it, without changes, to the Congress. The recommendations of the commission then go into effect unless disapproved in their entirety by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress.
As of Saturday, Aug 27/05, the 2005 BRAC Commission has finished its deliberations.
The U.S. Defense Department’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Planning Task Force’s “Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2005-2030” offers a 213-page window into a major aspect of the U.S. military’s evolution, and has received a great deal of coverage lately.
Rather than trying to tie everything together in one summary post, we’ve decided to offer you a set of links we’re finding useful as we attempt to put the pieces together:
Small business qualifier Phoenix Science & Technology Inc. in Chelmsford, MA received a not to exceed $15 million Phase III, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program contract for Topic N95-005 entitled “Surface Discharge Low Frequency Acoustic Source,” Topic N02-153 entitled “High-Efficiency Plasma Sparkers for New Applications,” and Topic N03-188 entitled “High Source Level Plasma Sparkers Driven by High-Energy Density Capacitors for Navy Applications.”