The US Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Aerospace Research Center released figures showing that US foreign trade in the aerospace industry posted a surplus of about $19 billion in the first half of 2005. The statistics include transport aircraft, general aviation aircraft, helicopters, aircraft engines and parts, spacecraft, satellites, missiles, rockets, and rocket engines and parts. The raw data comes from the U.S. Commerce Department and covers both military and civilian aerospace products.
EADS’ earlier discussions with U.S. manufacturer Northrop Grumman had broken down amidst an atmosphere of strained US-European ties, protectionism on both sides, and anti-Airbus sentiment in Congress. They’ve finally borne fruit, however, as both Northrop Grumman and EADS have announced their joint collaboration on the KC-30, an Airbus 330 MRTT derivative that will have over 50% American manufactured content. There is as yet no word on whether a C-17 based tanker might also be part of the upcoming competition.
A couple of days ago, DID ran an article by the President of the National Defense Industrial Association that addressed the importance of improved U.S. defense manufacturing. Just a day or two later came word that Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX had received a $395 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification. Its object? Putting more specifics into some undefinitized contract terms (P00004 and P00009) re: Performance-Based Agile Logistics Support for F/A-22 Lot 5 Production Aircraft. Agile logistics includes aspects of supply chain visibility, lean manufacturing, and collaboration among a complex network of partners.
Solicitation began July 2004, negotiations were completed April 2005, and work will be complete by December 2007. Work will be performed Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8611-04-C-2851).
Military-specific I/O – and most particularly military avionics – is evolving in two different directions at the same time. COTS Journal’s July 2005 article “Military-Specific I/O Evolves in Two Directions” notes that this is the result of two opposing pressures:  a continuing and accelerating need for data accuracy and reliability and, separately,  a significant increase in data rates flowing to the platforms.
The first direction is centered around the continuing and even growing use of the slow but reliable 1960s-era MIL-STD-1553 for communications. The other direction is toward the adoption of newer, faster data communications methods as the demands of net-centric warfare pass more data to a platform. This and other factors have led to serious consideration and some use of Fibre Channel, 1394b (FireWire), Ethernet and AFDX (Avionics Full Duplex Switched Ethernet), other switched fabrics and MMSI-the Miniature Munitions/ Store Interface data bus. Read the full article for a more in-depth briefing.
Rockwell Collins Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA received the full delivery order amount of $5.7 million as part of a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Common Avionics Architecture System. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, IA and is expected to be complete by April 26, 2008. This was a sole source contract initiated on March 14, 2004 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (DAAH23-03-D-0015).
Raytheon Co. Space and Airborne Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems in Goleta, CA received a $92.4 million five-year order option contract for Performance Based Logistics support of the ALR-67(v)3 Radar Warning System used on the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The AN/ALR-67(V)3 RWR provides visual and audio alerts to the aircrew upon detection of ground-based, ship-based, or airborne radar emitters, providing accurate identification, lethality, and azimuth displays that help pilots get a fast picture of the situation and react appropriately.
Work will be performed in Goleta, CA and is expected to be completed by June 2010. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point issued the contract (N00383-99-D-020G).
The University of Dayton Research Institute in Dayton, OH received a $9.9 million cost-reimbursement contract to provide and maintain strong materials and processes support and engineering capability to the Air Force on an immediate and long-term basis. A partial list of UDRI’s capabilities and foci can be found here. The program will develop new and emerging technologies that can be transitioned to the Air Force for support of current and future weapons and aircraft systems, remotely piloted vehicles, space systems, launch vehicles, missile systems, and static/mobile support equipment applications.
Solicitation began June 2005, negotiations were completed August 2005, and work will be complete by January 2009. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8650-05-D-5610).