In early November, Bloomberg and other news services were reporting that a recent draft of the Defense Department’s Mobility Capabilities Study recommended ending purchases of C-17 Globemaster IIIs beyond the 180 currently budgeted. This is 40 planes less than the Air Force’s stated requirements of 220 aircraft, and DID has also noted that the existing fleet is wearing out prematurely due to its accumulation of flying hours over Kosovo, in international humanitarian missions, and during the War on Terror. Without additional orders, however, Aviation Week reported an estimated shutdown of Boeing’s C-17 production line in 2008.
While there is admittedly an element of contractor influence games here, if the production contract ends and no further orders are expected, options tend to dwindle somewhat. Late last week, however, the US Senate approved a measure that would keep the C-17 production line open.
Capitol Hill staffers finally received a preview of the Pentagon’s long-awaited Mobility Capabilities Study, a comprehensive review intended to define the mix of aircraft and ships the military needs to transport troops and supplies, provide air-air refueling, etc. The lengthy mobility report will detail several what-if scenarios, as well as the risks the military will incur if the anticipated size and makeup of its air and sea fleet changes over time.
On September 23, 2005, DID reported on the Czech government’s tender to procure 199-234 modern 8×8 wheeled armored vehicles to replace its outdated, Soviet-era, BTR-60 derivative OT-64 SKOT armored personnel carriers (APCs). This contract is the biggest in the history of the Czech Army, and the competition has now come down to two finalists.
At the end of the first round, the Czech Ministry of Defence had named four semi-finalist firms for the $1 billion program:
Computer Sciences Corp. Federal Sector in Falls Church, VA received a cost-plus-award-fee contract modification: a non-competitive $243.1 million extension to the existing contract for scientific, engineering and technical assistance support to the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Program. Work will be performed in the following areas: system engineering, integration, test and evaluation, operations, security, and business management. The main effort will take place at Computer Sciences Corp. in Arlington, VA, but work will also be performed in Fairfax, VA and Huntsville, AL. This work involves a 15-month base period and two six-month options, and is expected to be complete by January 2008, inclusive of options. The Missile Defense Agency issued the contract (HQ0006-03-C-0003). See also:
Tanks Delivered: 77 Repo men needed: 0 Safer elections: Priceless
Last week, we ran a story about 77 refurbished Hungarian T-72 tanks, headed for the Middle East and slated to form the core of Iraq’s first reconstituted armored division. They were scheduled to arrive just in time to provide additional security for Iraq’s December 2005 National Assembly elections… if they didn’t get impounded first for non-payment of bills.
Defense Solutions wrote over the weekend to let DID know that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense has now fulfilled their obligation and paid in full. Delivery will proceed on schedule. Meanwhile, CENTCOM writes to explain the problem:
The Global Autonomous Language Exploitation (GALE) program aims to develop computer software technologies that can absorb, analyze and interpret huge volumes of speech and text in multiple languages. The idea is that automatic processing “engines” will convert and distill the data, delivering pertinent, consolidated information in easy-to-understand forms to military personnel and monolingual English-speaking analysts in response to direct or implicit requests. GALE will consist of three major engines: Transcription, Translation and Distillation.
As an aside, we suspect that many decision-makers would be even more pleased to have a system that displayed this capability with computer, business, and military jargon/acronyms.
Contracts under this Defense Advanced Research Project Agency program include…
Hensel Phelps Construction Co. in Chantilly, VA received an $182.9 million modification to a fixed-price-incentive with award-fee contract for wedge four design and construction at The Pentagon. Work will be performed in Arlington, VA and is expected to be complete by Sept. 27, 2009. This was a sole source contract initiated on Jan. 19, 2001 by the Pentagon Renovation and Construction Program Office in Arlington, VA (MDA947-01-C-2001). Note that the wedge of the Pentagon hit during 9/11 was Wedge 1, as this methodical analysis of the 757’s impact illustrates.
H. Koch & Sons Co. in Anaheim, CA received a $20 million firm-fixed-price contract for the improved Humvee vehicle restraint systems. H. Koch was a luggage company in the early 1900s, but now specializes in high performance aircrew restraints for ejection seats, parachute canopy releases, et. al. A fleet of custom 007 Humvees probably aren’t on the way, but the lessons learned undoubtedly transfer.
Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA, and is expected to be complete by Nov. 4, 2007. This was a sole-source contract initiated on Oct. 24, 2005 by the Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-06-C-0052).