Over the last couple of weeks, some of you may have seen the word “Advertisement” in small letters above some of DID’s stories. We wish to emphasize to our readers that none of our stories are the result of advertisements – it’s just a technical glitch related to our ad placement management scripts.
InsideDefense.com reports that US House & Senate conferees agreed to a final version of an FY 2006 defense spending bill that reduces the multinational F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program’s funding request by $200 million, including $108 million in cuts to research, development, testing and engineering (RDT&E) funding. The US Air Force had asked for $2.6 billion, including $200 million to fund long-lead items for the purchase of five aircraft in FY 2007. The House spending bill had fully funded the $2.4 billion RDT&E request, but the Senate plan would have cut that by $270 million.
In the end, the result was closer to the Senate’s plan, and $30 million was also cut from the long-lead items budget. As DID reports below, the F-35’s dual-engine program may also be in question, a development that could have far-reaching ramifications for the JSF program. The contemplated cuts may even have ramifications for the USA’s F-22 Raptor program.
DARPA’s Grand Challenge (see “Drivers NOT Wanted…“) was so successful that they’re doing it again. Not for unmanned vehicles, but for vehicle protection. If you thought driving robotic vehicles cross-country was exciting, how about a series of “shoot-outs” aimed at creating armor twice as light as rolled homogeneous armor steel, but just as good at stopping 7.62mm and .50 caliber (12.7mm) rounds? We probably shouldn’t expect the advent of O.G.R.E’s Biphase Carbide any time soon, but it’s an interesting approach that could have interesting results.
Specifically, the FRES Integrated survivability program. “Integrated survivability” is a combination of vehicle design (stealth, shape, layout), sensors, armor, and active defensive systems inside and out. In this case, it also includes something called “electric armor.”
General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT received a $13.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the services required to staff and operate the Nuclear Regional Maintenance Department (NRMD) at SUBASE, New London. The Nuclear Regional Maintenance Department is responsible for project management, engineering and planning, training, inspection and nuclear services to accomplish intermediate-level nuclear submarine maintenance, modernization and repairs in support of operational nuclear submarines including maintaining and modernizing facilities and equipment and providing off-hull support of submarine maintenance.
A couple weeks ago layoffs seemed imminent at Electric Boat for a number of reasons: no new submarine design programs, a build rate of just 0.5 submarines per year, and the withdrawal of submarine maintenance contracts. So we asked GDEB for an explanation of how that last item reconciles with this one, and got an excellent answer from Communications Director Robert Hamilton:
ManTech International Corporation has received a contract to support the U.S. Army as a lead subcontractor to VSE Corporation. ManTech will provide a substantial level of the services ordered under the contract, including deployed sustainment management; deployed logistics and repairs management; unique system training and curriculum support; and resource management, acquisition and administrative support for unique and specialized systems. These services will be provided in Southwest Asia – including Iraq and Afghanistan.
ManTech specializes in sophisticated communication and technology equipment, providing an important support role for the U.S. soldiers on the ground and in the air. Its employees carry no weapons, but work shoulder to shoulder with the troops and are often directly embedded with the units that they support. Notably, ManTech provided support and implementation of the digital equipment that was used by the 4th Infantry Division and Task Force 121 to capture Saddam Hussein in late 2003. RE: this particular contract…
The Defensive Systems Division of Northrop Grumman Corp’s Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector in Rolling Meadows, IL has received a $6.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for continuing contractor logistics support for the LITENING II on the AV-8B. This work will be complete in December 2005, and most ($6.24 million) of the funds have already been obligated. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (F33657-00-C-2114/P00071).
The UIS Navy recently issued a pair of contracts related to specialized versions of the MH-60S Knighthawk. The contracts cover Common Console technology insertion by Lockheed Martin, and engineering design efforts from United Technologies subsidiary Sikorsky.
AMCM? Common console? All part of the US Navy’s new helicopter platform, and new focus on littoral warfare.