In its search to improve aircraft maintenance turnaround and improve quality, The US Air Force spliced elements of several civilian efficiency programs to develop “Smart Operations 21” (AFSO 21). The program is based on both Lean and Six Sigma business process improvement tools, and focuses on saving time and money, reducing waste and improving quality. The January 9, 2006 article “Air Force improving production with Smart Operations 21” describes the concepts behind Smart Operations 21, some examples of changes made as a result of applying these principles, and its envisioned applicability beyond aircraft maintenance and logistics.
Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, USA has already applied a number of related principles to its efforts. As the 58th Maintenance Group’s commander Col. Debra Shattuck noted:
Textron Systems Corp. in Wilmington, MA received a $108.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 332 Full Rate Production (FRP) Sensor Fuzed Weapons (SFW), in support of the F-16 aircraft. Work will be complete by March 2008, and the Headquarters Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, FL issued the contract (FA8677-06-C-0010). There is no contract modification number at this time.
What’s a “Sensor Fuzed Weapon,” and how does that relate to the title?
The U.S. Navy has now awarded Lockheed Martin $144.3 million for continued development of the ADS under an option to a $21 million contract awarded in 2004, a rapidly deployable undersea surveillance system. Under the option, Lockheed Martin will provide system engineering, detailed design and program management required to conduct a Detailed Design Review and build a system that will be deployed from a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for technical and operational evaluation. If all options of the ADS contract are exercised, the cumulative value will be $243 million.
Now Raytheon Co. in El Segundo, CA has received a $91.8 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0310), exercising an option for 50 Full Rate Production Lot 4 AN/AQ-228 ATFLIR pods for the F/A-18 C/D Hornet aircraft. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX (76%) and El Segundo, CA (24%), and is expected to be complete in November 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
In Afghanistan, most Afghan National Army (ANA) units use either VHF radios that have a maximum range of 40 kilometers or standard cell phones to contact each other. At present, messages are sometimes relayed from operator to operator until they reach their destination, with obvious time and accuracy problems. Tactical communications are critical in a guerilla war, so how does one solve this problem in an environment like Afghanistan?
It’s a problem that isn’t confined to Afghanistan – indeed, it’s present in many US cities among first responders. So what did they do in Afghanistan? Enter Raytheon JPS’ Advanced Control Unit-Tactical, or ACU-T.
DID has now updated our January 4, 2006 article “ROVER Sics TacAir on America’s Enemies.” DID described the Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) system, and the major changes it was bringing to tactical air support. DID has modified that article to include comments by USAF Lt. Gen. Walter E. Buchanan III, commander of 9th Air Force and US Central Command Air Forces. General Buchanan vividly illustrated the complications and workarounds inherent in previous way of doing things as he discussed the 2004 Battle of Fallujah in the January 2006 issue of Air Force Magazine.