The state of the Corps’ new CH-53K Improved Super Stallion programaging CH-53 aircraft leads to a high maintenance burden (44:1 maintenance:flying hours). Maintenance costs money, so it’s hardly surprising that United Technologies subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT received a $97.6 million firm-fixed-price requirements Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract for the repair/overhaul of 10 dynamic components for the H-53 aircraft. H-53 aircraft include the CH-53E Super Stallion med-heavy transport that can transport up to 55 troops or 15 tons of cargo, as well as MH-53E Sea Dragon minesweeper and MH-53M Pave Low IV combat search and rescue/ special forces helicopter.
This Performance Based Logistics contract consists of one five-year base period, and one five year option period, bringing the total estimated value of the contract if all options are exercised to $219.2 million. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC (60%), and Stratford, CT (40%), and is expected to be completed by February 2010. This contract was awarded on a sole source basis to the original manufacturer, one firm was solicited and one offer was received. The Naval Inventory Control Point issued the contract (N00383-06-D-003F).
Turkey and the Netherlands recently awarded Rheinmetall AG of Dusseldorf, Germany contracts for large-calibre tank and artillery ammunition worth some EUR 79 million ($94 million at current conversion).
While US APFS-DS tank rounds use depleted uranium, the DM 63 uses hardened tungsten. Its new temperature-independent powder makes it suitable for use in extreme climate zones without limitation, which is important because Germany’s tank fire-sales and the Rheinmetall 120mm gun’s popularity abroad has created a customer base of roughly 20 countries that use their gun. The Rh 40 DM 131, meanwhile, is a 155mm artillery shell with a reported maximum range of over 40 km, and “insensitive explosives” that are far less prone to “cook off” if hit by enemy fire. With respect to the individual orders.
DID’s in-depth article covering DARPA’s project for the 1-2 million pound (500-1,000 ton) WALRUS Hybrid Ultra-Large Aircraft (HULA) blimp-aircraft remains perennially popular. There’s something about a 1,000 foot long blimp-like aircraft that can lift a full battalion and ship them 8,000 miles in a week, without requiring landing strips or in-depth infrastructure, that appeals to the imagination. DARPA expects to pick a winning design in September 2006, and award a $100 million contract for a prototype airship. The LA Times reports that if WALRUS works out, the total contract could be worth up to $11 billion over 30 years.
Two firms won the $3 million preliminary design contracts: Lockheed’s fabled “Skunkworks,” producers of “impossible” aircraft like the U-2 Dragon Lady and SR-71 Blackbird – and a small California firm called Aeros made up of Russian emigres. A recent LA Times story profiles Worldwide Aeros, noting their confidence (“In reality we don’t feel Lockheed is our technical competitor… There is only one solution, and we have that one solution.”), quality of proposal (“seemed outstanding,” said one evaluator), revenues ($10 million expected this year from selling ad blimps), and company origins. CEO Igor Pasternak and colleagues began designing mammoth airships in Russia as a way to transport heavy cargo to Siberia’s remote oil fields, and future plans for their design also extend to “cruise ships in the sky.” They aren’t the only ones who can imagine extensive civilian spin-offs from this technology; of course, notes Pasternak, “it can totally change how you conduct warfare.”
In “One Small Step for a UAV, One Big Step for FCS Class I,” DID offered in-depth covered Honeywell’s Class I UAV Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), which has an inside track to become the US Army’s Future Combat Systems’ Class I platoon-level UAV. In a sign that efforts are stepping up, United Industrial Corporation subsidiary AAI has now received a $1.7 million order from Honeywell Aerospace for 55 Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) airframes, extending AAI’s current contract with Honeywell for MAV support until November 2006. In this funding phase, AAI will incorporate new design innovations into the airframe and build and deliver the 55 vehicles for final systems integration. They will be used in DARPA’s Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program.
An announcement from secure messaging vendor Sigaba noted that the recent Trident Warrior ’05 annual FORCEnet exercise had experimentation and risk were built into the event, rather than being strictly a demonstration or showcase of proven technologies. That’s certainly a plus. Apparently, the primary goal was to deliver a supportable, sustainable warfighting capability, complete with Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and support training. The Sigaba secure email technology, deployed on all participating vessels, was being evaluated for potential use as a tactical messaging solution in the Allied-Coalition environment.
Rockwell Collins Inc. Government Systems in Cedar Rapids, IA received a $58.6 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification. This contract modification exercises production options for the purchase of 25,000 Defense Advanced GPS Receivers (DAGRs) and accessories. The DAGR will serve as a replacement for the Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (PLGR) in integrated platforms as well as the advanced and basic GPS user. It provides authorized Department of Defense (DoD) and foreign military sales (FMS) users of GPS User Equipment (UE) a Precise Positioning System (PPS), hand-held, dual-frequency (L1/L2), lightweight receiver (less than one pound) that incorporates the nest generation, tamper-resistant GPS “SAASM” (Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module) security module.
Raytheon Co. in Portsmouth, RI received a $31.8 million firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-6207). As the prime systems integrator for the Virginia Class submarines’ combat control suite (CCS), Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems will procure, produce, test and integrate all combat control hardware and software, including tactical software and logistics support, delivering the advanced communication, navigation and weapon launch capabilities for the next five Virginia Class submarines (#6-10). Under the contract, Raytheon will also provide combat control system modernization and upgrades for the first two submarines of the Virginia class, the USS Virginia [SSN 774] and USS Texas [SSN 775].
The Virginia class submarine combat control subsystem (CCS) is made up of a number of elements.
Overseas Leasing Group (OLG), Inc. in Wilmington, DE received a $14.8 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite quantity, firm-fixed-price contract for a minimum of 150 vehicles leases in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to the maximum amount indicated above, although actual requirements may necessitate less. Solicitations began in December 2005, negotiations were complete in January 2006 and work will be complete by April 2006. The leases will run for one year plus four option years, and will be held by the Department of Defense, Office of Security Cooperation – Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan (W913TY-06-D-0001).
Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. [R-OK] is looking to quickly hire a DoD /DHS /Intel /Foreign Policy staffer with solid non-intern hill experience (non-negotiable) in those areas, preferably with DoD or DHS focus rather than foreign assistance or State dept focus. Solid knowledge of the legislative process and experience interacting with political and programmatic leadership at relevant agencies necessary. Experience negotiating bills and preparing Members for hearings, markups, and floor action strongly preferred.
The focus of the work will be oversight investigations and hearings into financial management and procurement issues, and identifying waste at DoD, DHS and USAID; but some bigger-picture foreign policy hearings would be on the agenda too.
The position would be shared between Chairman Coburn’s personal office doing higher-level legislative assistant work (a deputy LA is in place to help with constituent meetings, editing letters, etc.), and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s “Federal Financial Management, Government Information and International Security” subcommittee. Pay is commensurate with experienced senate LA or mid-level committee professional staff, at $50,000-75,000 per year.
Please email resume to Liz_Scranton -at- hsgac -dot- senate -dot- gov. No phone calls please.
DID Background Comments
Sen. Coburn’s office described him to DID as “a staunch social and fiscal conservative so devoted to the national security mission that he is willing to take on the Pentagon and DHS, with as much vigor as necessary, in order to eliminate waste that undermines that security.”
Anyone who thinks that this is mere puffery should consider that Sen. Coburn became somewhat infamous for taking an unpopular stand against his colleagues that eventually killed the Alaskan “bridge to nowhere.” He’s also a prominent and public opponent of Congressional earmarks. His staff’s description is likely to be predictive of the position’s intensity, therefore, and candidates need to be prepared to thrive in that kind of environment. If such warnings entice you rather than scaring you, please contact Ms. Scranton.