Teal Group analysts predict that an estimated 600,000 missiles valued at $103.7 billion are expected to be built throughout the world between 2006-2015. They released their forecast at Asian Aerospace 2006, in Singapore’s Changi Exhibition Centre.
Surface-air missiles (SAMs) still constitute the largest single missile market (48,194 missiles/ $24.3 billion/ 23.4%), followed by air-to-surface attack missiles headed in the other direction (41,610/ $16.3 billion/ 15.7%). They’ll be accompanied by the third-place category smart munitions, which have rocketed upward to a forecast of 273,635 guided bombs and 38,615 smart AT munitions ($13.8 billion/ 13.3%)…
The Elbit/ Rockwell-Collins joint venture Vision Systems International, LLC (VSI) in San Jose, CA received a firm fixed price contract for $156 million from Lockheed Martin, as part of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. This new contract expands the company’s effort to include provision of pilot flight gear, including the oxygen mask and chemical/ biological hazard protection. VSI was previously awarded a contract to design the advanced JSF Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and Lockheed Martin informed VSI that it has been selected to supply JSF HMDS to all domestic and international F-35 customers. See corporate release.
Principal suppliers include Elbit Systems Ltd. (display Management Computer, contains advanced graphic processing and head tracking); Rockwell Collins, (helmet Mounted Display, including advanced optical design); and Helmet Integrated Systems Ltd. of the UK (helmet shell and pilot personal fitting system).
DID has covered its predecessor the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS) before, from its revolutionary effect on air combat when used with high off-boresight 4th generation SRAAMs like the AIM-9X Sidewinder, AA-11 Archer et. al., to the program’s rocky but ultimately successful history as a key companion to US F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 aircraft. JSF HMDS takes this one step further, providing day or night imagery that applies to both air and ground attacks; it also features advanced head tracking capability and near-zero latency, in order to provide a virtual heads-up display and imagery screen anywhere the pilot’s head moves. Since the F-35 will be the first tactical fighter jet in over 30 years to fly without a HUD, this capability is mandatory.
The US Army’s program manager for the $120+ billion Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team was recently speaking in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual winter conference. He said they want a common computing environment throughout FCS’s myriad vehicles, flying UAVs, UGV ground robots, sensors et. al.
Maj. Gen. Charles Cartwright added that Linux running on Intel-based computers seems to provide the best common operating environment and central processing unit for computers in FCS, as it works best with the service’s current and future applications.
The Australian Defence Force’s ability to successfully conduct maritime operations is highly dependent on the exchange of operational information between ships, aircraft and land units. To make that goal more of a reality, the Australian government recently announced a pair of initiatives that will spend A$ 100 million to modernize communications aboard a number of its vessels. Technical priorities will include transitioning to packet-based switching (IP) networks, wide-area networking, and improved satellite communications.
The government notes that this move is a significant step in its modernization plan towards Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) capability. These projects will allow deployed ships to establish computer-based wide area networks at sea via broadband satellite communication et. al., allowing Navy to rapidly move information around its ships, share tactical information, communicate with headquarters and allies, and improve quality of life provisions for sailors by improving their email and internet access capabilities so they can stay in touch with loved ones.
So, what are the projects, what’s going on, what kind of follow-up buys are expected, and which vessels are affected?
Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ received a $35.7 million ceiling priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0006). It exercises an option for the procurement of 127 AIM-9X Sidewinder short range air-air missiles, 22 Captive Air Training Missiles that have the seeker head and electronics but no rocket motor, and 41 containers for the government of Turkey under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The sale is a logical counterpart to Turkey’s ongoing F-16 modernization program.
Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (84%); Rocket Center, WVA (13%); and Andover, MA (3%) and is expected to be complete in March 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
Dick Pacific Construction Co. Ltd. in Honolulu, HI won a $24.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for Drum Road upgrade Phase I. Work will be performed in Oahu, HI and is expected to be complete by Sept. 2, 2009. There were five bids solicited on Aug. 18, 2005, and three bids were received by the Army Engineer District at Fort Shafter, HI (W9128A-06-C-0003).
Our February 22, 2006 article “Is The End Near for the USS JFK?” describes the shifts on Capitol Hill that could leave the USA with one fewer carrier, but the process has been frustrating for all concerned. Likewise, the photo of the JFK with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the background and its crew spelling out “I [love] NY” on the deck has been somewhat frustrating over the past couple of days. It’s fixed now, both here and in the original article.