A March 20, 2006 report published by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services is titled “Strong Funding Levels Keep U.S. Defense Contractors Prosperous,” and cites the recent Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and President Bush’s FY 2007 defense budget request. Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Christopher DeNicolo says:
“Defense budgets have risen significantly since the late 1990s and, although growth is likely to slow after 2007, the total level of funding is still significant… Higher revenues, earnings, and cash flows, coupled with divestitures of noncore assets, have allowed companies to reduce debt, pursue targeted strategic acquisitions, or return cash to shareholders through moderate share repurchase programs and increased dividends in recent years.”
AshBritt Inc. in Pompano Beach, FL received a delivery order amount of $500 million as part of a $1 billion firm-fixed-price contract for debris removal site management and debris reduction in Mississippi. Mississippi was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, though according to The Washington Post, its recovery is progressing much faster than neighbouring Louisiana’s.
Performance locations will be determined with each delivery order, and work is expected to be complete by Sept. 30, 2006. There were 35 bids solicited on March 10, 2006, and 22 bids were received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, MS (W912P8-05-D-0025).
RAFAEL joint-venture partner Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Rolling Meadows, IL received a maximum $275 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, firm fixed price contract from the USA for LITENING targeting pods, upgrades, support equipment, training, related logistics support, and pod integration support. It will support F-16 Falcon, F-15E Strike Eagle, A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II, and B-52 Stratofortress aircraft belonging to the US Air Force, Air National Guard, USAF Reserve Command, and US Marine Corps. While the version was not specified, all three services have been receiving LITENING AT pods lately. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to the maximum amount indicated above, although actual requirements may be less than the amount indicated above. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8607-04-D-2751).
Designed to improve both day and night attack capabilities, LITENING pods provide pilots with advanced image processing for target identification and coordinate generation, a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor, charge-coupled device television (CCD-TV) sensors, a laser spot tracker/ range finder, and infrared laser marker/ designators. It is fully operational 24 hours a day and in adverse weather conditions.
RAFAEL’s LITENING pod has become exceptionally popular around the world due to its exceptional performance/cost ratio, and has even begun to spin off dedicated reconnaissance derivatives. See DID’s focus article for more details, including front-line reports and an international customer list.
The idea behind Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) and Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) projects is to get advanced technology into the field more quickly by marrying new operational concepts with maturing technologies. The USA has just selected its 10 ACTD & JCTD projects for FY 2006, out of over 100 proposals.
The science and technology community of the military services, combatant commanders, and defense agencies reviewed the list of proposals for technical soundness and the potential for operational utility. The Department of Defense then selected proposals for funding based on rankings by the combatant commanders and services. There seemed to be a distinct emphasis on software projects among the winners. ACTDs included:
In response to allegations that included the involvement of middlemen and payment of commission to French firms, and a naval security breach being used for commercial advantage, India’s Ministry of Defence has released a formal statement denying the allegations, and discussing them in detail.
Small business qualifier Technologists Inc. in Roslyn, VA won a $12.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for design, renovation, and construction of Cell Block IV of a detention facility at Pol-E-Charki, Afghanistan. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 24, 2006. There were 42 bids solicited on Dec. 16, 2005, and 13 bids were received by the U.S. Army Engineer District, Afghanistan (W917PM-06-C-0002).