Lots of news today covering the Iranians’ reputed test of a “sonar-evading underwater missile… General Fadavi said only one other country, Russia, had a missile that moved underwater as fast as the Iranian one, which he said had a speed of about 225 miles per hour.” The allusion being made here is to a Russian design called the VA-111 Shkval, a “supercavitating” torpedo that attains its speed by riding in a bubble of superheated vapor.
Defense Tech has an excellent article with all kinds of useful links and background including video of the test, the Russian Shkval and its history, and western efforts to develop related weapons. Noah’s caveat about Iran not having a great reputation for truthfulness is wise, especially given the fact that it’s looking to project a threatening posture around closing the Straits of Hormuz right now. The one thing he doesn’t stress, but is important to know: the Shkval is very fast, but unguided.
“But it wasn’t meant to be. Darpa took away the fiscal year 2006 funding for the Walrus. And the agency’s 2007 budget request calls for “termination of the Walrus effort.” Now, the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command had its own plans for a heavy-hauling airship, too. I’m checking to see if they’re still interested. Keep your fingers crossed.”
Actually, as a DARPA source notes, Congress canceled the walrus effort by zeroing the program in the FY06 Appropriations. It’s interesting to counterpoise that decision with this recent information…
As DID noted in its focus article covering the $14-18 billion TSAT program and the future of the US SATCOM network, the U.S. has a big choice to make in 2007. It will either decide to build the TSAT system on its current schedule for launch in 2013-2016, or it will postpone TSAT, take stopgap measures and add Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites 4 & 5 to the three AEHF satellites slated for launch from 2009-2012. Lockheed Martin and Boeing have won major risk reduction contracts for the TSAT SS satellite system, in hopes of making that Plan B unnecessary.
One of the key risk areas is laser communications, which uses precisely-aimed, modulated beams of light fired through space to transmit vast amounts of data. Northrop-Grumman and Team Lockheed recently announced the successful completion of a preliminary lasercom compatibility test at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.
Oshkosh Truck Corp. in Oshkosh, WI received a $169.2 million fixed-price-delivery order under a previously awarded basic requirements contract (M67854-04-D-5016) for 536 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) cargo vehicles, 190 MTVR tractor vehicles and associated kits.
Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, and is expected to be complete in April 2008. This was a sole source delivery order on behalf of the Marine Corps Systems Command, in Quantico, VA.
Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corp. in Redondo Beach, CA received a $16.7 million cost-plus award fee contract modification to the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program. The money covers an Engineering Change proposal to mitigate the adverse effects of radio frequency interference on the Conical Scanning Microwave Imager/Sounder (CMIS) instrument stemming from man-made radio frequency transmitters on the ground. The modification will result in a redesign of the system to incorporate sub-banding.
The CMIS is being developed by Boeing Satellite System (BSS), a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman Space Technology, and this change affects both satellites in the phase of this contract. The National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service in Silver Springs, MD issued the contract (FO4701-02-C-0502/P00057).
Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI received a not-to-exceed $38.7 million firm-fixed-price/ cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-6324) for Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of five AN/AQS-20A sonar mine detecting systems and associated engineering services around test and delivery. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (88%) and Tucson, AZ (12%), and is expected to be completed by March 2010. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C issued the contract. See Raytheon’s press release as well.
The AN/AQS-20A sonar is used for mine detection work in deep or shallow waters, in direct organic support of Carrier Strike Groups and Expeditionary Strike Groups. It can be towed by an MH-60S Knight Hawk helicopter, where it is a component of the organic airborne mine countermeasures system (AMCM) set. It can also be towed behind a WLD-1 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, as a part of the Flight 0 Littoral Combat Ship’s mine warfare mission module.
Small business qualifier GFS Group in Hagatna, Guam won an estimated $7.3 million for Modification P00001 under a previously awarded combination firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity and time and material contract (N40192-05-D-9005). This win exercises the first option period for housing operations and maintenance services for various naval installations in the Territory of Guam for the Commander, Naval Forces Marianas. The current total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $11.8 million.
Work will be performed at various housing areas in the U. S. Territory of Guam, and the expected completion date is March 2007. The basic contract was competitively procured via the NAVFAC e-solicitation website, with seven proposals received and award made on May 10, 2005. The potential total contract amount (base and option periods) is not to exceed $26.5 million. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Marianas in Guam issued the contract.