Back in January 2006, DID covered a GAO report that pegged the average for active duty enlisted personnel and officer compensation at $112,000 a year, 51% of which takes the form of health care and other benefits. Not only were those benefits not driving motivating retention in proportion to their compensation competitiveness, a series of benefits increases were driving up costs rapidly in the short term. Over the longer term, meanwhile, a single health care benefit extension enacted in 2000 was estimated have a true financial statement liability of $293 billion.
DID readers who had perused “US Military Benefits Costs Spiraling” were unsurprised, therefore, when our coverage of the proposed FY 2007 US defense budget noted a number of new provisions aimed at controlling the rise in health care costs. Now Tom Philpott of “Military Update” covers the resulting debate. Under-secretary of Defense David S. C. Chu noted that military health costs, which have doubled since 2001, could double again by 2015. Nevertheless, raising TRICARE fees and co-payments from their previous static amounts is provoking opposition.
Anchor Industries in Evansville, IN received a maximum $120 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract for shelters for Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. Anchor specializes in tents, including some that combine tent portability with tension structure characteristics. Proposals were Gateway solicited and 10 responded, and multiple five year contracts will be awarded. Date of performance completion is April 11, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA (SPM1C1-06-6005).
Some have wondered, in the context of tents used in hurricane-prone areas like the Gulf Coast and war zones like Iraq, whether there might be a better way that would offer more security, durability, and even military flexibility…
Back in DID’s article about the Transformation Satellite Network (T-SAT), we noted Iridium’s corporate fiasco as something of a cautionary example associated with ultra-complex, expensive communications architectures and changing assumptions. Motorola’s multi-billion dollar satellite network was eventually sold for pennies on the dollar, and now carries very low-bandwidth traffic for the US military. Along these lines, Iridium Government Services LLC in Tempe, AZ, was recently awarded a pair of sole-source estimated firm-fixed-price contracts by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization – National Capital Region.
The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a $52 million contract to provide more than 200 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) to protect Army fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft against infrared guided missile threats, under an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract awarded in September 2004. BAE Systems’ CMWS program director Dr. Conrad Struckman said the Army had asked BAE Systems to field this equipment as quickly as possible. In response, BAE accelerated CMWS deliveries to 40 systems a month and climbing and sent employees to support the equipment in theater.
AN/AAR-57 CMWS (click to view labeled)
ATIRCM/CMWS is the US military’s next-generation directable, multi-band laser-based countermeasures system, designed to protect helicopters and attack aircraft against widely deployed heat-seeking missile threats. Together, the AN/AAR-57 CMWS, BAE Systems’ AN/ALQ-212 Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system, and advanced IR countermeasures munitions flares comprise the primary components of the Army’s suite of integrated infrared countermeasures (SIIRCM).
BAE Systems received a $10.4 million contract from General Dynamics Canada to provide 31 AN/ALQ-144A(V)5 countermeasure systems, spares, and integrated logistics support for Canada’s 28 new CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters, a variant of the H-92 Superhawk medium-lift helicopter. Under an agreement with overall program prime contractor Sikorsky International Operations Inc., General Dynamics Canada will be responsible for integrating the multi-sensor mission systems into the Cyclones.
BAE Systems’ ALQ-144A (also known as “the disco ball”) is a lightweight countermeasures set that protects helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft against surface-to-air and air-to-air infrared homing missiles by creating multiple apparent sources of heat radiation. It also equips other Canadian helicopters, and more than 6,000 ALQ-144 systems are currently in use throughout the world. Writing in a February 2003 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, however, David Rockwell of the Teal Group didn’t sound dazzled:
The Boeing Company will invest $1.5 billion, directly and indirectly, in India’s aerospace industry as part of its $6 billion deal with national carrier Air India for 68 aircraft. The money will reportedly be used to set up facilities; conduct research and development; build a major maintenance, rrepair, and overhaul facility; and source software and other equipment. RTT News reported that: “Boeing, at present works with Wipro, Infosys, TCS and HCL Technologies, is looking at increasing the amount of work given to these companies.”
While civil jet deals are usually outside of Boeing’s purview, it is currently bidding for a pair of significant defense contracts in which industrial offsets may play a major role. It has formally offered India up to eight 737-derived P-8A MMA maritime patrol aircraft, and its F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet is a contender for India’s MRCA fighter competition. The growing Indian industrial base and connections that Boeing is developing for civil purposes could well end up being leveraged in other contexts as well.