In a December 2005 “Elec Tricks” article, DID discussed some promising research around using AESA radars as secure high-bandwidth communications links. As you might imagine in the world of electronics, for every IEEE 1394 Firewire type breakthrough out there, there’s an incremental USB 2.0 approach, too. DID’s coverage of HyPer 1553’s boost to the MIL-STD-1553 electronics/ interface architecture is an excellent example in the military sphere. Is there an incremental option out there that offers hope for non-AESA radar fighters? There may be, thanks to a Link 16 upgrade.
DID has covered Link 16 before; jam-resistant Link 16 radios automatically exchange battlefield information – particularly locations of friendly and enemy aircraft, ships and ground forces – among themselves in a long-range, line-of-sight network. For example, air surveillance tracking data from an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft can be instantly shared with fighter aircraft in the air and air defense units on the ground. The operational advantages provided by at-a-glance portrayal of targets, threats and friendly forces, on an easy-to-understand, relative position display, are obvious.
The thing is, Link 16 was developed in the 1990s, back when we all thought 9600 bps modems were fast. Unsurprisingly, its communications aren’t designed to use or carry much bandwidth. Could it be modified to do more?
The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH has awarded an $850 million firm-fixed-price, time and materials and cost-reimbursement contract among a number of firms. It’s a consolidated acquisition of professional services approach, using indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts that will cover a wide range of technical/management support at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH.
Located near the home of the Wright Brothers’ first flight, Wright-Patterson AFB may well be the largest, most diverse and organizationally complex air base in the world. Missions range from acquisition and logistics management, to research and development via the Air force Research Laboratory, education, flight operations, and many other defense related activities. To cover support for such a wide range of activities, the contract must also have a very wide scope…
Devonport Royal Dockyard Limited (DRDL) has awarded Raytheon’s UK subsidiary (Raytheon Systems Limited) a $57 million contract to produce 16 Phalanx Block 1B upgrade kits for the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy. All 16 kits will be produced at Raytheon Missile System’s Louisville, KY, facility and installed at DRDL. The upgrade will involve introducing new, or replacing, about 20% of the components, and will require significant changes to the software.
Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. in Mesa, AZ received a $44.4 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for remanufacture of six AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters. Longbows are fairly new, but machines that have seen heavy use in Iraq and Afghanistan and taken the accompanying wear-and-tear, sand, and sometimes small arms damage often need a refurb after coming home.
Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by May 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Aug. 27, 2004 by the Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (DAAH23-00-C-0124).
Smiths Detection Inc. in Edgewood, MD received a cost-plus-incentive fee/award-fee contract for a Meteorological Mobile Facility (METMF) replacement next generation (NEXGEN) prototype. Smiths Detection will design, fabricate, integrate, deliver and test a prototype METMF-R NEXGEN system, that will replace the legacy METMF-R. This system will use current and emerging state-of-the-art technologies to offer smaller size and increased mobility/scalability, which will significantly improve the provision of meteorological and oceanographic support to the Marine Air Ground Task Force in every clime and place.
This $8 million contract includes options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $11.3 million. Work will be performed in Edgewood, MD and is expected to be complete by April 2008 (Sept. 2009 with options). This contract was competitively procured with unlimited proposals solicited and two offers received via the Commerce Business Daily’s Federal Business Opportunities website, and the SPAWAR e-Commerce Central website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, CA issued the contract (N00039-06-C-0032).