Defense Aerospace recently published a list of costs for US aircraft and helicopters, extrapolated from the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) tabled on August 10, 2006. A couple of important notes are in order to readers reviewing the figures, which will be different than the published acquisition costs per unit:
(1) All estimates include anticipated inflation allowances. Weapons programs are typically baselined at a specified year to help remove inflation as a comparison factor between weapons. On the other hand, budgeted figures over a program’s life are affected by inflation. Which figure is best depends on what you’re trying to measure.
(2) The list’s price figures are calculated by dividing the total program cost by the number of units, which amortizes R&D costs and some support costs. That’s why the list’s calculations put the C-17 at $330.8 million, for instance, even though recent contracts indicate that Australia paid $195 million per plane for its C-17s.
Subjects discussed included how the job of Fleet Forces Command has evolved since its creation in 2001, global piracy, the “thousand ship navy” concept, new directions in anti-mine warfare, developments related to the Littoral Combat Ship and its program innovations, et. al. The answers were substantive, and the interview is worth your while.
AT&T Government Solutions, Inc. in Honolulu, HI received a firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract with a base period of 6 years with up to 4 one-year options and a maximum ceiling amount of $250 million. This contract will provide the primary inter- and intra-base telecommunications services for the Department of Defense (DoD) in the State of Hawaii, providing end-to-end common user switched and dedicated transmission services. Other authorized users may include US federal, state, and local agencies.
The requirement was solicited and awarded on a full and open competition basis, with solicitation announced via the Federal Business Opportunities (FEDBIZOPPS) website; 2 proposals were received. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization – Pacific (DITCO-Pacific) issued the contract (HC1019-06-D-2002).
BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte), has been awarded a contract worth over GBP 200 million (about $350 million at current conversion) to design and manufacture the FALCON communications system for controlling combat operations at corps, divisional and brigade level.
The IP-based FALCON system is due to enter service in 2010, and a recent contract with Thales has brought the program back to our attention.
Back in January 2006, DID covered Israel’s second upgrade program for its F-15 A-D fleet, aimed at making them more versatile multi-role aircraft. At the time, DID noted that the Israeli efforts were a possible model for similar American efforts, as the USAF tries to keep its fighter fleet at an acceptable strength despite the high procurement costs for its new F-22s and F-35s.
UPDATE: See “F-15s Looking for the AESA Edge” for updates related to the addition of multi-role AESA radars. Note that additional enhancements will be required to make the F-15C a truly multi-role aircraft.
DID has covered the rising importance of titanium, as well as recent joint ventures and mergers designed to take advantage, political controversies, et. al. The MER-DuPont Titanium Consortium in Tucson, AZ recently received a $3.8 million increment of a $5.7 million technology investment agreement. Under the agreement, the consortium will design, build and demonstrate an electrolyzer to produce low-cost titanium from titanium oxide. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (88%) and Wilmington, DE (12%) and will be completed in August 2008 (HR0011-06-3-0007).
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) issued a solicitation in Federal Business Opportunities on February 8, 2005, and over 100 proposals were received.