The July/August issue of Battlespace News discusses a recent report by Britain’s National Audit Office regarding the UK’s keystone BOWMAN tactical radio/communications system, part of the overarching FALCON C4SI prgram. The system has suffered from a number of difficulties, many of which are the result of the radical changes in communications technology and needs since the program was conceived in the 1980s. The vast growth in bandwidth requirements due to UAVs et. al. transmitting video, the need for far greater capabilities without providing more money, the lack of robustness and modifiability in its closed architecture software systems, the effects of BOWMAN’s lack of definition on training and doctrine, and the effects of the program on the decimated British tactical radio industry are all discussed at Battlespace News.
As those who have followed DID’s coverage of the US JTRS program are aware, many of these challenges confront other militaries as well. While BOWMAN is derived from Canadian and Australian implementations and so represents much less near-term technical risk than JTRS, the most serious deficiency over time for BOWMAN may well be the difficulties involved in modifying it to meet future needs over the next 20-30 years. Battlespace notes, for instance, that the cost of upgrading the GD Command Systems software on Bowman is about $1,000 per line of code. As such, it could prove cost-prohibitive to keep it modernized over its entire service life in order to meet the demands it will face.
Those wishing to read the NAO report in full, which mentions both BOWMAN’s successes and its shortcomings, will find the full report here [HTML page | PDF format, 1.5 MB].
New York and San Francisco have begun using the IAC 1090 Intelligent Aquatic BioMonitoring System (iABS) developed by Intelligent Automation Corporation (IAC) of Poway, CA to protect public drinking water from contamination and potential terrorism incidents. The system is also being used by the U.S. Army at Fort Detrick, MD, a development partner for the system along with the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research (USACEHR), The US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense Legacy Program. The key to this whole system? Well, a neural network processor, and… fish.
Bluegill sunfish, to be precise (for Europeans: similar to Bream).
Boeing recently announced a “multi-million dollar contract” with its wholly owned subsidiary Spectrolab, Inc. of Sylmar, CA to supply 500,000 concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cell assemblies to Solar Systems Pty. Ltd. of Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. The high-efficiency solar cell assemblies will be used at power stations that generate renewable energy for small, remote Australian communities. The assemblies will be capable of generating 11 MW of power, with efficiencies averaging about 35%.
Small business qualifier BME & Sons, Inc. in Barrigada, Guam, won a not to exceed $14.2 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for interior and exterior improvement of various facilities in the US Territory of Guam. They will be sprucing up various military facilities, which includes surface preparation; interior and exterior painting; taping, spackling, caulking and puttying; repair of flashing/sheet-metal; repair of concrete cracks and spalls; cutting/trimming of trees and shrubs in the way; painting of pavement markings, etc. Work will be performed throughout the Territory of Guam, and is expected to be complete by August 2007 (August 2011 with options). Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as a HUBZone set-aside via the NAVFAC e-solicitation website, with 6 offers received by The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas, Guam (N40192-06-D-2582).