The U.S. Army has been issuing a number of contracts related to the Stryker family of armored vehicles lately. While DID doesn’t cover every one of these announcements, we thought we’d cover every announcement in September 2006, just to give our readers a kind of “fiscal year-end month in the life” flavor for what it takes to maintain the fleet.
The Stryker is known elsewhere as the General Dynamics MOWAG LAV III, in which capacity it serves with several western armies. The basic ICV armored personnel carrier chassis provides a base for a number of variants, from ambulance to mortar carrier to command and control to new variants like the M1128 Stryker Mobile Gun System pictured above, with its 105mm gun for direct fire support of infantry operations. While their tires put them at a disadvantage to tracks in terms of off-road possibilities and hence tactical movement options, the Strykers are well liked in the Iraqi theater despite the IED threat. In that theater, road patrols are a critical part of the military mission itself, and the CONOPS(Concept of Operations) emphasizes mobility from bases rather than alternative strategies like reinforced Roman-style checkpoints at regular intervals along key roads. The Styker ICV’s high tech electronics, high top speed, ability to put many miles on its odometer without creating major problems, and protection levels are well matched to this approach, which has led to very positive reviews from the field.
Announced contracts this month are all chronicled now, though later clarifications are possible as releases provide additional details. The total is around $121.5 million …
The fifth-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. This DID focus article covers both sides of that controversy, and also addresses key events and procurement decisions that took place during FY 2006 (October 1, 2005 – October 1, 2006).
This year, the award is a $306.5 million firm-fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract modification, exercising option VIII and option H for FY 2007. Work will be complete at the end of September 2007. The Headquarters Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, OK issued the contract (F34601-98-C-0125/P00214). DID has left an enquiry with the US military asking about this 34% cost jump, and the factors behind it.
The T-45 Training System includes T-45 Goshawk aircraft, advanced flight simulators, computer-assisted instructional programs, a computerized training integration system, and a contractor logistics support package. The integration of all five elements is designed to produce a superior pilot in less time and at lower cost than previous training systems.
The US Navy used the T-45TS to train its pilots for the transition to modern jet fighters – and carrier landings. This is not a risk-free assignment, by any means; nevertheless, it’s a critical link in the naval aviation chain. DID recaps its coverage of the complete T45TS system, notes the budgetary figures, and covers the FY 2006 contracts. See this link for coverage beyond 2006, which also includes the contracts and material noted below.
The launch comes at an appropriate time for the program, as the Navy’s proposed FY 2007 budget requests $521 million to buy 2 Littoral Combat Ships. The House-reported version of the FY2007 defense appropriations bill (H.R. 5631) recommends approval, but the Senate’s reported version recommends a 2-ship cut by funding just one LCS in FY 2007, plus rescinding funding for one of the 3 LCS ships procured in FY 2006. In the background, the US Congressional Research Service released its updated report on July 26, 2006: “Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS): Background and Issues for Congress.”
DID has updated our LCS Focus Article to include all of this information. Team Lockheed’s design is still competing wth a General Dynamics/Austal-led space-enhancing trimaran design for the final LCS Flight 1 production award, and may also be bought by the Israeli Navy as an independent transaction.
J&E Associates, Inc. in Silver Spring, MD received a $5.5 million time & materials contract for the New Parent Support Program, to assist Marines and their families as they prepare to integrate a child into the home. The contract includes 3 option years, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $22.1 million.
Work will be performed at Quantico, VA (20%); Camp Lejune, NC (20%); MCAS Cherry Point, NC (20%); Camp Pendleton, CA (20%); Twenty Nine Palms, CA (10%); and Kaneohe Bay, HI (10%), and is expected to be complete by September 2010 if all options are exercised. This contract was competitively procured through Navy Electronic Commerce On-line site, with 3 offers received. The Regional Contracting Office Northeast at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA issued the contract (M000264-06-C-0014).
“In the last 5 years, the Department of Defense (DOD) has doubled its planned investments in new weapon systems from about $700 billion in 2001 to nearly $1.4 trillion in 2006. While the weapons that DOD develops have no rival in superiority, weapon systems acquisition remains a long-standing high risk area. GAO’s reviews over the past 30 years have found consistent problems with weapon acquisitions such as cost increases, schedule delays, and performance shortfalls. In addition, DOD faces several budgetary challenges that underscore the need to deliver its new weapon programs within estimated costs and to obtain the most from these investments. This report provides congressional and DOD decision makers with an independent, knowledge-based assessment of selected defense programs that identifies potential risks and needed actions when a program’s projected attainment of knowledge diverges from the best practices.”
DID has offered a lot of C-17 coverage recently, including the Lexington Institute’s scathing characterization of the impending production line shutdown as “The Dumbest Weapons Decision of the Decade” as well as international orders by NATO (13-nation pool), Australia, Britain, and Canada. Past coverage has also included the Talent-Lieberman bill, which passed in the Senate as part of Congressional efforts to keep C-17 production alive and fund a larger fleet than the reduced figure of 180 aircraft that the Pentagon was willing to settle for. Now Senator Talent [R-MO] announced that he has secured funding for a total of 10 more C-17s in the Senate-House Defense Appropriations Conference Report for FY 2007. This $2.1 billion addition will be popular back home, as the C-17 supply chain and production lines include several thousand workers in Missouri. See Sen. Talent’s release.
The Pentagon was going to request 8 planes to finish up production, and initial talk was for another 3 to provide extra replacements given the fleet’s accelerated wear. This new bill adds 7 more planes to make 18, bringing the US fleet to 191 (Sen. Talent also secured $227.5 million for the purchase of an additional C-17 aircraft in the 2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act). Foreign production (4 Australia, 5 Britain, 4 Canada, 4 NATO) will bring the lifetime production total to about 208, though there aren’t all that many more foreign customer expected. With new orders set at 32 more planes (1+8+10+4+1+4+4), the Long Beach, CA plant has just over 2 more years of production left before its closure. This stretches its shut-down date from mid-2008 to early 2009.
Beginning on October 1, 2006, the USAF has announced that Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) will assume responsibility for sustainment across the force, becoming the USAF executive agent for programming, budgeting and execution. In practical terms, it means that money previously allocated to each major command to cover costs such as fuel (a growing issue), replacement parts and scheduled maintenance will eventually be funneled into one central pot and managed by AFMC. The program used to be called the Future Financials Initiative, but was broadened to “Centralized Asset Management” (CAM) to reflect its widened focus.