With the coming of the holiday season, Defense Industry Daily’s publication schedule has slowed somewhat. Both December 25 & 26 were non-publishing days, and DID will not publish on Mon Dec 31/07 or Tues Jan 1/08 either.
2007 has been a year of growth for DID, and 2008 promises to be a very significant year for our publication. A number of new features are in various stages of development, and we look forward to rolling them out to you all in the new year. We’re always interested in your ideas, so if you have a couple minutes to spare at this time of year, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to drop editorial@ a line here at defenseindustrydaily.com to talk to us about features you’d like to see, propose better ways of leveraging professional online resources like LinkedIn et. al. and/or industry professional groups, and generally offer any thoughts you may not have expressed in our recent reader survey (which can still be filled out, if you haven’t done it yet).
Meanwhile, our editor recently spent some time at both AMARG/Davis-Monthan, and the Pima Air & Space Museum. Joe recommends both venues very highly, and he reports a very interesting conversation with a long-time intelligence professional who was in town on business. All we can say is, we value your ongoing readership – and we really hope our intel friend in red had you on the right list…
Survivable Laser-guided Exactitude Integrated Gift Handling system
On Dec 25th, UK servicemen and women posted overseas in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and the Falkland Islands receive a Christmas box filled with gifts. Inspired by a tradition that dates back to the First World War, the Christmas box program was established 3 years ago by charity UK4U; this year, they distributed gifts to more than 25,000 British troops. The final send off for the items took place on Dec 22/07 this year, and the UK MoD has a feature describing their receipt.
What a fine idea. This worthy program is made possible by industry sponsors, including:
Angliss BAE Systems
Cooneen Watts & Stone
Fleet Air Arm Association
Fretwell Downing Hospitality
Gifts by Design
J C Bamford Excavators
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Marks and Spencer
NP Aerospace (England)
Nuffield Trust for Forces of the Crown
PA Consulting Group
Purple Food Service Solutions
Royal Photographic Society
Sodexho Defence Service
Twinings of London
Yellow Ribbon Foundation
Dec 26/07: Raytheon Co. in El Segundo, CA receives a $77.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0310), exercising an option for 27 Full Rate Production Lot 6 AN/AAQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking InfraRed pods for the F/A-18 A-D Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA (60%) and McKinney, TX (40%), and work is expected to be completed in November 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
ATFLIR replaces 3 pods on the F/A-18: the TFLIR targeting FLIR, the navigation FLIR and the laser designator tracker. ATFLIR’s magnification is 30x-60x versus previous FLIR capabilities at 4x; it will also provide GPS coordinates to precision weapons such as JSOW and JDAM, and can stream video feed via the ROVER link to JTAC forward air controllers or to command centers.
ATFLIR on F/A-18F
ATFLIR has receives fine reviews from pilots in theater, but to date it has only been integrated into F/A-18 family aircraft (US Navy, US Marines, ordered by Australia & Switzerland). Its competitors have been integrated with several other aircraft types, and even some F/A-18 fleets fly with NGC/RAFAEL’s LITENING (Australia, Spain, Finland) or Lockheed Martin’s Sniper ATP (Canada). F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fleets use only ATFLIR, however; even LITENING customer Australia will be buying ATFLIR pods for its 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornets.
“More MRAPs: Navistar’s MaxxPro,” covered the growing threat of EFP (Explosively-Formed Penetrator) land mines in Iraq, which fire into the side of a vehicle like a tank round. PVI & RAFAEL’s MRAP Cat-II Golan vehicle is already prepared to counter them – if fitted with explosive reactive armor that’s designed in from the outset as an invisible upgrade over conventional armoring. Other MRAP manufacturers have also been scrambling to find solutions via bolt on kits, or even different armoring schemes entirely.
With or without the kits, those MRAP vehicles will certainly help soldiers and specialists on patrol – but what about the logistics & support forces delivering fuel and other key supplies, who must move most of it by road? Why not give them a similar level of protection? In March 2007, the US Army’s Ballistic Protection Experiment underwent testing, as the final step in a $2.1 million September 2006 contract funded in part by the US Army Rapid Equipping Force.
As MRAP CAT-II
After sponsoring several proof-of-principle shots at Aberdeen to ensure the armor would work, the contract asked Ideal Innovations Inc. and Ceradyne Vehicle Armor Systems to build 2 trucks in 5 months, with the ability to defeat threats that included EFP land mines, while demonstrating desired driving durability & mobility. The partnership finished on time and on budget. More important, their vehicles passed the tests, and gave birth to a new integrated truck up-armoring system dubbed BULL. It’s an MRAP-II program contender for troop roles, and an offer has also been made to equip American logistics vehicles in theater.
Our last update addressed rumors that their vehicle has failed MRAP-II testing at Aberdeen. Normally, that’s a rumor that can’t be answered – but we thought we had one. That seems to have been the correct answer, because they have just received an order…
In December 2003, Japan decided to upgrade their 4 existing Kongo Class AEGIS Destroyers and their SPY-1D radars to full AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense capability. Installations are scheduled for 2007 through 2010, and each installation will be followed by a flight test to demonstrate proper operation. They will fire the naval SM-3 Standard missile, which is under co-development as part of cooperation with the USA on missile defense. These ships will form the outer layer of Japan’s anti ballistic missile shield, with the land-based Patriot PAC-3 forming the point defense component.
It would appear that the first-of-class ship JS Kongo [DDG-173] is also the first Japanese ship to have the BMD upgrade installed. Cue the flight test, as JS Kongo becomes the first Japanese ship to destroy a ballistic missile. On Dec 17/07 at 12:05 pm Hawaii time, a medium-range ballistic missile target was fired from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. JS Kongo responded by tracking it and launching an SM-3 Block 1A missile at 12:08 pm. At 12:11pm, it destroyed the missile about 100 miles above the ocean, achieving a first for Japan and the 12th successful intercept overall for the SM-3 ABM program. The American cruiser and ABM test veteran Lake Erie [CG 70] monitored the test, tracking the incoming missile with its own AEGIS BMD and exchanging information with a land-based THAAD ABM unit on Kauai.
In light of a recent ballistic missile intercept by a Japanese destroyer, US Missile Defense Agency chief Lt. Gen. Henry (Trey) Obering is quoted by Aviation Week as saying it is time to incorporate more realism into the MDA’s testing process, now that basic intercepts have racked up a string of successes:
“What we have to do now is to turn our attention to make sure we can fully wring out the system in a variety of operational and realistic scenarios. And that is what we will be doing over the next couple of years.”
There are both technical and political dimensions to that course of action.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on Oct 8/07 that Britain will buy another 140 (170?) blast-resistant Mastiff vehicles for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MoD intends to finalize the deal for this additional set vehicles “in the next few weeks,” and has set aside GBP 100 million (about $200 million) for this purpose. This order would bring the total number of Mastiffs ordered to 248, with additional buys of blast-resistant vehicles scheduled via Britain’s MPPV program.
Mastiffs are derived from Force Protection’s popular “Cougar” blast-resistant vehicles, which serve with the US military. Variants of the Cougar also serve with or have been ordered for the militaries of Iraq (ILAV ‘Badger’), Canada (reportedly similar to the ‘Mastiff’ design), and Yemen (ILAV). For British Mastiff orders, NP Aerospace in Coventry integrates and up-armors delivered Cougars to create the finished Mastiff vehicle.
Richard North links to the Parliamentary debate that followed, and offers an interesting observation that tracks with parallel experiences in the USA:
Royal Engineers LCpl Tom Glinn, Spr “Cookie” Cook and Spr Jay Coombes needed to cool Basra’s Cobra radar system when it began to fail in Iraq’s heat. The unit’s initial solution of placing the unit in an inflatable tent has a structural and thermal failure – but a crude sketch, some scrap wood, discarded plastic tubing and even cling film worked, drawing air from an air conditioning unit and feeding it to the radar via a set of insulated tubes. Cost GBP 20 (about $41). Winner, one Gems cash prize.
Nor are they alone. Royal Engineer Sgt Jim Randall designed a metal hook attached to an adjustable metal pole, that can be dragged along the ground to identify command wires leading to roadside IED land mines. It worked so well that explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams use them now. Craftsmen Steve Whiting and Phil Ashby noticed that ISO containers on the back of some of the Army’s larger trucks were snagging power lines and creating power outages. Locals not happy. Army not happy. Response? An angled metal frame that allows the cables to glide over the containers. Simple, effective little… Gems.
It’s well understood, and long-practiced – but not usually well integrated. The transition from product design to production can often be the most expensive, time-intensive aspect of delivering products. The complexities and extreme specifications of military products make that doubly true, and the growing popularity of concepts like spiral development, and through-life management that includes redesign and upgrades, will tax corporate systems even further. Product life-cycle management (PLM) systems exist, and manufacturing execution systems (MES) exist, but integration is often the missing link. If the resulting back-end systems aren’t agile enough to keep up with accelerating customer demands, the result can be costly mistakes, or even development bottlenecks.
MBDA is a joint venture of EADS, BAE and Finmeccanica, and the European firm has become one of the globe’s top 2 missile suppliers, alongside Raytheon. The firm took advantage of capabilities in Apriso’s July 2007’s FlexNet 9.4 MES update to streamline processes by passing data to their Siemens Teamcenter PLM package. The effect was a system that lets them track manufactured product specifications against paper specifications in a way that’s accessible throughout the supply chain. The firm’s next step was to feed that history into MBDA’s SAP ERP uber-back end system, which adds data about materials used and orders placed before flowing the information back.
This kind of integration creates more than just quality control and tracking; it ends up letting MBDA use work instructions from tracked processes as templates for new ones, which helps them bring their best practices into new production processes. See Manufacturing Business Technology’s “Manufacturers can hit product innovation targets with PLM/MES integration.”
I protest, you protest, we all protest ITES. So it seemed after the US Army chose 11 of the 17 bidders as winners, eligible to compete for $20 billion worth of defense-related IT contracts under the ITES-2 umbrella vehicle. Northrop Grumman is probably glad that it protested – not only did it win re-admittance to the winners circle (along with all other eliminated firms), but it just landed a key battlefield logistics contract that could be worth up to $600 million.
Under the Global Combat Support System-Army (Field/Tactical) program (GCSS-Army) contract, Northrop Grumman’s Mission System sector will lead a team (NGC MS, IBM Global Services, Computer Sciences Corporation, Joint Logistics Managers, Inc., and SAP America) to implement an enterprise system capable of providing the current status of all Army equipment and assets so that soldiers can best anticipate, allocate and manage the flow of available resources. CGSS-Army will be a global system that supports Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve forces, re-engineering the current STAMIS (Standard Army Management Information Systems) system. As a key element of the Army’s larger vision for the integration of its major logistics systems and processes, GCSS-Army will also be important in the management of logistical assets of future programs. If it was up and running now, for instance, it would be used to track MRAP-related logistics.
NGC received initial funding of $10 million on this cost plus fixed fee task order, which is valued at up to $600 million over 7 years. NGC release.