A recent DID article covering the Eurofighter consortium’s offer to Turkey had noted that a key Defense Industry Executive Committee meeting on January 12, 2007 would determine that country’s continued involvement in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program. That decision was positive, and on January 25, 2007, Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 production process. While final details have not yet been worked out, these signatures of commitment will help determine the full array of industrial partners who will be part of a production and maintenance program that’s likely to span up to 3,000 aircraft. Signatories to date include Australia, Britain, Canada, and The Netherlands. During Turkey’s signing ceremony, US Deputy SecDef Gordon England was quoted as saying that “the three remaining partners – Italy, Norway, and Denmark – will all likely sign by the end of February.”
Sparta, Inc. of Lake Forest, CA, who was recently cited here as a key participant in the Project Hercules missile defense effort, recently received a $154.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee (level of effort) contract “for scientific, engineering and technical assistance support as part of the National Team in the areas of ballistic missile defense and related technology.”
Work will be performed at Chantilly, VA and various Missile Defense facilities, and is expected to be complete by January 2012. This is a sole source contract award by the Missile Defense Agency in Washington, DC (HQ0006-07-C-0001).
A January 2007 analysis by Forecast International projects that the development and production of leading EW systems will be worth $24.6 billion from 2007-2017. Report author Andrew Dardine believes that the “rising need for the various jamming, self-protection, and electronic support measures (ESM) systems that make up the EW Systems market will result in steady production and long-term research and development well into the next decade.” Nonetheless, this represents a rolling decline from the $28 billion projected in their 2006-2016 forecast released in January 2006.
The top 5 projected companies in this field are Northrop Grumman (EA-18G Growler, LAIRCM, 10-year share $10.4 billion), BAE Systems (TADIRCM, CMWS, $3.4 billion), both of whom are projected as having significant upside. Raytheon (ALR-67), ITT Industries (AN/ALQ-211), and Lockheed Martin round out the top 5, replacing Thales, Sweden’s SaabTech and Israel’s Elta Electronics from last year’s report. See Forecast International release.
Norway’s Forsvardsdepartmentet has issued a release saying that Defence Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen has decided to sign the production phase agreement for the Joint Strike Fighter Program, joining Australia, Britain, Canada, and The Netherlands to date. The Minister said:
“We now believe that the industrial cooperation plans have become significantly more concrete, and based on an overall evaluation have therefore decided to move into the production phase. We have always been very explicit with regards to emphasizing the importance of industrial cooperation. I am also pleased that we have achieved our goal of maintaining competition between the three contenders and expect to have agreements on development cooperation with all three candidates before long… The signing of the JSF production phase agreement will take place shortly, but an exact date has yet to be decided.”
As Norway was saying that it will sign on to the F-35 Production Phase, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace was signing “long-term framework agreements” with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to manufacture composite products for the aircraft. The Kongsberg release maintains that “the agreements were landed based on fully competitive prices,” but adds that “completion of the agreements is conditional on Norway deciding to procure the JSF.”
There seems to be a conflict in those two statements, but we’ll let that pass. The framework agreements have an initial scope of NOK 1.3 billion and NOK 650 million, respectively (currently about $308 million combined). They will extend for more than 8 years, and require the construction of a new composite factory; full-scale production will mean the scope can potentially increase to a total of NOK 6-8 billion (currently around $930-1,240 million). Because of that investment requirement, the framework agreements are “also predicated on the requirement that the Norwegian authorities furnish a guarantee related mainly to the political risk that Norway might opt for an alternative other than the American Joint Strike Fighter. KONGSBERG is in close dialogue with the Norwegian authorities on this issue.” Norway is, after all, keeping its options open…
With respect to the agreements that were formally signed, DID has already covered them. Readers interested in more information can find DID’s coverage of MRTA transport aircraft. We also covered licensed production of RD-33 series 3 engines for India’s MiG-29 fleet; gthe recent agreement includes technical documents and licensing, as well as an accompanying general contract for initial supply of these engines and associated products.
Finally, the two sides also signed the Protocol of the Sixth India-Russia Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation, which is a broad framework agreement covering standard procedures and cooperation scope. There are reports that this agreement widens the framework to encompass non-defense strategic areas such as information technology and space research.
In 1996, the ShotSpotter Gunshot Location System was combined with ESRI’s GIS and other software to dramatically improve the understanding police had when arriving at gunfire scenes in Redwood City, California – and dramatically reduce gunfire incidents. By 2006, it was deployed in Iraq on vehicles and even PDA-sized devices worn by soldiers. Now a US Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) experiment during the December 2004 Training in Urban Environment Exercise (TRUEX) is headed for the front lines, as ShotSpotter is being paired with Boeing’s ScanEagle UAVs. The 820th Security Forces Group at Moody AFB, GA will conduct the user evaluation and training beginning in March 2007, then match the equipment with a deploying squadron.
One of the hard problems in missile defense is how to deal with decoys. By the time most ABMs are launched, a MIRV (Multiple, Independent Re-entry Vehicle) missile will have split into its component warheads. The thing is, modern ICBMS have space for more MIRVs than they carry due to treaties et. al. It’s easier, and cheaper to put a few decoy MIRVs in the missile than it is to build a new interceptor to counter each MIRV. You could MIRV the kill vehicles, but that’s not yet an option with smaller missiles. The other way to fight this multi-headed hydra, of course, is to get really proficient at figuring out which objects are decoys.
Enter the US Missile Defense Agency’s Project Hercules, a national effort to develop related algorithms and battle management concepts. Robust detection, tracking, and discrimination algorithms useful against targets in all phases of flight; a physics-based decision architecture that applies advanced decision theory to future Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System Command, Control; and Battle Management Communications (C2BMC) concepts are all involved. MDA says it “Focuses national expertise on discrimination for the benefit of all BMD System elements,” and the algorithms et. al., will support spiral development via insertion and upgrade of its spinouts in other systems.
A proliferation of UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) robots and waldos heads for the world’s conflict zones. Back in America, DARPA’s Grand Challenge dared inventors to produce a true robotic vehicle that could navigate a per-set course with no human assistance. Now Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) is offering one million Singapore dollars ($652,000) in the TechX challenge to whoever develops a robot that completes a stipulated set of tasks related to urban warfare.
Small business qualifier Cottrell Contracting Corp. in Chesapeake, VA won a $5.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for maintenance dredging of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway and Morehead City Harbor and Beaufort Harbor, NC. Work is expected to be complete by April 30, 2007. There were 15 bids solicited on Nov. 8, 2006, and 2 bids were received. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, GA is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-C-0017).