Now a QinetiQ executive observes that “On a number of occasions the MOD has stated that it spends the same amount [of money] administering its various battery contracts as it does buying in product.” Looks like QinetiQ will be doing something about that, too, via a a 2-year, GBP 4 million (currently about $7.9 million) contract from the UK MoD’s Combat Support Equipment Integrated Project Team (CSEIPT) to manage the supply of commercially available batteries. The contract includes an option for an additional 2 years, subject to satisfactory performance against key performance indicators. See QinetiQ’s release for more details.
Skyler Technologies Group subsidiary RSL Fiber Systems, LLC in Salem, New Jersey won a contract from Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, MS to supply the Advanced Lighting System (ALS) for the U.S. Navy’s forthcoming 14,500t DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class ‘destroyers’. The Advanced Lighting System has already been installed in several new US Navy ships, and in a conversation with DID, RSL Fiber systems estimated a total contract value is in excess of $12.5 Million for the six (6) DDG 1000 class ships planned. The estimated contract value for the two (2) DDG 1000 class ships already approved by Congress is in excess of $4.9 Million, and includes engineering support services and the supply of remote source lighting systems and related hardware.
Skyler actually acquired the RSL Assets of Winchester (a division of Northrop Grumman) on September 10, 2001, assuming control of the Office of Naval Research’s sponsored RSL ManTech Program, and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems’ LPD-17 San Antonio Class contract for associated lighting et. al.
Created through the collaboration of RSL Fiber Systems with fellow Skyler subsidiary C3I, Inc of Hampton, NH; and developed through the guidance of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems and a number of U.S. Navy agencies, the ALS is a fully integrated system of lighting hardware and control equipment that can monitor and control fiber-optic based, LED, and conventional lighting throughout the ship, using the ship’s existing communication network. RSL technology uses fiber optics to separate the light emission point from the power and light source by up to 200 meters/ 670 feet. Multiple locations can also be illuminated from a single source, and light escape, infrared, and ultraviolet are drastically reduced – offering stealth, power, durability, and maintainability advantages over traditional lighting. See this November 2005 Power Point presentation for more [PDF].
More than 300 Piranha-I 6×6 Panzerjagers (tank hunters) armed with TOW missiles have been in service with the Swiss Army since the beginning of the 1990s. If the design looks familiar, it’s because MOWAG’s Piranha family of vehicles is produced in North America by parent firm General Dynamics Land Systems as the 8×8 LAV-II (USMC) or Stryker/LAV-III. MOWAG GmbH was already conducting a Panzerjaeger re-role program announced in January 2006, turning 40 into protected ambulance vehicles. Deliveries began at the end of 2006. Now the Swiss Ministry of Defence is moving ahead with a second program, another 160 of these vehicles will be converted to protected command vehicles ready for integration with the Swiss Army’s future Communication and Battle Management System (FIS HE). Deliveries will take place between 2008-2010.
Readers have looked at the photo we included below for the re-roled vehicles, and wondered at the absence of a raised roof and other features that normally distinguish command variants. DID has talked to MOWAG, and has some answers…
The Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas in Austin is being awarded a $20.3 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-01-D-6600). The money covers a 3-month extension to provide continued research, development, and test & evaluation capabilities for major mission product areas such as mines, fire control, undersea countermeasures, coastal/special warfare support, acoustic reconnaissance and search, special sensors, navigation, and communications. See their web site for details and examples.
Work will be performed in Austin, TX and is expected to be complete by March 2007. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC announced the original contract for $291 million/ 18,878 staff-months back on August 17, 2001.
The AN/PRC-148 MBITR is the hand-held radio for USSOCOM, the most widely fielded multi-band portable radio in the US armed services, and is also in use by many NATO Special Forces. Special Operations Technology has described the 31-ounce PRC-148 multiband inter/intra team radio (MBITR) as “one of the many communications marvels that made the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq possible” thanks to its small size, software-based structure, and virtually complete interoperability with other military radios and commercial systems. With lithium ion batteries, the user can reportedly expect about 8-10 hours of life. In addition, they note, “More than one Pentagon official has singled out the MBITR for praise during recent operations in Afghanistan.”
Now Thales Communications has received a $43 million order for AN/PRC-148 JTRS Enhanced MBITR, or JEM radios. They may represent the first radios to be fielded for tactical use under the US military’s transformational JTRS program; it’s a close and sometimes confusing race with Harris’ AN/PRC-152(C). DID explains how the PRC-148 became so popular, and offers a glimpse into the development model that made them first out of the gate with a tactically-deployed, (partly) JTRS-compliant product…
QinetiQ Group plc announced a definitive merger agreement to acquire the American high-tech professional services firm Analex Corporation. Under the terms of the agreement, QinetiQ offers to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Analex for $3.70 per share, or an aggregate equity price of approximately $173 million paid in cash. QinetiQis a recently-privatized branch of the British government, though the government still owns about 19% of the firm. Its most high-profile US acquisition to date remains its purchase of Foster-Miller, whose TALON MTRS robots are playing a growing role in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tadiran Communications received an $20.5 million value contract modification from Israel’s Ministry of Defense for more next-generation software-definable radio communications systems. This is an add-on to a similar $19.6 million order the company received on December 2005. The company release describes the radios as “providing high-speed simultaneous voice and data communications capabilities and supporting multiple advanced communications protocols,” and referred to the contract in terms such as “great strategic importance for Tadiran Communications, and we continue to see it as the company’s flagship project for the coming decade…”
“I remember I was pinned inside the truck… Fuel was dripping on me. I was in pain, but the Soldiers did extremely well and the Rat Claw worked. It took one try and I was out of the vehicle. Honestly, I don’t know how they would’ve gotten me out with the equipment we had on hand, if we didn’t have the Rat Claw.”
— Lt. Col. Michael Infanti, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 10th Mountain Division in Iraq.
Back home in the USA, road fatalities kill a certain percentage of Americans every year. Armies also have “non-combat casualties,” many of which are also related to road accidents. Iraq’s roads often pass by irrigation canals, an additional hazard since road accidents involving Hummers and even tanks can quickly become fatal if the vehicle rolls into the water and soldiers are unable to escape. The thing is, the very same up-armoring that protects soldiers from enemy bullets can become a deadly liability in a roll-over scenario. It can take 3 Soldiers or more to push a Hummer door open wide enough for the passengers to escape – and doors sunken into mud are nearly impossible to open.
Bill Del Solar, safety officer for the 10th Mountain Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, decided to do something about the problem, at least as it applies to their Hummers…
Canada isn’t known for space launch technologies. It does have a satellite industry, and is the origin of both the American Space Shuttle’s robotic “Canadarm” and the International Space Station’s Mobile Servicing System (MSS) that includes Canadarm-2 with Dextre et. al. In line with this focus as a respected components manufacturer, The Canadian Space Agency recently announced an investment of CDN$ 10.3 million (currently about $8.7 million) in 36 research and development projects involving new space technologies and applications.
Nineteenth HFC Leasing Corporation in Prospect Heights, IL received $48.6 million under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00033-82-C-1028) to exercise an option to purchase Maritime Prepositioning Ship 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo [T-AK 3008]. The ship has been under long-term charter to Military Sealift Command since 1985, and is one of 16 Maritime Prepositioning Ships that strategically place U.S. Marine Corps cargo at sea around the world, in order to make it quickly available to US forces who are flown into a theater of operations. The ship will remain crewed by about 30 civilian mariners employed by American Overseas Marine Corporation of Quincy, MA. She will transfer to U.S. government ownership on Jan. 16, 2007, and will continue to operate worldwide. Military Sealift Command in Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.