The Army’s $160+ billion Future Combat System program has been restructured, with 4 of the 18 systems in the program deferred, one removed from the program, and the fielding rate for the envisioned 15 brigade combat teams was stretched out over 5 more years, from a 2015-2025 period to 2015-2030. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, deputy for acquisition and systems management, said these changes would eliminate $3.4 billion from its budget over the next 5 fiscal years.
Total cost of the program is currently expected to be $162 billion, with another $2 billion slated for additional construction required. The FY 2008 budget request is $3.66 billion ($100 million procurement, $3.56 billion RDT&E), up from $3.39 awarded in FY 2007 ($0 procurement, all RDT&E). DID has already covered the deferment of the Class II and Class III UAV systems, eliminating the major UAV competitions within the program. Here are the other changes…
Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co in Mesa, AZ received a $136.9 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract “for procurement of war replacement AH-64D Apache Longbow aircraft.” Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ and is expected to be complete by April 10, 2011. This was a sole source contract initiated on Jan. 31, 2007 by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-05-C-0274).
In recent days, a pair of Apaches have been lost in Iraq, reportedly to 12.7mm machine gun fire and to an SA-7 Strela man-portable missile.
On February 3, 2006, the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command issued a presolicitation notice for a nondevelopmental 5.56mm carbine capable of firing U.S. standard M855 and M856 ammunition. The current standard weapon in this class is the M-16 derivative M4. The US Army planned to award contracts for 193,400 carbines, with an estimated procurement cost was $294.7 million.
Contractors got excited. Rumours flew. Then the Army canceled the effort – the second time it had canceled a carbine competition in less than a year. People were unhappy. People wondered what was going on. Now a Department of Defense Inspector General report can enlighten you, on a couple of fronts. Apparently, the whole procedure was a move to get more price flexibility out of Colt, whose prices had been rising. The I-G auditors say that TACOM didn’t follow proper procedures and created needless effort among contractors. TACOM says what they did makes perfect business sense, explicitly committed them to nothing, and was successful. Read “D-2007-026, Competition of the 5.56-Millimeter Carbine” [PDF | text] and decide – and reflect on all the red tape and effort involved in getting weapons systems bought or changed.