In February 2006, “Small Businesses Succeeding As USAF’s $9B NetCents Contract Receives Promo Push” shone a spotlight on the Network Centric Solutions (NETCENTS) program. Recently, a Northrop Grumman-led team received a large NETCENTS award – a maximum $267 million task order from the US Army to develop Defense Knowledge Online (DKO). The Army already has its own Army Knowledge Online (AKO) system; DKO is envisioned as the entry point for all U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and authorized users worldwide to access DoD and government intranets supporting operations, missions and critical support processes. DKO applications will all be provided through a secure, service-oriented framework, as opposed to the standard I.T. approach of stovepiped applications and non-prioritized bandwidth.
This is the largest portal task order ever awarded by the US federal government, and Northrop Grumman’s many teammates on the contract include:
Cost growth recently led to stop-work on Team Lockheed LCS-3 construction. Now, in the wake of a comprehensive two-month program review, Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter had announced that he is prepared to lift the stop work order – under a renegotiated contract, and as part of a revised program plan. In the end, however, the Navy canceled the contract for LCS 3 part-way through construction.
This new plan will also affect the General Dynamics/ Austal team, whose competing trimaran design for LCS 2 and LCS 4 is expected to offer interesting handling and survivability characteristics, plus a significantly larger helicopter landing area. Under the restructured Littoral Combat Ship program plan, however, the Navy will recommend deferral of FY 2007 LCS procurement, and use those funds to complete the construction of LCS 1-4 by the Lockheed and General Dynamics teams.
This will be part of a wider package of efforts aimed at controlling program costs… before those costs raise comparisons, questions, and dilemmas that begin to control the program.
General Atomics in San Diego, CA received a $43.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. It covers the manufacture, test and delivery of 2 Predator B MQ-9 (Reaper) unmanned aerial vehicles, 2 mobile ground control stations, and associated equipment to include initial spares, ground support equipment, pack-up kits, and Ku SATCOM antennas. At this time, $32.7 million has been obligated, and work will be complete December 2008. The Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8620-05-G-3028, order number 0024/no modification number at this time).
Creech Air Force Base, NV received its first operational MQ-9 on March 13, 2007, soon to be assigned to the 42nd Attack Squadron. The Pentagon’s FY 2008 budget request asks for 4 MQ-9s,at a cost of $79 million.
“2(a) review the funding and activities of the Federal Government relating to aeronautics R&D;
2(b)(vi) enhance coordination and communication among executive departments and agencies to maximize the effectiveness of Federal Government R&D resources; and…
3(a) develop and, not later than 1 year after the date of this order, submit for approval by the President a plan for national aeronautics R&D and for related infrastructure, (the “plan”), and thereafter submit, not less often than biennially, to the President for approval any changes to the plan.”
3M Corporation in St. Paul, MN received a maximum $31.3 million firm-fixed-price, requirements type contract for “sole source 3M Corporation items” to the Air Force. The contract will run until December 14, 2009, and the Defense Supply Center Richmond (DSCR) in Richmond, VA issued the contract (SPM4A2-07-D-0005).