Philip E. Coyle, III served as the Pentagon’s Assistant Secretary of Defense and Director, Operational Test and Evaluation from 1994-2001. On March 29, 2007, he spoke before Canadian Parliamentary representatives and talked about his experiences. The speech covered “Four Critical Problems”: (1) Unrealistic requirements; (2) Unrealistic costs and schedules; (3) Unrealistic contractual environments; and (4) Preparing for realistic operational environments… and offered “Ten Solutions,” summarized here as a simple list:
In Afghanistan, there are often overlaps between the people involved in narcotics trafficking, illegal weapons and terrorist activity. Drug lords aren’t always Taliban allies, but opium trafficking is a critical source of funds for the Taliban/al-Qaeda. The US Air Force is the lead service for counter-narcotics detection and monitoring, and supports the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for counter narcotics through Air Combat Command. Unfortunately, existing intelligence gathering and sharing capabilities in Afghanistan were limited, making it difficult to share data with U.S. and coalition partners, or strengthen relations with the local counter-narcotics police.
In late 2004, therefore, the 350th Electronic Systems Group at Hanscom Air Force Base began working with its small-business partner Cambridge Communication Systems to create the counter narcotics-terrorism Intelligence Fusion Center, a commercial off-the-shelf-based system designed to capture, share and disseminate counter narcotics-terrorism intelligence data. Information gathered by Global Positioning Systems, human intelligence and coalition partners furnish the IFC’s database, which is specially tailored for the counter narcotics/terrorism mission. “This contractor had a proven track record in this arena, and a small business, set-aside contract was the fastest way to get the capability to the field,” said Col. Steven Webb, 350th Electronic Systems Group commander.
Since its deployment, the system has been used in efforts that seized more than 45 tons of drugs (mostly opium) with a street value of more than $1 billion, and boosted the related arrest rate by 75%. The IFC has supported the identification and break up of narcotics and weapons smuggling rings operating within Afghanistan, but led by suspects from Nigeria, Thailand, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Zambia and South Africa. Additionally, the system’s use in cooperation with the Afghan police produced more than 80 SIM cards (subscriber identity modules, a portable memory chip in cell phones)e. The cards, sent to the USA’s crypto specialists at the National Security Agency for exploitation, are currently providing the best leads for identifying and breaking up new smuggling rings outside of the country. See USAF Link article.
The Headquarters Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA has broad responsibility for buying military electronics, managing about 200 programs and administering an annual budget of more than $3 billion. Recently, they issued a set of contracts for professional acquisition support services for Hanscom AFB over the next 5 years. These services involve a broad range of non-engineering acquisition support for development, acquisition, integration, test deployment, sustainment, et. al. in support of Research & Development and production activities. At this time, $40,000 has been obligated. Delivery orders under this $800 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract can be assigned to:
Quantech Services Inc. in, Bedford, MA (FA8721-07-D-0004)
Odyssey Systems Consulting Group LTD in Wakefield, MA (FA8721-07-D-0005)
Samaria Systems Inc. in Danvers, MA (FA8721-07-D-0006)
Oasis System Inc. in Lexington, MA (FA8721-07-D-0007)
PE Systems Inc. in Fairfax, VA (FA8721-07-D-0008)
BTAS Inc., DBA Business Technology & Solutions in Beavercreek, OH (FA8721-07-D-0009)
Abacus Technology Corp. in Chevy Chase, MD (FA8721-07-D-0010)
Gemini Industries Inc. in Billerica, MA (FA8721-07-D-0011)
Radar Warning Receivers (RWR) are essential to battlefield survival. They pinpoint the locations of friendly and enemy radar emitters, and warn pilots if they are being targeted. Future Super Hornet improvements will go a step further, and use their ALR-67 RWRs to pinpoint enemy radar emitters closely enough to allow immediate counter-targeting with GPS-guided weapons.
Raytheon Electronics Systems in Goleta, CA recently received a $77.8 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0123), exercising an option for the full-rate-production of 97 Lot 9 AN/ALR-67(V)3 RWR.
Ready for more, soon
These systems are being produced for the U.S. Navy (24) and the Royal Australian Air Force (55), including spare weapon replaceable assemblies for the U.S. Navy (6) and for the RAAF (12). The US Navy installs ALR-67 systems on its F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets. Australia is currently installing them on its earlier-generation F/A-18 A/B Hornets as part of the HUG (Hornet UpGrade) program, after their own ALR 2002 RWR project failed. The RAAF procurement includes potential follow-on orders for engineering support and a 10-year performance-based logistics support program.
Work will be performed in El Segundo, CA (27%); Goleta, CA (23%); Lansdale, PA (23%); Forest, MS (21%); McKinney, TX (3%); and Portland, OR (3%), and is expected to be complete in March 2010. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($25.1 million; 32.23%) and the Government of Australia ($52.7 million; 67.77%) under the USA’s Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract. See also Raytheon release.