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.
InfoBase/DACIS’ “Defense Mergers & Acquisitions” reports that worldwide defense and aerospace companies completed M&A deals worth more than $40 billion in 2006, with a total of 370 transactions completed. The top 5 deals accounted for only 32% of the total value for the year. As a comparison, during the record year of 1999 the top 5 deals accounted for 77% of the year’s $65 billion. Editor Stuart McCutchan explains this by saying:
“Defense spending remains at historic highs, and the commercial aerospace marketplace is at full stride. Industry players are flush with cash, and private equity money is pouring into the marketplace. In 2007 we could see the 1999 record finally eclipsed.  Deals worth $25 billion have already been announced or completed — by far the fastest start we’ve seen this decade.”
Note that their approach to “Program Cost per Unit” (PCU) used in their chart is to divide the total cost of each program, as stated in the Pentagon’s latest Selected Acquisition Reports, by the number of units to be produced. This means that each PCU includes research and development costs, and even some support costs. Actual acquisition prices tend to be lower, and PCU can be moved significantly up or down if the number of aircraft bought rises or falls. Small-numbers programs are particularly vulnerable to this effect, and will also show up as especially expensive because very few aircraft absorb the entire R&D cost.
Some examples of PCU and numbers for aircraft DID has covered include:
The GM/ GDLS Defense Group LLC Joint Venture in Sterling Heights, MI has been contracted to provide “contractor logistics support for other customer’s remote weapon station systems.” In plain English, these are automated, unmanned turrets that can be operated from inside a vehicle, with the gunner using a joystick for firing and control while looking at a screen that shows visual, infrared, or other images from the turret’s built-in sensors.
The group’s M1126 Stryker infantry vehicles all mount M151 Kongsberg Protector systems, for instance, which have advanced optics and can be targeted and operated from inside the vehicle.
CROWS w GMG, Iraq
Recon/Optical’s CROWS system is also widely popular in theater due to its stabilization feature for firing on the move; it equips many American Hummers and packs a .50 caliber machine gun or a 40mm grenade machine gun. A subsequent GDLS release, however, notes that the contract is confined to RWS systems on Stryker vehicles (i.e. Kongsberg systems).
The thing is, Kongsberg lacks an extensive on-the ground support networks on the front lines – and GM/General Dynamics has one. See below for related contracts and delivery orders…
Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ recently received a $32.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for Excalibur Block IA-1 shells. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (39%), Farmington, NM (1%), Niceville, FL (18%), Heraldsburg, CA (7%), Cincinnati, OH (5%), Minneapolis, MN (6%), Anaheim, CA (4%), Thousand Oaks, CA (3%), Williamsport, PA (2%), Joplin, MO (2%), Fort Lowel, MA (1%), Minneapolis, MN (1%), and Karlskoga, Sweden (11%), and is expected to be complete by June 31, 2009. This was a sole source contract initiated on March 16, 2007 by the U.S. Army Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Command at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ (W15QKN-07-C-0100).
SERCO, Inc. in Vienna, VA is being awarded a $39.3 million single award, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-incentive-fee with an option for fixed-price orders, performance-based contract to provide Sea Enterprise C4ISR support services. The contract, referred to as Sea Enterprise West, is valued at $208.1 million if all 4 one-year options are exercised over its 5-year term. Serco has operated under a similar contract with SPAWAR since 1997.
Under the contract, Serco will support SPAWAR in providing program management, engineering design, and installation support services to deliver fully operational and sustainable C4ISR(Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intellligence, Surveilance & Reconnaissance) systems. A key objective of the Sea Enterprise contract is to reduce the costs of installations by improving productivity and achieving long term efficiencies.
Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (85%) and miscellaneous locations including: public/private shipyards and numerous sites in the continental U.S. and overseas (15%) and is expected to be complete by April 2008. The contract was competitively procured under full and open competition, with the RFP(Request For Proposal) posted on the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center E-Commerce website and 2 offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston issued the contract (N65236-07-D-8852). SERCO release.
The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA recently issued a series of fixed price with economic price adjustment base contracts to a number of small business qualifiers. Date of performance completion is October 11, 2008:
Produce Source Partners in Newport News, VA won a maximum $27.6 million contract for full-line fresh fruit and vegetable support for Army, Navy, and Marine Corps installations in southern Virginia and Norfolk, VA. This proposal was web solicited and 3 responded (SPM300-07-D-3216).
Foster-Caviness Co., Inc. in Colfax, NC won a maximum $37.6 million contract for full-line fresh fruit and vegetable support for military installations (Army, Air Force, Marine Corps) and USDA School Lunch participants in the state of North Carolina. This proposal was web solicited and 2 responded (SPM300-07-D-3217).
East Coast Fruit Company in, Savannah, GA received a maximum $25.6 million fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for full-line fresh fruit and vegetable support for Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps installations and USDA School Lunch participants in the state of South Carolina. This proposal was web solicited and 1 responded (SPM300-07-D-3218).
B.L. Harbert International in Birmingham, AL won a $13.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of a dining facility at Fort Knox, KY. Work is expected to be complete by Oct. 31, 2008. There were 54 bids solicited on Nov. 21, 2006, and 2 bids were received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, KY. (W912QR-07-C-0017).