For Labour Day on Monday, DID salutes all of the people who work every day with their tools, in order to give the people on the front lines the tools they need to do a difficult and dangerous job. The late Dr. Paul MacCready (1925-2007) was one such individual, who pushed the frontiers of science and design in pursuit of his love of flight and discovery. From the Gossamer Albatross to the hand-held RQ-11 Raven UAV, the things he helped create made a difference in our world. He will be missed.
Operating and recapitalization costs for front-line fighters are up in the stratosphere, even as a wide variety of conflicts around the world fit counterinsurgency profiles requiring affordable, persistent surveillance and rapid fire support. UAVs are filling an important niche, and their success is triggering major bureaucratic showdowns in response, but they remain expensive, are much more crash-prone than manned aircraft, and offer a limited field of view.
The new, fully digitized system is part of the Improved Targeting Geolocation Accuracy (ITGA) program, is comprised of a suite of new lightweight, fully integrated digital hardware and software. At the heart of the system is a tablet computer that hosts the Rockwell Collins Rosetta Joint Fires (RJF) software package. RJF provides targeting and communication capabilities and acting as an integration gateway for future systems; it also allows British FAC/FOOs to exchange 9-15 line FAC targeting messages with all U.S. aircraft, as well as an increasing number of compatible coalition forces. Other ITGA components include the Sagem Defense Securite JIM LR (Jumelles Integrees Multifonction – Long Range) targeting binoculars, and the Rockwell Collins Azimuth Augmentation system to correct laser range finder inaccuracies and offer military GPS-guided precision – a role it shares with the Rockwell Collins Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR).
The majority of work for this program will be done at the Rockwell Collins UK Ltd. Facility in Reading, England. Rockwell Collins release.
Cougar 6×6, IEDed (via EU Referendum, click to view full)
Sometimes, a picture really is worth 1,000 words. The crew of this Cougar 6×6 MRAP CAT-II vehicle escaped with only minor injuries and no one was killed, even though the IED land mine blast ripped out the engine and hurled it over 100 yards away. EU Referendum has more pictures from their reader on the scene, along with some criticism of Britain’s MoD, in their post ‘Imagine this was a “Snatch”‘ [Land Rover]. Or a WMIK Land Rover variant, which DID has covered. Or, for that matter, a Hummer.
Thales has announced a contract with Russian state firm Rosoboronexport (amount undisclosed) for around 100 Catherine FC thermal imaging cameras, which will equip T-90 tanks of the Russian army as all-weather sights. Their qualification for deployment with the Russian armed forces is hailed by the Thales release as “a first in Russia for Western equipment.” The firm adds that:
“This contract further reinforces Thales’s position as a partner to Russian industry in the field of defence optronics for land forces – a position achieved after many years of cooperation on export contracts. It also marks a decisive step forward in Thales’s commitment to extend its position in the Russian defence market…”
This contract includes a base year, and 4 one-year option periods, which if exercised, bring the total estimated value of the contract to $92.6 million. Work will be performed in Kailua, Hawaii (6%); Monterey, CA (8%); Army active Reserve and guard posts in the United States (24%); and various locations outside of the continental United States (62%), and is expected to be complete by August 2008. This contract was awarded competitively through Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with 2 offers received by the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center San Diego, CA (N00244-07-D-0035).
Funding is provided by Global War on Terrorism/ Operation Iraqi Freedom/ Operation Enduring Freedom Operations/ National Guard Bureau; OSD Operations and Maintenance; and International Military Education and Training/ Foreign Military Sales/ Warsaw Initiative Funds/ International Narcotics and Law Enforcement/ Global Peace Operations Initiative. Contract funds estimated at $1,025,000 will expire at the end of the fiscal year.
Singapore’s decision to buy the F-15SG Strike Eagle as a replacement for its A-4SU Super Skyhawks has already sparked one weapons purchase to outfit the new aircraft. The August 2005 DSCA request mostly involved air-air weapons, plus ancillary equipment and a handful of JDAM and JSOW precision weapons. Now the DSCA reports that Singapore has submitted a request for another handful of precision strike weapons, and a lot of training assistance “to support its F-15 aircraft”.
The proposed sale is worth up to $200 million, and the principal contractors will be F-15 primes Boeing Integrated Defense Solutions of St. Louis, MO and General Electric Aircraft Engines Division of Cincinnati, OH. Components of the request include:
As part of the 1979 Camp David peace accords, the USA offered substantial long-term military aid packages to Israel and Egypt. Aside from the geopolitical considerations involved, these packages have been good for American industry because the dollars must be spent on American goods.
While Egypt did not and does not have a significant independent defense industry, Camp David’s aftermath saw a major shift away from Soviet weaponry and toward American alternatives on land, sea, and air. The recent $850 million request for Abrams tanks is a good example. In contrast, Israel has a globally competitive defense industry; because it can allocate American foreign assistance dollars to pay American firms, however, the country always finds itself balancing investment in domestic capabilities and spending against its pool of “free” American industry purchases. Or even investing in American plants and jobs to produce Israeli designs.
Amidst rumors of a planned attack by Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in late 2007, Israel has made $1.1 billion worth of military purchase requests so far in August 2007. Almost all concern her air force, the Cheyl Ha’avir…
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Iraq’s formal request for 16 UH-I HUEY helicopters, upgraded to Bell Helicopter’s “Huey II” configuration. In addition to rewiring, new avionics, and airframe checks/improvements, the Huey II adds Honeywell’s T53-L-703 engine, leading to an increase in hover performance of nearly 275% in hot conditions. Maximum gross weight rises to 10,500 lbs, and Bell Helicopter’s Huey II upgrades have dropped direct operating cost by nearly 30%.
The estimated cost is $150 million, and the contractor will be ARINC Corporation in Annapolis, MD.
It is said that amateurs study tactics, while professionals study logistics. Analysts study procurement, because this is where the decisions are taken that affect both the range of thinkable tactics, and the logistics infrastructure that underpins them. Hence the importance of programs like the USA’s newly-launched Defense Transportation Coordination Initiative (DTCI).
At present, the US Department of Defense’s shippers in the continental US (CONUS) are handled by individual depots, bases, and other locations. Each location independently selects the transportation modes, level of service, and transportation providers they need, and so multiple information systems are employed to execute and manage shipment activity. There is no centralized planning, coordination, or control. The system works, because each shipment is managed. Is it as efficient as it could be? No.
Hence DTCI, which is focused on increasing operational effectiveness, while simultaneously obtaining efficiencies by reducing cycle times, and using best practices such as increased consolidations / load optimization and modal conversions. The premise is for DoD to competitively award a long-term contract with a world-class transportation coordinator/coordinator(s) that will help it achieve these goals, leveraging current commercial capabilities and proven practices save up to 20% as it manages, consolidates, and optimizes freight movements. In the business world, this growing trend is called 3rd Party Logistics (3PL).
The DTCI contract has a multiple phased implementation approach – which DID describes below in our Spotlight article, along with the program’s history & issues faced, the recent announcement of a winning team, the known competitors, and a collection of useful reference resources…