L-3 Communications Government Services of Chantilly, VA received an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for $136.5 million, in exchange for for Academic, Training and Exercise Contract Support (ATECS) to to the 505th Command and Control Wing. The 505th is a subordinate unit to the United States Air Force Warfare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, NV, which serves as the lead agency to pull command and control together across the Air Force. The 505th describes itself as the “gateway to operational excellence.” Their mission is to improve and standardize tactics, training, testing, exercises, and experimentation for command of air and space power, including developing the Air and Space Operations Center (AOC) and developing and integrating joint live-virtual-constructive (LVC) training capabilities within the Air Force Distributed Mission Operations Center (DMOC).
L-3 will furnish qualified personnel to conduct operational level, and in some cases tactical level, command and control instruction/academics, training, curriculum development, exercise planning and execution, Operational Command Training Program, and experimentation support to the 505th Command and Control Wing in order to “build the predominant air and space command and control capability for joint and combined warfighters.” At this time $25.5 million has been obligated. Air Combat Command at Hurlburt Field FL issued the contract (FA4890-08-D-0001, Task order 0001).
Raytheon Company has just announced a $17 million U.S. Army contract to build 462 TOW-2A RF bunker buster missiles for the Canadian Army., whose fragmenting, high-explosive warhead is combined with a new wireless radio frequency command data link, rather than the wire connection that the anti-armor missile has used since it was introduced more than 30 years ago.
Because the wireless system is built into the missile and the missile case, wireless TOW is compatible with all existing TOW 2-capable ground launchers including the Canadian Light Armored Vehicle, TOW Under Armor (LAV-TUA) with the Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS). The Canadian contract is the first international sale of the TOW-2A RF, though Israel has also requested them and is likely to receive them shortly.
The UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter is modified commercial EC145 helicopter adapted for military use. To date, it has represented several things. A key spinoff of the canceled RAH-66 Comanche program, representing an acknowledgment that the quantity of birds in the air has a quality all its own. A major breakthrough for European defense giant EADS in the American market, to complement Eurocopter’s pull away lead over Bell and Sikorsky (but not Robinson) in the civilian sector. A big win for Mississippi’s lobbying contingent. A model of on-budget, on-time delivery. Perhaps even the next Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter as well, given Bell’s issues with the ARH-70A’s price?
Unfortunately, the LUH has just encountered its first spot of trouble. The Associated Press reports that during flight tests in Southern California in 80-degree weather, cockpit temperatures in the UH-72A Lakota rose above 104 degrees, the designated critical point for communication, navigation and flight control systems…
Israel pioneered the military use of UAV systems with a drone called, appropriately enough, the Pioneer. It was adopted in the 1980s by the USA, and some of them are still flying. IAI’s Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Heron UAV has become a signature export, winning in Turkey and adding to India’s fleet, and Israel’s, and forming the basis for a cooperative venture with EADS. Elbit Systems’ Hermes series of UAVs is catching up fast, however, with the smaller Hermes 450 tactical UAV seeing service with Israel and Britain (as the Watchkeeper MK450), bought by Singapore, and receiving civil certification in Israel.
Now Elbit Systems received a new $30 million order for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) for more Hermes 450s, known as Zik (“Spark”) in the IAF. Development and supply is scheduled to take place over more than 3 years. “Development” is mentioned because the order also includes “funds for the development, manufacture and supply of new and improved UAV systems, as well as the upgrade of existing UAV systems.” Among other projects, Elbit has developed a larger Hermes 900 version of its platform that can compete with the Heron and Predator; flight testing is scheduled to begin soon. Elbit Systems release.