Following a recent settlement that saw British forces receive 30 iRobot Packbots, Northrop Grumman subsidiary Remotec UK Ltd. has been appointed prime contractor for Phase II of the Ministry of Defence’s CUTLASS program to field the next generation of robots for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). These vehicles will be be used by the MoD for anti-terrorism operations worldwide, as well as EOD operations at home that have featured 120mm shells as doorstops and mortars in wardrobes. The contract’s value is about GBP 65 million (currently about $128 million), and the MoD release fixes the number of robots at 80. The bulk of deliveries will take place in 2010, with a phased introduction into service thereafter.
Partners in the CUTLASS program include QinetiQ (user-friendly operator command console, they also own TALON robot maker Foster-Miller) and LSC Group (logistics support effort, risk management and tracking activities). Remotec is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman with locations in Coventry, UK and Clinton, TN, USA.
The CUTLASS will be the primary replacement for Remotec’s “Wheelbarrow” design that has been in use in Northern Ireland since the 1970s. It offers the latest technology in a modular design, making it capable of accommodating a wide range of payloads, sensors and tools. The manipulator arm is equipped with a state-of-the-art gripper and has 9 degrees of freedom for greater movement and agility inside limited spaces, such as the interior of a car. The robot can either creep along at deliberately slow speeds for delicate operations, or accelerate to high speeds to enable rapid travel. The six-wheeled design offers mobility on all types of hard and soft terrain and in all weather conditions. See Northrop Grumman/ Remotec release | UK MoD release.
Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ received a $5.9 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N00019-03-C-0003) for the conversion of 310 AIM-9M Sidewinder short range air-air missiles to AIM-9M-8/9s, the version before the fifth-generation AIM-9X. The contract also includes 10 Captive Air Training Missiles and 20 guidance control sections for the Government of Pakistan under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (84%); Rocket Center, WV (13%); and Andover, MA (3%), and is expected to be complete in October 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.
The AIM-9M can engage targets from all aspects, and its IR counter-countermeasures and background discrimination capability are better than those of its own predecessors. It also has a reduced-smoke rocket motor. Deliveries of the M model to the USAF began in 1983.
DID has now talked to Raytheon, and confirmed that this sale is connected to an October 2005 purchase of 300 AIM-9M Sidewinders by Pakistan as a modification of Pakistan’s existing AIM-9M stockpile. According to Raytheon, the October 2005 purchase represented the first sale of the AIM-9Ms to Pakistan. DID has also covered a $650 million weapons package request placed in June 2006, which includes another 200 AIM-9M-8/9s and is in turn part of a $5.1 billion upgrade & expansion of Pakistan’s F-16 fleet.
The Lockheed Martin Sippican/ Granite State Manufacturing Submarine Antenna Joint Venture in Marion, MA received an $8 million modification under previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-6102), to exercise an option for production of the MK 30 Mod 2 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Target System (ATS) along with associated proofing support material and replenishment spares. This procurement satisfies the FY 2007 undersea weapons requirement for production of 3 Target Undersea Vehicles and associated support services. Work will be performed in Marion, MA (57.7%, Sippican); and Manchester, NH (42.3%, Granite State), and is expected to be complete by July 2007. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC is the contracting activity.
The MK 30 Mod 2 ATS recoverable ASW target provides training services for submarine, surface ship and aircraft crews to employ their sensors and weapon systems in realistic and operationally representative situations. The ATS can be launched from a helicopter or surface ship, and simulates a submarine’s dynamics of speed, depth and maneuvers. Realistic signatures of passive and active acoustics and magnetic anomaly detection, along with tactics, can be preprogrammed into the TUV to increase realism and enhance training. The MK 30 Mod 2 ATS will replace the existing MK 30 Mod 1 system, and Lockheed Martin Sippican claims significant improvements in capability, reliability, maintainability/ availability, and affordability. See also the original contract win release from February 24, 2005.
In Decemner 2006, Nammo AS of Raufoss, Norway and Talley Defense Systems of Mesa, AZ signed an agreement whereby Nammo will acquire 100% of Talley. The acquisition is in effect as of January 1, 2007, closing is expected in Q1 Quarter 2007 pending final U.S. Government regulatory approval. The firms’ mutual business relationship has spanned over 25 years, with a focus on cooperative development, production and marketing of shoulder-launched weapon systems in particular.
Talley makes the M72 LAW weapon that is being reintroduced into US service, and also makes the heavier Mk153 SMAW for the US Marine Corps. Talley has 220 employees, and 2005 revenue was $62.6 million. The Nammo Group has subsidiaries in Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA, and DID has covered Finnish firm Patria Oyj’s buy-in to the group. In 2005, their revenues reached $240 million equivalent, with around 1,200 employees. With 25% of NAMMO’s sales already in North America (specialties include armor-piercing bullets and air-burst munitions), the Talley acquisition looks set to strengthen their US position, even as it fills in NAMMO’s artillery shell product range and more fully leverages its missile component capabilities via the shoulder-fired weapon sector.
Small business qualifier Harry Pepper and Associates, Inc. in Jacksonville, FL received a $13 million contract for firm-fixed price Task Order 0005 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract. Work to be done involves design and construction of a Joint Aquatic Combat Diver Training Facility at Naval Support Activity Panama City, FL.
Work is expected to be completed by September 2008. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast in North Charleston, SC issued the contract (N62467-03-D-0188).
Raytheon recently announced that Raytheon Company announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Raytheon Aircraft Company (RAC) to GS Capital Partners, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs, and Onex Partners. RAC makes light civilian aircraft and business jets, including some specialized versions with military utility; nevertheless, the Raytheon release noted that RAC was seen as outside the firm’s desired core focus on the government and defense sector.
The firm has more than 8,500 employees and has approximately 100 authorized service centers worldwide, and will be sold for approximately $3.3 billion; expected net after-tax proceeds to Raytheon would be approximately $2.5 billion. The sale, which is subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first half of 2007.
Raytheon’s plans for those funds are surprisingly modest…
Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp. in Germantown, MD received a $20.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract for the continued operation of the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below Blue Force Tracking Network Operations Center. Work will be performed in Germantown, MD and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Nov. 29, 2006 by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, NJ (W15P7T-07-C-J408).
Rogers-Quinn (RQ) Construction, Inc. in Bonsall, CA received $19.8 million for firm-fixed-price Task Order 0008 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract (N68711-02-D-8062) for design and construction of the Special Operations Force Seal Team Operations Support Facility at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, CA. Work is expected to be complete by January 2009. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego, CA issued the contract.