Thales and Sabena Technics have won a EUR 40+ million (about $60 million) contract from the French DGA(Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) procurement agency to design, develop and deliver avionics upgrades to France’s 14 C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft. France doesn’t talk much about its C-130s, preferring to stress locally-designed aircraft like the similar 2-engined C-160 Transall, and the forthcoming Airbus A400Ms. With airlift requirements increasing given deployments in Africa and Central Asia, however, upgrades to the existing fleet are a must.
These upgrades will ensure the Hercules’ continued compliance with ICAO regulations, allowing unlimited use of European and international airspace (rather than restricted flight zones and special permits) from 2010. This comprehensive upgrade also includes standardization of system ergonomics to bring them more in line with the current “glass cockpit” standard on other aircraft. Thales and Sabena Technics will design, develop and integrate a new avionics architecture on a prototype C-130 aircraft, which will be qualified by Atelier Industriel de l’Aeronautique (AIA). Once qualified, Thales and Sebena will supply the kits, and AIA will handle installation on the rest of the French C-130 fleet. Thales will provide through-life support for the new avionics suite to 2013.
With Boeing’s C-130 Avionics Modernization Program experiencing rising costs, Thales sees this project as a “springboard to the global market of more than 200 C-130 Hercules transport aircraft that will require avionics upgrades in the next few years.” Thales release.
Lockheed Martin Government Services, Inc. in Seabrook, MD received a 7th year option of $27.1 million as part of contract MDA220-01-D-0002 for management of the Retired and Annuitant pay service. The service was formerly managed by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), but was the subject of an “A-76 action.” The core concept of the American “A-76” option is that it puts in-house services up for bid against private contractors, and may outsource the function if outside contractors can deliver better and cheaper. This sort of thing can be rather disconcerting to our readers in government departments, while many our readers working in large corporations probably wish they had this option with some of their internal departments. DID covered option #6 last year, along with a very provocative and interesting follow-on question from a reader re: A-76 competitions.
The estimated aggregate face value of this contract at time of award was $346.4 million. Primary work is performed at DFAS Cleveland, OH and secondary work which includes document scanning and primarily imaging is performed at London, KY. Under this option, work will be performed between Feb 1/08, through Jan 31/09. The DFAS Contract Services Directorate in Columbus, OH issued the contract (MDA220-01-D-0002).
Yesterday, Defense Industry Daily started offering subscriptions to readers wishing to gain access to the site’s more in-depth analyses. This Defense Industry Insider package includes access to all of DID’s content, as well as upcoming applications such as in-depth search functions and other industry-focused enhancements. DID’s Defense Industry Insider subscribers gain immediate access to additional chronologies, pictures, and more complete analyses for key weapons programs and trends: reference materials available nowhere else.
The UK Ministry of Defence recently placed a GBP 6.6 million (about $13.1 million) order for 44,000 chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) suits. The suits guard against biological or chemical attacks, and provide some degree of protection from nuclear fallout. They are worn with rubber over-boots and gloves, and are designed to seal around the CBRN service respirator and fit over combat clothing. Woodland and desert camouflage patterns are available.
The suits will be manufactured by Remploy, which was formed more than 60 years ago to provide work for people injured at home and abroad during the World War 2. The company has supplied specialist protection suits for several years from its workshops around Scotland and the United Kingdom.
Britain has made a number of improvements to its CBRN capabilities lately. While its forces no longer face a Soviet enemy across the Fulda Gap, whose operational doctrine caled for massive chemical weapon strikes in advance of an attack. Nevertheless, the falling technology curve continues to make it easier for rogue states and other elements to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction. Other recent improvements the UK moD has made in this area include truck-mounted Integrated Biological Detection Systems, man-portable chemical agent detectors, and tactical radiation monitoring equipment. MoD release.
Jan 28/08: CSC Applied Technologies, LLC in Fort Worth, TX received a $25.5 million modification under previously awarded contract (N66604-05-C-1277) to support requirements for increased base operations at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC). AUTEC is a major range and test facility base providing both deep and shallow water naval test and training. This modification will support stepped up scheduling and conduct of test operations, plus administrative and clerical support in the business operations area, and additional overtime in base operations functions such as housekeeping, facilities maintenance, utilities, vehicle maintenance, and helicopter operations.
Work will be performed in Andros Island, Bahamas (81%); West Palm Beach, FL (18%); and Cape Canaveral, FL (1%), and work is expected to be completed by Mar. 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division in Newport, RI issued the contract.
Contract #N66604-05-C-1277 was actually the subject of controversy in a 2006 audit report.
Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. in McLean, VA received a $10.5 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-06-C-0003), exercising an option for an estimated 149,760 man-hours of technical, engineering, professional and management services. The contract will support the Special Communications Requirements Division of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, which in turn supports programs for the US Department of Defense, plus American military services and federal agencies.
Submarines travel underwater, but they all need oxygen. Diesel-electric submarines need it for their engines, and must surface to get it, though modern AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) supplemental systems allow one to cruise at moderate power for over a week without surfacing. Nuclear-powered submarines could cruise underwater at full power for years, of course, as their engines do not need air. Their crews, however, do. Hence Electrolytic Oxygen Generators (EOGs), which break up water molecules and keep the oxygen for use aboard ship.
Treadwell Corp’s Model 6L16 EOG was first introduced in 1965. It breaks up distilled water by passing an electric current through an electrolyte solution (30% potassium hydroxide) in 16 high-pressure cells, connected in series. This equipment can produce 150 standard cubic feet per hour of oxygen, and variants remain the primary oxygen producers aboard the USA’s SSN-688 Los Angeles Class fast attack submarines and SSBN-726 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarines. Treadwell also produces Oxygen Generation Plants (OGPs) for the new SSN-21 Seawolf Class fast attack submarines, which include OGP electrolysis modules that depend on proton exchange membranes for oxygen separation.
The US Navy is moving to upgrade both of these systems.
The Spike missile family is designed around 2 key principles: low life cycle cost, and simple but reliable operation. Low life cycle cost comes from keeping prices down for all components by using “good enough” solutions that offer high quality without gold plating. The high-end option of integrated training as part of the system is included, however, because it improves the system’s cost profile over its entire lifetime. While Spike is less capable in some ways than high-end missiles like the Javelin, it’s also far more affordable, and hence useful as a more readily available fire-support option. The 2006 Lebanon war saw guided anti-armor missiles employed as a substitute for artillery, a role in which even very old designs like the AT-3 proved highly useful.
In Spain, 2007 was the Year of the Spike. January 2007, Spain chose Spike-LR as the next-generation anti-armor missile to equip its army and marines, as the RAFAEL/ General Dynamics partnership beat MBDA’s Milan-ER and the Raytheon/Lockheed Javelin. In December 2007, Spain bookended its earlier commitment with approval for the larger Spike-ER to equip its helicopter force – and that contract is now signed and detailed…
Each year, NATO publishes updated figures on its members’ defense expenditures, based on the NATO definition of the term. Data is also provide with respect to key outside entities; estimates are presented for Russia as well. The alliance has been tracking defense spending since 1963, and the figures are available in PDF, HTML, and Excel formats, depending on the year.
“The figures given in Table 1 represent payments actually made or to be made during the course of the fiscal year. They are based on the NATO definition of defence expenditures. In view of the differences between this and national definitions, the figures shown may diverge considerably from those which are quoted by national authorities or given in national budgets. For countries providing military assistance, this is included in the expenditures figures. For countries receiving assistance, figures do not include the value of items received. Expenditures for research and development are included in equipment expenditures and pensions paid to retirees in personnel expenditures.”
During the Cold War, NATO countries had a strong incentive to invest in minesweeper fleets, in order to keep their ports open to American reinforcements and cover key chokepoints that might be mined by Soviet submarines. With the demise of the Soviet Union, and the rise of remote-controlled UUVs and USVs that can be mounted on any ship, the perceived need for minesweeper ships has declined. The US Navy, for instance, will decommission all 12 of its 893 ton, fiberglass MHC-51 Osprey Class minesweepers by the end of FY 2008. So far, 8 of them have been sold to the Egyptian (MHC 60 & 61), Greek (MHC 52 & 53), Lithuanian (MHC 56 & 57), and Turkish (MHC 58 & 62) navies, even though the first ship was only christened in 1991.
With piracy rising sharply in the early 21st century, however, and land mines showing themselves to be the preferred tactic of islamists and other terrorists on land, some countries are connecting the dots and reassessing their post Cold War needs…