Mar 13, 2008 14:09 UTC
L-3 Communications may be a Tier 2 defense firm in size, but it may be one of the most diversified. On March 11/08, the firm announced a strategic realignment to form a new Marine and Power Systems Group, with $1.2 billion in sales. Steven Kantor, currently corporate vice president and group president of L-3’s Power and Control Systems, will lead the new Group. L-3 release.
The new entity includes L-3’s Power and Control, Automation, Navigation, Undersea Warfare and Offshore businesses. L-3’s Ocean Systems businesses, currently in the Sensors and Simulation Group, will be consolidated with the Power and Control Systems Group, resulting in a line of ocean and undersea warfare and sonar products along with power and control systems. It’s an interesting offering set, one that’s very well-suited to maintenance and upgrade needs on its own, as well as mid-tier cooperation in compatible shipbuilding projects.
Mar 12, 2008 19:00 UTC
America’s Congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been conducting annual reviews of the F-35 A/B/C Joint Strike Fighter program for several years, analyzing everything from program approach to the wisdom of the program’s dual-source structure for the fighters’ engines. The GAO has a long-standing disagreement with the program over timing, and especially the decision to begin low-rate initial production before testing is complete in 2013. It has also backed the dual-source engine program as more expensive in the short run, but likely to save money in the long run; that backing has helped secure the votes in Congress to reinstate the dual-source approach for 2 years running.
In a sense, therefore, the most recent March 11/08 report and testimony could be seen as the running continuation of earlier disagreements. The report also contains summaries of program progress to date, however, and the warnings contained in its high level assessments are likely to have ripple effects in the USA and abroad…
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Mar 12, 2008 17:39 UTC
In recent years, the US Department of Defense has moved civilians into positions of responsibility alongside DoD employees. Some work is straightforward – public relations, facility maintenance, et. al. Other work contains the potential for entanglement, such as developing contract requirements and advising on award fees for other contractors. The Congressional Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to assess (1) how many contractor employees work in DOD offices and what type of mission-critical contracted services they perform, (2) what safeguards there are to prevent personal conflicts of interest for contractor employees when performing DOD’s tasks, and (3) whether government and defense contractor officials believe additional safeguards are necessary. GAO’s summary notes that:
“In contrast to federal employees, few government ethics laws and DOD-wide policies are in place to prevent personal conflicts of interest for defense contractor employees… Some DOD offices and defense contractor companies are voluntarily adopting safeguards… In general, government officials believed that current requirements are inadequate to prevent conflicts from arising for certain contractor employees influencing DOD decisions, especially financial conflicts of interest and impaired impartiality. Some program managers and defense contractor officials expressed concern that adding new safeguards will increase costs. But ethics officials and senior leaders countered that, given the risk associated with personal conflicts of interest and the expanding roles that contractor employees play, such safeguards are necessary.”
Read the full report: Report page | Plain Text | PDF, 52 pages.
Mar 12, 2008 15:45 UTC
MAN SX, up-armored
A deal announced on June 29, 2006 by UK Defence Procurement Minister Lord Drayson will add more trucks to Britain’s program to replace its Armed Forces’ tri-service fleet of 4-tonne, 8-tonne, and 14-tonne cargo and recovery trucks. The UK Ministry of Defense release notes that it is exercising an option for 2,077 more vehicles, extending the GBP 1.1 Billion contract it placed with MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG subsidiary MAN ERF UK Ltd by about GBP 250 million.
In July 2006, the British Ministry of Defence placed the follow-on order even before the vehicles in the main order, which were undergoing field trials, had been delivered. This update notes additional details that have emerged re: the trucks, and progress with deliveries as the UK prepares to deploy them abroad…
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Mar 11, 2008 20:04 UTC
KC-767: In the dark?
Our FOCUS Article “The USAF’s KC-X Aerial Tanker RFP” has covered the lead-up to Boeing’s protest, in the wake of the Airbus/NGC win. Today, Boeing issued a release that discussed its claims in the coming GAO protest. Boeing claims that the USAF:
Arbitrarily discounted the KC-767’s strengths, compromising on the ability to refuel a wider range of aircraft such as the V-22 and on “the survivability of the tanker during the most dangerous missions.”
DID has asked Boeing for clarification re: which aircraft were left out, and what factors would allow the KC-767 to refuel them where the A330 MRTT could not. We have also requested elaboration on what would make the KC-767 more survivable, given that both aircraft would be equipped with the same defensive systems. The release continues…
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Mar 11, 2008 18:32 UTC
In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Warsaw Pact defense industries that had supported its mailitary machine were faced with painful restructuring. Poverty and poor national infrastructure left governments with other priorities, even as Russia’s own implosion removed any sense of threat from that quarter. The state-controlled arms company Bumar s.o.o. began in 2002 with the fusion of 8 defense plants, and within a year 3 more plants joined the group; a 2004 interview with Chairman Roman Baczynski predicted a total of 16 plants, with a common logistics and supply system underneath and further restructuring and streamlining to follow. The firm’s specialties include vehicles, guns, and air defense systems. The Polish PT-91, an upgraded T-72M1 tank, is their premier platform.
In late February 2008, Bumar announced it was poised to sign a EUR 809 million (about $1.2 billion) multi-contract deal to supply military equipment to India. Proposed contracts to India need to be greeted with skepticism, because they are often held up for long periods of time, or disappear altogether. Nevertheless, it’s clear that some discussions are in progress regarding…
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Mar 11, 2008 16:37 UTC
Dingo 2 PRV
(click for alternate D2)
The Luxembourg Army’s Protected Reconnaissance Vehicle (PRV) contract called for a tactical reconnaissance vehicle “that is particularly well suited to allied operations” such as NATO’s ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The winner would have to balance interoperability, mobility, protection, and observation needs. With mine-resistant vehicles emerging as a basic requirement for all international deployments, and neighbors Belgium and Germany already committed to KMW’s Dingo 2, it’s hardly surprising that competition manager NAMSA (NATO’s Maintenance & Supply Agency) selected the Dingo 2 as the platform, and European defense electronics giant Thales Group as the prime contractor. Thales and KMW will deliver 48 vehicles and their electronics by the end of 2010.
The vehicles will carry an array of Thales communication equipment (PR4G, TRC 3700 HF), a tactical situation awareness system (T-BMS) “blue force tracker” type system, an extensible mast with a small reconnaissance turret, a dismounted surveillance system with Sophie MF handheld thermal cameras, and Kongsberg’s Protector remotely-operated machine-gun turret. Thales’ Open Information Communication System will serve as the underlying tie that connects these systems together.
Tiny Luxembourg is now the Dingo-2’s 5th customer, after Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. Thales release | KMW release [Deutsch].
Mar 11, 2008 14:10 UTC
Getting blast-resistant MRAP vehicles to the front lines involves more than just vehicle orders and a DX rating for materials priority. Deliveries will be delayed if critical parts or accessories aren’t also bought in time,, and final integration of government-furnished equipment like communications systems has also been a bottleneck at times.
DCX-CHOL Enterprise Inc. in Pekin, IL received $5 million in firm-fixed price purchase orders, covering 4,100 actuators and 4,010 actuator controllers for the Mine Resistance Ambush Protection Vehicle program. Work will be performed in Pekin, IL and is expected to be complete by Oct 21/08. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Feb 15/08, and 1 bid was received by the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center at Rock Island, IL (W9098S-08-P-0430).
Mar 10, 2008 20:04 UTC
(click to view larger)
DID’s new “Sharpen Yourself” category aims to supplement our ongoing procurement and defense coverage with articles like “Preparing More Powerful Presentations,” which are equally valuable to professional readers of an industry magazine. One aspect that often gets neglected in this industry is career management, especially among engineers. The defense industry is widely seen as stable and recession-proof, and to some extent that’s true, but long-time veterans know from personal experience that this is only a partial truth. Programs get canceled, firms move or consolidate, the politician a Hill staffer works retires or is defeated, or it becomes clear that a change of scenery and/or role is in order. When those shocks hit, the difference between a managed and an unmanaged career is like the difference between a managed and an unmanaged defense program.
This article addresses a growing trend in business, and a topic that’s coming up more and more frequently to a Human Resources consultant of our acquaintance: the use of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Ning, Friendster, LinkedIn, et. al. in the hiring process. For those in the active military, these sites also have a security dimension.
Social networking sites are distinguished by a keystone combination. A personal profile, which any job board also has, is part one. Part two is a central mechanism that leverages the voluntary connection of these profiles to each other – a major shift that can be “6 degrees of separation” powerful. These sites can and are used for many purposes, including entirely personal uses like sharing family photos. For dedicated professional business networking, however, LinkedIn has become the clear leader, and is now a key platform for executive recruiters (DID has no business affiliation with LinkedIn). If you’ve never seen these sites, you’ll need to see an example to understand. The Watershed Publishing team have all built free LinkedIn memberships and profiles – here’s mine:
LinkedIn carries few risks, but there are features you’ll want to pay careful attention to as part of good career management. Other social networking sites like MySpace carry more risks – for candidates, for employers, and for military members…
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Mar 10, 2008 16:29 UTC
Oshkosh Truck Corp. in Oshkosh, WI received a $272.7 million firm-fixed price contract for “Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles” heavy trucks, which include its HET heavy vehicle transporters, HEMTT heavy trucks, and PLS HEMTT trucks with robotic arms to load up containers et. al. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/08. One bid was solicited on Oct 23/06, and 1 bid was received by the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV07-C-0248).
Oshkosh has also introduced HEMTT A4 as the latest improvement to the HEMTT line, and a HEMTT A3 hybrid with diesel-electric power. A March 6/08 corporate release adds that this recent order adds 1,084 heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks (HEMTT) in the A4 configuration, raising the total number of ordered HEMTT A4s to 1,745 and the total contract modification to more than $321 million. Oshkosh celebrated the delivery of the 20,000th HEMTT truck on Feb 14/08, and HEMTT A4 production will begin in July 2008.
UPDATE Sept 4/08: Add an $82.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for the RECAP of 292 HEMMT A4 vehicles. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/08. One bid was solicited and one was received by TACOM in Warren, MI (W56HZV07-C-0248).