DynCorp International LLC in Falls Church, VA received a $30.3 million firm-fixed price contract to design and build facilities for the Afghan National Army in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Work is expected to be completed by Jan. 25, 2009. There were 30 bids solicited on Dec 28/08, and 18 bids were received by the U.S. Army Engineer District, Afghanistan (W917PM-08-C-0033).
The $35 billion KC-45 aerial tanker deal has attracted a lot of attention and commentary lately, as one might expect. It has also attracted a lot of lobbying dollars – again, as one might expect. While the Pentagon hopes it can keep a lid on the program’s planned costs, it’s an absolute certainty that the lobbying bill will grow quite a bit before all is said and done.
Taxpayers for Common Sense, who built that useful Congressional earmark database, offers some figures re: lobbying monies paid to date – and DID looks at the message in terms of the political system, and the industry…
The Thales-Raytheon Systems Co. LLC joint venture in Fullerton, CA received a $68.3 million firm-fixed price/ cost-plus fixed fee contract for life cycle support of its AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel air defense radars until Dec 31/11. There was one bid solicited on Aug. 9, 2007, and 1 bid was received by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-08-C-0217).
The Sentinel radar has been in development for several years, and was first delivered to the US Army in April 2006. It is described by the manufacturer as “a highly mobile, three-dimensional, phased-array, ground-based air defense radar system that operates in the X-band. It automatically detects, tracks, identifies, classifies and reports airborne threats, including helicopters, high-speed attack aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.” One of its roles will be as the primary air defense radar for the SLAMRAAM air defense missile system, which was the recent subject of a Pentagon Inspector General report.
ATK business Alliant Lake City Small Caliber Ammunition Co. LLC in Independence, MO recently received a pair of firm-fixed-price contracts under DAAA09-99-D-0016 for small arms ammunition from the US government. The Alliant Lake location dates back to World War 2, and had become the USA’s only facility turning out military-grade small arms ammunition. The plant is currently undergoing extensive modernization efforts, while the adoption of General Dynamics as a secondary supplier has helped to ease the USA’s supply crunch for small arms ammunition.
The 3 contracts include a pair on Feb 29/08, and another on March 3/08. The first 2 lay out $21 million for 47,855,400 small caliber (5.56mm – 12.7mm/ .50 cal) rounds, and $13.5 million for 27,779,760 rounds. The 3rd lays out $67.7 million for 304,995,920 rounds. Work on these contracts is expected to be complete by Sept 30/09; in all cases, there was 1 bid solicited on Jan 2/08, and 1 bid was received by The U.S. Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, IL.
Carothers Construction Inc. in Water Valley, MS received a $10.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a diagnostic imaging center radiology oncology clinic at Keesler Air Force Base. This project will provide an elevated one-story steel frame and concrete addition on pile foundation, with a concrete slab, concrete and glass exterior, a modified bitumen roof, and all mechanical and electrical systems. The facility will be an adequately sized, efficient, modern, hurricane-protected Diagnostic Imaging Center for the Radiation Oncology Clinic to serve the eligible personnel in the Biloxi/Gulfport MS area, with a connector to the existing hospital.
Work will be performed in Biloxi, MS, and is expected to be complete by September 2009. This contract was competitively procured via the Naval Facilities Engineering Command e-solicitation website, with 5 proposals received by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast in Jacksonville, FL (N69450-08-C-0758).
DID has covered the USA’s Base Realignment and Closure process before, a fairly unique effort whereby a commission draws up a list of bases to be closed, and the Congress must vote yes or no to the entire list. The result is that it becomes much harder (but not impossible) for Congressmen to protect each base, and easier to create a basing system whose priorities are shifted toward military rather than political needs.
The 2005 BRAC Commission’s recommendation to realign and consolidate facilities in the USA’s National Capital Region, in order to meet the medical and security needs of the 21st century, includes the realignment of all tertiary medical services currently located at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. The new joint operational medical facility will be named the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and will be staffed by personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force. The existing Walter Reed main installation is mandated to close by 2011, according to the BRAC law.
DID thought this was an interesting BRAC initiative to cover going forward as a Spotlight article… and then the controversies hit. In their aftermath, the first contract has now been issued for construction of the new facility. DID chronicles the contracts – and the controversies – in this DII public-access article.
The dreaded Ankle-height ammunition (“ammo”) boots with nailed soles were worn by generations of British Army soldiers, and as recently as the 1982 Falklands War, British soldiers were still using puttees – strips of cloth wound round the leg above low boots. The BCH (Boot Combat High) became standard issue a few years after the Falklands war, bringing the UK into line with other NATO forces. Now the bar has been raised again to keep up with developments in other militaries and civilian industry – and lessen the shock of putting on those “hard leather squarebashers,” as Britain’s Ministry of Defence calls them. Colonel Silas Suchanek, leader of the Defence Clothing project team, said:
“We were looking for boots that would minimise the impact of working in temperatures that can go as high as 50 [degrees] centigrade, that would provide support to the foot when carrying heavy loads, and that could withstand the rigours of operating in conditions ranging from sandy desert to very abrasive stony ground.”
Fllowing trials in Autumn 2007 that tested 22 different brands, Britain will offer 4 new kinds of boot: For winter yomping, the Prabos cold wet weather boot has a stiffer sole and is the one generally used for operations. While the Iturri cold wet weather boot has a softer sole and will be more widely used for recruit training. In warmer climes, the Meindl and Lowa heavy-duty desert boots are designed to cope with the desert heat, provide more support, and offer easier “break in” than traditional hard leather footwear. The Lowa boot also has a womens’ model, which avoids the unisex problem of being too wide at the heel. The Meindl combat boot is already being issued to all troops who require it, and the Lowa boots will be available to all combat troops. The UK MOD hasn’t yet built up the same stocks, however, so priority will go to those in the dismounted combat role. UK MoD release.
In January 2007, the big question was whether there would be a competition for the USA’s KC-X aerial tanker RFP, which will cover 175 production aircraft and 4 test platforms. The cost for this first phase alone is likely to reach $35+ billion, but the USAF believes that adding new plane types to America’s 40-50 year old aerial tanker fleet is its #1 priority, lest unpredictable age or fatigue issues like the ones its F-15A-D fleet is experiencing ground its aerial tankers – and with them, a substantial slice of the USA’s total airpower.
Boeing’s KC-767 Advanced Tanker was matched up against Airbus’ larger A330 MRTT/KC-30 for this competition. Each has a consortium, and each had advantages. After all the studies, the lobbying, and the proposal refinements, however, the USAF has picked a winner on Feb 29/08.
The A330 MRTT/ KC-30B from Northrop Grumman and EADS Airbus will now become the USAF’s next aerial tanker – if the USAF can make its decision stick…
Back in 2006, when it was time for partner nations to sign on to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s production definition phase, the Dutch came aboard relatively early. That appears to be true again. A Dutch MvD leap year release indicates that they will participate in the multinational Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) Phase of the JSF program, rather than conducting this phase on their own. IOT&E will be used to validate the F-35A’s capabilities, while testing and refining both operational tactics & employment concepts, and ensuring smooth integration of the aircraft into the Dutch Air Force in time for the scheduled Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2016.
The first test aircraft is scheduled for a decision before May 31/08, with down-payment of 10% of the aircraft’s costs for long-lead items. A Cabinet decision will follow in 2009 re: both test aircraft, with a second aircraft arriving that year if the decision is positive. Otherwise, the long-lead items et. al. will be sold to other operators.
The decisions seem straightforward enough, but they have become very contentious.
MarineLog reports that the Manitowoc Marine Group has been awarded an additional $35 million delivery order for 18 RB-M vessels by the U.S. Coast Guard. The new vessels are part of a $600 million Coast Guard contract for up to 250 Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) vessels, and Manitowoc is the prime contractor and program manager for this multi-year project. Thus far 30 boats are under contract, including this order. Manitowoc will share the construction of these 18 boats equally with its RB-M team partner, Kvichak Marine Industries of Seattle, WA. Delivery will begin in Q3 2009.