Textron Marine and Land Systems’ M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) provide better mine and ballistics protection than the Hummer, coupled with an armored turret that offers both mounts for advanced sensors, and firepower overmatch via a .50 cal machine gun and 40mm grenade machine gun combination in its turret. It’s a classic revival of the armored car segment, which had fallen into disuse but has begun to attract interest again.
The vehicle has traveled a lot of difficult roads, both inside and outside of combat. The US military was backing away from the project, until Iraq came along and military police adopted the 3-man vehicle. Textron had to undo production line shutdowns and rehire skilled talent, and they were just hitting their stride when Hurricane Katrina flooded their only factory in New Orleans. Textron’s offering definitely provides more land mine protection than a Hummer, but heroic efforts were required to get it up and running again. When the US military finally got serious and began buying MRAP vehicles, however, the stretched M1117 ICV failed the tests and was removed. This was actually the vehicle’s second competition loss, following Iraq’s selection of the Cougar-based ILAV Badger as its mine-resistant vehicle. American MPs continued to order the vehicle, however, and an artillery-spotting variant known as the M707 Armored Knight also picked up a few contracts. A small order came in from the Bulgaria, but the USA remains the vehicle’s sole customer of note.
That may be about to change, however, due to a formal request from… Iraq. One that has now been expanded.
Emsworth Locks and Dams is one of 6 major river facilities on the Ohio River, standing at the head of the Ohio River navigation system. It forms a 24-mile pool on the three rivers around the city of Pittsburgh – but at present, the dam cannot be operated to control flood flows. Hence the US Army Corps of Engineers project to install more modern equipment.
Joseph B. Fay Co. in Tarentum, PA received a $34.4 million contract for work on Emsworth Locks and Dam’s Main Channel Damon the Ohio River in Pennsylvania. Work will include the replacement of 8 vertical lift gates; removing the existing vertical lift gates, gate hoist machinery, and machinery houses; fabricating and delivering 3 new lift gates; transporting and installing 3 government-furnished lift gates; modifying 1 existing lift gate; replacng operating machinery, electrical systems and controls; modifying the dam piers to accommodate the new hydraulic gate hoist equipment, replacing embedded metal in the gate recesses of the dam piers; installing the new lift gates; and building new machinery houses.
Work will be performed in the Emsworth Locks and Dam, Ohio River, PA and is expected to be complete by Aug 1/11. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Bids solicited online on April 14/08, and 3 bids were received by the US Army Engineer District in Pittsburgh, PA (W911WN-08-C-0008).
FlightSafety Services Corp., of Centennial, CO received a firm-fixed-price contract for $14.1 million, covering one Weapons System Trainer for pilots and crew on the MC-130W Combat Spear special forces transport aircraft. This trainer is used to support the Aircrew Training and Rehearsal Systems contract, and all funds have been committed. It is managed by the Department of the Air Force OO-ALC/ACSG/PK at Hill AFB, UT (FA8223-08-C-0008).
The MC-130W Combat Spear is a recent development, and was first fielded in 2006 as an interim replacement for losses in AFSOCOM’s MC-130E/H Combat Talon aircraft. The fact that most of the losses were related to age rather than enemy action did not change the need for replacements, and so C-130H aircraft from the 1987 to 1990 production group were modified to fill the gap. The standard sets of special forces enhancements followed: improved navigation including GPS and navigation radars; interior and exterior night vision goggle compatible lighting; advanced threat detection and automated countermeasures, including active infrared countermeasures as well as chaff and flares; upgraded communication suites, including include dual satellite communications using data burst transmission to make trackback difficult; aerial refueling capability; and the ability to act as an aerial tanker via Mk 32B-902E refueling pods.
At present, 12 converted MC-130W aircraft are planned, but SOCOM’s recent contract for MC/HC-130J aircraft might change that equation by offering a higher performance recapitalization option.
Those government maps have to come from somewhere. Psomas and Associates, in Costa Mesa, CA have received a maximum $7.5 million firm-fixed price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity to perform surveying and mapping for Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest. Work will include cadastral surveys, topographic surveys, aerial surveys, geodetic surveying, construction surveys, Alta surveys, hydrographic surveys, special studies, title searches, civil site improvements drawings and specifications and GIS (geographic information system) database/mapping.
Locations will include Calif. (87%), Ariz. (5%), Nev. (5%), Colo. (1%), N.M. (1%) and Utah (1%), and work is expected to be complete in July 2009. This contract was competitively procured via the NAVFAC e-solicitation website, with 13 proposals received by NAVFAC SW in San Diego, CA (N62473-08-D-8640).
Meridian Medical Technologies Inc. in Columbia, MD received a maximum $49.1 million firm fixed price contract for nerve agent antidotes, morphine and related medical services and supplies.
Work will be performed in Columbia, MD and in Missouri on behalf of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response, and the contract will end on March 31/09. The contracti will be managed by the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA (SPM200-05-D-0010).
In September 2006, EADS Defence & Security Systems Spain received a EUR 24.5 million contract for the system design and development of the “COMbatiente FUTuro” (COMFUT) program. EADS-DS Spain will lead a group of Spanish sub-contractors including Elint, Fedur, GMV, Iturri and Tecnobit in the first round. Their team will design and develop COMFUT, then provide the Spanish Army with prototypes to equip 3 suqads (36 soldiers) over a 3-year period ending in 2009. If the tests and evaluations go well, the Spanish Ministry of Defence could acquire up to 7,000 COMFUT sets in the future… but all of the standard caveats and issues re: the global “Future Soldier” trend still apply, and the EDA is raising new concerns about lack of interoperability between the various country projects.
DID is once again grateful to Spanish reader Pedro Lucio for his assistance in obtaining details regarding the COMFUT program’s history, components, areas of research, et. al. The latest news includes a contract to ITT…
How do you train militaries and public agencies for the challenges and scale of nuclear, chemical, or biological (NBC) attacks or outbreaks, without creating unacceptable levels of disruption in society’s daily workings during the exercise? The US military has similar scope and space problems for other military exercises. Its solution is a combination of live training, virtual simulators et. al., and “constructive” environments. That last piece of the puzzle integrates the live and virtual efforts in an imaginary world, and provides status reports to commanders.
Right now, the “live virtual constructive” training environment for NBC operations appears to be falling short of its goals. To fix this, Cubic Applications, Inc. in Lacey, WA received a not-to-exceed $16.3 million cost-plus-fix-fee contract. They will provide investigative research and analysis, explore emerging technologies, and develop proof-of-concept/ prototype solutions to the shortfalls in realistic Nuclear, Chemical and Biological training. The goal is to create “a single, more realistic operational and training environment for the Live Virtual Constructive.”
Work will be performed in Shalimar, FL and is expected to be complete in May 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via a Broad Agency Announcement, with 1 offer received by The Naval Air Warfare Center, Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61339-08-C-0024).
Militaries tend to reflect their national cultures in various ways, and Americans have always been inveterate tinkerers and inventors. It’s a streak that runs deep in the culture, as even a casual glance at America’s late night TV will confirm. Cases in point on the military side of things include the Chavis turret, Hummer mine-rollers, and the door-ripping Rat Claws.
The American political-military-industrial complex has a mixed record when it comes to putting these kinds of innovations in the hands of people on the front lines. On the other hand, the current war has offered an illuminating side by side comparison of the American system vs. other militaries. Despite its size, the American system compares well, thanks in part to agencies like the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force. Another source of encouragement is the Army’s annual “Top 10 inventions” recognition program, which began in 2002.
These programs winners over the past 2 years [2005 | 2006] ranged from modified M113 APCs to wound dressings with built-in blood clotting agents. In June 2008, a new set of winners were announced. Presenting, the US Army’s Top 10 inventions of 2007:
Western Branch Diesel, Inc. in Portsmouth, VA received a $10.2 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity requirements contract. They will perform maintenance services, engine overhaul, and repair of the MK V Special Operations Crafts’ MTU 12V396TE94 diesel engines. The Mk V is a fast insertion/extraction boat used by Navy SEALs, and there are reports of these 82 foot long boats reaching over 60 mph/ 100 km/h in smooth seas. They take a real beating in rough surf, however, and so do their operators. Beyond these kinds of maintenance contracts, therefore, the Navy is experimenting with composite versions of the boat, while also testing systems like Stiletto with its special M-hull.
Work will be performed in Portsmouth, VA (80%) and Norfolk, VA (20%), and is expected to be complete by March 2013. This contract was competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities websites, with 3 offers received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL (N61331-08-D-0018).
“Few Western companies can boast of the same experience of broad and productive cooperation with Russian aerospace and defense enterprises as the Thales Group of France.”
Denisentsev outlines the scope of this cooperation, which encompasses the Ka-52 attack helicopter, MiG-AT trainer, Sukhoi’s SU-30 fighters, T-90 tanks, civil/military satellite platforms, the Superjet 100 regional jet, and possibly the MC-21 short-medium range airliner.
He adds the Russian Ministry of Defense, and Thales are now negotiating technology transfer agreements and full localization of Damocles surveillance and targeting pod production in Russia. The Damocles pod is comparable to offerings like Lockheed Martin’s Sniper ATP and Northrop Grumman/ RAFAEL’s LITENING; it is set to enter service with France’s high-end Rafale fighters soon, and has been ordered by Malaysia for its advanced Sukhoi SU-30-MKMs. Under these proposed arrangements, Damocles would also equip Russia’s modernized Su-27SM Flanker fighters, Su-24M2 Fencer swing-wing strike aircraft, and their Sukhoi-built successors the Su-35-1 Flanker and the Su-34 Fullback.