Duke Realty Corp. in Indianapolis, IN won a $300 million firm-fixed-price contract to buy “complete and usable administrative office complex to be sold to the Army and developed on a turnkey basis by the contractor.” Work will be performed in Alexandria, VA with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15/11. Bids solicited were via the FedBizOpps and 2 bids were received. by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore, MD (DACA31-7-09-0067).
Duke Realty’s release is clearer. It has now completed the sale of 16 acres in its Mark Center business park in Alexandria, VA, to the US government for $105 million. That land will be used by the Department of the Army per the 2005 BRAC(Base Realignment and Closure commission) Recommendation #133, which will relocate various Department of Defense personnel from leased space around Northern Virginia. The land sale is part of an overall $950 million development agreement between Duke and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Science Applications International Corp. in San Diego, CA received $98 million firm-fixed-price contract for 50 Militarized Mobile Gamma-Ray Imaging Systems for non-intrusive inspection of vehicles and cargo, as well as maintenance of these systems. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA, with an estimated completion date of Dec 24/10. The US Army Research Development and Engineering Command (ARDEC) Acquisition Center at Aberdeen Proving, MD issued this contract (W91CRB-09-F-0003).
Gamma Ray Imaging is used in the biomedical field to yield specialized PET/ SPECT scans, but it has also begin to see use under the USA’s 2002 Container Security Initiative (CSI). SAIC makes the MobileVACIS system for this purpose, with the ability to scan a 40 foot container in under 6 seconds.
ASE’s popular Z-Backscatter technology is an X-Ray based alternative that uses specialized techniques to provide clear, high-resolution images, while highlighting organic materials and picking up radiation emissions.
In early December 2008, Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement Greg Combet outlined A$ 25.5 million in initiatives targeted at Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the sector, as part of an A$ 61 million investment in defense industry skills. He also singled out Raytheon Australia in particular for its SME partnership program.
Government SME initiatives include Australia’s Defense Industry Innovation Centres, an A$ 21 million initiative that will help with local and global benchmarking and firm strategy, and facilitate access to technology innovations elsewhere in the sector. The A$ 2 million engineering Scholarships Program will provide up to 20 scholarships per year for engineering students in relevant areas, beginning in 2010, if they undertake a placement with a Defence SME. The package will also provide financial incentives to the firms that offer these placements.
The final piece is an A$ 2.5 million to make the DMO Institute’s materiel logistics training programs available to the Australian defense industry, as well as the DoD’s acquisition workforce. The DMO Institute is a partnership between Australia’s Defence Materiel Organization and Deakin University.
Having the right capabilities on hand isn’t always a matter of having high-tech, expensive items. A British base near Basra had been coming under attack by rockets fired from the marshes of the nearby Shatt-Al-Arab waterway. Many of the rockets use timers, so anything short of controlling the surrounding area was not going to suffice. In 2007, the attacks on the main Contingency Operating Base peaked at more than 15 each day.
Challenger tanks had defeated challenges aong the roads, but they weren’t the answer here. Nor were Britain’s UAVs, whose limited field of view is not a practical or effective way to cover so many square miles. Instead, small “Mark 6” boats that one might use for casual fishing expeditions did the trick, motoring in shallow areas where even the British combat support boat and rigid raider hesitate to cruise. Those larger boats patrol the main channels, while troops were pushed out to austere forward operating bases and used Mark 6 boats for patrols of the waterways and associated islands. Those patrols, and improved Iraqi control of Basra, have combined to drop the number of attacks sharply. UK MoD release.
In December 2008, Defense News reported that 2 IL-78 “Midas” air refueling tankers were seen landing on Dec 2/08 at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, painted in Pakistani Air Force livery. Pakistan reportedly signed a contract with the Ukraine for 4 aircraft with Russian-designed UPAZ refueling pods, with the possibility of additional third-country equipment. Full operation is expected by 2010.
The IL-78 Midas is the aerial refueling variant of the IL-76 strategic transport; it is operated by Pakistan’s ally China, as well as its rival India. Standard IL-78s use hose-and-drogue refueling, however, which limits their usefulness to Pakistan. The PAF’s top-end F-16s possess USAF-standard dorsal refueling inlets, which require a refueling boom. The PAF’s MiG-19 derivative A-5 Fantan fighters have no aerial refueling capability at all, and neither do its F-7 Skybolts (Chinese MiG-21s). Refueling drogues are present on Pakistan’s old Mirage III/Vs, and on the Sino-Pakistani FC-1/ JF-17 Thunder lightweight fighters that may constitute the bulk of its future fleet. They will also be present on the Chengdu FC-20/J-10 fighters, which Pakistan is buying.
On Dec 20/09, the excellent Pakistani newspaper DAWN reported that the first PAF IL-78 aircraft had arrived, with the other 3 expected by mid-2010. This event follows the delivery of Pakistan’s first Erieye AWACS aircraft, and the 2 purchases combined will substantially change the capabilities of Pakistan’s air force.