RIA Novosti recently quoted Lt. Gen. Viktor Kachalkin, commander of Russia’s 61st Air Army,as saying that Russia intends to step up buys of modern military transports beginning in 2012. Meanwhile, the current strategic fleet of AN-22 “Cock” turboprops, IL-76 “Candids”, and the huge AN-124 Ruslans will be modernized for another 20 years of service. Many of the planes in Russia’s current fleet entered service in the 1960s and 1970s.
The IL-76MD-90 project has already begun to install new avionics and engines in some planes, and expects to deliver 12 modernized aircraft by 2010. A similar program is contemplated for the AN-124s, whose modernized AN-124-100 version is operated by commercial charters on behalf of global outsize heavy lift customers – including NATO. The AN-22s could end up being supplanted by the AN-70, however, an A400M-sized turboprop which recently experienced a $300 million program defibrillation.
EOD Technology (EODT) in Lenoir City, TN received a $99.9 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract to provide security services to the coalition’s Task Force Duke. TF Duke operates in the north-eastern provinces of Konar, Nanganhar, Laghman and Nuristan; they sit between Kabul, Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan, which are connected by the road that leads through the famous Khyber Pass.
The first task order under the contract, worth $8.5 million, is for EODT to provide security for Task Force Duke’s Forward Operating Base Fenty, located at Jalalabad Airfield. EODT will manage access at entry control points, blocking unauthorized personnel, contraband, weapons or explosives from entering installations; man the guard towers and conduct surveillance and counter-surveillance of the installation perimeter and vicinity. They are authorized to employ force. Their deployment in this fixed role frees up more soldiers for “tip of the spear” duties, while offering less risk of that contractor accountability issues that were present in Iraq, or of problems involving local civilians.
The contract was awarded by the Combined Joint Task Force 101 (CJTF-101). It serves as both the National Command Element for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reporting directly to the Commander, United States Central Command. It also serves as the International Security Assistance Force’s Regional Command – East. EODT release.
Base infrastructure contracts are a quietly substantial portion of defense spending in any country, including the USA. Which is why DID covers them on a semi-regular basis, and notes trends in key areas, even though this coverage are only a fraction of the contracts issued. A December 2007 announcement by the US Army has significant implications for base infrastructure projects at a number of locations, however, as the push to grow the US Army by 74,200 troops and 6 brigade combat teams (BCTs)/ 8 support brigades continues, and so does partial relocation of US troops deployed abroad. A June 2009 announcement cut the number of new BCTs in half to 3, and will affect construction and stationing on 3 important Army bases.
The following lists offer updated breakdowns of the associated relocations and new unit stand-ups, first by timeline, and second by location:
CACI International received a $30 million contract to provide support for Naval aviation training, part of the Naval Aviation Production Process-Sustainment (NAPP-S) program. Sponsored by the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), the award is for 1 base year and 4 option years. CACI will provide management, technical, data analysis, and IT support to CNATRA. This contract extends CACI’s 11-year support of this program.
Based at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, TX, CNATRA trains approximately 1,800 pilots and military flight officers as well as approximately 2,000 enlisted aircrew students each year. They also operate the famed Blue Angels aerobatic team. In 2007, CNATRA’s 722 aircraft logged 366,949 flight hours, nearly a third of the Department of the Navy total. To put those numbers in perspective, the school flew 28% of the combined Navy and Marine Corps flight hours with 19% of the aircraft.
CACI will provide technical and subject matter experts on the Navy’s current training process and metrics; process management and improvement consulting for senior naval leadership; data quality and analysis, and web-based data collection application maintenance and upkeep. The company will provide program oversight and on-site support, and manage the progress of trainees to deployment. CACI release.
DID has reported extensively on research contracts related to Gallium Nitride (GaN) semiconductors, which offer significantly higher power and performance. Unfortunately, they present manufacturing and cost challenges that have stymied their use in commercial applications.
In May 2005, Compound Semiconductor Magazine offered an excellent overview of the GaN wide-bandgap semiconductors program and DARPA’s goals. Key program objectives include rapid transition of the technology developed into military systems. Other important goals include a “great” improvement in understanding the physical reasons behind device failures and the development of physical models to predict performance, reproducible device and MMIC fabrication processes, and improved thermal management and packaging. Reliability is expected to be a key challenge.
GaN represents an innovation in materials technology. DARPA’s approach adds innovative procurement strategies, via a 3-pronged approach that aims to speed the development of GaN-based microelectronics…
February 26, 2007 added one more big event: the US Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan agency of Congress, upheld Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin’s protests over Boeing’s win. Would the GAO ruling be interpreted narrowly, triggering a double-checking exercise, or more broadly, triggering a renewed evaluation process? Worse, could the GAO’s follow-up defining the award’s problem areas create so many issues that further protests from whomever loses bring the program to a halt? The USAF released its RFP v2.0, but Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin filed renewed protests even before the new RFP’s due date. The USAF kept trying to push forward with an accelerated process, but barriers have mounted as it has lost – repeatedly. Meanwhile, the Pave Hawks aren’t getting any younger, or more capable.
DID looks at the 3 competing helicopters’ key advantages and disadvantages, and chronicles the events surrounding the GAO protest and subsequent developments. After their second loss before the GAO, the USAF has now decided to re-compete the contract – in full, with RFP Amendment 5. Which came out at about the same time as a report alleging that CSAR-X’s criteria were changed to allow Boeing’s HH-47 to compete. Meanwhile, almost $100 million is required to update the old HH-60 helicopters, as a result of all the delays.
The latest item is formal cancellation of the CSAR-X contract, per SecDef Gates’ FY 2010 budget recommendations:
Alion Science and Technology in McLean, VA received a $97 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide the Chief of Navy Information Office (CHINFO) with media relations, community outreach, visual information systems, information technology support, Web site portal management, and business case analysis development and assessment, as well as management and public relations for Fleet Week.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) awarded 4 major defense contractors up to $1 billion in contracts to provide analysis, research and development, concept development and support. The new contracts replace a large contract that is scheduled to expire July 31/09.
The winning firms will support USJFCOM’s Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Directorate (J9), which coordinates U.S. Department of Defense efforts to explore how the future military can successfully operate in complex, ever-changing and uncertain environments. J9 runs exercises, undertakes technology development, and works with the military to develop better “concepts of operations” and ways of doing things…
Harris Corp of Melbourne, FL recently announced a $9.8 million follow-on contract to provide 209 fibre channel network switches for the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and for other military aircraft. The new award brings the total value of Harris’ switch development and production contracts to more than $55 million.
Fibre channel network switches are a component of the aircraft’s onboard computers and displays. They provide the fibre channel protocols required for high-speed communications between computing elements, and for line-speed synchronous switching.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in San Diego, CA recently announced that it will provide cyber security training to Department of Defense (DoD) personnel, via a prime task order under the Defense Information Systems Agency’s (DISA) omnibus ENCORE II contract. The task order has a 1-year base period of performance and 4 one-year options, with a total value of more than $21 million if all options are exercised.
The instruction is technically termed “information assurance” (IA), which steps beyond technology security and into the ways in which information is handled. IA and cyber-security can merge, of course, as they did when a senior defense executive took work home to an unsecured system; information about the VH-60N Presidential helicopter’s avionics subsequently ended up on servers in Iran. So, what will SAIC do to help stem the tide?