“One of the biggest challenges facing the new administration, as well as future administrations, is the effective acquisition of complex products… This report examines contracting for complex products by reviewing the U.S. Coast Guard’s experience with its Deepwater Program… a major “system of systems” acquisition to upgrade and integrate the Coast Guard’… Important elements are missing from the Deepwater story, notably the impact of contract management and the behavior of each party within the IDIQ(Indefinite Delivery/ Indefinite Quantity) contract design… Although Deepwater has garnered headlines for some of its stumbles, a more complete review of the early phases suggests a more mixed and balanced record.”
DID has covered numerous aspects of the US Coast Guard’s $25 billion Deepwater program-of-programs; “US Coast Guard’s Deepwater Effort Hits More Rough Sailing” offers a good summary of developments to date, and links to most of the key articles. Readers can download the full IBM CBG report [PDF], which recommends more investment in building up the acquisition workforce (a workforce that is often cut short-sightedly when budgets get smaller), which leads to a better understanding of risk drivers. They CBG also recommends a commitment to learning by trying different kinds of contracts for complex systems, ensuring that the contracts can be modified mid-stream in light of experience, and collecting lessons learned.
Shortfalls in allied helicopter contributions to Afghanistan have been an issue for several years now. The USA ended up having to extend some of its Chinook fleet’s time in theater to make up the shortfall, but the longer term response to NATO’s under-performance has involved another option: contracted helicopter services from private firms like Hummingbird, Blackwater affiliate Presidential Airways, CHL, Jingle Air, et. al.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence was forced to drop a proposal to contract out battlefield helicopter support, for a number of obvious reasons. What the USAF’s recent “Teamwork shown as Airmen respond to helicopter crash” release demonstrates, however, is that other divisions of responsibility below full combat missions are seeing the lines blur. Defence-Aerospace’s Giovanni de Briganti was sharp enough to pick up on the key paragraphs:
“1/5/2009 – SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — Six Airmen of the 379th Civil Engineer Squadron here used teamwork to recover a helicopter that crashed Dec. 15 at a forward operating base in Afghanistan… Medics arrived and treated one of the aircrew members for a minor hand laceration. The responders then began to remove the cargo and fuel from the downed aircraft. We worked with contractors and the Army’s movement control team to remove 4,000 pounds of ammo [emphasis DID’s] and transfer the fuel from the helicopter,” the firefighter said. The helicopter was eventually picked up by a crane, loaded on to a flatbed truck and removed from the scene.”
General Dynamics European Land Systems subsidiary MOWAG GmbH recently received a CHF 260 million (EUR 160M, $190M) order from the Swiss Armasuisse procurement agency. The firm will deliver 220 GMTF(Geschutztes Mannschaftstransportfahrzeug) protected patrol vehicles based on the DURO-IIIP truck, and 12 DURO IIIP “NBC Laboratory Vehicles” that can identify radioactive materials, biological and chemical warfare agents, and toxic industrial chemicals. The 3rd component of this order involves the development of 12 Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles, which will be based on the Piranha-IIIC/LAV-III 8×8 wheeled armored personnel carrier (APC). These 3 three projects were approved in the 2008 Swiss armament procurement program, and they will be delivered to the Swiss Army between 2010 and 2012.
DURO trucks are fairly popular as medium transport vehicles, and also form the basis of MOWAG’s new Eagle IV up-armored 4×4 jeep. GMTF is a protected patrol vehicle based on the IIIP 6×6 multipurpose truck, adding medium armor protection while maintaining space for up to 11 soldiers. The GMTF will supplement true APCs like the PIRANHA II 8×8 Radschutzenpanzer 93 (LAV-II) and BAE Hagglunds’ tracked “Schutzenpanzer 2000” (CV90), which are already in use with the Swiss Army.
MOWAG will supply all 3 vehicle types; but the DURO IIP NBC Lab vehicles’ equipment will be integrated by Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH of Kassel, Germany, and the Piranha IIIC 8×8 NBC Reconnaissance Vehicles are the overal responsibility of Thales Suisse (SA) of Zurich. GD MOWAG release.
While many of our readers spent time on Winter break, Defense Industry Daily continued to cover developments and contracts in the defense sector. It was a relatively busy time. Readers interested in catching up on what they missed can click on DID’s December 2008 archives, and begin reading backward from Dec 30/08.
BAE Ground Systems Division in York, PA received a $13.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for 8 M88A2 HERCULES vehicles. Work will be performed in York, PA and is expected to be complete by Dec. 30/10. One bid was solicited on Oct 13/08 by U.S. Army TACOM in Warren, MI (DAAE07-01-C-N030).
The M88A2 Hercules (Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift and Evacuation System) armored recovery vehicles are well named. These vehicles are equipped with a 25-35 ton hoist/boom, and a winch with enough pulling power to haul a 70-ton M1 Abrams tank out of a ditch.
The latest official purchase request announced [PDF] by the US DSCA continues this trend, ans Iraq orders up to $148 million worth of small arms to equip its growing forces. Iraq’s request includes 80,000 M16A4 5.56mm Rifles, 25,000 of the more compact M4 5.56mm Carbines, and 2,550 M203 40mm Grenade Launchers that mount under the rifle’s barrel. The usual spare and repair parts, support equipment, and other forms of support are included, and some US government representatives will be required in theater. Exactly how many and for how long will be determined during contract negotiations, but the aim will be to make maximum use of existing US and Iraqi personnel. The principal contractors are Colt Manufacturing Company in Hartford, CT, who still has an exclusive license for the M4, and and FN Manufacturing Group Herstal, S.A. in Herstal, Belgium.