The Allison (now Rolls Royce) T56 turboprop engine serves on a number of American aircraft, and must be kept flying via maintenance and spares contracts. Otherwise, the USA’s C-130E/H Hercules tactical transports, P-3 Orion sea control planes, EP-3 Aries II intelligence aircraft, and C-2 Greyhound carrier-capable transport fleets could all be crippled. The US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD recently issued $120 million in contracts to 3 firms, as modifications to previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contracts, exercising options for depot-level repairs to its T56 Series III engines.
The 3 major modules of the engine to be maintained and repaired under these options will be a maximum annual quantity of 160 power sections, 180 reduction gear assemblies, and 140 torquemeters. Efforts under these options are expected to be completed in February 2011. The winners were:
Rolls-Royce Engine Services in Oakland, CA ($34.5 million, N00019-09-D-0013)
StandardAero Inc. in San Antonio, TX ($41.2 million N00019-09-D-0014)
Wood Group Turbopower, LLC in Miami Lakes, FL ($44.6 million, N00019-09-D-0012)
Small business qualifier OASYS Technology, LLC, an electro-optical specialty firm in Manchester, NH, received a $10.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to develop an “unmanned airborne multispectral sensor suite for more advanced imaging technology in unmanned aerial vehicles.” Work will be performed in Manchester, NH, and is expected to be complete in February 2015. This contract was competitively procured via a broad agency announcement by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-10-C-0064).
These kinds of sensor suites are extremely popular, and several new options are currently in development. The MQ-9 Reaper UAV is just one of several platforms expected to carry the new Gorgon Stare sensor, which goes from a narrow “soda-straw” view to an integrated picture covering several square miles, by using multiple day and night optics. This week, BAE systems also announced successful flight tests of DARPA’s ARGUS-IS (Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System), which packs a 1.8 gigapixel camera that can send up to 92 separate feeds.
Deconfliction issues have also prevented civil UAV markets from reaching anything close to their full potential for border patrol, land surveying, etc. The task is not impossible – for instance, the Hermes 450, which is the basis of Britain’s Watchkeeper Mk450 system, is now civil certified in Israel. Which is why a May 2007 EUR 500,000 (then about $672,000) European Defence Agency initiative could be significant… and now, a EUR 50 million MIDCAS contract involving an array of European firms has been signed at the 2009 Paris Air Show.
Spaceport Systems International (SSI), a Lompoc, CA-based partnership between ITT Corp. and California Commercial Spaceport, received a $48 million contract to provide launch services for the Launch Test Squadron within the USAF Space and Missile Systems Center/Space Development and Test Wing.
Under the contract, SSI will provide launch site services for USAF space launch missions.
SSI provides payload processing and launch services to the US military and other US government customers…
To destroy chemical weapons, the US Army can’t just throw them in an incinerator. They have to be destroyed carefully so that no harmful chemicals are released into the air or water supplies.
In 2009, the US Army, working with the National Research Council (NRC), tested 4 technologies – 3 private-vendor systems and 1 Army-developed explosive destruction system (EDS) – to destroy chemical weapons. Tests were conducted at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado.
The developers of one of the systems tested – US-based Versar and Japan’s Kobe Steel – announced [pdf] Feb 9/10 that they received a $13 million subcontract from URS Corp. to deliver their Detonation in a Vacuum Assisted Chamber (DAVINCH) system to the Deseret Chemical Depot in Tooele, UT for chemical weapons destruction. In addition to supplying the system, Versar will provide project management at the depot.
The Army testing revealed some interesting facts about the DAVINCH system…