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…
GM General Dynamics Land Systems Defense Group LLC Joint Venture in Sterling Heights, MI received a $253.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for follow-on contractor logistics support for Stryker family of vehicles in both garrison and deployment locations.
The 8×8 wheeled Stryker armored vehicle is the backbone of the US Army’s 7 medium armored brigades, with an 8th on the way.
Of the 7 brigades, 3 are deployed in combat zones: 2 in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan. The Army has 3,320 Stryker vehicles, with more than 640 currently being used in combat…
Latest updates: Major update to the article, which now offers a complete timeline and new materials.
The USA’s “SBIRS High” missile launch early-warning satellites, which aim to replace the existing DSP fleet, have been facing ongoing project issues. Massive cost overruns, technical challenges that continue to present problems, and uncertain performance all factor into the equation. Yet their mission – to detect ballistic missile launches and so serve as the critical first stage of the USA’s national early warning system – is too critical to abandon. What to do?
While some progress has been made on SBIRS-High, the search for alternative technologies is now well underway in a program called AIRSS the Alternate InfraRed Satellite System, also known as 3GIRS (3rd Generation Infrared Surveillance). The effort progressed well, but despite good performance and cost-effective development, the program is facing its end in the FY 2011 budget:
The commercial IT sector has been using “cloud computing” for a number of years. Cloud computing is a term that describes how large scale computer infrastructure can tap the power of the Internet to perform complex tasks.
Cloud computing allows computer users to realize efficiency and cost savings by using shared IT resources such as applications, storage devices and servers that are delivered as services over the Internet.
The US Air Force wants to tap this technology for its complex IT needs. An obvious problem for the Air Force is the security of accessing information from remote locations not on its secure servers. The Air Force has tasked IBM to come up with a solution to this problem…
Because of flying zone restrictions in densely populated Germany, the German military trains many of its pilots in other countries, such as at the Canadian Forces Air Command base at Goose Bay and the USAF Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico. The German Army, Navy and Air Force also rely heavily on simulators to train their pilots.
Canada’s CAE is one of the companies that supply aircraft simulators to the German armed forces. It also provides maintenance and training support for its simulators, as well as simulators made by other companies. The company has ongoing maintenance and training support contracts with Germany. It announced Feb 4/10 that it received contracts valued at C$58 million ($54 million) for German aircraft simulator support.
France’s approach to economic stimulus has had a decidedly military component, with buys ranging from VBCI wheeled armored personnel carriers to a Mistral Class LHD ship. /In April 2009, France added another component of its package: a EUR 220 million contract for 5 more EC725 Caracal helicopters for combat search and rescue, special forces, and medium utility roles, to bring its total fleet to 19.
The EC725 was created when France decided in 1996 that it needed a helicopter designed for Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions. At first, they chose the AS532 A2 Super Puma/ Cougar, but after extensive trials, the French Air Force recommended so many changes that it required a new variant. The 11 tonne EC725 SAR variant was born, and made its maiden flight in November 2000. Key characteristics include a fuel load of 3750 liters/ 990 gallons, giving the helicopter a flight time of 5 hours 30 minutes; plus air-to-air refueling capability, a reinforced main gearbox, a new 5-bladed main rotor, a 4-axis autopilot, a homing system for emergency locator beacons, armor plating, and integrated defenses. French Caracal helicopters are fitted with surveillance and targeting turrets, and carry the most modern avionics and navigation equipment. MAG 58 machine guns are also commonly fitted to helicopters, which can also accommodate search lights, winches, and other rescue gear as needed.