USAF’s T-38C supersonic trainers getting new “zero-zero” ejection seats. Biggest plus? Saving lives. Unlike the older seats, they’re very effective at low speeds and altitudes, where most ejections take place.
Money savers: Congrats Rick Griebel on your $10,000 USAF IDEA check, for saving more than $2 million over the next 15 years. His project? An on-demand, custom-size box and filler maker. British civil servant Stacey Cooper saves them GBP 6 million (about $9 million) at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, and gets… a nice award certificate.
The US Navy has awarded ViaSat a contract worth up to $30 million to provide tactical data links and satellite communications equipment and support to SPAWAR Atlantic and the Turkish government under a Foreign Military Sales program.
Guest Article by Lou Crenshaw, Vice Admiral U.S. Navy (ret.)
After a sustained period of sizable increases, growth in the DoD budget is expected to slow considerably starting in 2011. Defense discretionary spending is likely to be constrained by built-in budget pressures, both external and internal to the department. Mandatory non-military spending (such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) as well as new administration initiatives, will limit the total amount of budgetary authority given to DoD by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Within the DoD, 3 principal factors will present continued budgetary challenges. First, the QDR will refocus the department’s spending priorities, adding additional requirements as well as questioning current investment strategies. Second, continued cost growth above inflation, particularly in acquisition, manpower and maintenance accounts, will continue to erode DoD discretionary spending. Finally, overseas contingency operations (OCO) will continue to age equipment, demand new equipment and stress operations accounts. Winners and losers will emerge as procurement spending is prioritized toward the most critical areas, including nontraditional warfare; high demand, low-density assets and cyber warfare; and away from large hardware programs associated with traditional operations. Recent legislation and policy changes will also affect the defense contractor community…
In March 2006, “Fractal Creep: New Digitized Camo Uniforms for USAF, USN, Jordan” looked at some of the new fractal camouflage patterns emerging on the market, and the some of the design decisions behind the uniforms themselves. The new uniform design is a pixilated tiger stripe, with 4 soft earth tones of tan, grey, green and blue. The Air Force Battle Uniform will have a permanent crease and will be offered in 50-50 nylon-cotton blend permanent press fabric, eliminating the need for winter and summer weight uniforms. It will also be available in more body sizes, tailored for men and women. A tan T-shirt and polish-free suede cowhide boots in matching green-gray color will accompany the uniform, and will be available in men’s and women’s sizes. So will a fleece.
Back in 2006, Brig. Gen Robert R. Allardice said that they:
US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic in Charleston, SC recently awarded an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee multiple-award contract for telephony and telecommunications system maintenance and support throughout the contiguous U.S. (70%); military installations in Southwest Asia (20%); and other government stations worldwide (10%). The multiple award contracts allow winners to compete for task orders, and each contractor receives $50,000 at the time of award. All task orders together can be worth up to $100 million.
Work under the base contract would end in July 2011, and contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, but if all options are exercised, work could continue until July 2015. The contracts were competitively procured by full and open competition via the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center e-Commerce Central and the Federal Business Opportunities Web sites, with 4 offers received. The winners are both small business qualifiers:
If the allied strategy in Afghanistan really rests on the eventual ability of their central government to handle the lion’s share of the campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, its government will have to be able to manage itself at an acceptable level of competence. Given the fact that the cost of equipping and maintaining Afghanistan’s defense forces is well beyond that government’s entire budget, its competence is equally important to foreign financial donors.
That very competence has been strongly questioned in recent years, with Afghanistan’s interior ministry and national police coming in for special criticism. Managing their quality is a difficult political problem, as the requirement of Afghan independence and the reality of the country’s culture and political actors collide. Then, too, the local approach can sometimes be the right approach, even if it seems strange or inefficient at first. That’s why locally-appropriate training programs at the management level, as well as the tactical level, must be part of any transition plan. Even as their ultimate effectiveness depends on the commitment and people in place among their trainees. To that end, L-3’s MPRI division has received a series of contracts:
Bahrain beat the UAE to the punch when it came to signing a binding contract, buying 9 UH-60M helicopters in May 2007. There can be a long slip between DSCA notifications and contracts, and the 11 months required to make Bahrain the UH-60M Black Hawk’s first international customer is actually a short to medium delay. The helicopters will reportedly cost up to $204 million with included add-ons, spares, and support; and will be used in a variety of roles, including combat search and rescue.