India’s comptroller and auditor general criticizes the Defense Ministry’s plans to build an army carbine factory in Amethi, northeast India, for poor site selection, defective planning, and hasty decision making.
Finmeccanica recently announced about EUR 180 million (about $234 million) in contracts from Panama to its subsidiaries SELEX Sistemi Integrati, AgustaWestland, and Telespazio. They will combine to offer Panama a one-stop cartography and coastal surveillance system.
Cartography seems trivial, but surveillance and control systems need to start with accurate mapping. Telespazio’s subsidiary Telespazio Argentina will provide the digital cartography for the whole country to the Tommy Guardia National Geographic Institute. With digitized cartography in place, SELEX Sistemi Integrati will integrate and install the coastal monitoring system, building on integrated coastal surveillance and border control work with Italy, Jordan, Libya, and others. The final element will involve 6 AW139 medium twin helicopters “in various configurations” for the Panamanian National Aeronaval Service.
The orders grew out of a June 2010 bilateral framework agreement for security collaboration around organized crime and drug-trafficking, signed at the SICA(trans. Central American Integration System) summit by Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli. Finmeccanica Chairman and CEO Pier Francesco Guarguaglini believes this contract will create a showpiece example for the Central and South American region. Contracts for comprehensive border surveillance and security systems are becoming more lucrative, and competitors like Thales, EADS, and Boeing are working hard to establish those beachheads.
Lockheed Martin Corp. in Eagan, MN recently received an $8 million contract to design and develop “highly integrated photonic devices for transition into current emerging tactical platforms for the Air Force.”
Optical integrated circuits would have a wide variety of technology applications, but their biggest impact would be in the field of networking devices. Right now, information can be encoded into light pulses and fired down a fiber-optic tube, but it can only be routed electronically. This means the signal has to be converted into electronic signals, processed electronically, then converted and sent out as light pulses again. Removing the need to convert those signals could speed up networking devices by a couple orders of magnitude. There is also some reason to believe that photonic circuits would be more resistant to electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks.
Under this contract, Lockheed Martin’s specific task will be to “develop key technology to overcome several of the existing constraints with respect to the integration and packaging aspects of the current generation of photonic [devices] by defining the technology path to a realizable system using an optimum combination of optical devices in a chip.” At this time, $2 million has been committed by the USAF Research Laboratory in Rome, NY (FA8750-10-C-0133).
Small business qualifier The Gyro House in Auburn, CA received a $6.6 million firm-fixed-price order via the General Services Administration (GSA) schedule for the procurement of 1,462 Garmin GPSMAP 696 units for the US Army (789) and US Navy (673). They’ll be accompanied by 293 GPSMAP 696/695 e-learning program CD-ROMs for the Army (158) and Navy (135). Work will be performed in Auburn, CA, and is expected to be complete in June 2011. This contract was competitively procured via a request for quotes under a GSA schedule E-buy; 5 firms were solicited and 1 offer was received by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-10-F-0010).
While Garmin GPS devices have become popular with troops, and even added maps for conflict zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, that isn’t what these are for. The GPSMAP 696 is an all-in-one navigator designed exclusively for aviation. Additions can provide the key functions of a Class 1/Class 2 electronic flight bag (EFB), its ChartView service utilizes Jeppesen’s extensive library to provide global geo-referenced charting, and its GXM 40 smart antenna offers access to high-resolution weather. Somehow, though, we doubt the Army and Navy will spring for the XM Radio subscription…