DARPA’s ISIS program is developing a stratospheric airship with sensor antennas that will include a radar nearly as large as the airship. This would create a battlefield surveillance platform with extreme endurance, and equally extreme resolution for its air and battlefield scans via radar and other carried sensors. This project is associated with Lockheed’s High Altitude Airship program, which is intended to soar at over 65,000 feet for over 30 days at a time, and ISIS could even play a significant role in ballistic missile and cruise missile defense.
Like all DARPA projects, HAA and ISIS pushed the limits of technology, as they work to field a capability set that could revolutionize the US Air Force. If they succeed, these airships could serve as a future substitute for an array of platforms, from UAVs to high-end jets like the E-8 JSTARS and E-3 AWACS. Critical technology areas include low aerial-density advanced airship hull material, bonding systems that will keep the radar attached in a hostile environment, extremely low-power transmit-receive modules for the radars, and novel power systems for long-endurance stratospheric airship operation. HAA has become a US Army program, but ISIS remains with DARPA – for now.
In August 2011, Special Operations Technology, Inc. in Annapolis Junction, MD receives a $79.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification “to install, operate, and maintain the lawful intercept equipment and support equipment at various locations around Afghanistan.” Wiretaps can be used for a wide variety of purposes, of course, and there’s an especially pointed history tied to US wiretaps within combat zones. Back in May 2007, American authorities trying to find 3 soldiers kidnapped in Iraq spent nearly 10 hours, during the critical initial phase of the operation, trying to get legal authority for wiretaps to help in the hunt. The soldiers were not found in time, and were murdered by al-Qaeda in Iraq. With respect to wireless taps in Afghanistan, Vanity Fair’s story of Operation Foxden pre-9/11 is an instructive might-have-been.
Work will be performed in Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Aug 3/13. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by U.S. Army Space & Missile Command, Huntsville, AL (W9113M-10-C-0084).
Submarines travel underwater, but they all need oxygen. Diesel-electric submarines need it for their engines, and must surface to get it, though modern AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) systems allow moderate power cruising for weeks at a time without surfacing. Nuclear-powered submarines can cruise at full power for years, of course, as their engines do not need air. Their crews, however, do. Hence Electrolytic Oxygen Generators (EOGs), which break up water molecules and keep the oxygen for use aboard ship.
Treadwell Corp’s Model 6L16 EOG was first introduced in 1965…
Zodiac of North America in Stevensville, MD receives a $10.9 million firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for 20 – 888 of their 7-person inflatable landing craft. Note that these are distinct from the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) in wide use aboard Navy and Coast Guard ships.
Work will be performed in Stevensville, MD, with an estimated completion date of Aug 1/14. Four bids were solicited, with 1 bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-11-D-0154).