Oct 31, 2011 10:15 UTC
- Lockheed Martin and Raytheon plan to compete with incumbent BAE for the US Army’s Design, Development, Demonstration & Integration (D3I) space and missile defense program. The D3I RFP should be released soon, meanwhile the Concepts and Operations for Space and Missile Defense Integration Capabilities (COSMIC) contracts awarded in 2006 to BAE and Quantum Research International have been extended until September 2012. D3I may eventually amount to more than $5B spread among several vendors. Part of the delay is explained by the merger of D3I and Army SMD Technology, Experimentation, Research, Operations, Implementation, and Development (ASTEROID). D3I will be open to other services and agencies beside the Army.
- The sources sought page for the Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 requirement has been amended with Q&As several times in October, including today. CCR validation required to read the updates. Today’s GMVs are Humvees that are more rugged than usual for use by special forces. A known contender is the GD OTS/Flyer Defense’s Flyer. The final RFP has been delayed a bit and is expected within a few months, with production planned to start in FY14 with an eventual FRP of about 200 vehicles a year, according to a presentation [PDF] made earlier this year by Michael Ellis, Deputy Program Manager, Family of Special Operations Vehicles (FoSOV).
- Another competition that’s busy at the pre-RFP stage is the pre-solicitation for the M153 Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS). LTC Thomas Ryan, Product Manager Crew Served Weapons, says more than 50 companies attended the pre-solicitation conference earlier this month.
- With the commissioning of PCU California (SSN 781), the 8th VA-class submarine, the class now amounts to 15% of the US attack submarine force. US Navy | story behind the ship’s logo | Bubblehead blog.
- US Air Force Maj. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr. has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and now heads the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Hawkins comes back to DISA where he was a vice director until last July. He was for less than 4 months the Deputy Director Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (C4), Joint Staff at the Pentagon.
- The US Army’s move to enterprise email continues and reaches Fort Rucker, AL this week. Note that people affected by the migration will have a new email address, though their current address should continue to work for a while.
- Martin Wright, chief executive of the Northwest Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) in England tells its members they should refocus on civilian projects.
- Australian minehunter HMAS Gascoyne found a wreck of what the Royal Australian Navy thinks is a WWII Japanese submarine. More underwater imagery here.
- Video below of Boston Dynamics’ PETMAN anthropomorphic robot showing a rather good sense of balance (see also Boston Globe coverage):
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Oct 30, 2011 18:26 UTC
Oct 26/11: Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT, received a $91.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract for lead yard services efforts related to the US Navy’s nuclear-powered Virginia Class fast attack submarines. If all options are exercised through 2014, the contract has a potential value of $881 million. Work will be performed in Groton, CT (91.1%); Newport News, VA (4%); Quonset. RI (3.5%); and Newport, RI (1.4%). Work is expected to be complete by September 2012, with possible options to September 2014. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages this contract (N00024-10-C-2118, PO 0012).
Under the contract, Electric Boat will develop, maintain and update design drawings and data, including technology insertions, for each Virginia Class submarine throughout its construction and post-shakedown availability periods. This work will engage Electric Boat’s engineering and design organization, which is important to long-range American industrial policy, and comprises more than 3,000 employees. Still, it isn’t just busywork. GDEB will also perform research and development work required to evaluate new technology to be inserted in newly built Virginia Class ships, which has kept them busy with major modifications like the new Block III bow. As reports continue to surface that stretched Virginia Class boats might replace the US Navy’s SSGN special forces submarines, or even its SSBN nuclear missile submarines, those designers could find themselves busier than ever. See also GDEB release.
Oct 30, 2011 13:56 UTC
In October 2011, L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace, LLC in Madison, MS received a $26.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option for organizational, selected intermediate, and limited depot level maintenance for Naval Air Station Fallon, NV’s adversary F-16 Falcon and F/A-18 Hornet fighters, E-2C Hawkeye AWACS aircraft, and H-60 helicopters. These are the only F-16s operated by the US Navy, and the adversary squadrons also operate a unique asset in their F-5 fighter fleet, which is covered by a separate set of contracts.
This upper-tier maintenance work will be performed at Fallon’s Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, a.k.a. “Top Gun,” until October 2012. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-09-D-0007).
Oct 28, 2011 09:20 UTC
- The Institute for the Study of War offers a good snapshot of the Libyan revolution and operations by the numbers. This week Libya was also on the mind of the UK’s House of Commons Defence Committee in a Q&A session with the Minister for the Armed Forces, and France’s Assemblée Nationale in one of several hearings [in French] focused on the 2012 budget. One outcome: Britain and France’s navies plan a major joint exercise next year.
- According to the Washington Post the US Air Force is now flying armed UAVs out of the Arba Minch airport in Ethiopia.
- DAPRA has a $50K prize set aside for the team coming with a way to “unshred” documents. 12/02/11 update: solved!
- Project Manager Soldier Sensors and Laser’s (PM SSL) logistics team won the US Army Acquisitions Excellence “Transforming the Way We Do Business Award” FY11 earlier this month because it came up with a system to improve inventory accountability.
- Mantech to buy IT provider Worldwide Information Network Systems, Inc. for $90M in cash.
- The US Defense Science Board researched early intercept (EI) ballistic missile defense feasibility [PDF] and found that “EI in and of itself is not a useful objective for missile defense […] Intercept prior to the potential deployment of multiple warheads or penetration aids […] requires Herculean effort and is not realistically achievable”. But this doesn’t necessarily undermine regional missile defense plans, if they don’t rely too much on EI.
- US DoD undersecretary for personnel and readiness Clifford L. Stanley resigned. DoD’s Inspector General was investigating allegations of incompetence and waste sent by anonymous Pentagon employees last summer. JoAnn Rooney, Stanley’s principal deputy since last June, will take his job on an acting basis in 2 weeks and until a replacement is formally announced.
- The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) compares the emerging Democratic and Republican positions within the Super Committee.
- US Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) asks [PDF] the Secretary of Defense to look into how the infamously bankrupt Solyndra LLC was selected as a finalist for a contract via the Defense Venture Catalyst Initiative (DeVenCI). Note that in the end Solyndra did not get a DoD contract award.
- The Readiness Subcommittee in the US House of Representatives held a hearing yesterday on the effects of “austerity” on readiness with witnesses from the 4 services. Exec summary: budget cuts affect readiness. 1st video embedded at the bottom of this entry.
- Another HASC hearing took place to review the state of DoD ERP systems. In its testimony the GAO highlights schedule slippages, cost increases and functionality gaps.
- The 2nd video below shows a quick glimpse of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s work on micro-UAVs looking like birds or even insects.
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Oct 27, 2011 17:37 UTC
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Tactical Technology Office has 3 major focus areas. Advanced Platforms does a lot of work in robotics, from load carriers that walk like a dog (LS3) to UAVs designed to stay up for months (Vulture). They also do work in areas like hypersonic vehicles, however, and helicopter rotors that work better by changing their shape. Advanced Space Systems deals with programs like MOIRE flat-lens surveillance, and F6 fractional/clustered satellites. Advanced Weapons Systems covers projects like the naval LRASM missile, the Triple Target Terminator missile for fighters, or guided small-caliber sniper rounds (EXACTO).
In October 2011, US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) Atlantic in Charleston, SC issued a multiple-award contract for FY 2012, whose options could drive it to $150 million, and extend work through FY 2014.
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Oct 27, 2011 08:15 UTC
- The Pentagon wants to radically change the terms of the F-35 contract, and have Lockheed Martin pay for problems discovered through testing, and fixes to already-produced aircraft. Suddenly, the Pentagon’s plan to start production before testing is done has a contractor downside, not just a political engineering upside.
- More Q3 ’11 financial results: General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin.
- Hackers hit Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which makes Japanese fighters and missiles, and license-builds Patriot PAC-3 missiles. PCs were infected with a Trojan application designed to send data to an outside server, and an internal investigation found signs that the stolen information had been transmitted.
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Oct 25, 2011 23:00 UTC
- The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) commissioned a study [PDF] to measure the likely impact on US employment, were automatic cuts to be triggered by a lack of consensus from the Super Committee. The conveniently scary result is a loss of 1 million jobs, incl. about 300,000 in California, Virginia and Texas. This “sequestration” outcome seems unlikely, but few of the committee’s deliberations have been made public, and time is running short.
- Over in Mayport, FL, they’re worried about ship repair job losses, as the naval base stops hosting ships to maintain. The proposed aircraft carrier relocation won’t come in time.
- Got Fast Rope? The USAF is interested in a non-exclusive license to your solution.
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Oct 25, 2011 18:35 UTC
In October 2011, Global Integrated Security (USA), Inc. in Reston, VA won a 4-year, $480 million firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, for Reconstruction Security Support Services throughout Afghanistan. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Oct 19/15. Five bids were solicited, with 5 bids received by the USACE office in Winchester, VA (W912ER-12-D-0001).
Global Integrated Security has performed RSSS work in Afghanistan before. A $34 million task order in December 2009 focused on Kabul and Kandahar, but a March 2010 contract [PDF] from the US Army Corps of Engineers saw them expand those services to encompass a National Operations Center providing intelligence and analysis, reconnaissance teams, interpreters, aviation services throughout Afghanistan; and “mobile security support services” to USACE personnel during travel to, and presence at, construction sites.
Oct 25, 2011 10:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions (IS&GS) announced a voluntary layoff program to reduce its headcount by 250 in February 2012, out of a 30,000 total worldwide.
- Northrop Grumman to supply AQS-24A airborne mine-hunting system to Japan for their MCH-101 helicopters.
- The Begin-Saadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) in Israel released a preliminary evaluation of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system. Uzi Rubin, the author of the report [PDF in Hebrew], thinks it’s too early to assess the full impact of the system, but says it did save lives.
- An F-15C Eagle from Nellis Air Force Base crashed in Nevada yesterday without making any casualty.
- US DoD deputy chief information officer Robert J. Carey claims rapid IT acquisition programs often fail to scale.
- Son of Stuxnet: meet Duqu, apparently an iteration of the cyberweapon used to penetrate Iran’s nuclear plants in the last couple of years.
- Pantex in Texas is dismantling the last 9,000-pound B-53 nuclear bombs.
- In a letter [PDF] sent to the US Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) Chairman last week, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) expresses its support for the version of the FY12 Appropriations bill approved by the SAC last month. The Senate still has to vote on the bill then go to conference with the House to agree on a common text for the bill.
- South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma appointed a Supreme Court of Appeal judge to probe the 1999 Strategic Defence Package (SDP).
- The US House Foreign Affairs Committee has a hearing today on the recent troop deployment in Central Africa. See video below:
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Oct 24, 2011 18:11 UTC
Greek F-16 TS
In an age of expensive fighters, expensive fuel, limited flight time, and cheaper computing power, high-fidelity simulators have become an important component of pilot training. L-3 Link Simulation and Training in Arlington, TX is a global leader in this segment, with a very strong position in fighter plane simulators, and their associated Mission Training Centers. They’re often partnered with another major contractor in those efforts. Boeing is L-3’s partner for F-16 Mission Training Centers, for instance, even though the F-16 is a Lockheed Martin plane.
In October 2011, L-3 Link received a maximum $469.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost reimbursement contract to support 183 of their their F-16 TS (training system) installations around the world for the USAF (33 global locations, incl. Hill AFB, UT), and F-16 customers Bahrain, Greece, and Jordan. The contract doesn’t involve any simulators, but “support” means more than just simulator maintenance, training operations that include other devices, and keeping up the associated databases of simulated objects. It also involves change management to install simulator upgrades if requested, and keeping each simulator remains faithful to changes and upgrades in the real F-16 fleets. The USAF’s ASC/WNSK, at Wright Patterson AFB, OH, manages this contract for ther USAF, and acts as the agent for its Foreign Military Sale clients (FA8621-12-D-6337).