Here are the PPT slides from the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Industry Day held by the US Army last week. The Defense Acquisition Board is expected to follow up on the future of this tentative MDAP by the end of the current fiscal year. There’s potentially about 3,000 new vehicles at stake at an Average Unit Manufacturing Cost in the $1M-$1.7M range with production starting between FY15 and FY17.
The latest Aircraft Survivability [PDF] examines past and present live fire testing programs, as well as their current application to the CH-53K acquisition program.
Northrop Grumman’s CEO Wes Bush would like Congress to ease restrictions on drone exports.
The Washington Times looks into where base closures may happen, if a 6th BRAC is indeed going to be allowed by Congress. But so far the House is not interested. Cynics may allow themselves to think that the Administration’s inclusion of a BRAC round during an election year was a red herring that they were ready to give up from the get-go.
Meanwhile Joint Base Lewis-McChord will see the reactivation of the 7th Infantry Division.
The National Defense University’s INSS(Institute for National Strategic Studies) reviews [PDF] the state of French military capabilities and explains France’s closer defense relationship with Great Britain after being disappointed by cooperation efforts with Germany that never met their stated ambition.
Latest updates: Up to $228M in contracts, FY 2012-2015.
Low-velocity parachutes are so named because they’re used for cargo airdrops made below about 1,200 feet, with the cargo aircraft flying at low speed as parachute-rigged containers roll out the rear ramp. US Army Soldier Systems Natick developed them in 2006, aiming to offer a lower-cost low altitude system that did not require specialized parachute manufacturers. US Army PM FSS engineer Bruce Bonaceto’s designs hit those targets, and low velocity parachutes have been doing the same on the front lines. They’re generally used to deliver basic supplies such as gas, ammunition and food to troops in rough terrain and isolated locations, without having to use a more expensive high-altitude GPS-guided parachute system like JPADS, or a more expensive standard parachute like the G-12.
As one might imagine, demand is high in Afghanistan, and some of the small business contract recipients are an interesting set of stories in and of themselves…
Lockheed Martin’s CEO Bob Stevens will retire and be replaced by current President and COO Christopher Kubasik effective January 1, 2013. Kubasik is an alumnus from the Defense Acquisition University.
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta leaned on Brazil in support of Boeing’s F/A-18s for the ongoing F-X2 competition. Panetta discussed technology transfers with his counterpart Celso Amorim. Dassault is working the local cooperation angle too [in French].
Latest updates: DOT&E test report; Contract for IDWS improvements.
RGS for V-22
In the past specific and detailed allegations were made concerning the V-22 Osprey‘s performance, testing flaws, and survivability issues in anything beyond low-threat situations like the Anbar deployment in Iraq. Despite direct offers, US NAVAIR chose not to respond or address any of those allegations. One of the flaws that appeared headed for correction, however, was the issue of 360 degree covering fire. This capability is useful for fire support. It is especially helpful when entering or covering landing zones, where rotary aircraft are most vulnerable.
The Osprey’s huge propellers and the positioning of its engines had created obstruction issues for normal machine gun mounting locations, but AUSA 2007 saw BAE Systems promoting a retractable belly turret solution based on a 3-barrel 7.62mm GAU-17 minigun. Special Operations Command has ordered some, and now the US Marines have deployed with them.
In April 2012, King Aerospace, Inc. in Addison, TX receives a not-to-exceed $11.1 million indefinite-delivery requirements contract to support 6 C-9B aircraft. This effort includes base site operations, depot planned maintenance interval inspections, and engine shop visits. Funds will be obligated on individual delivery orders, as they are issued. Work will be performed in Addison, TX (38.5%); Ardmore, OK (35%); Whidbey Island, WA (14%); Cherry Point, NC (8%); and Miami, FL (4.5%), and will run until May 2013. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals, and 2 offers were received by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-12-D-0014).
The C-9Bs are military variants of the Super 30 stretched DC-9 short-haul passenger jet, and were built from the mid-1960s through the mid-1990s. The C-9A Nightingales that once performed aeromedical evacuation have been retired, and the remaining C-9s serve as VIP transports and cargo aircraft. Even so, age is catching up with them. Their Pratt and Whitney JT8-D-9 engines are noisy and inefficient by modern standards, their airframes have many flight-hours on them, and their older cockpit layout and equipment remain a drawback. Many of the C-9s are being replaced by modern, 737-derived C-40s, and there had been plans to retire the C-9s by 2010, but there haven’t been enough C-40s bought to fully replace them.
The GAO(Government Accountability Office) studied how the fast capability procured via joint urgent operational needs ended up being fielded. Such fulfillment amounted to at least $76.9B for FY 2005-10 according to DoD. Some programs such as the the MRAP Recovery Vehicle tow truck were fielded within 6 months of validation, while several other initiatives were delayed beyond the targeted 2 years because of requirement or contracting issues. You would expect off-the-shelf solutions to, well, fly off the shelves, but while they do get fielded faster overall, delays early in the process reduced the difference with custom efforts. See chart at the bottom of this entry.
Northrop Grumman’s sales decreased by 8% to $6.2B in Q1 2012 vs. a year ago, a slight acceleration of the rate of sales decrease seen through 2011. Electronic Systems is the division that lost the least (-5%) and Technical Services the most (-10%). Among the factors explaining the decline in sales: low F/A-18 and F-35 deliveries from Boeing and Lockheed Martin respectively. The total backlog shrunk by $400M to $39.1B ($25B or 64% of which is funded) while new business awards amounted to $5.8B.
Defense contractors in Canada have gripes about “vaporware” DND competitions that cost them millions to bid for yet never materialize.
The US Department of Justice announced that ATK Launch Systems Inc. agreed to a $37M settlement to resolve allegations that ATK sold dangerous and defective illumination flares to the Army and the Air Force.
Machinists from Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX, voted to go on strike on Sunday and have started picketing. Representatives of the International Association of Machinists union say they reject changes in retirement and healthcare benefits. In October last year Oshkosh faced a strike for about two weeks.
Cobham plc appointed [PDF] Robert (Bob) Murphy as its CEO, effective as of June 25. Murphy comes from BAE and previous worked at GE Aircraft Engines.
In November 2008, ST Engineering subsidiary Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd (ST Marine), reported that they had “secured a contract in a basket of currencies amounting to about S$200m” (about $135 million) to design and build a 141 meter Landing Platform Dock (LPD) amphibious assault ship, along with ancillary vessels: a pair of 23m Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) that can transport heavy equipment like tanks from the ship’s well deck to the shore, and a pair of smaller 13m Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP) for people and small wheeled vehicles. That customer turned out to be the Thai Navy, which floated an RFP for an LPD-type ship in April 2008.
The US Navy has published its request for information to get a replacement for FA-18E/F and EA-18G Growlers “in the 2030 timeframe”, following a mention of the tentative aircraft in the latest 30-year aviation funding plan. This is a Pre-Material Development Decision (MDD) market survey, i.e. still very far from an RFP. Once interested contractors have expressed their interest by April 26, they will receive – provided proper levels of clearance – a classified Government Furnished Information (GFI) package that is meant to allow them to submit their response by June 29, 2012.