The Aerospace Corp. is actually a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC). The aerospace FFRDCs are non-profit companies that provides technical analyses and assessments for US national security and space programs. This may include scientific and engineering support involving launch, space, and related ground support systems, research and advisory services, general systems engineering, engineering support, and systems integration support. Most people in the industry know them as publishers of the excellent Crosslink magazine, but see their program involvement timeline for a better sense of how broad their efforts have truly been. As they put it:
In early 2009, Aria International, Inc. announced a contract from the Royal Thai Army to provide in-country surveillance and communications solutions and services, for an aggregate purchase price of $9.7 million. The RTA surveillance system consists of a manned airship with military-grade imaging and communications systems, an armored Command and Control vehicle, and upgrades to existing communications and facilities to receive real-time surveillance data.
Thailand has the questionable distinction of being saddled with the bloodiest Islamist insurgency most people have never heard of. The American export system that has hindered their order is well known around the world… but it looks like everything has been ironed out. Unfortunately, Thailand hasn’t been able to get much value out of its new asset.
US Navy Rear Admiral Thomas J. Moore, PEO Aircraft Carriers, reminds the industry that cost overruns feed “right into the hands of the people who question the need for 11 big-deck carriers” and “cutting a ship … is enticing for the green-eye shade folks.”
Pentagon deputy Ashton Carter to the Department: keep training and contracting as usual.
The US Coast Guard released its finalized RFP for Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPC). A two-phase, down-select strategy will start with Preliminary & Contract Design (P&CD) and end with building up to 11 OPCs. Phase I will be awarded as a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract in the coming fiscal year with a Phase II award (with built-in incentives in the contract) three years later. The road map can be found here.
Latest updates: JMATS & JMATS-II Support contracts.
MATS WST for SOCOM HC/MC-130J
One of the most important components of Lockheed Martin’s C-130J medium transport planes never leaves the ground. The best equipment is useless if people aren’t trained to operate and maintain it, which is why the MATS (Maintenance and Aircrew Training System) set of trainers and simulators are so essential. When the Pentagon assesses “operational suitability” for an aircraft, a strong training structure is one of the things they look for.
MATS complements the existing ATS system for previous-generation C-130s, and provides a comprehensive range of training devices and training support services to aircrews. The USA’s JMATS contracts include aircrew instruction, operations, contractor logistics support and engineering services:
The US Navy’s AEGIS Program Office, PEO IWS, held an Industry Day last week about its AEGIS Ship Integration and Test Program (SI&T) in preparation of a forthcoming request for proposals. The Aegis Combat Weapon System (ACS/AWS) supports the gamut of naval missions: anti-air/sub/surface warfare, strike, command/control et. al., so there are many layers of both integration and testing involved – some to be handled by the private sector, some by the government. This competition intends to deliver integrated combat systems to DDG-51s built in coming years (12 are planned between 2012 and 2018), as well as retrofit in-service DDG-51 and CG 47 class ships. The Navy plans to run a full and open competition that leads to a 1-year contract with 9 yearly follow-up options. The RFP is planned for Q1 FY13 (i.e. in the next 3 months) with an award a year later. Industry Day PPT | MS Word Q&A | FBO.
Sept. 25/12: Ops Core Inc. in Boston, MA, was awarded a $45.5M firm-fixed-price contract for Modular Integrated Communication Helmets (MICH). The U.S. Army Contracting Command, Natick, MA, is the contracting activity (W911QY-12-D-0033).
Sept. 24/12: The US Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) Product Manager Infantry Combat Equipment (PdM-ICE) issued a market research notification (M67854-12-I-1079) to design and procure an Improved Helmet Suspension System (IHSS) that would “incorporate the comfort and low velocity/high mass impact protection provided by a pad system, with the stability and high velocity/low mass impact protection provided by a sling system.” This system should integrate with MICH, ECH, LWH and ACH as well as night vision goggles and ballistic eyewear. An Industry Day is planned on October, 17.
Sikorsky announced on Monday that they would close their Military Completions Center in Big Flats, NY, by the end of the year. That facility was developed in 2007, following the acquisition of Schweizer Aircraft in 2004, to prep Black Hawk and Naval Hawk helicopters for Foreign Military Sales. 570 people will lose their jobs in the process.
Daniel Goure at the Lexington Institute asks a very salient question: how much risk are US companies taking by betting heavily on sales to Asia and the Middle East? He is focused on potential political disruptions, but economic concerns should not be dismissed as casually as he does. In recent months growth has markedly slowed down in China and India, among other emerging markets that face heavy imbalances.
In January 2007, Boeing announced a $1.149 billion extended Block II contract for the remanufacture of 96 US. Army AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters, as well as 30 AH-64Ds for the United Arab Emirates. That number has continued to grow, until it encompassed all of the US Army’s remaining AH-64A Apache attack helicopters.
The USA’s University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System conducts research throughout the world’s oceans, and their fleet has shifted to 4 basic research vessel types: Global, Ocean/Intermediate, Regional and Coastal/Local. From 2014 onward, new Ocean Class ships will replace aging Intermediate Class ships in current use, and serve alongside the new SWATH-hulled RV Kilo Moana [T-AGOR 26]. Growing trends towards larger, interdisciplinary science teams, using more sophisticated research equipment, means a need for larger and more sophisticated ships. They new Ocean Class will provide parties of up to 25 scientists with an advanced blue-water platform that can stay at sea for up to 40 days, and cover up to 10,000 nautical miles.
Can they be built affordably? The US Navy is managing the competition, construction, and chartering process, and the 1st build contract was issued in October 2011.