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R&T project launched on 3D printing of energetic materials

EDA News - 10 hours 44 min ago

In the margins of yesterday’s EDA Steering Board meeting in R&T Directors composition, six EDA Member States (Finland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden) as well as Norway (which has signed an Administrative Arrangement with the Agency) signed a project arrangement to develop a new research project on ‘Additive Manufacturing Techniques for Energetic Materials’ (AMTEM). 

Under the lead of France, twelve European research organizations and defence industrial players will investigate the potential of 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing) technologies for producing future explosives and propellants. The objective of the project is to identify appropriate 3D printing materials and production techniques for novel warheads and propellants with enhanced performance, in order to enable a faster and cheaper production of prototypes and short series.

The project is meant to help develop new weapon system concepts with increased performance and to enhance Europe’s defence technological and industrial base.

The project will have a duration of 4 years.   

 

R&T Steering Board meeting focused on OSRA

EDA News - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 17:06

EDA’s Steering Board in Research and Technology (R&T) Director’s composition met today at the Agency, for the first time under the chairmanship of Dr Luisa Riccardi. EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq thanked her predecessor, Dr Bryan Wells, for his outstanding chairmanship and contribution to the work of the Agency over the past three years.

Directors discussed the updated version of the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) which provides a necessary link between R&T efforts and the military tasks and long-term capability needs of the Capability Development Plan (CDP). 

Combining a top-down approach (from capability needs to technologies) and a bottom-up approach (from new emerging technologies to capabilities), OSRA aims at streamlining Europe’s defence research priorities and informing Member States’ decision-making process on defence research. Practically speaking, OSRA identified a number of R&T areas, the so-called Technology Building Blocks (TBBs), in which a cooperative approach at the European level would bring an added-value to support the development of defence capabilities. In a second step, OSRA will also identify appropriate funding instruments. This information is expected to help Ministries of Defence to decide whether to lead or contribute to cooperative ad-hoc R&T projects and will also inform funding decisions taken in the context of the European Defence Fund (EDF).
 

Updated OSRA validated

At today’s meeting, R&T Directors validated the outcome of the OSRA review (OSRA v2), including the 139 developed TBBs and the results of the application of the approved OSRA prioritisation methodology. They also tasked EDA Captechs and Working Groups to develop TBB roadmaps for the highly prioritized TBBs by June 2019. In close cooperation with the participating Member States, EDA will continue to update the TBBs and to further investigate cooperation opportunities for each of them, including the appropriate funding instruments. EDA will also look into the Lessons Identified during the prioritisation and implementation phases of OSRA v2. These Lessons Identified will be presented for an initial discussion to the R&T Steering Board in 2020 in view of the next OSRA version, and in synchronisation with the next CDP revision.
R&T Directors also approved the systematic engagement of industry in the EDA defence research prioritisation activities, based on the lessons learned from the trial run of OSRA v1 and the implementation of EDA’s upstream role for the Preparatory Action for Defence Research (PA).
 

EDA’s increasing R&T portfolio

Directors also had the opportunity to be updated on and discuss the status of EDA’s R&T AdHoc portfolio which has exponentially increased over recent years, confirming EDA’s role as an enabler of collaborative R&T opportunities.  Between 2016 and 2017, the financial volume of the Agency’s R&T AdHoc portfolio was multiplied by four, and it doubled again in 2018 compared to 2017. In addition, the budgetary value of the 2018 portfolio is almost the highest since 2011 and the predictions for 2019 indicate a further increase by 50% compared to 2018.   

The new EDA magazine is out!

EDA News - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 14:47

The latest European Defence Matters magazine (N°16) is now available with a special focus on unmanned and autonomous systems in defence. 

They are omnipresent in our daily lives and their potential keeps growing: smart machines and applications able to autonomously carry out tasks hitherto reserved to humans - from cutting grass to cleaning floors and driving cars. Certain autonomous functionalities have already made their way into the military domain where their possibilities are immense. 

The question is thus not IF unmanned and autonomous platforms will become key components of our defence toolboxes, but HOW Member States, armed forces and industry decide to prepare for what could be a technological, potentially disruptive step change for defence. 

In this new edition of European Defence Matters, which also served as a basis for the debate at this year’s EDA Annual Conference (29 November 2018) on “From Unmanned to Autonomous Systems: trends, challenges and opportunities”, we look at the extent to which unmanned and autonomous applications are already used in the various military domains (land, air, maritime, space, cyber) and what their main challenges and opportunities are, now and in the future. 

We also touch upon EDA’s work supporting Member States and industry in this new domain, from research to capability development. 

The industrial, regulatory and military/operational viewpoints are also represented through a series of interviews, notably with Eric Trappier (Dassault Aviation CEO), Patrick Ky (EASA Executive Director) and General Graziano (EUMC Chair).

CARD, Defence Innovation Prize, EMACC

Besides the comprehensive cover story on unmanned and autonomous systems, the magazine also analyses the outcome of the 2017-2018 trial run of the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), reveals the 2018 winners of the first EDA Defence Innovation Prize, presents the new edition of European Military Airworthiness Certification Criteria Handbook and looks back at last September’s First European Air-to-Air Refuelling Conference held in Brussels. 
Enyoy your reading!

More information:  

The Navy’s LCS-13 enters its PSA | Rafael is developing new networked combat system | HAL LUH program achieves another milestone

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 13:00
Americas

The Naval Air Systems Command is ordering a provisioning parts database of technical information from Sikorsky. The cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order is priced at $38 million and supports the initial operational capability of the Navy’s CH-53K King Stallion helicopter. The database will include 2D drawings that support all organizational, intermediate and depot levels in support of the helicopter. The provisioning database will determine the range and quantity of repair parts, and support and test equipment required to operate and maintain the King Stallion for its initial period of service. Provisioning is an integral part of supply chain management. The delivery order is partially funded ($8.6 million) through FY 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds. Work will be performed at Sikorsky’s facility in Stratford, Connecticut and is scheduled for completion in November 2023.

The US Navy’s 13th Littoral Combat Ship is receiving its last finishing touches. Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a $16 million cost-plus-award-fee order in support of the USS Wichita. The contract provides for engineering and management services during the ship’s post shakedown availability (PSA). The company will provide the Navy with 65.000 man-hours of work and is responsible for work specification, pre-fabrication and material procurement. The USS Wichita is a Freedom-class LCS, designed to conduct anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare, and special operations. The PSA is assigned to newly built, activated or converted ships upon completion of a shakedown cruise. Work performed is focused on correcting defects noted during the shakedown cruise and those remaining from Acceptance Trails. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Maryland; New York and Marinette, Wisconsin. The PSA is expected to be completed by February 2020.

Boeing is being awarded with a contract modification to sustain the US Air Force’s Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) Block 10 system. Worth $22.7 million the modification exercises a contract option for sustainment and required development to keep the SBSS running. Required efforts include systems engineering, operations, operations support, and contractor logistics support. SBSS is intended to detect and track space objects, such as satellites, anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and orbital debris, providing information to the US DoD as well as NASA. The Block 10 satellite operates 24-hours a day, 7-days a week collecting metric and Space Object Identification data for man-made orbiting objects without the disruption of weather, time of day and atmosphere that can limit ground-based systems. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in El Segundo, California and in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Performance is expected to be completed by June 2022.

Middle East & Africa

Israeli defense contractor Rafael is currently working on a new net-centric combat system. Defense News reports that Rafael is developing a system that will create a network between manned and unmanned armored vehicles, with one acting as a mothership that coordinates enemy engagement – quite similar to the ‘mothership’ shown in the blockbuster movie “Independence Day”. Rafael says that the technology which transforms any armored vehicle into this “ultra-modern combat system” already exists; customers who may want to buy this next-generation combat system able to simultaneously acquire and neutralize multiple targets, include the Israel Defense Force and the US Army. The US Army is already working on its next modernisation program which is quite focused automatisation and integration of artificial intelligence. The ‘Big Six’ program, announced in October 2017, looks to revamp and future-proof armor, artillery, aviation, air and missile defense, networks and soldiers. One of the first platform to be modernised will be the Bradley IFV, the new version is expected to be ready for deployment after 2026. If and when Rafael’s new combat system will find its way onto US (and other country’s) platforms remains to be seen.

Europe

The Bulgarian government plans to overhaul some of its ageing T-72M1 MBTs. According to Jane’s, Sofia expects to sign a contract with the state-controlled TEREM EAD holding company by the end of the year. The contract calls for the overhaul of 13 T-72s and refurbishment of 60 TPD-K1 standby laser sights at a total cost of $8 million. The T-72 first entered production in 1972 and an estimated 50.000 have been built, many of which are still being used by about 45 countries, including Russia. Bulgaria is also considering launching a modernisation program for its armored vehicles in 2019.

Asia-Pacific

Vietnam is buying Israeli drones for its troops. A recently signed contract with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) sees for the delivery of three Heron 1 UAVs and one ground control station at a cost of $140 million. The Heron 1 MALE UAV is designed to perform strategic reconnaissance and surveillance operations. The drone is reportedly capable of flying for over 24 hours at a time at altitudes around 32,000 feet. its sensors allow for a fully automated take-off and landing, even under adverse weather conditions. The Heron 1 is built to carry multiple payloads at a time for a variety of missions, ranging from EO/IR sensors to SAR radars. Israel has sold $1.5 billion worth of arms and defense equipment to Vietnam over the last decade.

India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is marking an important milestone in its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) development program. The platform successfully flew at a 6km altitude for an extended period of time. The LUH has been undergoing tests to expand its envelop. The recent feat achieved in Bengalore is a critical requirement for certifying the 3-tonne helicopter for use. The LUH showed a satisfactory level of performance and handling qualities, which qualifies it to participate in high altitude cold weather trials scheduled for January 2019. India’s military already has some 187 LUHs on order, with 126 to be delivered to the Army and 61 to the Air Force. The LUH is being indigenously developed by HAL to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators.

Today’s Video

Watch: Talk Techy To Me – What can you really see with infrared detectors?

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Space Based Space Surveillance: Follow On Needed

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 12:54

SBSS Constellation
(click to view larger)

In January 2001, a commission headed by then US Defense Secretary-designate Donald Rumsfeld warned about a possible “space Pearl Harbor” in which a potential enemy would launch a surprise attack against US-based military space assets, disabling them. These assets include communications satellites and the GPS system, which is crucial for precision attack missiles and a host of military systems.

“The US is more dependent on space than any other nation. Yet the threat to the US and its allies in and from space does not command the attention it merits,” the commission warned.

One of the systems that grew out of the commission’s report was the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) project, which is developing a constellation of satellites to provide the US military with space situational awareness using visible sensors. After a slow start, SBSS Block 10 reached a significant milestone in August 2012 with its Initial Operational Capability, followed by full operational capability less than a year later. But lack of funding casts as shadow on whether this capability will be maintained beyond 2017. By 2014/15 the Air Force worked on a stopgap project as well as an effort to obtain proper funding for follow on satellites to be launched at the start of next decade.

Space Tracking

SBSS Concept
(click to view larger)

The SBSS system is intended to detect and track space objects, such as satellites, anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and orbital debris, providing information to the US Department of Defense as well as NASA. The SBSS is a stepping stone toward a functional space-based space surveillance constellation.

The SBSS is a follow-on to the Mid-Course Space Experiment/ Space-Based Visible (MSX/SBV) sensor. The initial SBSS satellite is expected to improve the US government’s ability to detect deep space objects by 80% over the MSX/SBV system.

The MSX/SBV system was a late 1990s missile defense test satellite; by 2002 most of its sensors had failed. However, 1 small package called the SBV sensor was able to search and track satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) using visible light. This sensor lowered the number of “lost” objects in GEO orbit by a factor of 2.

Building on the success of the MSX/SBV visible sensor, the SBSS Block 10 further develops the technology and replace the SBV sensor. Block 10 involves the development of 1 satellite as a pathfinder for a full-constellation of space-based sensors.

The SBSS Block 20 constellation is expected to include 4 satellites when fully developed and the SBSS constellation was originally expected to be operational in FY 2013.

However, delays have plagued the system. In late 2005, an independent review team found that the program’s baseline was not executable; that the assembly, integration, and test plan was risky; and that the requirements were overstated. The SBSS program was restructured in early 2006 due to cost growth and schedule delays. The restructuring increased funding and schedule margin; streamlined the assembly, integration, and test plan; and relaxed requirements. The launch of the initial satellite was delayed and costs increased by about $130 million over initial estimates.

Northrop Grumman, the prime contractor for the SBSS system, awarded a Boeing-led team that includes Ball Aerospace and Harris Technologies a contract to develop and deploy the Block 10 SBSS Pathfinder satellite and ground system. The program itself was back on track, but funding for follow-on was then nixed several years in a row.

Contracts and Key Events

December 13/18: Sustainment Boeing is being awarded with a contract modification to sustain the US Air Force’s Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) Block 10 system. Worth $22.7 million the modification exercises a contract option for sustainment and required development to keep the SBSS running. Required efforts include systems engineering, operations, operations support, and contractor logistics support. SBSS is intended to detect and track space objects, such as satellites, anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and orbital debris, providing information to the US DoD as well as NASA. The Block 10 satellite operates 24-hours a day, 7-days a week collecting metric and Space Object Identification data for man-made orbiting objects without the disruption of weather, time of day and atmosphere that can limit ground-based systems. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in El Segundo, California and in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Performance is expected to be completed by June 2022.

June 19/15: The Space Based Space Surveillance Block 10 program benefited from a $11.5 million contract with Boeing on Thursday, with this to provide sustainment and development work. The SBSS program needs a follow-on to the existing satellites in orbit, with the Air Force arranging an industry day in January in order to present its acquisition strategy. Principally this involves the planned procurement of three new satellites, with a rough schedule of these entering service before 2021.

Jan. 2015: SBSS FO revival? The SBSS program office plans to hold an industry day on January 22 in El Segundo, CA to discuss their acquisition strategy for the satellite’s stalled follow on. Air Force Space Command has sought $251 million over the FY16-19 FYDP to restart work on a program involving 3 smaller satellites in low Earth orbit, with the 1st launch around 2021 or 2022. It’s not the size of the sats that matters to provide real-time, all-weather access, but rather their orbital position.

Attendants will also be debriefed on the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) latest results with the ORS-5’s System Capability Demonstration, an effort involving the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Lincoln Laboratory that may bridge the gap between SBSS’ end of life and the launch of its follow on.

Sources: FBO: solicitation FA8819-15-C-0006 | Spaceflight Now: “Air Force satellite to continue tracking of space traffic” | Space News: “U.S. Air Force Planning Three-satellite Replacement for SBSS“.

March 2014: follow on delayed. The US Air Force’s FY 2015 budget request delays delivery of the SBSS follow-on by a year, which suggests that it’s not entirely dead, but rather frozen.

April 2013: follow on cancelled. As per the USAF’s RDTE FY 2014 budget request, “the SBSS Follow-on program was terminated in FY14 and beyond to pay for higher department priorities.” This is not a surprise as Congress had already cut into follow on funding as early as FY11.

April 1/13: FOC. US STRATCOM declares that the SBSS satellite has reached Full Operational Capability.

Aug 20/12: Air Force Space Command declares Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the Space Based Space Surveillance Block 10 satellite. IOC marks a certain level of program maturity within the Production and Deployment (P&D) phase of the acquisition lifecycle. This follows an IOT&E phase conducted in March-April 2011 that DOT&E found adequate [PDF].

According to the GAO’s FY2012 report on space acquisitions, the Air Force decided to wait before asking for follow-up funding given the size the funds required, but this might be in play for FY2013.

IOC

Feb 23/11: The SBSS satellite begins full operational duty within the Air Force’s 1st Space Operations Squadron in the 50th Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. It is operated 24/7 by a a crew of 4 consisting of a mission commander, mission crew chief, payload systems operator and satellite systems operator.

Operational

Sept 25/10: The Air Force successfully launched the 1st SBSS satellite, Block 10, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, aboard an Orbital Sciences’ Minotaur IV rocket. Block 20 will provide more robust capability and will be composed of a constellation of 4 satellites.

Launch

Jan 15/10: Boeing in Seal Beach, CA received a $30.9 million contract exercising the option for CY2010 maintenance and operations services to provide the requirements for the development and delivery of the logistics infrastructure of the Space Based Space Surveillance Block 10 system. At this time, $7.8 million has been obligated. The SMC/SYSW in El Segundo, CA manages the contract (FA8819-08-C-0006, P00014).

Oct 6/09: A planned launch of the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) satellite aboard a Minotaur 4 rocket was delayed indefinitely due to technical concerns with the launch vehicle, the USAF said. The SBSS launch is slated to take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA.

Feb 5/09: Boeing announced that it successfully completed initial satellite testing and demonstrated end-to-end mission functionality of the ground and space systems of the integrated Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system.

The SBSS team demonstrated end-to-end mission functionality starting with the generation of mission plans in the Satellite Operations Center at Schriever Air Force Base, CO, in response to simulated tasking. These plans were sent via the encrypted Air Force satellite control network to command the flight space vehicle in Boulder, CO, to take images using the payload optics. The Boeing-led team also demonstrated progress toward operational readiness by completing the second full mission exercise. The exercise employed a mission scenario using the SBSS ground segment and a space vehicle simulator.

April 21/08: The Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) System Block 10 team announced completion of the payload electronics, high-speed gimbal and testing of the space vehicle’s visible sensor, enabling the start of payload integration and test.

The SBSS gimbal and visible sensor enable responsive tasking as events in space warrant. The Boeing-provided onboard payload computer performs immediate detection of space objects and provides future capability for improved Block 10 performance.

Dec 11/07: Boeing announced that it had successfully completed a series of Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system tests as part of the development of a new operational sensor for the U.S. Space Surveillance Network.

Tests of the SBSS system’s visible sensor, payload electronics and high speed gimbal further validate that the enhanced capability of SBSS will be twice as fast, substantially more sensitive and 10 times more accurate than the capabilities currently on orbit, resulting in improved detection of threats to America’s space assets.

May 9/07: Northrop Grumman Missions Systems in Carson, CA received a $97 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to the Space Based Space Surveillance contract. The modificaiton is being issued to increase the contract value to recognize a subcontract overrun. No additional work is being added to the contract by this modification. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA manages the contract(FA8819-04-C-0002/P00055).

April 23/07: Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in Carson, CA received a $20.5 million cost-plus-award-fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to the Space Based Space Surveillance contract to transfer work from Northrop Grumman Mission Systems to Boeing as part of a program restructure. The work transferred includes external interface management, program protection support, on-orbit support and certification and accreditation. This modification also adds additional systems testing requirements to the contract. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA manages the contract (FA8819-04-C-0002/P00052).

Oct 23/06: Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in Carson, CA received a $13 million cost-plus-award fee and cost-plus-fixed fee contract modification incorporating the re-planned program schedule for the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system due to budget reduction in FY 2003 and FY 2004. It also incorporates a program launch slip from June 2007 to December 2008 for SBSS. The award will be made to Northrop Grumman Mission Systems as a contractor modification to an existing contract. The Space Superiority Systems Wing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA manages the contract (FA8819-04-C-0002/P00039).

Dec 17/04: Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corp. in Redondo Beach, CA received a $223.2 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification to develop and deliver a Space Based Space Surveillance Pathfinder satellite. This modification definitizes the unpriced supplemental agreement awarded March 26/04 (with a not-to-exceed clause) of $46 million. The location of performance are Boeing in Huntington Beach, CA, and Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, CO. At this time, $82.7 million of the funds have been obligated. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA manages the contract (FA8819-04-C-0002, P00016).

Oct 20/04: Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems in Redondo, Calif., is being awarded an $9 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification. The Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (NGMS) is currently on contract to develop and deliver a Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) Pathfinder satellite. This change order incorporates design changes critical to the development, launch and operation of the SBSS system. The award will be made to NGMS as a change order to an existing contract. At this time, $36,000 of the funds have been obligated. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA manages the contract (FA8819-04-C-0002, P00011).

May 20/04: A Boeing/Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. team received a $189 million contract from the US Air Force for the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system. Ball Aerospace is responsible for the space segment including spacecraft bus and visible sensor payload. The team will develop a satellite and the ground segment, and will provide launch services. The team will also be responsible for mission planning, mission data processing and operation of the system for up to one year, prior to transitioning it to the Air Force. The Boeing/Ball team was chosen for the SBSS subcontract by Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, acting on behalf of the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

March 24/04: Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems in Redondo Beach, CA received a $46 million cost-plus-award-fee contract. Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (NGMS) will develop and deliver a Space Based Space Surveillance Pathfinder satellite. These efforts include the purchase of materials and services necessary to design, build, launch and operate this single satellite with a visible sensor payload and to design, build and operate a ground segment to support initial satellite operations. The award will be made to NGMS as an undefinitized contract action to an existing contract. The locations of performance are Boeing in Huntington Beach, CA, and Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, CO. At this time, $23 million has been obligated. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA manages the contract (FA8819-04-C-0002).

Additional Reading

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

GISMO’s GeohuB aims at full operational capability by mid-2019

EDA News - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 11:11

Situational awareness is a prerequisite for good decision-making in any CSDP mission or operation. In order to provide operation commanders with optimal capabilities in this domain, EDA Member States in 2014 launched GISMO, the ‘Geospatial Information to Support decision Making in Operations’ project. Since then and working in partnership with the EU Satellite Centre (EU SatCen), GISMO has produced a first operational output in the form of ‘GeohuB’, a software application which allows for the safe and reliable sharing of geospatial information (GI) within a mission’s operational headquarter. 

After a successful field trial, GeohuB was successfully deployed in November 2017 to the Italian Operation Headquarters, Rome, in support of EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED). In practical terms, this means that operation participants with access to the classified mission network of EUNAVFOR MED’s operational headquarters in Rome can upload, share and manage geospatial data related to the operation (GeohuB is accessible through a normal web browser with a user-friendly interface).

Last June, GISMO started the transition of the GeohuB application from the current status of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) to Full Operating Capability (FOC) by the summer. A move much welcomed by Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, the Commander of EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia. “Within the operational activity, the GEOHUB system is an effective service to support geospatial information. We aim to increase the use of this tool more and more with the intention of reaching the full operational capability before summer 2019”, he said. 

Last September, a new milestone was reached when the first training session was provided by EU SatCen staff to OHQ Sophia and training tutorials were handed over to GeohuB users on the ground in the framework of EDA project GISMO. 
 

Interview: “A common geospatial solution is paramount”

After the GeohuB training session, we spoke to Italian Lieutenant Colonel Claudio Panizzi who is GEO Officer at operation ‘Sophia’ (EUNAVFOR Med).
 

GISMO GeohuB is a Content Management System that facilitates the access to space-based information integrated with geospatial data in an Operational Headquarters environment. How important is space-based information and its integration into a common geospatial dataset for EUNAVFOR MED?

Lt.Col. Claudio Panizzi:  Almost all of the information that is managed inside an operation has a geospatial component. Reports are linked to locations, ships are located somewhere, the patrolling routes cover a given area, etc. The need to integrate all this information into a common geospatial solution is paramount to ensure that we are all fighting off the same map in this operation. An integrated approach as provided by GeohuB allows us to combine intelligence from different sources including space assets. Space assets are an operational resource able to provide answers worldwide, reliably within strict time margins. Accessing such resources and combining it with other intelligence sources enhance our capacity for decision making.
 

In very practical terms, what are the main operational benefits of the GISMO GeohuB System, even though it is still only at an initial stage of operational capability, and what kind of impact it has on operation SOPHIA?

Lt.Col. Claudio Panizzi: The highest benefit is to allow all branches of the operation to share a common view, empowering the staff to access data generated by other branches on their own, streamlining processes and easing dec

ision making. In addition, having a common pool of information increases the safety and security of decision relying on geospatial data.
 

Would you recommend other CSDP Missions and Operations or even the European External Action Service (EEAS) to use the system? 

Lt.Col. Claudio Panizzi: The use of a system able to operate inside the classified network allows to have an integrated vision. The use of open sources is important, but it is just another source of information. The real benefit for the operation comes from having all the sources in one tool that allows to mix the unclassified layer of geographical information with the classified information generated by the mission. This can only be achieved with operational tools inside the classified network.
 

One of the main objectives of the GISMO GeohuB is to support the decision-making process on the basis of updated situational awareness informed by space-based information. Based on the experience you’ve made so far with the system, would you say that there is room for new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), to further improve the tool?

Lt.Col. Claudio Panizzi: As said before, the GISMO GehuB is a decision-making process oriented software. It provides, if required, a wide geospatial vision of the Area of Operations related by specific thematic overlapped layers and information.

In addition, to improve the aim of the product, we can suggest to develop remote sensing tools finalized to execute more autonomous analysis, such as change detection (to investigate day by day the development of specific situations) in order to provide more complete answers if specific and more localized crisis situations required it.
 

GISMO GeohuB 

So far, the GISMO GeohuB has been deployed: 

  • since November 2017 to the Italian Operation Headquarters, Rome, in support of EU Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED)
  • in support of the MultiLayer 2016 (ML16) exercise as a tool for GI sharing among the different actors in the exercise (Brussels, EU OHQ in Postdam, FHQ in Strasbourg and EU delegation in Kampala)
  • in support of the EUMM Georgia where the GeohuB is becoming a fundamental piece of the daily work chain within the monitoring mission
  • in support of the MILEX 2017 as a tool to access GI by the EU OHQ in Northwood
  • in support of EU Parallel and Coordinated Exercise 2018 (EU PACE 18)

On the initiative of the EUMS, the GISMO GeohuB is also being evaluated as the application to share Geospatial Information within the European External Action Service (EEAS) network users.
 

Background

Commanders of CSDP missions and operations constantly need fast, reliable and updated geospatial information covering land, sea, airspace and cyber. Geospatial information is earth-related factual data referenced by geographic position and arranged in a coherent structure. Such data include topographic, aeronautical, hydrographic or planning information but also mapping, geo-referenced imagery, geophysical products, etc. available in either analogue or digital format. Most pieces of information have a location, and knowing and understanding these locations can be decisive in a mission commanders’ decision-making. Ever improving geospatial information has thus the potential to revolutionise the decision-making process within military missions and operations.  

 

USN is beefing up its ship self-defense systems | Iran & Malaysia show interest in JF-17 | UK MoD announces Type31e shortlist

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 05:00
Americas

Northrop Grumman is being contracted to start work on two new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Priced at $49.8 million the firm-fixed-price modification provides for long-lead parts procurement and associated support needed to start full rate production of the two Lot 7 surveillance planes. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is an all-weather, tactical airborne early warning aircraft that is capable of deploying from an aircraft carrier. The E-2D comes with enhanced operational capabilities including the replacement of the old radar system with Lockheed Martin AN/APY9 radar, upgraded communications suite, mission computer, displays and the incorporation of an all-glass cockpit. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the continental US including – but not limited to – Syracuse, New York; El Segundo, California; Marlborough, Massachusetts and Indianapolis, Indiana. Work on this contract is expected to be completed by December 2023.

Raytheon is being tapped to keep the Navy’s ship self-defense systems (SSDS) running. Awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the contract modification is worth just over $21 million and provides for continued platform systems engineering and agent support of the SSDS Mk 2. The SSDS features an open architecture computing environment software, which includes selected software components from the total ship computing environment infrastructure, and is designed to speed up the process of detecting, tracking and engaging anti-ship cruise missiles. SSDS is installed aboard CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in San Diego, California and is expected to be completed by June 2019.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center is modifying a contract with Aretè Associates. An additional $17 million will allow the company to exercise an option of an IDIQ contract that sees for the production of AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) subassemblies. The COBRA system can be deployed on the US Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout and is designed to help detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach or other coastal landing area. COBRA uses a fast-scanning LIDAR laser, 3D imaging camera, and target recognition algorithms. Data collected by COBRA an be sent to an amphibious landing force through the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Assault Breaching System (JABS), which could either direct a JDAM air assault on the beach to clear mines or could feed the location of mines to the precision navigation and lane marking systems on the amphibious vehicles coming ashore. Work will be performed at Aretè locations in Tucson, Arizona; Destin, Florida and Santa Rosa, California. The subassemblies are scheduled for completion by July 2021.

Middle East & Africa

An article by Defense World suggests that Iranian and Malaysian military officials may buy Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder. Some talks were held on the sidelines of the IDEAS 2018 aerospace exhibition, which took place in Karachi late last month. The exhibition was attended by Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Qasem Soleiman and Malaysian Royal Air Force Chief General Dato’ Affendi. The JF-17 is a Pakistani fighter jet with Chinese parts. The Thunder is a single engine, lightweight, multipurpose combat aircraft that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. It costs $20 million per unit. Malaysia first voiced interest buying the jet in April 2018 during the Defence Services Asia (DSA) expo held in Kuala Lumpur.

Europe

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) shortlists three companies to build the Royal Navy’s new frigates. BAE Systems, Babcock and Atlas Elektronik UK will now each compete to design and manufacture the new warships. The Type 31e program sees for the delivery of five frigates at a cost of $1.5 billion. Stuart Andrew, Minister for Defence Procurement, told media that it was the first frigate competition the UK had run “in a generation”. “One of these designs will go on to bolster our future fleet with five new ships, creating UK jobs and ensuring our Royal Navy maintains a truly global presence in an increasingly uncertain world,” he said. The Type 31e frigates will be sitting between the high-end capability delivered by the Type 26 and Type 45, and the constabulary-oriented outputs to be delivered by the five planned River-class Batch 2 OPVs and will cover maritime security, maritime counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, escort duties, and naval fire support missions. The MoD expects to announce a preferred bidder by the end of next year and wants the first ship to be delivered in 2023.

Jane’s reports that the Royal Air Force is arming its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft with MBDA’s Meteor missile. This is the first time the French-made beyond visual range air-to-air missiles are deployed on the British Typhoons. The Meteor was conceived as a longer-range competitor to popular weapons like the American AIM-120 AMRAAM. Its ramjet propulsion is intended to offer the missile a head-on closing range of 120 km, with a 2-way datalink and full powered performance at Mach 4+ throughout its flight, instead of the standard “burn and coast” approach use by rocket-powered counterparts. The intent is to give the Meteor both longer reach, and a wider “no escape” profile. The Meteor program partners include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

Asia-Pacific

The Royal Australian Air Force is welcoming its ninth and tenth F-35A fighter jet. These will be the first JSFs to be stationed permanently in the country with the first eight used for pilot training with the US Air Force’s 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. “Today marks a very important day for the Australian Defence Force and particularly the Royal Australian Air Force,” RAAF Air Marshal Leo Davies told media representatives during the jet’s welcoming ceremony. “Welcome to the latest chapter of the F-35 story, the most significant Royal Australian Air Force acquisition in our 97-year history,” he continued. “The two aircraft that landed here today mark the latest step in an exciting journey for Air Force, which has been over 16 years in the making.” Australia is a Tier 3 partner in the JSF program and expects to buy an initial 73 F-35As with an option to buy a further 28 aircraft in the next decade.

Today’s Video

Watch: LCS 15 Completes Acceptance Trials

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

SSDS: Quicker Naval Response to Cruise Missiles

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 04:56

(click to view full)

Right now, in many American ships beyond its Navy’s top-tier AEGIS destroyers and cruisers, the detect-to-engage sequence against anti-ship missiles requires a lot of manual steps, involving different ship systems that use different displays. When a Mach 3 missile gives you 45 seconds from appearance on ship’s radar to impact, seconds of delay can be fatal. Seconds of unnecessary delay are unacceptable.

Hence Raytheon’s Ship Self Defense System (SSDS), which is currently funded under the US Navy’s Quick Reaction Combat Capability program. It’s widely used as a combat system in America’s carrier and amphibious fleets. That can be challenging for its developers, given the wide array of hardware and systems it needs to work with. Consistent testing reports indicate that this is indeed the case, and SSDS has its share of gaps and issues. It also has a series of upgrade programs underway, in order to add new capabilities. Managing these demands effectively will have a big impact on the survivability of the US Navy’s most important power projection assets.

SSDS: Current Versions Role & Ship Types

CEC Concept
(click to enlarge)

SSDS uses software and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronics to turn incoming data from several systems (radar, radar warning receivers, combat identification, electro-optics) into a single picture of prioritized threats. SSDS will then recommend an engagement sequence for the ship’s crew, or (in automatic mode) fire some combination of jamming transmissions, chaff or decoys, and/or weapons against the oncoming threat. The entire ship’s combat system concept, including the sensors and weapons, is known as Quick Reaction Combat Capability (QRCC) – and SSDS is the key element that ties it all together.

SSDS received Milestone III Approval for Full Rate Production In March 1998, along with authority to eventually integrate with ACDS and Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) systems on CVN, LPD-17, LHD and LHA ship classes. Ships with SSDS include:

  • SSDS MK1: LSD-41 Whidbey Island Class and LSD-49 Harpers Ferry Class amphibious assault.
  • SSDS Mk2 MOD 1: CVN 76 USS Ronald Reagan, March 2003. Probably post-RCOH aircraft carriers from CVN 68 to CVN 71, USS Theodore Roosevelt.
  • SSDS Mk2 MOD 2: LPD-17 San Antonio Class amphibious assault.
  • SSDS MK2 MOD 3A: LHD 7 USS Iwo Jima & LHD 8 USS Makin Island amphibious assault aviation ships. May be refitted to other Wasp Class LHDs.
  • SSDS MK2 MOD 4B: LHA 6 America Class escort carrier, presumably LHA 7 Tripoli too.
  • SSDS MK2 MOD 5C: LSD ships to be refitted from SSDS Mk1.
  • SSDS MK2 MOD 6B: CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford Class carrier, presumably refitted CVN 72 USS Abraham Lincoln.

SSDS: from MK1 to MK2

RIM-116 RAM Launch

SSDS MK1 integrates the SPS-49A(V)1 radar, SPS-67(V)1 radar, AN/SLQ-32A/B electronic warfare system, Combat Identification Friend or Foe-Self Defense (CIFFSD), NULKA missile decoy system, Mk 15 Phalanx 20mm Close-In Weapon System, and Rolling Airframe Missile (Mk 49 RAM). It is installed on LSD41/49 class ships, and successfully completed Operational Evaluation in June 1997 aboard USS Ashland [LSD 48].

A technology refresh for these ships will include the MK2 source libraries, new display equipment, and integration with the Battle Force Tactical Trainer (BFTT) and the 20mm Phalanx Block 1B Baseline 2. These systems will be renamed SSDS MK2 Mod 5C. The first LSD is programmed for FY 2014 installation, with IOC in FY 2015.

ESSM: related systems
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SSDS MK2 leverages critical experiments and reuse of technology and software from SSDS MK1, adds new tactical displays, and integrates new ship self defense elements: the AN/SPQ-9B radar, NATO RIM-7 Sea-sparrow system, and Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). Information from Tactical Data Links (Links 4A, 11 and 16) helps it gather and fuse data from other ships, aircraft, and helicopters when creating the overall combat picture.

New MK2 Advanced Capability Builds (ACB) integrate advanced systems such as the Ford Class’ Dual Band Radar, RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile, RAM Block 2 missile, SLQ-32 SEWIP Block 2, and data from new MH-60R Seahawk Helicopters.

SSDS MK2 ACB-12/TI-12 development began in FY 2010. It covers the 1st phase of open architecture migration to Category 3 of the U.S. Navy’s OACE standard; common software components for System Track Management and Vehicle Control; integration of system tracking with CEC, Dual Band Radar, ESSM and JUWL up-link, RAM Block 2, and CV-TSC; integration of new interfaces with SEWIP Block 2 ES, MH-60R and Global Command & Control System-Maritime (GCCS-M) via Consolidated-Afloat Network and Enterprise Services (CANES); and common hardware and LAN standards. ACB-12/TI-12 is planned for Initial Operational Capability in the refitted CVN 72 USS Abraham Lincoln and new CVN 78 USS Gerald R. Ford super carriers (SSDS MK2 Mod 6C) in FY 2016, and on the amphibious escort carrier LHA 6 USS America in FY 2017.

Future Improvements

MH-60R Seahawk
click for video

Over the longer term, SSDS MK 2 Pre-Planned Product Improvement (P3I) are adding conversion kits that will replace electronics within SSDS as they become obsolete. The lifespan of electronics is always much shorter than the life-span of the ships. Managing that difference is where the benefits of OACE open architecture/ commercial approaches really shine, by dramatically reducing the cost and difficulty of fielding compatible upgrades.

Another area for improvement was highlighted by a Pentagon testing report released in October 2010. It said that:

“The LPD-17 exhibited difficulty defending itself against several widely proliferated threats, primarily due to… Persistent SSDS Mk 2-based system engineering deficiencies.”

Ouch. In FY 2014, the US Navy took on more responsibility to SSDS hardware, and competitively awarded SSDS hardware design & integration contracts to vendors other than Raytheon. The extent to which this improves overall system engineering remains to be seen.

As of FY 2011, the Navy began working on SSDS MK2 ACB-16/TI-16. Overall, the Navy wants better coordination of available defensive weapons and decoys, as well as better integration with other platforms. Possible ACB-16 inclusions involve hardware upgrades throughout the system, plus SEWIP Block 2 with automated radar designation decoy launch, CIWS and SPS-48G Sensor Integration, more advanced MH-60R integration, Link-16 interoperability improvements, interoperability with new IFF Mode 5/S, interoperability with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, total ship training capability updates, and GCCSM Data Exchange via CANES.

Note that components of SSDS have migrated to the future combat systems of the USA’s new LCS-2 Independence Class Littoral Combat Ships, and the 14,500t DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyers. To the extent that open architecture hardware and hardware/software engineering allow, improvements in one system could potentially serve as a base for improvements elsewhere. That’s harder to do in practice than it is in theory, but it isn’t impossible.

Contracts & Key Events

Unless otherwise noted, US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contracts, and Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in San Diego, CA is the contractor.

FY 2013 – 2018

OT&E office points out continuing issues.

LHA-R/NAAS Concept
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December 12/18: Mk 2 support Raytheon is being tapped to keep the Navy’s ship self-defense systems (SSDS) running. Awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the contract modification is worth just over $21 million and provides for continued platform systems engineering and agent support of the SSDS Mk 2. The SSDS features an open architecture computing environment software, which includes selected software components from the total ship computing environment infrastructure, and is designed to speed up the process of detecting, tracking and engaging anti-ship cruise missiles. SSDS is installed aboard CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in San Diego, California and is expected to be completed by June 2019.

July 31/14: Hardware. DRS Laurel Technologies in Johnstown, PA receives an initial $497,733 order, under a $31.8 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for SSDS Mk2 production hardware, using firm-fixed-priced orders until 2017. The order’s scope includes hardware production, assembly, configuration, alignment, integration, testing and shipping of the SSDS hardware.

There appears to be some overlap with Northrop Grumman’s role, and DID is looking to clarify that. At the same time, note the vastly different size of the initial orders: $12 million vs. $0.5 million.

Work will be performed in Chesapeake, VA (60%) and Johnston, PA (40%), and is expected to be complete by July 2017. This contract was competitively solicited via FBO.gov, with 2 offers received by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, VA (N00178-14-D-3036).

July 22/14: Hardware. Northrop Grumman announces an initial $12 million task order for SSDS MK2 hardware, under a SeaPort-e indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract and options that could be worth up to $61 million over 5 years. NGC will provide life cycle engineering, system engineering and integration, and hardware prototype development, while continuing to move the system toward Commercial Off-the Shelf solutions from a wide range of commercial technology vendors.

Raytheon remains in charge of the software, but the hardware ownership by the US Navy and associated contractors is new. This contract continues a decade-long collaboration with the US Navy’s Combat Direction Systems Activity (CDSA) in Dam Neck, VA. It began as an acquisition agent engineering contract to help with the COTS hardware conversion. The firm also retains a separate SSDS operations and maintenance contract with the US Navy Surface Combat Systems Center at Wallops Island, VA.

Northrop Grumman isn’t usually thought of in the same terms as Lockhed Martin, Raytheon, Thales, or Saab for naval combat systems. They actually began building their hardware expertise in the 1980s with Aegis modeling, simulation, and tactical trainers. Their PC-based Open architecture, Reconfigurable Training System (PORTS) started as just a simulator, which is why it didn’t need to use the same expensive, military-proprietary electronics. As the underlying commercial electronics improved exponentially, and NGC’s in-house expertise grew, the door opened to products that could work in real combat environments. The firm’s Track manager and Track server software components are used in AEGIS ACB-12 and in SSDS combat systems; the firm is also deeply involved in the LCS-2 Independence Class’ ICMS open architecture combat system, which has been derived from Thales’ TACTICOS. Sources: NGC, Interviews and “US Navy Selects Northrop Grumman for Ship Self-Defense System”.

Dec 19/13: A $41.6 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for FY 2014-2017 SSDS MK2 platform systems engineering agent support, including final development of CVN/Amphibious Modernization ACB-12/TI-12 (Advanced Capability Build 12/Technical Insertion 12).

$13.5 million in FY 2014 R&D funding is committed immediately. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (99%), and Middletown, RI (1%), and is expected to be complete by September 2017 (N00024-08-C-5122).

March 29/13: A $7.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to deliver OL-782(V) SSDS open architecture network switching cabinets for CVN 72 (USS Abraham Lincoln, part of its RCOH), amphibious landing ships LSD 44, 50 & 52, NSWC Dahlgren’s Wallops Island Integrated Combat System Testing Facility, and Raytheon’s Software Integration Lab.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (80%) and San Diego, CA (20%), and is expected to be complete by October 2014. All funds are committed immediately, using a combination of FY 2011-2013 “Other Procurement” and FY 2012-2013 Shipbuilding and Conversion funds. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-09-C-5100).

Jan 17/13: DOT&E testing. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The entry for the LPD-17 San Antonio Class recalls DOT&E’s evaluation that the ship isn’t adequately protected, but says:

“…operational testing on other SSDS Mk 2 platforms has revealed similar combat system deficiencies to those found during LPD-17’s IOT&E, confirming these issues are not LPD-17 specific. DOT&E’s classified report to Congress in November 2012 titled “Ship Self-Defense Operational Mission Capability Assessment Report,” provides details. The Navy is conducting a study of Probability of Raid Annihilation against anti-ship cruise missiles and expects to provide their report in the spring of 2013.”

With respect to ship self defense as a general entry encompassing several systems, SSDS-specific recommendations include:

“1. Optimize SSDS Mk 2 weapon employment timelines to maximize weapon probability of kill….

3. Ensure availability of a credible open-loop seeker subsonic ASCM surrogate target for ship self-defense combat system operational tests.

4. Correct the identified SSDS Mk 2 software reliability deficiencies.

5. Correct the identified SSDS Mk 2 training deficiencies.

6. Develop and field deferred SSDS Mk 2 interfaces to the Global Command and Control System–Maritime and the TPX-42A(V) command and control systems.”

Based on the classified information contained in the November 2012 report to Congress, DOT&E recommends that the Navy:

“Improve the SSDS Mk 2 integration with the Mk 9 Track Illuminators to better support ESSM [RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile] engagements, as well as preventing the Mk 9 Track Illuminators from contributing to the composite track during certain threat raid types.”

Dec 19/12: FY 2013 development. A $16 million cost-plus-award-fee contract modification, exercising FY 2013 options for continuation of Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) MK2 development, and test for CVN 78 and SSDS MK1 technology refresh efforts.

All contract funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2013 (N00024-08-C-5122).

Nov 5/12: PSEA. Raytheon announces a $22.5 million US Navy contract to continue SSDS system development, test and integration, while remaining in its 2008-2012 role as Platform Systems Engineering Agent (PSEA) services and fleet support. The Navy has also announced its intent to increase the current PSEA contract ceiling by $50 million, to extend SSDS services and support through FY 2013.

Raytheon offers an update concerning overall system progress:

“…LHA [LHA-6 USS America] variant is nearing initial deployment, a technical refresh of the LSD-class is almost complete, and system development is underway for the new CVN 78-class of aircraft carriers… recent delivery brought the total number of systems to 31, all of which were delivered early or on time. Work on SSDS is performed at Raytheon Integrated Defense System’s Expeditionary Warfare Center, San Diego, Calif.; and Seapower Capability Center, Portsmouth, R.I.”

FY 2012

CSEA RFP. Early work on CVN 79. Automated tests could help alleviate software issues.

LPD-17 & ATF concept
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Sept. 18/12: NAVSEA issues a presolicitation for its future Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) efforts (see December 2011 entry) that so far have been undertaken by incumbent Raytheon IDS. The anticipated requirements include systems and software engineering, development of engineering products to support combat system integration, configuration control, developmental test/operational test (DT/OT) support, training and logistics support, and field technical support for designated combat systems. The systems engineering, development, and integration work will begin with Advanced Capability Build (ACB) 16 development and integration on Technology Insertion (TI) 12 and followed by ACB 16 integration on TI 16.

An industry day takes place on Sept. 27, with Q&As and pre-RFP material added to FBO and NECO in the following months. The release date of the final RFP is not yet known. FBO.

Aug 30/12: A $6.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for FY 2012 long-lead material, and end-of-life commercial-off-the-shelf parts for SSDS MK2 network switching cabinets. That way, the Navy will have enough, even after this configuration is no longer produced.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (50%), and Portsmouth, RI (50%), and is expected to be complete by March 2014 (N00024-09-C-5100).

Aug 23/12: A $22.5 million modification to existing contract N00024-08-C-5122 exercises FY12 options to continue SSDS MK 2 development, and tests for CVN 78 and SSDS MK1 technology refresh efforts. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%), Tewksbury, MA (5%), and Portsmouth, RI (5%), and is expected to be completed by August 2013.

Feb 27/12: FY 2013 Budget. The FY2013 Presidential Budget features close to $91M for 1 SSDS system for PCU John F. Kennedy [CVN 79]. It’s a rather early timing given that carrier’s earliest delivery is scheduled for September 2022, but construction has started, and combat systems are one of the early items. The hardware itself is budgeted at $17.4 million, with a contractor and contract type left to be determined.

USS Abraham Lincoln [CVN 72] also has a $47.7 million entry, reflecting its planned RCOH mid-life overhaul.

December 2011: During the NDIA conference on integrated warfare systems, Capt. Jon Hill, a Major Program Manager, Integrated Combat Systems (AEGIS) within PEO IWS said that the CSEA role for SSDS would be the object of a late 2012 RFP, with a 2014 award.

He also noted that the development of automated tests was a key area of focus. Complex software systems cannot be tested solely manually, especially when you are shooting at a moving target. AEGIS is going through so-called Advanced Capability Builds (ACBs) with an underlying evolving hardware platform, software changes and new functional expectations. These presentations on the Surface Navy’s combat system explain it well: May 2010: Deegan on AEGIS OA [PDF] | April 2011: Bray on AEGIS [PDF]. | Capt. Hill [PDF].

Jan 16/12: Raytheon announces that it has delivered the final FY 2010 SSDS MK2 hardware ship set, 1 of 5 for the year. This 5th system is slated for new-build installation and integration aboard the John P. Murtha [LPD 26]. bringing the SSDS program total to 30. Raytheon says that all of them have been delivered early.

Jan 09/12: DOTE. The annual report of the Annual Report of the Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation is out. On Ship Self Defense [PDF], it states that some of the issues raised earlier persist, and plague all CVN 68, LHD-1, and LPD-17 ship class combat systems, given their commonalities [PDF]. Among recommendations: fix the SSDS software.

Nov 29/11: A $7.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-award-fee contract modification, exercising FY 2012 options for SSDS PSEA work. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (5%); and Portsmouth, RI (5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2012 (N00024-08-C-5122).

FY 2010 – 2011

Quality concerns.

Aug 11/11: CACI Technologies, Inc. in Chantilly, VA received a $24.2 million contract modification for professional engineering, technical, training, software, project service, logistics services, fleet modernization, internal communication systems, combat system switchboard and other in-service engineering agent products necessary to support SSDS at shore sites, land-based test facilities, shipyards, and aboard ships in port and at sea. This contract modification exercises an option that brings the cumulative value to $48.3 million.

Work will be performed in Port Hueneme, CA (35%); Wallops Island, VA (10%); Norfolk, VA (5%); Crystal City, VA (10%); San Diego, CA (5%); Little Creek, VA (5%); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (5%); and other shore and afloat sites (25%). Work is expected to be complete by February 2012. $2.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center;s Port Hueneme Division in Port Hueneme, CA manages the contract (N63394-04-D-1262).

Aug 9/11: Raytheon IDS in San Diego, CA received a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the FY 2011 buy of 2 SSDS MK2 open architecture computing environment kits, destined for retrofit into the USS Wasp [LHD 1] and installation in the future LPD-27 San Antonio Class ship. Each set consists of 4 switch server cabinets, 4 input/output cabinets, 4 general processor cabinets, and 1 connector kit.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (50%), and Portsmouth, RI (50%), and is expected to be complete by October 2012 (N00024-09-C-5100).

June 15/11: Raytheon ISD in San Diego, CA received a $9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee and cost-plus-award-fee contract modification, exercising options for FY 2011 SSDS platform systems engineering. That funds continuation of SSDS pre- and post-certification work, life-cycle maintenance support services, SSDS MK2 modification work, and integration support for CVN 78 Gerald R. Ford’s SSDS MK 1 upgrade to the OA baseline.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%), Tewksbury, MA (5%), and Portsmouth, RI (5%), and will run until FY 2011 ends, at the end of September 2011, when $2.5 million will expire (N00024-08-C-5122).

FY 2009 DOT&E report
(click to read)

Oct 28/10: SSDS quality questioned by Pentagon. Bloomberg News reports on a classified report sent to Congress in June 2010, outlining Pentagon testing that found serious issues with the LPD-17 San Antonio Class’ ability to survive combat situations. Their article is based on an unclassified summary of that report, and an email response from Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation, who described the ships as “not effective, suitable and not survivable in a combat situation.” The core of those reports is that the ships continue to experience widespread, persistent engineering problems, and couldn’t continue to operate reliably after being hit by enemy fire, in part because of the engineering problems mentioned. From the Pentagon’s DOT&E FY 2009 Annual Report:

“Chronic reliability problems associated with critical ship systems across the spectrum of mission areas reduces overall ship suitability and jeopardizes mission accomplishment… Emerging results from [Navy] trials indicate the ships could not demonstrate the required levels of survivability, largely because of critical ship system failures after weapons effects… The LPD-17 exhibited difficulty defending itself against several widely proliferated threats, primarily due to… Persistent SSDS Mk 2-based system engineering deficiencies… The ship’s RAM system provided the only hard kill capability, preventing layered air defense [DID: in fairness, the ships were designed this way]… Problems associated with SPS-48E and SPQ-9B radar performance against certain Anti-Ship Cruise Missile attack profiles [DID: also a known design limitation]… Degraded situational awareness due to Mk 46 [30mm remotely-operated] Gun Weapon System console configuration… The survivability of the San Antonio class ships appear to be improved over the LPD class ships they will replace. However, problems encountered with critical systems during testing (particularly with the electrical distribution, chilled water, SWAN, and ECS) and difficulty recovering mission capability may offset some of the survivability improvements and have highlighted serious reliability shortcomings.”

See: Pentagon DOT&E FY 2009 [PDF].

SSDS concerns

April 7/10: A $14.2 million modification to previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00024-09-C-5100) for the production of 5 fiscal 2010 SSDS MK 2 Open Architecture Computing Environment (OACE) kits. The kits include cabinets, processors, converters, network devices, and interface units. The equipment sets consolidate the computing and interface requirements for the SSDS ship class variants.

The fiscal 2010 kits will be installed at the Naval Air Systems Command land-based test site and on the carriers USS Harry S. Truman [CVN 75] and USS Gerald R. Ford [CVN 78], the amphibious transport ship LPD 26 (not yet named), and the amphibious assault ship LHA 7 (not yet named). Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (50%), and Portsmouth, RI (50%), and is expected to be complete by January 2012. Raytheon release.

March 15/10: A $7.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-5122), exercising FY 2010 options to continue as the platform system engineering agent for the Ship Self Defense System. Work will be performed in San Diego (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%). Work is expected to be complete by September 2010.

Once again, integration with the new Gerald R. Ford Class aircraft carriers’ Dual Band Radar, and the improved RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Block 2, are key tasks, alongside the usual work of testing and provide certification support for the SSDS, which is provided to shipbuilders as Government-Furnished Equipment.

Dec 30/09: A $10.8 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, exercising FY 2010 options to continue as the platform system engineering agent for the Ship Self Defense System.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%). Work is expected to be complete by Sept 30/10 (N00024-08-C-5122).

Nov 2/09: A $6.7 million modification to contract N00024-08-C-5122 exercises a FY 2010 option for performing as the SSDS platform system engineering agent. Once again, integration with the CVN-21 ships’ Dual Band Radar, and the improved RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Block 2, are key tasks.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%), and is expected to be complete by November 2010.

FY 2008 – 2009

1st Mk2 delivery; OACE kits.

Sept 2/09: A $9.6 million modification to a previously awarded contract for SSDS platform system engineering agent services (N00024-08-C-5122). Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%) and is expected to be complete by January 2010 (N00024-08-C-5122).

Raytheon IDS will be responsible for the integration of complex war-fighting improvements – including compatibility with the CVN-21 ships’ Dual Band Radar, and the improved RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile Block 2 – into the modular SSDS. Raytheon IDS will integrate, test and provide certification support for the government-furnished equipment/ government-furnished information required for the CVN/ amphibious ship combat system. See also Aug 10/09 and Sept 30/08 entries, and the Raytheon release.

Aug 13/09: CACI Technologies, Inc. in Chantilly, VA received an $18.2 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N63394-04-D-1262) for engineering and technical support services, training, software, project and logistics services, and products necessary to support the Ship Self Defense System. Services will be required at shore sites, land-based test facilities, shipyards, and aboard ships in ports and at sea.

Work will be performed in Port Hueneme, CA (35%); Wallops Island, VA (20%); Crystal City, VA (20%); San Diego, CA (10%); Little Creek, VA (10%); and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (5%), and is expected to be complete by April 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $4.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, CA manages the contract.

Aug 10/09: A $7.4 million modification, finalizing a previously-awarded letter contract (N00024-08-C-5122) to integrate “complex war-fighting improvements” into SSDS, as the platform’s system engineering agent.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $394,546 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09.

Dec 23/08: A $14.9 million fixed price contract for 3 SSDS MK2 Open Architecture Computing Environment (OACE) kits. The SSDS MK2 OACE kits include cabinets, processors, converters, network devices and interface units.

These FY 2009 kits will be installed on the new amphibious assault ship USS New Orleans [LPD 18], the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower [CVN 69], and the navy’s Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (50%) and Portsmouth, RI (50%). Since SSDS is already an established standard system, this contract was not competitively procured (N00024-09-C-5100).

Dec 12/08: An $8 million modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-5122), exercising options for SSDS FY 2009 MK 1 Technology Refresh Support Services; Pre/Post Certification/Life Cycle Maintenance Support Services; Engineering Change/Field Change Kits, Commercial Off the Shelf Obsolescence Engineering and Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages.

In the course of this effort, Raytheon IDS will be responsible integrating components associated with the Dual Band Radar (DBR) and Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 into the modular SSDS. These systems are closely associated with America’s new CVN-21/Gerald R. Ford Class carriers, though the RAM Block II will also serve on a number of other American ship classes.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI, (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009.

Nov 7/08: A $7.2 million modification to previously awarded contract N00024-08-C-5122, exercising an option for SSDS pre- and post-certification /life-cycle maintenance support services. Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $7.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Sept 30/08: An $8.3 million cost-plus fixed-fee letter contract to act as the SSDS Platform System Engineering Agent. The contractor will be responsible for the integration of complex war-fighting improvements into the modular SSDS, including components associated with the new Gerald R. Ford Class carrier’s Dual Band Radar (DBR), and with the popular Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2.

Work will be performed in San Diego, CA (90%); Tewksbury, MA (2.5%); Portsmouth, RI (2.5%); St. Petersburg, FL (2.5%); and Tucson, AZ (2.5%), and is expected to be completed by April 2009. This contract was not competitively procured (N00024-08-C-5122).

July 14/08: Raytheon announces its first delivery of its open architecture SSDS Mk 2 hardware configuration for installation onboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz [CVN 68]. Warfare system integration and interoperability testing are complete, and, Raytheon delivered the hardware 3 weeks ahead of schedule.

SSDS Mk2 is designed to meet the US Navy’s Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO-IWS) Open Architecture Computing Environment standards, which leverage some of the systems designed for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer’s Total Ship Computing Environment infrastructure.

1st Mk2 delivery

Jan 30/08: Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems in San Diego, CA received a $17.3 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5105) for FY 2008 production of 4 SSDS MK 2 Tactical Ship Sets. They will also conduct a special study to define engineering changes to the SSDS MK 2 product baseline in support of Combat System configuration on the first-of-class LHA 6, the US Marines new LHA-R ship that supports amphibious assault and functions as a mid-size aircraft carrier.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by Oct. 2009. This contract was not competitively procured.

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

LCS & MH-60S Mine Counter-Measures Continue Development

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 12/12/2018 - 04:54

Old school:
MH-53E & Mk-105 sled
(click to view full)

The US Navy currently uses large CH-53/MH-53 helicopters and towed sleds to help with mine clearance work, but they hope to replace those old systems with something smaller and newer. The MH-60S helicopter’s Airborne Mine Counter-Measures (AMCM) system adds an operator’s station to the helicopter cabin, additional internal fuel stores, and towing capability, accompanied by a suite of carried systems that can be mixed and matched. AMCM is actually 5 different air, surface and sub-surface mine countermeasures systems, all deployed and integrated together in the helicopter.

While the US Navy develops AMCM, and complementary ship-launched systems for use on the new Littoral Combat Ships, new minehunter ship classes like the Ospreys are being retired by the US Navy and sold. All in an era where the threat of mines is arguably rising, along with tensions around key chokepoints like the Suez Canal and Strait of Hormuz.

This article explains the components involved (AQS-20, ALMDS, AMNS, OASIS, RAMICS; COBRA, RMS, SMCM), chronicles their progress through reports and contracts, and provides additional links for research.

Airborne Mine Counter-Measures (AMCM): The Set

Original AMCM
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The surviving AMCM set includes:

AN/AQS-20 mine hunting sonar (not MH-60S capable, Inc 1#). The AN/AQS-20A uses sonar and electro-optical sensors to provide high-resolution images of mine-like objects and high-precision location information, and can operate in shallow or deep waters. The system is towed under water to scan the water in front and to the sides of the sonar, as well as the sea bottom. This task is especially important in littoral and shallow-water zones, including critical global trade chokepoints like the Straits of Malacca, the Persian Gulf and Straits of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and Panama Canal regions, etc. The AQS-20 have been in service since the 1990s, and the Navy program goal is 94 units, up from the 30 it possessed at the end of 2012.

MCM 2013
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The AN/AQS-20’s modular design is being produced under spiral development, which means a continuous series of improvements are being applied and tested. The use of commercial off the shelf (COTS) components alongside proprietary technologies makes this process easier, and will improve the future upgrade process as electronics continue to advance. They’ll need to improve, because false positives in 2 of 3 search modes and estimating mine depth have been an issue for the system, and ALMDS’ depth limitations mean that they need more coverage from the AQS-20. Until they do improve, the tactical response of re-querying contacts means that searches will take about 2x as long.

The sonar’s biggest problem is simple, and was eminently testable and foreseeable: the MH-60S AMCM helicopter doesn’t have enough power to tow it. Almost 8 years after development began, therefore, the AQS-20 is left dependent on the much slower WLD-1 RMMV snorkeling USV. Unfortunately, the RMMV isn’t scheduled to iron out its issues until 2015, and full-rate RMMV production won’t happen until 2017.

Laser mine finder
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Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (AES-1 ALMDS, Inc 1). In his position as U.S. Navy Program Executive Officer for littoral and mine warfare, Rear Admiral William E. Landay said in 2005 that ALMDS “represents the first new technology to be applied to mine [hunting] since the advent of sonar.”

ALMDS is a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) Airborne Mine Countermeasures high area coverage system that detects, classifieds, and localizes floating and near-surface moored sea mines, using a fan-shaped pulsed wide 538-nanometer blue-green laser pattern that samples at rates over 100 per second. As the helicopter’s motion “pushes” the LIDAR fan forward, 4 cameras are arranged to cover the same illuminated swath. An automatic target recognition algorithm picks out potential mine-like objects, and stores their images for classification by shipboard Fleet operators, using computer-aided post-mission analysis tools.

This LIDAR approach gets around the inherent flight and drag limitations of towing bulky gear in the water, which allows faster area search. It also lets a helicopter image an entire ocean area and move on, without stopping to recover equipment. ALMDS’ laser light and streak tube receivers are housed in an external equipment pod, which is mechanically attached to the MH-60S with a standard BRU-14 bomb rack mount. Electrical connections use a primary and auxiliary umbilical cable to the MH-60S AMCM’s common operator console. Data is stored on a mass memory unit for post mission analysis.

The ALMDS program is managed by the US Navy’s PMS-495: the Program Executive Office, Littoral and Mine Warfare, Mine Warfare Program Office. The ALMDS industrial team includes Northrop Grumman Corporation at its Melbourne, FL site, and key suppliers:

  • NGC subsidiary Cutting Edge Optronics (CEO) in St. Charles, MO (high-powered laser transmitter)
  • Arete Associates in Tucson, AZ (Receiver Sensor Assembly)
  • CPI Aero in Edgewood, NY (pod housing)
  • Curtiss Wright/DY4 in San Diego, CA (central electronics chassis)
  • Meggitt Defense Systems, Inc. in Irvine, CA (environmental control system).

As recently as 2013, ALMDS was cited by the US GAO as not yet meeting system performance requirements, with problems that have included misinterpreting light flashes on the water’s surface for mines, and depth limitations that are shallower than specifications required. The whole issue of light refraction through a variably-shaped surface isn’t exactly easy, but the system has to work. Northrop Grumman cites improvements, which has prompted the US Navy to resume buys, and prompted Japan to place a 2012 export order, but GAO continues to cite performance that’s below specifications. Both sides are right; meanwhile, the US Navy is adopting a multi-pass search method that will take more time to cover a given area.

Airborne Mine Neutralization System (ASQ-235 AMNS, Inc 1). Based on BAE Systems’ Archerfish. It’s a small towed vehicle that acquires mines via sonar, then fires a shaped charge into them. Each AMNS system has 4 of them. It’s especially useful for bottom, close-tethered and in-volume sea mines, and the towed vehicle is designed to be expendable. It’s good for disposing of found mines at a safe distance, but it’s one by one targeting rather than area minesweeping.

AMNS biggest challenge is the handling system, which doesn’t have enough clearance under the launch and retrieval system. They need to fix that, soon. Its other challenge involves successfully targeting mines in currents, which is an admittedly difficult computation but a very big operational problem. If it can overcome these challenges, an unfunded future update will need to give AMNS near-surface capabilities, in order to replace the canceled RAMICS 30mm supercavitating gun.

AMCM Companions

LCS trimaran & MH-60S
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These combined AMCM systems will offer more speed and agility in addressing a mine threat, and will be carried by US vessels including the new Littoral Combat Ships. In addition, fitting all 5 AMCM systems into a roll-on/roll-off mission kit for the MH-60S requires a couple of other elements:

The MH-60S Common Console The Common Console is common to all five AMCM systems as well as the other MH-60S missions and provides for control, monitor and display of the AMCM system. It has a single large display that shows multiple views for each sensor, and a smaller navigation display that matches the cockpit’s.

The MH-60S Carriage, Stream, Tow and Recovery System (CSTRS). Does what the title says. Has to be robust, in order to support a number of different systems. Goals included reducing crew size from 5 to 2, and allowing hands-off operation. Needs changes, because there isn’t enough clearance for the AQS-20.

Tactical Common Data Link (TCDL). TCDL will provide a high-bandwidth, near-real time sensor data link with the ability to relay data to the mine warfare commander.

These combined systems are critical components of the new Littoral Combat Ship’s mine warfare mission module. The new ships will operate MH-60S helicopters, and can take on an MH-60S AMCM helicopter as part of the MIW mine warfare mission module. The AQS-20 sonar can also be attached to the AN/WLD-1 semi-submersible autonomous vehicle, which comes as part of the LCS ship’s swappable mission packages and has been installed in some DDG-51 destroyers as well.

Note that even though these mission packages are designed to work with Freedom or Independence class Littoral Combat Ships, AMCM’s components could be freely deployed on other ships, along with their carrying helicopter.

Some of the Littoral Combat Ship’s MCM systems will be paired with other platforms beyond the MH-60S. Adding a USV/UUV option helps provide more comprehensive shallow water coverage alongside AMCM, and puts deep water coverage within reach, without requiring purpose-built minesweeper ships, or placing large and expensive ships at risk.

Ship-Based Systems

RMMV
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Remote Minehunting System: (RMS, Inc 1) Lockheed Martin’s AN/WLD-1 (RMMV) snorkeling USV was set to tow the AN/AQS-20 behind, while also using its own maneuvering power and sensors, in order to scan in front and to the sides for anti-shipping mines and submarines. It could also carry “kill vehicles” for found mines.

The RMS RMMV and related systems include the WLD-1 Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV), the RMMV Data Recorder (RDR), the Remote Minehunting Functional Segment (RMFS), its Shipboard Stowage Equipment (SSE), its Shipboard Handling Equipment (SHE), the Remote Operator Pack (ROP), and ancillary support equipment. RMS RMMV and related systems interfaces include the LCS radio system, the Multi-Vehicle Communication System (MVCS), the Mission Package Computing Environment (MPCE), the AN/AQS-20, the LCS Launch Recovery and Handling System (LR&HS), and the MHU-191 Dolly.

Unfortunately, a March 31/10 GAO report cited the RMMV snorkeling USV’s failure to meet performance requirements, and the RMS had its planned buy cut in December 2009. It would deploy only aboard Littoral Combat Ship classes, and only within the mine counter-measures module. Reliability and performance issues were the next problem to surface. By December 2011, the 1st of 3 reliability improvement phases had ended, and funding was in place to continue the RMMV RGP into 2013. They were only at 60% of their goal by the end of 2012, and DOT&E has been scathing in their criticism of a lenient testing methodology, but the Navy plans to field it with Increment 1 anyway in 2014.

MQ-8B with COBRA
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Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis System (COBRA AN/DVS-1, Inc 2 & 4): This system scans beaches for buried mines. Its goal is actually broader than mine detection, and involves “accurate battlefield intelligence depicting tactical objectives, minefields, obstacles and fortifications on the beach and inland areas.” The prototype system uses a fast-scanning LIDAR laser, 3D imaging camera, and target recognition algorithms.

COBRA Block I introduces the system with daytime detection of surface laid minefields and obstacles in the beach zone, including partial capability in the surf zone. It’s slated for deployment as part of MIW Increment 2 in 2015.

COBRA Block II adds full surf zone detection, plus night detection of mines and obstacle detection. It’s slated for deployment as part of MIW Increment 4 in 2019 or so.

A COBRA Block III has been mentioned with buried mine detection capability, and on-board Near-Real-Time processing of Multi Spectral Imagery data, but it has no scheduled deployment date.

As of 2012, COBRA is still slated for deployment on board MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopters, but production stopped at barely over 20, and it remains to be seen whether that small platform will be adequate. A larger MQ-8C has been ordered based on the full-size Bell 407 helicopter, and the COBRA system could also be added to manned helicopters in the Navy’s fleet.

UISS: CUSV
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Unmanned Surface Vehicle with Unmanned Surface Sweep System (USV/UISS, Inc 3). This will be a micro-turbine-powered magnetic towed cable and acoustical signal generator, towed from a Textron CUSV unmanned surface craft with full NATO STANAG 4568 and US JAUS compatibility, using the Harris SeaLancet datalink and AAI’s command-and-control system for UAVs and USVs. It will be the MCM module’s 1st area minesweeping capability, detonating magnetic and acoustic mines in its area.

Contact mines will need to be destroyed one by one using AMNS, or by older systems like the MH-53 Sea Dragon heavy helicopters and their towed sleds. USV-UISS replaces the canceled heli-towed OASIS system, and is scheduled for fielding in 2017.

Note that due to weight and space limitations, LCS will not be able to carry both the UISS USV system and the SMCM UUV.

Bluefin 21 UUV

Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (SMCM UUV, Inc 4): The SMCM UUV system is designed to reliably detect and identify undersea volume and bottom mines in shallow, high-clutter environments, especially areas with the potential for mine case burial. It will also gather environmental data for use by other MIW systems. This is similar to the idea behind the RMS, but the Knifefish is expected to enter service later, in 2019.

The SMCM system will use Bluefin-21 “Knifefish” UUVs, which were developed with US Navy funding and envisioned from the outset as having a role on LCS. The 16.5 foot, 21″ diameter, 1,650 pound (5.02m/ 53.4cm/ 748.5kg) Bluefin-21 has a maximum depth of 4500m, with 25-hour endurance, and inertial navigation systems for precision positioning. It features MIT-spinoff Bluefin Robotics’ modular and flexible vehicle architecture, pressure-tolerant field-swappable subsea batteries, and low-noise propulsion technology. For this role, it will carry an advanced sonar payload developed by SMCM lead contractor General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems. Each SMCM system will include 2 Bluefin-21s with payloads, launch and recovery equipment, a support container, spare parts, and support equipment.

General Dynamics AIS leads the SMCM team, which includes UUV maker Bluefin Robotics in Quincy, MA; Ultra Electronic Ocean Systems in Braintree, MA; Oceaneering International, Inc. in Houston, TX; Metron in Reston, VA; Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University, PA; 3 Phoenix in Hanover, MD and ASRC Research Technology Solutions in Greenbelt, MD.

Other

These would help, too…
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As of 2014, the Pentagon’s Department of Operational Testing and Evaluation concluded that:

“Even if this MCM package meets all of its final increment requirements, legacy systems will be needed to perform the full range of mine clearance operations.”

Exactly what this means remains unclear, as it will be up to the Navy to determine. Some steps are already being taken, using legacy ships.

For surface scanning, an experiment by Northrop Grumman has towed their current AQS-24A sonar behind their MHU 11m RHIB USV (q.v. Oct 6/14 entry). The Mk.105 sleds towed by MH-53 helicopters would certainly help address the MCM module’s current inability to kill shallow-water mines, and Independence Class ships could serve as “lily pads” while the helicopters remain serviceable.

Below the surface, new MK18 MOD 0 Swordfish (REMUS 100) and Mk18 MOD 2 Kingfish (REMUS 600) surveillance UUVs are already in use in SMCM type roles, using 11m RHIB boats for launch and recovery. Kill capability can come from Atlas Elektronik’s Seafox UUVs, which have been purchased to act in role that’s similar to the smaller AMNS. SeaFox add-ons can even provide the shallow-water capability that AMNS lacks.

The problems is that LCS has limited internal space and weight margins, compared to ships like the Navy’s new JHSVs. That forces mission package sizes which can only accommodate limited numbers of system sets, spares, repair parts, etc. Adding more partially-effective systems isn’t a viable solution, if it exceeds those limits as it’s likely to do. The Navy could restrict the MCM/MIW package to the much larger mission bays of the LCS 2 Independence Class, but the trimaran’s sharp weight limitations may defeat the point of having more space for equipment.

In retrospect, a platform like the JHSVs might have been far better suited to the counter-mine role. Or, the US Navy could also have kept its legacy MHC-51 Osprey Class minehunting ships in service, instead of selling them all before effective successor systems were developed. All at a time when mining global chokepoints like the Straits of Hormuz remains a top-3 strategic threat.

AMCM: Eliminated

OASIS concept
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Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (ALQ-220 OASIS, eliminated). Long, thin, 10 foot long towed “fish” that can mimic the acoustic or magnetic signatures of a variety of US ships. If there are mines in the area programmed to detonate on that basis, it should set them off. Good for doing fast minesweeping – if the helicopter can actually tow it.

OASIS is subdivided into 6 major components: the Towed Body, the Magnetic Influence Subsystem, the Acoustic Influence Subsystem, the Control/ Monitoring and Power Subsystem, the OASIS Software, and the Tow Cable/ Helicopter Interface. The towed body houses the magnetic and acoustic subsystems and mechanical assemblies. This in-water component is less than 930 pounds in weight, approximately 16 inches in diameter and 10 feet in length. Tension on the tow point is less than 6,000 pounds.

The system failed demonstration trials in 2008 due to excessive corrosion of its tow cable, linked to a nearby forward electrode that set up an unfortunate reaction in salt water. The electrode was repositioned on the towed body instead, but by then, the Navy “discovered” that the MH-60S helicopter didn’t have enough tow capacity to employ it. It was eliminated from AMCM in 2012, and will be replaced by a USV/UISS combination.

ALMDS & RAMICS
click for video

Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS, eliminated). This weapon coupled a gated electro-optic Laser Imaging Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor, and a 30mm MK44 Bushmaster II gun firing a MK 258 Mod 1 armor-piercing, fin-stabilized tracer round. When penetrating the water, the round “supercavitates” as the tip of the high velocity RAMICS projectile vaporizes the water to steam. Instead of the complete disintegration that usually happens to high-velocity rounds when they hit the water at mid-to-shallow angles, supercavitation lets the shell ride inside a bubble of gas, zipping through the water in a straight line at very high velocity.

The combination of sensors like ALMDS and a fast neutralizer like RAMICS would make shallow water mine clearing a pretty fast process, which is very useful when trying to perform tasks like re-opening a key port. Unfortunately, RAMICS didn’t test well. The Navy is cutting RAMICS entirely, and expanding AMNS’ role to destroy shallow mines as well.

Northrop Grumman’s RAMICS team included ATK (gun and ammunition), plus Kaman Aerospace Electro-Optics Development Center in Tucson, AZ; DRS Sensors and Targeting Systems in Cypress, CA; CPI Aerostructures in Edgewood, NY; and Meggitt Western Design in Irvine, CA.

Contracts & Key Events FY 2015-2018

Production contracts – COBRA; Support contracts – AMNS; USV & AQS-24A combo as Plan B for MH-53Es and RMS.

MHU & AQS-24A
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December 12/18: COBRA subassemblies The Naval Surface Warfare Center is modifying a contract with Aretè Associates. An additional $17 million will allow the company to exercise an option of an IDIQ contract that sees for the production of AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) subassemblies. The COBRA system can be deployed on the US Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout and is designed to help detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach or other coastal landing area. COBRA uses a fast-scanning LIDAR laser, 3D imaging camera, and target recognition algorithms. Data collected by COBRA an be sent to an amphibious landing force through the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Assault Breaching System (JABS), which could either direct a JDAM air assault on the beach to clear mines or could feed the location of mines to the precision navigation and lane marking systems on the amphibious vehicles coming ashore. Work will be performed at Aretè locations in Tucson, Arizona; Destin, Florida and Santa Rosa, California. The subassemblies are scheduled for completion by July 2021.

October 17/17: The US Navy has awarded Initial Operational Capability (IOC) to the service’s latest airborne mine detection system, the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA). The system can be integrated on the MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned air system and can detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach zone area, keeping sailors and marines out of harms way on a potential landing zone. Part of the littoral combat ship’s (LCS) suite of mine countermeasures (MCM) systems, COBRA’s next test will involve at-sea trails onboard a LCS vessel equipped with a full MCM package, where it will fly various missions over beaches, while demonstrating system suitability for operating from the LCS.

Nov 13/14: COBRA. Arete Associates in Tucson, AZ receives an $11.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to a previously awarded for 1 AN/DVS-1 COBRA Block I low-rate initial production mine countermeasures system. $3.4 million in FY 2014 Navy RDT&E budgets is committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ and is expected to be complete by February 2017. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL manages the contract (N61331-11-C-0007).

1 COBRA Block I

Oct 10/14: AMNS. Atlas North America LLC in VA Beach, VA receives an $8 million firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity requirements contract for AN/ASQ-232 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) depot level repair, maintenance, modifications, engineering services and spare parts. Funds will be committed as needed, and existing options could bring the contract to $43.3 million.

Work will be performed in Panama City Beach, FL (60%); Bahrain (25%); VA Beach, VA (10%); South Korea (2.5%); and Japan (2.5%); and is expected to be complete by October 2015. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, FL, is the contracting activity (N61331-15-D-0002).

Oct 6/14: USV + sonar. Northrop Grumman Corporation works with the US Navy’s PMS-406 Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), and US Naval Forces Central Command in Manama, Bahrain to demonstrate a system that would tow its AMN/AQS-24A Mine Detecting Sensor System behind a USV, instead of a helicopter. It’s slower, but it’s also much less expensive, and can be used at night. These characteristics make it an interesting supplement to current methods, and the state of the MH-53E fleet (q.v. Sept 16/14) also makes it a good idea to have a Plan B.

NGC’s 11m Mine Hunting Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MHU) RHIB was used in tandem with the AQS-24A in the Arabian Gulf, executing a preplanned mission by motoring to an operational area, deploying the AQS-24A, executing a search pattern, and recovering the sensor. Real-time situational awareness data and sensor sonar data were sent via tactical data link to the command and control (C2) station. Sources: NGC, “Northrop Grumman Conducts Successful Demonstration of its AQS-24A Mine Detecting Sensor System for US Naval Forces Central Command”.

FY 2014

Major AQS-20A contract; Multi-year ALMDS solicitation; ALMDS has depth limitations that will force some shifts; Ongoing RMS testing approach gets serious criticism from DOT&E; AMNS uncertainty is worrying; LCS can’t carry the entire MCM Increment 4 mission package.

RMS concept
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Sept 30/14: UISS. AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley, MD wins a $33.9 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the purchase of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System to counter magnetic and acoustic mines. $4.75 million in FY 2014 US Navy RDT&E funds is committed immediately, and existing options could bring the contract’s cumulative value to $118.1 million.

The UISS prototype prototype performed well in tests during summer 2011, but the current system is actually the CUSV’s 4th generation. It includes improvements to the hull form, and a new propulsion system, less pitch and roll movement, and a larger payload bay that can accomodate 4 tested payloads: UISS mine neutralization, side-scan sonar, ISR, and nonlethal weapons. AAI already provides UAV control systems, and this system is similarly compliant with NATO STANAG 4586 and the USA’s Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS) standards. Textron now has 2 years to finalize UISS’ development before the planned 2017 test.

Work will be performed in Hunt Valley, Maryland (72%); Slidell, Louisiana (24%); Hauppauge, NY (2%); Columbia, MD (1%); and Lemont Furnace, PA (1%), and is expected to be complete by March 2017. This contract was competitively procured via FBO.gov, with 5 offers received by NAVSEA in Washington, DC (N00024-14-C-6322). See also Defense Update, “LCS to get unmanned mine-sweeping boats, drones” | USNI, “Textron Division Wins $34 Million Contract For LCS Unmanned Minesweeper”.

Textron for UISS USV

Sept 30/14: Support. SAIC in McLean, VA, receives a $12.2 million cost-plus-fixed fee contract for their Mine Warfare and Environmental Decision Aids Library (MEDAL), which is used by the PEO LCS’ Mine Warfare Program Office. The MEDAL system provides mine warfare situational awareness, mission planning/evaluation, and asset management software to support existing and emerging mine warfare missions, users, and systems. $3.6 million is committed immediately, using FY 2012 and 2014 budgets; exercised options could raise the cumulative value of this contract to $49.2 million.

Work will be performed in McLean, VA (80%); San Diego, CA (14%); Bay St. Louis, MS (5%); Edmond, OK (0.5%); and Norfolk, VA (0.5%), and is expected to be complete by September 2015. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with FAR 6.302-1(a)(2) by NAVSEA in Washington, DC (N00024-14-C-6301).

Sept 26/14: MK18. Hydroid Inc. in Pocasset, MA, receives an $8.3 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for additional engineering services and technical expertise for the development, testing, and installation of pre-planned product improvements for the MK 18 Family of Systems Unmanned Underwater Vehicle. The smaller Mk.18 MOD1 Swordfish (REMUS 100) and Mk.18 MOD2 Kingfish (REMUS 600) are currently contractor-operated USV/UUVs, which use their on-board sonars to scan for mines or other navigation hazards. The US Navy intends to begin operating them in 2015.

Work will be performed in Pocasset, MA, and is expected to be complete by November 2018. Funding will not be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, MD manages the contract (N00174-14-D-0001).

Sept 16/14: MH-53Es. Internal U.S. Navy documents show that the US Navy is negotiating to acquire Japan’s retired fleet of MH-53E Sea Dragon heavy naval helicopters, harvesting them for parts in order to keep their own fleet flying until 2025. They might even need to fly some, as the US Navy has lost 3 MH-53Es over the last 18 months, cutting the fleet to 28 and forcing fleet-wide replacement of wiring bundles and fuel lines.

The MH-53E Sea Dragon fleet of heavy helicopters is used for mine-clearing from existing ships, using various equipment including the Mk.103 towed sled. The problem is that LCS MCM equipment delays and performance problems are forcing the Navy to keep them flying for a longer period of time. Meanwhile, spares are becoming a problem, because a lack of clear demand from the Navy caused many suppliers to cease production.

Japan sees mine clearing as a very important role, but they bought new MCH-101 variants of the AW101 to do it and retired the Sea Dragons. Remaining issues holding up the transfer reportedly include the need for high-level approval at the Pentagon, and the risk that Japan’s MH-53Es were exposed to radiological contamination in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Sources: Virginia-Pilot, “Navy wants to harvest retired Japanese helos for parts”.

Aug 28/14: COBRA. Arete Associates in Tucson, AZ receive a $10.3 million contract modification for engineering services in support of the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) Block 1 program. $3.4 million is committed immediately from FY 2014 US Navy RDT&E budgets.

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ and is expected to be complete by March 2017. The Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Panama City Division in Panama City, FL manages the contract (N61331-11-C-0007).

Aug 26-28/14: RMS. NAVSEA HQ issues an RFP for 18 WLD-1 RMMVs, plus related systems/subsystems, their Integrated Product Support Elements (IPSE), related system interfaces, and related ongoing support. Initial deliveries are expected within 30 months after contract award for base year orders, and within 24 months after award for the option years. FBO.gov, “Solicitation N0024-14-R-6303”.

July 30/14: GAO weighs in. The US GAO releases another LCS-related report, which looks at overall ship weight and addresses ship mission packages. The LCS-2 Independence Class in particular lacks weight flexibility, maxing out at just 3,188.0 tons for its Naval Architectural Limit (NAL). The LCS-1 Freedom Class has a better weight margin and 3,550 ton NAL, but far less internal space. Meanwhile, a proposed move to shift both classes to a common SeaRAM air defense system up top would add extra weight to the LCS-1 class, and may create seakeeping issues. In terms of the mission packages, it means that the 105 ton limit is likely to be a hard ceiling, which could make full exploitation and modernization more difficult and more costly. It’s already hitting the MIW/MCM package:

“Navy weight estimates for increment 4 of the MCM mission package, however, do not reflect all the systems being acquired for that package. Space and weight constraints have required the Navy to modify how it intends to outfit increment 4 of the MCM mission package. Although the Navy plans to acquire all the systems planned for that increment, space and weight limitations will not allow LCS seaframes to carry all of these systems at one time. According to LCS program officials, MCM mission commanders will have either (1) the Unmanned Influence Sweep System and the unmanned surface vehicle that tows it, or (2) the minehunting Surface Mine Countermeasures Unmanned Undersea Vehicle—called Knifefish – available – but not both systems. As a result, LCS seaframes outfitted with the increment 4 MCM package may have decreased minesweeping or mine detection capability.”

Mission system related recommendations from the front-lines include replacing the LCS-1 variant’s “unreliable and poorly performing” WBR-2000 electronic warfare system from Argon ST, storing sonobuoys on board even if the ASW package isn’t loaded so that the ship has some ability to react, and developing an ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) mission package to augment existing capabilities. Of course, sonobuoys on board add weight, and an ISR module that might otherwise take advantage of the LCS-2 Independence Class’ spacious mission package area may not be usable alongside other modules if the result is too much weight. Sources: GAO-14-749, “Littoral Combat Ship: Additional Testing and Improved Weight Management Needed Prior to Further Investments.”

May 8/14: MH-60S AMCM. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT, receives a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for MH-60S Aircraft Mine Counter Measure Removable Mission Equipment B Kits. AMCM kits convert the helicopters into mine-countermeasures specialists that can accept specialized equipment.

All funds are committed, using US Navy FY 2012 & 2013 aircraft budgets; $4.3 million will expire on Sept 30/14. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and is expected to be complete in April 2016. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD, manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0004, DO 4007).

March 31/14: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2013, plus time to compile and publish. With respect to the mission modules, The Navy isn’t happy with the GAO’s comparison of the program against the FY 2008 baseline, as it doesn’t reflect the total acquisition. GAO responds that:

“In comparing the 2007 estimate with the acquisition program baseline, we used the Navy’s 2007 data, which included full procurement costs but only five years of development cost. The Navy has acquired eight packages [4 MCM, 4 SUW, will add 2 MCMs in FY 2014] without proving capability through operational testing…”

Which GAO sees as a bad idea. GAO program totals are reflected in this article’s charts, and their comments regarding the readiness level and timing of the “LCS Packages Program” have been discussed in detail by DOT&E and by other GAO reports.

March 25/14: AMNS. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI receives a $17.7 million contract modification for 3 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) low-rate initial production systems, engineering services, and support.

All funds are committed immediately using FY 2012 & 2013 Navy budgets, and $5.2 million will expire on Sept 30/14. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by May 2016. US NAVSEA in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-10-C-6307).

3 AMNS

Feb 25/14: CRS Report. The US Congressional Research Service revises their Background and Issues for Congress report. While the report includes useful information about the program’s history, and details some of the current problems with both seaframes, the report’s pricing for mission packages is very useful.

According to an Aug 26/13 Navy document, base equipment for all sets is $14.9 million, and the MCM Package itself is $97.7 million, for a total of $112.6 million. At present, it’s at least twice as expensive as any other mission package, and compares to the price of a full minesweeping ship. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see the basis for saying:

“When assessed in terms of ability to perform the LCS program’s three primary missions [Mines, Small boats, and Submarines in shallow waters], the LCS fares well in terms of weaponry and other ship features in comparisons with frigate and corvette designs operated by other navies.”

The MCM package has been cut down sharply, continues to report problems, and hasn’t been trusted enough for fielding despite a clear need. It is better than ships not designed to do minesweeping at all, but is it better than a minesweeping ship with similar costs? The SUW package is a joke, outclassed by many frigates and corvettes. ASW hasn’t even been fielded yet, and some LCS aspects like waterjet propulsion are ill-suited to that mission. How, exactly, do we go from there to the conclusion above? It might become true one day, but it isn’t true yet. Sources: US CRS, “Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress”.

MCM costs

Feb 24/14: LCS cut. The Pentagon’s FY 2015 pre-budget briefing on the LCS seems to say that the number of ships will drop to 32, which would have implications for the number of mission modules:

“Regarding the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, I am concerned that the Navy is relying too heavily on the LCS to achieve its long-term goals for ship numbers. Therefore, no new contract negotiations beyond 32 ships will go forward. With this decision, the LCS line will continue beyond our five-year budget plan with no interruptions.

The LCS was designed to perform certain missions – such as mine sweeping and anti-submarine warfare – in a relatively permissive environment. But we need to closely examine whether the LCS has the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies, especially in the Asia Pacific. If we were to build out the LCS program to 52 ships, as previously planned, it would represent one-sixth of our future 300-ship Navy. Given continued fiscal constraints, we must direct shipbuilding resources toward platforms that can operate in every region and along the full spectrum of conflict.”

They haven’t actually terminated the program at 32, and they can negotiate for up to 8 ships beyond the current block buy that ends in FY 2015. Even so, the Mission Module program is likely due for an adjustment. Sources: US DoD, “Remarks By Secretary Of Defense Chuck Hagel FY 2015 Budget Preview Pentagon Press Briefing Room Monday, February 24, 2014” | Bloomberg, “Hagel Expands on Reservations’ About Littoral Combat Ship”.

LCS cut to 32

Feb 19/14: AQS-20. Raytheon IDS in Portsmouth, RI receives a $35.5 million fixed-price-incentive contract for 3 AN/AQS-20A sonar sets with ancillary equipment. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $199.7 million.

All funds for the initial buy are committed immediately, using FY 2013 & 2014 budgets. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (56%); Tucson, AZ (21%); Pawcatuck, CT (6%); Middletown, RI (5%); Glen Rock, NJ (2%); Windber, PA (2%); Cincinnati, OH (1%); Big Lake, MN (1%); Woodland Hills, CA (1%); Lewisburg, TN (1%); Huntsville, AL (1%); Poway, CA (1%); North Springfield, VT (1%), and Hampton, VA (1%), and is expected to be complete by February 2015. This contract was competitively procured, with 2 offers received by US NAVSEA in Washington, DC (N00024-14-C-6302).

3 AQS-20A

Feb 5/14: MCMs. The US Navy will transport USS Avenger [MCM 1] and USS Defender [MCM 2] back from Japan aboard a heavy-lift ship, for decommissioning back in the USA. They’ll send 2 ships of the same class back to Sasebo, Japan aboard heavy-lift ships: USS Pioneer [MCM 9] and USS Chief [MCM 14].

That will leave the USN with 11/14 aged Avenger Class minehunters, and no ships at all of the newer MHC-51 Osprey Class. LCS needs to step up very soon. Sources: USN Pacific Fleet, “Navy to Replace Forward Deployed Mine Countermeasure Ships in Japan”.

Jan 28/14: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2013 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). AMCM’s components are included, and the overall verdict is: not much has changed since the Jan 17/13 DO&E report, or the July 22/13 GAO report.

AMNS UUV: Faced live-on-live testing in a number of locations. Still has issues accurately locating mines, especially in currents, plus reported problems with compass corrections and fiber-optic communications losses. No word on the progress re: a handling device that addresses inadequate clearance under the launch and retrieval system, which could doom AMNS if not fixed and destroy all that’s left of AMCM’s mine neutralization options.

The planned FY 2013 operational assessment slipped, so FY 2014’s shore and LCS-based testing will tell. If it works, IOC is expected in 2016, but it will take additional AMNS development to give the MCM module any near-surface neutralization capability.

ALMDS laser: The prediction that the Navy would feel obliged to keep it from lack of alternatives has proven true. Same issues with false positives and detection failures, to which DOT&E adds detection depth that’s short of requirements. Operational Assessment Phase B is scheduled to occur from USS Independence in Q4 2014 – Q1 2015.

To compensate for ALMDS’ depth issue, the USN will have to extend the detection zone for the AQS-20A, possibly by towing it behind a USV (RMS = RMMV + AQS-20), but they haven’t tested that yet.

AQS-20A sonar: Problems with determining mine depth and false positives, and longer area scan times, are mentioned but not dwelt on. The Navy’s upgrade effort (q.v. July 1/13) expects to begin developmental testing in FY 2014.

RMMV snorkeling USV: Despite 438 hours of in-water contractor testing, and reports of improved reliability, DOT&E takes serious issue with the way the improved system was tested:

“DOT&E’s review showed that the Navy’s assessment excluded some critical failures and was based on failure definitions and scoring criteria that were inconsistent with those used during the program’s Nunn?McCurdy review; the estimates also do not reflect the expected reliability in more operationally realistic mission scenarios where vehicle usage is more stressed…. reliability may not have improved sufficiently to enable an LCS with two RMMVs onboard to complete the desired area search without having to return to port more often than currently planned and desired to obtain replacements.”

Dec 9/13: RMS/WLD-1 testing. The RMS (remote minehunting system: WLD-1 USV + AQS-20A sonar) completes developmental testing, to see if it can finally meet reliability, suitability and effectiveness requirements. The tests ran from Oct 22/13 – Dec 9/13, and the US Navy says that the system achieved its test objectives. We’ll know more when DOT&E publishes their early 2014 report.

RMS operational assessment is scheduled for January 2014, off the coast of Palm Beach, FL. The complete LCS mine countermeasures mission package will undergo developmental testing in summer 2014, but initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) is scheduled for 2015. Sources: USN, “LCS Remote Minehunting System Completes Developmental Testing”.

Oct 24/13: ALMDS RFP. FBO.gov posts solicitation #N00024-13-R-6318:

“The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), on behalf of the Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships (PEO LCS), intends to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP), under full and open competition, to procure AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems (ALMDS) with options to procure additional systems FY14 through FY17. This requirement also includes options for engineering support services (ESS) each year, support equipment, depot services and software support.”

The Navy could buy up to 4 per year. One of the full solicitation’s puzzling lines said that “PMS495 is the program manager for ALMDS and NSWC PCD is the Technical Design Agent (TDA).” The military does hand over TDA roles to private industry under some arrangements, but it’s also normal for the military to retain design authority and responsibility for military technology that is proprietary to a private company. Discussions with Northrop Grumman have confirmed that ALMDS remains their product, which means that any competitor would need to present their own finished alternative.

FY 2013

MH-60S “discovered” to lack the power to operate some AMCM systems, over 7 years later; IOC delays, as GAO and testing reports don’t inspire much optimism; Contracts & event updates for various sub-systems; non-AMCM Kingfish systems deployed to the Gulf, as AMCM isn’t ready.

MH-60S w. AQS-20 – out
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Sept 3/13: Program shifts. With over $50 billion in cuts coming, the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s ALT POM reportedly proposed to end LCS buys with the current contract, at just 24 ships. The Navy is pushing to buy at least 32. On the other hand, OSD is reportedly insisting that the Navy place a top priority on fielding the mine countermeasures (MCM) module, in light of challenges around the Strait of Hormuz and elsewhere. One would think this would have been obvious years ago. Sources: Defenseworld, “U.S. To Limit Littoral Combat Ship Purchase”.

Aug 6/13: SMCM testing. The Knifefish UUV successfully completes comprehensive risk reduction testing. Tests included key payload components (high-fidelity SONAR, ultra-high-density data storage/ recording), key propulsion components (quieter, more powerful propulsion) and key software interface elements. Given the problems encountered in other elements, early verification the hardware architecture and critical areas of hardware and software integration is a good idea.

Will it make a difference? SMCM is an Increment 4 system, and 2017 is still a few years away. We won’t really know until operational testing of the full system takes place against realistic challenges, in a realistic environment. General Dynamics.

LCS & Mission modules
2012-2019
(click to view full)

July 22/13: GAO Report. The US GAO releases “Significant Investments in the Littoral Combat Ship Continue Amid Substantial Unknowns about Capabilities, Use, and Cost”. With respect to MCM, GAO describes its performance as “poor”, which is why the Pentagon has been buying interim systems like the Atlas SeaFox and Hydroid’s MK18 MOD 2 Kingfish, and relying on the existing CH-53s with their towed sleds. The Navy is touting LCS MCM Increment 1 as a big improvement, but performance is shaky, and they may need to keep those ‘interim’ options for a while. The first true area mine-clearing capability only arrives in 2017, with Increment 3’s USV/UISS combination, and its influence sweep system won’t detonate contact mines. LCS’ need to do post-mission analysis also means that it will lack existing ships’ ability to find and neutralize mines at the same time. Those are 2 separate phases for LCS, which is likely to mean longer sweeps, and hence less coverage.

AMNS UUV: Accurately locating mines is a challenge, because the water and the AMNS sensor are both moving, which can make mines look like they’re moving. They’re working on software fixes, along with an alternative load and handling device that addresses inadequate clearance under the launch and retrieval system. If they can’t fix the load and handling device before FY 2014 operational tests, the whole MCM module is in trouble.

ALMDS laser: Failures to detect and false positives are still big problems, and the multiple-pass tactics used to compensate will take much more time to conduct searches. Our conclusion that despite its problems, the Navy’s lack of alternatives would push them to keep the AES-1 (q.v. Jan 17/13)? Still looking pretty good. The USN still wants to issue an RFP for 15 more right away, while funding more R&D for improvements that would require retrofits later.

AQS-20A sonar: This 20-year old program is still having trouble with the challenging task of determining how deep a found mine is – it’s much harder than it sounds in shallow water. False positives in 2/3 search modes are also a problem, and the tactical response of re-querying contacts means that searches will take about 2x as long. The Navy has launched an upgrade effort (q.v. July 1/13), which would be the 1st since 1994, and some of the 30 towed sonars in stock will get retrofits. The goal is 94 units.

RMMV snorkeling USV: Has improved from 7.9 hours to 45 hours MTBF (goal: 75), but the November 2011 testing was in a very calm environment, and December 2012 testing with LCS showed much higher than predicted failure rates. The 10 existing WLD-1 RMMV systems will need retrofits, with more buys to begin in 2017 – but if the Navy has to speed up MCM fielding, they may not have that much time to fix the WLD-1s.

Other: “…the concept of employment for the MCM mission package currently does not include embarked explosive ordinance disposal teams that are used on the existing mine countermeasures fleet… they are investigating how to integrate this capability…. to not only [eliminate] mines, but… exploit found mines for intelligence value, and OPNAV has identified their absence as a capability gap.”

Sources: GAO-13-530 Report | Congress HASC hearing Part 1 and Part 2

.

Major GAO report recommends program slowdown

July 1/13: AQS-20 upgrade. Raytheon IDS in Portsmouth, RI receives a $14.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order. They’ll upgrade the AN/AQS-20A mine hunting sonar’s 3493-AS-780-9 configuration with a high frequency wide band forward look sonar, multi-function side looking sonar, and associated components. $2.5 million in FY 2013 RDT&E funding is committed immediately.

The work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by by September 2014. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with the “1 responsible source” provisions in 10 U.S.C. 2304(c). The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL manages the contract (N61331-12-G-0001, #0004).

June 27/13: MK18 Kingfish. The US Navy announces that it has deployed MK18 MOD 2 Kingfish mine-detecting UUVs to the “5th Fleet Area of Responsibility” (read: Persian Gulf). The contractor-operated Kingfish isn’t part of AMCM, it’s an independent program based on the commercial REMUS 600, and it’s replacing the in-theater MK18 MOD 1 Swordfish that’s based on Kongsberg Marine’s smaller REMUS 100. The Kingfish’s Small Synthetic Aperture Sonar Module (SSAM) configuration provides wider sonar swath scan, higher resolution imagery, and buried target detection.

While it’s currently contractor-operated, the US Navy does intend to begin operating them in 2015. It probably could be loaded onto a Littoral Combat ship as an interim measure, ahead of the planned 2017 in-service date for Bluefin Robotics’ Knifefish SMCM UUV. US Navy.

Emergency alternatives

June 20/13: RMS testing. The Navy announces that the 2nd and final phase of RMS reliability testing have gone well, after over 47 missions and 850 testing hours at Lockheed Martin’s Riviera Beach, FL facility.

Initial analysis of the tests reportedly shows that RMS reliability is ahead of where it was expected to be at this point, and that it “demonstrated the required reliability necessary to meet program requirements.” If that’s true, emergency deployments become thinkable, but the statement can be weaseled. We await DOT&E reports to supply precise figures, and compare them to original program goals. RMS program manager Steve Lose says that the next phase of developmental testing will begin in summer 2013. US Navy.

May 21/13: RMS support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Palm Beach, FL receives a maximum $52.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to perform maintenance, testing and integration of the WLD-1 Remote Minehunting System with Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) mission modules and ships. Improvements to the USV’s below-target reliability and effectiveness are scheduled to continue until 2015.

Work will be performed in Palm Beach, FL (80%), and Syracuse, NY (20%), and is expected to be complete by May 2016. $8.5 million in FY 2013 Research, Development, Test & Evaluation funding is committed immediately, with the rest allocated as needed. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to 10 U.S.C 2304(c)(1) “one responsible supplier,” by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-13-C-6300).

April 18/13: AMNS support. BAE Systems Electronics’ Maritime Services Division in Portsmouth, UK receives an $8.3 million contract modification related to their Archerfish system. The initial announcement included program management and support, calibration and maintenance services, a cost-plus-fixed-fee CLIN for engineering services support, and a system upgrade providing “a significant reliability and performance improvement to the current MK-105”. This April 10/13 announcement was a mistake – the Mk.105 is a sled towed by a large MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter.

An April 18/13 correction says that the contract will only “complete production and delivery of Archerfish neutralizers (destructor, mine neutralization, Airborne EX64 Mod 0 Archerfish).” We suspect that this is also imprecise, given plans to order more MIW packages. Completion of Archerfish production within existing orders is a more likely meaning.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, UK, and is expected to be complete by September 2014. $7.8 million in FY 2012 and 2013 Navy Weapons Procurement funding is committed immediately. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL manages the contracts (N61331-08-C-0012).

April 8/13: SMCM. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems announces a successful Critical Design Review for the Knifefish UUV. The SMCM team will now begin building 3 engineering development modules. An operational version is expected to attain initial operational capability in 2017. GD-AIS.

Knifefish CDR

April 8/13: COBRA development. BAE Systems announces a $20 million contract to develop the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA Block I) system for detecting and plotting land-based mines and shore obstacles in daylight, with some near-shore shallow water capability. The prototype system uses a fast-scanning LIDAR laser, 3D imaging camera, and target recognition algorithms.

BAE has been working with the Office of Naval Research to mature the associated LIDAR technologies, under Section 819 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which is aimed at the development of advanced components or prototypes. Work will be performed at the company’s facilities in Honolulu, HI; Greenlawn, NY; Acton, MA; and Hudson, NH.

March 28/13: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2012, plus time to compile and publish. The Navy owns 3 MCM (mine, 1st delivery Sept. 2007) and 4 SUW (“surface warfare”, 1st delivery July 2008) mission modules, and has completely re-started the ASW anti-submarine module. Several of the sub-systems in these modules are still experiencing performance problems, many components are still in development, and the Navy has yet to fully integrate these technologies and test them on board an LCS in a realistic environment. In October 2012, DOD delegated future decision authority to the Navy and requested an acquisition program baseline within 60 days – which was not delivered on schedule.

For MCM, The Navy plans to accept 1 more in 2013, but it doesn’t meet requirements. The MH-60S helicopter can’t tow the AQS-20A sonar as planned, the WLD-1 USV has performance issues, the ALMDS laser system gets too many false positives from surface reflections, and the RAMICS gun and OASIS decoy are out. Nonetheless, the Navy describes recent MCM tests as “very successful”. The Navy plans to conduct developmental testing in FY 2014 and establish initial operational capability with 7 MCM modules in September 2014. Full operational capability isn’t expected until 2018, when the Navy is expected to have 21 LCS ships, of 30 ordered.

March 18/13: IOC delays. Jane’s quotes director of navy staff Vice-Admiral Richard Hunt says that the Continuing Resolutions have “delayed us probably a year for IOC [initial operational capability] for a couple of those different modules…”

Jan 17/13: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The LCS mission modules still have a lot of issues. There isn’t anything left to test any more in the ASW anti-submarine module, for instance, so DOT&E didn’t report on it while the Navy considers a re-start.

Mine Warfare: Begin with the MH-60S helicopter, which isn’t powerful enough to safely tow the AQS-20A sonar or OASIS decoy under all of the required conditions. Both are being removed from AMCM, and OASIS is removed from the MIW module. This would seem to be the epitome of a foreseeable/ easily testable problem, but it’s being “discovered” 7 years after development began. Why?

The AQS-20A will now depend on the WLD-1 RMMV snorkeling USV, which is trying to correct its reliability and performance issues by 2015. RMMV v4.1 is showing some improvements in limited testing, but the ships themselves need to make changes to launch and recover it while underway. The AQS-20A sonar has its own problems with contact depth calculations in all modes, and with false contacts in 2 of 3 search modes. The Navy hopes to find AQS-20 engineering fixes. Meanwhile, in order to reduce those errors, the Navy will have to slow its scan methods and reduce the area covered.

The AES-1 ALMDS laser mine-detection system doesn’t meet Navy requirements for False Classification Density or reliability, and the DOT&E expects to issue a formal test report in Q2 FY2013. The Navy hopes to find engineering fixes. Meanwhile, in order to reduce those errors, the Navy will have to slow its scan methods and reduce the area covered. Some reports suggest that ALMDS will be cut entirely, but the raft of other MCM system casualties may force the Navy to keep it.

MH-60S can’t perform the mission for several AMCM components

Dec 28/12: RMS support. Lockheed Martin in Riviera Beach, FL receives a $12.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to perform Remote Minehunting System / WLD-1 RMMV USV maintenance, testing and integration with the with Littoral Combat Ship. The WLD-1 is currently working on improving its reliability and performance, after falling short in these areas.

Work will be performed in Palm Beach, FL (87%), and Syracuse, NY (13%), and is expected to be complete by May 2013. $5.3 million is committed immediately, and $295,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00024-10-G-6306).

Dec 20/12: AMNS support. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI receives a $7.9 million contract modification, covering AMNS’ Critical Design Review.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by July 2013. All contract funds are committed immediately, and $4.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13. US NAVSEA in Washington DC in is the contracting activity (N00024-10-C-6307).

FY 2011 – 2012

AMCM not ready, Seafox deployed to Gulf instead; Development contract for SMCM UUV; RAMICS on the chopping block; Testing & orders for other sub-systems.

Knifefish
(click to view full)

April 5/12: ALMDS. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Melbourne, FL receives a $27.1 million contract modification for AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) low rate initial production.

This appears to be ALMDS LRIP Lot 4. LRIP-3, issued Oct 19/10, was a $45 million US Navy contract for 4 pods, plus spares, product development and support.

Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL (36.2%); Tucson, AZ (34%); St. Charles, MO (12.5%); Irvine, CA (8%); San Clarita, CA (5%); and Edgewood, NY (4.3%), and is expected to be complete by April 2014. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL manages the contract (N61331-10-C-0023). Military & Aerospace.

ALMDS Lot 4

Feb 17/12: Seafox instead. With Iran threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, and tensions running high, the US Navy makes urgent purchases of mine-hunting equipment. Unfortunately, AMCM systems are not featured, even though this is precisely the kind of situation they were designed for. With AMCM unready, the Navy turns to Atlas Elektronik’s ship and helicopter-launched Seafox UUVs. Read “Gulf Chokepoint: Seafox Saves the Day?” for full coverage.

Emergency alternative

Feb 2/12: ALMDS for Japan. Japan becomes ALMDS’ first export customer, buying 4 of the laser mine detection systems to equip its MCH-101 (AW101) medium-heavy naval helicopters. The Japanese will be using them around their ports and shipping lanes. Read more in “Japan’s MCH-101: All Your Mine Are Belong to Us.”

ALMDS export

Dec 19/11: RMS testing. Lockheed Martin announces the end of the 1st of 3 planned development and testing cycles, involving 500 hours of reliability testing on the U.S. Navy’s WLD-1 RMMV. These efforts are aimed at improving the RMS’ system reliability and operational availability. See also March 31/10 entry.

Dec 16/11: RMS fix. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Riviera Beach, FL receives a not-to-exceed $52.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee letter contract for the RMMV Reliability Growth Program. The contract will fund a comprehensive development and test program to improve the mean time between operational mission failures, and prepare the system for LCS developmental tests and operational assessment. The RMMV RGP will use critical systems reviews and subsequent design reviews, predictive reliability tools, spiral development with in-water testing, and installation of RMMV reliability upgrades.

Work will be performed in Palm Beach, FL (91.4%); Syracuse, NY (8.4%); and Manassas, VA (0.2%), and is expected to be complete by December 2013. This contract was not competitively procured, and is being awarded as a sole source contract pursuant to 10 U.S.C 2304c1 by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-12-C-6316).

Nov 16/11: AMNS testing. Navy VX-21 successfully conducts the first complete Airborne Mine Neutralization System detect-to-engage sequence near Panama city, FL, demonstrating the system’s ability to fire an Archerfish destructor against an inert target. So far, 5 low-rate initial production systems have been delivered to the Navy, with the 6th system scheduled to be delivered in January 2012. US Navy | Raytheon.

Sept 30/11: SMCM UUV development. General Dynamics Advanced Informational Systems Inc. in McLeansville, NC wins a $48.6 million contract with cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and firm-fixed-price line items for the engineering, manufacturing and development of the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (SMCM UUV). This will be part of the Littoral Combat Ship’s MCM mission package, and this contract contains an option for up to 5 low rate initial production systems, which could bring its cumulative value to $86.7 million. The contract will be initially funded with $10.1 million, as FY 2011 expires.

On Nov 21/11, Bluefin Robotics announces the subcontract from General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems for the Surface Mine Countermeasure Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (SMCM UUV), and details the system: 2 of its large Bluefin-21 UUVs, launch and recovery equipment, a support container, spare parts and support equipment, and an advanced sonar payload developed by GD-AIS.

Work will be performed in McLeansville, NC (38%), Quincy, MA (27%), Braintree, MA (16%), Houston, TX (10%), Reston, VA (5%), State College, PA (3%), and Fairfax, VA (1%), and is expected to be complete by March 2016. The addition of Quincy, MA suggests that Bluefin Robotics was already part of the solution in September 2011. $237,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitive procured via the FBO.gov website, with 4 offers received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City Beach, FL (N61331-11-C-0017).

Sept 2/11: AMNS. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI receives an $8.8 million contract modification to fabricate, assemble, test and deliver 5 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) low rate initial production systems.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete in August 2013. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington DC manages this contract (N00024-10-C-6307).

5 AMNS

June 16/11: RMS testing. The US Navy Program Executive Office for Littoral and Mine Warfare (PEO LMW) announces the successful first time launch and recovery of the WLD-1 Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) semi-submerged USV from USS Independence [LCS 2], while underway near Panama, FL. The vehicle went through 5 successful cycles of deployment, towed operations and recovery, while also testing things like vehicle stability in the wake zone and remote operation.

In active use, the RMMV will tow the AN/AQS-20A sonar, and the entire Remote Minehunting System is scheduled for further testing in summer 2011 as part of the LCS MIW mine warfare module’s core AMCM system. The effectiveness of LCS rear launch and recovery systems has been a concern for both class designs, so the test was useful from that perspective as well. US NAVSEA.

March 4/11: COBRA. Small business qualifier Arete Associates in Tucson, AZ receives a $26.4 million firm-fixed-price letter contract for 3 AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) low rate initial production Block 1 systems, which will become part of the Mine Warfare Mission Package on board the littoral combat ship. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, and is expected to be completed by March 2013.

This contract was not competitively procured by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City Beach, FL. It’s actually a continuation of earlier Small Business Innovative Research awards. As a result of SBIR Phase III, the delivered COBRA systems are expected to have the software that satisfies the performance requirements, with mine counter measure, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, and tactical littoral sensor modes installed (N61331-11-C-0007).

3 COBRA I

Jan 24/11: RAMICS gone? Gannett’s Navy Times reports that the RAMICS supercavitating 30mm cannon for killing shallow mines may be on the Navy’s chopping block, after performing poorly in testing. It would be replaced by the AMNS system, which would do double duty against both shallow and deep water mines using its Archerfish kill vehicle.

The tradeoff would be one of greater performance certainty, cost certainty, timely delivery, and commonalty on one side; vs. the ability to engage far more shallow water mines in less time by using a RAMICS system that worked.

Dec 10/10: RMS fix. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Riviera Beach, FL receives a $20 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for engineering services to support reliability improvements to the Remote Minehunting System. Work will include engineering services, testing, program management and configuration management. See Aug 31/10 entry to understand why this work is necessary.

Work will be performed in Riviera Beach, FL (90%), and Syracuse, NY (10%), and is expected to be complete by September 2011. $3.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC manages this contract (N00024-10-G-6306, #­­0003).

Dec 2/10: RAMICS support. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Melbourne, FL receives a $9.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract for continued RAMICS post-delivery technical support. This contract will be used to maintain, modify and/or repair delivered hardware and software; modify or build new RAMICS system components to resolve producibility, obsolescence, and end-of-life issues, and update the technical data package with the changes; and provide a range of engineering services ad studies (N00024-02-C-6324).

Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL and is expected to be complete by September 2011. The Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL manages this contract.

Nov 3/10: AMCM development. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY a $14.7 million delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) testing and systems development. That means it covers the AMCM system set as a whole.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in December 2011. $1.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-09-G-0005).

Oct 19/10: ALMDS. Northrop Grumman announces a $45 million US Navy contract for ALMDS Low-Rate Initial Production Phase 3: 4 AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System pods, plus spares, product development and support. Northrop Grumman touts the AES-1’s lower cost-per-pod than in previous lots.

4 ALMDS – Lot 3

Oct 13/10: COBRA testing. The Navy successfully conducts the 1st flight test of the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) Block I system at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, on board the MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical take-off unmanned aerial vehicle. The tests were successful.

The AN/DVS-1 COBRA system is designed to detect minefields and obstacles to prepare for amphibious assaults in the beach zone and inland areas. The COBRA Block I system will enter low-rate initial production under a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase III contract, with the first production unit scheduled for delivery to the fleet in FY 2012. US Navy.

FY 2009 – 2010

GAO report on AMCM systems shows a bunch of problems.

AMNS Archerfish
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Sept 23/10: AMNS. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI receives a $14.7 million firm-fixed-price contract (N00024-10-C-6302) for 7 low rate initial production Airborne Mine Neutralization Systems, and associated engineering services. This contract includes an option which would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $24.4 million if it’s exercised.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by September 2014. AMNS provider has already been picked, so this contract was not competitively awarded by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC. Raytheon release

7 AMNS

Aug 31/10: GAO Report. The US GAO report #GAO-10-523 on the LCS program sees problems with the mission modules, AMCM among them. “Defense Acquisitions: Navy’s Ability to Overcome Challenges Facing the Littoral Combat Ship Will Determine Eventual Capabilities.” Key excerpts and conclusions, by system:

AN/AQS-20A Sonar – est, fielding 2011: “Operational testing has been delayed, however, due to decertification of the system following integration problems with the common tow cable that connects it to the MH-60S helicopter”.

Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) – est, fielding 2011: “The mount that connects the system to the MH-60S carriage, stream, tow, and recovery system is being redesigned following loss of a test unit”.

Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis System (COBRA) – est, fielding 2012: “System has demonstrated capability to detect buried mines on the beach when flown from the MH-53 helicopter, but has yet to be integrated with its host platform, the MQ-8B Vertical Take-off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle”.

OASIS – est. fielding 2012: “Engineering development model experienced excessive corrosion at its interface point with the common tow cable during testing from an MH-53E helicopter. The Navy has implemented a design solution, and new models are in production”.

Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) with Unmanned Surface Sweep System – est. fielding 2012. “Micro-turbine-powered magnetic towed cable and acoustical signal generator towed from an unmanned surface craft; Development status: Prototypes of the unmanned surface vehicle have experienced connectivity and communication issues at distance, reliability issues with their electrical generators, and software malfunctions. Additionally, the Navy is redesigning the cable planned to tow the unmanned surface sweep system due to durability concerns… remains in early development”.

ALMDS laser mine detection – est. fielding 2011: “Testing of this system has revealed problems detecting mines at the required maximum depth and classifying mines at surface depths. According to Navy officials, the system’s required maximum detection depth could be reduced because the system can currently detect mine-like objects at depths that extend below the keels of all ships in the fleet. According to Director, Operational Test and Evaluation officials, however, the system is currently incapable of providing this capability with the required accuracy. Further, Navy officials report that the Remote Minehunting System could provide coverage in near-surface areas of the water that the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System currently cannot reach.”

RMS/WLD-1 est. fielding 2015:

“The Navy abandoned initial operational test and evaluation of this system in June 2007 following reliability issues – both software and hardware related – affecting the underwater vehicle. Subsequent plans for resuming this testing in September 2008 were deferred because of continuing concerns about the reliability of the underwater vehicle, and the scheduled test was downgraded to an operational assessment. Spurred by cost growth facing the system, the Office of the Secretary of Defense recently completed a review of the program, subsequently deciding to allow the system to continue development. The Navy is currently executing a reliability growth plan for the system”.

“…Most notably, the system was only able to function for 7.9 hours before failing [in 2008 tests] – far short of its minimum requirement… since the 2008 event, the Navy’s estimated mean time between failures for the system has increased to 45 hours. According to Navy officials, testing and design changes are expected to last into 2011. While the Navy is actively exploring ways to improve Remote Minehunting System reliability, it is also considering reducing the reliability requirement by half.

“…For [RMS and ALMDS] the Navy has delayed further production pending successful resolution of developmental challenges… According to Navy officials, relaxing the performance requirements for the Remote Minehunting System and the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System is one option under consideration.”

RAMICS gun – est. fielding 2017: “Separate engineering development models of the gun and targeting pod have been tested with mixed results. Gun testing demonstrated the need to redesign the bushing (shock absorber). Targeting pod testing revealed problems reacquiring minelike objects and maintaining a gun lock on them. The Navy is rewriting software to address the targeting pod issues”.

June 30/10: ALMDS testing. Northrop Grumman announces that they have begun the next phase of ALMDS’ US Navy flight testing. The Navy is conducting the Developmental Flight Test-IIE (DT-IIE) program from its Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, FL, and the 1st flight of about 40 or so occurred on June 8/10. A technical evaluation will follow and will lead to the full-scale Operational Evaluation in late 2011. Good performance could lead to full-rate production; meanwhile, an LRIP Lot 3 contract is expected later in 2010. Northrop Grumman Maritime and Tactical Systems VP Dan Chang:

“We’ve had four flights to date [under DT-IIE] and, though I can’t go into details, the feedback we’ve gotten is that the system is performing well and reliably… The flight test data have allowed us to make a few minor software adjustments that have sharpened the capabilities of the system.”

June 24/10: ALMDS support. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems’ Battle Management and Engagement Systems Division in Melbourne, FL received a $9.5 million contract modification for continued ALMDS post-delivery technical support (PDTS) and provisioned item order support. This modification raises the contract ceiling, and extends the PDTS period of performance for ALMDS low-rate initial production units. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Fla., and is expected to be complete by December 2010.

Northrop Grumman’s work may include: systems engineering; tracking performance metrics; modifying/ repairing delivered hardware; modifying or building ALMDS components to fix producibility, obsolescence, and end-of-life issues; keeping ALMDS’ technical data package up to date; maintaining delivered hardware and software; quality assurance; manufacturing; test and evaluation; and the paperwork of presentations, white papers, and trade studies. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division in Panama City, FL issued the contract (N61331-05-C-0049).

April 1/10: The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisitions Report, covering major program changes up to December 2009. One of the changes is to the Remote Minehunting System (WLD-1) in the AMCM suite:

“The PAUC (Program Acquisition Unit Cost, includes R&D) increased 79.5% and the APUC (Average Procurement Unit Cost, no R&D) increased 54.6% to the current and original [baselines] as a result of a reduction in production quantities, the use of an incorrect average unit cost as a basis of estimate in the 2006 program baseline calculation, and an increase in development costs needed to address reliability issues. The Navy re-evaluated the capabilities of the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Mission Package for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and decided to eliminate the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) from the ASW Mission Package. This decision reduced the total number of RMMV production units from the program baseline quantity of 108 to the current quantity of 54. The increase in development costs was needed to address reliability problems, which arose during an operational assessment in 2008.”

This level of overage is a critical breach, a.k.a. a Nunn-McCurdy breach. The legislation forces the Pentagon to certify the program’s fitness to continue, and provides for potential Congressional involvement.

SAR – RMS cuts & problems

March 31/10: GAO Report. The US GAO releases its 2010 Assessment of Selected Weapon Programs, including the Littoral Combat Ships mission modules. With respect to the AMCM systems, it says:

“Overall, operation of the MCM, SUW, and ASW packages requires a total of 22 critical technologies, including 11 sensors, 6 vehicles, and 5 weapons… The Navy has accepted delivery of two partially capable MCM mission packages; however, the program has delayed the procurement of the fiscal year 2009-funded package due to technical issues and the resulting operational test delays. Four MCM systems – the Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), Unmanned Sweep System (USS), Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS), and Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) – have not yet been demonstrated in a realistic environment, and two others – the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) and Remote Minehunting System (RMS) – cannot meet system requirements. ALMDS has been unable to meet its mine detection requirements at its maximum depth or its mine detection and classification requirements at surface depths. RMS demonstrated poor system reliability, availability, and maintainability in a September 2008 operational assessment, and program officials report the system is currently undergoing a series of tests to try to improve its reliability. Program officials also reported that the cable used to tow certain airborne MCM systems had to be redesigned following test failures with two systems.”

March 11/10: ALMDS delivery. The 3rd and final low-rate initial production Lot 2 ALMDS pod is delivered to and accepted the US Navy. The company delivered the LRIP Lot 2 pods approximately 3 weeks ahead of schedule, on average. The company and the Navy are in the final stages of preparing the LRIP Lot 3 production contract. NGC release.

Feb 22/10: MH-60S Training. US Naval Air Warfare Center, Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) in Orlando, FL announces that it intends to negotiate, on a sole-source basis under FAR 6.302-1, a contract with CAE USA, Inc. for 3 MH-60R Tactical Operational Flight Trainers (TOFT), and 1 MH-60R/S Tactical Operational Flight Trainer (TOFT). The MH-60R/S TOFT consists of 3 trainers: the MH-60R/S Operational Flight Trainer (OFT), the MH-60R Weapons Tactics Trainer (WTT) and the MH-60S Weapons Tactics Trainer (WTT).

The MH-60S WTT as delivered will have the capability to train, from basics to tactical missions, the AN/AQS-20A Mine Hunting Sonar, the AN/AQS-235 Airborne Mine Neutralizer System (AMNS), the AN/ALQ-220 Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS), and the AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) – but not the RAMICS gun system, yet. FBO Presolicitation N61339-10-R-0016.

Jan 11/10: ALMDS delivery. Northrop Grumman announces delivery of the 1st LRIP Lot 2 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) to the US Navy, more than 6 weeks ahead of schedule.

Dec 18/09: RMS costs. Gannett’s Navy Times reports that Remote Mine-hunting System WLD-1/ AN/AQS-20 sonar combination would rise 85.3% from its original estimate and cost about $22.4 million per copy, while the RMMV/WLD-1 by itself could rise by 52% to $12.7 million per copy.

The main instigator for the cost spikes is the Navy’s decision to halve production from 108 to 54 units, by deleting the RMS from the Littoral Combat Ship’s anti-submarine package, and confining it to the mine warfare module. The Navy has also decided not to deploy the RMS combination from DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers, and confine the set to its Littoral Combat Ships.

The second issue with cost increases involves reported reliability issues with the WLD-1. The USV reportedly met 8 of 9 major goals, and the Navy is currently looking into the data to review resolution options and progress.

RMS costs

FY 2008 – 2009

AQS-20 towing sonar has a problem; AMCM doesn’t fit in LCS; Contracts for other AMCM sub-systems.

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Sept 23/09: COBRA support. Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems Eastern Region in Melbourne, FL receives a $6.1 million contract modification to provide post delivery technical support of the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis system’s Engineering & Manufacturing Development units. Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL, and is expected to be complete by September 2010. The Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL manages this contract (N61331-01-C-0037). FBO solicitation.

Sept 2/09: AQS-20 & AMNS delivery. Raytheon announces that it has delivered the AN/AQS-20A Minehunting Sonar and AN/ASQ-235 Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) to the U.S. Navy. Both of the low rate initial production models of the AN/AQS-20A and AN/ASQ-235 AMNS will be extensively tested. Under the current contracts, Raytheon will deliver a total of 20 AN/AQS-20A systems by January 2011, and 5 AMNS by December 2009.

AMNS re-acquires and neutralizes mines found by AN/AQS-20A, using a launch and handling sled equipped with 4 unmanned Archerfish kill vehicles. Both systems have been integrated into the MH-60S and the MH-53E airborne mine countermeasures helicopters. The AN/AQS-20A has also been operated from the AN/WLD-1 Remote Minehunting System USV.

April 23/09: MH-60S. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Oswego in Oswego, NY received a $5.6 million cost plus fixed fee, firm fixed price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for engineering and technical support in the integration of Organic Airborne Mine Countermeasures (OAMCM) Systems into a MH-60S helicopter. The 5 OAMCM systems to be incorporated in the MH-60S are the AN/AQS-20A Advanced Sonar System; Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS); Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS); Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS); and Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS). This acquisition supports the fundamental effort of integrating this entire suite of Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) systems with the helicopter structurally and with the helicopter Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) systems.

Work will be performed in Oswego, NY (50%) and Panama City, FL (50%), and is expected to be complete by April 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL (N61331-09-D-0009).

April 15/09: AMNS, OASIS support. ITT Corp. announces a maximum $49.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract that makes the company the US Navy’s designated depot and engineering agent for airborne mine countermeasure systems, including AMCM’s ITT-produced Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep System (OASIS), and Airborne Mine Neutralizer System (AMNS). ITT’s work will include developing interactive technical manuals and training.

This contract also covers the in-service MK-105 Magnetic Minesweeping System hydrofoil, which is towed by the MH-53E. It won’t be used by the LCS ships, or the MH-60S.

The IDIQ award is a “follow on” contract to a previous $25.2 million maintenance and support deal ITT had with NSWC. The MK-105 systems are currently operational in Corpus Christi, TX; 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain; and Norfolk, VA; other contract work will be performed at ITT Electronic Systems’ Under Sea Systems division’s Mine Defense Systems business area in Panama City, FL. Panama city News Herald.

March 11/09: RAMICS testing. Northrop Grumman touts the results of a recent RAMICS test, which featured a gun suspended from a 50-story tower. The goal was to locate and fire 8 rounds at a submerged target, and they expected just 1 hit. Instead, it got 7 hits within a tightly grouped pattern. The test took place at the Lake Glendora test range within the Navy Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN.

Feb 2/09: CSTRS development. Concurrent Technology Corp. in Johnstown, PA received an $11.5 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract with a cost plus fixed fee pricing arrangement to provide technical and engineering services for continued Carriage, Stream, Tow, and Recovery System (CSTRS) development, test, and analysis. This procurement is in support of the ongoing development and test of the CSTRS to incorporate Airborne Mine Countermeasures capabilities and will be utilized on the MH-60S helicopter.

Work will be performed in Johnstown, PA (88%) and Panama City, FL (12%), and is expected to complete by February 2012. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL (N61331-09-D-0004).

Oct 24/08: CSTRS. Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd. in Newport Great Britain received a $12.9 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for services and materials for the development and fabrication of tow cables to support organic airborne mine countermeasures systems.

Work will be performed at Atlas’ facility in Great Britain, and is expected to be completed by October 2013. This contract was not competitively procured by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL (N61331-08-D-0037).

April 28/08: AQS-20. Inside Defense reports that the US has halted its OpEval (operational evaluation, realistic tests) of the MH-60S AMCM mine-countermeasures helicopter. A discussion with NAVAIR reveals that the problem is with one specific system, and OpEval is continuing with the rest of the AMCM package in its current state.

The problem is related to the AQS-20 towing sonar. The sonar works fine, but the mechanisms that deploy it out the side of the helicopter are encountering reliability issues. A team of engineers has been formed to look into the problem. Once they report back, the US Navy will have a better idea of the time and effort required to deliver a fix. AQS-20 OpEval will be rescheduled at a later date, once the Navy is confident that a fix is well underway.

AMCM OpEval halted

March 20/08: RAMICS. Northrop Grumman Integrated System Sector in Melbourne, FL received a $13.5 million modification to previously awarded contract for cost growth and new requirements related to development of the Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS).

Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL, and is expected to be complete by September 2009. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL manages the contract (N00024-02-C-6324).

March 19/08: Raytheon announces a $7.7 million U.S. Navy contract for the low rate initial production of 3 AMNS AN/ASQ-235 systems, following a successful “Milestone C” review in which the system’s design was validated by the Navy and approved to advance to low rate initial production.

3 AMNS

March 6/08: ALMDS. Northrop Grumman Integrated System Sector in Melbourne, FL receives a $24.9 million modification to previously awarded contract (N61331-05-C-0049) for a second Low Rate Initial Production lot of 3 ALMDS units. Northrop Grumman says that 2 of LRIP Lot 1’s units have already been delivered, and are in operational testing but available to the fleet. The software has been finalized, with a depth performance 50% beyond specified Key Performance Parameters, and a 60% reduction in post-mission-analysis time.

Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL, and is expected to be complete by January 2010. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division in Panama City, FL manages the contract, and NGC expects to produce 25 units over 5 years, once the program enters full rate production for the US Navy in 2010. See also Northrop Grumman release.

3 ALMDS – Lot 2

March 5/08: AMNS support. BAE Systems Electronics’ Underwater Systems Division in Hampshire, UK receives a $9.9 million modification to a previously awarded contract for common neutralizers (their Archerfish system), related support equipment, and engineering services to support the AMNS and the Expendable Mine Neutralization System.

Work will be performed in Hampshire, Great Britain, (77%); Rocket Center, WVA (2%); Littleton, MA (7%); France (3%); Chelmsford, Essex, England (3%); Thurso, Caithness, England (2%); and Carlton Gardes, England (6%), and is expected to be complete by December 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $353,255 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division in Panama City, FL manages this contract (N61331-08-C-0012).

Feb 15/08: AMNS. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI received a $7.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract for 3 Low Rate Initial Production units of the Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS).

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (56%); Waterlooville, United Kingdom (23%); Claremont, NH (11%); Windber, PA (5%); West Wareham, MA (3%); Biddford, ME (1%), and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (1%) and is expected to be complete by November 2010. US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contract (N00024-03-C-6310).

3 AMNS

Oct 12/07: GAO Report. The US GAO audit office has some news re: the mine warfare module, the LCS’ first mission module. It seems some changes will be required:

“…For example, operation of mine countermeasures systems is currently expected to exceed the personnel allowances of the [Littoral Combat] ship, which could affect the ship’s ability to execute this mission. In addition, the Littoral Combat Ship will have only limited capability to conduct corrective maintenance aboard. However, because the Navy recently reduced the numbers of certain mission systems from two to one per ship, operational availability for these systems may decrease below current projections. Moreover, the mine countermeasures mission package currently exceeds its weight limitation, which may require the Navy to accept a reduction in speed and endurance capabilities planned for the Littoral Combat Ship. It is important that the Navy assess these uncertainties and determine whether it can produce the needed mine countermeasures capabilities from the assets it is likely to have and the concepts of operation it can likely execute.”

FY 2006 – 2007

Contracts for AMCM development & subsystems.

WLD-1 RMS

Sept 7/07: AQS-20. A $51.3 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-6324) to exercise an option for 9 Low Rate Initial Production AN/AQS-20A Sonar Mine Detecting Systems, 7 Installation Kit Electronic Equipment Kits, and 2 Remote Minehunting System (RMS) Towed Body Modification Kits. The order brings the total contract value to $191 million, and increases the total number of systems ordered to 20.

Work will be performed by Raytheon IDS’ Maritime Mission Center in Portsmouth, RI (88%), and by Arete Associates in Tucson, AZ (12%), and is expected to be complete by March 2010. As of Raytheon’s Nov 28/07 release, The AQS-20 system is undergoing technical evaluation as part of the Navy’s mine countermeasure operational testing – the final stage before official fleet deployment.

9 AQS-20A, RMS mods

July 23/07: AQS-20 support. The Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $23.2 million contract to provide AN/AQS-20A mine hunting sonar engineering services and support. AN/AQS-20A engineering and support services will be performed at Raytheon IDS’ Maritime Mission Center, Portsmouth, RI. This award exercises an option on an existing 2005 contract, bringing the total contract value to $139 million.

IDS’ engineering services and support will advance the design, development and production of the system’s acoustic and optical sensors through the implementation of pre-planned product improvements and whole life services and support. To date, the company has delivered 10 AN/AQS-20A systems to the Navy, with 4 systems currently undergoing technical evaluation as part of the Navy’s mine countermeasure operational testing – the final stage before official deployment to the fleet. IDS is under contract to deliver an additional 11 systems within the next 24 months. Raytheon release.

Jan 29/07: ALMDS. Northrop Grumman issues a release highlighting their delivery of the first ALMDS pod to the US Navy.

ALMDS delivered

May 16/06: Old & New, includes OASIS. EDO Corp. Mine and Undersea Vehicles Department in Panama City, FL received a $25.2 million cost plus fixed fee/ firm-fixed-price, indefinite delivery /indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract for depot-level repair and maintenance of airborne mine countermeasures systems. These include AMCM’s new Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep system, as well as existing systems like the MH-53E’s precision navigation system, SEAFOX mine neutralization system and MK-105 magnetic minesweeping sled.

Work will be performed in Panama City, FL, and is expected to be complete by May 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL (N61331-06-D-0019)

April 3/06: AQS-20. Raytheon Co. Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI received a not-to-exceed $38.7 million firm-fixed-price/ cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-6324) for Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of 5 AN/AQS-20A sonar mine detecting systems and associated engineering services around test and delivery.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (88%) and Tucson, AZ (12%), and is expected to be completed by March 2010. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C issued the contract. See Raytheon’s press release as well.

5 AQS-20A

Jan 4/06: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT received a ceiling $25 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-quantity/ indefinite-delivery contract for highly specialized engineering and design efforts associated with continued integration of organic airborne mine countermeasures systems with full-production level MH-60S helicopters.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (60%) and Panama City, FL (40%), and is expected to be complete by January 2011. The contract was not competitively procured by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL (N61331-06-D-0012).

Dec 27/05: Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego in Owego, NY received a $16.4 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00019-05-C-0048) for non-recurring engineering services in support of the MH-60S Airborne Mine Countermeasures Common Console Technology Insertion Effort.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in June 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract.

Dec 8/05: Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $33.6 million not-to-exceed modification to definitize a previously issued delivery order against basic ordering agreement N00019-03-G-0003, and to provide additional funding for the MH-60S Airborne Mine Countermeasures (AMCM) Block 2B Phase II Test Support and System Development effort.

The overall delivery order from the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD now has a not-to-exceed value of $60.6 million. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT and is expected to be complete in December 2009.

Oct 26/05: Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Oswego in Oswego, NY receives a $76.6 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract in support of Phase II of the MH-60S’ Airborne Mine Countermeasures System’s (AMCM) Development and Demonstration process.

Work will be performed in Oswego, NY, and is expected to be complete in March 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-05-C-0048).

FY 2000 – 2005

Northrop Grumman wins COBRA contract; Contracts for other sub-systems.

ALMDS on MH-60S
(click to view full)

Sept 28/05: COBRA development. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. Integrated Systems Sector in Melbourne, FL received a $25.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee modification under previously awarded contract, exercising an option to develop Block 1, Spiral B of the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system.

Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL and is expected to be completed by June 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City (NSWC PC) in Panama City, FL issued the contract (N61331-01-C-0037).

Sept 15/05: AQS-20. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Portsmouth, RI received an undefinitized firm-fixed-price/ cost-plus fixed-fee letter contract at a not-to-exceed price of $55 million for the Low Rate Initial Production of the AN/AQS-20A Sonar, Mine Detecting Set. Work on the contract will be performed at Raytheon IDS’s Naval Integration Center in Portsmouth, RI (88%) and Arete Associates in Tucson, AZ (12%); and is expected to be complete by March 2010. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued the contract (N00024-05-C-6324).

AQS-20A LRIP-1 order

Sept 7/05: ALMDS. Northrop Grumman Airborne Ground Surveillance and Battle Management Systems in Melbourne, FL receives a $124.5 million firm-fixed-price/ incentives letter contract for 3 Low-Rate Initial Production units of the AN/AES-1 Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS), which
has been designated as a fast track Navy SBIR/STTR R&D program.

The initial contract awarded a total of $45.5 million for a low-rate initial production (LRIP) of 3 AN/AES-1 ALMDS pods. The contract calls for options totaling $79 million for an additional 6 LRIP pods, one full-rate production lot of 6 pods, plus 2 training systems and integrated logistics support.

Work will be performed in at Northrop Grumman’s Airborne Ground Surveillance & Battle Management Systems facility in Melbourne, FL (75%), and in Tucson, AZ (25%), and is expected to be complete by February 2010. Melbourne is the home of two additional Navy mine-countermeasures programs and a U.S. Army counter-mine/reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition program. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, FL (N61331-05-C-0049).

3 ALMDS now – up to 15 TL

Jan 12/05: MH-60S. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego in Owego, NY received a not-to-exceed $26.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for engineering services in support of Airborne Mine Countermeasures Block 2B system development for the MH-60S helicopter. This is the electronics and mission systems on the MH-60S AMCM.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be completed in December 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity (N00019-03-G-0014).

Jan 30/03: AMNS development. Raytheon Co. in Portsmouth, RI receives an estimated $18.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the demonstration and development of the MH-60S AMCM Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS). Its system is the AN/ASQ-235 based on BAE’s Archerfish, while Lockheed Martin’s Atlas Seafox-derived system is used by the CH-53E.

Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI (63%), and Waterlooville Hampshire, United Kingdom (37%), and is expected to be complete by September 2006. The contract was competitively procured and advertised via Commerce Business Daily, with 4 offers received by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-03-C-6310). See also Raytheon release.

Aug 23/02: RAMICS development. Northrop Grumman Integrated System Sector in Melbourne, FL received an estimated $36.9 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the demonstration and development of the Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS).

Work will be performed in Melbourne, FL, and is expected to be complete by August 2005. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured and posted on Navy Electronic Commerce Online, with 2 offers received by US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, DC (N00024-02-C-6324).

June 25/02: CSTRS development. Concurrent Technologies Corp. in Johnstown, PA receives a $7.3 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-01-C-0045) for the development, design, engineering, manufacturing and testing of the Navy’s airborne mine countermeasures carriage, stream, tow, and recovery system for the MH-60S.

Work will be performed in Johnstown (75%) and Panama City, FL (25%), and is to be complete by July 2003. Contract funds in the amount of $5.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD.

April 26/02: OASIS development. EDO Marine and Aircraft Systems in North Amityville, NY receives a $25 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, fixed-fee contract for system development and demonstration of the Organic Airborne and Surface Influence Sweep (OASIS). This effort encompasses all analysis, systems engineering, design, development, fabrication, assembly, testing, qualification, operator and maintenance training documentation, planning and management required to support this effort, as well as all materials, software and services necessary to ensure successful demonstration for production.

Work will be performed in North Amityville, NY (71%); Chesapeake, VA (18%); California, MD (4%); Cogent-Wales, United Kingdom (4%); Bohemia, NY (2%) and Carderock, MD (1%), and is to be complete by October 2005. This contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Internet, but had just 1 offer received by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-02-C-6316).

2002: AQS-20A, AMNS testing. Developmental and operational testing of the AN/AQS-20A and AMNS begins.

Aug 16/01: COBRA development. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Integrated Systems Sector (ISS) receives the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) contract from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center-Dahlgren Division, to develop an airborne mine detection system for the U.S. Marine Corps, building on the 1990s-era COBRA Advanced Technology Demonstration program. The total contract award could be valued at more than $44.7 million, if all options are exercised.

This COBRA system will involve a multispectral payload flown on a tactical UAV, and the firm says that its design will use complementary technology to Northrop Grumman’s Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS). Its goal is slightly broader than mines, and involves “accurate battlefield intelligence depicting tactical objectives, minefields, obstacles and fortifications on the beach and inland areas.”

Northrop Grumman’s release says that its COBRA team also includes:

  • Arete Associates in Niceville, Fla.
  • Science & Engineering Associates in San Diego, CA
  • Wescam in Healdsburg, CA
  • General Dynamics-Advanced Technology Systems in Greensboro, NC.
  • PAR Government Systems, San Diego, CA
  • L3 Communications in Salt Lake City, UT

Aug 31/2000: AQS-20. Raytheon Electron Systems Naval & Maritime Systems in Portsmouth, RI receives an $11.8 million firm-fixed-price letter contract for 2 AN/AQS-20 towed bodies, “which is a high speed acoustic mine hunting system towed from the MH-53E helicopter. It is designed to detect, localize, and classify bottom, close-tethered, and volume mines.”

This contract contains 2 options, which if exercised, would bring the total cumulative value of this contract to a ceiling of $48.2 million. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, RI, and is expected to be complete by February 2003. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Coastal Systems Station, Dahlgren Division in Panama City, FL (N61331-00-D-0044).

2 AQS-20

July 12/2000: AMNS. Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems (NE&SS) in Syracuse, NY anounces that its Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS) has passed several program milestones. The program succeeded in 20 out of 20 at-sea shallow water test runs near Panama City, FL; passed a significant weapons-safety milestone; and transferred the first AMNS system to the Navy. All remaining AMNS equipment is scheduled for delivery by mid-July to support the Navy’s technical evaluation, which starts later this summer at Panama City.

NE&SS-Undersea Systems is delivering two complete AMNS systems and multiple neutralization vehicles under a $10 million fixed-price agreement with the Navy’s Airborne Mine Defense Program Office (PMS210). STN ATLAS Electronik of Bremen, Germany provides the neutralization vehicles and the operator control consoles, which are based on its very successful one-shot mine neutralization system, the SEAFOX. Lockheed Martin’s NE&SS-Undersea Systems business in Riviera Beach, FL, and Technical Systems Integration of Chesapeake, VA, also have key program roles.

The system initially will be deployed on the Navy’s MH-53E SeaDragon helicopter with production starting in 2001. The current program also includes a technology transition study for the adaptation of AMNS to the CH-60S helicopter (which later became the MH-60S)… but it is not selected.

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections, comments, or information to contribute are encouraged to contact DID’s Founding Editor, Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

Background: AMCM Overview

Background: AMCM Components

Background: Related Technologies

Official Reports

News & Views

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

OCCAR-EDA exchange of letter on European Secure Software defined Radio (ESSOR) programme

EDA News - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:19

At yesterday’s OCCAR-EDA bilateral in Bonn, OCCAR Director Arturo Alfonso-Meiriño and the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, Jorge Domecq, have exchanged letters describing the role of the EDA in support of the ESSOR Programme.

OCCAR manages the ESSOR Programme for Finland, France, Italy, Poland and Spain, whilst Germany is currently an observer to this Programme. The ESSOR Programme launched its Operational Capability 1 phase in November 2017, with an Operational Budget of €50 million.

In 2006, EDA established the Project Team Software Defined Radio (SDR) with the goal to define a common European concept and position on SDR architecture developments, promoting the working relations with the most important SDR stakeholders and coordinating the vision, policies and initiatives for emergence of SDR developments that serve European interest and autonomy. This is in line with EDA’s role as the European forum for joint capability development and the prioritised Capability Development Plan (CDP) scope of Tactical CIS in response to CSDP requirements to greatly enhance the interoperability of communication systems. 

Considering that enhanced cooperation with OCCAR also features among the recommendations endorsed by the Defence Ministers after EDA’s recent Long Term Review (LTR), with this exchange of letters, EDA formally commits to facilitate the coherence between the ESSOR Programme and the activities of EDA in Software Defined Radio (SDR) area, and to promote the ESSOR products, in particular the waveform and architecture of the system. 

 

Helicopter Tactics high on EDA agenda with symposium held in Austria and instructor course completed in Sweden

EDA News - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 08:55

Some 60 helicopter tactics specialists from 14 EDA Member States as well as representatives of the EDA Helicopter Chief Instructor Team, the Joint Air Power Competence Centre (JAPCC), the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), the Austrian Air Force Command and the Austrian Defence Industry met early this month in Salzburg for the 9th Helicopter Tactics Symposium, organised under the EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP). It followed the successful completion, end of September in Sweden, of the 6th EDA Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC).

This annual event proved once more to be a unique occasion for European helicopter crews to discuss and share expertise and best practices related to helicopter tactics and to learn about training opportunities under EDA’s Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP).

One part of the symposium was devoted to drawing the lessons learned from recent EDA helicopter exercises, such as ‘Hot Blade 18’ (held at Beja Air Base No 11, Portugal, in May 2018), from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), where German and Belgian NH90 helicopters were integrated in one detachment, as well as the Czech Republic’s experience in preparing for the EU battle group. 

Symposium attendees also received detailed information on how military helicopter training and simulator training is done in the different Member States with briefings provided by Austria, Belgium, Greece and Germany. 

A new topic on the annual EDA Helicopter Tactics Symposium were the training and use of attack helicopters by different European countries. Briefings were delivered by specialists from Germany (EC665 Tiger), Greece (AH-64 Apache), Hungary (Mi 24) and Italy (A-129 Mangusta). The debate resulted in a concrete proposal to add a completely new chapter on Attack Helicopter Tactics in the HEP Standard Operating Procedures (HEP SOP), the capstone tactics’ manual for multinational European helicopter operations. 

Industry was also present during the symposium by means of a small exhibition including various  new technologies and briefings on spatial disorientation and night vision goggle (NVG) training, as well as mission planning tools. 

Looking ahead, symposium participants were briefed on upcoming HEP exercises, including Dark Blade 2019 (to be held in the Czech Republic) and Swift Blade 2020 (to be held in the BENELUX), which will focus on national and multinational training, including the performance of Joint and Combined Composite Air Operations (COMAO) in demanding environmental conditions and high threat scenarios.

 

Successful 6th EDA Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course (HTIC) 

In the meantime, EDA keeps working on improving European helicopter interoperability through its Helicopter Tactics Instructor Courses (HTIC) the 6th of which was completed on 30 September after eight weeks of intensive training performed in Linton on Ouse RAF base (UK) and in Arvidsjaur Airport in Northern Sweden. With trainees from Sweden, Austria, Norway and the UK (representing both the Support Helicopter and the Attack Helicopter communities), the course offered a unique opportunity to foster operational interoperability and cooperation, whilst conducting advanced tactical flying training.
 

 

Now in its 6th year, the HTIC continues to deliver high-end flying training in Electronic Warfare, Tactical Formation and Evasion Training and other advanced helicopter operations. During the first year, all the tactical skills are taught in the classroom, on the simulator and, eventually, during the live flying phase. During the second year,  Bronze trainees begin a two-year programme to reach Silver and Gold qualifications, confirming their suitability for taking on the role of instructors.

The complexity of the courses increases gradually over time until the final week, when trainees are expected to carry out complex Composite Air Operation (COMAO) tasks against Electronic Warfare Ground-Based Air Defence Systems, Fast-Jet aggressors and a whole range of low-tech weapon systems. 

Five Tactics Instructors graduated from this year’s course whereas seven trainees are now eligible to complete the Silver Level in the coming years. As usually, the HTIC was supported by a range of units including 100 Sqn Hawks from the UK, Gripens from the Swedish Air Force, EW systems from Polygone in Germany, as well as staff from 8 Sqn, 606 Sqn, 600 Sqn, Joint Helicopter Command and the Swedish Air Force,  and Tactics Instructors from Austria, Germany, Sweden and the UK.

The 6th HTIC was particular as the Chief Instructor role is now being ensured by a team of 4 experienced instructors from Austria, Germany, Sweden and the UK, who will continue to support the entire EDA helicopter training programme..

 

DRS to deliver PCMs to the USN | Egypt buys more Chinese attack drones | USN procures more Mk 41 VLS canisters

Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:00
Americas

DRS Power & Control Technologies is receiving additional funding to exercise an option to support the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The contract modification is priced at $13.4 million and provides for the delivery of power conversion modules (PCM) for Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) production ship sets. Efforts covered under this contract include non-recurring engineering work, procurement of long-lead-time materials and of low-rate initial production units for testing. Up to 12 ship sets for the guided missile destroyers can be procured. PCMs support Raytheon’s AN/SPY-6 air and missile defense radar with the right power output. This contract supports DDG-51 Flight III ships. Work will be performed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is expected to be complete by April 2022.

BAE Systems Land & Armaments is being contracted to deliver several missile canisters to the US Navy. Worth $41.5 million, the firm-fixed-price modification sees for the delivery of Mk 21 mod 2 and Mk 21 mod 3 canisters used on the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). The mod 2 and 3 variants support SM-2 and SM-6 missiles respectively, and are used on the Mk 41 VLS strike length system that accommodates the widest variety of missiles. The canisters serve as missile shipping and storage containers. During missile launch, they provide an internal launch rail and help contain the rocket motor’s exhaust gas. Work will be performed at BAE’s facilities in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The canisters are expected to be completed by August 2021.

Middle East & Africa

The Philippine Air Force plans to boost its strike capability with Turkey’s T-129 ATAK helicopter. Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told Philstar newspaper that “the Air Force has also chosen the T-129 ATAK helicopter. I think we can only get less than 10, maybe eight.” The proposed purchase is part of a larger procurement process that also includes the acquisition of new transport helicopters. It has yet not been disclosed how much the Philippine Air Force is willing to spend on Turkey’s ATAK, but it says that its overall budget of $240 million will be enough for buying 16 Black Hawks and 8 to 10 T-129s. The T-129 is an attack helicopter, but a bit smaller and lighter than classic competitors like Russia’s Mi-28 or the USA’s AH-64 Apache. The T129A EDH carries the nose-mounted 20mm cannon turret with 500 rounds, and 4 pylons for unguided rockets. The aircraft is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions. Philippine officials have yet to formally announce the deal.

The Egyptian Air Force will buy more Chinese-made Wing Loong II attack drones. It is believed that Mohamed Abbas, chief of the Egyptian Air Force, signed a deal with CATIC officials on the sidelines of the EDEX 2018 exhibition held in Cairo earlier this week. A documentary recently broadcast on Egyptian state television suggests that China’s National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) has already sold several of its Wing Loong II UAVs to Egypt, which would make it the second export customer after the United Arab Emirates. Since this maiden flight in February 2017, the Wing Loong II has been hyped as potential best seller on the export market, offering a cheaper alternative to its rival—the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.

Europe

Jane’s reports that the Italian Army is currently fielding the first examples of the latest-generation Light Multirole Vehicle (LMV). The Iveco produced LMV is a four-wheel-drive purpose-built military vehicle designed to perform a range of duties from patrolling and escorting to commanding and liaisons. The LMV is similar to American Hummers in size and number of occupants but comes at a significant higher cost, that stems from some fundamental design differences that are designed to protect their occupants from mine blasts and small arms fire. The latest variant is the LMV Lince 2 in a Networked Enabled Capability (NEC) configuration. This latest variant comes with a higher payload (3000 lbs, which is an 87% increase over earlier models) and a higher level of ballistic protection and protection against explosives. The LMV Lince 2 NEC is armed with Leonardo’s HITROLE remote weapon station that can mount 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns to a 40 mm aromatic grenade launcher. Italy plans to buy a total of 400 LMVs Lince 2 NEC over the coming years.

Asia-Pacific

Japan may sell an overhauled air defense radar system to the Philippines, this move would be the first defense export since ending a nearly 50-year ban in 2014. If approved, Manila could receive an upgraded model of the Mitsubishi Electric-made FPS-3 air defense radar system. The FPS-3 has been in use with the JASDF since 1991. The radar features two antennas capable of detecting fighters and ballistic missiles, and are highly capable of tracking fighters. The potential deal is expected to cost between $8.9 and $17.7 million.

Tokyo may still retrofit one of its Izumo-class helicopter carriers to embark its new F-35Bs, but refuses to call it an aircraft carrier so as to avoid criticism that having such an offensive platform would violate country’s pacifist constitution. Instead, the Izumo will be called a “multi-purpose operation destroyer”. Retrofit work will include thickening of the decks so that the Short Takeoff & Vertical Landing (STVOL) variant of the fifth-generation stealth fighter can land vertically on the deck and modification of elevators to transport aircraft to their hangars.

Today’s Video

Watch: What Is NORAD’s Purpose… To Track Santa?

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

USAF order JTEs from Northrop Grumman | US blocks Israeli F-16 sale to Croatia | Austria split over Eurofighter replacement

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 05:00
Americas

Northrop Grumman is being contracted to supply US agencies and Foreign Military Sales customers with Joint Threat Emitters. The IDIQ contract is priced at $450 million and provides for Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) production. Awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the order also includes spares, support equipment, testing and training. The JTE is a radar and satellite system that simulates a modern, reactive battlespace war environment, designed to help pilots train air-combat manoeuvres. The system provides ground threat warnings up to the exercising aircraft via an electronic signal to simulate a surface-to-air missile or anti-aircraft artillery attack for training. The mobile simulator is comprised of a Threat Emitter Unit, a Wide Band Kit, a C2 Unit, and a Remote Power Unit. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s factory in Buffalo, New York, and various national and international locations. Performance is expected to be completed by December 5, 2025.

Raytheon is being tapped to support the US Air Force’s Force Element Terminal Risk Reduction effort. Raytheon will provide the service with risk reduction studies, analyses, and demonstrations of its Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Airborne Military Satellite Communication product line at a cost of $11 million. The AEHF system is a series of four military communication satellites which will entirely replace the current in-orbit Milstar system. The main function of the system is to provide secure, survivable and near-worldwide satellite communications. Work is party funded through FY 2018 and FY 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $4 million. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s Marlborough, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by August 30, 2019.

The US Army is procuring a number of Mk. 80 and BLU-109 Tritonal bomb components. The firm-fixed-price contract is valued at $265 million and is set to run through October, 2023. The Mk. 80 series belongs to the family of general purpose bombs and functions as building block for numerous variants of non-guided and precision-guided air delivered munitions. The series includes various configurations of 250 lb., 500 lb., 1,000 lb., and 2,000 lb. bombs. The BLU-109 is a 2,000 lb. bomb with a hardened casing meant to penetrate fortifications like secure command locations, protected weapon storage sites, and key transportation and communication resources. . It includes laser-guided variants for precision strikes such as the GBU-27 Paveway II and the electro-optical GBU-15. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order.

The US Marine Corps is buying new Amphibious Combat Vehicles for its troops. BAE is receiving an additional $140 million to build 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) and covers associated production efforts, fielding and support costs. The Corps’ will eventually replace its fleet of ageing AAVP7 Amtracs with 204 new ACVs at a cost of $1.2 billion. According to Naval Technology the ACV is a modern eight-wheeled amphibious armored personell carrier that can carry a crew of three with 13 embarked Marines. The vehicles feature has a blast-resistant V-shaped hull to withstand IED blasts. Its six-cylinder 700HP Cursor engine propel it to speeds of up to 10km/h at sea and up to 106 km/h at land. The ACV’s armament is yet unclear. The ACV’s armament will likely include a 40 mm grenade launcher and a .50 cal machine gun. The contract is payed for with FY 2019 Marine Corps procurement funds. Work will be performed at BAE’s factories in York, Pennsylvania and Aiken, South Carolina. Production of the new vehicles is expected to be completed in August 2020.

Middle East & Africa

Israeli media reports that the United States government is blocking the Israel’s sale of 12 American-made F-16s to Croatia. In March 2018 the Croatian government decided to procure used F-16D Barak fighter jets from Israel, in order to replace its ageing fleet of Russian jets. According to Channel 10 News, the US is blocking the $500 deal because on the grounds that Israel “acted unfairly and that it made a profit on the back of the US.” Senior officials told the media outlet that Israel equipped the F-16D Barak fighter jets with advanced indigenous electronic systems in order to give it an edge compared to US made fighter jets. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I am in favor, but Defense Secretary Mattis is against it – he is the one who is blocking it.”

Europe

The Austrian government is currently debating the future of the country’s air force. Austrian newspaper Die Presse reports that the coalition government is split over whether to keep its fleet of Eurofighter Tranche 1 Block 5 fighter aircraft or replace them with new Saab Gripen jets. Austria is currently in a legal battle with the Eurofighter consortium, accusing them of fraud and wilful deception in connection with the $2 billion, 12 unit plane order signed in 2003. The conservatives prefer to keep the Eurofighters, whereas the Freedom Party prefers to replace the planes. Die Presse notes that both options would cost about the same, and adds that keeping the jets will also require various upgrades and new weapon systems. Austria’s MoD is currently plagued by a declining budget but needs to replace its ageing aircraft fleet, upcoming purchases may include new helicopters and Leonardo’s M-345.

Asia-Pacific

Japan is ordering a second KC-46A Pegasus for its air force. The aircraft is procured under a contract modification valued at $159 million. Delivery of the first tanker to the JASDF is scheduled for February 2021. Once delivered, the KC-46 will add a significant boost external link to Japan’s aerial refueling capabilities, adding to the current fleet of four KC-767J tankers. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in Seattle, Washington and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2021.

Today’s Video

Watch: Wheel Replacement on a $180 Millions Aircraft: F-35 and C-130 Wheel and Tyre Repair

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Marine APCs: Peregrinations of the EFV to ACV to MPC to ACV 1.1

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 04:56

AAAV/ EFV, swim mode
(click to view full)

The US Marine Corps’ AAVP7 Amtracs have been their primary ship to shore amphibious armored personnel carrier for a long time; the AAV7A1 was initially fielded in 1972, and underwent a major service life extension program and product improvement program from 1983-1993. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was the USMC’s plan to replace the aging AMTRACS (lit. AMphibious TRACtorS), which saw extensive service deep inland during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The personnel version of the new EFVs would carry a crew of 3, plus a reinforced rifle squad of 17 combat-loaded Marines. A high-tech weapons station would provide firepower, via a stabilized ATK 30mm MK 44 Bushmaster cannon with advanced sights to replace the AAV’s unstabilized .50 caliber machine gun. A command variant would carry an array of communications and computer systems and staff personnel. The EFV remained the U.S. Marine Corps’ top land acquisition priority, even as its price tag and development issues cut its buy sharply. Push finally came to shove in 2010, however, as the USMC realized that it simply couldn’t afford the vehicle, or its performance.

That begat a new program called the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), designed to be a more realistic version of the EFV. A Marines version designed for only light water use was called the MPC, which was iced in June 2013. That program was resurrected under increased capabilities pressures as the APC 1.1, which had its coming out party during an industry day in July 2014. A draft RFP was released in November, with hopes that a final RFP would be issued in spring 2015.

$105.7 million was requested for ACV 1.1 research, testing and evaluation.

The APC 1.1 has been examined by the Congressional Research Service, producing this report, which – in a nutshell – says that the program has a few issues, the primary one being the strategic lack of “connectors” allowing equipment onshore. Current options (LCAC, JHSV and LCU 1600) are relatively unprotected.

Amtracs Replacement, Take 1: The EFV

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle: Capabilities & CONOPS

The New: EFV Features
(click to view full)

The EFV was expected to come in 2 main variants: EFV-P infantry fighting vehicles, and EFV-C command vehicles. Even after the program’s demise, its characteristics and associated Concept of Operations remain relevant. They were developed in response to what the Marines think they need, and early 2011 indications suggest that the service’s view hasn’t changed all that much.

The EFV-P personnel carriers have a stabilized turret[1] with advanced TV, laser and thermal imaging optics for accurate fire under all conditions out to 2 km (1.2 miles). Primary firepower is provided by an ATK 30mm MK 44 Bushmaster cannon and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, with a maximum elevation of 45 degrees (high elevation is useful in urban warfare) and maximum depression of -10 degrees (useful for enfilade fire). The Bushmaster cannon will use HEIT(High-Explosive Incendiary Tracer) rounds with a super-fast fuse for maximum shrapnel, and MPLD (Multi-Purpose Low Drag) tungsten-tipped rounds against harder targets. The MPLDs offer an advantage over current 25mm rounds because they penetrate before exploding, instead of just pock-marking the walls of fortified bunkers and buildings.

Rounds are selectable on the fly, and Col. Brogan of the EFV program office has said that the cannon would defeat any vehicle short of a main battle tank up to 2 km away. The EFV program has also completed foreign comparative testing for programmable fuse rounds similar to those slated for the XM307 machine gun, and those rounds were found to be more lethal. The goal was to qualify them as an additional standard ammunition choice.

The current AAV7 Amtracs, in contrast, offer only low-light vision optics, in a non-stabilized manned turret, firing a .50 caliber machine gun and a 40mm GMG grenade launcher. Some Amtracs have added thermal sights, but other vehicles are sporting far more advanced manned turrets – and these days, unmanned RWS systems as well.

Additional firepower comes from the EFV’s onboard Marines, which is meant to include a full reinforced Marine rifle squad of 17 (13 Marines + 4 additional or specialists, including Javelin anti-tank teams) in addition to the vehicle’s crew of 3. The AAV7 listed a capacity of 22 and a crew of 3, but in practice its limit was also a combat-loaded reinforced rifle squad. The AAV7’s original design parameters even included an M151 Jeep or trailer, or 2 supply pallets from an LKA ship, as holdovers from its role as a mere LVT (Landing Vehicle, Tracked) before USMC doctrine began emphasizing its role as an armored personnel carrier. The EFV dispenses with that.

EFV: Command variant
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A command EFV-C variant carries an array of communications and computer systems and staff personnel. Indeed, all EFVs were slated to carry an array of communications equipment and electronics including GPS/INS navigation systems and C2PC (Command and Control, Personal Computer). C2PC is similar to the Army’s “Blue Force Tracker,” showing an overlay of friendly units and detected enemies on a common map. The two systems aren’t interoperable yet, though things are moving that way. C2PC is used in the US Army at brigade level and information can be shared through that command structure.

Electronics and salt water don’t exactly mix, however, so the EFV program has had to take precautions. All electronics must be fully sealed, all cables have shielding & protection, and design efforts were made to remove voids and enclosures where salt might become trapped. On the outside, a series of enviro-friendly coatings were used that avoided the use of carcinogenic hexavalent chrome, and areas where dissimilar metals are mated need barriers to prevent electricity-producing galvanic reactions. If that sounds more complex and exensive than standard IFVs, well, it is.

The Old: AAVP7, ashore
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Beyond the difference in these variants, however, all EFVs had broad similarities in a number of areas.

The EFV was designed to have positive buoyancy, and the program office has confirmed that the vehicle will float when at rest. Waterjet propulsion gives an amphibious speed of more than 20 knots – 3 times that of the AAV7. An underwater explosion survivability requirement is incorporated, and EFVs are also meant to move at high speed up to Sea State 3, and transition/low speed up to Sea State 5 (up to 8 ft. waves). This sea state capability would match the older AAV7s, and this level of unassisted armored landing capability in high sea states is reportedly unique to the AAV7 among present-day vehicles.

Those EFV water speed and sea state requirements have driven a number of design decisions, however, raising the vehicles’ cost and increasing its vulnerabilities. For instance, the need for hydroplaning at speed forces a flat bottom, which limits the hull’s potential protection against IEDs and other land mines. It also leads to an engine bigger than a 70-ton M1 tank’s, as well as very high vibration levels in transit that aren’t very friendly to onboard equipment.

Once on land, keeping up with the USMC’s M1 Abrams tanks imposes land speed requirements that must also be addressed. EFV top speed after landing will be about 45 miles per hour, which is comparable to the land speed of a modernized AAV7 RAM/RS, and enables the vehicles to keep up with a USMC’s M1 Abrams tank’s cruising speed. An engine almost twice as powerful as the ones in the 70-ton M1 tanks they’ll be accompanying certainly helps. Maintenance and readiness are meant to be similar to vehicles like the M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley, though they never even got close to that goal before the program was terminated.

Bradley reactive armor

On the protection front, the EFV has done what it could within its specifications, but it will not reach the level of the US Army’s Bradley or similar IFVs.

Measures have been taken to make EFV detection harder, including moving thermal giveaways to the rear, reducing telltale dust via side skirts, etc. NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) protection is also included. For direct protection when maneuver or concealment become impossible, its LIBA SURMAX silicon ceramic composite armor is expected to provide protection from 14.5mm rounds and 155mm shell fragments. The previous AAV7’s base was 12.7mm/.50 cal weapons and 105mm fragments, though add-on armor could raise that to the same 14.5/155mm levels. The LIBA SURMAX armor adds high resilience under multiple hits from armor piercing projectiles, easy field repair, and lightness to the protection equation.

Having met that “same as” standard, the EFV program does not officially plan to include armor-up kits of its own. Reactive armor like that fitted to M2/M3 Bradleys, M113s, etc. for defense against higher-caliber autocannon and/or RPG rockets was not initially planned for the EFV; the Marines believed the its weight and hydrodynamic issues would destroy the EFV’s amphibious capabilities, and had no initial plans for “add-on ashore” kits. Nor was the “cage” slat armor fitted to Army Strykers etc. under consideration as RPG protection, for the same reasons. Some minor casualty reduction would have been provided by improved fire suppression, and by spall linings that narrow the ‘casualty cone’ of a rocket’s blast fragments in the hull from the 90-110 degree spray of the AAV7 Amtracs, to 10 degrees or so.

In response to pressure from Congress, ideas have now been floated re: removable applique armor, but no official decision was taken.

Over the longer term, the EFV had reserved computing power, a card slot, and memory to integrate “active protection systems” like the RAFAEL/General Dynamics “Trophy” being fielded in Israel, or the Raytheon APS system contracted before the Army’s FCS ground vehicle family was canceled. The EFV program office never formally evaluated any of these systems, however, as no funding or requirements were provided to do it.

Cougar 6×6, IEDed
the crew lived.
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EFV protection varies against the IED land mines that have already destroyed several Amtracs in Iraq. The EFV’s flat bottom remains a hazard when facing mines. Detonations underneath will remain a challenge, however, because the need for hydrodynamic lift forces a flat bottom design – and the same design that catches the full force of the water to provide lift, will also catch the full force of a mine blast. Given the amphibious distance and speed requirements, however, the EFV program office noted that blast-deflecting V-hulls were not an option. Shock-absorbing seats that reduce spinal injuries were the best they could do, given the specifications.

On the other hand, its low side skirts offer very better protection from side blasts than current Amtracs, especially since the SURMAX armor is good at absorbing “dynamic deflection.” The front is helped by the presence of the extensible plate for water travel, while the back features armor levels comparable to the sides.

This last vulnerability, to the #1 in-theater killer from America’s last 2 major wars, attracted sharp political scrutiny, and was a factor in pressure to cancel the program.

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle: The Case in Favor

EFV exit
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Given these uncertainties, the increasing use of AAV7 Amtracs as armored personnel carriers deep inland, and the trends toward urban warfare and IED threats, the EFV has attracted some criticism. We begin with the USMC’s case for the EFV – and since the follow-on ACV seems to share similar underlying requirements, possibly the future ACV as well.

The biggest underlying requirement concerns the Navy, not the Marines. The Marines contend that advances in anti-ship missiles and surveillance, and the spiraling cost of US Navy’s designs for amphibious ships, made protecting those ships via long-distance launch a critical requirement. Rather than buying extra hovercraft or LCUs, the Navy and Marines wanted these waterborne abilities to be part of the vehicles themselves, so that amphibious assaults could introduce armor support very quickly. The EFV’s high-speed, long-distance swim capabilities, which have so influenced its design and execution, were seen as the best option for meeting that goal, while maximizing tactical flexibility in both Small Wars and high-intensity conflicts.

That speed has 2 major tactical rationales. One is protection. The other is flexibility. Col. Brogan of the EFV Program Office noted in our June 2006 interview that the “over the horizon” launch capability (about 25 miles out to sea) requirement of 25-mile swim capability in an hour. requirement was handed down in order to give friendly forces 2 opportunities to take down enemy missiles before they could hit the Navy’s amphibious ships, assuming AEGIS-equipped ships on station plus Cooperative Engagement Capability on the Navy’s amphibious assault vessels.

Staying afloat
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To illustrate the implications of flexibility, imagine a release point 15 miles offshore. At 25 mph swim speed, Pythagoras tells us that a 40 mile long stretch of coastline is at risk within an hour, complicating the defender’s options. The EFV’s speed, shared software and communications means that the vehicles can modify and share plans while still in the water; instead of having to look for a 1 km wide beach where they can all land in a wave, they can come ashore in dispersed fashion to re-form nearby, or exit in column through places as narrow as a boat ramp. Faced with this array of options, the defending commander must either disperse and hence weaken his defenses, try to anticipate the vehicles’ exact moves and risk being wrong, or accept the initial landing and plan to deal with the beach-head via counterattack.

Once on land, keeping up with the USMC’s M1 Abrams tanks in particular impose land speed requirements that must be addressed, even as the situations the US Marines face sometimes require far more protection than lighter vehicles like the BvS-10 can provide. The U.S. Marines must be able to operate in a wide variety of situations and environments, contend the EFV’s advocates, and their breadth of amphibious capabilities define them. With the EFV, the USMC argues, firepower, detection and flexibility are much improved over the AAV7, while amphibious and tracked mobility are maintained or improved. This combination makes the EFV an important tool that’s required in order to maintain the Corps’ full capability set.

The EFV’s amphibious capability remains tactically useful inland, however, reducing dependence on destroyable and easily-targeted bridges. As long as the opposite bank has a shallow enough slope for the EFVs to climb out within a few miles, EFVs can swim up rivers and cross water obstacles. Of course, accompanying USMC M1 Abrams tanks would not have this option. A Marine commander with a mixed vehicle set could split his forces, possibly assigning Javelin infantry teams, amphibious LAV-ATs with TOWs, Cobra helicopters, etc. for anti-tank punch. He could also use the EFVs in security operations as a bridgehead and guard force, until engineers could bring the tanks across.

Col. Brogan added that the USMC could always elect to put fewer than 17 Marines in an EFV depending on the mission, and noted that other vehicles in inventory from armored HMMWV jeeps and MTVR trucks, to LAV-25 wheeled APCs, to V-hulled RG-31 and Cougar vehicles, are available for commanders where lack of numbers or niche capabilities make the EFV an inferior mission choice.

Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle: The Case Against

RAF CH-47 w. BvS10,
Afghanistan
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Critics note the EFV’s number of Marines carried and cost, contending that the USMC is simply building a very expensive, casualty-maximizing IED land mine/RPG trap, whose required protection levels against mines and incoming fire were sacrificed to the requirement for improved water speed. Despite this water speed, they won’t be useful as fire support in the littorals, either, leaving that mission largely unaddressed. EFVs will be tied to heavier and less flexible forces because they cannot handle enemy tanks or IEDs independently, and they will be too vulnerable in the urban warfare scenarios that will be common features of future conflicts.

Options to improve these capabilities, they say, will only turn a very expensive system that has demonstrated serious reliability problems, into an extremely expensive system that is even less reliable, and requires more support than before.

Other Marine forces like the British and Dutch, they note, are relying instead on smaller amphibious vehicles like the BvS-10 Viking. These vehicles are also fully amphibious, but trade less water speed and slightly less protection for more vehicles per dollar, fewer soldiers per vehicle to minimize casualties, and ground footprints that can cross all terrains and won’t set off pressure mines. When trying to keep the Navy ships safe, they argue, why not opt for systems like these that offer heliborne air mobility, giving the Marines even greater operational speed and over-the-horizon reach, and offering naval defenses even more shots at enemy missiles? Systems like the BvS10 would be equally useful in “small wars,” where their heliborne insertion and all-terrain capabilities would give the Marines new options against lightly-armed but very mobile enemies.

K21 KNIFV concept
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Alternatively, the Marines could buy a more conventional IFV with some amphibious capabilities, and depend on extra hovercraft, vessels like the proposed and landing ships to get them ashore. South Korea produced the K-21 KNIFV for about $3.5 million each, with better firepower and protection options than the EFV, at a cost of carrying only 9 crew and reducing water speed to 4-5 mph in low sea states.

Once built, those extra hovercraft and LCUs could even find new roles in the world’s littoral regions. Armed with rockets, bolt-on RWS turrets, or even rolled-on armored vehicles, they would have new life as impromptu littoral and riverine patrol craft, policing terrain that the US military sees as high threat while keeping larger ships out of the picture. LCT-As were used this way in World War 2 landings, and LCU/LCMs with low gunwales have mounted M48A3, M67A2, and M60A1 tanks in Vietnam and Grenada.

These options, say the critics, plus other vehicles in the Marines’ current force mix, are more likely to be appropriate in more of the situations that US Marines are likely to face going forward. They’re also far easier to buy in numbers when the EFV isn’t sucking the budgetary oxygen out of the room, a situation that tends to turn arguments that could be made as “both/and” into something of an “either/or” rhetorical proposition.

The arguments continue; indeed, they are likely to gain in intensity and strength as the USMC works to define the EFV’s successor.

Amtracs Replacement, Take 2: After the EFV

The USMC’s EFV replacement strategy rests on 3 pillars. DARPA may have added a 4th option, but like all DARPA projects, it will have to overcome significant technical hurdles in order to become even a potential production program.

Replace Me: ACV Amphibious Combat Vehicle

EFV: electronics inside
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The USMC hopes it can keep its Amphibious Combat Vehicle to $10-12 million per vehicle, compared to $16.8 million for the EFV. Even so, that’s still far above other Marines forces around the world. The expected schedule was an ACV technical demonstration vehicle by the end of FY 2012, and a fully operational demonstration vehicle done by the end of 2013 or 2014. Re-use of some EFV systems might help meet those deadlines, but reliability issues make that a riskier strategy than it might otherwise be. A competition between contractors will give several of them 3-4 years to build their offerings, followed by a chosen ACV around 2020.

The USMC acknowledges that their desired schedule is aggressive, which often creates testing surprises, delays, and rising costs. Their acquisition strategy isn’t set in stone, but they seem to be leaning on multi-way competition and a drive-off to offset those risks, even as that format also complies with recent defense acquisition reform directives. They’d better hope it works, because $10 million was touted for the EFV part-way through the program – and another episode of ballooning costs and delays will cripple the Marines for a generation. Even if it does work, and costs are within budget, a $10-12 million per vehicle program would be a prime target for cuts if rising interest rates cause the USA to hit a fiscal wall.

More ominously, Kurt Koch, the combat vehicle capabilities integration officer for Fires and Maneuvers Integration Division, says “the ACV will be operationally mobile in the water, capable of ship-to-objective maneuver from over the horizon.” That’s the same requirement that doomed the EFV to be a super-expensive water taxi, that wouldn’t protect its crew against cannon fire, rockets, or the #1 killer in recent wars: land mine attacks.

Extend Me: the AAV7 SLEP

AAV7s, Somalia
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Until the ACV is ready, the Amtracs will soldier on. The AAV Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) aims to add better protection, a modern power-train, and higher capacity suspension components. Another gap in the current force is the current turret, which is unstabilized, and can’t be fired accurately on the move. Costs and scope are still under evaluation, but the goal is to run the AAV7 SLEP program from 2012-2021.

With the ACV not even slated to begin production until 2020, and even the MPC not slated to make a difference until 2018-2020, the AAV7 SLEP becomes critical to the corps. During the next decade, any serious problems in the Amtracs fleet could leave the US Marines in a difficult position indeed.

If AAV7 Amtracs had to be built new, the last AAV7 Amtracs were produced for Brazil in the 1990s. The cost range in those-year dollars was $2.2 – 2.5 million per vehicle. Without factoring in production restart costs (or any capability upgrades for the modern battlefield), that figure translates into about $3.5 million per vehicle in today’s dollars.

Complement Me: The MPC Marine Personnel Carrier

MPC concept
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The wheeled Marine Personnel Carrier program is really a replacement for the LAV fleet, and has always been seen as a separate budgeted item. The EFV program’s failure doesn’t change that, but it does mean that MPCs may end up performing some EFV roles. They may end up in a bigger substitution role if the ACV also sinks, or the USA’s slow-motion fiscal wreck starts hitting the interest rate wall, and drastic cuts follow. If so, tactical changes will follow, because MPCs won’t be designed to come ashore through surf, even in low-medium sea states.

MPCs are expected to cost up to $4.5 million each, with a buy decision in 2013 and Initial Operational Capability in 2018. Declared MPC competitors already include BAE Systems/ Iveco with their SUPERAV), and Lockheed Martin/Patria with their Patria AMV. The current incumbent, General Dynamics, won’t be sitting out. They’re expected t bid their Piranha-III, or similar vehicles.

Test Me: DARPA’s FANG

DARPA’s FANG. The Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation ground vehicle projects aims to develop a new heavy, amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) “with functional requirements intended to mirror the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle.”

That’s unusual. The approach is even more interesting, and unusual: “The contractor will stage a series of FANG challenges, prize-based design competitions for progressively more complex vehicle subsystems, culminating in the design of a full IFV.” DARPA has had good luck with competitions before, but they generally involve more than 1 vendor.

EFV: Contracts & Key Events

Unless otherwise indicated, all EFV program contracts are issued by US Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA to General Dynamics Amphibious Systems (GDAMS) in Woodbridge, VA.

FY 2015 – 2018

DARPA’s FANG.

December 10/18: Amphibious Combat Vehicles The US Marine Corps is buying new Amphibious Combat Vehicles for its troops. BAE is receiving an additional $140 million to build 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) and covers associated production efforts, fielding and support costs. The Corps’ will eventually replace its fleet of ageing AAVP7 Amtracs with 204 new ACVs at a cost of $1.2 billion. According to Naval Technology the ACV is a modern eight-wheeled amphibious armored personell carrier that can carry a crew of three with 13 embarked Marines. The vehicles feature has a blast-resistant V-shaped hull to withstand IED blasts. Its six-cylinder 700HP Cursor engine propel it to speeds of up to 10km/h at sea and up to 106 km/h at land. The ACV’s armament is yet unclear. The ACV’s armament will likely include a 40 mm grenade launcher and a .50 cal machine gun. The contract is payed for with FY 2019 Marine Corps procurement funds. Work will be performed at BAE’s factories in York, Pennsylvania and Aiken, South Carolina. Production of the new vehicles is expected to be completed in August 2020.

February 22/17: The Amphibious Combat Vehicle 1.1 by Science Applications International Corporation and BAE Systems for the USMC has been unveiled for the first time. Developed to replace an aging fleet of amphibious assault vehicles, the Marines will receive a total of 16 vehicles with deliveries to commence in March. The earlier stages of the ACV 1.1 production effort were stalled by a contract protest by General Dynamics after the company was defeated in the Marine Corps’ bidding process.

July 27/15: The Marine Corps is reportedly scheduled to downselect two designs for its Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) program in late 2015, with five designs currently on offer. The requirement calls for a 8×8 armored vehicle capable of transiting over open water as well as operate ashore. The five designs have been undergoing testing, with the USMC planning to progress the two downselected bids through a development phase.

May 25/15: BAE Systems has submitted a bid for the USMC’s Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) competition, with the company teaming with Italian firm Iveco Defence to develop the ACV 1.1 design.

FY 2012

DARPA’s FANG.

June 22/12: Industrial. The USMC won’t be moving a $16 million hull manufacturing line out of Lima, OH and over to Georgia just yet. The Army’s Joint Systems Manufacturing Center is run by General Dynamics, and the Marines will delay their decision until they compile a cost/benefit analysis of the proposed $19 million move ($6 million move + $13 million to restore the JSMC capability). It’s all part of a larger process:

“Following the Defense Department’s cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle Program, the Marine Corps began reviewing the future use of all EFV-associated equipment procured as part of that program. The JSMC was set to build the fighting vehicle, but now is using the hull machining equipment on other combat vehicles [DID: incl. Israeli Namer heavy APCs].”

June 19/12: Plan E – I’m the FANG. Ricardo, Inc. in Belleville, MI received a $9.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. This 12-month base period may be followed by 2 successive 12-month options, which could increase its value to $27.6 million. It will fund a research and development effort entitled “FANG (Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation) Ground Vehicle,” which aims to develop a new heavy, amphibious infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) “with functional requirements intended to mirror the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle.”

That’s unusual. The approach is even more interesting, and unusual: “The contractor will stage a series of FANG challenges, prize-based design competitions for progressively more complex vehicle subsystems, culminating in the design of a full IFV.” DARPA has had good luck with competitions before, but they generally involve more than 1 vendor.

Work will be performed in Belleville, MI (70.75%); Nashville, TN (13.38%); Atlanta, GA (9.26%); Brighton, MI (3.16%); San Antonio, TX (1.24%); and Troy, MI (2.21%). Work can run to June 17/15, with all options exercised. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency manages the contract (HR0011-12-C-0074).

FY 2011

EFV canceled. What now?

Beached.
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June 10/11: Aviation Week reports that the USMC is looking to cut its analysis of alternatives (AOA) for the EFV replacement from 18 months to 9, or even 6 months. Areas of interest include “habitability” inside the vehicle, added features like an artificial horizon, and reaching out to shipbuilders for a better hull design.

The good news is that the USMC is reaching to a logical and related industry for help. The bad news is that an appetite for more and more based on notional requirements, rather than cost-driven limits that may force rethinks of what one can expect, is what sank EFV in the first place. Further bad news? The USMC say they need 38 amphibious ships, and might make do with 33, but will get 29. That will push them toward a long-swimming IFV design, as a way of compensating at sea. The question is whether that will create fatal vulnerabilities on land, or whether the shipbuilding sector can offer an EFV idea that squares the circle.

March 22/11: Plans B, C & D. The USMC outlines the 3 different vehicle programs that will replace the responsibilities the EFV would have held: AAV7 life extension from 2012-2021, wheeled Marine Personnel Carrier in service from 2018, and an Amphibious Combat Vehicle EFV replacement entering production by 2020. See above for more details.

Jan 12/10: Inside Defense reports that the US Marine Corps will pursue 3 contracts, in the wake of the EFV’s cancellation.

The first, required response involves life extension for the existing AAVP7 Amtracs fleet. The 2nd response will be to accelerate the LAV-II replacement Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) program. Like its predecessor, MPC is required to have some amphibious capability, albeit less than the Amtracs. The 3rd response is the direct EFV replacment, currently known as the New Amphibious Vehicle (NAV) program.

Jan 6/11: Canceled. As part of a plan detailing $150 billion in service cuts and cost savings over the next 5 years, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announces the cancellation of the USMC’s Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV):

“This program is of great interest to the Marine community so I would like to explain the reasons… Meeting [its conflicting requirements] demands has… led to significant technology problems, development delays, and cost increases… already consumed more than $3 billion to develop and will cost another $12 billion to build – all for a fleet with the capacity to put 4,000 troops ashore. If fully executed, the EFV – which costs far more to operate and maintain than its predecessor – would essentially swallow the entire Marine vehicle budget and most of its total procurement budget for the foreseeable future… recent analysis by the Navy and Marine Corps suggests that the most plausible scenarios requiring power projection from the sea could be handled through a mix of existing air and sea systems employed in new ways along with new vehicles… the mounting cost of acquiring this specialized capability must be judged against other priorities and needs.

Let me be clear. This decision does not call into question the Marine’s amphibious assault mission. We will budget the funds necessary to develop a more affordable and sustainable amphibious tractor to provide the Marines a ship-to-shore capability into the future. The budget will also propose funds to upgrade the existing amphibious vehicle fleet with new engines, electronics, and armaments to ensure that the Marines will be able to conduct ship-to-shore missions until the next generation of systems is brought on line.”

Responding to the announcement, USMC Commandant Gen. James Amos said that:

“Despite the critical amphibious and warfighting capability the EFV represents, the program is simply not affordable given likely Marine Corps procurement budgets. The procurement and operations/maintenance costs of this vehicle are onerous. After examining multiple options to preserve the EFV, I concluded that none of the options meets what we consider reasonable affordability criteria. As a result, I decided to pursue a more affordable vehicle… Shortly, we will issue a special notice to industry requesting information relative to supporting our required amphibious capabilities.”

Finally, the Deteroit Free Press submits a note worth remembering when other program cancellations are discussed:

“Peter Keating, vice president of communications with General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, told the Free Press on Thursday morning that the elimination of the EFV would cost Michigan 5,444 direct jobs and 5,281 indirect jobs, according to a economic study the defense contractor had done last year. The Free Press contacted one of the experts who did the study – David Louscher, a former political science professor at the University of Akron, who said those numbers represented so-called “man years” over the course of the 14-year life of the program. In other words, each of those jobs equated to roughly a full time job for one year, or 766 over the course of the program.”

See: Gates’ full speech | a href=”http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4747″>Full Gates speech and Gates/Mullen Q&A transcript | Pentagon release | USMC statement || Defense Update | WIRED Danger Room | || Cato Institute | Lexington Institute || Atlanta Journal Constitution | The Atlantic | Bloomberg | Detroit Free Press | The Hill | NY Times | Politico | Stars and Stripes || Agence France Presse | BBC | Reuters | UK’s Telegraph | China’s Xinhua.

EFV Canceled

Nov 16/10: No Plan B. WIRED Danger Room says there is no Plan B for the EFV, which means the vehicle had better pass its tests by February 2011:

“After years of delays and cost overruns, Senate appropriators voted in September to put the $24-million-per-tank EFV program out to pasture if it can’t pass its final round of tests. The chairmen of the White House deficit commission marked it for termination in their cost-cutting proposal last week. At this point, the swimming tank is a pinata for defense reformers… But a September study from the Government Accountability Office [DID: sctually. the Congressional Research Service] found few alternatives to the swimming tank (.PDF). Either the Marines could continue to use their decades-old Amphibious Assault Vehicles, or they can modify their planned Marine Personnel Carrier for ship-to-shore operations. (One option for the carrier, GAO writes, is the Italian Supernav 8×8 tank, “a 24-ton vehicle that can carry 13 Marines and their equipment and can travel up to 500 miles nonstop on land and 40 miles on water.”) But the carrier won’t be ready until 2015 as it is.”

FY 2010

EFV may be canceled; GAO & CSBA dubious about the EFV.

Sept 17/10: Inside Defense reports that: “The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee has provided funding to cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program in its mark of the fiscal year 2011 defense budget.”

Sept 9/10: Carley Corp. in Orlando, FL wins a $35.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract to produce the EFV training system for USMC accession training, as well as for training fleet and reserve forces. The contract contains options that could boost it to $36 million. The training system will include several sub-systems: training courseware on a Learning Management System, simulators, devices, mockups, and training aids.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, and is expected to be complete by September 2015. This contract was a 100% small business set-aside posted in the Navy Electronic Commerce Office, with 3 offers received (M67854-10-C-0036).

Aug 24/10: Testimony. USMC Commandant Gen. James Conway defends the EFV capability, while distancing himself a bit from the current program. Defense Tech quotes him:

“It is not the platform it’s the capability… It’s not necessarily the EFV made by General Dynamics that goes 25 knots, its the capability that we need to be wed to… if that program were canceled outright we would still be looking to come up with that capability.”

He said the new batch of eight EFVs provided by General Dynamics for extensive testing are more reliable than the original prototypes and the Marines hope they’ll show marked improvement. “It has been a beleaguered program,” Conway said today at a Pentagon presser. “We are looking at affordability of the program in the out years… we have to ask ourselves are 573 (EFVs) affordable.”

Aug 19/10: Testing. The SDD-2 version of the EFV is undergoing testing at Camp Pendleton, CA, whose Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch (AVTB) at Camp Del Mar is well suited to the task. The team has also tested the EFV at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, and DoD facilities in Alaska and Hawaii. The AVTB is staffed by 53 Marines and 25 civilians who are currently conducting testing on 8 EFVs manufactured in Lima, OH.

The USMC release says that to date, more than 400 engineering design improvements have been implemented since AVTB became involved with testing the first EFV prototype in 2003. One is a “whale-tail” exhaust system that disperses heat down and outward from the vehicle, instead of straight upward. USMC.

July 9/10: Defense Tech reports:

“Yesterday at a reporter’s roundtable, House Armed Services Committee chair Rep. Ike Skelton said he expects SecDef Robert Gates and his merry band of program killers in OSD will try to terminate the Marine Corps armored amphibian, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). Skelton said he’s pretty agnostic on the EFV and that the HASC would give the Marines time to conduct further tests on the vehicle.”

See also Aviation Week | Reuters.

July 2/10: GAO still dubious. GAO Report #GAO-10-758R’s title understates its tone: “Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) Program Faces Cost, Schedule and Performance Risks” was provided to Rep. Norman D. Dicks [D-WA], n his role as Chairman of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee. Some excerpts:

“In 2006 we reviewed the EFV program to determine how it was performing… and reported that the program faced significant risks… In 2006 and 2007, the EFV business case broke down… The program was restructured in June 2007.” [With respect to SDD-2], Reliability growth approach and other performance issues present significant challenges and risks, [the] nature of development, test, and procurement schedules add unnecessary risk… Costs could increase due to concurrency, redesign effort, and final procurement quantity… [and the program’s] history of cost growth, schedule slips and performance failures and the current challenges (including changing threats) raise the question of whether the business case for the EFV program (in terms of cost, schedule, and performance) is still sound.”

The rest of their review is quite detailed and specific. It cites serious ongoing issues with capacity and weight, reliability, and maintainability, and sees the overlapping schedule for testing and early production as especially worthy of concern. See also Eric Palmer of DoD Watch.

May 4/10: Roll-out, Take 2. The USMC rolls out the SDD-2 EFV prototype at a ceremony, and continues to press their case for the vehicle amidst rumors of its cancellation at what turned into a mini pep rally for the vehicle and its supporters. Taking direct aim at some of the concerns raised recently by Defense Secretary Robert Gates that Marines may not need the EFV or that the vehicle could prove too costly, program and Marine Corps officials said the vehicle is exactly what they need to conduct operations from the sea. The EFV is meant to serve as a vehicle bridge for Marines, carrying them from Navy ships through the surf and sand and miles deep into enemy terrain. Program officials extolled the vehicle’s prowess and promise at a ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps here, with the museum’s unique skyline sculpture in the background and a newly minted prototype EFV in the foreground.”>Aviation Week Ares.

May 3/10: Gates’ grumps. US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates delivers a speech at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space Convention, in National Harbor, MD. It’s widely seen as casting doubt on the future of the EFV. Excerpts:

“The more relevant gap we risk creating is one between capabilities we are pursuing and those that are actually needed in the real world of tomorrow… Two major examples come to mind. First, what kind of new platform is needed to get large numbers of troops from ship to shore under fire – in other words, the capability provided by the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. No doubt, it was a real strategic asset during the first Gulf War to have a flotilla of Marines waiting off Kuwait City – forcing Saddam’s army to keep one eye on the Saudi border, and one eye on the coast. But we have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious landing again – especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore. On a more basic level, in the 21st century, what kind of amphibious capability do we really need to deal with the most likely scenarios, and then how much?

…And that bring me to the third and final issue: the budget… it is important to remember that, as the wars recede, money will be required to reset the Army and Marine Corps, which have borne the brunt of the conflicts. And there will continue to be long-term – and inviolable – costs associated with taking care of our troops and their families. In other words, I do not foresee any significant increases in top-line of the shipbuilding budget beyond current assumptions. At the end of the day, we have to ask whether the nation can really afford [the current force structure and platforms].”

March 30/10: GAO – what’s next? The US GAO audit office delivers its 8th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs report. With respect to the EFV, it cites a 132% jump in the program’s R&D budget from December 2000 – August 2009, a 45% rise in the procurement budget, and a 42.1% drop in planned orders. When you actually crunch those numbers, that means a 249.8% rise in per-vehicle procurement costs. With respect to the program’s structure:

“The EFV’s design will continue to evolve into low- rate initial production… until 2014 as it executes its reliability growth and testing strategy. The program is addressing 180 design actions raised during its critical design review in December 2008 and plans to incorporate many of them into seven new prototypes currently under construction… An operational assessment is scheduled for April 2011. At that time, the program expects to demonstrate on average at least 16 hours of operation between operational mission failures, which will keep the EFV on the reliability path needed to reach its minimum requirement of 43.5 hours. Additional testing and design revisions are scheduled to continue through the fourth lot of low-rate production, and the program will commit to all four low-rate production lots before conducting initial operational test and evaluation to validate the performance and reliability of the EFV.

…the program will introduce new friction-welding processes during low-rate production that are expected to increase the strength of the hull and reduce weight… The Marine Corps recently formalized the IED requirement for the EFV, but did not make it a key performance parameter… If the NBC system were removed, warfighters would still be protected using mission-oriented protective suits, which they currently use on the AAV-7 legacy platform. No decision has been made on this proposal, but it is being held as an option for later in the program.”

Feb 2010: USMC Commandant Gen. James Conway tells the House Armed Services Committee that the EFV performed “about the same” as a 6-wheeled, Category 2 MRAP blast-resistant vehicle in blast tests. A single EFV prototype was subjected to 4 blasts, including 2 that simulated land mines, without its additional armor kit installed.

What the reports don’t say is whether the blasts were set to the side, where the EFV’s protection is strong, or underbody blasts, where the EFV is expected to be weak. Caveat governor. Defense News | Gannett’s Marine Corps Times.

Dec 2/09: EG&G Technical Services, Inc. in Dumfries, VA receives a $5.7 million task order for EFV support services. “Technical support under this effort includes the support services to advance the use of technology to improve system performance and operations, achieve design-to-unit production cost objectives, and to define mature production and manufacturing processes.”

Work will be performed in Woodbridge, VA, and is expected to be complete in December 2010 (M67854-02-A-9011, #0087).

Dec 1/09: EG&G in Dumfries, VA receives a $5.2 million for task order for EFV support services to US Marine Corps Systems Command’s PM Advanced Amphibious Assault (PM AAA). “Technical support under this effort includes the support services to advance the use of technology to improve system performance and operations, achieve design-to-unit production cost objectives, and to define mature production and manufacturing processes.”

Work will be performed in Quantico, VA, and is expected to be complete in December 2009 (M67854-02-A-9011, #0070).

Dec 1/09: CSBA ix-nay. The non-partisan Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) issues a study that recommends cancelling the EFV in favor of an armored vehicle with beter land capabilities and less focus on independent water travel, which would be provided by hovercraft.

It also recommends scaling back MV-22 buys, in favor of a mix of MV-22s and more standard, less expensive helicopters. Aviation Week Ares.

FY 2008 – 2009

SDD program gets a full re-boot; Mine protection issues raised.

EFV, testing
(click to view full)

May 15/09: The EFV team conducts more EFV tests at the Potomac River training area just off the Quantico, VA. Work includes water maneuvering tests and a gunnery test of it 30mm Mk44 and 7.62mm M240 guns, and is taking place before field testing begins. USMC.

Aug 1/08: General Dynamics Land Systems, operating through its division General Dynamics Amphibious Systems in Woodbridge, VA receives a $766.8 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract that amounts to a reboot of the program. GDLS will redo the EFV, and produce 8 System Development and Demonstration 2 (SDD-2) Eprototypes. In addition, the contractor will modify existing EFV prototypes, procure preliminary spares and repair parts, order long lead materials for the SDD-2 prototypes, and conduct systems engineering, studies and analysis, logistics support and test support.

Work will be performed in VA (55%), IN (10%), MI (9%), Germany (9%), OH (4%), and various other states (13%), and is expected to be completed in September 2012. This contract was not competitively awarded. The Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA (M67854-08-C-0003). See also Defense News.

SDD re-boot

Jan 18/08: General Dynamics Amphibious Systems in Woodbridge, VA received an $12 million modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-05-C-0072) for the advanced procurement of long lead materials for Systems Development and Demonstration 2 phase of the EFV program.

Work will be performed in Michigan (37%), Indiana (20%), Arizona (13%), Maryland (5%), Louisiana (3%), Florida (2%), Mississippi (2%), New Jersey (2%), New York (2%), Ohio (2%), and Germany (12%), and is expected to be completed by November 2009.

Jan 17/08: General Dynamics Amphibious Systems (GDAMS) in Woodbridge, VA received a $19.5 million modification under a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (M67854-01-C-0001) for the spares material under the systems development and demonstration phase of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program.

Work is expected to be completed by September 2008, and will be performed in Woodbridge, Va., (24.654%); Indianapolis, IN (18.727%); Muskegon, MI (11.437%); Salisbury, MD (3.234%); Spokane, WA (2.669%); Anniston, AL (2.625%); Lapeer, MI (2.612%); Tallahassee, FL (2.581%); Broomfield, CO (2.368%); Slidell, LA (2.045%); Houghton, MI (1.994%); Tuscon, AZ (1.772%); Springfield, VA (1.647%); Black Mountain, NC. (1.619%); Minneapolis, MN (1.345%); Duluth, GA (1.241%); San Diego, CA (1.223%); Tempe, AZ (1.123%); Plainview, NY (1.12%); Ottawa, Canada (1.875%); Freidrichshafen, Germany (0.988%); Calgary, Canada (0.144%); and several other locations within the United States, each with %ages lower than 1% (totaling 10.957%). The contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Jan 9/08: The US House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee is casting a skeptical bipartisan eye on the EFV program. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD, ranking subcommittee minority member] spoke to Inside the Navy after speaking at a conference in Arlington, VA. According to information released by his office, he and subcommittee chair Gene Taylor [D-MS] have ‘a lot of serious questions’ about the idea for additional applique armor to help remedy the EFV’s poor resistance to mines. The idea itself was spawned in reaction to the subcommittee’s pointed questions re: the EFV and its lack of resistance to IED land mines. Congressman Bartlett:

“…they would get a really thin, strong Marine who could scoot underneath that thing, because there’s only about 18 inches of ground clearance, and he would bolt on an applique of some special aluminum which would now protect them… the enemy has to be very cooperative and not shoot them while they’re affixing the armor applique, and that the Marines have to find hard terrain free of mines to do this re-jiggering [the USMC] told us that they would know that the beach wasn’t mined. I said, ‘If you can know the beach was not mined, how come our people in Iraq can’t figure out whether the road is mined or not’?”

Oct 22/07: A $10 million contract modification to previously awarded contract M67854-01-C-0001 to develop an alternative drivetrain subsystem preliminary design for the continuation of Systems Development and Demonstration phase of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program. Work will be performed in Augsburg, Germany (81%), Friedrichshafen, Germany (1%) and Woodbridge, VA (18%) and is expected to be complete by April 2008.

FY 2007

Program problems push the government toward competing the EFV going-forward; Revised costs & budgets as price climbs.

Pushing hard
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Aug 22/07: The Pentagon releases its Selected Acquisition Reports for the June 2007 reporting period, and the EFV program is listed:

“The SAR was submitted to report schedules slips of approximately two years since the December 2006 SAR. In February 2007, the program experienced a critical Nunn-McCurdy unit cost breach due primarily to system reliability challenges and a quantity reduction. The department certified a revised program to Congress in June 2007. Program costs increased $4,069.4 million (+34.2 percent) from $11,902.7 million to $15,972.1 million.”

DID’s follow-on article “Costing the Marines’ EFV” explains what’s going on, delving into current and past program cost growth, why it happened, and what it means for the price per vehicle. The short answer is that each EFV will cost $16-21 million.

$21 million per?!?

Aug 15/07: A $15.5 million modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-01-C-0001) for System Integration Laboratory Hardware, during the SDD phase of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program. Work will be performed in Woodbridge, VA (45%); Tallahassee, FL (30%); Lima, OH (20%); and Scranton, PA (5%). Work is expected to be complete by September 2008.

On the beach
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Aug 1/07: In reply to the July 12/07 Jane’s article, the EFV program office had this to say to DID:

“We plan to compete future contracts for certain EFV program efforts, where feasible, to increase performance or reduce program costs. However, General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has been the sole EFV vehicle designer and developer since 1996 and as a result, the main design development and production efforts are planned as sole source to GDLS because no other firm can perform the requirements of development and production without substantial duplication of cost and additional, unacceptable delays to the EFV program.

GDLS has taken positive action to demonstrate their commitment to the EFV program and improve the probability of success in meeting EFV program requirements. GDLS implemented a major reorganization in early 2007 to transfer technical expertise to the EFV program and to align Director-level technical positions with their parent company, GDLS in Sterling Heights, MI.

In Jan 07, GDLS transferred their best Systems Engineer from GDLS to Woodbridge, VA to be the Director of Systems Engineering for the EFV program. In addition, they created a Director of Programs position and appointed a senior GDLS employee with proven success on numerous Defense programs to the position. GD then aligned key EFV positions with their corporate organization to provide corporate expertise and continuity across Defense programs. This included instituting a direct reporting relationship for the EFV SE Director to the GDLS Senior Director for SE and for the EFV Technical Director to the GDLS Senior Vice-President for Engineering Design & Development (ED&D).”

July 31/07: A $6.2 million modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-01-C-0001). It covers sustaining program management, as well as technical and engineering support for the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) Drive train components, during the extended Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the EFV program. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN and work is expected to be completed by September 2008.

July 17/07: A $10.6 million modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-01-C-0001) for the sustaining equipment manufacturing, technical, and engineering efforts in support of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) engine, during the extended Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the of the EFV program.

Work will be performed in Woodbridge, VA (12%) and Friedrichshafen, Germany (88%) and is expected to be complete by September 2008.

July 12/07: Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the USMC will consider alternative designs for the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and plans to compete out future components of the $2.3 billion EFV contract currently solely held by General Dynamics. “The news follows continued scrutiny of the programme by the US Congress, which has sharply questioned the EFV’s flat-bottomed design, cost over-runs and production problems.”

Rep. Gene Taylor [D-MS], Chair of the House Armed Services Seapower & Expeditionary Forces subcommittee, is reportedly seeking legal opinions re: ownership of the vehicle design, in order to determine whether the EFV project could be turned over to another firm if Congress’ patience snaps.

June 8/07: A $5.7 million modification to previously awarded contract M67854-01-C-0001 for the redesign of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, using an alternate architecture in place of Spraycool technology, during the Systems Development and Demonstration phase. SprayCool will be kept for the more computing-intensive EFV-C command variant, but is being designed out of the infantry carrier vehicle in favor of a more modular architecture. This is bad news for SprayCool Corp., who touted their liquid cooling system for electronics in a success story release:

“In 2000, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), being developed at that time as the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV), was experiencing significant difficulties in their command and control electronics suite due to overheating. Moreover, the program office realized that this problem would only get worse as their C4I roadmap called for more electronics, increasing the number of software programs, and numerous technology insertions of faster processors to transfer the required data.

By chance the program manager for the Command Variant of the EFV saw a SprayCool Technology demonstration and consulted with SprayCool. Using a Small Business Innovative Research contract and funding from DARPA, SprayCool built a prototype multi-processor unit, called the Command and Control Server (CCS). This prototype solved the overheating conditions and has evolved into the heart of the EFV’s electronic suite where it links ten operating stations with information from the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, Command and Control Operations (C2PC for situational awareness), Intelligence Operations System, and other C4I SR (command, control, communications, and computers intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) systems.

In developing the Multi-Processor Unit (MPU) for the Marine Corps, SprayCool won the Department of Defense Value Engineering Award for 2003 by enabling Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) technology insertions, saving the Marines over $350 million dollars over a thirty year life span.”

Work on finding a replacement cooling approach will be performed in Woodbridge, VA (34.2%), Spokane, WA (20.7%), Colorado Springs, CO (14.6%), Tallahassee, FL (11.5%), Calgary, Canada (9.5percent), Ottawa, Canada (4.2%), Los Angeles, CA (2.1%), Salisbury, MD (2.0%) and Sterling Heights, MI (1.2%) and is expected to be complete by September 2008. Contract funds in the amount of $3.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

May 2/07: House Appropriation Committee chair Henry Waxman submits formal requests to Secretary of Defense Gates and to General Dynamics Land Systems President David K. Heebner. He requests a long list of reports, assessments, and other documentation related to the EFV, by May 18/07, while citing several reports the program’s ongoing difficulties. House Appropriations Committee | Full Letter to DoD [PDF] | Full letter to General Dynamics Land Systems [PDF].

April 30/07: A $43.8 million contract modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-01-C-0001) for spares and material for the continuation of Systems Development and Demonstration phase of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program.

Work will be performed in Germany (38.61%); Michigan (13.38%); Indiana (7.56%); Virginia (6.04%); Colorado (5.37%); Florida (4.61%); California (4.2%); Canada (4.26%); Maryland (3.94%); Washington (3.72%); Arizona (2.52%); North Carolina (2.49%); Louisiana (2.21%); New York (0.27%); South Carolina (0.24%); Massachusetts (0.20%); Missouri (0.19%); Minnesota (0.16%); and Pennsylvania (0.02%); and is expected to be complete by September 2007.

March 19/07: A $144 million modification to previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (M67854-01-C-0001) on Mar. 16, 2007, for design for reliability efforts for the continuation of Systems Development and Demonstration phase of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program. In other words, this money will be used to address the reliability issues covered in “The US Marines’ EFV Program: Current State Report, November 2006“,” in order to get the EFV to a point where it’s ready for low-rate production.

Work will be performed in Woodbridge, VA (40%), Indianapolis, Ind., (24%), Sterling Heights, MI (10%), Friedrichshafen, Germany, (10%), and various other states (16%), and is expected to be complete by September 2008.

FY 2006 and Earlier

Initial EFV SDD contract, and add-ons.

Waterjets on!
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May 25/06: An $18.8 million cost-reimbursable modification under a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (M67854-01-C-0001) for the continuation of Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program. Work will be performed in Woodbridge, VA (50%); Aberdeen, MD (25%); and Camp Pendleton, CA (25%).

April 3/06: A $44.4 million cost-reimbursable addition modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-01-C-0001) for the continuation of Systems Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program. GDAMS will provide all required materials, services, personnel and facilities to complete the design and development of the EFV, perform studies and analyses, manufacture and test all SDD prototypes, prepare for production, initiate logistics support of the EFV, and successfully complete the SDD phase.

Work will be performed in Woodbridge, VA (38%); Camp Pendleton, CA (22%); Sterling Heights, MI (21%); Aberdeen, MD (9%), and undetermined location(s) (10%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009.

July 22/05: A $42.9 million cost-reimbursable addition to a previously awarded contract (N67854-01-C-0001) to extend the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle’s systems development and demonstration (SDD) phase. Full-up system live fire testing will be included. General Dynamics will provide all required materials, services, personnel and facilities to complete the design and development of the EFV, perform studies and analyses, manufacture and test all SDD prototypes, prepare for production, initiate logistics support of the EFV, and successfully complete the SDD phase.

Work will be performed in Virginia (21.22%); Indiana (12.47%); Germany (10.47%); Michigan (8.87%); North Carolina (6.81%); California (5.31%); Ohio (5.21%); Washington (5.20%); Maryland (4.38%); Minnesota (4.38%); Colorado (2.95%); Canada (2.53%); Illinois (2.37%); Arizona (1.07%); New York (0.87%); Alabama (0.54%); Florida (0.48%); Georgia (0.14%); Texas (0.13%); and undetermined (4.61%). Work is expected to be completed by September 2009.

Nov 1/04: A $136 million cost-reimbursable addition modification under previously awarded contract M67854-01-C-0001 for the continuation of system development and demonstration (SDD) phase of the expeditionary fighting vehicle (EFV) program. GDAMS will provide all required materials, services, personnel and facilities to complete the design and development of the EFV, perform studies and analyses, manufacture and test all SDD prototypes, prepare for production, initiate logistics support of the EFV, and successfully complete the SDD phase.

This contract was not competitively procured. Work will be performed in Woodbridge, VA (59.02%); Indianapolis, IN (10.43%); Lima, OH (1.94%); Liberty Lake, WA (1.64%); Sterling Heights, MI (1.46%); Scranton, PA (1.38%); Linthicum, MD (1.20%); Tempe, AZ (1.18%); Arlington, VA (0.78%); Pittsfield, MA (0.69%); San Diego, CA (0.55%); Tallahassee, FL (0.53%); Frederick, MD (0.43%); El Centro, CA (0.37%); Muskegon, MI (0.02%);and Freidrichshafen, Germany (15.61%); Ottawa, Canada (1.82%); and Calgary, Canada (0.95%). Work is expected to be complete by September 2008.

EFV on land
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Feb 10/03: $15.9 million under a previously awarded cost-reimbursable contract (M67854-01-C-0001), exercising an option for the Live Fire Test Vehicle and initial spares for the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV).

Work will be performed in Woodbridge, Va. (30.9%); Indianapolis, Ind. (6.4%); Freidrichshafen, Germany (5.8%); Muskegon, Mich. (4.6%); Tempe, Ariz. (4.6%); Tallahassee, Fla. (4.1%); Scranton, Pa. (4.1%); Lima, Ohio (3.1%); Slidell, La. (2.2%); Lapeer, Mich. (2.2%); Boulder, Colo. (1.9%); Hebron, Ohio (1.9%); McKinney, Texas (1.9%); Boca Raton, Fla. (1.4%); Ottawa, Canada (1.3%); Jacksonville, Mich. (1.3%); Imperial Valley, Calif. (1.2%); East Aurora, N.Y. (1.1%); Tuscon, Ariz. (0.9%); Frederick, Md. (0.8%); Wayne, N.J. (0.8%); Calgary, Canada, (0.8%); Anniston, Ala. (0.7%); Clarkston, Wash. (0.6%); San Diego, Calif. (0.4%); Westbury, N.Y. (0.4%); Marlboro, Md. (0.2%); Sterling Heights, Mich. (0.1%); and all other states (14.3%). Work is expected to be completed by June 2005.

July 3/01: A $712 million cost-reimbursable contract for the systems development and demonstration (SDD) (formerly engineering and manufacturing development) phase of the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) as part of the SDD phase. Under this procurement, two different types of vehicles will be developed and demonstrated, the Personnel variant (AAAV (P)) and the Command and Control variant (AAAV (C )). The AAAV is a replacement system for the current AAV7A1 that was fielded in 1972, underwent a major service life extension program and product improvement program from 1983 to 1993 and will be over 30 years old when the AAAV is fielded.

Work will be performed in Woodbridge, Va. (57.4%); Freidrichshafen, Germany (5.1%); Indianapolis, Ind. (5.1%); Tallahassee, Fla. (3.1%); Calgary, Canada (2.2%); Tempe, Ariz. (2.0%); Sterling Heights, Mich. (1.9%); Scranton, Pa. (1.9%); Muskegon, Mich. (1.8%); Lima, Ohio (1.7%); Imperial Valley, Calif. (1.5%); Clarkston, Wash. (1.4%); Boulder, Colo. (1.0%); Frederick, Md. (0.7%); Anniston, Ala. (0.5%); Upper Marlboro, Md. (0.5%); Arlington, Va. (0.5%); Lapeer, Mich. (0.5%); Reston, Va. (0.5%); Springfield, Va. (0.5%); East Aurora, N.Y. (0.4%); Ottawa, Canada (0.4%); McKinney, Texas (0.4%); Hebron, Ohio (0.4%); Tucson, Ariz. (0.2%); San Diego, Calif. (0.3%); Acton, Mass. (0.3%); Ottawa, Canada (0.2%); Boca Raton, Fla. (0.2%); Bettendorf, Iowa (0.2%); Chicago, Ill. (0.2%); Israel (0.2%); Wayne, N.J. (0.2%); and all other states (6.4%) and is expected to be completed in September 2006. This contract was not competitively procured (M67854-01-C-0001).

SDD contract

April 5/01: General Dynamics Land Systems, Woodbridge, VA, under their subsidiary General Dynamics Amphibious Systems, is being awarded a $6 million modification to previously awarded contract (M67854-01-C-0001) for long-lead material for the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) as part of the systems development and demonstration phase. The work will be performed in Woodbridge, Va. (40%), Lima, Ohio (20%), Tallahassee, Fla. (15%), Muskegon, Mich. (10%), Scranton, Pa. (10%), and Imperial Valley, Calif. (5%) and is expected to be completed by June 2001 (M67854-01-C-0001).

Footnotes

fn1. Remote Weapons Systems turrets like the RCWS-30 equipping the Czech Army’s river-amphibious Pandur II APC fleet were considered at the program’s outset, but they had not developed to their present capability levels. In addition, Col. Brogan noted that Remote Weapons Systems made crew nausea issues worse during amphibious testing. Money has not been allocated for current studies, the design is well advanced, and the EFV office has no plans to recommend reconsideration.

fn2. The GAO estimates $12.3 million per vehicle. See GAO report item in the “Additional Readings & Sources” section for deeper background.

Appendix A: Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle – The Program

Previous timeline
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The US Marines originally hoped to replace 1,322 AAV7s with 1,013 EFVs: 935 EFV-P Personnel Variants, and 78 EFV-C Command Variants. Initial Operating Capability (IOC) was supposed to happen in 2010, and was defined as a platoon of 13 EFV-P and 1 EFV-C vehicle, ready for Marine Expeditionary Unit deployment workups, including the associated support and sustainment package. Plus a 2nd EFV platoon delivered and in New Equipment Training. Plus a 3rd EFV platoon in production. Full Rate Production was scheduled for the FY 2011-2020 period. Full Operational Capability (FOC) was scheduled for FY 2020.

It eventually became clear that 2010 wouldn’t even see the end of testing, and IOC was a long way away at FY 2017 or so, if everything went well. Even Low-Rate Initial Production wasn’t expected until FY 2013 – assuming that testing didn’t reveal additional problems, and the program survived that long. Which it did not.

The EFV nevertheless remained the Corps’ top land combat priority, right up until its cancellation by the Marine Corps – with a very hard push from the Pentagon. EFV budgets in recent years have included:

FY 2005: $291.7 million ($239.2M R&D, $52.5M procurement)
FY 2006: 272.7 million ($243.9M R&D, $28.8M procurement)
FY 2007: $348.7 million (all shifted to RDT&E following testing issues and cuts)
FY 2008 req.: $288.2M RDTE (Research, Development, Testing, & Evaluation)
FY 2009: $256.0M RDT&E
FY 2010: $292.2M RDT&E
FY 2011 request: $242.8M RDT&E, but the program was shut down.

The danger signs began when the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review resulted in a significant cut to the USMC’s EFV plans, as the service considered their total package of ground vehicles, and the schedule has foundered in the wake of serious performance and reliability problems. In contrast, blast-resistant wheeled patrol vehicles appears to have made large gains within the envisioned force mix, per the MRAP program etc.

Muddy ground
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Then, there were the EFV’s costs.

In 2000, the EFV program was expected to cost about $7.3 billion, including $1.6 billion for research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E). By 2006, that figure had risen to $12.5 billion, including $2.5 billion for RDT&E. At 1,013 EFVs, the final cost per vehicle had grown to $10.1 million[2] – but even this figure was true if, and only if, all planned vehicles were bought. By August 2009, the program’s estimated cost was $14.29 billion, including $3.74 billion in RDT&E; and this 14 billion dollar figure was so despite a 42.1% cut in the expected order, to just 593 EFVs. Overall, the cost per vehicle has risen almost 250% from its December 2000 baseline.

In a 2006 discussion, the program office estimated that a cutback to 573 vehicles could increase costs by up to $2 million per vehicle, to $12-13 million. Other reports have placed the cost as high as $17 million average.

Why is this? Much of it is a factor of the vehicle’s requirements. A 20 knot plus water speed, with that much carrying capacity, plus even a questionable level of protection on land, is a contradictory set of imperatives that creates a very expensive vehicle. Some of the cost jump a product of the vehicle’s rising complexity, as it gets redesigned. Some of it is also self-inflicted, and stems from cuts in the program.

Buying fewer vehicles means that the R&D is paid for and vehicles are bought earlier in the production learning curve, when the cost higher. If fewer vehicles are also bought over the same time frame, then fixed costs per vehicle increase for that reason as well. The EFV program office’s preliminary analysis showed that a reduction to 800 vehicles would raise the final average cost per vehicle by at least $1 million.

Of course, costs that rise during the R&D/SDD phase tend to lead to more production reductions, and the whole scenario can spiral very quickly. In an attempt to avoid that spiral, the EFV Program Office tried a number of improved project management techniques and procurement innovations. It was hoped that these efforts would help keep the program on its current schedule, and they did help. What they can never do, is fix a fundamental requirements set problem if one exists, or completely remove the unexpected surprises from a difficult technical journey.

Sunset battle
(click to view full)

In the end, however, the biggest killer was issues with EFV performance, as detailed in test results and GAO reports.

Full up EFV System Level Lethality testing began with an Operational Assessment between January-September 2006. Milestone C approval was expected to be followed by low-rate initial production (LRIP) vehicles in FY 2007 – 2008 for use during Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). Unfortunately, the assessment revealed some serious issues with performance, capacity, and reliability.

LRIP production was delayed while the program was restructured, and the problems were not confined to just one sub-system, or just a few. In the end, the vehicle kept its basic outline, but got a major makeover that is still in progress.

The first step was a Design For Reliability phase, followed by what is in effect a do-over of the Systems Design & Development phase (SDD-2). Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) was delayed from 2008 until FY 2013 or so. Initial Operational Capability, meanwhile, was pushed from the original 2010 to 2016-2017 at the earliest.

As risky as that was, the US GAO cited an additional risk of overlap. EFV testing wasn’t supposed to be done until the end of FY 2014, but LRIP would start before that’s done. With up to 96 vehicles planned under the 4 LRIP production lots, problems discovered in late testing could become very expensive retrofits very quickly.

This schedule, and the growing risk of EFV program cancellation,made it clear that further upgrades and/or life-extension programs may be required for the AAV7 Amtracs fleet, in order to keep the heavily-used vehicles available to the Marines until replacements do arrive. During that interim, any serious problems in the Amtracs fleet could leave the US Marines in a difficult position indeed.

Appendix B: Additional Readings & Sources EFV Data

Official Reports

Other Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Eurofighter’s Rough Ride in Austria Continues

Defense Industry Daily - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 04:54

Austrian Typhoons
w. IRIS-T missiles
(click to view full)

In 2003, Austria signed a EUR 2 billion contract to receive 18 EADS Eurofighters plus required support (just over $2.5 billion, or about $140 million per plane). The aircraft were already under construction in Germany when the 2006 election results forced the leftist SPO party, whose campaign promises included canceling the fighter deal, into the Austrian government coalition.

That shift led to a fraught series of negotiations within Austria, and then with EADS. The 2 sides played a game of billion-dollar chicken, leading to a settlement in 2007. The Eurofighter’s rough ride in Austria seemed to be over with delivery of the 15th and final aircraft in 2009, but controversies continue.

Contracts and Key Events

Airborne.
(click to view full)

Grandiose statements from the SPO immediately after the 2006 election were followed by a quick crash back to reality, as the mathematics of the electoral results asserted themselves. Eventually, a grand coalition government was formed that pledged to resume negotiations with EADS, after a response from Eurofighter GmbH set Austria’s cost of cancellation at EUR 1.2 billion in return for zero aircraft.

While those negotiations continued, the first Austrian Eurofighter flew, #2 was rolled out, #3-6 were in final assembly, and the rest kept advancing into partial assembly.

Eventually, a EUR 1.63 billion compromise was set for 15 Tranche 1, Block 5 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters and support services. Germany is a key source of support and training, allowing the Austrians to use their infrastructure and facilities.

2018

 

A380 escorts
(click to view full)

December 10/18: What will it be? The Austrian government is currently debating the future of the country’s air force. Austrian newspaper Die Presse reports that the coalition government is split over whether to keep its fleet of Eurofighter Tranche 1 Block 5 fighter aircraft or replace them with new Saab Gripen jets. Austria is currently in a legal battle with the Eurofighter consortium, accusing them of fraud and wilful deception in connection with the $2 billion, 12 unit plane order signed in 2003. The conservatives prefer to keep the Eurofighters, whereas the Freedom Party prefers to replace the planes. Die Presse notes that both options would cost about the same, and adds that keeping the jets will also require various upgrades and new weapon systems. Austria’s MoD is currently plagued by a declining budget but needs to replace its ageing aircraft fleet, upcoming purchases may include new helicopters and Leonardo’s M-345.

2014

June 20/14: Going to broke. Austria continues to cut their defense budget, with planned reductions to 0.5% of GDP that may leave them with almost no air force. Austria’s Kurier pegs flight-hour costs for Austria’s Eurofighters at an astonishing EUR 70,000, and says that the budget will force the jets to cancel quick-reaction exercises, and operate the planes only from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.

In addition, agreements would be required with Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, in order to coordinate air policing by allowing other nations’ aircraft to overfly Austria. The question is whether they will be interested, given their own tight budgets. Hungary already has an agreement with Slovenia, but they only have 14 jets. The Czech air force isn’t any bigger, and Slovakia can’t help. Switzerland’s own air force can’t operate around the clock, and recently had to depend on the French and Italians to deal with a highjacked jet that landed in their country. The failure of their recent fighter referendum leaves them in a position where they need to conserve remaining flight hours in their F/A-18C/D Hornets.

If the de facto result of this policy is to partially cede Austrian air sovereignty to Germany, is that really a politically wise move? A second-loop question might also ask whether picking a fighter known to have high operating expenses was a good idea for Austria in the first place. Sources: Austria Kurier, “Ungarische Gripen sollen Wien sichern”.

May 15/14: Going to broke. SPO Party Defence Minister Gerald Klug admits that the army “is no longer financially viable” at a total budget of EUR 1.948 billion, which includes EUR 1.3 billion in personnel costs. Vehicles are being impounded, helicopters are running into trouble, and even deployments to flooded areas are being delayed as the Army looks to rent civilian vehicles.

Meanwhile, the air force has only 12 pilots for its 15 Eurofighters. The problem is that they have to maintain flying qualifications, and there are only enough flight hours to keep 12 pilots qualified. Others have reportedly been redeployed into the Army as simulator instructors. sources: Austria’s The Local, “Austrian army ‘going broke'” and “Only 12 pilots for 15 Eurofighter jets”.

2009 – 2013

 

Coming and Going
(click to view full)

Oct 23/13: Upgrades. Eurofighter GmbH announces that Austria’s Eurofighter Typhoons “now have the latest capability standard for Tranche 1 aircraft,” but it isn’t clear what that means.

The Typhoon’s Phase 1 Enhancements include full integration of the LITENING III surveillance & targeting pod, the ability to use dual-mode GPS/laser guided smart bombs, IFF mode 5, and the ability to use the HMSS helmet-mounted display for ground attack. On the other hand, it won’t be ready for customers before the end of 2013, and and requires Tranche 2 fighters. Austria is already done with their upgrade. Eurofighter gave meaningless details, which amount to “some new hardware and software were installed.” Sources: Eurofighter GmbH, “Austrian Eurofighters equipped with latest capability standard for Tranche 1 aircraft” and “Increased operational capabilities for Eurofighter Typhoon”.

Sept 19/13: Investigation. Format magazine reports that in July 2013, Austrian police searched the Voelklermarkt offices of US-based automotive supplier Dana Holding Corp, as part of Austria’s investigation of EADS over the Eurofighter sale. German prosecutors say EADS paid at least EUR 50 million (around $67 million) in bribes to Austrian officials, but they’re going to have to prove that. Sources: Reuters, “Austrian police search Dana offices in Eurofighter investigation: report”.

Nov 12/12: Corruption scandal. Austrian police have raided the home of Frank Walter P., whose companies were involved in the Eurofighter deal under the aegis of industrial offsets. Many are in fact just shell companies, and there is now suspicion that the firms were a vector for bribes to Austrian politicians. The allegation on the warrant translates as “collective bribery in coincidence with aggravated breach of trust,” in connection with up to EUR 113.5 million in funds placed with a variety of firms.

The arrangement began to unravel when Italian police arrested Gianfranco Lande for a Ponzi scheme that scammed the Calabrian mafia. He wouldn’t discuss the mafia, but he needed protection, so he told investigators that he had created a complex web of companies for a large corporation in Germany, with (now defunct) London-based Vector Aerospace LLP at its center. Lande also named individuals at EADS. One question involves how far the scandal will reach into EADS, and whether it will trigger the resignation of CEO Tom Enders.

Appendix A-8 of the classified agreement reportedly contains the terms that revolve around Article 304 of the Austrian Criminal Code, which prohibits bribes paid directly or by 3rd parties. Would proven bribes invalidate the contract? If so, the planes could be returned to EADS, and Austria’s payment could be refunded. It’s very likely that the government would prefer some sort of re-negotiation, anyway, instead of removing all of Austria’s fighters and being forced to start deal negotiations again. Der Spiegel.

Bribery scandal

Feb 17/10: The Austrian Bundesheer responds to a range of allegations, including allegations that its Eurofighter force suffers from low availability. The key question appears to revolve around the meaning of “einsatzbereit,” which could translate as “mission ready”, but seems here to mean “ready for launch.”

What the Bundesheer says is that it doesn’t make military or economic sense to keep all 15 Eurofighters “einsatzarbeit”, as air policing duties require just 2 planes plus a replacement fighter at the ready. The release cites the World Economic Forum in Davos, which had 2 aircraft in the air at all times, and involved 10 Eurofighters “ständig einsatzbereit.” OK, fine. But what’s the readiness rate if the others are called upon? Austrian Bundesheer [in German].

Feb 16/10: Fender bender. An Austrian Eurofighter has a minor mishap on landing, which is expected to cost EUR 15,000. The plane was coming in for an emergency landing, when its landing gear finally deployed. That was the good news. The bad news is that the rear arrester hook was extended as part of the emergency landing process, and slammed back into the fuselage after it hit the runway. Krone | Aviation Week.

Sept 24/09: Eurofighter delivers the 15th and final aircraft ordered by the Austrian Armed Forces, as the aircraft is rolled out from the EADS Defence & Security Manching assembly line, located close to Munich, Germany.

Logistics and training support under the 2003 contract helped the Austrian Air Force begin operational air policing missions by June 2008 – just 11 months after delivery of the first Eurofighter. Since the first Typhoon entered service, Eurofighter GmbH says that the aircraft have flown more than 1,100 flying hours from the Air Surveillance Wing’s home base in Zeltweg, Austria. Eurofighter GmbH.

All 15 delivered

July 21/09: Eurofighter Typhoons in service with the Air Surveillance Wing of Osterreichische Luftstreitkrafte, Austria’s Joint Armed Forces Command, have reached the 1,000 flying hours milestone. The Uberwachungsgeschwader (overwatch squadron) has received 12 aircraft to date, and delivery of the remaining 3 is planned during the coming months. Eurofighter GmbH.

2007 – 2008

 

Under construction
(click to view full)

July 1/08: Austrian Eurofighter Typhoons formally take over the protection of Austrian airspace under the leadership of the Joint Armed Forces Command, Graz, and the Air Surveillance Command, Wals, of the Austrian military. The fighters have been active before this date, most notably patrolling the skies over the Austrian host stadiums during the Euro 2008 soccer championships. Eurofighter GmbH.

Sept 13/07: The 2nd Austrian Eurofighter is delivered and arrives at Zeltweg Air Base. Eurofighter GmbH.

July 12/07: The first Eurofighter Typhoon is delivered to the Osterreichische Luftstreitkrafte at its new home base at Zeltweg air base, Austria. AS001 is the 125th Eurofighter Typhoon to be delivered to all customers.

Meanwhile, the first flight of Typhoon AS002 took place at EADS Military Air Systems at Manching on 09 July 2007, while aircraft AS003 – AS006 are in final assembly at EADS in Manching, Germany. Eurofighter GmbH.

June 26/07: The Eurofighter consortium of of Alenia Aeronautica, BAE Systems, EADS CASA and EADS Deutschland reaches agreement with the Government of Austria. Instead of 18 aircraft, Austria will receive 15 Eurofighters with latest capability standard of Tranche 1. There will also be “a price reduction on the negotiated in-service Support Contract that has not been signed yet,” probably coupled with training cutbacks to reduce the need for service.

The price reduction on the contract is EUR 370 million, leaving the contract at about EUR 1.63 billion. Eurofighter GmbH announcement.

Note that most recent Eurofighter version is Tranche 2, scheduled for delivery beginning in 2008. Tranche 1 jets are mostly air superiority fighters, unless additional equipment is added or retrofitted. Eurofighter GmbH’s reference to “equipment standard strictly meeting the requirement for air surveillance” seems to imply that these upgrades will not be present, thus restricting Austria’s Eurofighters to combat air patrol until/unless the political dynamic changes and modifications are made in a future contract.

Austrian settlement

May 6/07: Austria’s Defence Minister says that Eurofighter GmbH has broken off talks, and threatens unilateral cancellation. EADS says it merely canceled the next negotiating session, after a parliamentary inquiry panel indicated it wanted to complete its investigation before further talks were held. Lots of sturm und drang. Not a lot of substance. See translated and annotated release at defence-aerospace.

AS001 rollout
(click to view full)

March 21/07: Eurofighter GmbH announces a successful flight for the first production Austrian Eurofighter. AS001, Austrian Air Force designation 7L+WA, is a Block 5 standard aircraft, representing the last build standard of Tranche 1 (Block 5). Austria is supported in the acceptance process by the German Ministry of Defence, which flies the Eurofighter and is handling all acceptance testing and related process. Eurofighter adds this update re: program status, which bears directly on contract cancellation expenses:

“The second aircraft for Austria, AS002, was rolled out only a few days earlier and is now undergoing final checks before engine runs and the addition of Air Force colour scheme to the aircraft. First flight is scheduled for April 2007. AS003 through to AS006 are in Final assembly, while the major components for AS007 through to AS018 are in production. The training simulator has been installed at Zeltweg, the Main Operating Base (MOB) of the Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons, and first flights in the simulator have been achieved. This training device is currently undergoing an upgrade to the software, allowing for a greater capability in aircrew training.”

Under the terms of the contract, Austria will receive 18 aircraft, and deliveries are scheduled to be completed in 2009. Eurofighter GmbH CEO, Aloysius Rauen, adds:

“The flight of AS001 as the first Austrian Eurofighter Typhoon and the first export Eurofighter Typhoon [DID: beyond the 4 partner countries], is a major milestone in the programme.”

1st flight

Jan 24/07: Eurofighter GmbH launches a German language web site promoting the Austrian Eurofighter purchase.

Jan 8/07: The socialist SPO and the center-right OVP agree to form a grand coalition. Together with the OVP a “very comprehensive working programme” of about 180 pages had been developed for the next four years, said SPO leader Alfred Gusenbauer. The announcement adds that “The negotiations on the Eurofighter military jets are to be resumed to reach a more cost-favourable solution.”

Given that there is a contract in place, and EADS has made its position on cancellation clear, it will be interesting to see if that phrase ends up meaning much beyond “we tried.”

2006

 

Austrian F-5Es & Draken
(click to view full)

Nov 6/06: Defense Aerospace translates a Ministry of Defence release issued in German-Austrian. In response to an Austrian request for an analysis of options relating to a possible cancellation of the contract, Eurofighter GmbH quoted a figure of EUR 1.2 billion (about $1.53 billion), in return for which Austria would receive no aircraft.

“In the letter, Eurofighter GmbH stated that, to large extent, it has already attained the major production milestones. In addition, approximately 400 subcontractors would be affected by a termination of contract.”

This looks like an opening negotiation bid to us, but the fact that it’s backed by a signed contract makes it a fairly strong one.

Oct 30/06: The socialist SPO party has assembled a majority for a committee of inquiry on the Eurofighter deal, by adding the Green + FPO parties. In response, the conservative OVP party has suspended talks to form a coalition.

Austrian reader Robert Toegel adds that: “Our last committee of inquiry on jets was working over a 4-year-period and the second batch of Saab 105Oe jets is still flying.”

Earlier in October 2006, Austria’s SPO had this to say:

“A committee of inquiry should clarify the political responsibility for the senseless procurement of this unbelievably expensive war machine,” Josef Cap, the Social Democrats’ floor leader, told Vienna’s Der Standard newspaper. “We don’t need the Eurofighter. It is not an ideological, but a financial issue. I’ve got nothing against these planes as such. But they cost an awful lot of money. I always believed that there were much better things to be done with that money.”

Odds are, those things don’t involve alternative fighter choices; Austria’s Luftabteilung recently retired its 1960s-era Draken fighters, and now flies rented 1970s-era Swiss F-5Es. At any rate, the translated Deutsche Welle article has a couple of errors (South Korea and Singapore made firm decisions and bought F-15s instead, and Greece canceled its 60-plane order), but is reasonably good at explaining the Austrian situation.

DID Local Reader Commentary

Not again.

Austrian reader Robert Toegel writes from Vienna:

“The Socialist Party SPO [DID: O = Oesterreich, or Austria], which won the last election has promised to stop the Eurofighter deal. Now, the only potential partner for a coalition is the conservative party OVP, which signed the contract. The socialist party is on the way to “modify” their position to form a new government. Mr. Caps statement is a preparation for this negotiations. The conservative party will probably not even start negotiations when the socialists really insist on a committee of inquiry.

In Austria fighter deals are very unpopular – we had the same problems when we introduced the Drakens. The socialists have no alternative for air policing tasks and would fight against any plane. As long the conservatives will be part of the government, as long the contract will not be canceled.

Both parties will start negotiations shortly. The SPO got the official note to start with negotiations from the President. I predict many Eurofighter press statements in the next months with many personal opinions without relevance.”

An accurate description, it seems, of any statement or analysis that doesn’t include the political coalition dynamics involved. The politics of the situation make cancellation very unlikely, and would be the same even if both party’s political positions were reversed. Toegel later adds:

“I forgot to note, that the Austrian Air Force has just started the first ground crew training course in Kaufbeuren (GER). From 10.09.06 to 05.04.07 there will be 6 courses for 6 to 14 crewmembers. 72 crewmembers will be trained in Germany (Source: Luftwaffe.de).”

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

HII contracted for CG-47 modernization | A new simulation system for Eurocopter Tiger | USMC aircraft crash near Japan

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 05:00
Americas

Huntington Ingalls (HII) is being contracted to support two of the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers. The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification is priced at $10.7 million and provides for material purchases and management for the USS Chosin and USS Vicksburg. HII will provide a number of efforts including engineering, technical, planning, ship configuration, data, and logistics work. These efforts cover lifetime support of both maintenance and modernization. The Ticonderoga Class remains critical to American seapower, functioning as anti-air defense platform, and contributing substantial anti-ship and anti-submarine combat power to its assigned naval groups. Work will be performed at HII’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and is expected to be complete by August 2019.

Flight Global reports that the US Marine Corps intends to replace two of its ageing C-9B Skytrain executive transports with two Boeing C-40 aircraft. Supported by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the USMC is currently conducting a market survey to identify a potential business that could procure and deliver the aircraft. NAVAIR says it is open to considering a second-hand aircraft, however the it is more likely that the service will turn to Boeing, the aircraft’s sole manufacturer. The 737 based C-40 Clipper comes in 3 variants; the C-40A is a Navy aircraft, while its counterpart C-40C and executive/VIP C-40Bs are USAF planes. The C-40A is modified with a large cargo door, and the strengthened wings and landing gear of the 737-800. The aircraft is certified to operate in three configurations: an all-passenger configuration that can accommodate 121 passengers, an all-cargo configuration of eight cargo pallets, or a combination of three pallets and 70 passengers. The Clipper has a range of 3,400 nautical miles with 5,000 pounds of cargo, and can carry up to 40,000 pounds.

Middle East & Africa

The Egyptian Navy inks a five-year in-service support agreement with France’s Naval Group. Managed by a company subsidiary work will be performed in the port of Alexandria and covers a number of vessels. “This milestone marks a new step in the long-term strategic partnership between Naval Group and the Egyptian Navy. Naval Group is proud to serve the Egyptian Navy,” Naval Group said. The Egyptian Navy took delivery of the second out of four Naval Group produced Gowind-corvettes in September 2018; the navy’s other Naval Group vessel, the FREMM multi-mission frigate Tahya Misr was delivered in 2015. In June 2016, Naval Group delivered two Mistral-class Landing Helicopter Dock vessels to the Egyptian Navy.

Europe

Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) is contracting Saab to deliver Giraffe 4A multi-function radars and maintain the military’s Arthur artillery locating system. The Giraffe 4A digital multi-channel system features an active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology based on gallium nitride (GaN). The system can be used for air surveillance and air defense as well as warning and artillery locating tasks. “Our ground-based radar Giraffe 4A strengthens our customers’ capability to detect incoming threats including tactical ballistic missiles. Tensions around us are increasing and the system gives our customers a world-class multi-function capability that helps to protect their interests”, says Anders Carp, Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance. Arthur is a stand alone medium-range passive phased array C-band radar that detects incoming shells and rockets, and determines where they were fired from before the shells can even land. The system can reportedly detect a mortar bomb at 55 km, shells at 31 km rockets at 50 – 60 km, locating targets at a rate of 100 per minute. It has been sold to several countries, including South Korea and the United Kingdom.

The Dutch Armed Forces are procuring a number of next-generation container systems from the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group. The Cambridge headquartered company will provide more than 1400 container systems over the next five years under this $127 million deal. The production order includes command and control shelters, workshops, controlled atmosphere and basic stores units, together with a 14-year fully integrated availability support package, including a full availability-based fleet management package. Alistair McPhee, chief executive of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, told Business Weekly: “Winning this contract is a major milestone in the strategic development of our Land Systems business and emphasises our capability to manage major programmes which benefits not only Marshall but local suppliers. “During both the implementation and support phases of this contract we will be working closely with Dutch industry not only as part of the supply chain but also as part of the development of our business across Europe.” Marshall “specialises in providing deployable infrastructure or shelters, vehicle systems and support services to military forces worldwide”. Army Technology notes that more than 6,000 shelters in more than 200 configurations are in currently in service.

The Franco-German training academy (EFA) in Le Cannet-des-Maures in South-East France is now equipped with a fully upgraded Eurocopter Tiger simulation system. The system has been configured to train aircrews of France’s Tiger HAD combat support variant and Germany’s UHT Step 2 anti-tank and fire support variant. Work is being done as part of the Tiger Aircrew Training Means (TATM) program that started in December 2014. Performed by Thales and Rheinmetall, upgrade work included new cockpit configurations, displays and avionics for both variants and new weapons systems for the HAD version. Awarded by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, the program also includes a support package for all 20 simulators in service until 2025.

Asia-Pacific

Two US Marine aircraft crashed into the sea off the coast of Japan during a nightime air-to-air refueling exercise on Thursday. The incident involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 tanker aircraft. CNN was told that five crew were on board the KC-130 and two on the F/A-18 at the time of the crash. The ‘mishap’, as the US Marine Corps describes it, happened some 200 miles of the coast as the aircraft flew through adverse weather conditions. Two Marines were rescued. One is in “fair condition”, while the other “is being transported to a local hospital for evaluation”, Corps’ officials told the BBC. F/A-18 Super Hornets are designed for both air-superiority and land attack missions, and can carry a variety of ordnance ranging from air-to-air missiles and precision-guided bombs to standoff munitions. The US Marines fly smaller, earlier-generation F/A-18 C/D Hornets that are no longer in production. The KC-130J is a multi-role, medium-sized fixed-wing aerial refueling aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin, it essentially is a very advanced derivative of the standard C-130J.

Today’s Video

Watch: Royal Navy and RAF locked in dogfight over new jets | Sky News

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

C-40 Clippers Hitting Their Stride, Despite Past Controversy

Defense Industry Daily - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 04:58

C-40A Clipper
(click to view full)

The 737 based C-40 Clipper represents a substantial upgrade over the 1970s-era, DC-9 based C-9 Skytrains and 727-based C-22Bs that have performed its transport roles to date. The C-9s are still in service with the US Naval Reserve and USAF, but they’re expected to be be phased out as the C-40s take up the load. Meanwhile, concern has been expressed about the funding levels for this replacement program, as well as the USAF and US Navy C-9 fleet’s continued durability. The USAF’s C-9A models are of particular concern.

The C-40 comes in 3 variants; the C-40A is a Navy aircraft, while its counterpart C-40C and executive/ VIP C-40Bs are USAF planes. The USAF’s C-40 leasing contracts have been a source of some controversy, but the program has continued, alongside Air Force and Navy buys.

The C-40 Programs

C-40A loading
(click to view full)

To create a US Navy C-40, the 737-700C airframe is modified with a large cargo door, and the strengthened wings and landing gear of the 737-800. The resulting aircraft has a range of 3,400 nautical miles with 5,000 pounds of cargo, and can carry up to 40,000 pounds. A fully digital “glass” cockpit allows for future growth and is also fitted with a head-up display. Another major improvement is the GPS in its navigation system, which aids in airport approaches within Third World countries who possess older, less reliable ground systems.

The U.S. Naval Reserve Fleet Logistics Support Wing operated 29 of the old DC-9 based C-9B Skytrain Combi aircraft (90 passengers, 30,000 pound limit, shorter range than C-40A), providing high-priority cargo and passenger airlift for the U.S. Navy fleet worldwide. The C-9s were operated by 7 Naval Reserve units nationwide, and provided 85% of the worldwide airlift requirements for the entire Navy. C-40s are currently based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth, TX; NAS Jacksonville, FL; NAS North Island in San Diego, CA; and NAS Oceana, VA.

The Navy’s C-40A replacements were initially ordered and delivered with standard wings, but airline usage has shown significant fuel-savings benefits from adding turned-up “winglets” on the end. New-build C-40As from aircraft #9 onward will now have those winglets, and earlier C-40As have been retrofitted.

C-40B, delivered
(click to view full)

The USAF is also buying C-40s. They aim to replace their DC-9 derived C-9As, and their 4 727-derived C-22Bs.

The USAF C-40Bs operate as an “office in the sky” for senior military and government leaders. C-40Bs are equipped with the Connexion system, providing secure in-flight broadband connectivity that includes data/video transmit and receive capability. Its visual profile matches the C-40C’s and new-build C-40As, with turned up winglets. Boeing delivered the last C-40B in 2005.

The C-40C is the USAF’s counterpart to the Navy’s C-40A. Both types are certified to operate in one of 3 configurations: an all-passenger (121) configuration; an all-cargo configuration of up to 8 pallets; or a combination (“combi”) configuration that will accommodate up to 3 cargo pallets and 70 passengers. Unlike its C-40A counterpart, the C-40C has always used the common 737-700 configuration with turned-up winglets.

To date, orders have been placed for 25 C-40 family aircraft: 14 Navy C-40As, 4 USAF C-40Bs, and 7 USAF C-40Cs. A June 2006 release from Boeing said that the US Navy might buy up to 32 aircraft, but a 2008 NAVAIR release placed the Navy’s planned total at just 18 C-40As.

Contracts and Key Events FY 2018

 

C-40B in CENTCOM
(click to view full)

December 7/18: USMC wants more Flight Global reports that the US Marine Corps intends to replace two of its ageing C-9B Skytrain executive transports with two Boeing C-40 aircraft. Supported by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the USMC is currently conducting a market survey to identify a potential business that could procure and deliver the aircraft. NAVAIR says it is open to considering a second-hand aircraft, however the it is more likely that the service will turn to Boeing, the aircraft’s sole manufacturer. The 737 based C-40 Clipper comes in 3 variants; the C-40A is a Navy aircraft, while its counterpart C-40C and executive/VIP C-40Bs are USAF planes. The C-40A is modified with a large cargo door, and the strengthened wings and landing gear of the 737-800. The aircraft is certified to operate in three configurations: an all-passenger configuration that can accommodate 121 passengers, an all-cargo configuration of eight cargo pallets, or a combination of three pallets and 70 passengers. The Clipper has a range of 3,400 nautical miles with 5,000 pounds of cargo, and can carry up to 40,000 pounds.

FY 2014

June 28/14: The US Navy retires its last C-9 Skytrain II (DC-9), after a service career for the type that began in 1973. At the type’s height in the mid-1980s, there were 29 planes in service.

It did transfer 2 planes to VMR-1 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC, “where they will continue service [with the Marines] until replacement aircraft are purchased.” Sources: US NAVAIR, “Navy says farewell to the C-9 Skytrain II aircraft”.

Navy retires C-9B

May 22/14: USN Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a a $22 million indefinite-delivery requirements contract, for sustaining engineering services to the US Navy’s C-40A aircraft fleet. Funds will be committed as necessary.

Work will be performed in Seattle, Washington, and the overall contract runs to January 2019. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-2. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-14-D-0002).

Dec 17/13: USAF Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $82 million delivery order for C-32A (757-200ER) and C-40B/C integrated fleet support (IFS) for calendar year 2014.

All funds are committed immediately, from FY 2014 O&M budgets. Work will be performed at Joint Base Andrews, MD; Scott Air Force Base, IL; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and other locations as necessary, and is expected to be completed by Dec 3/14. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLKLB at Tinker AFB, OK manages the contract (F33657-01-D-0013, DO 0378).

FY 2011 – 2013

#13 – 15 ordered; #10-12 delivered; Support contracts; C-40C communications upgrades.

C-40A #12 arrives
(click to view full)

Sept 27/13: +1. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $69.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy 1 C-40A Clipper aircraft for the US Navy. All funds are committed immediately.

C-40A #15 bought

Work will be performed in Renton, WA (90%); Seattle, WA (6%); San Antonio, TX (2%); and Oklahoma City, OK (2%), and is expected to be complete in November 2016. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-13-C-0026).

Sept 26/13: Comms. Boeing in Oklahoma City, OK receives a $6.8 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for AN/ARC-210 Gen-V radio upgrades to C-32A (Boeing 757) and C-40B (737) planes. It will upgrade the ARC-210 Gen-V radio to meet the Cryptographic Modernization program. All funds are committed immediately.

Work location will depend on aircraft availability, and is expected to be complete by March 31/15. USAF Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLKLB in Tinker AFB, OK manages the contract (F33657-01-D-0013, 0374).

June 6/13: Support. Boeing in Wichita, KS receives a $17.3 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract option to support the Navy’s C-40A aircraft fleet. Services to be provided include commercial depot support and site support at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, FL (25%); NAS Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, TX (25%); NAS North Island, CA (25%); and NAS Oceana, VA (25%).

Work will be complete in July 2015, and delivery orders will be issued as needed until then (N00019-10-D-0017).

Dec 20/12: +2. Boeing in Wichita, KS receives a $145 million firm-fixed-price contract for 2 US Navy C-40A Clippers. Aircraft #13 and 14 will be the revised design with winglets, which has been the default production choice since aircraft #9.

Work will be performed in Renton, WA (92.7%), Seattle, WA (4.9%), San Antonio, TX (1.7%), and Oklahoma City, OK (0.7%) and is expected to be complete in March 2015. All contract funds are committed immediately, and $72.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD, is the contracting activity (N00019-13-C0026).

C-40As #13-14 bought

Dec 17/12: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $80.5 million delivery order contract for USAF C-32A and C-40B/C integrated fleet support. The C-32A is a Boeing 757 derivative, which sometimes carries the Vice President.

Work will be performed at Joint Base Andrews, Scott Air Force Base, Ramstein Air Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and other locations as necessary. Work is expected to be complete by Dec 31/13. The AFLCMC/WLKLB at Tinker AFB, OK (F33657-01-D-0013, PO 0365)

Dec 14/12: Comms. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $12.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for High Speed Data Aircraft modifications to the USAF’s C-40C.

Work will be performed in Seattle, WA, and is expected to be complete by Aug 30/15. The AFLCMC/WLKLB at Tinker AFB, OK manages this contract (F33657-01-D-0013, PO 0369).

Oct 21/11: #12 delivered. Boeing delivers the 12th C-40A transport aircraft to the U.S. Navy from the company’s Wichita, KS facility. Boeing.

Jan 31/11: Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $11.8 million contract modification, funding calendar year 2011 sustaining engineering for the C-32A (4 Boeing 757s, “Air Force Two” with VP on board) and C-40B/C fleets. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the ASC/WLVK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (F33657-01-D-0013).

Jan 28/11: #11 delivered. Boeing delivers the 11th C-40A transport aircraft to the U.S. Navy from the company’s Wichita, KS facility. Boeing is under contract to deliver the 12th C-40A to the Navy later in 2011. Boeing.

Nov 19/10: #10 delivered. Boeing delivers the 10th C-40A transport/cargo aircraft to the US Navy Unique Fleet Essential Airlift (NUFEA) fleet, after modifications are made at the company’s Wichita, KS facility. Boeing’s release states that it’s on contract to deliver 2 additional C-40As; one 737 is currently being modified at the Wichita, KS facility, while the other is handled by the Boeing Commercial Airplanes production line in Renton, WA. Boeing.

FY 2009 – 2010

2 more C-40As; 1 C-40B lease-to-own buyout; 1 more C-40C; Existing leases; C-40B communication upgrades; Support contracts.

HI, Bye: VP-4 Departs
(click to view full)

Aug 25/10: Leased C-40C. Boeing’s Derivative Airplanes Program in Seattle, WA receives a $26 million contract modification to provide 1 Boeing 737 – C40C leased aircraft. All funds have been committed by the ASC/WLVK agt Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-10-C-6599).

June 21/10: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA wins a 5-year, $80.9 million contract to support the US Navy’s C-40A aircraft fleet. Services to be provided under the firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract include commercial depot support and site support at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, FL; the NAS Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, TX; NAS North Island, CA; and NAS Oceana, VA.

Work will be performed in Atlanta, GA (50%); Fort Worth, TX (30%); Seattle, WA (5%); Jacksonville, FL (5%); North Island, CA (5%); and Oceana, VA (5%), and will be complete in July 2015. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals, and 3 offers were received by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-10-D-0017).

Boeing’s release places the contract’s value at over $100 million, which is in addition to Boeing’s current C-40A support involving sustaining engineering, winglet modifications, and other emergent needs. The C-40 CLS supports the Navy’s current fleet of 9 C-40As. Boeing is on contract to deliver 3 more C-40As, which are scheduled to enter service in 2010 and 2011.

May 27/10: Support. L-3 Communications Corp. in Arlington, TX received $10.7 million for additional support services to the Navy’s C-40A aircraft fleet, under a firm-fixed-price modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0110).

Services to be provided include inventory management and support, to include tracking and control of government and contractor-owned inventory; scheduled and unscheduled depot-level support; drop-in maintenance; component repair and overhaul of government- and contractor-owned inventory; replacement of government- and contractor-owned inventory; contractor field teams; engine condition monitoring; site activation; and site support at Naval Air Station (NAS) Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, TX, NAS Jacksonville, FL, and NAS North Island, CA.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (22%); NAS Jacksonville, FL (22%); NAS North Island, CA (22%); Oklahoma City, OK (20%); Arlington, TX (8%); and Tulsa, OK (6%). Work is expected to be complete in November 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

April 19/10: Support. A $12 million contract to pay for calendar year 2010 sustaining engineering support, for the C-32A and C-40B/C fleets. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the 655th AESS/SYKA at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (F33657-01-D-0013).

Feb 17/10: Comms. upgrade. Northrop Grumman in El Segundo, CA receives a $64.8 million contract which will provide mission communication system upgrades for 4 C-32A aircraft and 4 C-40B aircraft. The C-40Bs are offices in the sky and VIP jets. The C-32As are larger 757-based VIP jets, and they carry the Vice-president (“Air Force Two”), members of the U.S. cabinet and Congress, and other government officials.

At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the 655th AESS/SYKA, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8625-10-C-6500).

USAF C-40C
(click to view full)

Dec 18/09: C-40C. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives an $89.7 million contract which will purchase 1 C-40C aircraft. Boeing has confirmed that this is a contract for a new aircraft, minus government-furnished equipment (GFE). It is not the remaining cost of an existing lease, as was the case with the Dec 1/09 entry.

At this time, $13.6 million has been committed by the 655th AESS/SYKA at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8625-10-C-6505).

C-40C bought

Dec 18/09: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA is awarded the annual C-32A and C-40B/C contractor fleet support (Jan 1/10 through Dec 31/10) contract. At this time, the entire amount of $75.2 million has been committed by the 655th AESS/SYKA at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (F33657-01-D-0013).

Dec 7/09: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $6 million contract which will provide for C-32A and C-40B on-board communications equipment. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the 655 AESS/SYKA at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (F33657-01-D-0013).

The USAF’s C-32 757 derivative, also known as “Air Force Two” when the Vice President is aboard, and its C-40B VIP aircraft, are equipped with a variety of specialized communications equipment, including in-flight IP-based broadband connectivity.

Dec 1/09: C-40B. Boeing in Seattle, WA receives a $28 million contract which provides for 1 Boeing 737 C-40B aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AESS/SYKA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract (FA8625-10-C-6599).

Discussions with Boeing reveal that this covers the purchase of the remaining cost of a leased C-40B that is currently based at Ramstein AB in Germany. One of the 4 USAF aircraft was leased with an option to buy, and this contract exercises that option.

C-40B lease buyout

Aug 24/09: Winglet retrofit. Boeing receives a $6.5 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement for 4 winglets. US NAVAIR has confirmed that they will be used to retrofit 2 of the first 4 C-40As, bringing them to the same aerodynamic configuration as new-build C-40As.

Work will be performed in Wichita, KS (50%) and Seattle, WA (50%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract (N00019-05-G-0026).

Jan 26/09: A firm fixed price contract to Boeing for $11.7 million. This contract will provide the C-40 “communication equipment subscription service” for CY 2009. This is almost certainly related to the C-40B’s Connexion in-flight broadband service.

At this time, the entire amount has been committed by USAF ASC/655 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (F33657-01-C-0013).

Dec 15/08: Boeing receives a $136.1 million firm-fixed-price contract from the US Navy for 2 C-40A Clipper aircraft, which would bring the Navy’s C-40A fleet to 11 aircraft. These aircraft will use the Navy’s new configuration, with turned-up winglets on the ends of the wings.

Work will be performed in Renton, WA (88%); and Wichita, KS (12%) and is expected to be complete in February 2011. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-09-C-0080). NAVAIR release.

C-40As #10-11 bought

FY 2006 – 2008

9th C-40A delivered; LAIRCM added to C-40Bs for defense, logistics support.

C-9C and C-40C
(click to view full)

Nov 28/07: Support. L-3 Communications Corp. in Arlington, TX received $17 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0110), exercising an option for logistics support of the Navy’s C-40A fleet. Services to be provided include site activation; site support; inventory management and support; depot level support (scheduled and unscheduled); drop-in maintenance; component repair and overhaul of government and contractor-owned inventory; contractor field teams; replacement of government and contractor-owned inventory; and engine condition monitoring.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (22%); Jacksonville, FL (22%); North Island, CA (22%); Oklahoma City, OK (20%); Arlington, TX (8%); and Tulsa, OK (6%), and is expected to be complete in November 2006. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

Nov 1/07: LAIRCM on C-40Bs. Boeing begins fitting Northrop Grumman’s LAIRCM defensive systems onto the C-40B fleet. LAIRCM decoys shoulder-fired, infrared-guided anti-aircraft missiles by using laser pulses to confuse its seeker. Boeing.

Nov 2/06: Support. L-3 Communications Corp., Arlington, Texas, is being awarded an $18.2 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0110) to exercise an option for logistics support of the Navy’s C-40A fleet. Services to be provided include site activation; site support; inventory management and support; depot level support (scheduled and unscheduled); drop-in maintenance; component repair and overhaul of government and contractor-owned inventory; contractor field teams; replacement of government and contractor-owned inventory; and engine condition monitoring.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (22%); Jacksonville, FL (22%); North Island, CA (22%); Oklahoma City, OK (20%); Arlington, TX (8%); and Tulsa, OK (6%), and is expected to be complete in November 2006. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

May 25/06: #9 delivered. Boeing never announced the Navy’s order of a 9th C-40A Clipper transport aircraft, but the plane is delivered to Squadron VR-57 of the Naval Reserve’s Fleet Logistics Support Wing, 36 days ahead of schedule. The plane is the first C-40A to be built with turned-up winglets on the ends of its wings.

New-design C-40A #9 delivered

March 10/06: Support. Boeing in Seattle, WA received a $76.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to fund the annual C-40 and C-32 contractor integrated fleet support contract through calendar year 2006. At this time, $30.6 million has been committed. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages this contract (F33657-01-D-0013/ no modification # announced).

Nov 29/05: Support. L-3 Communications Corp. in Arlington, TX receives a $20 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0110), exercising an option for logistics support services to the US Naval Reserve’s C-40A Clipper aircraft fleet. Services to be provided under L-3’s most recent C-40A support contract include site activation; site support; inventory management and support; depot level support (scheduled and unscheduled); drop-in maintenance; component repair and overhaul of government and contractor-owned inventory; contractor field teams; replacement of government and contractor-owned inventory; and engine condition monitoring.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (22%); Jacksonville, FL (22%); North Island, CA (22%); Oklahoma City, OK (20%); Arlington, TX (8%); and Tulsa, OK (6%), and is expected to be complete in November 2006. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

FY 2003 – 2005

C-40A #7 delivered, #8 bought; 4-plane lease; Support contracts.

C-40A in Katrina relief
(click to view full)

Feb 14/05: Investigation. GovExec reports that the USAF’s C-40 lease contracts have been referred to the Investigator General as part of the Darlene Druyun influence-peddling scandal.

Dec 4/04: Support. L-3 Communications Corp. in Arlington, TX receives a $20.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0110), exercising an option for logistics support services to the US Naval Reserve’s C-40A Clipper aircraft fleet. Services to be provided include site activation; site support; inventory management and support; depot level support (scheduled and unscheduled); drop-in maintenance; component repair and overhaul of government and contractor-owned inventory; contractor field teams; replacement of government and contractor-owned inventory; and engine condition monitoring.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (33%); Jacksonville, FL (33%); Oklahoma City, OK (20%); Arlington, TX (8%); and Tulsa, OK (6%), and is expected to be complete in November 2006. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

Nov 22/04: #7 delivered. The 7th C-40A Clipper aircraft is delivered to the US Navy.

July 23/04: A 2004 release by Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] and Congressmen Jerry Costello [D-IL] and John Shimkus [R-IL] touts their success in securing money for C-40s at a local air base, in order to keep it open.

The letter illustrates some of the ongoing issues around C-40 fleet size, funding, local interest, etc. with hard dollar figures.

Nov 24/03: Boeing announces that the U.S. Navy has ordered an 8th C-40A Clipper for its Unique Fleet Essential Airlift Replacement Aircraft program.

Boeing’s release adds that the US Naval Reserve provides line maintenance on the C-40A aircraft, while Boeing and its industry partner Delta Air Lines are on contract for 3 years of initial logistics support providing site support, spares management and heavy maintenance.

C-40A #8

Sept 17/02: Boeing received a $217.7 million firm-fixed-price contract from the Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH to lease up to 4 C-40 aircraft (F33657-02-C-0017).

It also received a $52.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification that added ordering provisions for Contractor Logistics Support for up to 4 C-40 series leased aircraft (F33657-01-D-0013, P00014). Total: $270.3 million.

4-plane lease

FY 1998 – 2002

C-40 rollout; C-40As: #3 bought; Contract for 7 more; CBO analysis of USAF leases.

July 23/02: CBO on leasing. Rep. Curt Weldon, Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Procurement, is presented with an interesting July 2002 Congressional Budget Office analysis covering the USAF’s decision to lease its C-40 aircraft. The CBO concludes that the difference between the leasing deals and outright purchase of the aircraft was quite small, and questions the choice.

Aug 06/01: C-40A. Boeing announces a C-40 aircraft order from the USAF to begin replacing 4 US Air National Guard 727-derivative C-22B aircraft that were manufactured in the mid-1960s, and acquired in the mid-1980s. This is the 2nd C-40 aircraft ordered by the USAF under the contract established with Boeing in February 2001.

With an interior configuration identical to the C-40B platform, the aircraft will be used to improve the Air National Guard’s capability for rapid response to team travel and special air mission tasking.

C-40A #7

Jan 03/01: C-40A. Boeing announces that the U.S. Navy has ordered a 6th C-40A for its Navy Unique Fleet Essential Airlift Replacement Aircraft (NUFEA-RA) program.

At this point in the Navy’s program, 2 C-40As are at Boeing in Wichita, KS for modifications that allow the aircraft to be operated in the combi mode. A 3rd aircraft has completed flight testing and will be flown to Wichita for modifications. A 4th is expected to join it in February 2002, and Flight Safety Boeing is training Naval Reserve flight crews and maintenance technicians.

C-40A #6

Feb 9/01: Boeing wins an $800 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide for up to 7 C-40 aircraft, and up to 10 years of associated contractor logistics support.

The contract has provisions that can allow for incorporation of the contractor logistics support effort for the USAF’s 757-derivative C-32 aircraft into this contract. The Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the deal (F33657-01-D-0013).

Base contract: up to 7 C-40As

Sept 09/ 2000: Boeing rolls out the 1st C-40A Clipper for the U.S. Naval Reserve, at a festive celebration held at Boeing Field in Seattle. Boeing release.

Rollout

June 10/1998: Boeing announces that the U.S. Navy has exercised its option for a 3rd C-40A, under its Navy Unique Fleet Essential Airlift Replacement Aircraft (NUFEA-RA) program. The Navy had ordered 2 of the 737-700C derivatives in September 1997, with an option to purchase a 3rd.

The contract, valued at $163 million, calls for deliveries to the Commander Naval Air Reserve Forces to begin in December 2000. Boeing

C-40A #3 bought

Additional Readings

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

KC-46 completes Phase II receiver certification | New C-27J makes maiden flight | Japan upgrades two F-15J/DJ interceptors

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 13:00
Americas

The US Air Force is contracting L-3 Technologies for sustainment work on its fleet of E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The firm-fixed price requirements contract provides for repair and overhaul of electron tubes installed on the E-3 at a cost of $7.8 million. L-3 started to supply Wide Band Klystron Power Amplifiers for the E-3 in 2005. Those electron tubes replaced older narrow chain klystron tubes installed on the E-3. The WBKAs have a better reliability, system redundancy and simplified logistics. The WBKPA is integral to the radar subsystem, which provides all-weather surveillance and command, control and communications (C3) functions needed by commanders. Work will be performed at L-3’s factory in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and is scheduled for completion by June 5, 2024.

Boeing achieves another milestone in its KC-46 tanker program and sets the stage for the start of Initial Operational Test & Evaluation testing next year. The Pegasus successfully achieved its Phase II receiver certification, and proved that it can refuel F-16, KC-135, C-17, A-10, KC-46, B-52, and F/A-18 aircraft. Phase II consisted of three weeks of flights with F-15E fighter jets stationed at Edwards AFB in California. Boeing says in a press statement, that during the tests a KC-46 and receiver aircraft flew at different airspeeds, altitudes and configurations to ensure compatibility and performance throughout the refueling envelope of each receiver. “The Air Force crews were with us every step of the way during this critical testing,” said Jake Kwasnik, KC-46 test program manager. “It was awesome to see everyone working together as we conducted flights out of Boeing Field and also at Edwards and Minot Air Force bases.” Phase III receiver testing will start in 2019, and includes training with additional receiver aircraft. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the US Air Force.

Middle East & Africa

Jane’s reports that the Iranian Navy is taking two more Ghadir submarines into service. The launch ceremony was held at Bandar Abbas naval base on November 29. The Ghadir-class mini submarines allow the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) to operate in shallow waters such as the Persian Gulf. The IRIN claims that the submarines have sonar-evading technology and can launch missiles from under water, as well as fire torpedoes and drop marine mines. Those small subs weigh less than 150 metric tons and are used for short missions, with no living accommodations for a crew of up to nine. Iran does not disclose the total number of submarines in its fleet, however, it is believed to have some 12 light and three Russian-made submarines.

Europe

General Atomics is being contracted to support France’s fleet of MQ-9 UAVs. Priced at $26.7 million, the contract provides for contractor logistics support phase three and involves 100% Foreign Military Sales to France. France bought six MQ-9 Reaper Block 1 UAVs in a roughly $600 million deal back in 2014. In August 2018 General Atomics was awarded a $123 million procurement contract for six additional MQ-9 Reapers in their latest Block 5 version. They should be delivered to the French Air Force by May 1, 2020. France’s MQ-9s are currently just able to perform surveillance missions, however the air force plans to weaponize the platforms sometime between 2019 and 2020. The Reaper is a single-engine, turbo-prop, remotely piloted armed reconnaissance aircraft designed to operate over-the-horizon at medium altitude for long endurance. Work will be performed at GAASI’s factory in Poway, California and is expected to be completed in December 31, 2019.

Leonardo’s new C-27J Spartan baseline configuration performs its first flight at the company’s Aircraft Division Turin plant. Launched in 1997, the C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft incorporates the same propulsion system and advanced avionics as the C-130J Hercules Transporter, giving it the name “Baby Herc”. The aircraft design is based on the proven G-222 airframe from Alenia, with turboprop engines from Allison and advanced systems from Lockheed Martin. The new base configuration comprises a new avionics system, new cockpit control panels and LED aircraft lights. Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director, said: “New operators will enjoy modern avionics and improved operational cost and performance within the aircraft flyaway price. The main benefits of the new C-27J baseline configuration are compliance with new civil aviation regulations and military requirements obsolescence risk reduction.” A total of 85 C-27Js are currently in service with 14 countries around the globe ranging from Greece to Chad.

Asia-Pacific

AAI Corporation is receiving additional funding to maintain logistics services in support of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The $152.7 million contract modification provides for contractor logistics sustainment services for the Shadow RQ-7B unmanned aerial system. Australia bought several RQ-7B Shadow 200 UAVs in 2011 as part of its Joint Project 129 Phase 2. The aircraft can see targets up to 125 kilometers away from the brigade tactical operations center, and recognize tactical vehicles up to 8,000 feet above the ground at more than 3.5 kilometers slant range, day or night. The drone can fly for 9 hours and carries pa¥loads of up-to 95 lbs. Work will be performed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is set to run through May 29, 2020.

Japan’s planned upgrade of its Boeing F-15 Eagle fighter jets will likely be supported by the US government and Boeing under the Foreign Military Sales process. Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries delivered some 213 license-built F-15 variants the country’s air force between 1981 and 1999. Some 200 remain in service, of which about 88 were continuously upgraded over the past decade, gradually incorporating additional improvements like Link 16. Tokyo now plans to upgrade two of its F-15J/DJ interceptors at a cost of $89 million. According to Defense News, the upcoming upgrades include new electronic warfare equipment, and larger weapon load out – increasing the number of missiles the aircraft can carry – and the integration of the AGM-158 JASSM. Shigeyuki Uno, the principal deputy director of the defense planning and programming division of Japan’s Ministry of Defense, also told Defense News that the F-15s radar will also be upgraded, which will likely involve the AN/APG-63(V)3 or the AN/APG-63(V)1, both are AESA radars produced by Raytheon. Japan’s midterm defense program guidelines, to be released by the end of 2018, are expected to provide more details on this program, including the number of F-15s Japan plans to upgrade.

Today’s Video

Watch: Strike Fighter Ball 2018 [East Coast]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02f7b9_Tlk8

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Austal tapped to start building EPF 14 | Italian F-35s reach IOC | India leases nuclear submarine from Russia

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 05:00
Americas

Austal is being contracted to build another Spearhead-class vessel for the US Navy. The cost-plus-fixed-fee undefinitized contract action is priced at $40.4 million and procures long-lead-time material and production engineering services for Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 14. EPF ships are the go-to platform for fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment. These vessels bridge the gap between low-speed sealift and high-speed airlift. Their capability to access austere, minor and degraded ports make them very suitable for operations in underdeveloped countries. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including – but not limited to – Novi, Michigan; Chesapeake, Virginia and Iron Mountain, Michigan. The US Navy’s 14th EPF is expected to be completed by July 2022.

Northrop Grumman is receiving more money to increase the operational range of four US Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. The awarded contract modification is valued at $21 million and allows for the installation of aerial refueling retrofit kits on four E-2Ds. The retrofit kits comprise a probe and associated piping, electrical and lighting upgrades, and long endurance seats that will enhance field of view in the cockpit and reduce fatigue over longer missions. The aerial refuelling capability effectively doubles the time the Hawkeye can stay in the air conducting its mission. The upgraded version of the Advanced Hawkeye flew for the first time in December 2016. Work will be performed at Northrop’s factory in St. Augustine, Florida and is expected to be completed in June 2020.

Navy is ordering integrated logistics and engineering support services for itself and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The contract modification, worth $10.5 million, exercises an option to provide calendar year 2019 support services for the Harpoon and SLAM-ER weapon systems. The GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile, which competes with MBDA’s Exocet and Saab’s RBS15, among others. The AGM-84K SLAM-ER is an advanced derivative of the Harpoon missile, and competes with precision attack missiles like Lockheed’s JASSM, and European missiles like the EADS Taurus KEPD 350 and the MBDA Storm Shadow. The modification combines purchases for the Navy totalling at $2.5 million and FMS customers in the amount of $7.9 million. Work will be performed at Boeing facilities in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Charles, Missouri; Yorktown, Virginia and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Performance is set to run through November 2019.

Middle East & Africa

MTU America is being tapped to deliver a number of engines and engine components to Israel. The $7.9 million delivery order is part of a US Foreign Military Sale to support Israeli marine vessels. The company will deliver engines and engine components to multiple engine series: ranging from the M90 to SE84. MTU is the largest supplier of engines to the Israeli Navy. Its engines are found a variety of vessel ranging from Sa’ar-5 missile frigates and Dolphin-class submarines. The order is entirely funded through the FMS program. Work will be performed at MTU’s factory in Brownstown Township, Michigan. Work under this contract is scheduled for completion by September 2019.

Europe

Italy’s F-35s have reached their initial operating capability, making it the first European country to do so. “This is an important day, since it is the first concrete integration of fourth and fifth generation aircraft,” General Alberto Rosso, the country’s Air Force chief, told media at Italy’s Amendola Air Base, located in the south, it’s home to 8 Italian JSFs. Italy is a Tier 2 partner in the F-35 program, and is host to a European Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) production line in Cameri. The country’s government recently decided that it will slow down its F-35 acquisitions, decreasing its intake from 10 to 6. Base commander Colonel Davide Marzinotto notes that upgrading the aircraft from Block 3i to Block 3F was a key to achieving the jet’s IOC. The Italian Air Force currently intends to buy a mix of A and B variants, 90 F-35s in total.

Poland plans to accelerate its replacement program of the air force’s Soviet-era aircraft. Fighter jets in service include RAC MiG-29 fighters and Sukhoi Su-22 ground-attack aircraft. The replacement program is part of the country’s Harpia requirement which intends to induct new fighter aircraft from 2024 onwards. Warsaw is reportedly looking for an aircraft that can perform a number of combat roles, including certain maritime operations and electronic warfare missions. Flight Global notes that Boeing may offer the F-15 or F/A-18E/F; Leonardo, acting on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium, will offer the Typhoon; Lockheed Martin could pitch the F-16 or F-35, and Saab could promote its Gripen E. The Polish government intends to complete the analytical and conceptual phase of the Harpia program by the end of February 2019, paving the way for starting the procurement process.

Asia-Pacific

The Indian Navy (IN) agrees to lease one Akula-2 class SSN as part of an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed with Russia. The $3.3 billion deal comes with a six-year refit and rebuild availability, that including nuclear reactor replacement and installation of India-made systems on board the vessel. The INS Chakra, India’s other Akula-2 submarine, is on ten-year lease totalling at $2.5 billion. The Chakra serves as a training vessel with secondary operational capabilities. The navy can now choose between two Akula-2 class submarines: the in 1989 launched K-391 Bratsk, or the K-295 Samara, launched in 1994. In August 2018 India successfully launched a nuclear capable SLBM from INS Arihant – India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine – completing the country’s nuclear triad.

Today’s Video

Watch: Alakran 120 mm Light Mortar System (Indo Defence 2018) | Jane’s

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

Navy contracts Lockheed for Aegis ACB support | Poland acquires HIMARS in FMS deal | INS Vikrant will sail in 2020

Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 05:00
Americas

Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. is being awarded with three individual contracts for work on the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program. Awarded by the Naval Sea System Command, the contracts have cumulative face value of $1.7 billion and provide for various naval nuclear propulsion components. The components provide nuclear propulsion capabilities to power a variety of Navy vessels, including submarines and aircraft carriers, by drawing power from a small nuclear power plant installed on the vessel. FY 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds in the amount of $1.2 billion are being obligated which will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will to various levels be performed at the company’s facilities in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and in Schenectady, New York.

Lockheed Martin is receiving a contract modification to exercise options for ship integration and test of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS). Issued by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the $20.5 million modification supports Aegis baselines through Advanced Capability Build (ACB) 12. Efforts covered under this contract include shipboard integration engineering; Aegis test team support; Aegis modernization team engineering support; ballistic missile defense test team support and AWS element assessments. The contract provides for work on five new-construction DDG 51-class ships and for modernisation work on another five Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The deal also covers integrated combat system modifications and upgrades for all ships with Aegis baselines up to and including advanced capability build 12. The AWS is a centralized, automated, C2 and weapons control system featuring a radar that can perform search, track and missile guidance functions simultaneously, with a track capacity of more than 100 targets. Work will be performed at multiple locations – including, but not limited to – Bath, Maine; San Diego, California and Deveselu, Romania.

Sierra Nevada Corp. is being contracted to permanently install the Airborne Mission Networking System on US Air Force bases throughout the continental US. The $9.2 million contract modification provides for the installation of trial kits. The Airborne Mission Networking System is designed to utilize all airborne communication assets to connect with space and surface networks building a seamless communications platform across all three major domains of warfare: Air, Space, and Terrestrial. This modification raises the contract’s total cumulative face value to $39 million. Work will be performed in Centennial, Colorado and at US government facilities as required. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by September 16, 2019.

L-3 Communications is being tapped to provide support services for the US Air Force’s T-1A Jayhawk advanced trainer aircraft. The work order calls for contractor operated and maintained base supply of the Air Education and Training Command fleet of 178 T-1A trainer aircraft, with work to take place at the following USAF bases: Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; and Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida. The T-1A aircraft is a medium-range, twin-engine jet trainer aircraft used for advanced pilot training. It is used by the Air Force for flying strategic, tactical airlift and tanker aircraft. Scheduled completion is slated for November 30, 2019. Total value of the contract is $97.5 million, with a total of $48 million in FY2019 operations and maintenance funds being obligated at the time of the award.

Middle East & Africa

Communications and Power Industries is being contracted to support the Homing All the Way Killer (HAWK) missile system in use with US allies. The $24.8 million contract includes Foreign Military Sales to Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and other global partners. The countries will receive Klystron Tubes spares for the MIM-23 HAWK surface-to-air missile launcher. The MIM-23 is a Raytheon designed all-weather low to medium altitude ground-to-air missile system. Development of the system started in the late 1950s with an IOC achieved in August 1960. Klystron Tubes are high power microwave vacuum tubes used to amplify radar signals. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of November 27, 2023.

Israeli defene electronics contractor Elbit announces that it won a multi-million deal awarded by an undisclosed Asia-Pacific country. The 6-year contract has a reported value of $112 million and provides for advanced airborne intelligence systems. Bezhalel Machlis, Elbit President & CEO, said: “We are pleased to be awarded this contract to supply an intelligence solution that addresses both current and future battlefield requirements. We see a continuous demand for our systems due to our unique capacity to offer comprehensive and agile solutions encompassing platforms, payloads and analysis technologies.” Further information is currently not available.

Europe

The US State Department is determined to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to Poland. Poland is requesting the purchase of 20 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) M142 Launchers, and other related equipment for an estimated cost of $655 million. If approved by Congress, Poland would receive the launchers, GMLRS M31unitary and M30A1 alternative warheads and ATACMS M57 unitary warheads. The defense package also includes Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems, launcher pod assemblies and High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles. The DSCA release states that Poland will use the HIMARS to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. Main contractor will be Lockheed Martin.

Slovakia’s upcoming fighter jet acquisition remains a topic of contention. Last Friday the Slovakian MoD announced that it had finalised three agreements regarding the purchase of 14 F-16s plus associated training and equipment; shortly after Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini declared the contracts to be invalid due to missing approval by the finance ministry. “Premier Pellegrini considers the contracts regarding the purchase of F-16 fighters signed earlier in the day by the defense ministry to be invalid for the moment, as the finance ministry still hasn’t approved the deal,” a statement said. Some analysts suggest that this squabble is rooted in an internal power struggle between right-wing Defense Minister Peter Gajdos and the populist-left Pellegrini. Slovakia wants to buy several F-16 Block 70/72 fighters to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-designed, Russian made MiG-29 fighter jets.

Asia-Pacific

The Indian Navy (IN) says that the INS Vikrant, the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier will begin sea trials in 2020. The carrier has entered its final phase of construction at Kochi shipyard. The INS Vikrant, is a 37,000-tonne Project 71 carrier with a short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) configuration that has been under construction since 2009. Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is currently pressing for building a second indigenous aircraft carrier. “The case for a second IAC has received necessary impetus though it is still a decade away. Construction would be spread over 7-10 years. We will see the start of construction in three years,” Admiral Lanba told media representatives on the sidelines of a Navy conference on Monday.

Today’s Video

Watch: RAF F-35Bs Scramble With F-15s And Rafales To Defeat An Enemy | Forces TV

Categories: Defense`s Feeds

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