Daily Briefing: News Snippets
A roundup of the top mil tech headlines, including: 50-year-old T-38 educates USAF pilots, CompactPCI helps with MoD ISR in Afghanistan, General Dynamics eases U.S. port anxiety, COTS focus for Lockheed Martin sub upgrades, and USAF launch-vehicle program gets a boost, among other headlines.
USAF launch-vehicle program gets a boost
The USAF has extended a whopping $1.1 billion contract to United Launch Services for program management, engineering support, launch capability, mission integration, launch and range site activities, and mission-specific design for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. EELV aims to cut costs and boost reliability for U.S. launches. Specifically, EELV provides that existing launch systems get replaced by two launch vehicle families utilizing a common infrastructure and components: The Atlas V and the Delta IV (Figure 1). Meanwhile, the contract's work is slated for completion at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL and Littleton, CO. by September 2012.
L-3 contract supports airborne sensors program
Airborne sensors operators and Command and Control are sure to benefit somewhere down the pike, thanks to the Missile Defense Agency's recent $537 million Airborne Sensors Program IDIQ contract with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems. Specifically, L-3 will render sustainment, operations, and mission support for the Wide-body Airborne Sensor Platform and the High Altitude Observatory I, II, and III. The contract comprises a five-year base, in addition to five options spanning one year each. If all five options are activated, contract completion is expected in June 2021.
CompactPCI helps with MoD ISR in Afghanistan
When Manchester, England's Brimar Limited received an urgent order of 200 Foxhound patrol vehicles for the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD), it turned to COTS to minimize risk. Accordingly, Thales is supplying the electronic architecture, which utilizes GE Intelligent Platforms' 6U CompactPCI SBC, rugged style. The computer includes an Intel Core i7-610E processor speeding along as fast as 2.53 GHz, and offers support for a duo of either x8 PCI Express XMCs or PCI-X PMCs. The Thales electronic architecture's end goal is to make it possible for vehicle-mounted cameras to deliver ISR video information to Foxhound Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) crew. Foxhound, a 7.5t mine-protected vehicle, will be used in Afghanistan for patrol purposes. Foxhound is a spinoff of Force Protection Europe's Ocelot vehicle.
Raytheon helps guide U.S. Navy via GPS
GPS is everywhere. It's in most consumers' cell phones and will once again become part of the U.S. Navy's arsenal, per a recent contract between the Space and Naval Warfare Command and Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. The $32 million contract specifies that Raytheon will design, develop, and test the Global Positioning System Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Service (GPNTS). GPNTS will report for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) duty for navigation, combat, weapons, and C4I systems where real-time, mission critical PNT is necessary (Figure 2). Contract completion is anticipated by June 2015 if all options are activated, raising the contract's total value to about $77 million. Raytheon's San Diego, CA and Fairfax, VA locales will fulfill the contract.
50-year-old T-38 educates USAF pilots
With the Air Education and Training command as the U.S. Air Force T-38 Talon's primary user, the supersonic Mach 1 jet trainer's 50-year lifespan has largely been dedicated to training military pilots (Figure 3). And that mission is slated to continue, per a recent contract between the Air Combat Command AMIC/PKCA and MI Support Services. The $13 million contract provides that MI Support Services renders intermediate maintenance services, organizational services, and program management for the T-38s enlisted in the Companion Trainer program. The contract's performance will occur at Langley AFB, VA; Holloman AFB, NM; Tyndall AFB, FL; Beale AFB, CA; and Whiteman AFB, MO. Meanwhile, T-38Cs are used to prep pilots to fly bomber and front-line fighter aircraft including the F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15C Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, and A-10 Thunderbolt, among others.
Mergers and acquisitions take it easy
This time of year every year, nearly everyone is taking lengthy vacations. And the merger and acquisition arena seems to be following suit. Accordingly, there is only one acquisition to report: Eurotech, a "pervasive computing device" and embedded tech supplier announced that the $1.9 million cash "share capital" acquisition of VPX, VME, and CompactPCI board supplier Dynatem Inc. has been finalized. The international Eurotech has its headquarters in Italy and subsidiaries and offices in Asia, North America, and Europe. The company specializes in delivering miniaturized computers and computers fitted with High Performance Computing (HPC) capability. Target markets include defense, medical, and industrial, among others.
General Dynamics eases U.S. port anxiety
General Dynamics continues to make the seas a less risky place for the U.S. DoD Maritime Prepositioning Force (Future), thanks to a recent $60 million contract modification from the Naval Sea Systems Command. The previously awarded contract stipulates that General Dynamics renders long-lead-time materials for the Navy's Mobile Landing Platform (MLP). Said materials include integrated propulsion components, diesel generator engine components, pumps, the emergency generator, and more. MLP is designed to facilitate successful at-sea, military-vehicle transfers between ships, eliminating U.S. foreign port dependency (Figure 4). MLP's features include a self-deploying sideport platform and a self-deploying ramp system. Work continues in various Canada, U.S., and Germany locations and is anticipated for completion by December 2014.
COTS focus for Lockheed Martin sub upgrades
Relevant to the U.S. Navy's Technology Insertion Hardware program, Lockheed Martin recently received an IDIQ contract with a maximum $758 million value to provide COTS hardware- and software-based submarine sonar and combat systems. Accordingly, Lockheed Martin will utilize commercial switches, displays, and servers and ruggedize them for military environments in fulfillment of the contract. Meanwhile, the Technology Insertion Hardware program affects subs such as those in the Virginia Class, in addition to SSGN, Seawolf (Figure 5), 688/688i, and future subs.