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October 23, 2023 | International, Aerospace

Airbus signs € 1.2 billion in contracts for Capability Enhancement and In-Service Support of the French A330 MRTT fleet

The Standard 2 contract provides for the capability extension of the French MRTTs, focused on connectivity as a key pillar and also self-protection capabilities

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  • Air Force awards $20M contract for new common ground system

    June 3, 2019 | International, C4ISR

    Air Force awards $20M contract for new common ground system

    By: Nathan Strout The Air Force is one step closer to the creation of a new common platform for satellite command and control. The Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center Braxton Technologies of Colorado Springs a $20 million contract May 17 to begin prototyping and integrating the new Enterprise Ground Services (EGS). The Air Force announced the deal in a May 31 press release. The purpose of EGS is to develop a common ground system and end user experience for all of the Air Force's upcoming satellite programs. Today, most military satellites have custom-built ground systems. Not only can that be expensive, it also makes it difficult for end users to adapt to new systems and for ground systems to communicate with each other. The new architecture will still allow for flexibility among the various space systems, as individual systems will need to be tailored to their specific mission requirements. The goal of EGS is to ensure all those space systems are built on a common base with similar end user experiences. “We are excited to embark on this partnership which will enhance our ability to drive speed in our processes, to deliver capabilities to support the warfighters, and develop innovative solutions that add resiliency to fight and win in a war that extends into space,” Joshua Sullivan, material leader for EGS, said in a release. “This contract will allow SMC and Air Force Space Command to concentrate resources to provide the most secure, effective, and interoperable tactical command and control experience to mission partners across the Air Force space enterprise.” The $19 million Small Business Innovative Research contract awarded to Braxton Technologies has a ceiling of $100 million. The work is expected to be completed by May 10, 2024. The Braxton Technologies award follows up on a $655,000,000 contract awarded to Engility Corp. in January to provide engineering, development, integration and sustainment services supporting the Ground System Enterprise and the eventual transition to Enterprise Ground Services. That work is expected to be completed January 31, 2026.

  • British-Spanish naval team gunning for another go at revamped UK carrier-support program

    May 29, 2020 | International, Naval

    British-Spanish naval team gunning for another go at revamped UK carrier-support program

    By: Andrew Chuter LONDON — Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has formed a joint venture with Northern Ireland's Harland & Wolff to pitch for an upcoming program to build up to three logistics ships to support the Royal Navy's new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. The Anglo-Spanish partnership, known as Team Resolute, has been announced as expectations grow that the British Ministry of Defence is preparing to reopen a competition to build two, or maybe three, ships capable of delivering ammunition, dry stores and spares in a requirement known as the Fleet Solid Support program. The MoD pulled the plug on the competition late last year claiming the bids did not represent value for money. With the competition poised to be restarted around September, Team Resolute is the first to show its hand. Navantia, one of Europe's leading shipbuilders, and Harland & Wolff have been working together for a while under a memorandum of understanding but the two have now firmed that up into a joint venture agreement as the MoD prepares to restart with a new procurement strategy. The third player in the Team Resolute line-up is British naval design company BMT. Although not a joint venture member, BMT will participate as a subcontractor providing the design. The company worked with Navantia in the original competition. The design house has built a reputation in recent years of providing designs to navies around the world, including oilers for Britain and multi-role logistics ships for Norway, both based on its AEGIR design. For Harland & Wolff, the Belfast yard famous for building the Titanic, it's the latest move in an effort to revive fortunes after the company almost went out of business last year before current owners InfraStrata acquired the operation. InfraStrata, a small British company looking to develop a huge underground gas storage facility just up the coast from Belfast, plans to use Harland & Wolff to undertake much of the fabrication work required on the energy program as well as seek to build a credible shipbuilding and support business. John Wood, CEO of InfraStrata, said the partnership with Navantia could open up the possibility of challenging a status quo which has seen BAE Systems and Babcock dominate the maritime sector here. “This partnership has the capability to disrupt the UK defence shipbuilding and through-life support duopoly that currently exists, as well as providing much needed competition in the defense sector to ensure optimum value for taxpayer money and guaranteed delivery," said Wood. “The Fleet Solid Support program gives us the opportunity to take the expertise in depth that Navantia and BMT have in order to put together a really strong offering based on a best-value-for-money strategy," he said in a telephone interview with Defense News. The yard only employs 130 people at present but Wood said there was plenty of expertise available not least among the 1,200 skilled staff who were laid off at Harland & Wolff prior to the InfraStrata acquisition. Navantia and a British group calling itself TeamUK – led by Babcock and including BAE Systems, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce – were the two contenders competing the final stages of the Fleet Solid Support program when the MoD called a halt to the competition amid a growing controversy over the fact that the competition had been opened to foreign bidders and not reserved for local companies. The British government claimed its was acting under European Union regulations as the support vessels were not warships. Britain has now left the European Union but remains subject to its rules and regulations while the two sides try to negotiate a trade deal. Now the MoD is preparing to recompete the requirement, which could be worth approaching $1.9 billion if all three ships are purchased for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the support arm of the Royal Navy. A spokesperson for TeamUK said the group was formed to deliver prosperity benefits for the local economy. “We look forward to understanding the updated requirements when the Ministry of Defence announces their future plans for this procurement process,” said the spokesperson. Babcock and BAE dominate the shipbuilding business in the UK and have significant contracts building the Type 31 and Type 26 frigate programs, respectively. Few outside the government know whether the new invitation to negotiate will leave the door open to foreign bidders and what the requirement will actually look like. Some analysts think the damage the Covid-19 crisis has done to the economy should rule out foreign bidders, giving priority to high local content to boost jobs and skills. The conundrum is, though, that as a result of the virus, the MoD is likely to have less money rather than more in future budget deliberations, putting even greater pressure on finding the best value for money solution. Wood says he is open-minded about which way the MoD jumps on the issue of foreign bidders. “Who knows where this will go. They are looking for value for money. What we are saying is they can have the best of both worlds with some outside influence from Navantia, a leading shipyard that has massive pedigree, and local company BMT supporting H&W, which has the best facilities for this kind of project in the UK. If we gear up for an international competition we are confident we can come through and put a credible bid on the table. If it's UK bidders only, we think we can do the same,” said Wood. Infrastrata's CEO said a manufacturing role for Navanti has not been ruled out. “There could be workshare going to Spain. There could be components or blocks coming from Spain, but the agreement we have is to do the majority of the work in the UK. It's really about coming up with a project that fits the delivery schedule. Until we get the timelines nothing is ruled in and nothing ruled out. The key fundamental is it's a British cooperation, with the ability to reach back into Navantia,” he said. The executive said the plan was to spread the work beyond Harland & Wolff into other parts of the UK. “We are looking at opportunities in the UK on fabrication. We may also look at another acquisition in the UK to spread the work wider,” he said. Save the Royal Navy, a well regarded online group campaigning to reverse the decline of the Britain's naval forces, speculated recently that rather than buying two or three large Fleet Solid Support ships the MoD may look at altering the requirement and buying several smaller, cheaper, multi-role logistics ships as part of a wider update to British maritime support requirements.

  • Lockheed Martin-Built AEHF-5 Protected Communications Satellite Now in Transfer Orbit

    August 8, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Lockheed Martin-Built AEHF-5 Protected Communications Satellite Now in Transfer Orbit

    The Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT)-built AEHF-5 satellite is now responding to the squadron's commands as planned. The squadron began "flying" the satellite shortly after it separated from its United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes after the rocket's successful 6:13 a.m. ET liftoff. AEHF-5 complete a geostationary ring of five satellites delivering global coverage for survivable, highly secure and protected communications for strategic command and tactical warfighters operating on ground, sea and air platforms. Besides U.S. forces, AEHF also serves international partners including Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. "This fifth satellite adds an additional layer of flexibility for critical strategic and tactical protected communications serving the warfighter. This added resilience to the existing constellation will help ensure warfighters can connect globally to communicate and transmit data at all times," said Mike Cacheiro, vice president for Protected Communications at Lockheed Martin Space. "In the weeks ahead, AEHF-5 will move towards its operational orbit, deploy all of its solar arrays and antennas, and turn on its powerful communications payload for a rigorous testing phase prior to hand over to the Air Force." AEHF-5, with its advanced Extended Data Rate (XDR) waveform technology, adds to the constellation's high-bandwidth network. One AEHF satellite provides greater total capacity than the entire legacy five-satellite Milstar communications constellation. "Individual data rates increase five-fold compared to Milstar, permitting transmission of tactical military communications, such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data," said Cacheiro. "AEHF affords national leaders anti-jam, always-on connectivity during all levels of conflict and enables both strategic and tactical users to communicate globally across a high-speed network that delivers protected communications in any environment." Lockheed Martin designed, processed and manufactured all five on-orbit AEHF satellites at its advanced satellite manufacturing facility in Sunnyvale, California. The next AEHF satellite, AEHF-6, is currently in full production in Silicon Valley and is expected to launch in 2020. The AEHF team includes the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Lockheed Martin Space, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the AEHF prime contractor, space and ground segments provider as well as system integrator, with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the payload provider. For additional information, visit our website:

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