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  • Northrop Grumman Awarded Recapitalization Contract to Provide Continuous Secure Communication in Polar Region

    July 4, 2019 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    Northrop Grumman Awarded Recapitalization Contract to Provide Continuous Secure Communication in Polar Region

    REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – July 3, 2019 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) has been awarded an $82 million contract by the U.S. Air Force to facilitate military satellite communications in the Earth's north polar region through its Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program. Northrop Grumman is the provider for all three major components of the EPS-R CAPS program demonstrating the company's industry-leading end-to-end capabilities. The U.S. Air Force's EPS provides secure, jam-resistant satellite communications coverage to forces in the North Polar Region (above 65 degrees north latitude) in support of national objectives. CAPS is a next-generation ground system that receives telemetry and supplies configuration commands, mission planning and cryptographic planning for the EPS and EPS-R polar-orbiting payloads. Northrop Grumman successfully developed, built and delivered the EPS CAPS for the U.S. Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM) on a previous contract. The Authority to Proceed granted by this contract award includes the development of software for the EPS-R CAPS taking the program from requirements analysis to test and delivery. The contract also addresses international host accommodations provided by Space Norway for new out of band link functions, cyber architecture, orbit planning, and the capability for controlling two additional EPS-R Payloads on a single software baseline in addition to the two existing EPS Payloads. “Northrop Grumman is committed to delivering the critical ground segment technologies that support the important mission of U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Command," said Rob Fleming, vice president, strategic force programs, Northrop Grumman. “We demonstrate through this contract and in close collaboration with Space and Missile Command that existing ground design and software can be successfully modified to support new and advancing mission requirements, an important strategic priority for our customer.” Work will be performed in Redondo Beach, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by September 30, 2023. Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

  • La disponibilité des aéronefs en 2018

    July 4, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    La disponibilité des aéronefs en 2018

    Helen Chachaty En réponse à une question du député François Cornut-Gentille, le ministère des Armées a publié les chiffres actualisés du taux de disponibilité des différentes flottes exploitées par l'armée de l'air, la marine nationale et l'armée de terre. Si certaines font figure de « bonnes élèves » et enregistrent une hausse constante ces trois dernières années, d'autres en revanche, continuent de plonger. Du côté des voilures fixes, la flotte de transport gouvernemental affiche une disponibilité au beau fixe, relativement constante depuis trois ans : Les A310/330/340 culminent respectivement à 73%, 81,5% et 88,7% de disponibilité, quand les Falcon 7X sont à 71,4% et les Falcon 2000 à 77,8%. Le dernier-né de la flotte, l'A330 MRTT, dont l'affichage du taux risque de disparaître avec son entrée dans le contingent dédié à la dissuasion nucléaire, il enregistre une disponibilité de 66,2% depuis son entrée dans les forces en octobre 2018. Toujours côté transport, les deux C-130J, réceptionnés fin 2017 et en 2018, affichent un score très respectable de 75,6%. La situation de l'A400M est certes loin d'être florissante, mais le taux de disponibilité est en hausse constante depuis 2016, passant ainsi de 13% à 25,6%, atteignant en 2018 un taux de 27,5%. Les CN235 restent constants sur les trois dernières années, autour de 50%, avec un léger rebond en 2018, pour atteindre les 53,7%. Quant aux C-130H, leur taux de disponibilité continue de baisser (19,4% en 2018), en attendant les effets bénéfiques du changement de prestataire de MCO. Côté aviation de chasse, les Rafale (air et marine) affichent un taux respectable de 53,6 et 53,7%, soit quasiment 20 points de plus que les Mirage 2000D, dont le taux de disponibilité est passé de 36,3% en 2017 à 33,8% en 2018. La flotte de MQ-9 Reaper, après avoir enregistré une baisse entre 2016 et 2017 en ayant chuté de près de 10 points (de 71,4% à 62,6%), est remontée en 2018 à 73,7% de disponibilité. Pour les voilures tournantes, ce sont la Gazelle et... la vénérable Alouette III qui tiennent le haut du pavé, affichant respectivement des taux de disponibilité de 46,2 et 44,7%. Ces flottes sont suivies de peu par les Dauphin (43,5%), le Caracal (40%), le Panther (39,9%) et le Fennec (38,65%). En bas de classement, le Lynx, qui atteint à peine les 15,5%. Quant au Tigre HAD (30,2%), il est légèrement devant la version HAD (28,1%). La version marine du NH90 se situe quant à elle cinq points en dessous (30,4%) de la version terrestre (35,5%).

  • U.S. Security Requires Multiple Elements of Deterrence

    July 4, 2019 | International, Security, Other Defence

    U.S. Security Requires Multiple Elements of Deterrence

    BY C. TODD LOPEZ In the context of U.S. defense policy, "deterrence" is typically understood to mean "nuclear." And America's nuclear triad — ground-based missiles, air-delivered bombs, and submarine-launched missiles — serves as America's biggest form of deterrence, which underwrites everything its men and women in uniform do. But according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson, nuclear weapons are just one of multiple elements of deterrence the U.S. must consider either for itself, or for being aware that other nations might be using them. During a July 2 breakfast presentation hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in Washington, Richardson laid out five such elements of deterrence already in use or that must be considered more deeply. Nuclear "It's an incredibly powerful military capability where potentially everybody gets destroyed," Richardson said. "We must maintain our ability to be competitive and relevant in this domain ... [and] strike back at anybody who can pose an existential nuclear threat to the homeland." The triad itself includes ground-based missiles — commonly referred to as intercontinental ballistic missiles; submarine-launched ballistic missiles; and air-launched cruise missiles dropped from bomber aircraft. In all three areas the U.S. is underway with modernization efforts. But the nuclear environment globally is changing, Richardson said. "More nations are seeking to join the club," he said. Some of those nations can bring high-tech weapons, while some are using low-tech, including dirty bombs and systems that can be manufactured with 3-D printers. Additionally, not all nuclear weapons are "strategic" in nature. Some are smaller "tactical" weapons. "The nuclear element of this mix remains very relevant, very active, and deserves a lot more attention in my mind," Richardson said. Cyber Richardson said when it comes to cyber as a deterrent, the U.S. can't maintain only defensive capabilities. "We have to have an ability for offensive cyber to truly achieve a sense of deterrence there," he said. Recent cyber provocations, he said, are "multidimensional in ways that may or may not have been expected." Included there, he said, are theft of intellectual property, invasion of privacy, invasion of identity, distortion of identity, "and most recently, perception management. This perception management idea ... might be kind of our new Sputnik moment." Space "The competition is absolutely heating up in space," Richardson said. "Of these elements that are going to constitute a tailored strategic deterrent approach, space has got to be one of those." Richard posited that in space, it might become apparent that, using directed energy weapons, it proves far easier to destroy something in space than it is to put something back up into space. "These things operate really fast ... and space goes away as an asset," he said. "You can see kind of a mutually assured destruction scenario in space pretty easily. Have we thought about that going forward?" Chemical, Biological Capabilities Increasingly, Richardson said, chemical and biological deterrence will come into the mix, especially as technologies such as CRISPR — a genome editing tool — allow for more tailored capabilities. "One of the self-deterrent aspects of chemical/biological is that it's very hard to control. It goes viral, if you will," he said. "But with these tailoring things, you can get a lot more specific. It becomes a lot more targetable. And so, it's something we have to mind." Conventional Weapons U.S. deterrence advantages in conventional weapons have relied, so far, on superior targeting ability, Richardson said. But that may become less important. "We have better sensors, better satellites, better ways to connect that data with our command and control systems, our targeting systems," he said. "We had an advantage in terms of precision." Now, he said, such sensors are ubiquitous, and commercial and military sensors are going up into space. There are cameras everywhere. "This idea of being able to locate things with precision is becoming more ubiquitous," he said. "It's less of an advantage. It's really the team that can manage that information better that's going to achieve the advantage."

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - July 3, 2019

    July 4, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - July 3, 2019

    AIR FORCE DynCorp International, Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $308,616,183 firm-fixed-price contract for aviation command and control operations and maintenance services. This contract provides for air traffic control, airfield management and associated maintenance support. Work will be performed in the Air Force Central Command's area of responsibility and is expected to be completed by July 31, 2024. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition with four offers received. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $379,576 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Combat Command's Acquisitions management and integration center, Langley Air Force Base, Hampton, Virginia, is the contracting activity (FA4890-19-C-A013). AAR Supply Chain Inc., doing business as AAR Defense Systems & Logistics, Wood Dale, Illinois, has been awarded a $209,986,676 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for C-130H contractor logistics support for the Afghanistan Air Force. This contract will provide the Afghanistan Air Force with full C-130H contractor logistics support to include maintenance and repair, as well as on the job training for local Afghan nationals. Work will be performed Kabul, Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 29, 2025. This contract involves foreign military sales to Afghanistan. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $12,011 are being obligated at the time of award. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and one offer was received. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity (FA8553-19-D-0006). The University of Dayton Research Institute, Dayton, Ohio, has been awarded a $28,527,970 firm-fixed price, labor hour and cost reimbursement-no-fee contract for F-15 sustainment engineering studies. This contract provides for systems/structural engineering field and programmed depot maintenance support, reliability and maintainability analysis and aircraft structural integrity program capability development and sustainment. Work will be performed at Dayton, Ohio; and Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and is expected to be completed by June 28, 2029. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and three offers were received. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $2,464,648 are being obligated at the time of award. The contracting activity is Air Force Life Cycle Management System, Robins AFB, Georgia (FA8505-19-D-0003). The Rockhill Group Inc., Moline, Florida, has been awarded a $12,211,850 firm-fixed-price contract for Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) aircrew instruction instructor support required by the 492 Special Operations Wing and operational wings. This contract provides for critical flying training unit support instruction (platform, simulator and flight) to all students going through AFSOC's initial and mission qualification school and continuation training for combat aircrews. Work will be performed at Hurlburt Field, Florida; Duke Field, Florida; Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico; and Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019. This award is the result of sole source acquisition. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $12,211,850 are being obligated at the time of award. The 765th Specialized Contracting Flight, Air Force Installation Contracting Center, Hurlburt Field, Florida, is the contracting activity (FA0021-19-C-A003). NAVY Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Florida, is awarded an undefinitized contract action established under delivery order (N00019-19-F-4037) with a not-to-exceed value of $174,970,959. This delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-19-G-0011) provides for engineering, testing, product support and ancillary support to update the current Long Range Anti-Ship Missile components and systems required to achieve objective requirements in the Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare Increment 1 Capability Description Document. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida (58%); Wayne, New Jersey (20%); Nashua, New Hampshire (15%); Troy, Alabama (6%); and Ocala, Florida (1%), and is expected to be completed in November 2022. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $40,000,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Construction Development Services Inc.,* Norfolk, Virginia (N40085-16-D-6348); Cram Roofing Co.,* San Antonio, Texas (N40085-16-D-6349); Gallaher Management Group Inc.,* Greenville, North Carolina (N40085-16-D-6350); Industrial Contract Service Corp.,* Wilmington, North Carolina (N40085-16-D-6351); Quality Roofers & Guttering, Inc.,* Jacksonville, North Carolina (N40085-16-D-6352); and Service Disabled Contracting Group, Inc.,* Norfolk, Virginia (N40085-16-D-6353), are awarded a combined amount $50,000,000 firm-fixed-price modification to increase the maximum dollar value of indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contracts for roofing construction services within the Marine Corps installations east area of responsibility. The work to be performed provides for replacement and installation of roofs and associated materials. Projects include roof repair and replacement of new and existing roofs. Projects may require new construction, design, alteration or maintenance and repair of existing roofs. Roofs may be sloped or flat. After award of this modification, the total maximum dollar value for all six contracts combined will be $95,000,000. Work will be performed at Navy and Marine Corps installations at various locations including, but not limited to, North Carolina (90%); Georgia (3%); South Carolina (3%); Virginia (3%); and other areas of the U.S. (1%), and is expected to be completed by February 2021. No funds will be obligated at the time of award; funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operation and maintenance (Marine Corps); and military construction funds. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity. Heffler Contracting Group Inc.,* El Cajon, California, is awarded a maximum amount $25,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for other specialty trade contractors construction alterations, renovations and repair projects at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, and Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport. Projects will be primarily design-bid-build (fully designed) task orders or task order with minimal design effort (e.g. shop drawings). Projects may include, but are not limited to, alterations, repairs and construction of electrical, mechanical, painting, engineering/design, paving (asphaltic and concrete), flooring (tile work/carpeting), roofing, structural repair, fencing, heating, ventilation, air and cooling and fire suppression/protection system installation projects. Work will be performed in Twentynine Palms, California (36%); Barstow, California (36%); and Bridgeport, California (28%). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months with an expected completion date of July 2024. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $5,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Future task orders will be primarily funded by operations and maintenance (Navy). This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with seven proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N62473-19-D-2631). Elite Pacific Construction Inc.,* Kaneohe, Hawaii, is awarded $12,665,000 for firm-fixed-price task order N62478-19-F-4158 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62478-18-D-4022) to overhaul the Drydock No. 2 intermediate caisson to maintain its 10-year certification at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). The work to be performed provides for 10-year ultrasonic testing of the caisson structural members and plating in accordance with Military Standard 1625D including, but not limited to, plating of the entire hull, top deck (weather deck), machinery deck, internal strength decks, bulkheads including breast hooks, ballast tank and machinery deck internal structural members such as stiffeners, truss frame members and seachests/ballast piping seaward of the first closure valve. Other repair scope items include sandblasting and preserving interior and exterior surfaces of the caisson, including the weather deck; cleaning, priming and painting all interior and exterior surfaces of the caisson; removing existing non-skid coating from the weather deck; and installing industrial strength adhesive-type non-skid surface material on the weather deck and machinery deck. Work will be performed in Oahu, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by October 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $12,665,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, JBPHH, Hawaii, is the contracting activity. Raytheon Co., McKinney, Texas, is awarded an $8,044,102 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification under previously-awarded basic ordering agreement N00164-17-G-JQ02-0004 to extend the period of performance for depot support services in support of life-cycle sustainment of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System for U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force and special operations forces platforms. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by September 2021. Fiscal 2019 working capital funds in the amount of $275,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity. Tompco Inc.,* Seabeck, Washington, is awarded $8,209,449 for firm-fixed-price task order N44255-19-F-4274 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N44255-17-D-4014). The work will convert the Perch-Pickerel Housing area from family housing to unaccompanied housing consisting of 24 buildings with 18 eight-unit buildings and six four-unit buildings at Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor. The work to be performed includes: replace and install new carpet where required; add exterior lighting to all buildings; change thermostats in each unit; install building and unit number placards at each building and unit; remove existing playgrounds; install two picnic shelters and BBQs; replace entry doors to each unit; remove existing mailboxes; and provide fire protection. The task order also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase cumulative task order value to $12,689,449. Work will be performed in Silverdale, Washington, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 4, 2020. Fiscal 2019 Commander Navy Installation Command contract funds in the amount of $8,209,449 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest, Silverdale, Washington, is the contracting activity. ARMY Patton-Tully Marine Inc.,* Memphis, Tennessee (W912EQ-19-D-0002); Luhr Bros. Inc., Columbia, Illinois (W912EQ-19-D-0001); Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Whitehall, Arizona (W912EQ-19-D-0003); Bertucci Contracting Co.,* Jefferson, Louisiana (W912EQ-19-D-0004); and Choctaw Transportation Co. Inc.,* Dyersburg, Tennessee (W912EQ-19-D-0005), will compete for each order of the $150,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for maintaining the Mississippi River and tributaries channel improvement project. Bids were solicited via the internet with five received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 3, 2024. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Memphis, Tennessee, is the contracting activity. NCI Information Systems, Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $27,956,232 modification (P00005) to contract W91RUS-18-C-0017 for information technology services for cyber network operations and security support. Work will be performed in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2020. Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $10,251,101 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity. RSCI, Boise, Idaho, was awarded a $21,623,000 firm-fixed-price contract to design and construct a 42,000 square foot Red Flag 5th Generation facility addition. Bids were solicited via the internet with eight received. Work will be performed in Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, with an estimated completion date of June 22, 2021. Fiscal 2019 defense military construction funds in the amount of $21,623,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles, California, is the contracting activity (W912PL-19-C-0023). LGC Global Inc., Detroit, Michigan, was awarded an $11,311,046 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a physical fitness center at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work will be performed in Niagara Falls, New York, with an estimated completion date of July 15, 2021. Fiscal 2019 Air Force Reserve military construction funds in the amount of $11,311,046 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, Kentucky, is the contracting activity (W912QR-19-C-0021). AECOM Management Services Inc., Germantown, Maryland, was awarded a $9,866,058 modification (P00144) to contract W58RGZ-16-C-0001 for aviation maintenance services and limited depot support. Work will be performed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 29, 2019. Fiscal 2017, 2018 and 2019 operations and maintenance, Army; operations and maintenance, Army Reserve; and other procurement, Army funds in the combined amount of $9,866,058 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. *Small business

  • The Pentagon’s new space agency has an idea about the future

    July 4, 2019 | International, Aerospace, C4ISR

    The Pentagon’s new space agency has an idea about the future

    By: Nathan Strout The Defense Department's next generation space architecture would consist of several layers based around a mesh network of small communications satellites, according to a document released by the Space Development Agency July 1. A request for information lays out an early outline of what that new satellite architecture would look like and how the commercial sector can contribute to the effort. The SDA is a new entity that the Pentagon established less than four months ago as part of the Trump administration's focus on reorganizing the military's space structure. The agency's initial goal is to develop a next generation space architecture for military satellites in the face of near-peer adversaries' growing interest in space. “In an era of renewed great power competition with an emergent China and a resurgent Russia, maintaining our advantage in space is critical to winning these long-term strategic competitions,” read a request for information posted to the Federal Business Opportunities web site. “These potential adversaries are developing and demonstrating multi-domain threats to national security much faster than we can deploy responsive, space-based capabilities.” The agency wants the new architecture to provide eight essential capabilities identified in a 2018 Pentagon report. In addition, the Pentagon wants to include development of deterrent capability, space situational awareness, a resilient common ground-based space support infrastructure, command and control systems and artificial intelligence-enabled global surveillance. The Space Development Agency's notional architecture is made up of several layers, each of which would contribute to at least one of the eight essential capabilities. They include: A space transport layer: A global mesh network providing 24/7 data and communications. A tracking layer: Provides tracking, targeting and advanced warning of missile threats. A custody layer: Provides “all-weather custody of all identified time-critical targets.” A deterrence layer: Provides space situational awareness—detecting and tracking objects in space to help satellites avoid collisions. A navigation layer: Provides alternative positioning, navigation and timing services in case GPS is blocked or unavailable. A battle management layer: A command, control and communications network augmented by artificial intelligence that provides self-tasking, self-prioritization, on-board processing and dissemination. A support layer: Ground command and control facilities and user terminals, as well as rapid-response launch services. The SDA's immediate goal is the development of a transport layer consisting of a mesh network for communications and data in low earth orbit. As the agency has stated previously, that effort will rely heavily on DARPA's Blackjack program - a project that will establish an initial transport layer with a 20 satellite constellation. The SDA wants to build sub-constellations around the Blackjack program to meet some of the needs it has identified, such as missile defense warnings and targeting, alternative positioning, navigation and timing services, and more. The constellation and associated sub-constellations will be made up of small mass-produced satellites in the agency's vision, ranging from 50 to 500kg. The next-generation space architecture posting is the first request for information that the agency has posted in its brief existence, and sets a tone for what it's looking for from the commercial sector. Specifically, the SDA wants to know what capabilities and concepts the commercial sector can bring to bear on satellite buses, payloads, appliques and launches. Any proposal should fall into at least one of the suggested layers, the SDA stated. “SDA intends to leverage investments made by the private sector in space capabilities (...), as well as industry best practices (e.g., mass production techniques for spacecraft buses, sensors, and user terminals),” stated the agency. Among other things, the agency wants proposals for the following items: Small and cheap payloads that can provide high-bandwidth links between satellites; software that can track missiles from low earth orbit; software that can facilitate autonomous space sensor collection, processing and dissemination, and alternative methods for positioning, navigation and timing in case GPS is unavailable. In addition, the SDA wants feedback on the overall structure of its notional architecture. The SDA is also interested in industry concerns about data rights, security and protection, acquisition approaches and more. In building this new architecture, the SDA is clear that it wants to be agile and flexible in adapting to new technology and threats, meaning it wants to be able to integrate upgrades within two year windows. While it's not clear in the document how quickly the SDA wants to have the new architecture in place, the agency does emphasize that it is looking for efforts that can be demonstrated in less than 18 months. Responses are due on August 5. The SDA plans to hold an Industry Day to connect with the commercial sector in the near future. The document's release comes shortly on the heels of Space Development Agency Director Fred Kennedy's resignation in late June. Kennedy was the agency's first director, having been originally appointed to the position by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan when the agency was stood up March 12. Derek Tournear, the assistant director for space within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering, was named the acting director of the agency June 24. Prior to taking the assistant director position, Tournear was the director of Harris Space and Intelligence research and development. He has also served stints at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. A Department of Defense spokesperson stated that Kennedy stepping down would not change the mission of activities of the agency. All of this comes as the U.S. military has worked to revamp its efforts in space. In addition to the stand up of the SDA, the Trump administration is also pushing for the creation of Space Force, a proposed sixth branch of the military that would be housed within the Air Force. While the Senate Armed Services Committee endorsed a version of Space Force, the House Armed Services Committee proposed a Space Corps, which would not be an independent branch of the military.

  • Karem Aircraft announces FARA Competitive Prototype team

    July 4, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Karem Aircraft announces FARA Competitive Prototype team

    Karem Aircraft Press Release Karem Aircraft, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Raytheon Company have formed a team to execute the U.S. Army Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Competitive Prototype (FARA CP) development contract. FARA CP will provide the U.S. Army with a new armed scout aircraft. The three companies will apply decades of combined knowledge, skills, and abilities to bring the best of vehicle and systems technologies and processes to the first aircraft within the Future Vertical Lift family of systems. Karem's unique active variable speed rotor technologies have been developed over the last decade through extensive collaboration with the U.S. Army. “Karem has enjoyed a strong partnership with the U.S. Army over the last decade collaboratively developing VTOL technologies and we look forward to leveraging the U.S. Army's investment by applying these innovative technologies to our FARA aircraft,” said Thomas Berger, Karem's program manager for FARA CP. “With our two exceptional partners, each with a strong track record of delivering combat capability in support of the warfighter, we are now able to provide a complete solution for the U.S. Army that maintains battlefield superiority into the future.” This expertise will be augmented with Northrop Grumman's manned and autonomous military aircraft development, system integration, production, and support expertise and Raytheon's systems architecture, mission equipment, and weapons capabilities. The Karem Aircraft-Northrop Grumman-Raytheon team will work collaboratively with the U.S. Army's multidisciplinary team to meet the needs of the FARA CP program.

  • Northrop to upgrade aircraft mission computers for US and Bahrain

    July 3, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Northrop to upgrade aircraft mission computers for US and Bahrain

    Northrop Grumman has secured a contract to perform the technical upgrade of UH-1Y, AH-1Z and UH-60V mission computers for the US and Bahrain. The $104m indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) award will see Northrop Grumman deliver production, retrofit and spare units. Under the Foreign Military Sales Act, these units will be supplied for the US Marine Corps, the Defense Logistics Agency, and Bahrain's military. The company noted that by bringing together several mission computer customers, the contract will help deliver greater cost-efficiency while lowering the logistics footprint. The contract has the potential for placing task or delivery order awards up to the ceiling amount. Northrop Grumman is expected to complete the contract work in December 2023. Northrop Grumman land and avionics C4ISR vice-president James Conroy said: “Northrop Grumman's mission computer delivers mission-critical capability to the warfighter. The system provides improved situational understanding in the rapidly changing threat environment.” The mission computer manufactured by the firm can integrate advanced mission, weapons and video processing capabilities into a high-performance airborne computer. The computer's open architecture enables the centralised display and control of all integrated avionics system functions. These include aircraft performance and flight instruments, on-board sensor and survivability displays, in addition to improved situational awareness and health monitoring information. Furthermore, the mission computer is capable of providing improved capability, commonality, reliability and maintainability to the warfighter. Northrop Grumman will supply up to 503 technical refresh mission computers for the three helicopter models. In 2017, The US Marine Corps fielded the Northrop Grumman's Tech Refresh Mission Computer (TRMC) for the first time on the UH‑1Y and AH-1Z helicopters. Equipment was deployed under the H-1 Upgrade programme that involved replacing the UH-1N and AH-1W helicopters with revamped aircraft.

  • Canada spends more than double for special forces aircraft but the reason why is a mystery so far

    July 3, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Canada spends more than double for special forces aircraft but the reason why is a mystery so far

    DAVID PUGLIESE Canadian special forces will receive three new surveillance aircraft from the U.S. with the planes expected to arrive in 2022. But the cost is substantially more than what the U.S. Air Force spends to buy the same or similar aircraft. The three Beechcraft King Air planes, to be based at CFB Trenton in Ontario, will be outfitted with sensors and equipment to intercept cell phone and other electronic transmissions. Canadian special forces and, potentially, other government departments will use them for missions overseas and in Canada. The agreement for the aircraft was finalized on April 26 with the U.S. government. Three aircraft and equipment will be delivered in the spring of 2022, the Canadian Forces noted. The agreement signed with the U.S. government is for $188 million (CAN). The U.S. Air Force lists the cost of the MC-12W surveillance aircraft as $17 million each or around $23 million Canadian. That includes communications/sensors and modification of the aircraft for that equipment. So three aircraft should cost in total about $70 million Canadian, give or take. It is not clear why Canada is spending more than double the cost of the aircraft than the U.S. Air Force. It could be that the aircraft are not exactly the same but does that account for more than double the cost? Postmedia asked the Canadian Forces for an explanation last week but there has been no response. If an answer is provided then this article will be updated. The main contractor for the planes is Beechcraft in Wichita, Kan.

  • These 4 technologies are big problems for US military space

    July 3, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    These 4 technologies are big problems for US military space

    By: Nathan Strout A recent report highlights the fact that the commercial space sector is an increasingly important part of the military's efforts in space, but there are places where industry falls short. The national security space arena is a niche market, characterized by low production runs paired with a need for high-quality products. That combination makes it a difficult area for the commercial sector. While national security space increasingly relies on industry to provide components for space vehicles, the fact remains that in some key areas there are no domestic suppliers for critical technologies, leaving the United States dependent on foreign suppliers. Here are four such technologies singled out in a recent report on the United States military's industrial base: Solar cells According to the report, the commercial sector is not investing in the research and development needed to improve solar cells, which are used to power satellites. Businesses have maxed out the capacity for triple-junction solar cells, but do not appear capable of pushing forward to four- or five-junction solar cell technology. The Pentagon also wants solar cells that are able to withstand more radiation for longer than current products on the market. Improving solar cells to get the same or more power out of even slightly smaller panels could have a major impact when it comes to launching a satellite into space, meaning that reducing solar panel size is highly valuable. Tube amplifiers Starting in the 1990s, the domestic supplier market share for traveling-wave tube amplifiers — electronic devices used to amplify radio frequency signals to high power — dropped from 50 percent to just 12 percent. While that market has shown a slight recovery, the presence of heavily subsidized companies like Thales in France make it difficult for American companies to compete. Gyroscopes Precision gyroscopes are used in spacecraft to determine altitude and are essential to providing inertial navigation systems. According to the Department of Defense, there is only one domestic supplier of hemispherical resonating gyroscopes, resulting in long lead times — the report claims that the company can only produce one to two units per month. Fiber optic gyroscopes fair better with three domestic suppliers currently manufacturing them, but those companies are themselves vulnerable to overseas supply issues with their subcomponents. Infrared detectors Just one foreign manufacturer produces the substrates necessary for space infrared detectors, and the Pentagon warns that a disruption of any more than a few months of production of the substrates could negatively impact the quality and completion of American satellites. Because of this, the U.S. government has used a Defense Production Act of 1950 provision that allows it to offer economic incentives to either develop, sustain or expand domestic production of technology critical to national defense, and an Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program is in the works to support the remaining two American foundries for one type of substrate.

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