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  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 21, 2019

    June 25, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security, Other Defence

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - June 21, 2019

    U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, McKinney, Texas, was awarded a $96,639,799 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification (P00007) with firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract line items to an existing contract (H92222-16-D-0033). This contract modification increases the ceiling from $203,360,201 to $300,000,000 for continued low-rate initial production of the Silent Knight Radar system in support of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). Fiscal 2019 procurement funds in the amount of $54,720,000 are being obligated at time of contract modification. The remaining costs will be funded via delivery/task orders, and depending on the requirement, may be funded using research, development, test and evaluation; procurement; or operations and maintenance funding. The ordering period is valid for five years. The work will be performed in McKinney and Forest, Mississippi, and is scheduled to be completed by October 2022. USSOCOM headquarters, Tampa, Florida, is the contracting activity. NAVY Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia, is awarded an estimated $72,817,062 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee, firm-fixed-price contract for the Transformational Reliable Acoustic Path System (TRAPS) on behalf of the Maritime Surveillance Systems Program Office, Navy Program Executive Office Submarines. The TRAPS capability complements fixed surveillance systems and the surveillance towed array sensor system. TRAPS provides flexible and responsive wide area surveillance for theater antisubmarine warfare commanders worldwide. This contract has a three-year ordering period up to the contract award amount. There are no options. Work will be performed in Long Beach, Mississippi, and is expected to be completed by June 2022. No funding is obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated as individual delivery orders are issued. This sole-source contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) - only one responsible source (Federal Acquisition Regulation subpart 6.302-1). The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N00039-19-D-0030). FlexDecks Inc.,* Houston, Texas, is awarded a $17,200,997 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to procure up to 40 each V-22 and MV-22B maintenance wing platform stands for the Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy and the government of Japan. Work will be performed in Houston, Texas, and is expected to be completed in June 2024. Fiscal 2017 and 2018 aircraft procurement and foreign military sales funds in the amount of $5,490,973 will be obligated at the time of award, $4,519,637 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals as a 100% small business set-aside; three offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-19-D-0134). Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Syracuse, New York, is awarded a $16,273,896 cost-plus-fixed fee, firm-fixed-price, cost contract (N00024-19-C-6269) for the procurement of multifunction modular masts for new construction Virginia-class Block V hulls, spares and repairs. This contract includes options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $97,860,000. Work will be performed in Nashua, New Hampshire (70%); and Syracuse, New York (30%), and is expected to be complete by June 2020. If all options are exercised, work will continue through June 2024. Fiscal 2019 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $13,932,928 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one offer received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity. AIR FORCE Accenture Federal Services LLC, Arlington, Virginia, has been awarded a $65,447,464 other transaction agreement for the execution of the enterprise information technology as a service compute and store risk reduction effort experiment. This agreement provides for an experiment for services to include providing a flexible and scalable hosting solution for applications and data, operation and maintenance of the compute and store environment, and application rationalization. Work will be performed in Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado; Maxwell AFB, Alabama; Offutt AFB, Nebraska; Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Cannon AFB, New Mexico; and Hurlburt Field, Florida, and is expected to be completed by June, 2020. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $28,517,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts, is the contracting activity (FA8726-19-9-0002). Harris Corp., Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded an $18,084,893 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification (P00003) to previously awarded FA8819-19-C-0002 for the manufacturing of Air Force Satellite Control Network complaint L and S band antennas for the space combat range. Work will be performed at Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, and is expected to be completed by June 19, 2021. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $18,084,893 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, California, is the contracting activity. Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $17,780,580 cost-plus-fixed fee with an embedded fixed-price and cost reimbursement contract to provide sustainment services for the Lebanese Air Force Armed Caravan Program. This contract provides field service representatives, repair and return, calibration, support equipment and spares. Work will be performed in Beirut, Lebanon, and is expected to be completed June 30, 2021, with the possibility of extending the completion date to June 30, 2024. This contract involves 100% foreign military sales to Lebanon. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $10,732,607 are being obligated at the time of the award. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-19-C-3001). EaglePicher Technologies,* Joplin, Missouri, has been awarded a $14,125,999 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract action for an F-35 Agnostic Battery System. This contract provides for the acquisition of the manufacturing process improvement for the F-35 agnostic battery. Work will be performed in Joplin, Missouri, and is expected to be completed by June 17, 2022. This award is the result of a competitive Small Business Innovative Research action and one offer were received. Fiscal 2018 research and development funds in the amount of $7,248,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Research Laboratory Contracting, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-19-C-5077). Joe Torres Co., Bakersfield, California, has been awarded a $9,080,374 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for integrated solid waste management services. This contract provides for collection and disposal of municipal solid waste, recycling and landfill services. Work will be performed in Edwards Air Force Base, California, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2024. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition and two offers were received. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $439,615 are being obligated at the time of award. The Air Force Test Center, Edwards AFB, California, is the contracting activity (FA9301-19-D-A006). ARMY General Dynamics Mission Systems, Marion, Virginia, was awarded a $44,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for Army Standard Family ISO Shelter, one-side expandable, two-side expandable, and modified extended rigid wall shelter. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of June 21, 2024. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-19-D-0078). BIS Services LLC,* Kenner, Louisiana, was awarded a $32,305,200 firm-fixed-price contract for Calcasieu River and pass stone foreshore protection. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 12, 2020. Fiscal 2019 civil construction funds in the amount of $32,305,200 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans, Louisiana, is the contracting activity (W912P8-19-C-0051). BIS Services LLC,* Kenner, Louisiana, was awarded a $14,785,945 firm-fixed-price contract for Calcasieu River and pass stone foreshore protection, repairs and armoring. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work will be performed in Cameron Parish, Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 10, 2021. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, civil funds in the amount of $14,785,945 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans, Louisiana, is the contracting activity (W912P8-19-C-0047). Huffman Construction LLC,* Poplar Bluff, Missouri, was awarded a $13,757,500 firm-fixed-price contract for Ohio River shoreline repair work for multiple pump stations and the construction of a new pump station. Bids were solicited via the internet with four received. Work will be performed in Paducah, Kentucky, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 6, 2022. Fiscal 2017 civil construction funds in the amount of $13,757,500 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, Kentucky, is the contracting activity (W912QR-19-C-0050). Gilbane Federal, Concord, California, was awarded a $13,601,007 firm-fixed-price contract for repair to Moran Hall South (Bldg. 29802). Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Fort Gordon, Georgia, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 2, 2021. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $13,601,007 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah, Georgia, is the contracting activity (W912HN-19-C-3007). Bhate Environmental Associates Inc.,* Birmingham, Alabama, was awarded an $11,382,741 firm-fixed-price contract for demolition services to plan and execute the removal of buildings and facilities to include the abatement and removal of asbestos containing materials and other regulated materials, disconnect and capping of utilities, complete removal of utilities, disposal of all debris materials and restoration. Nine bids were solicited with three bids received. Work will be performed in New Orleans, Louisiana, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 19, 2021. Fiscal 2019 NASA funds in the amount of $11,382,741 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W912DY-19-F-0428). DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Sysco Seattle, Kent, Washington, has been awarded a maximum $21,000,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for full line food distribution for Navy ships customers in the Puget Sound/Seattle, Washington area. This was a sole-source acquisition in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a 240-day bridge contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Washington, with a Feb. 15, 2020, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds. The contracting agency is Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE300-19-D-3227). (Awarded June 20, 2019) Federal Prison Industries Inc.,** Washington, District of Columbia, has been awarded a maximum $17,232,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for Navy coveralls. This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods. Locations of performance are Atlanta, Georgia, Arizona, Mississippi, and District of Columbia, with a Nov. 30, 2020, performance completion date. Using military service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 through 2020 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE1C1-19-D-F027). Sysco Seattle, Kent, Washington, has been awarded a maximum $14,300,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for full line food distribution for land based customers in Seattle, Washington, and surrounding areas. This was a sole-source acquisition in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. This is a 240-day bridge contract with no option periods. Location of performance is Washington, with a Feb. 15, 2020, performance completion date. Using customers are Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Army National Guard, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds. The contracting agency is Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE300-19-D-3226). (Awarded June 20, 2019) DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY Iridium Satellite LLC, Tempe, Arizona, was awarded a non-competitive firm-fixed-price contract modification (P00012) for the extension of services on the current Airtime contract (HC104714C4000). The face value of this action is $8,579,000, funded by fiscal 2019 defense working capital funds. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $469,483,000. Performance will be at the contractor's facility. The original solicitation was issued on the basis of other than full and open competition pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). Only one responsible source and no other type of supplies or services would satisfy agency requirements. The period of performance is June 22, 2019, through July 21, 2019. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity. (Awarded June 19, 2019) *Small business **Mandatory source https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1884099/source/GovDelivery/

  • With all eyes on F-35, AAR Corp. looks to ‘clean up’ on F-16 maintenance

    June 25, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    With all eyes on F-35, AAR Corp. looks to ‘clean up’ on F-16 maintenance

    By: Jill Aitoro LE BOURGET, France — As a number of companies chase maintenance work for the F-35 fighter jet, one firm is planning to clean up on the F-16. AAR Corp., a provider of global aftermarket aviation services, won a seven-year contract with the Royal Danish Air Force to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul, or MRO, of Pratt & Whitney F100-220 engine components on the General Dynamics F-16 jet. That win, which came earlier this year, is the latest contract in a long-term relationship supporting the Danish Air Force and air forces across Europe with MRO services from the company's repair facility in Amsterdam. That facility supports about $500 million in business, much of it tied to the F-16. But the win also fits well into a grander ambition of the company, said Brian Sartain, senior vice president of repair and engineering services at AAR. “Everybody is running after F-35 capability,” he said. “But the Danish Air Force is still going to have a lot of F-16s for [the] foreseeable future, and there are still a lot of F-16s being flown around the world.” Sartain pointed to “fairly high-publicized” F-16 maintenance requirements coming down the pike for the U.S. Air Force, which reported a 65-70 percent mission-capable rate for F-16s in 2017. AAR has a facility in Duluth, Minnesota, which is located across the airfield from Duluth Air National Guard Base — home to the 148th Fighter Wing and its F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft. “Our facility is a perfect place to do F-16 maintenance. We have a lot of capacity,” Sartain said. “We're three tiers down in the F-35 component chain in the way those are being bid. We're not interested. So, while others are running after the F-35, we're cleaning up on the F-16s, and we're happy to do that.” Beyond its F-16 work, AAR supports airframe maintenance for the P-8A fleet for the U.S. Navy, Australia and Foreign Military Sales customers. AAR and Boeing were each awarded seven-year indefinite delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts from Naval Air Systems Command in February 2018, competing each year on workshare. While Boeing performed the majority of work the first year, AAR was recently awarded the larger slice for 2019. “Frankly, we're moving to majority share because our performance has been better,” Sartain said. “Most program competitors will need to sub tier to another company and then stack profit on top of profit. For government, it's a better value for us to be a prime, and for us it's a great opportunity to be a prime.” AAR supports the P-8 work from its Indianapolis facility, where at any given time four P-8s are in the hanger, with two steady lines of maintenance. The location is also used to support maintenance of Southwest Airlines 737 aircraft, which share the same airframe as the P-8. It's gone from about 20 percent military and 80 percent commercial maintenance to an even split. “Southwest asks that airplanes are returned in about 21 days. For the P-8, the Navy allows 60 for turnaround,” Sartain said. “The airplane comes in, we have a small crew of 30-40 that hold secret clearances and lock in a room the top-secret equipment, and then I can flex mechanics from Southwest to take advantage of that experience." https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/paris-air-show/2019/06/21/with-all-eyes-on-f-35-aar-looks-to-clean-up-on-f-16-maintenance/

  • After delay, US Army clears Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for full-rate production

    June 25, 2019 | International, Land

    After delay, US Army clears Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for full-rate production

    By: Jen Judson WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has approved the Oshkosh-built Joint Light Tactical Vehicle's transition to full-rate production after a roughly six-month delay, according to a June 21 announcement. Full-rate production for the JLTV was pushed from an original schedule of December 2018 out to May this year due to a number of changes to the Humvee replacement. The Army decided to make a series of alterations as the result of soldier feedback, including a larger back window and the addition of a muffler. The approach was designed to minimize the cost and quantity of the vehicles that would need to be retrofitted, the vehicle's program office told Defense News at the time. The decision to delay the full-rate production did not stop the service from beginning to field 300 of the new vehicles to the Army's 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, making it the first unit equipped with the vehicle in April 2019. “We are also grateful for soldier feedback on new features and enhancements,” Jeffrey White, the Army acquisition chief's principal deputy said in the Army announcement. “The Soldiers of the 1st ABCT, 3rd Infantry Division provided valuable input on enhancements such as increased situational awareness, reduction of system noise, a troop seat kit, and a companion JLTV trailer. Their assessments helped bring us all to a successful Full-Rate Production decision.” Oshkosh beat out Humvee-maker AM General and Lockheed Martin in 2015 to build the replacement for the Humvee for both the Army and the Marine Corps. The low-rate initial production, or LRIP, contract was worth $6.7 billion, and the entire program is estimated to be worth $30 billion through 2024. “Important insights from manufacturing and rigorous developmental and operational test during LRIP contributed to shaping the vehicle's current configuration,” George Mansfield, vice president and general manager of joint programs for Oshkosh Defense, said in a statement sent to Defense News. “The program remains on schedule and on budget, and ensures our troops have the protection, connection, and extreme off-road mobility they need today for current and future battlefields. The JLTV is the only light tactical vehicle being fielded today that can maneuver within combat formations,” he said. At the time of the LRIP award, a total of 49,100 JLTVs were planned for the Army, not including what the Marine Corps is planning to buy as well as a small number for the Air Force and Navy. The service cut its procurement of the JLTV in its fiscal 2020 budget request by 863 vehicles. The Army procured 3,393 vehicles in FY19 in LRIP but only plans to buy 2,530 vehicles in FY20. The Army originally planned in its FY19 request to buy 3,035 vehicles in FY20. It is unclear if more cuts will come for the JLTV. Army Secretary Mark Esper said at the time the FY20 budget rolled out that the vehicle was designed and procured in “the context of Afghanistan and Iraq,” and hence was just not as relevant anymore when applied to the fresh National Defense Strategy now guiding Army investment. “We are certainly cutting the total number” of JLTV procurement, Esper said. “I know that much. But whether it settles out, finals out right here, today, I can't tell you. In five years, I could maybe have a different number for you.” While the JLTV was designed for the counterinsurgency fight — a light vehicle with the protection to endure the blast of an improvised explosive device much like mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles — Oshkosh has used the JLTV's highly configurable design to increase firepower options on board a JLTV and to protect it from missile and rocket attacks. Over the past three years, it integrated remote weapon systems, a lightweight 30mm cannon paired with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, a Javelin integration kit, several .50-caliber machine guns, and a lightweight automatic chain gun, among other weapon systems. The IMI Iron Fist Active Protection System and Rafael's Trophy Light APShave both been integrated onto JLTVs for evaluation. And the Boeing Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense launcher, which was not selected by the Army for its interim SHORAD solution, was also integrated onto the JLTV to include an M3P .50-caliber machine gun, M299 launcher with four Longbow Hellfire missiles, a sensor suite, and a communications suite with the Thales VRC-111. Now that the Army has approved full-rate production for the JLTV, it is anticipated Foreign Military Sales prospects could begin more rapid materialization. Slovenia has already placed an order for a small number of JLTVs, and it's likely the United Kingdom as well as Lithuania will be future customers. https://www.defensenews.com/land/2019/06/21/after-delay-army-clears-joint-light-tactical-vehicle-for-full-rate-production/

  • US drone maker senses a leg up in Europe

    June 25, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    US drone maker senses a leg up in Europe

    By: Sebastian Sprenger PARIS — U.S. drone-maker General Atomics looks to get a foothold in the European market by touting the promise of smooth civilian-airspace integration of its aircraft by militaries there. The company considers the United Kingdom, with its Protector program of 20 or so planned aircraft, as the launch customer for the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, a successor to the Reaper. The medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drones come with safety features that executives at this year's Paris Air Show said will enable a so-called military-type certification by the British authorities in the summer of 2023 — the final step toward allowing the drone to fly routinely alongside civilian air traffic. Belgium also has gained U.S. approval to buy four of the aircraft, complete with a detect-and-avoid suite that can alert the system whenever its flight path risks hitting another aircraft, according to a March 26 announcement by the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency. That technology, along with a host of technologies for safe operations that have long been standard in manned aviation, is still considered something of a holy grail in the drone business. With unmanned aircraft expected to reach deeper into military and civilian life in the coming years, manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic have been working feverishly to construct their products with requisite safety certifications in mind. General Atomics' sales pitch is perhaps indicative of an industry where the potential for airspace integration is now taking an equal seat to reconnaissance capabilities and combat punch. The American company can be expected to tread on manufacturers' toes in Europe, where vendors are shaping the evolving regulatory landscape of the European Union and member states to ensure compliance with all expected safety requirements. “We believe we should be there first,” General Atomics President David Alexander told reporters at a briefing during the air show. Being first with a certified drone, he noted, would also open vast potential of the commercial market. But questions remain. Most importantly, issue experts said, it is unclear if the European authorities will honor whatever progress in safety certifications the MQ-9B has made in the eyes of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Company officials told Defense News they try to keep their fingers at the pulse of the relevant policymaking processes on the continent, putting them at the same tables as suppliers in the European industry, like Airbus, Hensoldt or Leonardo. The American firm recently worked with the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Center, or NLR, to simulate a SkyGuardian flying in European airspace. “During the first simulations performed in May, we subjected air traffic controllers to many contingency procedures ranging from engine failure to loss-of-link between the pilot and the remotely piloted aircraft,” Emmanuel Sunil, an NLR project manager, said in a June 18 statement by the research center. “The results indicate that the new procedures that we are developing will make it possible for MALE RPA to fly safely and efficiently in civil European airspace along with other manned air traffic.” https://www.defensenews.com/digital-show-dailies/paris-air-show/2019/06/21/us-drone-maker-senses-a-leg-up-in-europe/

  • US Army Deploys New Battlefield Counter-UAS Capability

    June 25, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    US Army Deploys New Battlefield Counter-UAS Capability

    Author: Mike Rees The U.S. Army has announced that its Howler counter unmanned aerial system (UAS) capability has achieved Initial Operational Capability, putting critical protection against drones in the hands of soldiers. Howler, a name coined by the U.S. Army, combines the capabilities of Raytheon's Ku band radio frequency system multi-mission simultaneous radar and Coyote unmanned aircraft system. The KuRFS advanced electronically scanned array acquires and tracks all size UAS threats. Coyote works with KuRFS using its advanced seeker and warhead to identify and eliminate UAS threats. “We developed and fielded this system in just 17 months,” said Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Mission Systems and Sensors. “Detecting the drone threat is the first critical step in the counter-UAS kill chain. The combination of precise tracking and engagement of these two proven systems gives the U.S. Army a vital capability to defeat this constantly evolving threat.” In addition to providing advanced situational awareness, precise discrimination and mobility to successfully counter UAS threats, Howler gives the Army singular flexibility to adapt to the quickly changing, multidimensional threat environment. “Test after test proves that our Coyote is an integral solution for defeating the growing number of enemy drones in the skies above the battlefield,” said Sam Deneke, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. “Protecting soldiers on the ground is a top priority, and this new system truly delivers.” Raytheon's portfolio of sensors, and kinetic and non-kinetic effectors networked into a command and control system covers the full counter-UAS kill chain. https://www.unmannedsystemstechnology.com/2019/06/us-army-deploys-new-battlefield-counter-uas-capability/

  • Telefónica Combines Drones with IoT Sensors for Wildfire Warning System

    June 25, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Telefónica Combines Drones with IoT Sensors for Wildfire Warning System

    Posted By: Malek Murison The combination of drones and wildfires isn't usually a productive one. Emergency teams tasked with fighting them are often disrupted by opportunistic aerial photographers. But the technology has also proved to be a useful situational awareness for fire crews. Drones can cover ground quickly and provide an indication of a fire's scale and threat, reducing the need to put emergency teams in danger. Full article: https://dronelife.com/2019/06/20/telefonica-combines-drones-with-iot-sensors-for-early-fire-detection/

  • Navy Buys Tech that Can Land F-35s on Carriers with Pinpoint Accuracy

    June 25, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Navy Buys Tech that Can Land F-35s on Carriers with Pinpoint Accuracy

    By Hope Hodge Seck When the Navy's F-35C Joint Strike Fighter embarks on its first carrier deployment in 2021, it's expected to take with it a pinpoint-accurate landing system that purports to make the terror of night approaches and high sea-state traps all but a thing of the past. Raytheon announced this week that the Navy awarded a $234.6 million contract for a low-rate initial production of 23 of its Joint Precision Approach and Landing Systems, or JPALS -- enough to outfit every carrier and L-class amphibious assault ship with the technology. The contract also will include retrofitting three earlier systems that had been installed, a Raytheon executive said. Delivering to the Navy will start late next year, and installation will begin shortly thereafter, retired Navy Rear Adm. C.J. Jaynes, Raytheon's JPALS technical executive, told Military.com this week. The work is expected to be completed by August 2023, according to a published contract announcement. The system, which uses shipboard-relative GPS to guide planes in for landings and communicates with the aircraft from the deck of the carrier up to 200 nautical miles out, is accurate within 20 centimeters, or about 8 inches, Jaynes said. "It hits the third wire every time," she said. "It's [reliable in] all-weather and all sea states, including Sea State 5 (waves of roughly 8 to 12 feet)." For Navy pilots, catching the third of four wires on tailhook landings (or the second of three wires) has historically been a game of skill and precision that becomes orders of magnitude more difficult in the dark or in low-visibility weather conditions. Marine Corps F-35B pilots, who use the aircraft's vertical-landing configuration to put it down on the smaller flight decks of amphibious ships, face the same problems. And those issues may actually be exacerbated by a number of F-35-specific issues pending resolution. The custom-made, $400,000-per-unit helmet that F-35 pilots wear -- a piece of technology that allows them to "see through" the plane via a display for better situational awareness -- features symbology that emits a green glow, interfering with pilots' vision in low-light conditions. A video that emerged in 2017 showed an F-35 pilot landing "in a fog" on the amphibious assault ship America at night, his vision obscured by the helmet display. A recent Defense News report highlighted another issue with the helmet display at night that obscures the horizon. JPALS, which has already deployed in an early-development version with F-35Bs aboard the amphibious assault ships Wasp and Essex, would decrease reliance on visibility for accurate landings. Another F-35C-installed tool, Delta Flight Path, will keep aircraft on a steady glide slope for carrier landings, reducing inputs and corrections required from pilots. Early reports from the JPALS deployments with the Marines have been extremely positive, Jaynes said. "The pilots absolutely love it. It's been 100 percent accuracy, always available, they haven't had any issues at all," she said. "We know they have not had to abort any missions due to weather or due to sea state." Raytheon is now pitching an expeditionary version of JPALS, easily transportable and designed to guide aircraft to safe landings on bare airfields. The whole system can fit in five transit cases, be transported by C-130 Hercules, and be assembled within 90 minutes, Raytheon says. The Navy's future tanker drone, the MQ-25 Stingray, will also be JPALS-equipped; Jaynes said Raytheon is in talks with the service now about selling expeditionary JPALS for the MQ-25 program for shore-based tanker landings at locations like Norfolk, Virginia, or Point Mugu, California. Meanwhile, she said, the Marine Corps is considering buying a single expeditionary JPALS system for testing in order to develop a concept of operations to employ it. But "the closest customer outside of MQ-25 is actually the U.S. Air Force," Jaynes said. "They'd be able to move their aircraft possibly every 24 to 48 hours and do island-hopping in the Pacific. We're going over to [United States Air Forces in Europe -- Air Forces Africa] in July to talk with them about the system," she said. https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/06/21/all-navy-carriers-amphibs-get-f-35-precision-landing-system.html

  • Canadian special forces will receive three new surveillance aircraft - aircraft expected 2022

    June 25, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Canadian special forces will receive three new surveillance aircraft - aircraft expected 2022

    DAVID PUGLIESE 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 federal government is also setting up a competitive process to select a company to maintain the aircraft and related systems for a potential period of 20 years. A Request for Proposals is expected sometime this summer. The agreement signed with the U.S. government is for $188 million (CAN). The value of the project is estimated at $247 million. The funding includes the acquisition of the aircraft and prime mission equipment from the U.S. and an initial portion of the associated in-service support of the aircraft. The main contractor is Beechcraft in Wichita, Kan. Canadian companies had wanted to provide the aircraft and on-board equipment, and several have formed alliances with U.S. firms who supply the Pentagon with the same or similar aircraft. But the Canadian military decided it needed the planes more quickly than they believed Canadian companies could deliver, and that U.S. security regulations governing the on-board sensor equipment might cause delays. As a result, it determined the U.S. government was the only supplier capable of providing the planes. DND has declined to provide an estimate of what that long-term support would cost taxpayers. RCAF pilots will fly the aircraft but members of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command will operate the specialized equipment in the planes. The planes will be outfitted with electro-optical sensors that would allow the aircraft to track the movement of individuals and vehicles on the ground. Canadian special forces had access to similar aircraft in Afghanistan to track and target insurgents. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/canadian-special-forces-will-receive-three-new-surveillance-aircraft-aircraft-expected-2022

  • Typhoon’s 'Digital Stealth' Can Evolve To Meet Changing Threat

    June 21, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    Typhoon’s 'Digital Stealth' Can Evolve To Meet Changing Threat

    by Jon Lake Mark Hewer, Leonardo's v-p for the Integrated Mission Solutions Business Area, believes that the company's open/reprogrammable electronic warfare (EW) suite for the Typhoon represents what he calls “digital stealth.” This will confer a high degree of survivability, even in a threat environment whose lethality is growing exponentially, with the emergence of a plethora of high-end, software reprogrammable, multi-spectral threats, including surface-to-air missile systems. These threat systems are being updated more regularly and are frequently networked, allowing them to share intelligence of the air situation. EW systems are able to evolve to deal with this dynamic and rapidly changing threat, in a way that fifth-generation stealthy aircraft cannot. While stealth aircraft are hard to detect, they are not invisible, and counter-stealth technology is developing rapidly. Moreover, the skin, internal structure, and configuration of an aircraft cannot be easily altered. “You cannot easily modify a stealth platform to counter new high-end threats,” Hewer said. Typhoon's EW capabilities are provided by Leonardo's Praetorian Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS), which incorporates an onboard podded ECM system and off-board ECM, with a towed radar decoy, as well as missile approach, laser, and radar warning systems and a flare and countermeasures dispensing system. These systems will soon be augmented by the new BriteCloud, an active, highly programmable Digital RF Memory (DRFM) decoy that will allow the Typhoon pilot to better counter the highest-end threats. BriteCloud will give a discriminatory capability that is not on any other platform, providing a world-leading expendable active decoy capability on the Typhoon that none of its rivals will have. The MoD's Desidermagazine has predicted that initial operational capability on Typhoon will be declared in late 2019. Arguably more important than the performance of the individual hardware elements within Typhoon's DASS is their ability to be reprogrammed. “What is really important for the high-end customer buying Typhoon is that their EW system is highly programmable,” Hewer said. “There's no point in directing your ECM if it is going to be ineffective against a threat because you're not exploiting its vulnerabilities.” The Typhoon's EW system is undergoing continuous evolution, with regular upgrades to the hardware and a spiral software development process, but the most important factor is getting the right threat intelligence or “mission data” into the system. This is used to interpret the information that the sensors receive, and drives the behavior of the EW system. Mission success will often depend on having the most up-to-date data set to ensure relevance to the environment. This makes the rapidity of the upgrade cycle of paramount importance. Leonardo believes that many customers want a sustainable sovereign mission data capability, and it can offer to provide this as a service or as a fully tailored sovereign solution. The company can help customers to set up a national EW database or an aircraft specific database and has a suite of software tools available to customers. While F-35 naturally incorporates advanced EW systems, there is still a very heavy reliance on the U.S. for mission support, with a relatively cumbersome mission data cycle. Hewer believes that Typhoon is “many years more mature in its operational use of programming for EW.” While Leonardo's emphasis is currently on highlighting its ability to produce robust and agile high-end sovereign mission data generation capabilities for customers, the company is already looking to the future. Greater automation and machine learning promise a solution to the increasing complexity of the threat environment, and the company is also looking at the potential for sharing information across platforms as well as the possibility of reprogramming an EW system in flight. https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2019-06-19/typhoons-digital-stealth-can-evolve-meet-changing-threat

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