23 juillet 2021 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

Contracts for July 22, 2021

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  • Major Submarine Contractor Drops Navy Missile Tube Biz

    10 août 2020 | International, Naval

    Major Submarine Contractor Drops Navy Missile Tube Biz

    The disclosure comes as the Pentagon has been looking for ways to backstop key parts of its industrial base as supply chains slowed due to the COVID epidemic. By PAUL MCLEARY WASHINGTON: One of the Navy's primary suppliers of missile tubes for its nuclear submarines is planning to walk away from the military business, a move that will drop the number of domestic companies capable of doing the work to two at a time when the service is in a scramble to ramp up its sub-building efforts. BWX Technologies President Rex Geveden says that the company is “not likely to pursue” any more Navy business and will repurpose a factory in Indiana that makes the components once the next set of deliveries of missile tubes wrap up in 2022. The Navy work “just doesn't have the margin profile that we want to see in the business,” Geveden said in a Tuesday investor call. BWX was slated to build the missile tubes for the new Columbia subs, but prime contractor Electric Boat says it has options to replace the company in coming years. The company “works with multiple suppliers to ensure we can meet the Navy's schedule requirements on these important programs,” a spokesperson emailed. “These are Babcock Marine, BAE Systems, Precision Custom Components and BWX Technologies. BWX Technologies will complete all currently contracted work for EB by 2022.” This comes as the Pentagon has been looking for ways to bolster key parts of its industrial base as communities shut down and workers are told not to report to work or take time off, due to the COVID epidemic. In a call with reporters late last month, Navy acquisition chief James Geurts acknowledged that the service is deeply worried that such closures and slowdowns could have wide-ranging impacts on shipbuilding. “I am absolutely interested in ensuring that we don't lose large chunks of the industrial base,” he said. “Restarting an industrial base that you lose is really hard, really painful, and takes a long time. We are absolutely focused on ensuring we do not lose an industrial base because we don't have the time or resources to re-generate it later when we need it.” The winnowing of such a key part of the industrial base will place more pressure on the handful of other companies who can do this sort of work, something to which Pentagon leadership is particularly sensitive. Overall, the Navy plans to buy 12 Columbia-class submarines between 2021 and 2035, with 10 of those coming 2026 and after. In the near-term, it plans two Virginia-class subs per year between 2021 and 2026, meaning shipyards will have to pump out two to four submarines a year in the mid-2020s. The new Columbia submarines will begin being delivered to the Navy in 2030, just in time to begin replacing the Cold War-era Ohio-class subs as the Navy's leg of the nation's nuclear triad. The subs will carry 70 percent of the nation's stockpile of warheads allowed by the New Start treaty with Russia. Falling in to replace the Ohio's on time would be a critical failure for the nation's nuclear triad, as the aging ships will have next to no life left in them by the end of the decade, and leaving the sea leg of the nuclear enterprise in some jeopardy. Babcock Marine is a UK-based company, but does work on some components that are used for both the Columbia program and the UK's Dreadnaught submarines, which shares similar missile tubes with the Columbia effort. In 2018, Virginia-based BWX was forced to pay $27 million to fix welding problems on the Columbia tubes, after issues were found on a total of 44 tubes. So far, 21 of those have been fixed and 11 delivered to the Navy. Navy officials have closely tied the modernizing of the current Virginia-class subs with the building of new Columbia's, warning that since they share a base of companies who can make precision parts for nuclear-powered submarines. So any problem with one program will have knock-on effects to the other. Geurts and others have said the Navy would prioritize the health of the Columbia effort over Virginia if they had to. If the House of Representatives gets its way, however, billions more will flow into the Virginia program than the White House has called for. Last week, the House voted to fund the construction of a second Virginia-class submarine in the 2021 budget request, after the White House dropped the planned buy to one submarine in its submission. The push was led by Rep. Joe Courtney, chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee who represents the Connecticut district that's home to Electric Boat. The bill now includes $6.8 billion to produce two Virginia-class attack submarines, approximately $2.5 billion more than the White House's own request, and $2.2 billion more than the Senate's. “The budget request we received from the White House flew in the face of testimony that we've heard from Navy leaders, experts, and combatant commanders,” Courtney said in a statement. “It requested the fewest ships in over a decade, and it eliminated construction of the second Virginia-class submarine in 2021—a vessel that the Navy quickly listed as its most important unfunded priority in 2021.” https://breakingdefense.com/2020/08/major-submarine-contractor-drops-navy-missile-tube-biz

  • Here’s what the Space Development Agency wants from its first 10 satellites

    6 mai 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Here’s what the Space Development Agency wants from its first 10 satellites

    Nathan Strout The Space Development Agency is seeking proposals for its first batch of satellites, which will make up its initial transport layer — an on-orbit mesh network that will connect space-based sensors with terrestrial shooters. According to the May 1 solicitation, SDA is looking to award two contracts to build a total of 20 small satellites, which will comprise Tranche 0 of the National Security Space Architecture, a proliferated, low-Earth orbit constellation that will fulfill a multitude of military needs, including tracking hypersonic weapons; providing alternative position, navigation and timing data; delivering beyond-line-of-sight targeting; and more. Ultimately, the agency envisions a constellation made up of hundreds of interconnected satellites. Ten of those Tranche 0 satellites will form the agency's initial transport layer. The spiral development approach The agency is taking a spiral development approach to its National Security Space Architecture. Tranche 0 will be a testing and training segment that will demonstrate the integration of the architecture with other war-fighting efforts and inform future SDA developments. Tranche 0 is anticipated to be on orbit in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, with the SDA adding new tranches of satellites every two years, increasing the constellation's size and capabilities. Launch services will be acquired through the Orbital Services Program 4 contract or follow-on contracts. The philosophy behind the spiral approach is that the two-year cycles allow the agency to rapidly put new capabilities on orbit in response to evolving threats. Instead of waiting years for the perfect satellite system, the agency wants to push technologies that are currently ready into orbit as soon as possible, giving war fighters increased capabilities in the near term. With Tranche 0, the SDA wants to achieve periodic, regional, low-latency data connectivity. With Tranche 1, which will add 150 satellites to the constellation, the agency plans to provide persistent regional connectivity. Building a mesh network The National Security Space Architecture will be made up of several layers serving different functions. Tranche 0 will establish the transport layer, a space-based mesh network that will be able to pass data from one satellite to the next. The mesh network will operate as part of the Integrated Broadcast System, the Defense Department's standard network for transmitting tactical and strategic intelligence and targeting data. The key technology that will enable the transport layer are optical inter-satellite cross links, providing approximately 1 Gbps connections between the satellites. Each Transport Layer satellite will have four such cross links — forward, behind, right and left — which will allow them to pass data on to the nearest or next-nearest transport layer satellite operating in the same orbital plane. The satellites will also be capable of cross-plane cross links, meaning they will be able to connect to non-transport layer satellites operating above or below them. Assuming that they also have optical inter-satellite cross links, these non-transport layer satellites would then be able to pass data through the transport layer's mesh network to another satellite or even to a terrestrial shooter. For example, it could work like this: A space-based sensor collects imagery that it wants to pass to a ground-based system, but it is not within range of any ground station. No problem. The sensor would pass on that imagery to a transport layer satellite via an cross-plane optical cross link. The data would then bounce from transport layer satellite to transport layer satellite until it arrives above its destination, where it would then be downlinked to an optical ground terminal or distributed to the appropriate weapons system via the Link 16 tactical data network. In theory, this would allow shooters to receive space-based sensor data in near-real time. Since the SDA plans to continue building on the transport layer in subsequent tranches across multiple vendors, the optical inter-satellite cross links will need to be designed with interoperability in mind. The SDA also wants radio frequency cross links as a backup to the optical cross links. Tranche 0 will include 10 transport layer satellites — three of which will include Link 16 payloads. During an April industry day, SDA Director Derek Tournear said this initial, space-based mesh network will form the space network component to the Defense Department's Joint All-Domain Command and Control enterprise, or JADC2. “The transport layer, which is what the draft [request for proposals] and the industry day was talking about today, is going to be the unifying effort across the department. That is going to be what we use for low-latency [communications] to be able to pull these networks together, and that, in essence, is going to be the main unifying truss for the JADC2 and that effort moving forward. That is going to be the space network that is utilized for that,” Tournear explained. The agency has six goals for its Tranche 0 transport layer: Demonstrate low-latency data transport to the war fighter over the optical cross link mesh network. Demonstrate the ability to deliver data from an external, space-based sensor to the war fighter via the transport layer. Demonstrate a limited battle management C3 functionality. Transfer Integrated Broadcast System data across the mesh network to the war fighter. Store, relay and transmit Link 16 data over the network in near real time. Operate a common timing reference independent of GPS. According to the request for proposals, the SDA plans to award a contract Aug 10, with delivery expected by July 31, 2022. Responses to the solicitation are due June 1. https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/space/2020/05/05/heres-what-the-space-development-agency-wants-from-its-first-10-satellites/

  • Calling all weapons makers: Pentagon seeks new ideas to arm Ukraine

    2 mai 2022 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    Calling all weapons makers: Pentagon seeks new ideas to arm Ukraine

    In its effort to quickly arm Ukraine against Russia, the Pentagon has announced the equivalent of an open casting call for companies to offer weapons and commercial systems that can be rushed to the fight.

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