7 février 2024 | International, C4ISR

Future soldier resupply could rely on AI-powered logistics, robo-boats

New watercraft are key to the Army's resupply, logistical plans for future combat.


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  • Production of one of the F-35′s most anticipated bombs has been on hold for almost a year

    15 juin 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Production of one of the F-35′s most anticipated bombs has been on hold for almost a year

    By: Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — Deliveries of a new precision-guided bomb under development by Raytheon for the F-35 and other fighter jets have been at a standstill for about a year as the company struggles to correct a technical problem involving a key component. A fix for the issue, which brought production of the Small Diameter Bomb II to a halt in July 2019, could be approved by the government as soon as July, said Air Force spokesman Capt. Jake Bailey in response to questions by Defense News. However, a June report by the Government Accountability Office pointed out that continued technical issues have already caused a delay in fielding the munition, with Raytheon forced to redesign a key component and retrofit all 598 bombs already delivered to the Air Force and Navy. The Small Diameter Bomb II — also known as the GBU-53 StormBreaker — was designed with a tri-mode seeker that includes a millimeter wave radar, imaging infrared and semi-active laser that allow the weapon to engage targets in all weather conditions and environments where visibility is obscured by dust and debris. The Air Force and Navy plan to integrate SDB II with a range of fighter aircraft including the F-15, F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-35 joint strike fighter, but the munition has been mired in development for more than a decade. This latest stoppage in production was prompted by internal audits by Raytheon, which found that the clips used to hold the bomb's fins in place “suffered vibration fatigue over long flight hours,” Bailey said. The clips serve “as the backup fin storage device” used to keep the fins in place in case other components fail, noted Bailey, who added that there have been no incidents during tests involving the SDB II fins inadvertently deploying. However, the GAO wrote that the premature deployment of the fins, which help guide the bomb in flight, could damage the weapon as well as cause a safety hazard for the aircraft carrying it. “While this problem could affect all aircraft carrying the bomb, officials said the greatest impact is to the F-35, because the bomb is carried in the aircraft's internal weapons bay and could cause serious damage if the fins deploy while the bomb is in the bay,” the GAO stated. Raytheon declined to comment on this story, directing questions to the Air Force. Raytheon plans on mitigating the issue with a newly designed clip that reduces the vibration of the fins, and will completely pay for developing the fix and retrofitting it on the bombs that have already been delivered, the GAO said. The Air Force confirmed that testing of the new device has already been completed and is going through final reviews. But while Raytheon and the Air Force had hoped to restart production in April, travel restrictions caused by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic contributed to further delays. The government now hopes to approve the fix in July, after which production will restart and the retrofit process for existing bombs will begin. “The fin clip failure is the sole reason production was partially halted; once final government approval is obtained, ‘all up round' production can resume,” Bailey said, using a phrase that describes a fully assembled weapon. The Air Force estimates that retrofits will be completed by August, as Raytheon's supplier has already begun manufacturing the replacement component, which are easily installed on the outside of the weapon. “Until production resumes, the total Lot 3 deliveries remain at 204 of the 312 assets on contract,” Bailey said. All this puts initial operational capability at least a year later than the service's original timeline, which predicted IOC would occur in September 2019. The Air Force declined to name a current estimate for when IOC would be achieved, but said it would happen after a separate milestone known as the “initial fielding decision,” which involves the approval of the head of Air Combat Command and is set for the third quarter of 2020. The issue with SDB II's fins is just one of several technical problems with which Raytheon is grappling. The program completed operational tests in 2019, but hardware and software changes are needed after 11 failures were reported. Two hardware fixes have already been put in place, and eight failures were related to software problems that will be addressed in future updates, the GAO said. The sole outstanding issue involves an anomaly with SDB II's guidance system. Fixing it could require Raytheon to redesign the component and conduct retrofits on all bombs already delivered, according to GAO. A review board of the problem is in the “final stages of analysis,” Bailey said. The Air Force and Raytheon plan to establish whether a replacement component is necessary no later than June 30. Although the weapon has not even been officially fielded, some components are already becoming obsolete. A Raytheon subcontractor that makes circuit cards used in the guidance system is expected to stop producing those components years sooner than anticipated. As a result, that the Defense Department may have to order all circuit cards needed for the program of record before December, according to the GAO. That timeline has now been extended to January 2022, “which provides ample time for program office action before the new deadline,” Bailey said. Despite the bomb's ongoing problems, Raytheon continues to rake in contracts for the program. In February, the Defense Department awarded a $15 million increase to a previous SDB II contract for additional technical support. In September, the company received a $200 million contract for lifecycle support during the bomb's engineering and manufacturing development phase. According to a Raytheon news release, the Navy recently completed the first guided release of SDB II from a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. https://www.defensenews.com/air/2020/06/12/production-of-one-of-the-f-35s-most-anticipated-bombs-has-been-on-hold-for-almost-a-year

  • Space Force launches platform to match promising tech with satellites

    9 mai 2023 | International, C4ISR

    Space Force launches platform to match promising tech with satellites

    The Space Test Program released a draft solicitation May 8 seeking commercial companies to provide spacecraft and integration services.

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - October 23, 2018

    25 octobre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - October 23, 2018

    U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND Wyle Laboratories Inc. (KBRwyle), Houston, Texas, has been awarded a $500,000,000 maximum ceiling value, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (H92400-19-D-0001) for contractor-provided personal services and expertise to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to support the Preservation of the Force and Family Program. The support will be provided at 26 geographic locations inside and outside of the continental U.S. The contract has a base period of five years with one three-year option period for a total ordering period of up to eight years. This contract was awarded through full and open competition with eight proposals received. USSOCOM, Tampa, Florida, is the contracting activity. ARMY General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California, was awarded a $192,660,310 modification (P00071) to contract W58RGZ-17-C-0018 for Gray Eagle performance-based logistics. Work will be performed in Poway, California, with an estimated completion date of April 23, 2019. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $41,825,728 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. NAVY Konecranes Nuclear Equipment and Services LLC, New Berlin, Wisconsin, is awarded a $54,928,445 firm-fixed-price contract to provide one 140-ton portal crane at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The work to be performed provides for the contractor to design, fabricate, assemble, shop test, deliver, install, inspect, field test and make ready for use one 140-ton portal crane. The crane shall be a portal type with a rotating superstructure, luffing boom, main hoist and an auxiliary hoist designed to meet the dimensional and functional requirements of the specification. Crane installation and utilization will be performed in Kittery, Maine, and is expected to be completed by May 2021. Fiscal 2019 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $54,928,445 are obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with two proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N62470-19-C-1000). General Dynamics Mission Systems, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is awarded a $18,537,696 cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development, and sustainment efforts for the U.S. SSBN Fire Control Sub-system (FCS); the United Kingdom FCS; and the U.S. SSGN Attack Weapon Control System, including training and support equipment and U.S./UK Shipboard Data System. Work will be performed in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (98 percent); Kings Bay, Georgia (1 percent); and Dahlgren, Virginia (1 percent), with an expected completion date of September 2019. Fiscal 2019 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,904,897; United Kingdom funds in the amount of $2,635,000; and fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $406,801 are being obligated on this award. Funds in the amount of $406,801 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Subject to the availability of funding, fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $7,590,998 will be obligated which will also expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity (N00030-19-C-0003). Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded $8,700,187 for cost-plus-fixed-fee order N0001919F0276 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-14-G-0020). This order provides support services to design a non-Department of Defense (DoD) participant strategic facility in support of the F-35 aircraft. Work will be performed in Kansas City, Missouri (72 percent); and Fort Worth, Texas (28 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2020. Non-DoD participant funds in the amount of $8,700,187 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. General Dynamics, Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, is being awarded a $7,316,141 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-15-C-4305) to exercise a priced option to maintain Navy certification, protect and operate the Navy floating dry dock, ARDM-4 Shippingport. The contractor will also accomplish organizational level repairs and preservation to the government furnished dry dock. Work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by October 2019. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance (Navy) funding in the amount of $1,900,000 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair, Groton, Connecticut, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Unimed Government Services,* Lakeville, Minnesota, has been awarded a maximum $25,000,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for hospital equipment and accessories for the Defense Logistics Agency electronic catalog. This is a five-year contract with no option periods. This was a competitive acquisition with 58 responses received; 17 contracts have been awarded to date. Using customers are Department of Defense and other federal organizations. Location of performance is Minnesota, with an Oct. 22, 2023, performance completion date. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2018 through 2023 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2DH-19-D-0005). *Woman-owned small business https://dod.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1669872/

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