5 août 2022 | International, Aérospatial

GE, Pratt & Whitney Publicly Pitch F-35 Engine Plans as Decision Looms - Air Force Magazine

Engine makers GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney are competing for the future of the F-35 engine, as the Air Force considers a change.


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  • Trio of prototyping contracts brings new approach for collecting military weather data

    19 août 2020 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Trio of prototyping contracts brings new approach for collecting military weather data

    Nathan Strout WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force hopes its prototype low-Earth orbit weather satellites will entice commercial businesses and allied nations to partner up on the project, reducing the cost of delivering critical weather data to the war fighter. The U.S. Air Force has been trying to replace the aging Defense Meteorological Satellite Program for years, ever since Congress opted to can it in 2015. Two capabilities in particular have proven a challenge for replacement: cloud characterization and theater weather imagery. But now the Space Force thinks it has the answer. By leveraging the increasingly popular low-Earth orbit architecture demonstrated by SpaceX's Starlink constellation and other experiments, the military believes it can lower the cost of individual satellites, increase the resiliency of the systems and attract new partnerships. In a recent interview with SpaceNews, Space and Missile Systems Center Portfolio Architect Col. Russell Teehan explained the thinking behind the new approach. The Air Force previously struggled to attract partners due to the sheer cost of the systems, he said. After all, when a single satellite costs more than $700 million, it's difficult to find someone to share the load. That price point forced the Air Force to build exquisite systems, comprised of just a handful of satellites operating in higher orbits. As the Pentagon has come to understand with its other exquisite systems, in wartime this leaves the military's space-based capabilities dependent on just a few satellites that are difficult to defend. A proliferation low-Earth orbit, or P-LEO, constellation may solve both of those problems. Smaller LEO satellites can deliver the same capabilities at a fraction of the cost per satellite, while the sheer number of targets in the constellation means that the loss of a single satellite isn't crippling. “The goal is in doing that, that ideally the commercial and allied sector would increase their desire to partner on those activities,” Treehan said. “[T]he activities in the past were generally $700 million-plus individual systems, which forced us into architectures that were [made up of less than five satellites] that were significantly vulnerable if we were in a time of conflict.” The Space Force is targeting satellites in the $30-50 million range, Treehan added. The Space Force has issued a trio of prototype contracts this summer for new space-based sensors that can collect cloud characterization and theater weather imagery from low Earth orbit. Raytheon Technologies, General Atomics and Astra are leading separate prototyping efforts after receiving contracts from the Space Enterprise Consortium. The Space Force is asking for $131 million to continue these efforts in fiscal 2021. The decision to settle on LEO for this critical weather data follows years of disarray as the Pentagon has worked to find a replacement for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, or DMSP. For decades, the military has relied almost entirely on that program for weather data. The first satellite was launched in the 1960s, with the constellation being replenished with updated generations of weather satellites over the years. Today, there are just four DMSP satellites in operation. But no satellite is built to last forever, and there are no new DMSP satellites coming. As those satellites reach the end of their service life, they leave the two vital gaps of cloud characterization and theater weather imagery. Foreseeing this problem, Congress in 2015 directed the Air Force to launch a new weather satellite program to replace DMSP. The Air Force began working on a new constellation to launch in 2024, but there was a problem: a four-year gap between the projected end of DMSP's service life in 2020 and the launch of the new satellites. To fill that gap, the Air Force collaborated with NASA on ORS-8, a satellite to be launched just before DMSP expired. While a contract was awarded to Sierra Nevada Corp. to build that gap-filling satellite, it was protested, rescinded and ultimately canceled by the Air Force after the service determined DMSP's end-of-life date would extend beyond 2024. In 2019, the Air Force proposed a new solution: a free-flying space vehicle that would operate in low Earth orbit. The Pentagon asked for $101 million to begin the effort in fiscal 2020, with plans to launch it in 2024. But that plan didn't last the year. In September, the Air Force told Congress it wanted to scrap the free-flying space vehicle in favor of a new approach. Based on a space-based environmental monitoring capability assessment and strategy review completed in April 2019, the Air Force found it best to switch to an LEO architecture for scalability and increased resilience. Though skeptical, Congress ultimately swapped the funding for the free-flyer space vehicle to the new program. “Across the board in our weather strategies ... we're looking at multilayers of an architecture, how to most cost-effectively move forward in capability. They can be incrementally delivered over time. So that becomes a mix of large satellites that do missions and smaller satellites that we can launch in order to grow capability over time,” Col. Dennis Bythewood, program executive officer for space development at the Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, said in September 2019. “We're finding much more capable sensors being delivered in small packages that we think we can grow mission sets over time. Those are the types of things that we are looking at within our strategy.” https://www.c4isrnet.com/battlefield-tech/space/2020/08/17/trio-of-prototyping-contracts-brings-new-approach-for-collecting-military-weather-data/

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - July 07, 2020

    8 juillet 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - July 07, 2020

    ARMY Advanced Technology International, Summerville, South Carolina, was awarded a $450,392,000 modification (P00074) to contract W15QKN-16-9-1002 for large-scale manufacturing of antibodies directed to novel coronavirus. Work will be performed in Summerville, South Carolina; and Tarrytown, New York, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2021. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test, and evaluation, Army, funds in the amount of $450,392,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Newark, New Jersey, is the contracting activity. (Awarded July 6, 2020) Modern Technology Solutions Inc.,* Alexandria, Virginia, was awarded a $23,182,248 modification (P00012) to contract W31P4Q-16-D-0017 to increase the contract ceiling amount to enhance and maintain the current suite of distributed digital simulation and system of systems unique development facilities. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 2, 2021. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. NAVY Elite Pacific Construction Inc.,* Kaneohe, Hawaii (N62478-18-D-4022); Su-Mo Builders Inc.,* Honolulu, Hawaii (N62478-18-D-4023); RORE Inc.,* San Diego, California (N62478-18-D-4024); Environet Inc.,* Kamuela, Hawaii (N62478-18-D-4025); Insight Pacific LLC,* Brea, California (N62478-18-D-4026); GM/Bulltrack JV LLC,* Clackamas, Oregon (N62478-18-D-4027); and Alan Shintani Inc.,* Waipahu, Hawaii (N62478-18-D-4028), are awarded a $90,000,000 firm-fixed-price modification to increase the maximum dollar value of an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award, design-build/design-bid-build construction contract. This contract provides for construction projects located primarily within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii area of operations (AO). Work will be performed at various Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and miscellaneous federal and other facilities in the NAVFAC Hawaii AO. The work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, labor, supervision, tools, materials and equipment that are necessary to perform new construction, repair, alteration and related demolition of existing infrastructure based on design-build or design-bid-build (full plans and specifications) for infrastructure within the state of Hawaii. No task orders are being issued at this time. Work is expected to be completed by April 2023. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $335,000,000. No funds will be obligated at time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. Task orders will be primarily funded by operations and maintenance (Navy); and Navy working capital funds. The NAVFAC Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity. Wiley Wilson Burns & McDonnell JV, Alexandria, Virginia, is awarded a $75,000,000 maximum amount, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering contract for multi-discipline architect-engineer services for general and administrative facilities within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington area of operations. All work on this contract will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other facilities within the NAVFAC Washington area of operations including, but not limited to, Maryland (40%); Virginia (40%); and Washington, D.C. (20%). The work to be performed on this contract is design and engineering services of facilities, including but not limited to, child development care, general administrative spaces, dining facilities, commissary and exchange, educational, sports and fitness facilities, museums and memorials, training and instructional facilities, wet labs and electronic laboratories. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months and work is expected to be completed by July 2025. No task orders are being issued at this time and 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 operations and maintenance (Navy). This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, and eight proposals were received. The NAVFAC Washington, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N40080-20-D-0018). Jacobs EwingCole JV, Pasadena, California, is awarded a $52,000,000 firm-fixed-price modification to increase the maximum dollar value of an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for multi-discipline architect-engineering services for large projects under the military construction program within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest area of responsibility (AOR). After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $230,000,000. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to, California (87%); Arizona (5%); Nevada (5%); Colorado (1%); New Mexico (1%); and Utah (1%). The work to be performed provides for the preparation of design-bid-build construction contract packages; site investigations; cost estimates; post construction award services; preparation of request for proposals for design-build projects; studies and report related to the design of new facilities; technical reviews of government-prepared designs and design-build packages; preparation of planning and programming support documents; coordination of various technical disciplines; and identification and abatement methods for existing hazardous materials. Work is expected to be completed by November 2022. No contract funding is obligated at the time of award; funds will be obligated on individual task orders as they are issued. Task orders will be primarily funded by military construction (Navy). The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N62473-18-D-5801). Lyme Computer Systems Inc.,* Lebanon, New Hampshire, is awarded a $31,819,843 not to exceed, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract with firm-fixed-price task order provisions for commercial off-the-shelf industrial-grade networking hardware and components manufactured. Work will be performed at the contractor's facility in Lebanon, New Hampshire. This requirement is to provide commercial off-the-shelf industrial-grade networking hardware and components manufactured by Siemens/RuggedCom. The networking equipment is used for installation on operational hulls across multiple ship classes, to include the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51); USS Ticonderoga (CG-47); USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41); USS Whidbey Island (LSD-49); USS Avenger (MCM-1); USS Wasp (LHD-1); USS Makin Island (LHD-8); USS San Antonio (LPD-17); USS Nimitz (CVN-68); and the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), as part of their hull, mechanical, electrical and navigation network infrastructures. Work is expected to be completed by July 2025. Fiscal 2020 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $1,016,509 ($500 minimum guarantee) will be obligated at time of award via individual delivery orders and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured as a small-business set-aside via the beta.SAM.gov website and two offers were received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N64498-20-D-4023). Olympus America Inc., Waltham, Massachusetts, is awarded a $10,570,631 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. This contract is for the production, test and delivery of up to 330 Eddy Current Testing Systems, replacing the currently fielded system, to perform nondestructive inspection of aircraft components and support equipment for fatigue cracks and other surface defects on conductive materials. Work will be performed in Waltham, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by June 2023. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-20-D-0036). Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Illinois, is awarded a $9,061,423 modification (P00005) to previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract N68936-17-D-0017. This modification increases the ceiling of the contract to provide for the production and delivery of two additional Advanced Tactical Datalink test units and five additional detailed technical demonstrations. This modification also provides for studies and analysis of the system relative to emerging mission threats not previously anticipated. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows and is expected to be completed by August 2022. No funds will be obligated at the time of award. Funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, California, is the contracting activity. Gravois Aluminum Boats LLC, doing business as Metal Shark Boats, Jeanerette, Louisiana, is awarded a $7,027,703 firm-fixed-price delivery order to previously awarded contract N00024-17-D-2209 for the construction, shipping and item unique identification and documentation of four 40-foot patrol boats (PB): PB-2001; PB-2002; PB-2003; and PB-2004. Prices were previously established via the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. Contract modification (A00002) exercised options for the applicable contract line item numbers (i.e., 4000 series) on June 17, 2020. Work will be performed in Jeanerette, Louisiana. The contractor will provide expert design, planning and material support services. Work is expected to be completed by April 2023. Fiscal 2020 other procurement (Navy) funding in the amount of $7,027,703 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Gulf Coast, Pascagoula, Mississippi, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY Altitude Technologies, doing business as Chinook Medical Gear Inc., Durango, Colorado, has been awarded a maximum $46,445,291 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for numerous medical surgical products. This was a competitive acquisition with one response received. This is a one-year base contract with nine one-year option periods. Location of performance is Colorado, with a July 6, 2021, ordering period end date. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense Warstopper funds. The contracting agency is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2D0-20-D-0007). BAE Systems Information & Electronic Systems Integration, Greenlawn, New York, has been awarded a $26,305,633 firm-fixed-price delivery order (SPRPA1-20-F-C20G) against five-year basic ordering agreement SPRPA1-17-G-C201 for E-2D aircraft electronic phase shifters. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulations 6.302-1. This is a seven-year, five-month contract with no option periods. Location of performance is New York, with a Nov. 30, 2027, performance completion date. Using customers are Navy and Japanese military. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2028 Navy working capital funds and Foreign Military Sales funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. *Small Business https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2266743/source/GovDelivery/

  • This Mini Vertical Launch System Can Give Small Ships And Trucks Huge Firepower

    21 décembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR

    This Mini Vertical Launch System Can Give Small Ships And Trucks Huge Firepower

    Lockheed Martin has developed a four-round launcher for its new AGM-179A Joint Air-to-Ground Missile, or JAGM, that is designed to be readily installed on warships, including relatively small patrol boats, as well as ground vehicles. This opens up entirely new possibilities for JAGM, which was initially developed primarily as an air-launched anti-tank weapon, in the surface-to-surface role. The JAGM Quad Launcher (JQL) leverages technology from Lockheed Martin's existing Vertical Launch System (VLS) designs, which include the popular Mk 41 VLS found on numerous warships in the U.S. Navy and other navies around the world. It also uses the same Launcher Electronics Assembly (LEA) from the M299 launcher, a four-rail design for helicopters most commonly associated with the AH-64 Apache. All of this combined with an open-architecture Launcher Management Assembly (LMA) designed to help speed up the integration of updated hardware and software as time goes on to improve the JQL's capabilities and add new functionality. The JQL comes in two basic configurations, both of which are seen in the rendering above, one designed for installation on ships below deck like a traditional VLS and another one intended to be fitted on top of the decks of ships or on ground vehicles. "JQL's LEA/LMA launch control system can be integrated with local and remote weapon control systems using wired and wireless interfaces," a product brochure from Lockheed Martin's says. Both designs have what might appear at first glance to be a fifth launch tube, but which is actually an exhaust that diverts the blast of the missiles firing upward, keeping the overall height of the launcher to a minimum. The below deck design features a hatch-type lid to help keep water out of the launcher. The other version simply has covers over each launch tube and the exhaust that break away when the missiles are launched. The exact physical space and power requirements needed for JQL installation are not clear, but Lockheed Martin's promotional literature shows a rendering of two of the launchers on the back of a 4x4 Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) truck. Renderings of two other example installations are shown, as well. One of these depicts four JQLs mounted on top of the pilothouse of one of the Navy's new Mk VI patrol boats, while the other is has three of the below deck launchers fitted next to an eight-cell Mk 41 VLS array on the bow of a Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC), between the forecastle and its main gun. The MMSC is an enlarged derivative of the Freedom class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) that Lockheed Martin designed for the Navy, the first customer for which is Saudi Arabia. If the JQL is as relatively easy to add to various platforms as it appears from these configurations, it could offer a significant boost in firepower for relatively small ships and vehicles when combined with the capabilities of the JAGM. This missile takes the rear portions of an AGM-114R Hellfire II missile and adds in a new, multi-mode seeker. Most existing Hellfire II missiles use semi-active laser homing to zero in on their targets. This is where an operator in the air, at sea, or on the ground must 'lase' a target with a laser in order for the missile to strike it. There is also the AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire variant that uses a millimeter-wave radar seeker. JAGM's seeker can use both or either method depending on what the crew of the platform firing it feels is best for engaging the target at hand, which may be in motion. The missile can also use both modes at once, finding the target via laser designation and then homing in on it using the millimeter-wave radar, as well. This is especially useful if the laser beam were momentarily obscured by atmospheric conditions or were to otherwise break off during the terminal portion of an attack. Using the MMW seeker, the missile can in most cases still hit its target. Having both options available also gives the weapon an all-weather capability, as clouds, as well as smoke and other obsurants, can make lasing a target impossible. The millimeter-wave radar seeker allows the weapon to be cued to the general target area and use a lock-on-after-launch capability to find it and home in on it. For larger ships, arrays of JQLs could provide an additional layer of close-in defense against swarms of small watercraft or unmanned, explosive-laden suicide boats. The U.S. Navy has been working on integrating the AGM-114L onto some of its LCSs using a vertical launch system for exactly this purpose, an effort that would seem to be somewhat out of date now given the arrival of the more capable JAGM missile. The availability of a JQL variant that can be readily installed above deck means that this kind of protection could be rapidly added to a wide array of naval vessels, including support types that generally have very limited, if any armament, such as fleet oilers and roll-on/roll-off cargo ships. Naval vessels, including smaller patrol boats, such as the Mk VI example in Lockheed Martin's brochure, could also make good use of these missiles against other small watercraft, amphibious landing craft, and other similarly sized threats. The exact range of the JAGM in a surface-launched configuration is unknown, but if it is anywhere near the missile's reported maximum range of around five miles when air-launched, it is possible that naval vessels could engage targets on land close to shore, as well. At the same time, it's interesting to note that the small AGM-176 Griffin missile, which the U.S. Navy's Cyclone class patrol craft are presently armed with, also has a reported range of five miles when launched from the surface, though they pack a smaller warhead then JAGM. In a ground-launched configuration, JQLs could give lighter units on land an important weapon for engaging heavily armored vehicles, strong points, and other better-protected targets. Like Hellfire, JAGM also has a pop-up flight profile, meaning that it could be used against softer targets hiding behind hard cover, such as high walls or rocky outcroppings, as well. This capability could be particularly valuable during operations in dense urban areas, an environment the U.S. military, among others, sees itself increasingly likely to be fighting in as time goes on. If a single JLTV can carry eight JAGMs loaded in two JQLs. That is a lot of instantly on-demand firepower. Having multiple vehicles in this configuration would give troops the ability to rapidly engage a large number of targets at once. This could make it especially attractive to the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, both of which operate JLTVs and are acquiring JAGMs already for their helicopters and other aerial platforms. If the launcher is capable of being install on this light tactical vehicle, one would imagine that a larger array of JQLs could fit on the back of standard two-and-a-half-ton and five-ton cargo trucks for even more firepower. In both sea and ground-based applications for the JQL, there is a question of targeting. Larger ships would likely have the organic sensors, such as a radar, to spot and track targets at appreciable ranges, as well as potentially designate them with a laser, when it makes sense, to make the most use of the JAGM's dual-mode seeker. However, smaller boats and ground vehicles would likely need to be networked together with other assets to provide critical targeting information, such as drones, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft, or deploy an elevated sensor themselves. Otherwise, they would be limited to laser-designating targets one at a time, and all within line of sight. There is also the possibility that Lockheed Martin could develop a variant of the JAGM, or an entirely new missile of similar dimensions, that acts more as a kind of loitering munition, with man-in-the-loop targeting capability, such as that found on the Spike Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) missile from Israel's Rafael. That weapon has the ability to fired at a specific area and then be manually steered onto the target by an operator who is seeing what the missile sees via a feed from an infrared camera in its nose. These weapons can be used to reconnoiter their targets before striking them, as well. Azerbaijan used Spike NLOS in this way to great effect during its recent conflict with Armenia, as seen in the video below. It is worth noting that Lockheed Martin did also demonstrate an imaging infrared seeker capability for JAGM during testing, though the initial AGM-179A variant does not feature that capability. There have also been plans in the past for follow-on versions of the missile with a tri-mode seeker, as well as extended range and other improved capabilities. It's also interesting to point out that the U.S. Army had actually previously planned to acquire a somewhat similar capability, in the form of the XM501 Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS), as part of the abortive Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, which was canceled in 2009. In tests, the XM501, which was made up of Container Launch Units (CLU), each designed to hold 15 small missiles, together with a fire control system, was installed on a 6x6 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) cargo truck. There were also plans to add the XM501 to the Navy's LCSs, which has now been superseded by the aforementioned AGM-114L launch system. It is important to note that the missiles intended to go into the NLOS-LS had much greater range than Hellfire or JAGM and included a type capable of operating as a loitering munition similar to Spike-NLOS. The JQL concept is also similar in some ways to work that European missile consortium MBDA is doing to develop a variety of ground, as well as sea-based, launcher options for its Brimstone missile. Brimstone looks very much like Hellfire and JAGM, visually, and also has a dual-mode laser and millimeter-wave radar seeker. All told the JQL seems to make incredible sense as a way to quickly add the JAGM missile to a wide array of new launch platforms at sea and on the ground. As the battlespace becomes increasingly networked, deploying these systems would give even diminutive vehicles brutally destructive capabilities with minimal modifications. Add a loitering munition option, and these mini-VLS modules could really increase lethality of even the lightest mechanized units on the modern battlefield. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/38259/this-mini-vertical-launch-system-can-give-small-ships-and-trucks-huge-firepower

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