26 avril 2019 | International, Aérospatial

US Army picks 5 teams to design new attack recon helicopter


WASHINGTON — AVX Aircraft Co. partnered with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Karem Aircraft and Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky have won awards to design a new Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) for the U.S. Army over the next year, the service announced April 23.

Only two teams will move forward, at the end of the design phase, to build flyable prototypes of the future helicopter in a head-to-head competition.

The Army laid out a handful of mandatory requirements that the vendors had to meet and also a list of desired requirements for initial designs, Col. Craig Alia, the Future Vertical Lift Cross Functional Team chief of staff, told a select group of reporters just ahead of the contract awards.

The service also looked at the vendors’ execution plans and evaluated timing as well as funding profile requirements. “The ones that were selected were clearly meeting the mandatory requirements and were in the acceptable risk level of the execution plan and the desired requirements," Dan Bailey, who is the FARA competitive prototype program manager, added. The prototype program falls under the purview of the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation and Missile Center’s Aviation Development Directorate.

AVX and L3 unveiled its design for the FARA competition at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this month. The design uses AVX’s compound coaxial and ducted fans technology. The companies said its single-engine design meets 100 percent of the Army’s mandatory requirements and 70 percent of its desired attributes.

The CEO of Textron, Bell’s parent company, said during a recent earnings call, that its FARA design will be based on its 525 technology rather than its tiltrotor technology. Bell has built and flown a tiltrotor prototype — the V-280 Valor — for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program.

Karem has been working to develop technology under a small contract to help build requirements for FVL aircraft focused on a medium-lift helicopter.

Sikorsky’s offering will be based off of its X2 coaxial technology seen in its S-97 Raider and the Sikorsky-Boeing developed SB-1 Defiant, which are now both flying.

“This is the culmination of years of investment in the X2 Technology Demonstrator and the S-97 RAIDER aircraft that have proven the advanced technology and shown its ability to change the future battlefield,” Tim Malia, Sikorsky’s director of Future Vertical Lift Light, told Defense News in an emailed statement shortly after the announcement.

“We continue to fly the S-97 RAIDER to inform the design for FARA, which provides significant risk reduction to the program schedule and technical objectives. We are eager to continue to support the US Army, and we are excited that the Sikorsky FARA X2 will be ready for this critical mission," he said.

A total of eight teams submitted data and potential designs for FARA, but upon evaluation, three of those did not meet mandatory requirements, according to Bailey.

It is not publicly stated who the losing teams were, but MD Helicopters had previously protested the Army’s decision to not enter into a first phase agreement with the company to develop a FARA prototype, arguing to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that the Army “unreasonably” evaluated its proposal and failed to promote small business participation.

The GAO denied the protest earlier this month on the grounds it did not have authority to review protests of contracting mechanisms like Other Transaction Authorities (OTA) which the Army used in this case.

The awards were made two months ahead of an already ambitious schedule to get FARA prototypes flying by 2023. A production decision could happen in 2028, but the service is looking at any way possible to speed up that timeline.

The Army has to move quickly, Alia said. Echoing his boss, Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, the FVL CFT director, he said the Army is “at an inflection point. We can’t afford not to modernize. We know the current fleet is fantastic, but we can’t indefinitely continue to incrementally improve 1970s to 1980s technology.”

FARA is intended to fill a critical capability gap currently being filled by AH-64E Apache attack helicopters teamed with Shadow unmanned aircraft following the retirement of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters.

The service has tried and failed three times to fill the gap with an aircraft.

The Army is also planning to procure another helicopter to fill the long-range assault mission, replacing some UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in the fleet, simultaneously.

With the advent of the new Army Futures Command — that is focused on six major modernization priorities of which FVL is third — the service is moving faster on prototyping capability to ultimately procure major weapon systems at a somewhat unprecedented speed. Through the AFC and the use of contracting mechanisms like OTAs, the Army has found a way to compress parts of the acquisition process that previously took three to five years into periods of time often amounting to less than a year.

“What is exciting about the new process the Army has put in place,” Bailey said, “in basically a year’s period of time, we’ve gone through concept, through an approved set of requirements, to developing an innovative approach to contracting, to building industry partnerships to have industry propose to us a plan and a solution.”

And the Army rigorously evaluated those FARA proposals, Bailey said, all within that year.

The teams have until January or February next year to provide design plans and an approach to executing the build of the prototypes followed by potential larger-scale manufacturing, Bailey said.

The second phase of the program will be to build prototypes, and “only two will make it into phase 2 and they all know that now,” Bailey added.

According to Rugen, when the request for proposals was released, the Army did not want to get locked into keeping inflexible requirements, but the request did state that the aircraft should have a maximum 40-foot rotor diameter.

The Army also asked for the aircraft to be able to accept some government furnished equipment including an engine, a gun and a rocket launcher, Alia said.

When it comes to some of the desirable attributes for a new aircraft, the Army is considering speed, range and payload possibilities, Alia said, but the service “wanted to encourage innovation by industry to come to us with their ideas and unique ways of meeting both mandatory and desirable characteristics and that is where we got some great feedback from industry and some innovative designs.”


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  • Air Mobility Command exercise tests ability to operate in degraded combat environments

    2 octobre 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    Air Mobility Command exercise tests ability to operate in degraded combat environments

    By: Diana Stancy Correll  Operating in austere conditions, beyond well-defended bases, is likely in the event of a conflict with a near-peer adversary like Russia or China, according to Air Force leaders. As a result, the service has increasingly focused on its ability to operate in degraded combat environments the past several years. The biennial Mobility Guardian exercise now underway in Washington state is testing mobility aircraft’s readiness to conduct their missions in such contested environments. For Air Mobility Command’s largest readiness exercise, more than 4,000 U.S. and troops, including members of the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps are now at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane and other Western locations to train for airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and global air mobility support. The exercise is also designed to sharpen participants’ abilities to conduct forcible entry, airfield seizure, strategic deterrence and humanitarian relief operations, according to the service. As just one example of the kind of training going on, airmen from the 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron employed a Fuels Operational Readiness Capability Equipment system, marking the first time the mobile fuel bladders have been used stateside in an uncontested environment. “We use the FORCE to help sustain bare bases and allow for fuel distribution anywhere around the world at a moment’s notice,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Rey, 92nd LRS fuels information service center section chief. “The bladder can hold up to 50,000 gallons of fuel, which can help service a wide range of friendly aircraft.” Meanwhile, at Moses Lake, about 100 miles southwest of Fairchild, airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing provided tactical operations center support during a first-of-its-kind Ability to Survive and Operate scenario Sept. 16, according to an Air Force news release. In the scenario, aircrew from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker reported chemical contamination while performing an aeromedical evacuation. The Contingency Response Team at the TOC coordinated ground decontamination support and received the aircraft. “We provided command and control coverage, access to ramp space and a location to set up a decontamination line for aircrew flight equipment,” said Master Sgt. Jeremiah Ibarra, 321st CRT chief, in the release. “From the tactical operations center we coordinated with the air operations center to get AFE the equipment and supplies they needed.” CRTs deploy to locations that don’t have established air support, and deploy forces that can open and operate an airfield. “We set up airfields and ramps, communicate aircraft landing, parking, maintenance, refueling and fleet service,” Ibarra said. “To my knowledge this is the biggest CRT operation that has ever happened.” The CRT is training alongside the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and the 521st AMOW, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, at Moses Lake to demonstrate the capability to operate as an integrated team. “To have the CRT embedded with us here isn’t something that we do often, but it has been super beneficial.” said Capt. Jennifer Krutka, officer in-charge of Moses Lake, in the news release. “It has truly been a team effort. We have port airmen learning how to do maintenance and maintenance personnel learning port duties. One of Gen. [Maryanne] Miller’s initiatives was to be more versatile airman, and we are doing that here.” Miller, the head of Air Mobility Command, stressed the significance of the exercise as it related to the 2018 National Defense Strategy at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space Cyber conference last week. “It is imperative that we outpace our adversaries and best position the mobility air forces to defeat the threats of tomorrow,” Miller said. She also said the exercises align with the command’s evolution over the past year into a “warfighting component command” that streamlines the mobility of forces through direct coordinating authority. “The world has changed and through our transformation efforts, AMC has adapted to meet the growing requirements and accelerated global demands,” Miller said. “As a more agile organization, we have increased our ability to fully leverage the full complement of our mobility resources.” The Air Force says another element of the exercise is fostering relationships with allies. There are nearly 30 international partners participating in the exercise this year. “The future of warfare will be increasingly joint,” Lt. Col. Joseph Monaco, director of Mobility Guardian, said in an Air Force news release Sept. 9. “This exercise is an unparalleled opportunity to develop joint-minded airmen who can integrate seamlessly with soldiers, sailors and Marines to compete and if necessary, win amidst great power adversaries.” The exercise, which kicked off Sept. 8 and concludes Sept. 28, employs aircraft including the KC-10 Extender, KC-135 Stratotanker, C-5 Super Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster III and C-130H/J Hercules and Super Hercules. Of the 4,000 service members, 2,500 are from AMC. https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/09/25/air-mobility-command-exercise-tests-ability-to-operate-in-degraded-combat-environments

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - December 02, 2019

    3 décembre 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - December 02, 2019

    NAVY General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. (GDEB), Groton, Connecticut, is awarded a $22,209,893,409 fixed-price-incentive, multi-year modification to previously-awarded contract N00024-17-C-2100 for construction of nine Virginia-class submarines, eight with Virginia Payload Module (VPM), from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2023.  The contract modification includes spare material and an option for one additional submarine with VPM.  If the option is exercised, the cumulative value of this contract will increase to $24,097,439,556.  The awarded amounts include previously-announced material awards (including long-lead-time material and economic ordering quantity material) totaling $3,197,633,908.  This contract modification is for the construction of the fifth block of Virginia-class submarines by GDEB and major subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division, inclusive of design support and all efforts necessary to test and deliver each submarine.  GDEB will continue to subcontract with Huntington Ingalls Industries' Newport News Shipbuilding division.  Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia (25%); Quonset Point, Rhode Island (21%); Groton, Connecticut (20%); Sunnyvale, California (8%); Norfolk, Virginia (1%); Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1%); and Annapolis, Maryland (1%), with other efforts performed at various places throughout the U.S. below one percent (22%), and other places outside of U.S. below one percent (1%).  Work is expected to be completed by August 2029.  If the option is exercised, work is expected to be completed by February 2030.  Fiscal 2017 and 2019 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy (SCN) funding in the amount of $3,155,793,018 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year - funding:  fiscal 2019 SCN (95%); fiscal 2017 SCN (5%).  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity. Kellogg Brown and Root Services Inc., Houston, Texas, is awarded a $14,070,093 for modification of the second option under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for base operations support services at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Kingdom of Bahrain.  After award of this option, the total cumulative contract value will be $44,363,284.  The work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, all management, supervision, tools, materials, supplies, labor and transportation services necessary to perform security operations, galley services, unaccompanied housing, facility management, emergency service requests, urgent service, routing service, facilities investment, custodial, pest control service, integrated solid waste, grounds maintenance, utility management, wastewater, operate reverse osmosis water treatment system, chiller and transportation at NSA Kingdom of Bahrain.  Work will be performed in NSA Kingdom of Bahrain.  This option period is from December 2019 to November 2020.  No funds will be obligated at time of award.  Fiscal 2020 operation and maintenance (Navy) contract funds for $4,159,063 for non-recurring work will be obligated on individual task orders issued during the option period.  Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa Central, Naples, Italy, is the contracting activity (N62470-17-D-4007). L-3 Technologies Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, is awarded a $9,999,144 firm-fixed-price modification (P00012) to a previously-awarded firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-18-C-1030) to procure eight Common Data Link Hawklink AN/SRQ-4 systems for the MH-60R aircraft.  Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is expected to be completed in December 2022.  Fiscal 2020 other procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $9,999,144 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. AIR FORCE Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Orlando, Florida, has been awarded a $988,832,126 definitization modification (PZ0010) to previously-awarded contract FA8681-18-C-0021 for Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon critical design review, test and production readiness support.  The contract modification will definitize the contract terms, specifications and price.  Work will be performed at Orlando, Florida, and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2022.  The total cumulative face value of the contract is $988,832,126.  Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds are being obligated in the amount of $23,000,000 at the time of award.  The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity. GTA Containers Inc., South Bend, Indiana, has been awarded a $9,404,953 delivery order (FA8534-20-F-0003) against previously-awarded contract FA8533-16-D-0001 for collapsible fuel tank production.  Work will be performed at South Bend, Indiana, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2022.  The total cumulative face value of the contract is $24,507,563.  Fiscal 2019 other procurement funds in the amount of $9,404,953 are being obligated at the time of award.  The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity. ARMY Fisher Sand and Gravel Co., Dickinson, North Dakota, was awarded a $399,962,000 firm-fixed-price contract to design-build border infrastructure along the southern perimeter of the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Yuma County, Arizona.  Five bids were solicited with three bids received.  Work will be performed in Yuma, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2020.  Fiscal 2018 military construction, defense-wide funds in the amount of $268,072,900 were obligated at the time of the award.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, Portland, Oregon, is the contracting activity (W912PL-20-C-0004). InSap Services Inc.,* Marlton, New Jersey, was awarded a $41,636,459 modification (BA02 44) to contract W91QUZ-11-D-0017 to provide personnel with technical experience to sustain the Army's Logistics Modernization Program.  Work will be performed at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2020.  Fiscal 2020 other procurement, Army funds in the amount of $7,961,225 were obligated at the time of the award.  U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Illinois, is the contracting activity. DEFENSE INFORMATION SYSTEMS AGENCY Unisys Corp., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a single award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity firm-fixed-price contract for Unisys Operating System 2200 capacity services.  The place of performance will be at current Defense Information Systems Agency data centers.  The contract ceiling is $80,457,160.  The solicitation was issued as an other-than-full-and-open-competition action pursuant to the authority of 10 U.S. Code §2304(c)(1) and Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1, with only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.  Proposals were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities website (www.fbo.gov), now known as beta.SAM.gov website (www.beta.sam.gov).  Only one proposal was received.  The period of performance (PoP) consists of a one-year base period and two one-year options.  The PoP for the base year is Dec. 1, 2019, through Nov. 30, 2020, and the option years follow consecutively through Nov. 30, 2022.  The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, is the contracting activity (HC1084-20-D-0002). (Awarded Dec. 1, 2019) DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY AvKare Inc., Pulaski, Tennessee, has been awarded a maximum $11,727,127 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for potassium chloride tablets.  This was a competitive acquisition with one response received.  This is a one-year base contract with four one-year option periods.  Locations of performance are Tennessee and Minnesota with a Dec. 1, 2020, performance completion date.  Using customers are Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Services and Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2020 through 2021 defense working capital funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (SPE2D2-20-D-0081). UPDATE:  ADS Inc.,* Virginia Beach, Virginia (SPE8EH-20-D-0001), has been added as an awardee to the multiple award contract for fire and emergency services equipment, issued against solicitation SPE8EH-16-R-0001, and announced March 21, 2019. *Small Business https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2030017/source/GovDelivery/

  • Navy awards $22.2B contract for nine Virginia-class submarines

    4 décembre 2019 | International, Naval

    Navy awards $22.2B contract for nine Virginia-class submarines

    The General Dynamics subsidiary Electric Boat has been awarded a 10-year contract for design and construction of the vessels. By Christen McCurdy Dec. 3 (UPI) -- General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. has been awarded a $22.2 billion contract modification to build nine Virginia-class submarines for the U.S. Navy. The deal covers the nine vessels of Block 5, eight of which contain the Virginia Payload Module, to be designed and built over the next decade, the Department of Defense announced on Monday. The contract also includes an option for spare materials and an additional submarine to include the VPM, which, if exercised, would push the total value of the deal over $24 billion. Virginia-class submarines are built to conduct anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface-ship warfare, strike warfare and special operations support as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. To date, the Navy has 18 Virginia-class submarines, with James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, calling the VPM and other Block 5 design changes "a generational leap in submarine capability for the Navy." "This team developed a Block V multi-year contract which provides significant increases in lethality and performance for the fleet to support the National Defense Strategy while also ensuring we are maximizing the use of taxpayer dollars," Geurts said in a press release. "The multi-year contract also provides the stability needed in this critical industrial base to ensure we can continue to maintain our competitive advantage in undersea warfare while also providing a solid foundation for the Columbia program to build upon." This contract continues a teaming arrangement between Gorton, Conn.-based GDEB and Huntington Ingalls in Newport News. Under the modification, Block V submarines will incorporate improved acoustic design changes and increase Tomahawk strike capacity from 12 to 40 missiles per boat.   "Our submarine force is fundamental to the power and reach of our integrated naval force," said acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. "Today's announcement affirms our commitment to the future strength of our nation, undersea and around the world." The first Block 5 Virginia-class submarine is expected for delivery to the Navy in fiscal year 202 https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2019/12/03/Navy-awards-222B-contract-for-nine-Virginia-class-submarines/3281575400735/

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