Boeing Gains $30 Million For Further Advanced Tactical Laser Tests

The Air Force gave The Boeing Co. [BA] a contract worth up to $30 million to continue testing the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), the company announced yesterday.

ATL involves a high-energy chemical laser, aimed by a beam control system, mounted in a C-130H cargo plane that can demolish targets with little or no collateral damage.

Boeing will operate and maintain the system so the Air Force and other potential users can evaluate its capabilities.

During its extended user evaluation, ATL will undergo a series of ground and flight tests.

The new contract, awarded Sept. 30, is a follow-on to the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) contract under which Boeing developed and integrated the ATL system.

Upcoming tests "will expand the envelope of the Advanced Tactical Laser and further demonstrate how this ultra-precision engagement capability can significantly reduce collateral damage," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.

Those tests "will give the warfighter the opportunity to conduct hands-on operation of ATL and determine how this transformational laser-gunship technology can be integrated into the battlefield," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems.

ATL can support missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

The Boeing ATL team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which made the laser turret, and HYTEC Inc., which made various structural elements of the weapon system.

Boeing also is the lead contractor for the Airborne Laser (ABL).

The ABL involves a highly modified 747-400 freighter jet with a laser system by Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] emitting a laser beam that is aimed at enemy missiles by a beam control/fire control system contributed by Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT].

Aerojet Gains Contract For Interceptor Control System

The Missile Defense Agency gave Aerojet a contract for an interceptor control system, the company announced.

Aerojet, a GenCorp [GY] unit, will provide the Kill Vehicle (KV) Commonality Pathfinder Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS).

The propulsion system controls the KV by firing individual thrusters while it homes in for an intercept with a ballistic missile or its warhead.

Aerojet will design, build and integrate a test KV DACS in order to increase government understanding of contractor DACS development capabilities and component technical maturity.

The DACS system and component technical maturity will be demonstrated in a future static hot-fire test and subsequent integration into a KV configuration and simulated flight test in support of the Multiple Kill Vehicle program.

NASA Gives Company $49.2 Million Contract Change For Goddard Work

NASA gave Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT) Inc. a $49.2 million contract increase to support the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Under the Multidisciplinary Engineering and Technology Support services (METS) indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, SGT Inc. will provide design, testing, verification and operations of space flight and ground system hardware and software.

Tasks include developing and validating new technologies to enable future space and science missions in support of the directorate’s five engineering divisions: mechanical services, information systems, instrument systems and technology, electrical engineering, and mission engineering and systems analysis.

Work under the contract provides critical support to a wide range of Goddard missions and projects, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, the future James Webb Space Telescope, the Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellites-R, the Polar Operational Environmental Satellites, the Magnetospheric MultiScale Satellites, the Global Precipitation Measurement Observatory and the Glory Observatory.

ATK Hires United Space Alliance As Subcontractor For Ares1 Work

Alliant Techsystems Inc. [ATK] hired United Space Alliance (USA) as a subcontractor on the Ares 1 future rocket system that someday will launch the next-generation Orion spaceship, ATK announced.

USA is a joint venture of The Boeing Co. [BA] and Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT].

In December 2005, NASA named ATK as the prime contractor for the Ares I first stage and subsequently awarded a multi-year contract to the company for design, development, test and evaluation phase of the program.

Other portions of Ares 1 are being developed by Boeing and by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a unit of United Technologies Corp. [UTX].

In its role as prime contractor, ATK will continue to support NASA with overall requirements maturation, integration and establishment of interfaces within the first stage subsystems. ATK also will provide first stage and system level avionics, and coordinate a variety of supplier and subcontractor efforts for both the solid rocket segments and the new first stage assembly components.

USA will provide engineering and analysis support to ensure space shuttle solid rocket booster hardware meets the new Ares first stage requirements, refurbishment of Space Shuttle components and subsystems for the first stage, and procurement of several avionics and ordnance components.

USA also has a role in the deceleration subsystem with the new parachutes design, development and testing. USA will provide skilled personnel to build up and integrate the new forward structures, designed by ATK.

Boeing Gains Up To $27 Million More For Minuteman III Modernization Work

The Boeing Co. [BA] received a $10 million subcontract from Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] that could be worth up to $27 million with options, in which Boeing will aid modernization of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) facilities.

Boeing will manufacture and deliver control system hardware and modification kits to improve security at more than 450 Minuteman III facilities as part of the Air Force ICBM security modernization program.

This latest pact, a 42-month firm-fixed-price and award-fee contract, has a maximum value of approximately $27 million when all priced options are included. That is part of an overall program worth about $65 million.

The newly announced work includes the second through fourth and final phases of the production contract.

The security systems are called Fast Rising B-Plug Kits. Delivery of the kits under this phase of the contract is expected to begin in January.

Low-rate initial production began in 2005, and delivery of the first phase of full-rate production B-Plug Kits occurred last January.

"The program improves the performance of the personnel access hatch that enables entry to the missile launch facilities, enhancing the secure operations and maintenance of the Minuteman III system," said Kelly Johnson, Boeing ICBM prime ground and weapons systems program manager.

The mission of the Fast Rising B-Plug Kit program is to design, qualify and field a robust security system. The system provides an active delay device that allows personnel in the Minuteman Launch Facility to rapidly secure the facility from any of multiple locations.

The Fast Rising B-Plug Kit team has successfully completed design, integration testing, qualification testing and initial operating capability, and provided support to Air Force-led installation teams at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and Minot Air Force Base, N.D. To date, the team has delivered more than 25 percent of the 459 anticipated kits.