The Latest Word On Trends And Developments In Aerospace And Defense

Confirmed. Marine Gen. James Mattis is now the commander of U.S. Central Command, and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper is the director of national intelligence, following their final confirmation nods from the Senate Aug. 5. Mattis, the previous commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, replaces Army Gen. David Petraeus overseeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Petraeus has commanded U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan since Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal resigned. Mattis previously commanded the requirements- setting Marine Corps Combat Development Command. Defense Secretary Robert Gates tapped Mattis to lead the Pentagon’s so-called “red team” for the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.

…Nominated. President Barack Obama has nominated Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph Dunford to serve as the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, replacing Gen. James Amos, who has been tapped to become the service’s top officer. Dunford has commanded Marine Corps Forces Central Command and I Marine Expeditionary Force. Amos, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first commandant with a background as a fighter pilot.

Quiet D.C. The Senate is on recess, and won’t return again until Sept. 13. SASC Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.) blocked an attempt by SASC Chairman Carl Levin (D- Mich.) to consider the FY ’11 defense authorization bill Aug. 5, shortly before the chamber adjourned. McCain objects to provisions in the legislation including changes to the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on gays serving in the military. Once the Senate reconvenes next month, it will have less than three weeks to debate the bill before FY ’11 begins. Meanwhile, House members will return to Washington from their recesses tomorrow to vote on the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Nuclear Reorg. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has reorganized its Defense Programs office. NNSA also had created a new Defense Programs Science Council that will investigate and explore cross-cutting science issues and opportunities across the nuclear national security enterprise, the administration says Aug. 5. “I am pleased to announce an organizational structure for Defense Programs that increases the visibility of science in our mission, provides a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities, increases attention to infrastructure and major construction needs, and operationalizes the inherent link between delivering on our mission and ensuring safety and security at our sites,” NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook says. The reorganization creates six offices, for stockpile stewardship; stockpile management; planning, resources, and integration; secure transportation; infrastructure and construction; and nuclear safety, nuclear operations, and governance reform. The new council has representatives from each of the national security labs and one person representing the production sites.

Interagency Cooperation. The Project on National Security Reform has a new contract with the Pentagon to study and craft a system for the career development and management of interagency national-security professionals. The FY ’10 defense authorization act calls for such a study. “The study is to support efforts to improve the quality of interactions among agencies engaged in national security and increase their overall interoperability–especially in times of national crisis from natural disasters or national security threats,” the nonpartisan think tank says. The organization will study current efforts to develop interagency national security professionals, professional development, coordination, incentives for collaboration, potential funding mechanisms, and the feasibility of integrating and coordinating military, state, and local personnel in a national security professional development system.

DNDO Nomination. After about 18 months without a director for the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), President Obama last week said he plans to nominate a former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) official to fun the office. Warren Stern served as Head of the IAEA’s Incident and Emergency Center from 2006 until 2010 and is currently a senior adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation. DNDO is currently responsible for research, development and acquisition of radiological and nuclear detection technology and systems for DHS although Congress is considering transferring its transformational R&D activities to the DHS Science and Technology Directorate. Stern began his federal career with the CIA and then served as the senior technical adviser in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency where he handled nonproliferation and security issues. He also served as a fellow in Hillary Clinton’s senate office advising on nuclear energy, waste, safety and security issues.

Major Meeting. The fifth annual Land Forces Symposium hosts senior military leaders in Columbus, Ga., at Third Army. It’s a platform for senior regional leaders to talk about building current relationships and dealing with emerging challenges. Hosted by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and Lt. Gen. William Webster, Third Army Commander/U.S. Army Central Command, the symposium was unique in incorporating senior NCOs. “With so much at stake in the region for the United States and our partners, it makes sense to conduct such dialogue on a regular basis,” Webster says.

Other Opportunities. The General Dynamics GD 300 might find a home in areas outside the military, Jason Jacob, product manager for the GD 300, a rugged wearable, mobile computer, says in a recent interview with Defense Daily. The company has looked into commercial markets such as law enforcement and humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross for the Android-based GD 300 that operates like an ultra-sensitive GPS unit or interfaces with tactical radios. “We see several markets for this with similar capabilities,” Jacob says.

New NATO Division. The NATO International Staff has created a new Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) that began work this month. The new division will focus on terrorism, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, cyber defense, and energy security. The new division will also provide NATO with a Strategic Analysis Capability to monitor and anticipate international developments that could affect Allied security, the staff says in a statement. The ESCD brings together various strands of expertise already existent in different parts of NATO headquarters. Merging this work into one division will give it greater focus and visibility, the staff statement says.

Sole Government Level 5. The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center Armament Software Engineering Center recently received a Capability Maturity Model Integration Level 5 designation following an in-depth external review of its business processes, the Picatinny Arsenal staff says. CMMI is a framework that appraises the maturity of an organization’s processes. CMMI Level 5 is the highest rating given to software engineering organizations that meet its rigorous standards. The Armament SEC is the sole government organization in the United States that currently holds the Level 5 designation, the staff says.

TASC Work. The Army Special Programs Office (ASPO) has awarded TASC a $44.7 million contract to provide systems engineering and technical assistance over the next five years. Under the contract, TASC will deliver SETA support designed to help decision-makers and warfighters on the ground. “We are proud that ASPO recognizes our deep knowledge and understanding of their mission and our agility to anticipate and counter constantly changing threats,” says Pat Talty, vice president of Mission Engineering at TASC. “Supporting our warfighters is what drives TASC every day.” Under this contract, TASC will support ASPO’s intelligence and surveillance R&D efforts, Quick Reaction Capability initiatives, and interactions with ASPO stakeholders at every level. In addition, TASC will provide technical expertise in the material acquisition process, planning, and programming system support.

Bradley, M113 Work. BAE Systems has been awarded $23 million in various contract modifications for work on the Bradley and M113 vehicles. “The recent Bradley and M113 awards will help to ensure that these proven vehicles will continue supporting out troops for years to come,” says Joe McCarthy, vice president and general manager of the Heavy Brigade Combat Team at BAE. “Both platforms have a long history of effectively performing for our men and women in uniform during combat missions overseas and play key roles on the Heavy Brigade Combat Team.” This contract has a variety of work directives, including the installation of Bradley Urban Survivability Kits (BUSK) III, which include a series of rapid development survivability improvements specifically designed for today’s urban battlefield.

New Leader. As of Friday morning, the Acting Commander of Joint Forces Command is Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, who has been deputy commander under Marine Gen. James Mattis, who late Thursday received Senate confirmation and will be jetting off to CENTCOM. Army Gen. Ray Odierno, confirmed as the new JFCOM commander, is still wrapping up as commander in Iraq as the bulk of U.S. troops prepare to move out. As JFCOMN puts it, Huber ” will retain that position until relieved later this year by Gen Odierno.”

WGS on Orbit. Boeing sayst its third Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) military communications satellite has entered service for with the Air Force. It is now part of a constellation that is delivering significantly improved broadband communications to U.S. military forces and allies, according to Boeing. WGS is the Pentagon’s highest-capacity satellite communications system, the company says. The system can deliver full-motion video captured by unmanned aerial vehicles, e-mail, television and other quality-of-life services for soldiers overseas. The first two WGS satellites are operating over the Pacific Ocean and Middle East, respectively. WGS-3 is located over the Atlantic Ocean. WGS-3 is the final satellite in the Block I series. Under its current Block II contract with the Air Force, Boeing is building three more WGS satellites that are scheduled for launch in 2012 and 2013. Boeing also is working with the Air Force to establish a follow-on series with up to six more WGS satellites.

F-22 Trainers. L-3 Link Simulation & Training says it has been awarded $39.2 million in production contracts by Boeing to build 12 F-22 Full Mission Trainers (FMTs). Boeing has developed and implemented the overall F-22 Training System, which includes L-3’s high-fidelity F-22 FMTs that enable pilots to practice operating this fifth-generation fighter aircraft. F-22 FMTs are used to reinforce air-to-air and air-to-ground skills, including simulated missions against advanced integrated radar networks and dense surface-to-air missile environments. The FMTs are integrated into the Air Force’s Distributed Mission Operations training network, allowing pilots to train and conduct missions with other aircrews flying different simulated aircraft at locations throughout the world. L-3 Link has delivered nine F-22 FMTs, 23 F-22 Weapons Tactics Trainers and five F-22 Egress Procedures Trainers in support of the F-22 Training System since 2003, the company says in a statement.

Italian C-130J Fleet. Alenia Aeronautica, a division of Finmeccanica, partners with Avio and Lockheed Martin in a five-year deal with the Italian Air Force to provide technical and logistical support services to their C-130J airlift fleet. The contract is worth approximately $200 million and covers a service to improve full efficiency and availability of the fleet. Alenia Aeronautica will be responsible for the supply of spare parts, the management of the supply chain and the equipment maintenance (landing gear included), the maintenance of the Air Ground Equipment (AGE) and engineering support activities, including the C-130J flight simulator based at the 46th Air Brigade of Pisa. Avio will be in charge of the complete propulsion system, including overhaul and technical/logistical and engineering assistance to the 92 AE2100D3 engines of the Italian military fleet. Lockheed Martin, which designed and built the aircraft, will be responsible for the supply of repair components produced in the United States and for any modifications.

Ares Test. Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and NASA will test the second fully developed Ares I five-segment solid rocket motor, known as Development Motor-2 (DM-2), on Aug. 31, the company says. The five-segment rocket motor is an upgraded version of the Space Shuttle’s 4-segment booster, and has also been identified as a key element of NASA’s future Heavy Lift Launch vehicle. The test will take place at the ATK Aerospace Systems facility in Promontory, Utah.

EFV. As the Navy, Marine Corps and DoD explore the future of amphibious assault–beach landings, the Corps is also looking at how the EFV will be a part of that future, says Robert Work, under secretary of the Navy, at CSIS. “EFV is a very tremendous capability. It’s a tremendous technological machine and it’s also quite expensive,” he adds. “The Marine Corps has been asked to look at its entire ground combat tactical vehicle strategy by the Secretary of Defense (Robert Gates). EFV will be central to that.”

…Affordability. Navy officials are making the case to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on the affordability of the platform, Work notes. “Those things will come together in a strategy on the best way forward. Every single platform we have in the Department of the Navy is under scrutiny to make sure we can afford it, to make sure it meets the criteria that we think we need to have,” Work says. “EFV is no different. It will be part of the Marine Corps strategy, part of our affordability discussions.

…The Struggle. Doing a forcible entry capability or amphibious assault capability is not an inexpensive proposition, Work tells attendees at CSIS. The V-22 essentially costs the same right now as a KC-130J. The Marine Corps is going to buy 360 of them, he adds. “So the Marines are going to have the equivalent of 430 KC-130s, but 360 of them are going to be able to land vertically, go very fast, and land on ships. That is a tremendous capability that provides you with a lot of different options…[and] it is expensive…EFV is very expensive, amphibious ships are very expensive,” he says. “The problem the Secretary of the Navy and I both wrestle with every day is what is the best capacity you can get for the money we think we can expect, and it is a trade-off every single day. It’s a struggle on everyone of our systems.”

Keeping Busy. During the recently conducted RIMPAC, the Navy opted to routinely refuel USS Freedom (LCS-1) when an oiler was in the vicinity to maintain a high onboard fuel percentage, thus increasing operational flexibility, Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler, a spokeswoman for 3rd Fleet, tells Defense Daily. “Each underway replenishment also presents a valuable training opportunity, as we continue to learn about how Freedom operates with other ships,” Self-Kyler says.

…On The Move. Freedom‘s ability to operate at high speeds brought a unique capability to RIMPAC, Self-Kyler adds. “This capability has been leveraged routinely, adding another dimension to Freedom‘s interaction with other ships.” Freedom routinely operated at normal speeds on diesel engines (5-14 knots) and sprinted as required at 38-42 knots, she says. Freedom was used as a surface warfare and maritime security operations asset during RIMPAC. “She operated with multiple task groups while underway, exercising her full range of missions with the SUW Mission Package embarked,” Self-Kyler says.

Gun Delivery. The Navy installed the second Gun Mission Module (GMM) onboard USS Independence (LCS-2) last month, while in port at Norfolk, Va. Following installation, integration and end-to-end testing was conducted, NAVSEA says. The GMM is an integral part of LCS’ surface warfare (SUW) mission package used for counter-piracy, maritime interdiction and security missions. GMM consists of two MK 46 turret mounted, axis-stabilized, 30mm chain gun systems that can fire up to 200 rounds per minute, NAVSEA adds. The Navy also installed the first EDM of the launcher for the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) in the forward centerline weapon zone. Independence is built with a center-line weapon zone and port and starboard weapon zones. Current planning for SUW employment has the 30mm GMM carried in the port and starboard weapon zones and the SSMM carried in the centerline weapon zone, NAVSEA says.

Sub Work. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems receives an $11.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide engineering and technical services for the AN/BYG-1 weapons control system for Virginia– and Los Angeles/SSN-688I-class submarines, the company reports. The AN/BYG-1 integrates the tactical control, weapons control and tactical network subsystems on Navy and Royal Australian Navy submarines. The General Dynamics-developed weapons control system is based on an open- architecture and open-business model approach which facilitates system enhancements.

Iraqi PCs. The Navy and Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC, are building 15 state-of-the-art 35-meter coastal patrol boats for the Iraqi Navy and just completed training the Iraqi crews at Morgan City, La., last month, NAVSEA says. The Iraqis are preparing to man these boats as part of the transition of the Iraqi maritime security mission to Iraq next year. The first boat completed sea trials on May 7 and live-fire testing of the gun systems wrapped up on May 31. The first patrol boat was delivered to the Iraqis in Morgan City and used for training. It was loaded for transit to Iraq on July 30. The second boat is scheduled for delivery in September. The remainder will be delivered approximately every six weeks as the patrol boats are completed, NAVSEA reports.

CBR Games. NSWC Dahlgren, Va., hosts the Navy Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Defense War Game 2010, Aug. 9-13. The war game will determine the capabilities necessary to sustain operational tempo throughout a CBR environment, NAVSEA reports. The simulations will take into account emerging threats across the globe, challenges associated with amphibious task force operations, and the diverse set of asymmetric weaponry used against U.S. and coalition forces. The result of the Navy CBR Defense War Game 2010 will be an initial capabilities document that will guide Navy acquisition personnel in designing future Navy major defense acquisition programs. A secondary objective will be to identify gaps that will motivate the science and technology community to address materiel gaps, NAVSEA adds.

Data Mining. NSWC Crane, Ind., held its first solo Intellectual Property (IP) Mining Event last month after successfully completing a pilot project with the Navy Technology Transfer Program, the service says. The program was created by NSWC Crane in collaboration with the University of Southern Indiana Center for Applied Research to better capture the IP aspects of technical solutions developed by the warfare center and to raise awareness among scientists and engineers of technology transfer and commercialization opportunities within their projects, the Navy adds.