The Latest Word On Trends And Developments In Aerospace And Defense
Budget Boundaries. Senators’ patience with funding the Pentagon in FY ’11 with continuing resolutions (CRs) containing FY ’10 funding is wearing thin, and SASC member Susan Collins (R-Maine) has introduced an amendment to pending small-business legislation that would attach to it a complete FY ’11 defense appropriations bill. Collins’ amendment, which the Senate could weigh next week after the current congressional recess, would end funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter second engine and add monies for six Air Force F-35s. The Pentagon is running on a three-week CR that will expire April 8. Before the CR’s March 17 Senate passage, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and SASC Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.) say they won’t support another federal budget plan without a complete FY ’11 defense appropriations bill.
Inouye’s Expedition. SAC Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) says he wants to know more about the Pentagon’s proposal to cancel the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and start three related vehicle efforts. Saying at a March 16 naval budget hearing that his committee has questions about “programs that are claimed as cost savings,” he singles out the EFV. “While we know how much money will be saved by canceling the EFV, it is hard to estimate how much money we’ll spend on the three follow-on programs,” Inouye says. After the hearing, he says he wants Navy officials to answer multiple EFV questions. Asked his view on the Pentagon’s proposal to cancel the EFV, Inouye says: “Well, my questions will find out why.”
Army Wheels. Army Secretary John McHugh tells the HAC-D on March 16 that “blast chimneys” the service is testing on vehicles look “very, very promising” in videos. “The preliminary results from our early testing is that we definitely want to continue to pursue this,” McHugh tells HAC-D Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), adding the Army has several hundred million dollars to spend. The chimneys are intended to vent explosions below vehicles upward and out of them. Outgoing Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey says he also is optimistic about double-V hulls being tested on Stryker vehicles. “The preliminary tests that we have done right now that have been evaluated by the Defense Department’s test and evaluation group indicate that this addition of this double-V hull can increase the protection of the Stryker to (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle) M-ATV level, which is hugely important for us,” Casey says.
…GCV Clock. Dicks chides the Army on its plan to spend seven years developing the Ground Combat Vehicle. “I think five years is more than enough time to get this done,” he says, asking McHugh to review the process. “You go talk to the industry, and they all say there is no reason that we have to do this. We can do this much faster.” McHugh replies: “If anyone can do it more quickly and prove that they’re not buying on unacceptable risk, we’re more than willing to consider that.” Yet he notes the GAO “criticizes the seven years as being unreasonably fast.” McHugh says he “fully recognize(s) time is money, and to the extent that we can speed up that time line, we’ll do what we can.” n
NASA Nudge. Senate Commerce Committee members prod NASA officials March 15 about whether the agency is on track to build a heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule under the scheduled spelled out in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. NASA’s FY ’12 budget request contains more than $1 billion less for those efforts than the policy law includes. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) wants to know when testing will being on the initial heavy-lift capability, which the authorization law says should be ready by 2016. Douglas Cooke, associate administrator of NASA’s exploration systems mission directorate, testifies NASA is aiming for test flights in 2016.
Raptors Around The World. The F-22 Raptor is logging a deployment-intensive pace in early 2011 following a busy 2010, with prime contractor Lockheed Martin providing key support to the fleet. In January and February, the Air Force had F-22s deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan, as part of a rotational deployment for a Pacific Air Forces Theater Security Package; to Hickam AFB, Hawaii, for capabilities enhancement testing; and to Nellis AFB, Nev., and for Red Flag, an air combat training exercise. F-22s from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, deployed to Japan also flew a robust sortie schedule in January. Lockheed Martin supports Raptor deployments through sustainment services as part of a Performance- Based Logistics contract. The company received a $726.6 million contract modification from the Air Force in February for fleet sustainment this year.
AIA Space. Frank Slazer, an executive with nearly 30 years of experience on space policy issues and programs, has joined the Aerospace Industries Association as vice president of space systems. Most recently, Slazer developed and implemented business development strategies across the NASA civil space market for Northrop Grumman. He was responsible for developing and managing customer relationships and all aspects of the business acquisition process. Slazer was also director of Civil Space business development at United Launch Alliance and Boeing. At Boeing he was involved in a variety of programs, including the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, Space Shuttle and International Space Station.
ICBM Fuzing. Lockheed Martin has received a $12.5 million, one-year subcontract from Northrop Grumman for refurbishment of reentry vehicle arming and fuzing assemblies for the Air Force’s Minuteman III ICBM system. Under this subcontract, Lockheed Martin Space System’s Valley Forge facility in King of Prussia, Pa., will replace components, refurbish and test the assemblies. The subcontract includes an option for a second year. Under an earlier contract in 2009, Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated the feasibility of the refurbishment effort. Lockheed Martin is the original equipment manufacturer for the arming and fuzing assembly.
Partnership Missions. Next month, the sixth annual United States-led humanitarian assistance mission Pacific Partnership 2011 kicks off. With ships from the United States, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, a helicopter crew from France, along with health specialists and engineers from the U.S. military, Australian Defence Force (ADF), Canadian Defence Force, Singaporean Defence Force and Spanish Defence Force will form the basis of a humanitarian assistance mission in the Pacific region over the next four months. Pacific Partnership has been held annually by the U.S. Pacific Fleet since the devastating effects of the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.
New Exec. APIC Corp. appoints retired Army Col. Timothy Tritch as director, Military Systems Washington Operations, for the company. Tritch will play a key role in the continuing technology transfer between APIC and the Defense Department. APIC is expanding its role by creating and supplying state of the art photonic capabilities. Tritch concluded his military service as the Army Special Assistant to the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he was responsible for the transfer of promising technology to alleviate Army capability gaps and advocating their development into military programs of record.
Registration Open. The Navy Small Business Innovation Research Program Office says registration is now open for the 11th Navy Opportunity Forum held June 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency, Crystal City, Va. This year, over more than 200 opportunities will be presented, and there will be displays by the Navy Office of Research and Technology Applications. There is no registration fee. Space is limited and registration requests will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. Register on line: http://www.navyopportunityforum.com or call: Mike Morgan (585) 617-9464.
Business Transformation Year. The Army’s business transformation efforts in 2010 will help move into an even more successful 2011, the service says, as it sends the latest report to Congress. For example, the service developed an integrated management system to help leaders make better resource-informed decisions. Additionally, the Business System Information Technology Strategy was implemented. Army Under Secretary Joseph Westphal, as chief management officer with support from assistant service secretaries and the Army staff, led a 2010 effort that leads the Army Campaign Plan into a strategic management plan and performance management tool. This will help senior Army leaders manage, synchronize and transform army business processes, the service says.
Tank Ammo. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., awards General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems a $46 million contract for the manufacture and delivery of 120mm M865 TPCSDS-T and M1002 TPMP-T tank cartridges. The M865 Target Practice, Cone Stablilized, Discarding Sabot-Tracer (TPCSDS-T) cartridge is used in the 120mm smooth bore M256 cannon of Army and Marine Corps Abrams main battle tanks. The M865 practice cartridge simulates the performance characteristics of live ammunition at reduced maximum ranges to allow practice firings on short-range training areas. The M1002 Target Practice Multi-Purpose Tracer (TPMP-T) training cartridge provides matched exterior ballistics and time-of- flight parameters to the M830A1 High Explosive Anti-Tank Multi-Purpose Tracer (HEAT-MP-T) tactical cartridge when fired from the Abrams tank. “The M865 and M1002 provide realistic, cost-effective training without the use of high-explosive ammunition,” says Dean Bartles, vice president and general manager of large-caliber.
Growing Interest. A number of programs and technology are coming to the fore showing the growing interest in acquiring air and missile defense capability in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, a Boeing official says. “More than ever, missile defense is being viewed as a nation’s core competency,” says Mira Ricardel, vice president business development at Boeing Strategic Missiles and Defense business, at a company briefing last week. In just one area, for example, she says the U.S. joint effort with Israel Aircraft Industries last month shows continued progress with a successful flight test using the Arrow missile-defense interceptor against a representative target.
Shoe Scanner. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) appears ready to begin a formal procurement process for systems that can detect explosives in shoes, revisiting technology it decided against purchasing several years ago. Last week, the agency issued a pre-solicitation notice that it will release a Request for Proposals on April 25 for a Shoe Scanning Device (SSD) system that can detect threat objects concealed in footwear without requiring passengers to remove their footwear as they pass through a security checkpoint. Several years ago, TSA pilot tested a shoe scanner made by General Electric but discontinued use of the system in the fall of 2007. GE later sold its homeland security business, which makes the shoe scanning and other screening technologies, to France’s Safran Group. With the SSD, TSA hopes to reduce the number of passengers required to remove their shoes and thereby increase throughput at the checkpoint. The agency wants an SSD system to have the current baseline level of screening capabilities provided by Advanced Technology-2 X-ray machines used to screen carry-on bags at airport checkpoints.