LCS-5 Hits Water. The fifth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and third of the Freedom variant was christened and launched on Wednesday by the Navy and the Lockheed Martin industry team in Marinette, Wis. The future USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) is among the first ships purchased by the Navy under the 2010 block buy that will reach a total of 20. The Milwaukee joins the future USS Jackson (LCS-6), an Independence variant of the LCS that launched Dec. 14 at shipbuilder Austal USA’s yard in Mobile, Ala. “Milwaukee will be an exceptional ship and I am pleased with the progress being made,” Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, the program executive officer for LCSs, said at the ceremony at Marinette Marine, Lockheed Martin’s partner for building the ships. The Milwaukee is slated to deliver to the Navy in early 2015 following acceptance trials.
Air Force OASIS. The Air Force and the General Services Administration (GSA) Dec. 19 sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) securing the service’s use of GSA’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) and OASIS small business contracts for procurement of complex professional services, according to GSA. According to the MoU provided by GSA, the Air Force anticipates obligating more than $500 million during 18 months following the GSA small business “notice to proceed” being issued. GSA says the Air Force, through OASIS, will reduce excess costs associated with award and administration of multiple indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) and/or standalone contracts, reduce the lead time and administration efforts it takes agencies to acquire complex professional services and gain insight into spending volume and labor types and costs across the federal government and facilitate negotiation of lower pricing at the task order level.
SBIRS GEO-3. The Air Force Wednesday ships to Lockheed Martin the missile warning sensor for the third Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Geosynchronous Orbiting (GEO) satellite after completing final acceptance testing, according to a service statement. This marks the completion of the first SBIRS production sensor for the GEO satellites to be delivered under the SBIRS follow-on production contract. The third and fourth GEO satellites will round out the SBIRS missile warning constellation. The sensor was manufactured and assembled by Northrop Grumman.
ULA Contract. The Air Force Tuesday awards United Launch Alliance (ULA) a $531 million firm-fixed-price modification on an existing contract that executes requirements for fiscal year 2014 launch vehicle production services, according to a DoD statement. The contract executes requirements supporting the following launch vehicle configurations: Air Force Atlas V 501, Air Force Atlas V 511, Air Force Delta IV 4 and 2, Air Force Delta IV 5 and 4 and a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Delta IV heavy. Options for that associated launch capability for FY ’15 through FY ’19 are available and may be exercised at a later date. ULA is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
GOES-R. A Lockheed Martin team completes the solar ultraviolet imager (SUVI) instrument that will make crucial solar measurements when it flies on the National Oceanic Atmospheric Adminsitration’s (NOAA) next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) missions, known as GOES-R, according to a company statement. The team is on track for instrument delivery in January for integration with the first GOES-R spacecraft. The advanced spacecraft and instrument technology used on the GOES-R series is expected to improve the quality and timeliness of forecasts. GOES-R is also developed by Lockheed Martin.
Rolls-Royce V-22. The Navy awards Rolls-Royce a $57 million contract to support AE 1107C engines for V-22 aircraft operated by the Air Force and Marine Corps, according to a company statement. The award, the final option year of a five-year MissionCare contract, includes repair and support services, with work carried out at Rolls-Royce facilities in Indianapolis and Oakland, Calif., as well as fleet support at customer bases.
ATK SLS. NASA and ATK successfully complete two key avionics tests for the solid rocket boosters for the space agency’s new heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System, according to an ATK statement. The avionics tests, called hot fires, operate the booster’s thrust vector control (TVC) system as if the booster were actually launching the SLS on a mission. The tests were performed at ATK’s Promontory, Utah, facility and represent a significant milestone as well as validation of SLS cost-saving efforts. Other test objectives included validating the new electronic support equipment that replaced heritage ground equipment.
SpaceX Launch Pad. NASA selects Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) to begin negotiations on a lease to use and operate historic Launch Complex (LC) 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., according to a NASA statement. NASA made the decision after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled against a protest filed by Blue Origin, which raised concerns about the competitive process NASA used to try and secure a potential commercial partner, or partners, to lease and use LC-39A. NASA will begin working with SpaceX to negotiate the terms of its lease.
Helpful Hints. Since its inception in 1975, CBO has stressed “the importance of good, clear writing,” the agency says releasing “A Guide to Style and Usage” this month–the fourth one in its history. Since much of what CBO does is technical, it says it strives to analytic transparency and explanations so Congress, staff, and outside analysts can understand. The guide is to help CBO’s staff do this. Most of the guide consists of an alphabetical arrangement of grammar, punctuation, and word usage employed in CBO’s reports and cost estimates. The guide also includes definitions of common economic and budgetary terms from the periodically published glossary that goes with CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook. The style guide concludes with a section on how to cite footnotes and references.
Coming Online Soon, Maybe. DoD reports to Congress are to be posted on line according to a provision in the pending FY 2014 defense-authorization act. Secrecy News found the provision that the reports would have to be posted on a “publicly accessible Internet website” whether they were requested or not,” the pub said. The requirement to post on line won’t apply to classified or proprietary information.
Training Time. Meggitt Training Systems will supply training under an $18 million contract from the Australian Defense Force (ADF) under the Hardened & Networked Army (HNA) and Enhanced Land Force (ELF) Phase 3 program. The ADF sees simulation as a way to minimize the costs of live fire training, while ensuring well trained and ready ground forces. Networked Weapon Training Simulation Systems (WTSS) allow the ADF to train within virtual environments around the world without the logistical burden and costs associated with transporting personnel and equipment to one location. Meggitt has supplied Simulation Systems to the ADF since 1999. Under the HNA/ELF Phase 3 contract, the company will provide hardware and software upgrades to 18 existing WTSS facilities throughout Australia, adding mortar crew and collective training to existing individual marksmanship training capabilities.
Airport PreCheck for Military. Effective Dec. 20, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended its PreCheck expedited screening program to members of the military, even when they are traveling for civilian purposes. More than 100 airports will grant access to special PreCheck lines at security to service members carrying a Common Access Card (CAC). The number on that card will serve as the service members’ Known Traveler Number, which TSA generates for frequent travelers who submit to a background check. TSA is also considering extending PreCheck to Department of Defense civilians with CAC cards in 2014, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Risk-Based Security Victoria Newhouse said at a conference last week.
Global Hawks in the Arctic. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flew a Northrop Grumman [NOC] Global Hawk over the Arctic as part of a geological survey. The unmanned aerial vehicle’s flight marks the first time NASA has used Canadian airspace to photograph and analyze images of the ice caps. As part of the 2008 Space Act Agreement, NASA currently has access to two Global Hawks. The NASA-Northrop Grumman partnership represents a growing trend toward the use of drones for commercial applications. “Our platforms provide not only unmatched capabilities to the warfighter but also unprecedented support for environmental and Earth science research, homeland security, border and coastal patrol, and disaster and emergency relief missions,” the company said via a spokesperson on Thursday.
Third JHSV’s builder trials. The future USNS Millnocket, the third of the Navy’s Joint High Speed Vessels being built by Austal USA, completed builder trials earlier this month. The trials that wrapped up Dec. 13 evaluated the vessel’s major systems, including the combat, propulsion, ballasting, communications, navigations and mission systems. The JHSVs are designed to perform quick in-theater transportation of troops, vehicles like tanks, as well as weaponry and equipment. They travel at an average speed of 35 knots over about 1,200 nautical miles. The Navy is buying 10 of the vessels, about half of what was originally envisioned.
Less Competition. More contracts are being awarded without competition by the Defense Department, rising from 39 percent of contract obligations in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, the Center for Strategic and International Studies says in a new report on defense contract trends. However, the study says that the contract obligations awarded without competition declined more slowly than overall defense contract obligations.
REAL ID Enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security in 2014–although not until April–will begin enforcing the nearly nine-year old REAL ID Act, which prohibits the federal government from accepting driver’s licenses and ID cards that do not meet minimum security standards set by DHS. Initially, enforcement will be limited to DHS headquarters so the department can gain an understanding of how well security guards can differentiate between compliant and non-compliant IDs, Brian Zimmer, president of the Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License, tells Defense Daily. Mandatory compliance is still a ways off, May 2017, but currently only 21 states have been certified as compliant with REAL ID, 14 have indicated they are in the process of doing so, and 15 haven’t indicated that they plan to become compliant, Zimmer says. He says that as the law is enforced, residents of non-compliant states will have to obtain other proofs of identity, like passports, otherwise they won’t be able to access secure federal facilities or fly commercially.
Record Contract. Stevens Institute of Technology of New Jersey has received a five-year, $60 million contract from the Defense Department, a record contract for the school that will continue the work of a University Affiliated Research Center for systems engineering research and education. The contract is for the Stevens’ Systems Engineering Research Center, brings systems engineering researchers together to form research teams to meet DoD needs. The contract, which is the second five-year deal for the SERC, will allow it to extend or introduce 11 long-term research programs in four thrust areas: Enterprises and Systems of Systems; Trusted Systems; Systems Engineering and Systems Management Transformation, and Human Capital Development.