The Latest on News and Trends in Aerospace and Defense



STRATCOM SSA. U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) signs a new space situational awareness (SSA) data sharing agreement with France, permitting an advanced exchange of SSA data, according to a STRATCOM statement. France joins Japan, Australia, Italy and Canada in participating in these data sharing agreements directed at promoting safety of space flight. The agreement also enhances multinational space cooperation by streamlining the process for France’s Ministry of Defense to request specific information gathered by STRATCOM’s Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. STRATCOM says such information is crucial for launch support, satellite maneuver planning, support for on-orbit anomalies, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation, satellite decommissioning activities and on-orbit conjunction assessments.

Ball WorldView-3. Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. completes integration of WorldView-3, the next-generation commercial remote-sensing satellite being built for DigitalGlobe, according to a Ball statement. WorldView-3, the fourth remote-sensing satellite being built by Ball for DigitalGlobe, is scheduled to launch in the summer from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. With the imagery sensor and associated electronics now integrated, the completed satellite bus is ready for system-level performance testing, followed by thermal vacuum and environmental testing, which company spokeswoman Mary Engola says is expected to wrap up by the end of February. In addition to the satellite bus, Ball is providing an atmospheric instrument called CAVIS, which stands for cloud, aerosol, water vapor, ice and snow. CAVIS will monitor the atmosphere and provide correction data to improve WorldView-3’s imagery when it images earth objects through haze, soot, dust or other obscurants. CAVIS has also been integrated with the spacecraft.

LM Laser. Lockheed Martin demonstrates a 30-kilowatt electric fiber laser, which the company says is the highest power ever documented while retaining beam quality and elecCAPITOLtrical efficiency. The internally-funded research and development program culminates in this demonstration, which was achieved by combining many fiber lasers into a single, near-perfect quality beam of light–all while using approximately 50 percent less electricity than alternative solid-state laser technologies, according to a company statement. The unique process, called Spectral Beam Combining, sends beams from multiple fiber laser modules, each with a unique wavelength, into a combiner that forms a single, powerful, high-quality beam. The company says the successful demonstration marks a significant milestone on the path to deploying a mission-relevant laser weapon system for a wide range of air, land and sea military platforms.

NG EGI. The Air Force in January awards Northrop Grumman a $200 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract to perform acquisition and sustainment for the Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation System (EGI), according to an Air Force statement. The acquisition and sustainment will consist of platform integration, modernization, diminishing manufacturing sources, flight test support, technical support following integration efforts, and other work. Work is expected to complete by the end of 2018 and the award was the result of a sole-source acquisition. This contract allows for orders to support foreign military sales countries (FMS) and it is estimated that unclassified FMS sales will account for approximately 45 percent of the total contract ceiling.

NG B-2 Contract. The Air Force awards Northrop Grumman a 43-month, $43.5 million contract to produce a functional replacement for a B-2 avionics box called the Audio Central Distribution Unit (ACDU), according to a company statement. The work will map out a cost-effective way to address a growing threat to B-2 readiness: mission-essential parts that cannot be repaired or easily replaced. The contract will give the Air Force its first look at a faster, more affordable way to replace obsolete avionics on the B-2 bomber, for which Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor.

Boeing Saudi Arabia. Boeing and Saudi Arabian Airlines Holdings Co. (Saudia) sign a broad collaboration agreement allowing the companies to pursue possible partnership opportunities in areas of defense and commercial aviation, according to a Boeing statement. Boeing and Saudia will explore areas of cooperation in pilot and aircraft maintenance training, rotorcraft support, management and leadership training and manufacturing focused on the expansion of local presence and aerospace skill development in the country.

Air Force KS Int’l. The Air Force awards KS International LLC a $623 million firm-fixed-price, undefinitized contract action for Iraq base operating support, base life support and security services at Balad Air Base, Iraq, according to a company statement. Work is expected to run through January 2017. The award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. This requirement is 100 percent foreign military sales for the government of Iraq.

CSEL Radios. The Air Force awards Boeing a $24 million contract to deliver an additional 2,550 Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) radios, which help rescue downed pilots and other warfighters in dangerous situations, according to a Boeing statement. The CSEL is a global emergency call system that enables the safe, fast and efficiency recovery of warfighters in harm’s way. It is also used by the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy for search and rescue operations. The system consists of hand-held radios, over-the-horizon relays and other ground and user equipment. Boeing has delivered some 55,000 CSEL radios to date. The new deliveries are scheduled for 2014 and 2015. Boeing also received separate contracts to enhance the capabilities and information security of the global CSEL base-station network.

LM MUOS. Lockheed Martin recently demonstrates the Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellites may help solve communication challenges in the arctic, according to a company statement. A team demonstrates Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) capability using three different radios as far north as 89.5 degrees, under peak orbit conditions. This inherent voice and data access is beyond the 65-degree system requirement. The additional coverage comes at a time when demand is increasing for dependable polar communications. Lockheed Martin performed two rounds of testing late last year aboard a L-100 aircraft, the commercial variant of the C-130 cargo jet. Three terminal providers developing MUOS-compatible radios were on board, including the General Dynamics PRC-155 Manpack, the Harris PRC-117G Manpack and the Rockwell Collins ARC-210 V5 airborne terminal.

Selva TRANSCOM. President Obama intends to nominate Air Force Gen. Paul Selva to be the next head of U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Friday. Selva is currently head of Air Mobility Command. TRANSCOM is a unified, functional combatant command which provides support to the eight other U.S. combatant commands, the military services, defense agencies and other government organizations.

Highest Rating. Northrop Grumman’s Engineering and Systems Integration (ESI) organization receives a Level 5 rating, the highest possible, for acquisition from the Capability Maturity Model Integrated (CMMI®) Institute. This is the second time the organization has been appraised at this level. The CMMI Institute said ESI was the first to receive a Level 5 rating for acquisition. “Receiving this successful Level 5 appraisal demonstrates ESI’s ongoing commitment to achieve consistent, repeatable results on our programs and deliver lower risk and high performance to our customers,” says John Parker, director, weapons system sustainment and modernization, Northrop Grumman Technical Services. The audit included the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) prime integration contract and was expanded to include systems engineering activities, software and business management elements.

New Position. Whitney Bradley & Brown Inc. (WBB) appoints Dro DerMinassian as vice president of Business Development for the Healthcare, OSD and Joint Force Command markets. DerMinassian brings over 30 years’ experience in building new business opportunities and designing market penetrating campaigns and strategies. Throughout his career, DerMinassian has generated more than $700 million in business for companies such as Deloitte, Dynamics Research Corporation, Alion Science and Technology and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), WBB says.

Symposium Coming. INEGMA says the 4th Edition of its Middle East Missile and Air Defense Symposium (MEMAD 2014) will be held at the Armed Forces Officer’s Club in Abu Dhabi, UAE on April 27-28. MEMAD is held under the patronage of the UAE armed forces and is supported by the UAE air force and air defense. Established in 2008, MEMAD is the region’s largest, longest serving, and most highly regarded dedicated air and missile defense gathering for GCC and partner nation militaries. Gathering upwards of 400 delegates from around the world, MEMAD has consistently drawn senior level regional participation from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the GCC Secretariat, as well as from international partners such as the United States, France, Sweden, Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, and NATO. For more information: [email protected]; +971 04 390 2160, or the EU-U.S. Sales Rep., Diana Scogna at [email protected].

Ground Simulator Work. Elbit Systems Ltd. says it was awarded a five year, $23 million Israeli Ministry of Defense contract for the operation and maintenance of its ground simulators in use by the Israeli Ground Forces. The contract includes a variety of simulators, both fixed and mobile, dedicated to training for tanks, armored combat vehicles, driving simulators, intelligence training and other applications.

Lord Joins Team Valor. Bell Helicopter said Friday that LORD Corp. will design and manufacture elastomeric components for the Bell V-280 Valor™.  John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter, says: “LORD’s advanced elastomeric components are critical enablers of Bell V-280 tiltrotor’s increased rotor flapping and enhanced low speed agility. Team Valor continues to align interests and resources to deliver the highest levels of maturity and technical readiness to the U.S. Army for their future vertical lift missions.” Bill Cerami, president, LORD Aerospace & Defense, said: “We look forward to working alongside Bell Helicopter, bringing our expertise in elastomeric component design and manufacture to bear in order to maximize the long-term operational effectiveness, reliability, and affordability of this aircraft in service for the U.S. Army.” The Bell V-280 is designed to deliver the best value in procurement, operations and support, and force structure for the Army’s Future Vertical Lift requirements.

Strykers Arriving. The first rail load of Stryker armored wheeled vehicles were unloaded by the  1st Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) Feb. 6 in their new home at Fort Carson, Colo, the garrison said. General Dynamics is the original equipment manufacturer of the vehicles. The Strykers, coming from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., are part of the transition of the 1st ABCT to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The transition will help achieve a needed operational mix of BCTs within the Army and will take about 10 months to complete. Replacing Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles with lighter Stryker wheeled combat vehicles will reduce heavy vehicle maneuver and fuel consumption, and is expected to lessen dust and air pollution at Fort Carson.

Military pension cuts may be repealed. The full Senate will debate whether to repeal cuts to working-age military retirees’ pensions on Monday. Though many lawmakers oppose the 1-percent cut to the Cost of Living Adjustment for the pensions, some, including House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.) support keeping the cuts, arguing that military compensation has grown too much since 2001 and is crowding out defense acquisition and readiness accounts. The 1-percent cut would save the Defense Department about $6 billion over 10 years, and though pensions would grow slower than the rate of inflation each year, each would receive a one-time adjustment when the veteran turns 62. The Senate Armed Services Committee had previously scheduled a markup for a bill to repeal the COLA reductions on Monday night but canceled the meeting when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced the Senate would debate the issue Monday on the floor.

Dempsey, Hagel to testify to SASC. The Senate Armed Services Committee will kick off its series of defense authorization hearings on March 5, when Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey will appear before the committee to explain their fiscal year 2015 budget request. The House Armed Services Committee has not yet announced its hearing schedule, but SASC announced it will hear from the combatant commanders throughout mid-March and the service chiefs and secretaries in late March through early April.

American Values. Likely mindful of the vigorous debate ongoing within this country over privacy and civil liberties and the federal government’s ongoing broad electronic eavesdropping to counter potential threats terror threats at home and worldwide, Homeland Security Chief Jeh Johnson says that “In the name of homeland security, we cannot sacrifice our values as a nation.” Johnson, in his first major speech since becoming the DHS secretary in December, “We can build more walls, install more screening devices, ask more questions, expect more answers, and make people suspicious of each other, but not at the cost of who we are as a nation of people who cherish privacy and freedom, celebrate diversity, carry our flat at the Olympics, and are not afraid.”

…Readying for Immigration Reform. Perhaps getting out a little ahead of events, Johnson says that DHS has begun planning for immigration reform. Johnson says he has directed Deputy DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to “coordinate the process to ensure we are ready to implement the law.” Johnson praised a set of principles that the Republican leadership in the House issued at the end of January to stake out their position on moving forward with immigration reform. However, on Thursday House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dramatically tempered expectations for a reform bill to pass this year, saying the Obama Administration can’t be trusted to enforce immigration laws. Boehner didn’t mention that Republicans are seriously divided on immigration reform.

Trade Trip. The Pentagon and State Department will send key officials to this week’s Singapore Air Show to promote aerospace technologies made by companies in the United States. The delegation will include Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, Ken Handelman, deputy assistant secretary of state for Political Military Affairs, Federal Aviation Administration Chief Michael Huerta, and Kenneth Hyatt, the Commerce Department’s acting undersecretary for International Trade. The officials will advocate for U.S. firms bidding on commercial and defense contracts and discuss progress on export control reform. Senior military leadership from the U.S. Pacific Command will also attend the show.