HASC Panel Raises Questions on Global Hawk-BAMS Commonality

HASC Panel Raises Questions on Global Hawk-BAMS Commonality

By Marina Malenic

A key House subcommittee wants the Pentagon to review Air Force and Navy plans to streamline acquisition for reconnaissance drones that both services are procuring but that are based on the same Northrop Grumman [NOC]-built platform.

The Air Force’s Global Hawk unmanned aerial system and the Navy’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) system were designed to have high commonality and interoperability. The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Air and Land Forces subcommittee last week questioned the services’ resolve in streamlining unique requirements.

"The committee is concerned that differing, evolving service unique requirements, coupled with Global Hawk UAS vanishing vendor issues, are resulting in a divergence in each services’ basic goal of maximum system commonality and interoperability, particularly with regard to the communications systems," the panel stated in its version of the fiscal year 2011 Defense Department authorization bill.

The HASC will weigh the subcommittee’s legislative proposals when it marks up its version of the bill tomorrow.

In its markup, the subcommittee directs Ashton Carter, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, to certify and provide written notification to the congressional defense committees by March 31, 2011, that he has reviewed the communications requirements and acquisition strategies for both Global Hawk and BAMS. The subcommittee wants assurance that the requirements for each service’s communications systems have been validated and that the acquisition strategy for each system "achieves the greatest possible commonality and represents the most cost effective option" for each program.

Meanwhile, Global Hawk prime contractor Northrop Grumman announced that the Air Force has awarded it a… Want the rest of the story? Subscribe to Defense Daily today and receive all the detailed news and information you need each day. 

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