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LCS Spin Off Contracts Begin to be Awarded

At the end of last year the U.S. Navy announced that it would go ahead and use two sources for the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). This was a reversion to the original plan for the small warship designed to fight inshore. Contracts were quickly awarded to Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Austal America (ASB:AUS) for ten ships each.

Now a variety of support and sub-contracts are beginning to be announced by suppliers for components to help assemble the new ships. While the two designs have very different hull forms the basic combat systems and weapons will be the same.

BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) has announced that they will fabricate 57-millimeter cannons for the Lockheed ships. These guns will be made at their plant in Minnesota. This is part of Lockheed’s almost $4 billion order for ships.

General Dynamics (GD) received a contract from Austal to build their ship’s combat and seaframe control systems. This is an open architecture system that supports the Navy’s plan to have different combat modules that are interchangeable on the ships.

One of the companies that may stand to gain the most from the contracts is Alcoa (AA). They not only provide engineering support to the Navy for the use of aluminum and other metals in ship construction including the LCS but also make the metal that Austal will use to assemble their LCS in Mobile, AL. If the Navy builds upwards of thirty or forty ships the amount of aluminum required will be quite substantial.

Lockheed also has awarded Rolls-Royce (RR:LSE) a contract for the power plants and propulsion systems. The Lockheed ships will be built at Marinette Marine’s yard in Wisconsin. Rolls-Royce makes the MT30 gas turbine which then uses water jets to propel the LCS.

As the two LCS programs continue more-and-more of these large sub-contracts will be announced as the money and work flows to different parts of the United States and many different companies. This continues to illustrate the economic effects of large defense procurement programs.

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Adaptive Methods Announces Launch of Net Penetration Equipment — Press Release

Adaptive Methods Announces Launch of Net Penetration Equipment

Centreville, VA, January 12, 2011 – Adaptive Methods, developer of advanced sensor systems, announced the release of their fishing net penetrator called NET PEN. The NET PEN provides the means for an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) to cut through nets and continue on its mission.

Adaptive Methods’ internal-mounted NET PEN is adaptable to a wide range of vehicle sizes. It is intended to mount within a UUVs nosecone without affecting existing equipment (e.g., forward-looking sonar arrays), and integrates with existing UUV power and propulsion systems to detect, deploy, penetrate, and retract, upon contact with a net. External hull-mounted NET PEN is also available, which will ensure unencumbered net penetration, for UUVs with larger protruding surfaces such as masts, snorkels, etc.

Adaptive Methods can design, prototype, integrate, test, and manufacture NET PEN to address virtually any production-UUV net-mitigation deficiency, or to meet any new or developing program requirement.

Adaptive Methods, Inc. (www.adaptivemethods.com) is a developer of advanced sensor systems and sensor processing and computing architecture products for surveillance, security and military combat systems based in Centreville, VA.

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Pratt & Whitney’s Short Take Off/Vertical Landing Variant F135 Engine Receives Initial Service Release — Press Release

Pratt & Whitney’s Short Take Off/Vertical Landing Variant F135 Engine Receives Initial Service Release

EAST HARTFORD, Conn., Jan. 3, 2011 – Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company, has achieved initial service release (ISR) for the short take off and vertical landing variant (STOVL) F135 engine, marking another major milestone. The propulsion system is now certified as the production configuration and cleared for flight in the Lockheed Martin F-35B stealth fighter. Pratt & Whitney received ISR for the conventional take off and landing/carrier variant (CTOL/CV) F135 engine in February 2010.

“Achieving initial service release for the STOVL propulsion system means all three variants of the F135 engine have met all necessary requirements and proven the safety, reliability and performance of this product. We are one step closer to powering operational flights,” said Bennett Croswell, vice president of F135/F119 Engine Programs, Pratt & Whitney. “I am proud of the F135 STOVL team and our partners at Rolls-Royce, Hamilton Sundstrand and Lockheed Martin for this great program accomplishment. We look forward to seeing the F135-powered Lightning II in operational flight.”

The F135 is in production and is the only engine powering the F-35 Lightning II flight test program today. The F135 CTOL/CV engine and STOVL propulsion system continues to power the F-35 Lightning II with 540 flight tests and more than 750 flight test hours. The F135 has powered all 12 vertical landings and the F135 engine is demonstrating excellent reliability, performance and thrust response. To date, Pratt & Whitney has delivered 12 production F135 engines, including the first two production STOVL propulsion systems.

Pratt & Whitney has designed, developed and tested the F135 to deliver the most advanced fifth generation fighter engine for the United States and its allies around the world. The F135 has been further enhanced with technologies developed in several U.S. Air Force and Navy technology programs.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning future business opportunities and operational engine performance. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in funding related to the F-35 aircraft and F135 engines, changes in government procurement priorities and practices or in the number of aircraft to be built; challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies; as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corp.’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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Unmanned Vehicle Development Spreads to Underwater and AlumiFuel Power

Over the last ten years the U.S. military along with many other nations’ defense establishments have invested billions in developing and producing a variety of unmanned ground and air vehicles. Now the U.S. Navy is looking to do the same for submersible systems. Certainly advanced torpedoes are already wired guided and in a way this is similar to early unmanned ground vehicles which relied on wire and command guidance. More advanced USV will be able to carry out Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions and eventually attack targets. These are missions now carried out by submarines or small boats.

AlumiFuel Power Corporation announced recently that they have been given a contract by the U.S. Navy to develop fuel cell technology to power advanced USV. This will use hydrogen in a Air Independent Power (AIP) system. Fuel cells using hydrogen have already been developed to provide auxiliary power and electricity for larger submarines. These plants though are not powerful enough to be the only source of propulsion for a ship of that size.

AlumiFuel’s contract is for the first phase of research to see if a re-fuelable system is able to be developed along with its partner Ingenium Technologies. Ingenium has designed the fuel cell power system and AlumiFuel will integrate their hydrogen powered cartridge based concept into it.

One of the big advantages of unmanned systems is their ability to perform missions much longer then a typical manned system. In order to do this reliable power plants are needed and since air based systems are not feasible underwater an AIP system needs to be used. This could be battery powered, nuclear or as in this case relying on fuel cells. The U.S. Navy has used advanced batteries and “stored chemical energy propulsion systems” on their newer torpedoes. In some ways this research is an extension of that.

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Northrop Grumman-Built Aegis Destroyer Gravely (DDG 107) Performs Well in the Ship’s Acceptance Trial

Northrop Grumman-Built Aegis Destroyer Gravely (DDG 107) Performs Well in the Ship's Acceptance Trial
June 29, 2010

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – The Northrop Grumman Corporation-built (NYSE:NOC) Aegis guided missile destroyer Gravely (DDG 107) returned successfully from her first-ever sea trial last week in the Gulf of Mexico. Reaching this milestone paved the way for delivery to the U.S. Navy later this summer. The destroyer is being built by the company at its Gulf Coast facilities in Pascagoula, Miss.

DDG 107's super trial, normally combining builder's and U.S. Navy acceptance trials, was modified to an integrated acceptance trial to mitigate the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We made a commitment to take DDG 107 to sea and we were able to do that despite the current situation in the Gulf," said Richard Schenk, test and trials vice president for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. "The Northrop Grumman/Navy sea trial team worked extremely well together to test the ship's systems, which performed very well. Any testing that could not be accomplished because of the oil spill will be achieved at a later date. I couldn't be more excited of our team's efforts."

During the trial, Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) tested the ship's communications and propulsion systems, and conducted several other inspections including habitability.

"We're pleased with the flexibility of Northrop Grumman and the entire team in making the sea trial a success," said U.S. Navy Capt. Steve Mitchell, deputy for operations, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast. "In the areas of focus such as propulsion and damage control, among others, we're happy with the improving trends in these areas. I was proud to be teammates with the shipyard on this trial."

"The shipbuilders and Navy team worked well together, and despite the short time at-sea, we were able to perform necessary tests in a quality manner," said George Nungesser, Northrop Grumman's DDG 51 program manager. "The response we've received from the Navy has been excellent and we greatly reduced the number of trial cards from the last sea trial."

U.S. Navy Commander Doug Kunzman is the ship's first commanding officer and will lead a crew of over 300 officers and sailors. The 510-foot, 9,500-ton Gravely has an overall beam of 59 feet and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas-turbine propulsion plants will power the ship to speeds above 30 knots.

This highly capable multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States' military strategy. Gravely will be capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.

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Pratt & Whitney Delivers Final F135 Flight Test Engine, First Lot of Production Engines — Press Release

Pratt & Whitney Delivers Final F135 Flight Test Engine, First Lot of Production Engines

EAST HARTFORD, Conn., May 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Pratt & Whitney has delivered the final F135 flight test engine and the first lot of F135 production engines to the customer, marking yet another major program milestone as the engine continues to successfully power the F-35 flight test program. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

“With these two significant milestones achieved, the F135 engine continues its unprecedented demonstration of maturity and dependability for the F-35 Lightning II,” said Bennett Croswell, Vice President of F135 and F119 Engine Programs. “Delivering the final F135 test engine and the first lot of F135 production engines is clear evidence that the F135 has successfully transitioned from a development program to a full production program.”

The full complement of 29 test engines delivered by Pratt & Whitney includes 11 ground test engines and 18 flight test engines. The first lot of F135 production engines consists of four CTOL engines all destined for aircraft that will support the flight training program at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

“The F135 program has had a remarkable year completing critical milestones including surpassing 17,500 test hours, receiving Initial Service Release Certification for our Conventional Take Off and Land variant engine, and achieving first vertical landing powered by our Short Take Off Vertical Land variant engine. These two engine delivery milestones further highlight Pratt & Whitney’s dedication to the F-35 program and commitment to our customers,” Croswell said. “I am so proud of the Pratt & Whitney F135 team who have a never-ending focus to deliver on our promises of quality, cost and performance.”

Pratt & Whitney, the only engine manufacturer producing fifth generation propulsion systems, has designed, developed and tested the F135 to deliver the most advanced fifth generation fighter engine for the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as for eight international partner countries. The F135 is derived from proven technology of the only operational fifth generation fighter engine, the Pratt & Whitney F119 that exclusively powers the F-22 with nearly 300,000 hours. It has been further enhanced with technologies developed in several Air Force and Navy technology programs.

The F135 propulsion system has proven it can meet diverse aircraft requirements, and the ground and flight test experience demonstrates the capability of the F135 engine for armed forces around the world. The Pratt & Whitney F135 engine continues to be the only engine powering the successful Lockheed Martin Flight Test Program.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

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