Dog and Cat

Raytheon’s Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer completes flight testing under budget — Press Release

Weapons score well in flight tests

PARIS, June 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Air Force and Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) recently completed a four-year development program of the Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer (MALD®-J) under budget.

As part of the development program, the MALD and MALD-J flew a total of 30 successful engineering and operational flight tests with a perfect 30-for-30 record. The MALD-J’s flight test record was 15-for-15 of that total.

“The MALD program continues to surpass expectations in performance and capability,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems’ Air Warfare Systems. “The MALD-J provides significant improvement in strike survivability and tactical electronic attack, giving our warfighters a decisive edge.”

MALD is a state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle that is modular, air-launched, autonomous and programmable. It weighs less than 300 pounds and has a range of approximately 500 nautical miles. MALD protects aircraft and their crews by duplicating the combat flight profiles and signatures of U.S. and allied aircraft. MALD-J adds radar-jamming capability to the basic MALD platform.

“The commitment and performance of the Raytheon and U.S. Air Force team, coupled with the science and engineering development in electronic attack for the MALD vehicle, has paid big dividends for our warfighter. Finishing under budget in these austere times was especially rewarding,” said Chris Daily, Raytheon Missile Systems’ MALD-J program manager.

MALD-J offers a cost effective and unique capability in the complex electronic warfare (EW) environment and is now ideally placed as the force multiplier of choice for future U.S. and allied EW operations.

About MALD and MALD-J

  • MALD confuses enemy air defenses by duplicating friendly aircraft flight profiles and radar signatures.
  • MALD-J maintains all capabilities of MALD and adds jamming capabilities.
  • Raytheon began delivering MALD-J in the fall of 2012.

About Raytheon

Raytheon Company, with 2012 sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 91 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @raytheon.

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Raytheon to Make More MALD

The U.S. Air Force executed a further production option with Raytheon (RTN) for their Miniature Air Launched Decoy (MALD). These will be a new version called the MALD-J that adds jamming capability to the decoy.

The contract has a value of just over $80 million and will provide for 202 of the systems including a warranty and shipping containers.

The MALD is carried by aircraft and then is deployed. It flies autonomously simulating the aircraft by flying similar profiles and speeds with a similar radar return. It has a range of about 500 miles and contributes to confusion of enemy aid defenses by increasing the number of targets being detected and tracked.

The MALD-J is the newest version of the system adding a jammer capability to it. This means it will provide even more confusion to enemy air defenses.

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Lockheed Receives Contract to Continue F-22 Upgrades

Lockheed Martin (LMT) has completed deliveries of the F-22 Raptor to the U.S. Air Force. Based on past experience the aircraft may remain in service to well into this century. Due to this projected service life the Government just awarded a contract to continue upgrades to the aircraft.

Similar to one issued in 2003 this almost $7 billion Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract will allow the Air Force to buy the necessary technical services and work to integrate new electronics, weapons and sensors onto the aircraft. The contract is for 10 years.

Like all ID/IQ contracts there is no guarantee that any work will be awarded or the full value of the contract reached.

The previous contract too had a value of over $7 billion and supported integration of different Increments for the aircraft.

The F-22 was developed over two decades ago and was in production for over ten years. It is not surprising that there will be new weapons such as the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) or missile systems that need to be added. There will also be new air-to-air systems as well as data links, sensors and more efficient electronics and engines that ultimately could be added to the aircraft.

It is also conceivable that some of the technology being developed for the F-35 could also be added to the F-22 like the new helmet.

As with many military systems the OEM will be making money off of them well after production ends.

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Raytheon Bids for New Air Force Communications Terminal

The Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal (Global ASNT) is a U.S. Air Force project that is part of the Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network (MEECN)system. It’s role is to provide messaging and aircrew alert functions. It will be part of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency / Extremely High Frequency (AEHF/EHF) system utilizing new AEHF communication satellites now being built by Lockheed Martin (LMT) to improve U.S. communication capabilities.

The requirement has existed for several years but earlier this month the U.S. Air Force asked for final proposals by 18 January. The solicitation information may be found on FedBizOpps.Gov here.

It has been reported that Raytheon (RTN) did submit a proposal for this requirement. It believes that the contract will be awarded this summer. The company is already building AEHF ground terminals for use by the military.

The program is still R&D and this contract would develop the terminal. It would then move into production later. If any other company bid on the contract it has not been publicized.

Due to the budget uncertainty of the sequestration and continuing resolution it may be hard in FY13 to begin new programs like this. They might, as the Army has already announced with the Ground Combat Vehicle, delay them a few months to get to FY14 and a more stable fiscal environment.

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Air Force Cost Goals Restrict Competition for New Rescue Helicopter

The U.S. Air Force is once again trying to attempt to buy a new aircraft to replace their MH-60 rescue helicopter fleet from the Eighties. The original CSAR-X program faltered twice earlier this century due to protests. Boeing (BA) had one the last contest with a version of the CH-47 but after protests from the losing bidders it was decided to start over.

The current Combat Rescue Helicopter program had put out a RFP for new proposals due in January. The goal is to buy just over 100 aircraft at a cost of $6.4 billion.

Unfortunately it was announced this past week that the only company interested in bidding on the contract is Sikosrky, part of United Technologies (UTX), teamed with Lockheed Martin (LMT). Sikorsky made the current HH-60 fleet. Other potential bidders including Augusta Westland, Eurocopter, Bell and Boeing believe that the cost goals will be too hard to meet for their products. Some have basically said the contract requirements were written in such as way so only a version of the UH-60 Black Hawk could meet them.

The Pentagon is obviously trying to reduce cost but at also at the same time promoting competition. Sometimes, as here, the two things don’t always work together as to attract bidders there must be some profit in it for them.

The Air Force has struggled with large acquisitions for a few years now. The new aerial tanker, KC-X, took 3 tries before Boeing won. The CSAR-X has already been discussed. They are currently redoing the Light Air Support aircraft contest after Embraer and Sierra Nevada’s win of the original contract was overturned on protest.

Whether they want to continue the current contest with limited bidders or try to re-do the requirements to attract more will be the next decision. They could just wait and see if more then one bid in January as originally intended.

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UTC Aerospace Systems awarded aftermarket contracts to support U.S. Navy’s V-22 program — Press Release

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — UTC Aerospace Systems secured aftermarket contracts for Constant Frequency Generator (CFG) repairs and retrofits, and upgraded spares for the U.S. Navy’s V-22 program. The V-22 is flown by both the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps team and the U.S. Air Force. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

“UTC Aerospace Systems is delighted to support the U.S. Navy’s V-22 program,” said Steve Hilliard, general manager, Military Programs, Power, Controls & Sensing Systems, UTC Aerospace Systems. “The upgrades to our Constant Frequency Generator enhance our product while delivering a high return on investment for NAVSUP.”

UTC Aerospace Systems is the sole supplier on the CFG application for the V-22 program and its aftermarket contracts are valued at $70 million.

Under the initial contract awarded in September 2011, UTC Aerospace Systems began supplying kits to NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support Philadelphia in support of the V-22 CFG Loss of Lube retrofit with a period of performance of 20 months. In September 2012, UTC Aerospace Systems received a contract from the U.S. Navy for V-22 CFG repairs and upgrades over a five-year period of performance. Most recently, UTC Aerospace Systems received a contract award and delivery orders from Defense Logistics Agency, Philadelphia, for V-22 CFG spares for the U.S. Air Force and spares for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team.

The V-22 CFG consists of three of UTC Aerospace Systems’ mainstay electric power products: a Constant Speed Drive, a Generator, and a Generator Control Unit, packaged into a single Line Replaceable Unit. This upgrade program is the culmination of four years of cooperative effort between NAVAIR, Boeing, Bell, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support, and UTC Aerospace Systems to enhance the reliability of the CFG and by improving the overall operational readiness of the aircraft.

UTC Aerospace Systems designs, manufactures and services integrated systems and components for the aerospace and defense industries. UTC Aerospace Systems supports a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and customer service facilities.

United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company that provides high-technology products and services to the aerospace and building industries.

www.utcaerospacesystems.com

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Boeing to Modernize U.S. Nuclear Bombs

In another demonstration about how the world of nuclear weapons and classification of information has changed it was announced that Boeing (BA) has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force to design a new tail kit for the standard B61 aerial nuclear weapon.

The contract is worth a little over $175 million and is part of a program to improve the weapon’s reliability and upgrade the design.

The B61 has been in existence for almost fifty years in various versions. Boeing will work with the Mod 12 of the bomb. The B61 is a key component of the current U.S. stockpile of weapons.

In the past even confirmation of the existence of this weapon would have been impossible and now contract awards are treated routinely.

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Saudi Arabia to Upgrade C-130 Fleet

The U.S. Defense Department informed Congress this week that they intend to sell to Saudi Arabia 25 C-130J and KC-130 aircraft. The aircraft are made by Lockheed Martin (LMT) outside Atlanta. If Congress does not object in 30 days, which they most likely will not, then the contract will begin. Estimate of the value including spares, support and other services is almost $7 billion.

It represents the largest C-130 Foreign Military Sale (FMS) contract in value.

The C-130J is the latest version of the venerable propeller driven transport which has been in use since the Fifties. Several hundred of the model are now in service with the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and many different nations around the world. The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan which due to the vehicle threat emphasized tactical transport with aircraft like the C-130 and rotary wing assets drove some of the sales in the last 10 years.

Saudi Arabia already operates 50 older versions of the aircraft so this contract represents a significant upgrade to that capability.

With the potential for less domestic contracts U.S. contractors will be looking overseas for more sales.

Photo from kingair42′s flickr photostream.

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Pentagon Plan JSF Upgrade Contract

The U.S. Air Force and Navy Joint Project Office for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) announced recently that they plan to tender a contract to upgrade the first 93 F-35 aircraft to be consistent with a later production version. This covers 4 years of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft that are currently being delivered.

No value for the contract was estimated but it should be several hundred million dollars to modify that number of aircraft.

It would be expected that Lockheed Martin (LMT), the prime contractor on the current JSF development and production effort, would be awarded the contract. The announcement though did leave an opening for others to submit proposals to do the work. This would be extremely hard for another contractor to do depending on how much technical data the Government owns and is available. Just estimating the cost of the work without that information would be difficult.

The JPO is expecting this contract to take some time to develop, negotiate and award as the LRIP 5 production contract remains in negotiation with Lockheed and probably won’t be awarded until the end of this year. Those aircraft would be coming off of the production line in several months. This will allow the program to continue production, testing and training while then beginning to retrofit the existing aircraft.

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Lockheed Martin Awarded $35.98 Million Contract To Solidify Long Range Radar Requirement for 3DELRR Program — Press Release

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Sept. 18, 2012 – The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] a nearly $36 million contract for the next part of its Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long Range Radar (3DELRR) program.

The 3DELRR is intended to serve as the principal long-range, ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking, and reporting aerial targets for the Air Force. The system, which will replace the AN/TPS-75 air surveillance radar, will be capable of detecting new, emerging air defense threats and managing challenging battlefield air control scenarios out to extended ranges.

Under the Pre-Engineering and Manufacturing Development (Pre-EMD) Period of the Technology Development Phase, the Air Force is expected to review industry trade studies to help set final radar requirements, conduct preliminary design reviews, and demonstrate radar system-level technology maturity.  At the end of this 15-month phase, the Air Force is expected to award an EMD and low-rate production contract.

Lockheed Martin has 178 long-range radars operational around the world and has made significant investments to reduce risk and drive affordability for the 3DELRR program.

“We need to give battlefield commanders the most response time possible to detect and prosecute emerging threats.  Only advanced technology long-range radar like 3DELRR can do that,” said Mark Mekker, director of ground-based surveillance radar for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business.  “Our 3DELRR technology is mature, focused on not just performing now, but evolving and extending system life as required. We can offer that radar to the U.S. Air Force today.”

In December 2010, Lockheed Martin unveiled a functioning full-scale system prototype as proof of the radar’s maturity.  At the time, the radar’s design addressed 100 percent of 3DELRR requirements, including critical extended air surveillance reach for early warning from threats, such as aircraft and ballistic missiles. This was the second and final demonstration required under a $25 million, 20-month technology development contract awarded in May 2009.

Work on the 3DELRR program is performed at the company’s Syracuse, N.Y. and Moorestown, N.J. facilities.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 120,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

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Concept illustration courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

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F-35 Money Keeps Rolling In for Lockheed Martin

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is the largest acquisition program in history headed up by prime, Lockheed Martin (LMT). The program has suffered delays due to testing and technical issues but now is in steady low rate production with the U.S. buying 30 or more a year for itself and allies. The F-35 will be used by the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. It also has countries like the u.K., Australia, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada as partners as well as already having Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Japan and Israel.

Lockheed is not only getting contracts for the production but also for items such as training, simulators and of course spare parts. They were just awarded a contract for spares for the U.S. Navy and international aircraft worth about $200 million. As the aircraft are fielded they will also require the establishment of stocks of parts at bases and depots to support them.

The current production of F-35 is pretty much all going to the different training sites to support pilot conversion. They are also being used to continue testing and development of the system.

If the F-35 in its current plan survives potential budget cuts and restructuring between 3 and 4,000 aircraft will be made. They will fly for 30 plus years and be the main equipment of Western tactical air forces for most of that time.

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Northrop Upgrading B-1 Radars

Modern combat aircraft have become like ships in that they now serve for several decades receiving incremental refits and upgrades. Even while new systems are being developed and deployed older designs get new electronics, engines and munitions that enhance their effectiveness and usefulness.

The U.S. Air Force has done this consistently with their bomber force which consists of B-52 aircraft first delivered in the 1950′s, the 1980 built B-1 and the stealth B-2 delivered in the 90′s. A new bomber design is being developed but for the last eleven years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan it has been existing aircraft flying the missions.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) has just delivered the first kit to upgrade the B-1′s radar and it has already been installed on an aircraft. The Radar Reliability and Maintainability Program (RMIP) has so far been worth $161 million for the company. So far 60 kits have been purchased along with spares, support and test equipment.

The RMIP replaces portions of the existing AN/APQ-164 radar in order to make it more reliable and easier to maintain. The goal is to reduce repairs, improve availability and reduce maintenance requirements which should save money overall.

Northrop developed the kit prior to the award of the production contracts. There are close to 100 B-1 in U.S. inventory which means up to 40 more kits would be purchased if all of the aircraft will be updated.

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Northrop Continues to Win Global Hawk Business

Northrop Grumman (NOC) is the producer of the Global Hawk strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). This is used by the U.S. Air Force for long range reconnaissance and collection missions. It was developed in the late Nineties. Currently it has been produced in different blocks with different capabilities.

The Obama Administration in their 2013 budget has proposed ending production of the Block 30 and mothballing the entire existing fleet of such systems and relying on the manned U-2/TR-1 platform. This proposal, though, has not been well received by the Congress and the plan may not be accepted. Even with this proposal the newer blocks would continue to be used and be produced. The Navy is also buying the Global Hawk as part of their Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program.

Northrop also received two recent contracts for the program that indicate it will continue for several more years.

First, NATO ordered 5 of the systems to provide ground surveillance. This contract is estimated at close to $1.7 billion. NATO already jointly operates Boeing (BA) E-3 AWACS aircraft and C-17 transports so the Global Hawks would be a similar proposition. The mission would be similar to that of the E-8 Joint STARS manned system which tracks enemy vehicle and troop movements and positions.

The Air Force also continues its program to make progressive improvements to the Global Hawk with a contract to develop new radars and sensors. This is worth $51 million but if new sensors are developed has the potential for much more revenue as they are produced and integrated into the aircraft.

The UAV will become increasingly more ubiquitous in use performing many missions currently done by manned aircraft. The U.S. is investing in long range, persistent reconnaissance UAV’s. The Global Hawk despite budget proposals will continue to perform its missions for the next few decades.

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Lockheed Martin Delivers Final, Historic F-22 Raptor To U.S. Air Force

MARIETTA, Ga., May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] leadership delivered today the 195th and last F-22 Raptor to U.S. Air Force leadership in a ceremony at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics site here. With this delivery, the U.S. Air Force now possesses the world’s only 5th generation stealth fighter aircraft fleet in the world.

“There is no longer any nation that wishes us ill or any adversary who wishes us harm that has any doubt that their actions will have consequences – that they will be held to account and that our response will be undeterred,” said Robert J. Stevens, Lockheed Martin’s chairman and CEO. “The very existence of this airplane – your airplane – has altered the strategic landscape forever.”

A host of distinguished officials participated in this monumental event, including senior leaders from Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force; local, state and national elected officials; and Lockheed Martin employees who helped build the F-22 Raptor fleet.

This final Raptor joins a U.S. Air Force fleet of 187 operational F-22s and will join other F-22s in the Air Force’s 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. In all, Lockheed Martin delivered 195 F-22s to the Air Force beginning in 1997, with eight Raptors used as test aircraft.

F-22s are assigned to seven U.S. bases. Flight testing takes place at Edwards AFB, Calif. Operational tactics development continues at Nellis AFB, Nev. Pilot training takes place at Tyndall AFB, Fla. Operational F-22 aircraft are assigned to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Holloman AFB, N. M.; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

The F-22 Raptor is the world’s only operational 5th generation fighter, making it an unmatched national security asset. The Raptor is designed to defeat denied-access threats, enable joint and coalition operations in contested areas, and globally promote deterrence and security. For more information on the F-22, visit www.lockheedmartin.com/products/f22/.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 123,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2011 were $46.5 billion.

For additional information, visit our website: www.lockheedmartin.com

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Joint Venture Formed to Compete for Air Force Range Contract

April 18, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Three large defense contractors have formed a new joint venture in order to compete for the U.S. Air Force’s unified range management contract. ITT Exelis (XLS), BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) and L-3 Communications (LLL) have set up IBL JV, LLC (IBL) to hopefully win the work.

The Air Force has previously used separate contracts to run its two main ranges located on either coast of the United States. These provide space launch capability for satellites as well as managing those in orbit. The ranges also launch targets and support testing of systems. All three of these companies have at one-time-or-another been involved in running the ranges in the past.

The decision to combine the contracts has a goal of saving the government money through efficiencies of only having one contract. It would be used to carry out total support for the ranges including program management, maintenance and operations and housekeeping services.

Due to the size of the contract it is expected to attract a lot of attention from large, U.S. defense contractors who have a great deal of experience in this type of work.

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Air Force Will Attempt Second Contest for Light Air Support Aircraft

Following up on its decision to cancel the initial contract to Sierra Nevada and Brazil’s Embraer for the initial order of Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft for use by the Afghan military the U.S. Air Force now plans a new contest. The contract was protested by Hawker Beechcraft whose T-6 based proposal was removed from the competition. After the start of an investigation into the source selection which continues the service’s leadership decided to end the first attempt and begin again.

The Air Force investigation found that there was not sufficient justification for the decisions to remove Hawker and award the $300 million contract to Sierra Nevada. This company teamed with Embraer which would see their Tucano based system assembled in Florida.

Now it is expected that an amended Request for Proposals will be issued in the near future allowing the two companies to compete again.

If the program goes as planned it could be worth up to $1 billion in orders.

With the new proposal process it is hoped that a decision will be made next year.

Hawker is struggling and may face bankruptcy in the near future and the LAS win would be a major boon for the company. Brazil is looking at buying a new fighter and Boeing’s (BA) F/A-18 is one of the major contenders and a win for Embraer is believed to be helpful for that contest.

The Air Force has struggled over the last decade with awarding new contracts. There was the long running KC-X tanker program which took three attempts to award finally to Boeing. The new combat rescue helicopter, CSAR-X, went through two iterations but is now currently on hold. The cornerstone of the new Air Force, Lockheed’s (LMT) Joint Strike Fighter, is facing cost and schedule problems. The Light Air Support program seems to continue that trend.

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New Light Air Support Contest for Sierra Nevada and Hawker Beechcraft?

Late last year the U.S. Air Force awarded a contract to a team of Sierra Nevada and Brazil’s Embraer to provide light attack aircraft for use by the Afghan military. The contract also had the potential for further orders to support the U.S. military and other potential foreign customers. The only other company to submit a bid was Hawker Beechcraft.

The award was controversial as the Air Force eliminated Hawker’s bid for not being in the competitive range as well as denied their attempts to protest the decision. Hawker sued in Federal Court and it came out that the contract had already been awarded to Sierra Nevada. After reviewing the process the decision was made four weeks ago to cancel the contract and begin an investigation into the contracting process.

The Air Force has stated that the investigation will conclude next week and that it focused on documentation of the decision and not the actions of either contractor. Based on the data gathered so far the Air Force has decided to reinstate Hawker, allow new proposals and may conduct another evaluation. The service also may reserve the right to conduct a whole new competition with a new request for proposals and new bids.

At the same time there are reports that Hawker may have to file for bankruptcy due to its current debt load. If that is true then the Light Air Support contract may be key to keeping the company viable.

The Air Force has struggled over the last decade with evaluating bids and awarding contracts for new aircraft. The KC-X aerial tanker took three tries before Boeing (BA) won it with a version of their 767 airliner over Europe’s EADS. The CSAR-X rescue helicopter had two different competitions with no satisfactory result and the program ended up being cancelled. This contract follows in a similar vein.

The review seems to indicate that the Air Force found enough issues with the source selection process to warrant a new competition. Hopefully this one when it is completed will be conducted in such a way to avoid protest and strife and the service can move out with buying the aircraft.

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Air Force New Radar to Have Competitive Technology Development Phase

The U.S. Air Force has announced a change in their proposed acquisition strategy for the Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) program. This will replace the current TPS-75 radars used for deployment to operational areas to develop air pictures and identify enemy and friendly aircraft. The program is currently in its Technology Development Phase.

Unlike previously where the Air Force planned to award one contact to complete this phase they now expect to award up to three. This will be for the pre-EMD phase and support the transition into EMD and ultimately production.

The plan is also to try and use Firm Fixed Price or Fixed Price Incentive contracts rather then the more traditional Cost Plus for this phase. This means the winning contractors will be assuming more risk then normal and will have to have a good handle on their expected costs. The use of these types of contracts at this stage of the program can be risky if there are technical or test problems with the program which could add scope or schedule to the program.

Interested contractors include Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Sensis Corp.

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Northrop to Upgrade B-2 Bombers

In this age military aircraft have service life measured in decades. They gain this by constant upgrades and modernization efforts as well as through their maintenance programs. The B-2 bomber is no exception and provides a special capability to the U.S. Air Force even though there are only 20 of aircraft available.

With this in mind Northrop Grumman (NOC) was recently awarded a 10 year, $2 billion contract to provide upgrades to the aircraft’s communications systems. Because of the length of the contract this will provide for continued improvements to the aircraft’s systems.

Northrop is the original manufacturer of the B-2 back in the 1990′s and this contract illustrates how work and funds will continue to come to them after completion of manufacturing. Aircraft and other military systems need long term maintenance and upgrades and this work often goes to the OEM and can add up to billions over the years.

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U.S. Air Force Taps IBM for Mission to Improve Building Performance — Press Release

U.S. Air Force Taps IBM for Mission to Improve Building Performance

LAS VEGAS, March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has selected IBM smarter buildings software to help its civil engineers maximize energy efficiency and automate the management of its physical infrastructure portfolio—from buildings, vehicles, runways and other infrastructure across 170 locations worldwide. This portfolio includes more than 626 million square feet of real estate, over 100 million square yards of airfield pavement and 10 million acres of land used by Active Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard personnel.

Presidential Executive Orders require executive branch departments and agencies to establish asset management plans, install performance measures and ensure the effective management of Federal real property assets through their entire lifecycle. Additional orders require agencies to improve energy efficiency, reduce natural resource consumption and decrease waste production to reduce carbon emissions.

To meet this order, the Air Force Office of the Civil Engineer, whose mission is to provide, operate, maintain, and protect sustainable installations as weapon-system platforms through engineering and emergency response services across the full mission spectrum, will use IBM TRIRIGA software to gain greater visibility and control of its physical assets.

IBM’s integrated workplace management software, called IBM TRIRIGA, provides the Air Force with a standardized, powerful technology platform to analyze data about real property assets, streamline work orders and suppliers, and reduce energy use across thousands of buildings. These tools will help USAF measure and manage its operational, financial, and environmental performance to determine and prove effectiveness against government-wide and agency real property management objectives.

“IBM TRIRIGA software will help implement our NexGen IT vision and give USAF a data-driven approach to manage its real property and physical assets, as well as help us predict issues before they impact service and safety,” said Alexander Earle, Chief Information Officer, Air Force Office of the Civil Engineer. “Implementing IBM TRIRIGA will help strengthen our IT infrastructure by removing redundant systems, providing real-time analytics and optimizing core processes that enable us to make better decisions about how we manage our resources.”

Using IBM TRIRIGA, USAF plans to reduce operating costs, increase return on budget and reduce energy consumption through:

Integrated Workplace Management: Provides a single system to optimize performance of all real estate locations, assets and personnel operations. By optimizing building use, occupancy costs are reduced, lease administration is made easier, and managers can evaluate future space requirements to make long-term planning decisions.
Energy Assessment Tools: Enables users to obtain environmental insights and pre-defined, automated operational procedures and processes to monitor and reduce energy consumption as well as waste production from real property assets operations.
Condition-based Maintenance: Better manages the maintenance of property and equipment based on the age, condition and history of facilities. Having this insight can prevent costly repairs by allowing staff to pinpoint equipment that should be replaced before incidents occur.

“Having the right data at the right time is essential for U.S. Air Force personnel,” said George Ahn, vice president of Enterprise Asset Management, IBM. “IBM TRIRIGA infuses a new level of intelligence to physical infrastructures that will enable U.S. Air Force to make the timely and critical decisions about their assets that are essential to the success of their operations.”

IBM TRIRIGA improves the operational, financial and environmental performance of real estate assets and operations. The software provides a comprehensive suite of applications to manage the real estate lifecycle of an organization with pre-defined management processes and extensive Web-based configuration management tools.

For more photos and information on news at the IBM PULSE conference in Las Vegas, visit: http://www.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/37001.wss.

About IBM Smarter Buildings

Since launching its Smarter Buildings initiative in February 2010, IBM has created a portfolio of smarter buildings solutions that integrate with building automation software from across the industry. IBM’s real-time monitoring and analysis, facilities and space management capabilities, and advanced dynamic dashboards helps property owners and managers reduce facilities operations and energy expense, and improve asset management and reliability. Through IBM’s acquisition of TRIRIGA, IBM accelerated efforts to bring intelligence in the smarter buildings market. IBM’s smarter building solutions help clients listen to data generated by facilities. By collecting, managing, and analyzing data IBM helps clients gain intelligence and insight to energy, space and facilities management. TRIRIGA strengthens IBM’s smarter buildings solutions by adding key functions such as real estate, facility and energy management software solutions.

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ATK Receives a Fourth Contract Option for Continued Production of 30mm PGU Ammunition — Press Release

ATK Receives a Fourth Contract Option for Continued Production of 30mm PGU Ammunition

ATK’s Domestic and International Awards for 30mm Ammunition Exceed $29 Million in FY12

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — ATK (NYSE: ATK) was recently awarded a fourth contract option to produce 30mm PGU-15A/B cartridges for the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Contracting Center (RICC), Rock Island, Ill. The order is a part of a multi-year contract originally signed in July 2007. ATK’s worldwide sales of 30mm ammunition in the current fiscal year now exceed $29 million.

ATK’s 30mm PGU-series target practice ammunition is specially designed for training applications. These cartridges, currently in use with the 30mm GAU-8/A Gatling gun on the U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthog close-support aircraft provide cost-effective, ballistic-matched training rounds for improved warfighter performance.

“We are proud to continue our role as the primary provider of PGU-15 ammunition in support of the U. S. Air Force’s A-10 aircraft,” said Dan Olson, Vice President and General Manager, ATK Integrated Weapon Systems. “This round plays an integral role in training A-10 aircrews to develop and maintain essential air-to-ground combat skills. ATK supports this program through the delivery of high quality products, outstanding value and great customer service.”

ATK’s Mesa, Ariz.-based Integrated Weapon Systems division will produce the rounds at its facilities in Radford, Va. and Rocket Center, W. Va. Delivery of the optioned rounds is set to begin this year.

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 22 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally, and revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com.

Certain information discussed in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although ATK believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved. Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those factors are: changes in governmental spending, budgetary policies and product sourcing strategies; the company’s competitive environment; the terms and timing of awards and contracts; and economic conditions. ATK undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For further information on factors that could impact ATK, and statements contained herein, please refer to ATK’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Reports that Next V-22 Production Contract Will See Reduced Quantities

The V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft is a unique capability to the U.S. armed forces. Built by Boeing (BA) and Bell, part of Textron (TXT), in a joint venture the twin engined aircraft have seen a great deal of use in Iraq and Afghanistan since entering service in 2006 with the U.S. Air Force and Marine Corps. The system had a lengthy development timeline being cancelled more then once and then revived.

The first five year production contract saw 174 aircraft ordered and late last summer the government and contractor began entering into negotiations for the second one. That would be for a further 122 Ospreys at an estimated cost of close to $8 billion.

Now there is word that as part of the planned reductions to the defense budget over the next five years the U.S. Defense Department will cut 24 of the next batch of V-22. This would reduce the next five year contract to 98 aircraft at a cost of roughly $6.5 billion. The reports indicate that the hope is to save $1.75 billion but if 122 cost $8 billion the back of the envelope calculation would show only about $1.5 billion in savings.

Normally reducing the quantity bought over the same time period would lead to higher unit costs as there would be the loss of savings reduced with buying larger numbers of parts but it seems the Pentagon is hoping to not only cut aircraft but to negotiate a better price with Boeing-Bell. If that is possible remains to be seen. The delay in retiring the CH-46 and other aircraft the V-22 is replacing may also lead to higher operational costs for those as some will have to remain in service for a longer then originally planned timeline.

At least for the companies the program is not being eliminated or delayed. That means there will still be some revenue and earnings off of the program.

The cut will also illustrate how hard it is to reduce the budget just by slicing programs. There are enough sunk and recurring costs that savings are not directly tied to the amount of items being purchased. It is easier to eliminate whole programs which is reportedly being done with the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM, C-27 JCA transport and the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program.

Photo from Beige Alert’s flickr photostream.

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Global Hawk Rumored to be Cut

Update – The Defense Department released their Budget Priorities and Choices today and that included cancelling the remaining Block 30 Global Hawk production. The rationale given was that it provided the “same capability as the U-­‐2 manned aircraft for significantly less money to both buy and operate. As the program has matured, these cost savings have not materialized and, at best, we project the future cost of Global Hawk Block 30 operations to be comparable with the U-2.” Northrop Grumman responded this afternoon and said in their press release that “Northrop Grumman is disappointed with the Pentagon’s decision, and plans to work with the Pentagon to assess alternatives to program termination.” They also said that:

“The Global Hawk program has demonstrated its utility in U.S. military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, as well as its utility in humanitarian operations in Japan and Haiti. Just a few months ago, the Pentagon published an acquisition decision memorandum regarding Global Hawk Block 30 that stated: ‘The continuation of the program is essential to the national security… there are no alternatives to the program which will provide acceptable capability to meet the joint military requirement at less cost.’

Today the Pentagon will begin to present its plans to reduce the U.S. defense budget by close to $500 billion over the next ten years. There have already been reports of programs being ended or reduced but so far none have been confirmed. As the plans are revealed it will be seen if these reports are true.

Yesterday it came out that the U.S. Air Force is considering reducing its planned purchase of Northrop Grumman’s (NOC) Global Hawk strategic reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The Global Hawk has been in development since before 2000 and early versions went into use right after 9/11 supporting collection and targeting efforts across Afghanistan and Iraq. The Global Hawk was planned to replace the manned high altitude reconnaissance U-2 aircraft.

The Air Force has been steadily improving the system and buying different versions. The current production model is the RQ-4 Block 30 and the plan was to buy about 28 of them. Now there are reports that 10 of the systems will not be purchased and the U-2 will continue flying for several more years.

The Air Force would buy 3 more of the Block 40 version and the naval version to fulfill the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) requirement would continue so Northrop would not be losing all of its Global Hawk business but the loss of the ten systems would significantly reduce near term revenue.

In order to save that kind of money the Pentagon will have to cancel entire programs preferably before they go into production such as the Army’s Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) program which has been a potential cut or reduce the amount of procurement items significantly such as with the Global Hawk. You cannot cut a slice of the budget proportionally without seriously affecting readiness, training and effectiveness of the armed forces overall. It is better to kill off whole programs and continue to utilize existing systems.

With these kind of reductions in planned spending there may be a time of flat or little growth for defense contractors. These decisions will force defense contractors to lose development and production programs they will still be able to keep their business of maintaining and supporting existing, older programs and equipment. The decisions may also force contraction in the industry as a whole.

Photo from ewen and donabel’s flickr photostream.

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Rumors of Program Cuts Starting to Swirl Affecting Boeing

If the Pentagon is really going to cut tens of billions of spending a year from its budget then it will not be able to nibble around the edges. What it will need to do is cancel whole programs. These will include ones in development as well as those in production and may also include ones that have yet to start yet. Already rumors of what will be cut are starting to come out in advance of any announcements by the Department of Defense.

Earlier this month it had been mooted that the C-27 Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program would be eliminated. This is a light transport originally intended for the Army but now will be fielded to the U.S. Air Force Guard across the U.S. It was a program not really supported by the Air Force and now it is coming out that it might be on the block.

Another Air Force program that is now rumored to be on the chopping block is the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP). The C-130 made by Lockheed Martin (LMT) is a four engined transport used by the Air Force and Marine Corps. It has been in use since the 1950′s and the current C-130J is still being built today in Georgia.

The AMP adds a new glass cockpit along with the capability to meet the Global Air Traffic Control Management (GATM) requirements that all aircraft will be required to met by the end of this decade.

So far under the program Boeing (BA) has received a contract to modify 26 C-130 of which 6 have begun the AMP retrofit. The contract for the remaining 195 aircraft was supposed to be competed next year.

Ending the AMP would save about $2 billion over the next several years. Cutting it now makes sense as the follow-on contract has not been awarded.

The aircraft though will still ultimately need to be upgraded for GATM reasons but this could be done cheaper without the addition of the glass cockpit and other modifications.

It can be expected that further “rumors” of this sort will be floated as the next budget is developed that should include the first wave of cuts. As always in this situation Congress will have to weigh in with their blessing or changes to these types of decisions so politics will also play a role.

Photo from Nellis Air Force Base’s Flickr photostream.

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ULA To Provide Launch Capability for Military

The U.S. Air Force recently awarded a contract to United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide vehicles to launch military payloads into space. ULA is a joint venture between Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) and manufactures these vehicles primarily at their Decatur, AL facility.

ULA was an outgrowth of a program from the early part of this century called Assured Access to Space. The plan was to have the ability to launch when necessary and would rely on Boeing and Lockheed to provide their two main launch vehicles – the Atlas and Delta rockets. Originally the two companies would have competing contracts to control costs. After reviewing the requirements and to assure both systems were available it was decided to combine their efforts into ULA.

A contract to support various satellite launches was awarded this week with a value of over $1.5 billion. This is for 5 Atlas V and 4 Delta IV systems. The launches will all occur by 2014. The payloads include reconnaissance systems, GPS satellites and two weather ones.

ULA has been the primary provider of launch vehicles for military, science and foriegn payloads for several years. With the demise of the space shuttle which also had the ability to deliver satellites to some orbits unless the Air Force or NASA choose one of the newly emerging commercial space contractors, like Space X, ULA will continue to win most of the work.

Photo from Ryan Somma’s Flickr photostream.

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