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U.S. NAVY APPROVES TRANSHIELD’S ARMORDILLO™ PROTECTIVE COVERS FOR USE BY SURFACE SHIP FLEET — Press Release

Transhield High-Tech Covers Protect Equipment Against Corrosion in Saltwater Environment

ELKHART, Ind. (September 11, 2013) – Transhield, Inc., the leading manufacturer of high-tech protective covers for commercial and industrial markets, announced today that their patented Armordillo™ protective covers have successfully completed evaluation with the U.S. Navy. The evaluation of Transhield Armordillo advanced protective cover technology occurred over a nine month period onboard several surface combatants and at the Naval Research Lab. As a result of the evaluation, Naval Sea Systems Command released a message to all Naval Commands (COMNAVSEASYSCOM WASHINGTON DC – DTG 061625Z SEP 13) stating it has approved Armordillo protective covers for use by the surface ship fleet to help reduce corrosion of weapons systems and other topside equipment.

“Based on our own extensive testing we have always been confident in the ability of our high-tech protective covers to provide superior corrosion protection in extreme environments. To have that confirmed through this U.S. Navy evaluation is deeply gratifying. We are very excited that Transhield can deliver to the U.S. Navy a next generation cover technology that is much lighter, easier to install and significantly less expensive than current covers,” said James Glick, Transhield’s president.

Continued Glick, “The saltwater environment is among the harshest and provides a significant challenge for maintaining equipment. We developed our Armordillo technology in response to the U.S. Navy’s need to effectively protect equipment in these types of onboard conditions. Our employees take a great deal of pride in the fact that we are supporting the warfighter at sea with a product that helps ensure mission readiness.”
Transhield’s patented technology is integrated throughout its protective covers. It reduces corrosion by 85 to 95 percent by wicking away moisture from metal while simultaneously disrupting the electrochemical reaction that causes corrosion.

All Transhield’s protective covers are tested using ASTM standards for breathability, ultraviolet blockage, tensile strength, and yield strength. They are lightweight, 100-percent waterproof and provide years of use.

Transhield has supplied more than 20,000 vehicle and equipment covers to the U.S. Military since 2008. Transhield protective covers are available on the GSA Federal Supply Schedule under contact number GS-02F-0103R.

About Transhield, Inc.

Transhield, Inc. is the leading manufacturer of a broad range of protective covers for use in the defense, aerospace, marine, rail and other industrial markets. Transhield products are valued worldwide for their high quality, patented corrosion reduction technology, and customized fit to help protect equipment investments. The company produces more than 120,000 covers annually and has been a supplier to the U.S. Military since 2001. Transhield is a small business headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., and has approximately 30 employees.

For more information, visit www.transhield-usa.com. Also find Transhield on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Navy Awards Contracts for New Ship Components

The building of a modern warship requires not only the initial large contract with the builder but numerous other ones to buy components and support for the actual ships. Other systems are purchased with separate contracts and then items are provided to the builder for installation on the ships as they are assembled. The U.S. Navy is currently building new aircraft carriers, missile destroyers, Littoral Combats Ships (LCS), amphibious warfare ships as well as support vessels.

The LCS is being built by 2 different yards under 2 separate contracts. The LCS-1 design are made in Wisconsin by Marinette Marine and Lockheed Martin (LMT). The LCS-2 in Mobile, AL by Austal America and General Dynamics (GD). While they have dissimilar hull designs the basic weapon fit remains the same and both will carry mission modules. Up to 20 LCS are on contract to be built with the Navy periodically issuing contracts for 2 from each builder.

2 related contracts were recently awarded to support U.S. Navy ship construction. First General Dynamics (GD) received one for 8 MK 46 Naval Weapon Systems. The MK 46 is a 30mm cannon mounted in a stabilized turret. These will be installed on LPD-12 amphibious assault ships and the LCS. The contract is worth $26 million and is a follow on to previous contracts under which 30 systems have been delivered.

Then ATK (ATK), the ammunition and explosive manufacturer, received a contract for 30mm ammo. This $12 million contract is for incendiary rounds for the MK 46. It is a 5 year Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract with 1 base and 4 option years. As an ID/IQ the Navy will order off of the contract what is required to outfit ships with the Mk 46 weapon.

With Sequestration and the budget reductions recently passed by Congress and agreed to by the Obama Administration FY13 will probably not see many more major contracts awarded. There may be many though like these to support bigger programs already underway.

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Navy Awards Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Training Contracts

The LCS is the newest U.S. Navy ship. Interestingly they are of 2 designs and built at 2 yards. This was done to speed production and also because the original plans called for fifty or more of the ships to be built. The Lockheed Martin (LMT) USS Independence design (LCS-1) is built at the Marinette Marine facility in Wisconsin and the USS Freedom (LCS-2) at the Austal America yard in Mobile, AL. The Freedom is designed by General Dynamics (GD).

So far each yard has delivered 2 ships having received contracts for up to 10. LCS-4, the USS Coronado, made by Austal is almost complete and will commission this year.

The ships despite their dissimilar hull shape have the same basic performance and weapons. They will be capable of being equipped with different modules depending on the mission and these will include anti-mine, anti-surface and air defense. The first LCS are based at San Diego, CA and are already carrying out operations.

In support of the program the Navy awarded Cubic Corporation (CUB) 3 contracts for training for the ships. Due to the 2 different designs there was one contract awarded in support of each. Then third for developing mission training packages. Each contract is worth almost $100 million.

As the LCS numbers grow there will be growing demand for more efficient training. These packages will help the Navy prepare a larger number of sailors for these ships.

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Navy Proposes Multi-Year for P-8 Production

The P-8 is the new maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft developed for the U.S. Navy. It will replace the venerable P-3 Orion aircraft that have been in service for almost 50 years. It is based on a Boeing (BA) 737 commercial airliner. The program is currently in low rate production for the Navy as well as India.

The most recent production order was placed earlier this year for 11 aircraft from the FY12 budget.

Now the Navy has asked for the authority to utilize a multi-year contract for the procurement of 72 aircraft. This contract could be worth well over $10 billion. It would support FY15-19 production indicating there would be two more annual orders placed in FY13 and FY14.

Normally large aircraft programs transition to a multi-year once production is at a steady state and the service has received approval of full rate production. The Navy believes that by FY15 these conditions will be met and a multi-year is the most effective way to buy the aircraft.

The Navy also operates the 737 in transport and command and control configurations.

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Raytheon Continues Light Weight Torpedo Production

The U.S Navy exercised an option with Raytheon (RTN) for the production of Mk 54 Light Weight torpedoes. This is the standard surface vessel and air launched system used by the Navy and some allied nations. The option had a value of a little over $45 million.

It provides for one years production as well as test and engineering services for the system. The Mk 54 is carried by the SH-60, P-3 and cruisers, destroyers and frigates. It just recently completed testing from the new P-8 maritime patrol aircraft that will eventually replace the P-3.

The Mk 54 is also used by the Australian Navy and will be by the Indian as well as they will operate several P-8I aircraft.

The Mk 54 has been in production for 8 years and replaced the Cold War era Mk 50 and Mk 46 systems. It is fired from the traditional Mk 32 launch systems in use for decades, the ASROC rocket as well as from aircraft.

Until the full effects of sequestration are decided upon by Congress the Pentagon continues to exercise their planned FY13 budget under the existing 6 month Continuing Resolution Authority.

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Boeing Receives Next Production Order for P-8 Aircraft

Despite the threat of sequestration and its effect on next year’s budget the Pentagon continues to issue orders as FY12 comes to an end. Many existing hardware contracts received their annual buys over the last few months.

Boeing (BA), for example, just received the latest production lot for the new anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and patrol aircraft for the U.S. Navy. The P-8A Posieden is a modified 737 airliner. The contract is for another 11 aircraft and is valued at close to $2 billion.

The P-8A is replacing the P-3C originally manufactured by Lockheed Martin (LMT). The P-8A has been in development since 2004 and the first squadron is expected to stand up next year.

The aircraft has also been purchased by India in one of the largest defense deals a U.S. company has ever had with it.

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Raytheon AESA for F-15E Enters LRIP

While the United States continues development and testing of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) it must continue to utilize its older fighter and attack aircraft. The F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 all originally entered service in the late Seventies and Eighties but have continued to be upgraded with new electronics, systems and weapons. As part of this all 3 will eventually be fitted with new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar systems to replace the mechanically scanned systems currently used. The AESA offer better reliability and ease of maintenance over the older systems.

Raytheon (RTN) is already producing a new radar for the F/A-18 used by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and several allied nations. Over 300 have been delivered for retrofit on aircraft.

Raytheon is also providing the new radars for the F-15C and F-15E aircraft used by the Air Force and Air National Guard (ANG). The F-15C variants have begun receiving them and a contract was recently awarded for the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of the one for the F-15E strike version. Initially 6 systems will be delivered as part of this contract.

Even with the threat of budget reductions in the near future these programs will continue. They will most likely see cuts in quantities and slower development but they are necessary to provide the capabilities needed by these aircraft.

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F-35 JSF News Roundup

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is the largest defense acquisition program ever and it continues despite the budget uncertainty in the United States. If sequestration is implemented the program will most likely see across the board reductions in funding. This could lead to reduced production numbers and delays in the test and development program. The JSF while it is in low rate production is still facing concurrency as it moves toward a final design. The program is led by Lockheed Martin (LMT).

Some recent stories about the program include:

The new test plan for the program was reviewed by DoD leadership and did not win approval. There are major concerns with the pace of development for the new helmet the pilot wears that provides data directly to them rather then relying on their instruments.

Lockheed received a contract from the U.S. Navy worth over $200 million to begin implementing Israeli specific modifications to support that country’s buy of the aircraft.

In another move related to the foreign sales of the program Canada has hired KPMG to analyze the cost basis used by the government to award their contract for 65 F-35 to replace existing CF-18 fighters.

Despite all of this news the program continues with training, testing and development as Lockheed steadily delivers aircraft from the first 4 production batches. They also continue to work with the Government on the next buy.

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U.S. Navy Awards Multi-Million Dollar Contract to Innovation for Pharmacy Automation Technologies — Press Release

Industry Leader Wins Contract With Value Up to $49 Million for Navy Pharmacy Initiative

JOHNSON CITY, N.Y., Aug. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Innovation, makers of PharmASSIST® pharmacy automation solutions, today announced that the U.S. Navy has awarded the company a 5-Year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract up to $49 million to supply pharmacy automation technologies to U.S. Navy high-volume sites and outpatient pharmacies around the world. According to the U.S. Navy, Innovation was the only company who fully met the technical requirements of their published Generic Functional Systems Requirement (GFSR).

“Innovation is pleased that the U.S. Navy has awarded us this significant contract to upgrade their pharmacies’ prescription fulfillment processes and quality control,” said Mary Reno, CEO, Innovation. “We look forward to this opportunity to assist Navy pharmacies in achieving their goal of standardized workflow and dispensing platforms. Most importantly, our various technologies will help Navy pharmacies reach the specific quality objectives that they require to ensure the utmost in patient safety for our service men and women.”

The main objectives of this U.S. Navy initiative are to:

Replace current “end-of-life” pharmacy automation equipment and provide a more standardized process flow for many of the naval outpatient pharmacies.
Improve the quality of dispensing by reducing the opportunities for errors.
Increase the volume capability while reducing the wait time for patients.
Reduce operating costs related to improved inventory management, efficient staff utilization, and increased security.

U.S. Navy hospitals previously acquired their pharmacy automation systems individually. The new contract calls for central acquisition and management to enable U.S. Navy outpatient pharmacies to implement a standardized pharmacy automation system throughout the life of the contract.

About Innovation

Innovation, a leader in the world of automated prescription dispensing and workflow systems, offers the PharmASSIST family of products to address the prescription growth, quality assurance, pharmacy workflow, and cost control challenges of all types of pharmacies. Using PharmASSIST pharmacy automation solutions, pharmacies increase operational efficiency, enhance patient safety, and set new benchmarks for quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.innovat.com.

SOURCE Innovation

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U.S. Continues to Invest in Alternate Fuels

The U.S. Department of Defense over the last few years has made some investments in alternate fuels and energy. Much of this has been driven by the needs of the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan for significant amounts of batteries and electrical power. They also spend billions a year on fossil fuels to move aircraft, vehicles, ships as well as generate electricity. The cost of the fuel as well as the effort spent transporting it has led to interest in alternate fuels.

While there have been some in Congress pushing back over the cost of the “green fuels” being developed for ships and aircraft that has not stopped continued interest in the different programs.

With that in mind two contracts were awarded recently to support fuel cell and solar power for the U.S. Navy.

The first is a $3.8 million effort to FuelCell Energy to test a fuel cell battery for different uses. These include running unmanned submersibles. Fuel cell like motors have been used to power torpedoes for years and this is just taking capability already developed for commercial applications and testing them with Navy systems.

The second is worth $3 million and is with Lockheed Martin (LMT). This is to develop a fuel cell power node to provide tactical power generation. The systems will also be integrated with solar power to provide other sources of electricity. The fuel cell will be compatible with standard JP-8 fuel used in vehicles.

While the costs of development for alternate fuels seem high especially with large amounts of fossil fuels remaining it is still overall a good investment for the U.S. military. If it can cost effectively reduce fuel requirements and transport it allows more capability for other important supplies. Long term the use of these types of power sources will be necessary as well.

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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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Raytheon to Work on New Naval Missile Defense Interceptor

Following up on a recent award for the development of a kill vehicle for the Army operated Ground Based Midcourse system based in Alaska worth over $600 million, Raytheon (RTN) received another contract for a new ship based missile. Raytheon currently produces versions of the STANDARD Missile (SM)-2 and SM-3 to provide air as well as missile defense from ships of the U.S. and Allied Navies.

The new contract which is worth over $900 million will be for the new SM-3 Block IIA missile. This version of the missile will have larger, more powerful second and third stage motors along with a new warhead.

Both contracts will work with systems designed to intercept the missile outside the Earth’s atmosphere utilizing hit-to-kill technology. Raytheon as part of the AEGIS Weapon System and SM missile team has been involved with U.S. Navy efforts to develop missile defense systems for almost 20 years.

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Navy Awards Prototype Production Contract for LCAC Replacement

The Farnborough Air Show in the U.K. is ongoing and normally one expects companies to announce large, aviation contracts. Even so one of the more interesting contracts awarded recently was by the U.S. Navy. This was to Textron, Inc. (TXT) and will begin initial production of the new hovercraft based landing craft for fast delivery of men and equipment from amphibious ships.

In the Eighties the Navy developed the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) for this mission. The advantage of the hovercraft based system was that it was much faster then traditional landing crafts, could drive further onto the beach and also traverse other types of terrains. The LCAC have seen heavy use in humanitarian operations as the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps have not done an amphibious assault in many years.

The close to $213 million contract is to build the first prototypes of the new Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC) as well as design efforts and training material. Textron was the original designer and manufacturer of the LCAC.

The SSC is an improved version of the LCAC able to carry heavier loads as well as be easier to maintain. Many of the requirements have been driven by the need to transport heavier, more armored vehicles now used by the Marine Corps. This heavier weight has been caused by the IED and mine threat most common in Iraq and Afghanistan

If things go well Textron will receive follow-on contracts to begin larger scale production of more SSC to replace the aging LCAC fleet.

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Austal Lays Keel for 3rd JHSV

May 7, 2012 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Austal America is the U.S. subsidiary of Australian high speed ferry and ship builder Austal. They have a yard in Mobile, AL and are currently working on two similar designed ships for the U.S. Navy. These are one of the two versions of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) as well as the fast, mobile support ship, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).

These are both aluminum, trimarans based on ferry designs manufactured by Austal. The LCS is a small combatant also being built by Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Marinette Marine at a yard in Wisconsin that uses a more traditional design. Austal has so far received orders for 9 JHSV from the U.S. Navy. Last week they laid the keel for JHSV 3 while construction on JHSV 2, USNS Choctaw County, continues.

JHSV 1 is close to delivery and recently conducted builder trials.

The company also has orders for five LCS and has delivered their first, USS Independence (LCS 2). LCS 4, USS Coronado, is close to delivery and LCS 6 and 8 are under construction.

Austal has been quite successful in winning orders based on their trimaran fast ferries. Ultimately up to 10 JHSV and 20-25 LCS could be built by the company.

Photo taken by Author.

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Navy Buys Internet Services for Troop Morale & Welfare

The U.S. military is made up of mainly young men and women who form the bulk of the enlisted members. They have grown up with the internet and instant communications. Over the last ten years they have added such tools as Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other social media applications. The U.S. military recognizes this and in a move to help morale and welfare contracted to set up internet cafe services across the world.

DRS Technical Services (DRS) has been awarded an Indefinite Quantity/Indefinite Delivery (ID/IQ)m contract to provide these kinds of services by the U.S. Navy. The value of this contract if all options are executed would be over $250 million. As with all ID/IQ contracts there is no guarantee that the Navy will order any tasks under this so even though DRS has qualified for the work they may get little or none out of it.

The services will be to set up and maintain logistics support for communications services for DoD and other government agencies internet cafes and site for personnel use. The majority of the work will be done in Iraq and Afghanistan but will also have support in Germany and the U.S. It looks like this task will be used by other Agencies as they are the majority of personnel deployed in Iraq right now.

The need for these kind of services is just a normal growth of the other Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) services provided by the U.S. military. This includes commissary and exchanges for shopping as well as organized sports and tourism and other activities meant to fill time. The internet connection is especially key now to provide troops with family contact beyond the traditional mail.

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Lockheed Martin to Supply Navy Helicopter Cockpits

The U.S Navy’s standard helicopter is versions of the Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk made by Sikorsky, part of United Technologies (UTX). They operate the MH-60R and MH-60S for different missions including anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, cargo and passenger transfer as well as attack. While the MH-60 and SH-60 are similar to the UH-60 the Navy installs its own unique equipment and electronics.

This includes a digital cockpit made by Lockheed Martin (LMT) for both models of helicopter. As such this week the Navy signed a contract with Lockheed to provide over 200 cockpits and other mission equipment for their MH-60 aircraft. The total value of the contract for 224 sets is just over $1 billion.

Military aircraft are expensive and this contract illustrates one of the reasons why. The cost of the avionics, radios and other systems is quite substantial. Add this to the cost of the airframe, engines, defensive systems and weapons the total become quite high.

This contract is a multi-year one which allows the Navy to place orders across 5 years rather then the normal one year contract. The Black Hawk one is as well. This is normally done with mature systems in full rate production and allows better use of economies of scale and a static supplier base.

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Two More Littoral Combat Ships for Lockheed and Marinette Marine

The U.S. Navy in late 2010 awarded contracts to the two teams building the new Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for ten platforms each. These were Lockheed Martin (LMT) whose mono-hull design will be built at the Marinette Marine yard in Wisconsin and Austal America in Mobile, AL. Austal America is the U.S. subsidy of Austal (ASB) the Australian manufacturer of fast ferries. The Austal design utilizes a catamaran hull.

Prior to these contracts each team was building two of the small warships. They have received orders under the new contract for two more and last week the Navy issued Lockheed a contract worth about $700 million for two more. This brings the total of LCS under order from Lockheed to six.

The Navy ultimately plans to operate 30 or more of the ships. They are designed to be equipped with different mission packages depending on the requirements. This includes anti-air, anti-ship and mind warfare among others. Like their name implies they are optimized for in-shore activities such as anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean and special warfare.

Even though the defense budget is being cut the Navy remains committed to building substantial numbers of the ship. The fact that it is built in smaller yards allows such construction.

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U.S. Navy Orders 2 of Last 3 JHSV from Austal

Yesterday the U.S. Navy announced that it had executed a contract option for 2 more Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) from Australian ferry builder Austal. This brings the total number of these ships ordered to 9.

Austal is close to finishing the first and has two more in production. The contract yesterday will allow the builder to begin buying long lead items and components for the two ships.

The JHSV is a fast transport based on Austal’s ferry designs that was originally planned to be used by the Navy and Army for rapid transport of troops and supplies to needed areas. It was decided that the Navy would manage the whole program and the ships were transferred to them.

Originally it was thought that up to 23 of the ships would be procured but in their FY13 budget proposal the Obama Administration reduced the planned number to 10. This means that 9 of them are now on order with the chance that only one more will be purchased.

Austal is building the ships in their Mobile, AL yard where they also make the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). They have a contract for up to 10 of these. Interest

Photo from HerrKrueger’s flickr photostream.

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Lockheed Martin (LMT) Protests Award of Navy Contract to Northrop Grumman (NOC)

At the beginning of the month the U.S. Navy awarded the first in a series of contracts to begin installing consistent networks on ships. The initial value of this contract is for $36 million and would be for installations on 3 ships.

The Consolidated Afloat Networks Enterprise Services (CANES) program is to undergo testing this year and have a Milestone C Low Rate Initial Production Decision to support completion of the first install by the end of the year.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) beat out Lockheed Martin (LMT) for the production contract. Both had been awarded development contracts a few years ago. If all options on the contract are exercised it could be worth over $600 million and be installed on 54 ships. Next year after more testing there will be a Full Rate Production Decision leading to the award of a much larger contract.

Yesterday though Lockheed formally protested the award citing a belief in flaws with the Navy’s evaluation of the two proposals. The protest will be reviewed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) who have one hundred days to come to a decision. Normally the protested contract is placed on hold while the GAO conducts its review. If Lockheed disagrees with the result then they may appeal to the Federal courts.

Protests have been rising consistently over the last two decades as the Pentagon issues fewer contracts and company’s fight harder for market share. They are disruptive but Federal law allows almost any decision to be protested although the GAO often denies them. The biggest factor for now is that it delays the start of work by Northrop and disrupts the program’s schedule.

Unfortunately for the Services and the Defense Department many cases are decided in favor of the company protesting which continues to highlight the need for the process as some selection decisions have proved flawed for many reasons. The KC-X tanker contract originally awarded to Northrop was successfully protested by Boeing (BA) who won the contract upon a new competition was ordered.

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Navy Awards Northrop First Shipboard Network Contract

.The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman (NOC) a contract to install their proposed solution to the Consolidated Afloat Networks Enterprise Services (CANES) requirement on a unit. Lockheed Martin (LMT) had submitted a proposal as well to meet this requirement. The goal of cANES is to be a standardized network on U.S. Navy ships and submarines replacing the current mix of systems.

The initial contract is worth about $36 million but will all options executed it could be worth over $600. The Navy is planning on outfitting 54 ships to begin but the CANES could support over 300 systems in the end.

The goal is to have the first installation complete by the end of FY12. This will follow completion of necessary testing and certification to support a Milestone C Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Decision. The first contract will cover 2 destroyers and an amphibious warfare ship.

The Navy plans ot have limited production in 2012-2013 with a larger contract competed again at the end of FY13 to support Full Rate Production. Then there will be a further contract for engineering support.

Northrop will use as a sub-contractor their former ship building division now separated as a new company, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) to do the actual installation and integration on ships.

The CANES contract has been in work for several months with development contracts awarded to Northrop and Lockheed in March of 2010. These led to delivering systems of which Northrop’s was chosen for the first production deliveries.

Photo from Official U.S. Navy Imagery’s flickr photostream

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General Dynamics to Support Future Submarine Design

Due to the amount of new warships being built every year the number of suppliers is fairly limited. The U.S. Navy relies on two companies to build large warships, General Dynamics’ (GD) Bath Iron Works, and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), which formerly was part of Northop Grumman (NOC). GD is the only builder of submarines at their Electric Boat Division. The requirements are not enough to support any more companies.

The smaller ships like the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) are being built by smaller contractors as they need less intensive facilities but for any ships bigger the Navy must rely on these defense contractors.

This is not only for future production but also for the design and development of new ships and submarines. That is why GD’s Electric Boat Division received a contract to continue work on developing the new “Common Missile Compartment” for potentially both the U.S. and the United Kingdom’s future ballistic missile submarines. The contract is worth about $190 million but has the potential to be over $700 million if all options are exercised.

Even though the U.S. defense budget is supposed to decline in the next few years the services must maintain some investment in future systems. That means that work like this must be done even if the new submarine is not ordered anytime soon. The U.S. needs to built a certain number of new ships and submarines each year to maintain their fleet and keep it reasonably modern.

While ships may be upgraded and have service lives of 25 or more years new technological developments mean that there has to be some new construction. GD and HII will be relying on this to keep their facilities and workforce employed.

Photo from Official Navy Imagery’s Flickr photostream.

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Raytheon Supports U.S. Navy Ship Production with SSDS

The U.S. Navy is still building new ships and retrofitting older ones. The future may not be so bright as budget pressures and cuts reduce the number of ships built and in service but currently contracts signed several years ago are being executed. The Navy has under construction aircraft carriers, DDG-1000 and DDG-51 destroyers, the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and the San Antonio class amphibious warfare ships as well as numerous support ships and smaller vessels.

These all need weapons, sensors and command and control systems. Raytheon (RTN) manufactures radars, missiles and the Ship Self-Defense System (SSDS) combat management system.

Photo from AdsitAdventures’ Flickr Photostream.

The SSDS MK 2 is currently in production and is being installed on aircraft carriers and the San Antonio class. Raytheon delivered the last one from the FY2010 contract for support of LPD-26, the USS John P. Murtha, this week. 5 systems were part of that contract and 30 in total have been delivered to the U.S. Navy.

Not only does Raytheon build the hardware for the system but they continue to provide engineering services and develop the SSDS to integrate new sensors and weapons as well as upgrade previous installations.

The U.S. Navy intends to build several more carriers and LPD class ships which will require SSDS or the next evolution of the system. There will also be demands to retrofit the system to older ships which will aid Raytheon if and when the naval construction budget is cut.

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Agreement Reached on Latest Production Order for Lockeed’s F-35 JSF

The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin (LMT) signed a deal on Friday for the latest production order for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The F-35 is the newest combat aircraft for use by the U.S. Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps as well as many allied nations across the world. It will slowly begin replacing the Eighties’ generation F-16, F/A-18 and A/V-8A tactical aircraft.

The contract is worth about $4 billion and will buy 30 F-35 aircraft in the three variants being developed. This includes 21 Air Force Conventional / Take Off and Landing (CTOL), 6 carrier based aircraft and 3 Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) versions for the Marines.

Last fiscal year advanced procurement was awarded in the amount of roughly $500 million last year. This was was for 38 aircraft but after negotiations and the price challenges the JSF program is facing only 30 ended up being bought in the full production contract.

Lockheed along with many other defense contractors is involved in complex discussions with the Defense Department as to how to apportion risk and its costs. The Government would like more transferred to the contractor and obviously the contractor would like to minimize that. In June the Senate tried to write language into the defense authorization bill requiring a fixed price contract for this production buy but this was resisted by both Lockheed and the DoD.

The JSF program while slowly ramping up production still has a lot of testing and development to go. Traditionally this has required a Cost Plus based contract as Lockheed cannot necessarily predict how much work needs to be done or its cost. The Government would assume most of the risk at this stage due to the immaturity of the aircraft and the potential for changes to requirements and configurations. The desire to transfer the risk to the contractor is motivated by saving money but it could drive up bids and costs as well as reduce competition and delay contract negotiations and awards.

The JSF has had its share of cost, schedule and testing troubles. It is moving a lot slower then originally intended and will cost more then planned. The need for a new aircraft, though, is great as the U.S. has an aging F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 fleet. Cancelling the JSF as some have discussed would just mean either a new, existing aircraft would have to be bought or another development program would be started. Without significant changes in requirements the cost would be the same, if not more, if this course was pursued.

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U.S. Navy Continues Biofuels Investment

The U.S. military has been working for several years on testing biofuels for its use. This includes demonstrating aircraft and ships can efficiently use different types of the fuel as well as using its R&D money to help companies develop capabilities to produce the product. Long term this makes sense as at some point petroleum based fuel may be in shorter supply or at much higher cost.

The U.S. Navy has already flown an F/A-18 using such fuel. It has also invested its own money into algae and grass based production. Now they placed a major order for biofuel to power both its jet aircraft and ships.

The contracts with Solazyme and Dynamic Fuels, LLC will be for 100,000 gallons of jet fuel and 350,000 gallons of marine fuel. This is the largest order to date by the government for this type of product.

Dynamic Fuels will make the marine fuel from non-food waste blend similar to using cooking oil to power your car. Solazyme will provide algae based jet fuel.

While right now the costs for this fuel is more expensive then the normal Diesel Fuel Marine of JP used it is a long term investment and is certainly proper for the U.S. military to be doing this. Anything that will supplant a potentially dwindling supply of petroleum is a good thing.

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P-8 Orders for Boeing Spill Over into Canada

The Boeing (BA) manufactured P-8 Poseidon is the new maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft for the U.S. Navy. A version has also been sold to India. The P-8 is based on the 737 commercial airliner and will ultimately replace the Cold War era P-3 Orion aircraft manufactured by Lockheed.

Boeing has recently received the Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) orders from the Navy and the system is currently undergoing testing at NAS Patuxent River in Maryland. So far the contracts issued for the aircraft are well over $1.5 billion and ultimately 100 of them could be operated by the Navy. India has also ordered 12 of the new aircraft.

As with many new systems Boeing is providing not only the aircraft, but things like spares, support and training. As part of this they recently placed an order themselves with Canada’s CAE (CAE) for six more operational flight trainers to support the U.S. Navy’s program. These OFT are part of Boeing’s recent LRIP order.

The OFT’s along with Desktop Environment Trainers (AeDTE) are key components of the program and will support aircrew transitioning to the new aircraft as well as maintaining proficiency. Due to the high cost of operating aircraft more-and-more services are investing in high fidelity simulators and training devices to aid these efforts while reducing flight time on the actual aircraft.

CAE and its American subsidiary have over the last several years established themselves as one of the premier designers and manufacturers of simulators and training devices like these for the P-8.

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