“Never forget that your weapon was probably manufactured by the lowest bidder.” – Unattributed.
Having followed the developments of military rotorcraft over the last 20 years I was interested to virtually attend the Royal United Services Institute’s (RUSI) online event entitled Maximising the Utility of the British Army’s Combat Aviation.
Helicopter warfare seems to be regressing to the old Cold War scenario, in so much that attack helicopters in particular are likely to have a limited life expectancy anywhere near the forward line of own troops (FLOT) in a peer-to-peer conflict.
Back in the Cold War days over the North German Plain, British Army Air Corps Westland Lynx armed with TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) missiles were to pull up from behind cover and launch their missiles at the Russian tank hoards that would be streaming over the German border, which would then in turn be overwhelmed by the Soviet anti-air response.
The formation of 1 Aviation Brigade aims to mass aviation firepower to allow it to attack at a decisive point at the expense of providing smaller packaged support to ground troops in contact (TIC) when requested. The latter worked well in Afghanistan only because the anti-air threat was minimal and relied heavily on ground based weapons. Against a peer force, such localised support would do little to dent the overall intent of a massed enemy.
However, putting ‘all eggs into one basket’ makes it vulnerable if found and attacked by the enemy, especially if caught on the ground. The planning and coordination of a massed deep strike against an enemy was assessed to require up to 72 hours to prosecute, seemingly a very difficult task in a rapidly changing, high threat environment where assets allocated to protect the raid may be pulled away at a moment’s notice.
It seems a little reminiscent of Air Vice-Marshal Leigh-Mallory’s ‘Big Wing’ concept used during the Battle of Britain, which contrasted with Air Vice-Marshal Park’s tactic of individual squadron engagement, but sometimes using several squadrons in a succession of hit and run engagements. The Big Wing took time to assemble and coordinate, particularly with a mix of aircraft (Spitfires and Hurricanes) with performance differences – for the modern day read Apache and Wildcat. Speed, fuelled maximum range, weapon load, ‘hot and high’ and connectivity will all impact on how successful the new Aviation Brigade will be.
Sorry – no quiz this week.
Best to all,
ELECTRONIC DART EXPLODES SEA MINES WITHOUT USING EXPLOSIVES
Electronic pulses may be the answer to clearing many of the hundreds of thousands of sea mines still scattered in post-conflict waters.
On 26 April, the British Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) made public the concept of a Pulse Dart devised by one of its inventors.
Basically, it is a metal spike attached to a tube of electronics that can be fired into ordnance such as sea mines. The inventor, only known as Peter, describes his inspiration: “I remember … thinking I wonder what would happen if you electrocuted [a] mine with a couple of hundred thousand volts… I’m guessing it’s probably going to explode.”
The concept, if proven, would nullify the cost of explosives, and the need to secure them onboard mine clearance vessels up to the point of use. This should allow mines to be cleared faster and cheaper, also using unmanned systems to do the job.
As an example of the scope of the challenge, in 2019 the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence estimated there were still over 80,000 naval mines and other explosive ordnance in the Baltic Sea alone, most of it dating from World Wars I and II.
PORTION OF BORDER WALL FUNDS TO BE RETURNED TO DEPT OF DEFENSE
On 30 April, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced that all border barrier construction projects which were to have been paid for by funds originally intended for military missions and projects were being cancelled. These included funds taken from “schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account,” according to Jamal Brown, deputy Pentagon spokesperson.
While in office, ex-President Trump declared an emergency regarding the southern border with Mexico and secured around $16.45 billion, of which $5.8 billion came from Congress while the majority of the rest was diverted from both DoD and Treasury departments. Reports at the time suggested that as many as 127 DoD projects would have had funds taken away.
When President Joe Biden took office on 20 January 2021, one of his first proclamations was “that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.”
According to a report in the Washington Post: “An estimate prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers last fall determined there would be about $3.3 billion in leftover funds if Biden chose not to proceed with Trump’s construction plans for about 285 additional miles of border barriers. The government would save about $2.6 billion after paying demobilisation costs to contractors, the estimate found.”
However, there may still be a twist to the story as the Government Accountability Office (GOA) is looking into whether President Biden’s decision to withhold funds actually violated budget law. The outcome of this examination could still be ignored by the Administration.
By 5 January, 2021, 452 miles (727 km) of new or replacement wall had been built along the southern border. The total length of the national border is 1,954 miles (3,145 km).
US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).
30 April, 2020 – India. Boeing P-8I Patrol Aircraft
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of India of six (6) P-8I Patrol aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.42 billion.
US GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 26-30 April 2021 and Foreign Military Sales contracts.
US AIR FORCE
ABBA Construction; Alen Construction Group; APC Construction; CORE Engineering & Construction; Doyon Management Services; General Mechanical; Healtheon; Ivey’s Construction; Justin J. Reeves; and Klutina Rivers Construction/AHTNA-CDM JV, have each been awarded a ceiling $750 million IDIQ contract for installation infrastructure repair and/or construction. These contracts provide for a full range of design, construction and engineering activities necessary to meet Space Force and other customer requirements. Work will be performed at Patrick Space Force Base (SFB), Florida; Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida; Kennedy Space Center, Florida; and other 45th Space Wing units geographically separated throughout Florida. The 45th Contracting Squadron is the contracting activity.
Raytheon Intelligence and Space received a $234 million contract for Next Generation Operational Control System Block III follow-on. This contract will provide updates to the Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) Block 1 and 2 ground system to incorporate Global Positioning System Block III Follow-on (GPS IIIF) satellite capabilities. Space and Missile Systems Center is the contracting activity.
Raytheon Missiles and Defense, has been awarded a $212 million contract for StormBreaker (SDBII, GBU-53/B) production Lot 7. This contract provides for all up rounds and containers. This contract involves classified Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Fiscal 2021 Air Force missile procurement funds in the amount of $129 million; fiscal 2021 Navy weapons procurement funds in the amount of $43 million; and FMS funding in the amount of $39 million are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems was awarded a $959 million contract for production of common infrared countermeasures. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control received a $663 million modification contract for Hellfire II missile production. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
The Lane Construction was awarded a $218 million contract to raise levees. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.
DEFENSE HEALTH AGENCY
Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance has been awarded a contract for TRICARE Medicare Eligible Program (TMEP) services. Total estimated value of the contract is $383 million. The purpose of the TMEP contract is to provide claims processing and associated customer support services for claims submitted by, and on behalf of, the Military Health System (MHS) beneficiaries who are eligible for both Medicare and TRICARE benefits for services received in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, America Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. The Defense Health Agency is the contracting activity.
WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS SERVICES
National Industries for the Blind was awarded an IDIQ contract with a maximum amount of $111 million to provide support for contract closeout activities. Services provided shall encompass non-inherently governmental functions in support of closeout, and post-award administrative services in support of contract completion and closeout. Washington Headquarters Services is the contracting activity.
Manson Construction is awarded a $101 million task order for the replacement of Pier 6 at Naval Base San Diego, California. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Southwest is the contracting activity.
General Electric Aviation is being awarded a $99 million modification contract for the logistics and repair support of 17 F414 engine components for the F/A-18 aircraft. The original contract included a three-year base period and a one one-year optional period. Adding this four-month option will bring the total contract value to $1 million. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support is the contracting activity.
Avian is awarded a $10 million modification contract that exercises an option to provide full life cycle program testing and evaluation support to include design, execution, analysis, evaluation, and reporting of tests and experiments of aircraft, unmanned air systems, weapons, and weapons systems in support of the Systems Test and Experimentation Management Division, Services Integrated System Evaluation Experimentation and Test Department. Foreign Military Sales funds of $199,574 are included. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division is the contracting activity.
US DEFENSE HEALTH AGENCY
United Concordia Companies was awarded a contract with a total estimated value of $963 million. The Active Duty Dental Program 3 contract (ADDP3) provides comprehensive dental care services worldwide to eligible active duty service members (ADSMs) of the uniformed services. DHA, Managed Care Contracting Division is the contracting activity (HT9402-21-C-0006).
US AIR FORCE
Sallyport Global Holdings has been awarded a not-to-exceed $240 million contract to provide base operations support, base life support, and security services in the support of the Iraq F-16 program. Work will be performed at Balad Air Base, Iraq, and involves Foreign Military Sales to Iraq. Foreign Military Sales funds and foreign military funds in the amount of $117 million are being obligated at the time of the award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Defense Services has been awarded a $58 million contract for the Japan Global Hawk program. This contract provides for contractor logistics support services to include, but not limited to, in-country personnel, mission planning, contractor field teams, contractor inventory control, reach back support and software maintenance. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Japan and is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
Raytheon Missiles & Defense has received a $16 million modification contract for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) program for Gordian Knot (GK) application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) life-of-type buy. This effort provides for a life-of-type procurement of GK ASIC in support of production and sustainment through the AMRAAM program of record. This contract involves unclassified Foreign Military Sales to Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Poland, and Qatar. Air Force fiscal 2020 missile procurement funds in the amount of $4 million; Navy fiscal 2020 weapons procurement funds in the amount of $4 million; and FMS funds in the amount of $8 million are being obligated at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
Canadian Commercial is awarded a $14 million delivery order under a previously awarded IDIQ contract for the Mk 200 propelling charge. This delivery order combines purchases for the Navy (44 percent); and the government of Australia (56 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Fiscal 2021 procurement of ammunition (Navy and Marine Corps) funding in the amount of $6 million; and FMS (Australia) funding in the amount of nearly $8 million will be obligated on this delivery order. The Naval Surface Warfare Center is the contracting activity.
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
(Highest award of the day). Triple B. Corp., doing business as Charlie’s Produce, has been awarded a $94 million IDIQ contract for fresh fruits and vegetables. Using customers are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, National Guard and Department of Agriculture schools and reservations. The contracting agency is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
BAE Systems Land & Armaments is awarded a $19.3 million contract for MK 41 Vertical Launching System mechanical design agent services to provide design and system engineering support, logistics, and ship/missile integration services. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (86 percent); and the governments of Japan (11 percent); Finland (1 percent); Germany (1 percent); and the Republic of Korea (1 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control was awarded a $214 million modification contract for the M270A2 Multiple Launch Rocket System. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin JV received a $175 modification contract for the Javelin Weapon System. Fiscal 2010 Foreign Military Sales (Lithuania and Taiwan) funds; and 2021 missile procurement, Army funds in the amount of $175 million were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Boeing has been awarded a $106 million modification contract for the Flight Test Telemetry Termination Rapid Fielding Initiative (FT3 RFI). This contract allows the implementation of initiatives to meet the FT3 flight schedule. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
National Aerospace Solutions has been awarded an $185 million modification to contract for test operations and sustainment. This modification adds Option Year Five for test operations, technology development, equipment and facility sustainment, capital improvements and some support services for the Arnold Engineering Development Complex. This modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $1.5 billion. Air Force Test Center is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has been awarded a not-to-exceed $138 million modification contract for the Peace Phoenix Rising 2 (PPR2) program. The contract modification is for the development and fielding of capabilities for the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System and AGM-88 High Speed Anti-radiation Missile; improvements in radar software maturity; an update to the Data Acquisition System; and Advanced Identification Friend or Foe for the Taiwan Retrofit Program F-16 Block 20 fleet. This modification involves 100 percent Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
No further updates.
No further updates.
Armada International / Asian Military Review