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The Tier II Global Hawk, the newest Department of Defense (DoD) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), was introduced at the end of February at Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical (TRA) in San Diego. The UAV is a high altitude, all-weather asset that will provide military battlefield commanders with real-time intelligence data. The 40-foot-long, 26,500-pound vehicle has a 116-foot wingspan and is able to operate at altitudes up to 65,000 feet for up to 40 hours at a time. The vehicle delivers detailed imagery via a ground-based launch and recovery element (LRE) and a ground-based mission-control element (MCE). The LRE was delivered in November 1996 and the MCE is scheduled for delivery this month.
Global Hawk will carry a variety of radar and electro-optical sensors, including a synthetic aperture radar, a ground moving-target indicator, and infrared and visible sensors. A satellite link to a ground station from the vehicle will make the data collected available for processing and formatting as imagery for use by fighting forces. Ground commanders will be able to select from the available sensors and use the radar with two others simultaneously. Large geographical areas, smaller areas of interest or specific target areas may be selected for observation.
The General Accounting Office (GAO) recently reviewed the degree of compliance to date with the November 1988 agreement between the US and Japan to develop fighter aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, Japan was to provide all funds for the development and receive US F-16 technical data, and the US was to gain access to Japanese indigenous technologies developed for the program. The agreement also called for 40 percent of the development and production work to be performed by US industry.
Earlier GAO studies of the program found that while Congress was concerned about the control of US technology transferred to Japan, there was adequate control of the release of F-16 technical data. The earlier studies also concluded that the value of technology transfers from Japan was uncertain and that the program had enhanced Japan's aerospace industry. The report notes that the US Air Force plans to verify that items identified in the production agreements are awarded to US companies, but the Air Force will not be able to verify that the 40 percent workshare will be achieved. In addition, two Japanese technologies of interest to the Air Force originally, the co-cured composite wing and active phased-array radar, are now considered too expensive. A third technology, tooling techniques, is being applied to the joint advanced strike technology program.
The DoD's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program will award more than $510 M this year to small high tech firms to conduct research and development that serve defense needs and can be commercialized. The next SBIR program presolicitation release was scheduled to be available on the Internet March 24.
The SBIR program awards up to $850 K to each small company via a competitive process in which proposals are invited in two annual solicitations. The March 24 DoD SBIR 97.2 solicitation sought proposals in hundreds of research and development areas from the US Army, Navy, Air Force and other DoD organizations.
In addition, this year's DoD Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program will award $36 M in research and development contracts to small companies working cooperatively with research institutions such as universities and federally funded research and development centers. The STTR solicitation was due to close on April 2. For more information on the DoD's SBIR and STTR programs, call (703) 205-1596.
The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded a $65.9 M contract for the start of low rate initial production of Texas Instruments' AGM-154 joint stand-off weapon (JSOW). Under the terms of the contract, Texas Instruments' Defense Systems and Electronics operation will produce 111 JSOW AGM-154A/baseline systems with delivery beginning in mid-1998. The procurement is the first of a planned total of more than 20,000 units.
The AGM-154A/baseline version is one of three variants under contract. The AGM-154A is guided by an integrated Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System and carries 145 BLU-97B combined-effect bomblet submunitions as a payload. The AGM-154B/anti-armor version and the AGM-154C/unitary versions are both under contract for engineering and manufacturing development. JSOW has flown on the F/A-18, F-16 and F-15E during its development phase. Its initial introduction to operational commands is scheduled for 1998 on the US Navy/Marine Corps F/A-18. An interim early deployment is planned for this year.
In a recent report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasts that discretionary defense spending will grow from $266 B in FY 1997 to $345 B in FY 2007, a compound annual growth rate of 3.2 percent per year. The report notes that discretionary defense spending as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) has shrunk during the past 30 years except for two major interruptions: the Vietnam War and the defense buildup during the Reagan era. While current defense spending represents approximately 3.4 percent of the GDP, it approached 10 percent in the 1960s. In dollar terms, defense spending peaked at approximately $300 B annually in the 1989-1991 period (not including Desert Storm spending). At $266 B this year, spending is down about 10 percent in dollar terms and about one-third in real terms.
Spending reductions have been due mainly to a reduction in personnel and the postponement of new weapon purchases. During the past five years, the armed forces have been reduced by approximately 500,000 and the DoD by almost 200,000. The CBO suggests that the need to refurbish or replace large blocks of equipment acquired during the 1980s will require the higher levels of defense spending through 2007.
Sanders has successfully completed a critical design review (CDR) of its integrated defensive electronic countermeasures (IDECM) RF countermeasures (RFCM) program. The CDR included functional demonstrations of key system hardware conducted by Sanders, the prime contractor, and ITT-Avionics, Sanders' major subcontractor teammate. The system includes an on-board techniques generator and off-board fiber-optic towed decoy (FOTD). A receiver, processor, modulator and pre-amplifiers comprise the techniques generator. The FOTD system consists of the decoy and signal conditioning assembly, and uses existing launcher control systems and launchers modified for RFCM. The integration of on-board and off-board technologies provides a common system applicable to multiple aircraft able to detect, track and defeat radar-guided missiles.
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