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News from Washington
Raytheon Signs UK ASTOR Contract
Following nearly six months of detailed negotiations, Raytheon Systems Ltd., the UK subsidiary of Raytheon Co., has signed a contract valued at $1.3 B for the UK Ministry of Defence’s Airborne Stand Off Radar (ASTOR) program. ASTOR is a radar surveillance system that provides day/night and all-weather imagery of the ground over a large area. The imagery is designed to be analyzed on board an aircraft and delivered to ground stations and other military systems in near real time. As part of the Raytheon ASTOR program, approximately 2500 jobs are expected to be created or sustained in the UK with the possibility of an additional 4000 jobs being created or sustained as a result of potential export opportunities. Raytheon was selected as the preferred bidder for the ASTOR program in June 1999.
Joint Battle Management System Testing Advances
The Department of Defense (DoD) and Lockheed Martin Corp. are preparing for the final acceptance testing of the Theater Battle Management Core System (TBMCS), a joint battle management system that enables pilots, navigators, weapon control officers, planners and intelligence officers to access information and view a common picture of air operations. The DoD’s final testing of TBMCS, designated the Multiservices Operational Test and Evaluation, could lead to the decision to deploy the next-generation air combat command and control (C2) system across all services.
The TBMCS integrates previously discrete applications, such as force and unit-level operations and intelligence systems, into a common core TBMCS systems environment that will provide users with an integrated C2 for carrying out air campaigns. Using TBMCS, information can be created, assimilated, manipulated and distributed to others through wide or local area networks, which connect warfighting elements in a theater environment. During a nine-day Development Test/Operational Test (DT/OT) evaluation by the DoD, the TBMCS version 1.0 proved to be a stable and robust battle planning and management system for air campaigns. Following the DT/OT evaluation, TBMCS was exercised by the Air Force at Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment 1999, an evaluation of emerging concepts and system capabilities in realistic warfighting environments. TBMCS is currently being deployed at Air Force bases with fighter wing and bomber operations. Distribution to more than 30 bases worldwide, including three in Europe and six in the Pacific region, is expected to continue throughout this year.
Largest European Aerospace Conglomerate Formed
According to The Associated Press, CASA of Spain, Aerospatiale Matra of France and DASA, the aerospace unit of Germany’s DaimlerChrysler, have joined forces as founding members of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. (EADS) in an effort to remain competitive against major US defense contractors such as Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. As Europe’s largest aerospace company and the third largest in the world, EADS is expected to have a turnover of $21.2 B compared to an estimated $65 B and $27 B for Boeing and Lockheed Martin, respectively, and will employ 96,000 workers. Under the terms of the merger agreement, CASA’s parent company, SEPI, will control approximately 6.25 percent of the conglomerate, and DaimlerChrysler, along with a French holding company and SEPI, will control more than 60 percent. The remaining balance will float on the open market. The merger may improve the chances of transforming Airbus Industrie, the second-largest commercial jet maker, into a private company to more efficiently compete with industry-leader Boeing. EADS will control 80 percent of Airbus while British Aerospace will control the remaining 20 percent. EADS is expected to begin operations in the first half of this year.
Congress Examines F-22 Aircraft Program
US Air Force officials who testified before a congressional committee in December 1999 claimed that there will be minimal impact on the schedule and cost of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 fighter despite a cut of $550 M from the Air Force funding request. The Air Force intends to use the $1.3 B in research and development funding provided by Congress to support the next six test aircraft using an incremental approach. Air Force officials also reported that the F-22 program performed better than expected in 1999 in terms of meeting cost goals. Following a report issued by the General Accounting Office, which projected a $667 M cost increase for the program’s engineering, manufacturing and development, the Air Force initiated a cost control program, which included scrubbing development costs, using management reserve funding and deferring nonessential combat capability. By October 1999, the program’s cost was realized at $238 M of the estimated $667 M increase. The Air Force and industry representatives have expressed confidence that the F-22 program will meet its production cost targets and stay within its cost cap if program funding remains stable. A congressional audit of the F-22 program is currently underway and is expected to be completed by next month.
Land Warrior System Far Behind Schedule
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has issued a report, “Battlefield Automation: Army’s Restructured Land Warrior Program Needs More Oversight” (GAO/NSIAD-00-28), which evaluates the US Army’s progress in implementing the Land Warrior system, its key command and control system for infantry soldiers on the digitized battlefield. The Land Warrior system is intended to enable soldiers to locate friendly and enemy soldiers and facilitate communication between soldiers and higher command levels. Once fielded, the system is expected to significantly improve the lethality, mobility, survivability, command and control, and sustainability of infantry soldiers by integrating a variety of components and technologies, including a computer radio, software, integrated headgear with imaging display, weapon subsystem, and protective clothing and equipment.
The system was intended to be fielded by September. However, the report concludes that the system will not be ready for deployment by the proposed date because specific new technologies for Land Warrior were not developed in time. The report also cites a lack of sufficient oversight as a principal reason for the schedule delay and increased program costs. Programs similar to Land Warrior’s magnitude, with research, development, test and evaluation costs totaling more than $355 M, are supposed to receive departmental oversight and program officials are expected to provide more information for decision-making. Since Land Warrior was classified with less costly and less complex acquisitions, regulations governing acquisition management generally have been ignored and the system has received routine Army attention.
In order to ensure eventual deployment of Land Warrior, the GAO has recommended improving program monitoring, oversight, testing and operability with other key Army digitized battlefield systems such as Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below. In addition, prototypes must be successfully tested to ensure water immersion, electromagnetic interference and airborne certification tests, and the Land Warrior system must be re-classified as an acquisition Category I system to receive appropriate monitoring and oversight. The GAO concluded that Land Warrior will not be ready for deployment until September 2004 and the additional development work necessary has increased the estimated cost of 34,000 units, including research, development, test, evaluation and procurement, from $1.4 B to $2.1 B.