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News From Washington
Oceanic Surveillance Radar System Successfully Demonstrated
In collaboration with the Canadian Department of National Defence, Raytheon Systems Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Raytheon Co., has developed and successfully demonstrated the HF SWR-503 long-range, high frequency surface-wave radar. The HF SWR-503 is a shore-based, oceanic surveillance system for monitoring illegal activities such as drug trafficking, smuggling, piracy, illicit fishing and illegal immigration. The surface-wave radar also can be used for tracking icebergs, environmental protection, search and rescue, resource protection, sovereignty monitoring and remote sensing of ocean surface currents and winds. Its long-range capability allows coastal nations to monitor surface and low level airborne targets up to and beyond a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Canadian system consists of two land-based, long-range radars and an operational control center. The two unmanned radars will provide coverage of the Grand Banks region of Newfoundland as well as its fisheries and oil fields. Extensive performance testing of the system was conducted using two fully functional radars in conjunction with alternative surveillance sensors such as airborne radar, spotter aircraft and surface patrol craft, which verified targets. The HF SWR-503 successfully detected and tracked all targets observed by the sensors, marking the world’s first successful demonstration of surface-wave radar technology that is capable of providing continuous, all-weather, real-time surveillance of EEZ waters.
NASA Awards Satellite Production Contract
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center has awarded a five-year contract to Orbital Sciences Corp. for the design, production and testing of small- and medium-class satellites used in space and Earth sciences and advanced technology missions. Under the terms of the Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition contract administered by Goddard’s Rapid Spacecraft Development Office, NASA centers and laboratories and other government agencies will be able to procure five types of satellite platforms developed and manufactured by Orbital Sciences, including low earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit spacecraft. Each of the satellite platforms has a successful space flight heritage based on an extensive history of 85 previous satellite missions performed by the company during the last 18 years. The flexible ordering structure is expected to reduce NASA’s satellite order-to-delivery cycle to as few as 18 months. The contract has a maximum value of $1.5 B and is expected to cover orders until 2004.
US Army Awards Contract for TUAV Systems
The US Army has awarded a contract to AAI Corp., a subsidiary of United Industrial Corp., for the delivery of its new Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle (TUAV) systems. The TUAV systems will provide Army commanders with the capability to conduct reconnaissance, surveillance and battlefield damage assessment. Under the terms of the initial contract, which is valued at more than $41 M, AAI will manufacture and provide support for four low rate production TUAV systems for use by the Army in operational test and evaluation. The systems will feature the Shadow 200 air vehicle, which comprises three air vehicles, three ground control stations (including one portable ground control system), a hydraulic launcher and logistics support elements for deployment. Each air vehicle weighs approximately 325 lb fully loaded and measures 13 ft between wing tips and 11 ft nose to tail. The entire system can be transported to the battlefield in two C-130 cargo aircraft. The Army also will have the option to purchase an additional six to 10 full-rate production systems following operational test and evaluation. AAI intends to deliver the first of four systems this year; the Army expects to purchase a total of 44 TUAV systems over the next five years, potentially exceeding the contract’s value to more than $300 M. AAI has delivered more than 230 UAVs worldwide.
Lockheed Martin Receives Aegis Production Award
Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems (NE&SS), Moorestown, NJ, has received $175.3 M from the US Navy for the production of three Aegis weapon systems. The award is part of a multiyear funding agreement between Lockheed Martin and the Navy that began in 1998 for the production of 13 Aegis weapon systems and includes an option for an additional system. The NE&SS is responsible for the design and integration of a complete shipboard, multiwarfare combat system that includes all detection, command and control, weapon and support systems for the Aegis class of guided-missile cruisers and destroyers. The Aegis weapon system, which is designed and integrated into the Aegis combat system, includes the AN/SPY-1 phased-array radar, which is capable of simultaneously tracking multiple targets while maintaining aerial surveillance of an area. The multiyear agreement, including options, is valued at more than $926 M. Delivery of the systems is scheduled to begin in October and continue through January 2007. The work will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s NE&SS operating site in Moorestown, NJ.
DoD ACTD Strategy for UAV Assessment Examined
The US General Accounting Office (GAO) has released a report, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: DoD’s Demonstration Approach Has Improved Project Outcomes” (GAO/NSIAD-99-33), which examines the effectiveness of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) strategy for assessing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) projects. The ACTD strategy focuses on mature technology and proving military utility before committing to a UAV project, thereby enabling the DoD to gain a stronger knowledge base for making well-informed acquisition decisions. To date, ACTD projects for the Predator and Outrider UAV systems have been completed, and an active ACTD project for the Global Hawk UAV system is currently underway.
Following the Vietnam War, the DoD initiated at least nine UAV acquisition programs that were later canceled before reaching completion, spending $4 B in the process. In 1994, as part of its acquisition reform efforts, the DoD adopted the ACTD strategy to more effectively assess UAV programs. Since its inception, the ACTD approach has provided the DoD with a better basis for making UAV acquisition decisions. For example, the report notes that unsatisfactory ACTD results have led the DoD to discontinue acquisitions, such as in the case of the DarkStar UAV, which crashed on its second flight trial and was terminated before its demonstration was completed. The ACTD determined that DarkStar was not aerodynamically stable and correcting the design problems that caused the crash would become expensive and time consuming.
Prior to the ACTD approach, the DoD had allowed programs to proceed with much less knowledge (and thus higher risk) of technologies, design and potential production problems, as in the case of the Aquila UAV. As cited in the report, when the DoD committed to the Aquila UAV system in 1979, the system was not technologically mature. Several of the system’s key subsystems, such as a miniaturized jam-resistant data link and a day/night sensor with laser designator, did not exist. By 1982, largely due to the problems of developing subsystem technologies, Aquila’s costs quintupled and the schedule slipped 27 months. At the time the DoD opted to continue the program, but terminated Aquila in 1987 after spending more than $1 B in development funds. The report concludes that the DoD’s ACTD approach is consistent with the best commercial practices, which require proof of technological maturity and performance before making commitments.