News From Washington
F/A-18 Radar Production Contracts Awarded
Raytheon Co. has received two contract awards for the production of the AN/APG-73 radar for installation in US Navy, US Marine Corps and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18 aircraft. An award from the Boeing Co. totals approximagely $467.2 M and will support F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft production in FY 2000 through 2004. The second award, from the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command, has a total value of approximately $200.2 M and covers the production of radar and retrofit kits to upgrade existing US Navy, US Marine Corps and RAAF F/A-18 aircraft.
The APG-73 radar is the newest all-weather, multimode search-and-track sensor for the F/A-18. The system is an upgrade of the combat-proven APG-65 system and handles both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions while providing higher throughputs, greater memory capacity, improved reliability and easier maintenance with no increase in size or weight compared to its predecessor. The APG-73 also produces high resolution radar ground maps and performs precision strike missions with improved weapon designation accuracy.
Approximately 222 systems will be built for Boeing over a five-year period starting with an FY 2000 purchase totaling $72.9 M. Seventy-one complete radars will be built for the RAAF to replace APG-65 systems onboard F/A-18 A/B aircraft and 40 APG-73 radar retrofit kits consisting of complete radars less the antenna and transmitter will be built to upgrade older US Navy and US Marine Corps F/A-18 aircraft systems. Work on the contracts will be performed at Raytheon’s facilities in El Segundo, CA; Forest, MS; and Andover, MA.
Air Navigation Augmentation Service Company to be Organized
Lockheed Martin has announced its intent to form Synchronetics,™ a new company that will provide worldwide navigation services in support of air traffic management modernization. The announcement follows earlier information that Lockheed Martin had applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for authority to launch and operate the Regional Positioning System, (RPS), a global system of geostationary satellites. Using that system, Synchronetics will offer a full range of navigation services that provide assured broadcast of Global Positioning System (GPS) augmentation integrity and accurate data messages generated from existing and future ground networks. Local and wide area GPS augmentation will be offered to civil aviation authorities worldwide, including the FAA.
Synchronetics is intended to provide the structure for international partners to participate in the ownership and development of regional business. Lockheed Martin believes that international participation is a key ingredient in the development of a seamless, global air traffic navigation service. It has also noted the requirement for commitment of anchor tenants to the program before financial investments are made. In addition, formation of three regional subsidiaries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe-Middle East-Africa to provide the global coverage has been contemplated. Each subsidiary will secure its own financing and regional partners to develop its portion of the system. In all regions, the service will be compatible with other satellite-based navigation systems being implemented globally, including the US Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS), the Japanese Multifunction Transportation System Augmentation System and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System. In regions currently without augmentation system ground networks, Synchronetics and its partners will assist in providing the necessary infrastructure for an integrated system solution.
Synchronetics service will comply with FAA and ICAO requirements for the safe, dependable use of satellite-based navigation. LAASs are scheduled for service beginning in 2001. Pending regulatory approval and commitment from anchor tenants, wide area augmentation with RPS broadcast services will be made available in 2003.
WAAS Demonstrated Successfully
As reported in Government Computing News, recent use of the WAAS in a series of demonstration flights along the East Coast successfully indicated the Raytheon-developed navigation system’s capability to augment GPS data to help pilots keep their aircraft on track. WAAS is an important component in the FAA’s modernization plans because it eventually will let pilots choose more direct routes and make landings safer. The FAA requirement that the system keep the aircraft on course within a 7.6 meter margin of error was more than satisfied. During the test, the plane remained within three to four meters of the plotted course. Even though the approach was complicated by turbulence, the system appeared able to keep the aircraft on the proper path. The only troubling FAA requirement remaining prior to certification of the WAAS is the demand that the navigation system provide no more than one second of errant GPS data during a 47.5-year period, a statistic that is obviously difficult to prove. Earlier this year, the FAA asked Raytheon to refine WAAS’ algorithms to ensure system dependability and meet the agency’s safety requirements. The FAA is now deciding whether to deploy an early version of WAAS or wait until Raytheon resolves the certification issues and implement the final version.
10-Year Worldwide Fighter/Attack Aircraft Production Forecast
In its latest forecast, The Teal Group estimates that 2932 combat aircraft with a total value of $136.1 B (in 2000 US dollars) will be built worldwide during the 2000Ð2009 period. The forecast covers all combat aircraft over 20,000 pounds maximum take-off weight, including all supersonic planes as well as the AMX and Harrier. Russian aircraft are included, but Chinese planes are not. The report cites the decline in production following the end of the Cold War as a reason for the the industry’s struggle to regain growth. By comparison, the 1990Ð1999 period witnessed a total production of 4445 fighters with an aggregate value of $152.5 B (also in 2000 US dollars). In addition, the report expects that Boeing’s share of the market during the next 10 years will decline from 40 percent in 1999 to 16 percent in 2009 as its programs related to McDonnell’s legacies are completed. However, if South Korea selects the F-15 for its F-X program, Boeing’s future market position could be significantly improved. The Eurofighter is expected to carry the highest program value during the next 10 years with cumulative estimated deliveries worth just over $30 B. If this program proceeds as forecast it is also expected to double the European share of the total market from 20 percent in 1999 to 40 percent in 2009. Beyond 2009, the report expects that the market will be dominated by the Joint Strike Fighter. If that program proceeds as planned, the US is expected to regain its leadership position in the market by 2015. For additional information, contact Richard Aboulafia, The Teal Group Corp. (703) 385-1992, ext. 103.
TRW Delivers Next-generation Tactical Reconnaissance Systems
TRW Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, has delivered the Guardrail 2000, the latest equipment in the US Army’s airborne tactical reconnaissance arsenal. The Guardrail Common Sensor System 2 (Guardrail 2000) will be a key component of the Army’s next-generation Aerial Common Sensor system that is expected to provide battlefield commanders with advanced tactical surveillance data. The system comprises a twin-engine Beechcraft airplane and a ground station that remotely controls the flow of intelligence data. Earlier versions of the system were used during Desert Storm and to support the Bosnia peacekeeping effort.