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Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program Award
The US Air Force has awarded the team of Northrop Grumman Corporation's Integrated Systems Sector and Raytheon Company a $303 M contract for the first phase of the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP).
The three-year contract covers the design of a common modular, scalable radar system for future integration on advanced manned and unmanned surveillance platforms for the US and NATO. A follow-on phase will include the fabrication and testing of three MP-RTIP radars suitable for integration on airborne platforms including the Global Hawk unmanned aerial surveillance system, a Wide Area Surveillance platform and a NATO Transatlantic Advanced Radar (NATAR) platform.
Northrop Grumman's ISS sector will serve as the prime system integrator for the program, which will be managed by ISS's Air Combat Systems business area in El Segundo, CA. The same facility will also be responsible for systems engineering and Global Hawk platform integration. ISS's Airborne Ground Surveillance & Battle Management Systems (AGS&BM) facility in Melbourne, FL will be responsible for integration on a universal test bed (UTB) for airborne testing; the Joint Stars T-3 aircraft is currently planned to be the UTB. That facility will also be responsible for insuring that RTIP meets NATO AGS requirements.
Raytheon Co.'s Electronic Systems, El Segundo operation, whose share of the contract is $106 M, will design Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) sub-arrays for assembly into antennas of various sizes and will develop back-end components for a multi-channel receiver/exciter sub-system.
DoD Contracts for Satellite-Phone Services
The Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded a two-year, $72 M contract to Iridium Satellite LLC (IS) of Arnold MD for unlimited use of its global, satellite-based secure telephone network. IS is the buyer of the assets of the bankrupt company, Iridium LLC. The contract was awarded through the Defense Information Agency. IS will contract with the Boeing Co. to operate and maintain the system's 73 satellites.
Under the contract, DoD will pay a $3 M monthly service fee for unlimited airtime for 20,000 government users of the network. Contract options could increase the contract value to $252 M and extend its period to 2007. The system and its DoD-specified enhancements will provide hand-held phone service not presently available. It is expected to improve the capabilities of special forces operations, combat search and rescue activities, and polar communications.
An improved Iridium handset to be provided by Motorola for DoD use is approximately twice the size of a typical cell phone and not nearly as boxy and bulky as the original Iridium instrument. It is expected to have a call-reliability rate of 95 percent and has a special encryption sleeve to ensure secure communications. The US military Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services Gateway at Wahiawa, HI will be used to provide DoD Iridium users with direct-dial connection to the Defense Information Services Network and to public-switched telephone networks.
FCC Opens New Spectrum for Satellite and Fixed Services at Ku-Band
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a First Report and Order (First R&O) to permit non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) fixed-satellite service (FSS) providers to operate in various segments of Ku-band and has adopted rules and policies to govern those operations. The FCC believes that NGSO FSS can provide a variety of new services such as high speed Internet access and other types of high speed data, video and telephony services. In particular, the Commission feels that NGSO FSS can bring these services to rural areas more effectively than existing systems. Technical criteria have been adopted to permit NGSO FSS operations to share spectrum with existing services without causing unacceptable interference or constraining future growth of existing or new service flexibility. The Commission's action was taken in response to a petition for rulemaking filed by Skybridge LLC.
The First R&O permits NGSO FSS gateway earth stations to provide, on a primary basis, downlink operations in the 10.7 to 11.7 GHz band and uplink operations in the 12.75 to 13.15 GHz, 13.2125 to 13.25 GHz and 13.75 to 14.0 GHz bands. Additional allocations provide service uplink and downlink spectrum for NGSO FSS operations. The Commission also concluded that a new fixed terrestrial service, Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDDS), can operate in the 12.2 to 12.7 GHz band under existing fixed service allocations.
Joint Venture to Focus on Air Defense/Command, Control and Ground- Based Radar Markets
Raytheon Co. and Thales (formerly Thomson CSF) have entered into an agreement to form an equally-owned transatlantic joint venture which will concentrate on the air defense/command and control and ground-based radar markets. The air traffic management businesses of both companies are not included in the joint venture and will continue to compete in that marketplace.
The new enterprise begins with operating subsidiaries in Fullerton, CA and in the greater Paris metropolitan area. It will have approximately 1300 employees worldwide and pro forma revenues of $500 M to $700 M (600 to 700 million euros). The transaction is subject to approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, by the French government and by appropriate antitrust agencies. The new venture will be known as Thales Raytheon Systems and is expected to begin operations this year.
Navy Demonstrates Cooperative Engagement at Sea
The Navy has announced that tests of the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and the combat systems with which it is integrated are such that it can expect a successful Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) of the system during the tests scheduled for April and May.
Phase I of recent tests off the coast of Puerto Rico demonstrated cooperative engagement and included multiple demonstrations of CEC and the Aegis Weapon System (AWS) ability to support challenging Standard missile engagements. Phase II, off the Virginia Capes, introduced additional at-sea and land-based units to more fully stress system performance and create the challenge of multiple CEC equipped carrier battle groups operating together in a high track density environment while focusing on battle group training. Phase II also included a supersonic Vandal target engaged by a cruiser firing a Standard missile and an aircraft carrier firing a NATO Sea Sparrow.
The CEC system enables CEC-equipped ships to engage targets using sensor data from other CEC-equipped units such as ships, aircraft and land-based sensors even in a jamming environment. The fusion of sensor data from multiple radars significantly improves the consistency, completeness and coherency of the tactical picture. This can increase the range at which enemy targets can be engaged and also provides a common air defense picture that permits operational commanders in the battle group to make more effective decisions on force deployment.
Navy and industry members participating in the most recent tests included Raytheon (CEC and Advanced Combat Direction System (ACDS)), Lockheed Martin (Aegis), Naval Sea Systems Command Dahlgren Division (Shipboard Gridlock System with Auto Correlation (SGS/AC)) and Space and Naval Warfare System Command (SPAWAR), tactical data link systems and Command and Control Processor (C2P). *
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