NEWS FROM WASHINGTON
FCC Requirements Impact Carriers
and Handset Manufacturers
The Cahners In-Stat Group (www.instat.com) reports that the FCC is driving the deployment of mobile location technologies in the United States. Their requirements will have a major impact on the cellular industry as a whole.
Recently, emergency response facilities have become overrun by a rapidly increasing number of wireless emergency calls, for which the caller's location could not be automatically determined. In response to this problem, the FCC has set forth a phased implementation plan that will force both carriers and handset manufacturers to make some important decisions as they move forward.
"To meet upcoming Phase II requirements, which requires much greater location accuracy than Phase I, carriers are free to choose from deploying a network-based technology or a handset-based technology as long as they meet certain accuracy requirements spelled out by the FCC," says Alan Nogee, senior analyst with In-Stat's Wireless Technology Service. A network solution would require carriers to add network equipment to their infrastructures that determines caller location and is compatible with existing handsets in use. With a handset solution, minimal network changes are required, but carriers must start offering new subscribers location-enabled handsets by this year. 95 percent of their subscriber base must have location-based handsets by the end of 2005. "For handset manufacturers, the FCC's requirements could mean more opportunity to sell a new type of location-enabled handset," says Nogee. "However, handset manufacturers have been less than eager to embrace the new requirements, worrying that GPS-enabled handsets will be more expensive to produce at a time when the manufacturers are under pressure to increase margins." A report "Ready or Not, Mobile Location Technology is Here" is available for purchase from the In-Stat group. For more information, visit their Web site or contact Matthew Woods at (617) 630-2139 or e-mail email@example.com
Northrop Grumman Receives $300 M Radar Contract
BridgeNews reports through Newsedge that Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector has been awarded a contract by the Boeing Company for more than $300 M to provide its multi-role electronically scanned array (MESA) radar for Australia's airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) program called Wedgetail.
The Boeing-led team of ES3, Boeing Australia Ltd. and BAE SYSTEMS Australia, will share in a more than $1 B Boeing contract awarded in mid-December 2000 by the Commonwealth of Australia to develop and provide four 737 AEW&C aircraft. The contract contains options for an additional three aircraft. The aircraft will be operated by the Royal Australian Air Force.
The MESA radar is the latest generation airborne surveillance radar system for mid-cost AEW&C. Selected in 1999 for the Australian Wedgetail AEW&C project, the electronically scanned array features three apertures sharing L-band frequency transmit and receive modules to attain 360° of coverage. The exclusive "Top Hat" provides a practical solution for fore and aft coverage while maintaining the low drag profile of the dorsal array system. Combined with the primary radar is an integrated IFF system, which solves all target correlation problems by using the same aperture as the primary radar. The choice of L-band provides the optimum blend of range, detection capability, size and weight. The radar provides significant operational capability by allowing the system to be dynamically tailored to match mission requirements. If the operator needs a long-range view of a specific sector, system modes may be selected to search that sector at more than double the nominal uniform surveillance range. Additionally, variable track update rates can assist the operator in maintaining control of high performance aircraft while continuously scanning the operational area. During the next several months, many ES3 efforts will be focused on the preliminary design reviews for the radar, including radar interfaces with the rest of the mission system and aircraft. The first two aircraft should be delivered to the Commonwealth in 2006.
Recent F-22 Production Cost Estimates Exceed Congressional Limitations
The Air Force F-22 Raptor is an air-superiority aircraft being developed to replace the F-15 fighter aircraft. Lockheed Martin Corp. and Pratt & Whitney Corp. are the contractors for the airframe and engines, respectively. Development, which started in 1991, is scheduled to be completed in August of 2003. The Air Force entered low rate initial production in December 2000. According to a GAO report, projections of higher production costs have been a source of concern for several years. In 1996, because of potential cost increases, the Air Force established a team, known as the Joint Estimating Team, to review the total estimated cost of the F-22 program. The team concluded that the cost of production could grow substantially from the amounts planned, but that cost reduction initiative could be implemented to offset that cost growth. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics generally adopted the team's recommendations to change certain aspects of the program as well as a plan to define and implement cost reduction initiatives. F-22 production costs were also discussed in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY1998. That act limited the total cost but did not specify the total number of aircraft to be procured. The most recent production cost estimates completed by the Air Force and the Office of the Secretary of Defense were $40.8 B by the Air Force and $48.6 B by the Secretary of Defense. This compares with the $39.8 B authorized by Congress in 1999. Both estimates considered the potential of cost reduction initiatives totaling $21 B. These initiatives included 1240 specific plans. About half the $21 B in cost reduction initiatives have not yet been implemented. Many of the initiative are beyond the control of the contractors since they require Air Force, DoD or Congressional approval before implementation. Ten plans were reviewed estimated to reduce costs by $6.8 B. The cost reductions for four of the plans, which accounted for $5.6 B in potential cost reductions, may not be achievable because they were dependent on decisions or later determinations that must be made by the Secrtetary of Defense or Congress. For example, one cost reduction plan estimated to reduce F-22 production costs by about $1.5 B requires congressional approval for multiyear procurement of the F-22. The six other plans reviewed, which were estimated to reduce costs by $1.2 B, may be achievable. Defense officials noted that it will be some time before actual production cost trends emerge and before they know whether the cost estimates are accurate.
Israeli Electronic Warfare Equipment Contracts Valued at $60.5 M
Raytheon Co. has been awarded two contracts whose total value is $60.5 M to provide the Israeli Air Force F-16I New Fighter Aircraft fleet with equipment for the aircraft's electronic warfare suite. The awards were received from Elisra Electronics Systems Ltd., the prime contractor for the F-16I electronic warfare suite. Both awards are part of the Israeli Peace Marble V Program under which the Israeli Air Force is procuring F-16 50 aircraft.
The first contract is for staring infrared sensors that support accurate and timely missile approach warning. The program includes development and production of 100 infrared sensors with additional services and options. The sensors feature a staring, single color infrared focal plane array, an ultra-compact lens and a sensor package fitting into a five-inch cube. Hardware and documentation deliveries are scheduled to be complete by January 2004.
The second contract is for high power RF amplifiers. The program includes development and production of 100 amplifiers with additional funded spares and services. Deliveries are scheduled to be completed during 2005. *