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NEWS FROM WASHINGTON
Long-term AWACS Sustainment, Modernization ContractThe Air Force has entered a long-term contract that will continue support to the Airborne Warning and Control System, better known as AWACS. The AWACS Program Office signed the agreement, which has a potential value of up to $7 B in US work over 18 years, with prime contractor Boeing and subcontractors Northrop-Grummann and Lockheed Martin, May 31.
The contract, referred to as AMASS, which stands for AWACS Modernization and Sustainment Support, was designed to provide a complete, "cradle-to-grave" system perspective for AWACS, said Lt. Col. Sidney Kimhan, who managed the AMASS program until his recent retirement.
"AWACS is somewhat unique in that it's been in service for almost 25 years and will likely be around for at least another 25," Kimhan said, noting a recent program directive that called for extending the system's life 10 years beyond the previous requirement. "The system has had tremendous success, but we realized that to maintain and expand on that success, we needed to look at a somewhat different management approach."
The program was clearly at a "strategic juncture," said Col. Chuck Turbe, chief of the AWACS Systems Division. Turbe listed aging aircraft issues, the projected service life extension, and a number of impending US and international system upgrades, in addition to the contract expirations, as key planning factors.
"We knew it was time to step back and revisit our long-term modernization and sustainment strategies," Turbe said, "so that's what we did and we did it in conjunction with all our partners -- the depots, our contractors and, of course, our customers. We arrived at a clear consensus."
That consensus was reached, in part, because all parties agreed there was great need for better weapon system engineering, integration and enterprise management. The Air Force has been investing in system upgrades and sustainment activities, but the individual sub-systems improvement and stand-alone contracts issued by the program office and depots haven't necessarily provided the biggest "bang for the buck," according to Turbe.
In contrast, AMASS offers a "top-down" focus and places greater responsibility on the contractor teams' support to the customer and to identify ways to maximize weapon system performance, according to Turbe.
International AWACS customers will be able to use this contract, too, according to Kimhan. This makes it easier for all the allied partners to gain from each other's investments.
In addition to the system integration benefits, those advantages include increased flexibility, responsiveness and affordability, according to Kimhan.
The contract type, known as ID/IQ for Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity, allows the effort to be altered rapidly if requirements change. It also permits different contracting options to be used to meet different needs.
The contract length -- up to 18 years -- provides a long-term planning foundation for the contractors and encourage them to invest in innovative research and development activities specifically focused on airborne early warning and control systems.
The program office designed the contract to be incentive-laden, offsetting concerns about how to insure affordable, best-value solutions over the entire length of this contract. For instance, the contract contains a special award pool that rewards the contractor team for, among other things, developing enterprise integration initiatives and using cost-avoidance and cost-reduction practices.
Textron Companies Report Success at Paris Air Show
As reported by BusinessWire, Textron companies, Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft and Textron Systems announced several key business award and customer initiatives at this year's Paris Air Show. The show, which was held June 23 to 26, 2001, is the aerospace and defense industry's preeminent, biannual event.
* Bell Helicopter received orders for 11 aircrafts. Among these is an order from Offshore Logistics Inc., a major provider of helicopter transportation services to the oil and gas industry worldwide.
* In a press conference at the show, General James Jones, commandant of the Marine Corps, reiterated his support of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor. "I think the future is very bright; this is transformational technology, and therefore a national asset," said Jones.
* Cessna Aircraft received orders for 13 aircraft.
* Growing sales in Europe for Cessna aircraft had led to the expansion of Cessna's European Citation service Center, at Le Bourget airport, near Paris. The center's staff has grown from an initial staff of 23 to nearly 100 today.
* Textron Systems announced a US Air Force two-year, $130 M contract for 300 units of its Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) P3I (preplanned product improvement) upgrade program. Already in USAF inventory, SFW can defeat moving and stationary land combat vehicles in a single pass over many acres of coverage. The P3I version of the SFW is expected to enter the US Air Force and US Navy inventories in 2002.
* Textron Systems' HR Textron unit announced it has been awarded an $18 M contract from Raytheon Missile Systems to produce the control actuation system for the AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile. First delivery is scheduled for February 2002 with continued production occurring through 2011.
* HR Textron successfully completed a first article test (FAT) of the US Navy's newest automated equipment to test hydraulic flight control equipment on the F/A-18 E/F. Completion of the FAT allows the system to be certified and delivered to the Navy.
US Air Force Awards Harris Corp. $300 M Contract for Ground Multi-band Terminal Program
From NewsEdge Corp.: Harris Corp., a world leader in multi-band satellite communications (SATCOM) terminals for the US Department of Defense (DoD), announced that it has been awarded a seven-year, $300 M contract by the US Air Force Electronic System Center, Hanscom AFB, MA, for the Ground Multi-band Terminal (GMT) program. The next generation SATCOM terminal, accessing both commercial and military satellites, will provide military commanders with improved command, control and communications capabilities critical to supporting the full spectrum of deployed US military operations worldwide.
Under terms of the GMT contract, Harris is responsible for program management, system development, integration, production and logistics support for up to 200 ground terminals. Once fielded, the terminals will provide military X- and Ka-band and commercial C- and Ku-band access for satellite-based, voice, video and data communications. GMT offers significantly greater reliability than the previous generation of terminals, as well as six times the communications capacity, or throughput. The terminals are designed to be modular and configurable for various types of missions.
JT3 LLC Awarded US Air Force Range Services Contract Valued at $1.7 B
According to PR Newswire, JT3 LLC (JT3), a joint venture equally owned by EG&G Technical Services and Raytheon Technical Services Company ( RTSC ), has been awarded the US Air Force Joint Range Technical Services (J-TECH) contract, potentially worth $1.7 B to provide instrumented test and training range support to the US Air Force and the US Navy.
Under this 15-year award fee/award term contract, JT3 will provide operations and maintenance, engineering and technical services for threats, instrumentation, communications and data systems. JT3 will also provide hardware and software support, modeling, simulation and training, equipment modifications, information technology, test planning, scheduling and execution, and data collection, reduction and analysis. Work sites include the Nevada Test and Training Range, the Utah Test and Training Range, the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edward Air Force Base, CA, and the Navy's Electronic Combat Range at China Lake, CA. The contract includes a three-month phase-in period, and four one-year options, followed by the possibility of 10 one-year award term extension periods. *