News From Washington
Excalibur Development Continued
The US Army has awarded Raytheon a $100 M contract modification for the continued development of the Excaibur, XM982 precision-guided, extended-range artillery projectile program. The Excalibur family of guided missiles is designed to permit current and future Army and Marine Corps digitized howitzers to overcome the range disadvantage they now have against many threat artillery systems while gaining lethality improvements of three to six times against current projectiles.
The Global Positioning System/Inertial Measurement Unit-guided 155mm artillery projectile program was rebaselined and funded through a unique acquisition process known as "Alpha contracting," by which the Army and Raytheon jointly determined the major program parameters of technical risk, schedule and cost. Following full funding of the program for FY 2001, the Army reaffirmed its objective to develop and field this class of precision-guided projectiles to its interim, legacy and objective force artillery units.
The first gun launches of the Excalibur guidance electronics were conducted during September of this year. Two guidance packages were recovered using a Soft Recovery Vehicle projectile system in which gun launches at 15,000 gs are returned to earth by parachute for laboratory analysis of their functioning. Programmed maneuver flights are scheduled for next year.
Industry Team to Conduct Global Positioning System III Architecture Study
A team of four global information companies has been assembled by The Boeing Company to conduct a Global Positioning System (GPS) III study that will help define the path for the future of navigation and timing. Boeing will head a team composed of Hughes Space and Management & Data Systems (M&DS) and Raytheon Co.
The GPS III architecture study will assess mission needs and requirements of the existing satellite-based navigation system and will validate their achievability by developing innovative architecture recommendations. The program will evolve into the next-generation GPS satellite, ground control and user equipment segments. GPS III is expected to provide future users with unprecedented navigation and timing accuracy, system availability and enhanced user services, particularly for civil users. Work on the program, whose objective is to develop a flexible solution which will satisfy the needs of military and civilian users for the next 30 years, was scheduled to begin late this year.
Light Tactical Vehicle Intercom Contract Awarded
The US Army's Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM) has awarded a contract to outfit the service's light tactical vehicles with the Light Vehicle Variant (LV2) intercom system to a team composed of Northrop Grumman Corp. and BAE Systems. The award continues the two companies' long-standing relationship with CECOM during which time more than 10,000 vehicle intercom systems have been supplied for use on high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) and others.
Under the five-year, firm fixed-price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, Northrop Grumman's Electronic Sensors and Systems Sector (ES3), based in Baltimore, and BAE System's Avionics Tactical Products Division in Blackburn, UK, will provide an initial quantity of 639 LV2 systems with deliveries scheduled for completion by June of next year.
The LV2 intercom system consists of two units, a dual full function crew station and a master control station. The system is compatible with all current Army headsets including the improved combat vehicle crewman active noise reduction headset. The LV2 provides full duplex intercom communication and access to on-board radios. The system can operate in hands-free or voice activated modes. Its basic configuration serves two-crew, two-radio installations, but up to six radios may be connected to a system and a maximum of eight crew members can be served.
Air Force Awards Command and Control Modernization Program Contract
The US Air Force has selected a Lockheed Martin-led team to modernize its air, missile and space command and control (C2) systems in a 15-year program valued at approximately $1.5 B.
Under the Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) program, the team will integrate approximately 40 systems into a common, ineroperable C2 information technology infrastructure, giving commanders at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and US Space Command (USSPACECOM) a new flexibility to handle mission responsibilities. ISC2 is to be a "virtual command center" providing warfighters a common operational picture of the global battlefield derived from shared real-time data available anytime and anywhere in the world for specified users.
The ISC2 modernization will replace the Air Force's collection of older, stand-alone systems which function well individually but are not seamlessly coordinated to give users comprehensive C2 capabilities and access to information. The new system will enhance commanders' capabilities to synchronize their C2 operations and improve strategic and tactical coordination among forces. A major program challenge involves the migration of existing systems to the new ISC2 architecture without disrupting the Air Force operations at Cheyenne Mountain, the location of most of the NORAD and OSSPACECOM operations.
Lockheed Martin team members include The Boeing Co., Aerojet, General Dynamics, DynCorp and Wang Government Services for system integration and technology partners, Computer Sciences Corp., Logicon/INRI, Autometric Inc., Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems, Oracle Corp., AT&T, Neon and BEA Systems.
UCAV System Previewed
Under a $131 M contract shared by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force, the Boeing Phantom Works R&D division is developing an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) advanced technology demonstration system. Following completion of the manufacture and assembly of the major system elements, including the first of two unmanned air vehicles, a mission control center and storage container, the system was recently previewed in a display in St. Louis, MO.
Awarded to Boeing in March of last year, the program is designed to prove the technical feasibility of multiple UCAVs autonomously performing very dangerous and high priority combat missions to augment the manned fighter strike force. The first such mission is the suppression of enemy air defenses. Considering their small size, lack of pilot interfaces and training requirements, reusability and long-term storage capability, UCAVs are projected to cost up to 65 percent less to produce than future manned fighter aircraft and up to 75 percent less to operate and maintain than current systems.
The UCAV air vehicle has a stealthy, tailless, 27-foot-long airframe with a 34-foot wingspan. It weighs 8000 pounds empty and can carry a 3000 pound payload. The reconfigurable mission control station has satellite-relay and line-of-sight communications links for distributed control. Flight testing of the first vehicle is scheduled to begin in the spring of next year. Testing of both air vehicles in simulated suppression of enemy air defense missiles is scheduled to begin in mid-2002. If the advanced technology demonstration program is successful, the Air Force could employ UCAV weapon systems some time after 2010. *