Off the Wire, 8/15German Tornados Get Radar-Warning Gear
Source: Saab Avitronics
Saab Avitronics has received a production order from EADS Deutschland GmbH, acting on behalf of Panavia Aircraft GmbH, for series production of radar-warning equipment for German Tornado aircraft. The order is worth approx $133 million.
The radar-warning equipment is part of a major upgrade of the German Tornado fleet.
The contract is a follow-on order to the adaptation and qualification program that was awarded in 2001. Deliveries of production units will start by the end of 2006 and continue until 2009.
The radar warning systems, designed for both today's and tomorrow's scenarios, has to cope with extremely dense environments and long-range weapons. In addition to the ever-present need for short reaction times, the equipment also has to be highly sensitive, as well as selective, and provide a high probability of intercept.
For more on German Tornados, see Germany Demonstrates New SEAD System and Tornado Watch: ELITE 2002.
USN E-2C Aircraft Get Upgraded Avionics
Source: Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman has completed integration of its avionics technology upgrade with commercial hardware to update the fleet of Group II E-2C aircraft for the US Navy (USN).
Under contract with the Navy, Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector was responsible for the E-2C Group II Mission Computer Replacement Program. The program's objective was to cost-effectively replace the E-2C airborne early-warning aircraft's mission computer that has been in use since the late 1960s.
According to the Navy, the previous mission-computer system had reached its maximum processing potential and memory capacity, which inhibited the ability to integrate modern, more advanced weapons systems.
Northrop Grumman Space Technology's solution was its Reconfigurable Processor for Legacy Avionics Code Execution (RePLACE) avionics-upgrade technology and open-systems, commercial off-the-shelf hardware.
The RePLACE was developed by Northrop Grumman to solve the problem of upgrading aging, slow, and unreliable processors without incurring the huge expense of rewriting legacy software.
Northrop Grumman's avionics upgrade increased the Group II E-2C mission computer's mean time between failure to a predicated rate of more than 8,000 hours, reduced hardware weight from 700 lbs. to 105 lbs., lowered heat dissipation from 1,700 watts to 80 watts, and decreased central-processing-unit load time from more than 2.5 minutes to less than 30 seconds.
The RePLACE enables legacy software to run unmodified and at 20- to 100-times faster on state-of-the-art hardware. In addition, the RePLACE supports modern software code, which allows advanced capabilities to be added in a managed and cost-effective manner.
For more on Hawkeye modernization, see Construction of First Advanced Hawkeye Underway.
Armed Robots Ordered for US Army
Source: BAE Systems
BAE Systems (Nashua, NH) has been awarded a contract modification worth a minimum of $122.3 million for the transition effort for two Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV) variants for the US Army's Future Combat Systems.
This contract modification, awarded April 6, increases the total authorized value of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract from $189 million to $311.3 million, which could increase to $320.5 million if $9.2 million in additional task orders are authorized.
In 2003 BAE Systems was selected by the FCS lead system integrator to design and develop the two ARV variants to provide the FCS-equipped Units of Action with the ability to see and strike the enemy first, while offering soldiers protection and survivability that would reduce exposure in high-vulnerability reconnaissance and assault missions.
Under the current modification, the ARV program has been accelerated, and BAE Systems is now scheduled to field the first prototypes in 2010, with fielding to FCS-equipped Units of Action scheduled for 2012-2014. The period of performance has been extended through March 2013.
This modification also increases the prototype quantities for two of the ARV variants. The semi-autonomous ARV is the largest unmanned ground vehicle in the Army's FCS program and will be an integral platform within platoons and companies in the FCS-equipped Units of Action. The ARV is to be about the size of a large pickup truck and will be deployable either two at a time on C-130 airplanes or individually with CH-47 helicopters. The ARV is intended to provide battlefield commanders new capabilities for reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition, as well as assault firepower. The two variants will share a common chassis.
One of the ARV variants will carry a cannon for self-defense, disperse ground sensors, and conduct battle-damage assessments. The other ARV variant integrates beyond-line-of-sight missiles, a powerful automatic cannon, and a high rate of machine-gun fire.
BAE Systems is also working under an SDD contract for FCS Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) development and is teamed with General Dynamics to lead the MGV effort. The companies have integrated design teams developing a family of eight manned ground vehicles featuring a common platform design with common components and subsystems, with unique mission modules.
For more on unmanned systems for the military, see Evolution in Unmanned Vehicles.
US Army's Future Combat System Reviewed
Boeing (St. Louis, MO) and partner Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) (San Diego, CA), acting as lead systems integrator (LSI) for the US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, announced successful completion of the "System of Systems Functional Review," the program's most important technical milestone to date.
The review lasted five days and involved more than 35 briefings and dozens of demonstrations to an audience representing the Army, Department of Defense, Government Accountability Office, and others assembled at 24 industry and government sites across the country. The review is the largest of more than 15 formal reviews, studies, and audits of FCS conducted so far this year.
The review is a multi-disciplinary technical review to ensure the system-of-systems requirements, design, and functional baseline are at levels that warrant moving forward into the preliminary design phase of the program. This functional baseline included more than 11,000 system-of-systems engineering requirements derived and allocated through a rigorous systems-engineering process. The event was conducted as a series of formal presentations and question and answer sessions, demonstrating that the program understands, among other things: the Army's requirements, the application of those requirements across the system-of-systems down into the network and 18 manned and unmanned ground and air systems, and the performance of the design baseline to meet those requirements
The review included 202 specific closure criteria – 100% of which were met, Boeing said. The FCS program is 26 months into its Systems Development and Demonstration contract, which is valued at $20.9 billion. The program is meeting the cost, performance, and schedule targets, according to the company.
Army Program Manager Brigadier General Charles Cartwright said: "This review is an important milestone for the program and the Army's initiative to achieve Department of Defense transformation goals. We feel confident that we have properly captured the warfighter's needs and established a functional baseline for Future Combat Systems."
The next major program milestone event will be the initial preliminary design review, scheduled for 2006.
With the System of Systems Functional Review complete, the program moves into Integration Phase 1, in which the platform and network teams initiate their sub-tier System Functional Reviews. As a part of Phase 1, the program will initiate its first major field experiment in 2006 and will deliver the first introduction of FCS capability to the current force in 2008. Continuing at two-year intervals, these spin-outs will accelerate delivery of needed capabilities – such as networking, unattended munitions and sensors, and robotics – to soldiers in advance of fielding the first FCS-equipped Unit of Action in 2014.
When fielded, FCS-equipped Units of Action will enable soldiers with a network and 18 integrated manned and unmanned ground and air platforms, providing full-spectrum, joint operations with networked battle command; greater lethality and operational tempo; embedded training; and more.
For more on FCS, see New Sensors for FCS Ground Vehicles and US Army Restructures FCS Program.