Off the Wire, 8/19
Australia Orders Sensors for Armored Vehicle
Source: Engineered Support Systems
Engineered Support Systems (St. Louis, MO) has received a new $7-million contract from the Australian Defense Material Organization's Land Maneuver Systems Branch in Melbourne for the development of a Multi-Spectral Sensor Suite (MSSS) to be used with the Australian Light Armored Vehicle (ASLAV). Engineered Support's Systems & Electronics, Inc. (SEI), subsidiary will design, develop, and test the MSSS in their St. Louis and West Plains, MO, facilities.
The prototype system will begin Australian Defense Force (ADF) testing in the fall of 2006. The development activity is expected to last 21 months, with the potential for a follow-on production award in 2007 under Stage 2 of the program.
The MSSS is a reconnaissance and surveillance package consisting of a laser rangefinder, thermal imager, and ground-surveillance radar integrated with SEI's stabilized common gimbal (SCG-100) and soldier-machine interface. The MSSS will be capable of three modes of operation: mounted on the vehicle, connected to the vehicle by a cable, and completely dismounted. The package will also be compatible with operation on a 10-m mast currently in service with the ASLAV-Surveillance (ASLAV-S) variant. The MSSS package will be designed as a kit for installation on the ASLAV-S by the ADF. The kit is adaptable to a wide range of wheeled and tracked vehicles.
For more on advanced sensors for ground forces, see Clear in Sight
.UK, France Fund Missile-Seeker Demo
As a result of initial conceptual-research work carried out by QinetiQ (Farnborough, UK) into the Dual Mode Active Infrared (IR) and Imaging IR Seeker (DUMAS), a Thales-led team has been awarded a $7.4-million demonstrator contract for advanced missile-seeker technology.
The DUMAS has its origins in conceptual research carried out by QinetiQ, and as a result of this initial work, funded over several years by the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the French Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA, France military-procurement agency), Thales has now been awarded a $7.4-million contract by the Western European Armaments Organization (WEAO) to supply a DUMAS missile-seeker technology demonstrator.
The UK MoD, French DGA, and industry are jointly funding the four-year program, under the auspices of the European Research Grouping Arrangement No. 1 (EUROPA MOU). The DUMAS project will provide demonstrator hardware for flight trials onboard a French Puma helicopter in 2007-2008.
QinetiQ will continue to work alongside Thales UK on the advanced seeker algorithms and the control processor. Safran (created by Sagem's recent merger with Snecma) is also on the team to provide systems-engineering support as a weapons-systems prime contractor. Thales UK will manage the program and will lead the seeker integration, mechanical design, and joint algorithm-design and -modeling activity. The Thales teams in France will provide the overall engineering lead and head the infrared- and laser-sensor designs and seeker trials.
The DUMAS program now provides the Thales led team with an opportunity to further its capability in the emerging infrared seeker market. A production version of DUMAS is expected to have application in a number of programs, including the UK MoD's Selectable Precision Effects At Range and the French DGA's Armement Air Sol Modulaire – a modular air-to-surface weapon – as well as the SCALP-EG missile program.
DUMAS technology combines an active infrared-scanning laser and a passive infrared detector that, used in conjunction with sophisticated algorithms, detects, images, and identifies targets. The DUMAS is expected to improve existing and new missile systems by increasing target-search areas and by providing automated target-identification capabilities.
For more on dual-spectral seekers, see Aircraft Countermeasures and the Dual-Spectral Threat
.CWID 2005 Issues After-Action Report
Source: Communications-Applied Technology
US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) released its Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) 2005 After Action Report, citing three technologies out of the 49 trialed that met its top criteria for further funding and evaluation by Joint Forces Command. Of those three is the Incident Commanders' Radio Interface (ICRI), a small, rapidly deployable device that links voice communications across incompatible radios and other communications equipment.
Realigned this year to focus on security within US borders and on the global war on terrorism, CWID 2005 is the Joint Chiefs of Staff's annual proving ground for technologies that improve interoperability among US warfighters, anti-terrorism forces, and international coalition partners. The goal of CWID is to acquire the solutions that are successful in the exercises and make them operational within six to 12 months. Two ICRIs have already been acquired by NORTHCOM HQ and six by NORTHCOM's Joint Task Force-Civil Support.
Manufactured by Communications-Applied Technology, the ICRI created tactical interoperability, linking military and non-military radios, VoIP, and telephone systems despite their dissimilar waveforms and frequencies. By providing voice communications among traditional military allies, a large contingent of non-DoD government agencies, national law enforcement, and the first-responder community, the ICRI demonstrated the operational value and technical maturity for improving the information exchange and situational awareness strategies required by NORTHCOM.
The ICRI's functionality stands in contrast to previous software-based solutions that could not be rapidly deployed, preventing agencies and teams from establishing real-time radio interoperability. The After Action Report states "the 'ICRI' is appropriate to most levels of government that participate in military and state/municipal crisis-response operations, including: governmental department/agency (DHS, DOJ, DOT, FEMA, USCG, FBI, CIA, etc.), combatant command theater, coalition task force commander and/or staff, air, land, maritime, special operation forces, and tactical level (division, ship, aircraft, etc.)."
For more on civil and military communications interoperability, see We Need to Talk
.USAF Gets Support for Weapons Simulation
Source: L-3 Communications
L-3 Communications (New York, NY) announced today that its SYColeman subsidiary has been selected as a principal contractor on the MNGG Advance Simulation Technology (MAST) program, a 10-year time and materials contract for weapon-systems-simulation support to the US Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate (AFRL/MN) at Eglin AFB, FL.
The contract is for a base period through July 2006, and with nine one-year options, has a potential value of $49.7 million if all options are exercised.
SYColeman will support the AFRL/MN by providing simulation capabilities for the next generation of weapon concepts and developing digital simulation tools and hardware-in-the-loop technology for use at Eglin AFB and for transition to other US government facilities.
For more on military simulations, see This Means War
.Missile Tested on Deeply Buried Targets
Source: Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, MD) demonstrated a technology milestone for the integration of a boosted penetrator warhead with a long-range cruise missile that can be used against hard and deeply buried targets.
In the test, held at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, in Socorro, NM, the penetrator was expelled from a missile body using a small discharge pressurization device.
The test successfully demonstrated the ability to propel the warhead from the main airframe without altering the airframe's flight path or angle of flight. In operation, the missile would carry the warhead from long ranges against a target. In the terminal phase, just before reaching the target, the warhead would be expelled from the nose of the missile, when a booster would ignite to propel the warhead to high velocity and impact on the target. Other features of Lockheed Martin's dispenser system are planned for demonstration on the Revolutionary Approach To Time-critical Long Range Strike (RATTLRS) program in 2006.
This technique provides significant risk reduction to long-range strike cruise missiles and supersonic cruise missiles, such as the RATTLRS program currently underway at Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works) in Palmdale, CA, and funded by the Office of Naval Research. Building on a successful collaboration that has produced weapons such as the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, the Skunk Works is leading the RATTLRS development effort with support from Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
For more on stand-off strike weapons, see Hammers of the Gods
.Upgraded Firebee Target Flies
Source: Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman (San Diego, CA) reached another milestone for its BQM-34 Firebee aerial target with the latest version's successful first flight featuring an enhanced integrated avionics unit as the vehicle's autopilot. Aerial targets are the US Navy's most realistic means of training sailors and airmen against airborne threats and testing an array of weapon systems, and the avionics upgrade supports the service's aerial-targets transformation plan.
The BQM-34 Firebee's primary mission is to simulate tactical threats by enemy aircraft and missiles for defense-readiness training, air-to-air combat training, and test and evaluation of weapon systems. The BQM-34 Firebee is also in service with the US Air Force and international military services. In addition to serving as an aerial target, the Firebee can also support a variety of operational scenarios including unique payload-delivery missions. Most notably, it supported allied operational requirements during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The aerial-targets transformation plan includes implementing autonomous waypoint navigation; complex, pre-programmed three-dimensional maneuvers; and plug-and-play, common digital architecture for payloads. Northrop Grumman developed this common-technology approach in collaboration with the Navy's targets program office to help simplify logistics requirements, alleviate obsolescence problems, and reduce the operational costs of its fleet of subsonic targets.
The flight took place at the Naval Air Warfare Center at Pt. Mugu, CA, following a Navy-funded 18-month development program. The integrated avionics unit, currently in production for the Navy's BQM-74E aerial target, will also serve as the baseline autopilot for the BQM-74F aerial target, which will enter flight-testing in late August.
For more on target drones, see China Eyes Converting Old Fighters to UAVs
and Israel Rejects Indian Lakshya, ALH
.Link 16 for Norwegian Air-Defense System
Source: Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace
Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace has signed a contract with the Norwegian Air Force to supply a Link 16 tactical datalink for the NASAMS II anti-aircraft system. The $7.4-million contract represents the first delivery of this technology to land-based units in the Norwegian Armed Forces.
Link 16 is a NATO-standardized tactical datalink that enables the NASAMS II anti-aircraft system to be fully integrated with other NATO systems, enhancing mobility. Link 16 is the backbone of a modern network-based defense in which weapons, sensors, and decision-makers are linked together into a single network for joint operations with other domestic and allied units.
For more on mobile, integrated air-defense networks, see Good Move
.US DoD Releases Roadmap for Unmanned Aircraft
Source: US DoD
Once used only for remote reconnaissance, unmanned-aircraft technology has rapidly evolved in recent years. Such systems now feature strike capabilities and are being used for force-protection and signals-collection missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unmanned aerial systems "have helped reduce the complexity and time lag in the 'sensor-to-shooter chain' for acting on 'actionable intelligence,'" according to a document released by the US Department of Defense (DoD) earlier this month.
The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Roadmap 2005-2030, released Aug. 4 with more than 200 pages, explains these diverse systems range from "micro air vehicles, weighing less than a pound, to massive aircraft weighing more than 40,000 [lbs.], and vary in cost from a few thousand dollars to tens of millions."
The roadmap, now in its third iteration, lays out technology goals for developing unmanned systems over the next 25 years, explained Dyke Weatherington, deputy director of the DoD's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Planning Task Force. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Weatherington explained that even the name of the roadmap has changed from previous iterations. "Unmanned aerial vehicle," generally referred to as UAV, has been the most commonly accepted term for such aircraft. DoD planners have recently changed that terminology to "unmanned aircraft system" (UAS), which better denotes that much more than just the vehicle is needed to make such systems useful to warfighters. "A UAV by itself doesn't do anything for anybody other than sit on the ramp and provide shade," Weatherington said. "I need an integrated capability to do the mission....That's a vehicle; that's sensor systems; that may be weapons; that's communication systems; that's command and control; that's trained operators. All those elements are critical to deliver the capability."
Unmanned systems are particularly well-suited for "information, surveillance, and reconnaissance" missions at the tactical level, Weatherington said. Specific useful capabilities of such systems include full-motion video and "persistence" – i.e., they can stay in an area observing a developing situation for extended lengths of time.
He said "well-over" 1,000 small, unmanned systems are currently in use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The top technology goal in the roadmap is to develop the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) to provide a key capability predominantly delivered by manned aircraft in operations today.
"Primarily, for mobile, dynamic targets, the solution today is to send manned tactical aircraft in to find, (identify) and destroy those," Weatherington said.
Manned aircrews aren't the ideal choice for these missions because they put aircrews at risk, he said.
Smaller unmanned systems are "somewhat disposable," Weatherington said. "We don't intend to dispose of them. But...if you need to put them in a situation to save a life, and you end up leaving the aircraft, it's not a significant loss."
For more on US plans for UAVs, see US Plans Expanded Role for UAVs
.First Apache Longbow for Kuwait Delivered
The US government, on behalf of the government of Kuwait, accepted Kuwait’s first AH-64D Apache Longbow multirole combat helicopter from Boeing (Mesa, AZ).
The Apache Longbow, delivered in July, is the first of a 16-Apache Foreign Military Sales order with the US Department of Defense (DoD) for the Kuwaiti government. The aircraft will remain in the US until next year to undergo a series of qualification tests.
Maintenance personnel from Kuwait are currently in the US for training and will be followed by Kuwaiti pilots later this year. No firm in-country delivery schedule or contract details have been announced.
Kuwait's Ministry of Defense initially signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the DoD in 2002, making Kuwait the seventh international defense force to select the AH-64D and the 11th Apache customer worldwide.
The AH-64D Apache Longbow features fully integrated avionics and weapons, plus a modem that transmits real-time, secure, digitized battlefield information to air and ground forces. The combat helicopter has the ability to rapidly detect, classify, prioritize, and engage stationary or moving enemy targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather environments.
For more on Apache Longbows in the Middle East, see Israel Receives First Apache Longbows
Much Ado About Nothing
Military weapons inflict damage on the enemy and by their effects deprive him of assets and drive him into disadvantageous positions. Political weapons induce the enemy to voluntarily cede tactical and even strategic advantages, often through fear of unflattering media coverage. Today, the political effects of weapons attacks receive far greater coverage than their military significance would suggest is reasonable.
A reader can go the Internet, for example, and learn that three -- count 'em, three -- Katyusha rockets were fired clandestinely from a warehouse in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba (of Lawrence of Arabia fame). Regrettably, one Jordanian soldier was killed by one of the rockets that apparently was targeted at -- and missed -- US navy warships docked at the time. A second rocket landed apparently harmlessly elsewhere in the city. A third Katyusha was fired into the Israeli port city of Eliat damaging a taxi, lightly wounding its driver, and producing a modest crater that looks like road construction. Yet it is a top story at the BBC
and many other media outlets. Three rockets = Top Story = propaganda victory.
The "one-off, two-off" employment of Katyusha rockets typical of terrorist and militia forces in the Middle East must be weighed against the fact that such weapons were designed to be employed in their thousands in a compressed timeframe to achieve a military effect on the battlefield. Here is an excerpt of an eDefense Online article
by Michal Fiszer on Soviet battlefield rockets that describes how such rockets were intended to be used:
By coordinating fires from dispersed batteries in range, it was possible to time the fires so that the rounds from different guns landed more or less simultaneously. This was desirable for instilling the shock required to achieve a breakthrough at a desired point on the battlefield. Not possessing such coordination, the Soviets found a solution in the multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS), where many tubes fired in a short period of time. The famous "Katyusha" and "Stalin's Organ" 82mm through 300mm rocket systems were produced in huge numbers and could drop thousands of rounds on the point of decision at a dizzying rate.
Conventional artillery and unguided MLRS batteries showered the breakthrough area, leaving many holes in the ground, but only a small portion of the tens of thousands of shells fired found any targets. This was sufficient if an enormous mass of firepower was employed, as it was during WWII, but after the war, it was understood that alternatives needed be found.
These alternatives included chemical and nuclear weapons for purely ballistic weapons, and guidance and improved fire control for rockets armed with conventional warheads. Larger battlefield rockets, such as the Scud and its kin, were developed to carry tactical nuclear warheads over useful distances. Nevertheless, these weapons were sold throughout the Midde East with conventional high-explosive warheads. Saddam Hussein used Scud missiles during the first Iraq War as Katyusha rockets on a larger scale. He shot them singly and in small groups to achieve a political result: eye-catching vignettes of falling stars smiting Zionist cities demonstrated Iraqi defiance, even if these weapons had no appreciable military effect. That two dozen US service people were killed by a lucky shot late in the conflict merely underscores the fact that the Scud, like the Katyusha, is first and foremost a political weapon.
Political weapons have their uses, however. The US and other coalition air forces poured significant resources into the "Scud hunts" in Iraq's western deserts that failed to destroy a single missile launcher during the course of the conflict. Not one. It would have made military sense to ignore the Scuds completely and focus on eliminating Iraqi military force elsewhere in the theater that posed a direct threat to coalition forces. But, there were concerns that Israel, the target of the majority of these weapons, would feel compelled to act in its defense, thereby undermining Arab participation in the anti-Saddam coalition.
The even more insignificant Katyusha rocket is receiving the high-tech treatment. The US and Israel have been cooperating on the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL)
, a ground-based system designed to shoot down airborne targets such as artillery shells, mortars, and unmanned aerial vehicles. During tests in 2000 and 2001, it shot down a total of 25 Katyusha rockets. The US and Israel jointly funded development of the technology, and a compact, more transportable version is also being developed. Granted, ground-based lasers for protecting against ballistic weapons has militarily useful applications. But Israeli involvement in the program, along with the selection Katyusha test targets, suggests that rocket attacks on Israeli towns and settlements by terrorists and militias are a main concern.
There is little if any prospect that terrorists will use rockets the way they were intended to achieve military effects. The North Koreans, by contrast, have amassed a tremendous number of howitzers and artillery rockets within range of Seoul, South Korea. These weapons are concealed in hardened positions, caves, and shelters. With very little warning, the artillery systems could be deployed and fired en mass with a devastating effect on the South Korean capital, probably before an effective counter-battery effort could be mounted by US and South Korean forces, although I'm told that there are effective methods for neutralizing this threat available in theater. Regardless, the North Korean tubes and rockets pose a direct military threat to South Korea and they weigh on all calculations involving dealings with that country. They are, in effect, a deterrent.
Unguided, ballistic rockets have little direct military value, unless launched in vast numbers or armed with unconventional warheads. Katyusha rockets as employed by terrorists and militias manage to have far greater impact than their relatively modest high-explosive warheads would suggest because we allow them to. They are political weapons, and apparently quite effective ones.
Off the Wire, 8/17
Australia Investing More in Unmanned Vehicles
Source: Australian DoD
Australia's future military operations will be supported by forces of robots and unmanned vehicles that will be highly integrated and controlled by defense personnel from a distance, Defence Minister Senator Robert Hill said today.
Speaking at the opening of the Amazing World of Science event in Canberra today, Senator Hill said the Australian government was investing more and more on research and development of unmanned-vehicle technology for use in future operations and for surveillance purposes. "These new intelligent and largely autonomous systems will, in the future, be able to carry out hazardous tasks traditionally reserved for warfighters, which will reduce exposure and risks to Australian Defense Force (ADF) personnel," Senator Hill said. "This will be a huge leap in capability for our Defense Force. I envisage that, in the future unmanned battlespace, vehicles will be deployed in fleets to gather information, conduct surveillance, sweep for mines, defuse bombs, and carry out a range of dangerous tasks. The autonomous systems will be able to provide the ADF with increased access to its areas of operation, especially in hostile and difficult terrain. This advance in technology has the potential to increase the operational effectiveness of our troops and enhance surveillance capabilities, while reducing risk to personnel and reducing the cost of operations."
Research into such autonomous vehicles is being undertaken by Australia's Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) under its Automation of the Battlespace Initiative (ABSI), working with companies such as Aerosonde, Saab, Nautronix, and Tenix.
"This is a long-range research program to enhance the ADF's capabilities by dramatically increasing the autonomy, performance, and affordability of these unmanned vehicles," Senator Hill said. "Trials so far have demonstrated that these autonomous vehicles can work together in cooperative way to complete assigned tasks. DSTO is exploring the concept of expendable autonomous vehicles, which will be inexpensive to manufacture and easy to repair."
In time, these vehicles will carry integrated communications and other capabilities linking them together and with their controllers.
Senator Hill said advances in computing power, electronics, sensors, miniaturization, and smarter software has made it possible to raise automation to a new level.
DSTO has also established a Center of Expertise in Autonomous and Uninhabited Vehicle Systems at the University of Sydney to conduct research for defense-specific applications.
The autonomous vehicles currently being investigated by DSTO include the following:
* An unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), capable of autonomous navigation through difficult terrain; it can carry supplies for soldiers and conduct reconnaissance missions.
* A remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Australian company Aerosonde and capable of electronic warfare, radar jamming, data- and voice-radio relay, intelligence, and surveillance.
* An unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), known as Wayamba, capable of autonomous navigation, underwater surveillance, mine and other obstacle detection, hydrographic survey, and communications with the surface without surfacing.
For more on unmanned vehicle developments, see Evolution in Unmanned Vehicles
.UK Becomes First International GMLRS Customer
Source: Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin (Dallas, TX) has received a $55-million contract from the UK for the production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets. This contract represents the first international sale of GMLRS.
The initial contract calls for the production of GMLRS rockets with the Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) warhead, with an option to migrate to other GMLRS variants in the future. It was procured under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US Army. Delivery of the rockets is expected to be completed by March 2007.
The GMLRS is an all-weather, precision-guided rocket that provides increased accuracy, minimizing collateral damage and reducing by 80% the number of rockets necessary to defeat current targets. The GMLRS rocket provides increased precision and maneuverability, and it can be fired from the M270A1 and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers.
The GMLRS has a range of more than 70 km. The system incorporates a GPS-aided inertial-guidance package integrated on a product-improved rocket body. Small canards on the guided-rocket nose provide basic maneuverability and enhance the accuracy of the system.
The GMLRS rocket program is an international cooperative program between the US, UK, Italy, France, and Germany.
Lockheed Martin has received three contracts, totaling more than $290 million, to produce more than 2,000 GMLRS rockets under low-rate initial production (LRIP) through the year 2006. GMLRS production is expected to extend well beyond the year 2020.
The GMLRS program successfully completed operational testing in December 2004. More than 24 GMLRS rockets were fired from a MLRS M270A1 and HIMARS launchers over a two-month time period. The first HIMARS production units will officially be delivered to the US Army at the end of May 2005.
For more on GMLRS, see US Army GMLRS Procurement Continues
and European System Fires GMLRS Munitions
.Joint STARS Computer Upgrade Completed
Source: Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman (Melbourne, FL) recently completed Block 20 upgrades to the US E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) aircraft, bringing the entire fleet to the same "open-systems" configuration, which will allow the aircraft hardware and software to be upgraded at a lower cost while increasing mission effectiveness to meet future surveillance, targeting, and battle-management requirements.
The Block 20 E-8C configuration features an integrated commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computing and signal-processing architecture that can be easily upgraded with new technology. Each airplane uses hardware from Mercury Computer Systems and Compaq Computer Corporation.
Since 2001, and through the last delivery earlier this year, all production Joint STARS aircraft were delivered in the Block 20 configuration. The most recently delivered aircraft was the last of 10 previously delivered that were upgraded to Block 20 under a computer-replacement program that provides a COTS data-processing capability.
The E-8C Joint STARS is a wide-area airborne ground-surveillance, targeting, and battle-management system. It detects, locates, classifies, tracks, and targets hostile ground movements, communicating real-time information through secure datalinks with US Air Force and US Army command posts.
With the completion of the computer-replacement program, future upgrades will be scheduled during each aircraft's routine, periodic, depot-maintenance schedule and will include programs to increase the system's value with connectivity enhancements to existing and future systems and enriching the onboard support to the warfighter.
All Joint STARS aircraft are assigned to the Georgia Air National Guard's 116th Air Control Wing, a "total-force blended wing," based at Robins AFB, GA. The wing consists of active-duty Air Force, Army, and Air National Guard personnel.
For more on Joint STARS, see Joint STARS Deliveries Completed
.USAF Orders Predator Trainer
Source: L-3 Communications
L-3 Communications (New York, NY) announced today that its Link Simulation and Training division has been awarded a competitive development contract from the US Air Force (USAF) Aeronautical System Command for the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System (PMATS).
The contract calls for the development of one trainer and one brief / debrief system that will be delivered with initial operational capability in late 2006. The system will then be upgraded in early 2007 to a full operational capability, which will enable the unit to participate in the USAF's Distributed Mission Operations (DMO) simulation exercises.
The initial unit will be housed at Link, while follow-on production systems, which will be ordered under future production contract options, will be delivered to the Air Combat Command's 11th Reconnaissance Squadron Formal Training Unit, located at Creech AFB, NV. Additional planned contract options through 2010 will address contractor-logistics-support requirements, establishment of a system-support center, and delivery of a database-generation system.
The aircrew-training system will enable pilots and sensor operators to undergo initial qualification, mission qualification, continuation, and mission-rehearsal simulation-based training in support of the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which is used operationally by the USAF to meet armed-reconnaissance and interdiction requirements.
The PMATS units will simulate the pilot and sensor-operator stations located within the MQ-1 Predator's ground control station. The simulation will include high-fidelity modeling of the Predator platform, all sensors, and weapons. The simulated synthetic environment will take into account time of day, winds, adverse weather, and thermal effects. A detailed urban environment also will be simulated.
Plans also call for the PMATS to be designed to support multiple fielded Predator configurations and provide a growth path that will support simulation of the yet-to-be fielded MQ-9 Predator UAV.
For more on Predator, see Armed Predator Shines in War on Terror
.New Datalink Tested on U-2, F/A-18
Cubic Corp. (San Diego, CA) announced that its defense segment, Cubic Defense Applications, successfully completed a series of critical tests involving Cubic's Navy Communications Data Link System (CDLS). Cubic's system demonstrated its capability to transfer data from high-altitude reconnaissance and tactical aircraft during the tests, conducted in the California desert with support from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), China Lake Naval Air Station, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, the Department of Defense Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) and L-3 Communications.
Cubic's CDLS successfully transmitted and received data with U-2 and F/A-18 aircraft datalinks during the testing. The CDLS is an extremely high-speed datalink that transmits signals- and imagery-intelligence data between reconnaissance-aircraft sensors and surface-ship processing systems. The system is designed to transmit 15 different waveforms at top speed to tactical aircraft via a secure network, as well as allow naval commanders to receive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data aboard vessels.
The tests involved live flight operations in addition to laboratory tests.
Cubic delivered the first of a total of 18 datalink systems this summer to SPAWAR and PEO C4I and Space. The first system was installed aboard the USS Eisenhower in July 2005. Sea trials are planned later in the year.
For more on datalink-enhanced ISR, see More Than Just Targeting for US Navy's ATFLIR
Future Combat System Design Review
The US Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program last week passed its System of Systems Functional Review, signaling that it is ready to enter its preliminary design phase. This program is notable not only that it will the US Army's land combat forces for much of this century, but that it did not specify detailed platform requirements. Rather, it is a set of capabilities that is to be met with an array of vehicle and weapon types to be determined.
eDefense Online's Brendan P. Rivers reports
on the latest FCS design review, which does set the stage for producing actual weapons systems:
The System of Systems Functional Review was the most extensive assessment of the program so far, said Brigadier General Charles Cartwright, the Army's FCS program manager, and included participation by the US Department of Defense, the Army, and the FCS lead-system-integrator (LSI) team of Boeing (St. Louis, MO) and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) (San Diego, CA). The review, which looked at FCS requirements at the Unit of Action level, spanned five days and consisted of a series of about 40 briefings conducted at 24 government and industry sites across the US. More than 11,000 engineering requirements were examined, and all 202 of the review's specific closure criteria were met.
The first spin-outs - the Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Cannon, intelligent munitions, network elements, and unattended ground sensors, according to current plans -- will be provided to an experimental Unit of Action in FY08 for assessment, with fielding slated for FY10. In addition, starting in FY06, BGEN Cartwright said, the Army will procure six Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are already in test flights with the US Navy and were chosen as to fill the FCS program's requirement for a Class IV UAV (see Fire Scout Chosen as US Army FCS TUAV), and an early build of the NLOS Cannon will begin. Indeed, a prototype of the NLOS Cannon has already conducted test firings at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.
The general also cited other successes on the program thus far, including more than 200 flights of the Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), a leading candidate for the FCS program's Class I UAV requirement (see US Army Testing Micro Air Vehicles), test firings of the Lightweight Line-of-Sight Cannon at the Army Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. He also noted that the mortar for the NLOS-Mortar (NLOS-M) vehicle has just begun test firings, as has the 30mm cannon for the FCS Infantry Fighting Vehicle. In addition, the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), the first-generation PackBot system, is "already running around in Afghanistan right now," he said. Active protection systems for the vehicles are also being tested, with a request for proposals for the provision of such systems under the FCS program expected very soon. The general said that these active protection systems could become part of the first wave of spin-outs as well, for which the Joint Forces Exercise (JFEX) in 2006 will provide the first look.
BGEN Cartwright also noted that, since the restructuring of the FCS program (see US Army Restructures FCS Program), there have been no cost or schedule changes.
But for all of these successes to date, however, BGEN Cartwright said there still remains much more to be done. For instance, the Class II and III UAVs must still be downselected and go through fly-offs prior to a final selection. Also, there is still a lot of development and testing of the FCS network to be done - at least three-years worth. The general said that his office is working closely with the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program office (San Diego, CA) and will do the same with the Warfighter Information Network - Tactical (WIN-T) program office, as both of these systems will be critical to the FCS command-and-control and communications backbone. Muilenberg noted that the FCS program has also realigned somewhat with the recent changes to the JTRS program, specifically, Clusters 1 and 5, in order to keep the FCS program on track. In the December-January timeframe, the FCS program will receive its first batch of Cluster 1 radios for the development of the network, and even prior to that, in September of this year, Cluster 5 nodes will undergo command-and-control testing at Ft. Dix, NJ.
Off the Wire, 8/16
Australia, US Jointly Developing Radar Technology
Source: Australian DoD
Australia and the US have joined forces in the development of leading-edge technology by signing a joint agreement to further develop Australian active-phased-array-radar technology.
Defense Minister Senator Robert Hill said both countries will share the development costs, technical expertise, and benefits of the active-phased-array-radar technology that is being developed by Australian electronics company CEA Technologies.
Senator Hill said phased-array-radar technology has enormous potential to manage high-threat environments. The total development cost is estimated to be approximately $23 million over three years.
"The program will allow further development of the CEA radar technology for possible use in medium- to long-range air warfare and ballistic-missile defense," Senator Hill said. "The technology can also be applied to smaller ships and other Australian Defense Force air-surveillance assets. It also has potential to be used in a range of US programs, including the Littoral Combat Ship and other new ship programs, land and land-mobile programs, as well as replacing legacy systems on some US ships. We have a very close working relationship with the US Navy on this project, with US staff embedded in the project team."
For a comprehensive article on the developoment of naval phased-array radar, see Backboards of the Fleet: Shipboard Phased-Array Radars
.Australia Selects Destroyer Designer
Source: Australian DoD
The Australian government has chosen Gibbs & Cox as the preferred designer for the Royal Australian Navy's air-warfare destroyers (AWDs) – one of Australia's largest and most complex Defense projects, worth up to $4.6 billion.
Defense Minister Senator Robert Hill said Gibbs & Cox now joins a team made up of ASC Shipbuilder Pty. Ltd., which has been selected to build the AWDs, and Raytheon Australia, selected as the combat-system engineer.
Senator Hill said Gibbs & Cox, a US-based company, was chosen through a competitive tender evaluation process that also included German company Blohm + Voss and Spanish company Navantia.
"The selection of Gibbs and Cox as platform designer now completes the team whose responsibility it is to deliver the project," Senator Hill said. "The government made the decision after accepting the recommendation of the source-selection board on the basis that Gibbs & Cox offered a superior bid in terms of value for money. All three companies presented competitive bids and showed themselves to be very competent naval ship designers. Bids were evaluated against a wide range of criteria. The Gibbs & Cox evolved design will now compete with an 'Australianized' version of Spain's existing F100 ship design and will be further considered by the government as part of the next phase of the project. The construction of the air-warfare destroyers will be one of the most significant shipbuilding projects undertaken in Australia to date and will provide enormous opportunities for Australian industry."
The government has provided $349.1 million towards the current phase of the project, which includes further design work, workforce skilling, initial infrastructure investment, and facilities construction.
Senator Hill said the Defense program office would now advise on a location to establish an AWD System Center, which will house up to 200 personnel working on the development and through-life support of the vessels.
The conduct of the evaluation and selection of Gibbs & Cox was reviewed by AWD Program Probity Advisers KMPG and also independently by Sir Laurence Street, both of whom have confirmed that the process was fair and equitable.
"The AWDs represent a quantum leap in the air-warfare capabilities of the Navy," Senator Hill said. "The vessels, which are to be introduced into service from 2013, will be equipped with the world-class Aegis combat system, capable of detecting hostile aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 150 km."
They will provide significantly increased protection from air attack for troops being transported and deployed on Australian Defense Forces operations overseas and can provide long-range air-warfare defense for a naval task group. The AWDs will also have an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability, as well as the ability to embark a helicopter at sea. The ship will also be interoperable with the US and other coalition partners.
For more on Australia's Air-Warfare Destroyer program, see Aegis Combat System Selected for Australian Air-Warfare Destroyers
and Shipbuilder Chosen for Australian Destroyers
.US DoD Reports Program Cost, Schedule Changes
Source: US DoD
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has released details on cost and schedule changes on major defense acquisition programs since the December 2004 reporting period. This information is based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to Congress for the June 30, 2005, reporting period.
SARs summarize the latest estimates of cost, schedule, and technical status. These reports are prepared annually in conjunction with the US president's budget. Subsequent quarterly exception reports are required only for those programs experiencing unit-cost increases of at least 15% or schedule delays of at least six months. Quarterly SARs are also submitted for initial reports, final reports, and for programs that are rebaselined at major milestone decisions.
The total program-cost estimates provided in the SARs include research and development, procurement, military construction, and acquisition-related operation and maintenance (except for pre-Milestone B programs, which are limited to development costs). Total program costs reflect actual costs to date, as well as future anticipated costs. All estimates include anticipated inflation allowances.
The current estimate of acquisition costs for programs covered by SARs for the prior reporting period (December 2004) was $1.5 trillion. After subtracting the costs for six final reports (Joint Common Missile [JCM], Longbow Hellfire, Maneuver Control System [MCS], Navy Extremely High Frequency Satellite Communications System [NESP], Standard Missile-2 [SM-2], and B-1B Conventional Mission Upgrade Program [CMUP]) and adding the costs for three new programs (Mission Planning System [MPS], Mobile User Objective System [MUOS], and Ship Self Defense System [SSDS]) from the December 2004 reporting period, the adjusted current estimate of acquisition costs was $1.5 trillion. There was a net cost decrease of $72.8 million (-0.005%) during the current reporting period (June 2005), which was due primarily to revised program estimates for the Air Force's National Airspace System (NAS) program.
For the June 2005 reporting period, there were quarterly exception SARs submitted for six programs. The reasons for the submissions are provided below.
Navy: LPD 17(amphibious transport dock ship) – The SAR was submitted to report a schedule slip of seven months (from July 2006 to February 2007) for the lead ship's initial operational capability (IOC) due to challenges associated with completing lead-ship production and testing. There were no cost changes reported since the December 2004 SAR.
MH-60S Utility Helicopter – The SAR was submitted to report a schedule slip of six months in the IOC of the airborne mine-countermeasures mission capability (from September 2006 to March 2007). This delay was due to problems with the Carriage Stream Tow and Recovery System (CSTRS). Resolution of the issue requires redesign and manufacture of some CSTRS components. There were no significant cost changes reported since the December 2004 SAR.
Air Force: Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) – The SAR was submitted to report a schedule slip of seven months (from May 2005 to December 2005) in approval of full-rate production (Milestone III) approval. The delay was due to an anomaly during the Delta IV heavy-lift demonstration that delayed completion of the exit criteria required to proceed to Milestone III. There were no cost changes reported since the December 2004 SAR.
Global Broadcast Service (GBS) – The SAR was submitted to report that the current estimate for IOC 2/3 has slipped nine months (from March 2006 to December 2006), and the current estimate for the beyond-low-rate-initial-production review has slipped five months (from November 2005 to April 2006). Both changes were caused by the need to integrate Operational Requirements Document (ORD) III changes into the test-and-evaluation master plan (TEMP) and other test planning documentation. Program costs decreased $12 million (-1.6%) from $756 million to $744 million, due to a revised cost estimate and a quantity reduction of 12 units, from 1,049 to 1,037.
National Airspace System (NAS) – The SAR was submitted to rebaseline from a development to a production estimate following the June 2005 approval of full-rate production (Milestone III). The dates for award of the Digital Airport Surveillance Radar (DASR) full-rate production contract and the DoD Advanced Automation System production award exercise were both changed from March 2005 to June 2005. The changes were due to a later than expected beyond-low-rate-initial-production report and the effects of a changing management structure following the departure of the previous milestone-decision authority. The new baseline also includes the addition of follow-on operational test and evaluation as recommended by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and the director of operational test and evaluation. Program costs decreased $59.5 million (-4%) to $1.4 billion, due primarily to a refinement in the Navy's cost estimate.
Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) – The SAR was submitted to rebaseline the program from a development to a production estimate following the April 2005 approval of low-rate initial production (Milestone C). There were no cost changes reported since the December 2004 SAR.
A summary table of the SARs can be found here
For more on changing priorities at the US DoD, see Guessing Game: Quadrennial Defense Review 2005
.USAF Tests Small Diameter Bomb
Source: US Air Force
The US Air Force's 366th Maintenance Group at Mountain Home AFB, ID, tested a new Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Aug. 3 to 5.
The GBU-39 SDB system is a low-cost, precision-strike weapon system that will soon be used by fighters, bombers, and unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs). The weapon is currently being tested on F-15E Strike Eagles.
Mountain Home AFB is one of several Air Combat Command (ACC) and Air National Guard (ANG) bases receiving training for the new munition. The 250-lb. bomb is half the weight of the current precision bombs used on F-15Es. Its small size allows four bombs to be attached to each of the five weapon stations on the aircraft, said Dave Ward of the Air Armament Center at Eglin AFB, FL. “We can now send one aircraft to do the job of four,” Ward said, “so increased load outputs are the primary advantage of the new weapon system.”
Another advantage of the bomb is reduced collateral damage during contingencies such as Operation Iraqi Freedom. The “smarter” bomb will be able to maximize damage to enemy targets.
To get personnel up to speed on the new weapon system, Ward, along with people at the Air Force Test Evaluation Center and ACC, trained and evaluated maintainers on maintaining and loading the bomb. “We ran through all the logistical and maintenance phases up to the load of the bomb on (F-15E) weapon racks. That way, when the bomb becomes operational, airmen will be able to properly use and maintain the bomb,” Ward said.
The team initially trained the munitions-system technicians and then armament craftsmen. The maintainers were able to become familiar with both the design of the weapon and the four-place smart carriage system to which it attaches on the F-15E. After training, a full test of the bomb was completed Aug. 5.
Maintainers said they like the new system because it is more user friendly than current weapon inventories. “All the maintenance for the bomb could be done in less than an hour, so we were timed to verify that the time span could be accomplished,” said TSgt. T.J. Koskovich of the 366th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. Sergeant Koskovich worked with the bomb’s carriage system. “The new time standard is well under the amount of time it takes to work on our current armament systems.”
The bomb system is expected to become fully operational by 2007. US Air Force (USAF) officials plan to initially field the bomb on the F-15E in FY06 and later on the F/A-22 Raptor, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and eventually every other weapon platform. Initial estimates are that the USAF will procure at least 24,000 weapons and 2,000 carriages.
For more on Small-Diameter Bomb, see SDBs Strike Targets in Test
and USAF Boosting Its Spirits
.UK Frigates Receive Additional Sonar
Source: Thales UK
Thales UK has won a $30.7-million extension to an existing contract with the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) to provide a further two Sonar 2087 Ship Systems. Sonar 2087 Batch 2 will follow on from the six ship systems (Batch 1) currently being supplied under the development, manufacture, and support (DMS) contract. The Sonar 2087 Batch 2 program delivery commences in 2007, with final contract completion by December 2010.
Thales UK's underwater-systems business is the prime contractor and manufacturer for the Sonar 2087, which will enhance the underwater sensor capability for the Royal Navy's main anti-submarine warfare (ASW) ships, the Type 23 Duke-class frigates.
Following successful development trials, systems have already been fitted to and set to work onboard HMS Westminster and HMS Northumberland. A third ship, HMS Richmond, is to be fitted during the latter part of 2005. The Sonar 2087 is presently undergoing sea trials with an in-service date planned for mid-2006.
The major components of the Sonar 2087 system include a hydrodynamically optimized, active towed body fitted with a vertical line array incorporating Thales free-flooded-ring technology, a towed-body-handling system for deployment and recovery, a modular towed array, a towed-array-handling system, power-transmit and processing suite of cabinets, and multifunction consoles, all of which interface to the ship's combat system.
Speaking of Combat Films
Through an arrangement with Combat Films & Research
(see previous post
), eDefense Online will be posting video shorts of interest to our readers. The outfit is run by a man with the appropriate name of Dodge Billingsley
. He founded Combat Films in 1997 and since then has covered conflicts around the world. His new film, Close Combat Attack -- Operation Anaconda: D-Day
describes combat helicopter operations during a key engagement early in the war on terror that should serve as a wake-up call for all militaries so engaged. In fact, apparently the film (in pirated form, unfortunately) has become something of an unofficial training tool for units around the world that use the AH-64 Apache. It's an important, apolitical look at combat helicopter operations in the modern world. Dodge also wrote a feature story on Operation Anaconda for eDefense Online entitled Choppers in the Coils
Dodge is publishing a Combat Films blog called The TOC
that is worth your time. Unlike many commentators on war, Dodge actually goes out into the field, getting his hands dirty and risking his life alongside the troops he covers. Dodge's military eye is keen, his instincts for what is important to soldiers is acute, and his work is respected by armed forces around the world.
Here is an observation Dodge made on IEDs in response to the destruction of a US Marine amphibious armored vehicle in Iraq that killed 15, inluding 14 marines:
Last year while in Mosul, I recall seeing photos of a suicide bomber's attempt to blow up a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle during OIF1. The insurgent's body was everywhere and the only damage to the Bradley was a large red stain of blood. Those types of zealous but ineffective bombings are more and more a thing of the past in Iraq. No doubt attacks like those demonstrated to the insurgents that they would have to come up with alternatives to penetrate the armor that the coalition possessed. For awhile at least most of the insurgent IEDs targeted the supply column--vehicles that were not armored or lightly armored and were more likely to be damaged, destroyed, and inflict casualties.
The IED that flipped the Marine AAV, may have diminished the importance of the race to up-armor all the soft skin vehicles operating in Iraq, Humvees and trucks. The Iraqi insurgent's IED capability has escalated to diminish the importance that up-armor may have afforded a humvee or truck eighteen months ago. This isn't to say that up-armor will not help against the casual, crude or misplaced IED, but against the more sophisticated and powerful kinds of bombs increasingly used by insurgents, it will not stave off occasional disaster. The Marine AAV is not the first Infantry Fighting Vehicle to be destroyed by an IED. At least one U.S. Army Bradley infantry fighting vehicle was struck by a "lollipop" IED, with enough force to split it from underneath.
Interesting how the clamor to "up armor" everything has resulted in the insurgents using shaped charges to blow through the armor. For more on US efforts to counter IEDs in Iraq, see Shutting the Bomb Factories
Go check out The TOC. And if you have a mind to, buy Close Combat Attack.
UK Harrier Video
In a previous post
, I linked to video clips of RAF Harriers in Afghanistan that had been made available by the UK MoD through The News Market. Last weekend, I edited those clips into a minute-and-a-half video presentation that you can access here on eDefense Online
I plan to have more videos there on a regular basis. Next up will be US Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters
fighting in Afghanistan during operation Anaconda in the Shah-e-Kot Valley in March 2002, courtesy of Combat Films
Off the Wire, 8/15
German 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
General Jumper's Legacy
US Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff General John P. Jumper will retire after 39 years of service. His effective date of retirement will be November 1, 2005. General Jumper's replacement will be General T. Michael Moseley, currently serving as Air Force vice chief of staff. This is a good moment to consider one of the most interesting of General Jumper's accomplishments during his tenure as USAF chief of staff, the reclassification of the electronic warfare officer (EWO).
"The AF/XO formed an Air Force-wide task force that evaluated the requirements for future aviators to support our operational missions," General Jumper wrote in a May 28, 2002, memo. "In line with the competencies required of this aviator, we are redesignating the Nav/EWO as a Weapon Systems Officer...The cornerstone of this initiative is a redesigned flight and ground training pipeline which will produce an aviator skilled in advanced navigation systems, electronic warfare, weapons employment, and able to operate the complex systems so critical to the Air Force mission."
General Jumper cited "new weapon systems that take advantage of emerging technologies" as spurring a rethinking of the role of the navigator. This is really not so surprising. General Jumper has been quoted elsewhere as saying that the definition of electronic warfare, for him, encompassed those technologies that help put a round on the target. This comment was in the context of the Airborne Electronic Attack Analysis of Alternatives discussion about future electronic attack platforms (see AEA AOA Charts Future Direction for Airborne Electronic Attack
, I Will Be Your Escort
, and The Hornet's Sting
). It is worth mentioning a few of the key points contained in a position paper on the Future Nav/EWO that accompanied General Jumper's memo:
- Today's Joint Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training (JSUNT) pipeline produces navigators, electronic-warfare officers (EWOs), and weapons-system officers (WSOs) for specific flying roles allowing little flexibility to cross-flow to other flying duties. The future Nav/EWO needs the skills of all three to provide the Air Force with the flexibility to meet future needs.
- All future WSOs will receive EW training common to all aircraft prior to aircraft assignment. Individuals assigned to specific EWO positions will be given specialized EW training specific to their assignment. This concept will enable WSOs to cross-flow to other weapon systems if needed by attending a short conversion course tailored to individual requirements based on current qualifications and follow-on assignment.
- With a solid aviation background, the future WSO will be capable of current Nav/EWO/WSO duties and make him the logical choice to operate the UAV, airborne laser (ABL), and future jamming platforms. Highly trained in mission-planning skills, advanced communications, EW, and mission systems, the future WSO will be valuable in and out of the cockpit.
- As the UAV program continues to expand, rated requirements for UAV operators will increase. Being an expert in weapons employment, SEAD/DEAD, and datalink systems, plus having a full understanding of ATO execution and rules of engagement, the experienced future Nav/EWO will be the logical candidate to operate and command UAV units.
The universe of electronic warfare (EW) is expanding. This is not necessarily evident to orthodox thinkers in a community that tends to see EW as a finite universe of platform protection, electronic attack, and, if the stars are aligned properly, electronic intelligence. This is not to say that there is no debate in the industry, or that some prominent companies are not trying to reinvent themselves as integrators of systems for situational awareness and targeting that also perform EW functions. But there are many who do not want to believe that the Black Box EW Age is over.
The integration and amalgamation of equipment and personnel historically separated into discrete functions is the way of the future. It would seem that the EW community should expand to include the practitioners of the all of the duties defined for the WSO and his colleagues in the other services, at home and internationally. Certainly, this is the opinion of the USAF's far-sighted outgoing chief of staff.