In brief

May 1st, 2007

BAE Systems seeker detects missile target in THAAD weapon system test

BAE Systems’s infrared seeker for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system helped guide the THAAD interceptor to a successful intercept of an incoming ballistic missile target at an April 6 test firing at the Pacific Missile Range facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The target was destroyed in the test, which was conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is the THAAD prime contractor and systems integrator. The BAE Systems seeker transmits infrared imagery about the targeted warhead to the missile’s computer to guide the interceptor to its target. The seeker met all required parameters, paving the way for additional intercept testing to continue through 2009. Upcoming tests planned at the Pacific Missile Range facility will be against increasingly complex targets outside the earth’s atmosphere. THAAD is designed to defend U.S. and allied soldiers, military assets, and population centers from the threat of ballistic missile attacks. To achieve the lethality required to defeat ballistic missiles, THAAD destroys them through direct “hit-to-kill” targeting.

Northrop Grumman wins Marine Corps contract for Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR)

The U.S. Marine Corps awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a contract valued at $256.6 million to develop its new Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR), which consolidates the missions of five Marine Corps radars into a single multi-role radar system. The contract scope of work during this first program phase includes system development, fabrication, and test of the Increment I system, low rate initial production of two G/ATOR systems and full-rate production of an additional 15 systems, and logistics support. The Marine Corps’ end state objective is a total of 63 G/ATOR systems. G/ATOR is a highly mobile system intended to fully support the Marine Corps’s expeditionary warfare requirements. The new radar system will provide the Marines with enhanced capabilities to detect, track, and provide target quality data to engage hostile aircraft, cruise missiles, unmanned air vehicles, rockets, mortars, and artillery. G/ATOR will also provide robust air traffic control capabilities to enhance the safety of Marine Corps air operations. G/ATOR will also enable enhanced operational capabilities using Northrop Grumman’s Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar technology.

ViaSat wins 2007 Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Technology award

ViaSat Inc. in Carlsbad, Calif., has been named the winner of the Frost & Sullivan “Excellence in Technology Award” for driving dramatic advances in Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) technology while at the same time reducing terminal costs. The Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Technology Award is bestowed upon the company that has pioneered the development and introduction of an innovative technology into the market-a technology that is expected to bring significant contributions to the industry in terms of adoption, change, and competitive posture. The report highlights several ViaSat technical and business strategy achievements that have resulted in technological advances in the data links and defense communications market, including: development of Link-16 enhanced throughput; sole qualified producer of the MIDS-LVT(2) ground terminal; innovative use of advanced processors and field-programmable gate arrays to enable lower costs, greater flexibility, and a digital solution to significant challenges; codevelopment of the Airborne Networking Waveform for MIDS-JTRS; seeking partnerships to gain products available “off-the-shelf,” while maintaining internal developments focused on key new technologies; and a manufacturing outsourcing strategy that enables ViaSat to maximize its research and development spending to compete against bigger rivals.

U.S. Navy awards iRobot additional $14 million for bomb-disposal robots

iRobot Corp. in Burlington, Mass., announced a delivery order from the U.S. Navy to build additional bomb-disposal robots for shipment to the U.S. forces overseas. This latest award of $14 million from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) brings the total value of the orders placed to date to $66 million. Under the terms of the contract order, iRobot will deliver an additional 101 iRobot PackBot Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS) robots, plus spare parts to repair robots in the field. iRobot shipped the initial lot of PackBot robots for this order in late March 2007, and the company expects to deliver the remaining robots pursuant to this delivery order before Dec. 31, 2007. Under the terms of the previously existing Indefinite-Delivery/Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contract, the military could order up to the full $264 million value in robots, spare parts, training, and repair services. The U.S. military’s MTRS program has requirements for as many as 1,200 robots through 2012. The PackBot MTRS robots are customized for NAVSEA and are based on iRobot’s combat-proven PackBot EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) robots. PackBot MTRS robots are equipped with advanced tools and sensors that enable EOD technicians to detect, identify, and disable explosive devices from safe distances.

Boeing awarded contract for 18 U.S. Army AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters

Boeing in St. Louis and the U.S. Army have signed a $276.4 million contact for 18 new AH-64D Apache Longbow multi-role combat helicopters. The contract raises to 45 the number of new-build Apache Longbows on order with the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army also recently contracted for the remanufacture of 96 AH-64A Apaches into AH-64Ds. Boeing will begin delivery of these new-build helicopters in mid-2009 at its manufacturing facility in Mesa, Ariz., where Apaches have been built since the program’s inception. The U.S. Army uses the Apache Longbow to fulfill attack helicopter and reconnaissance requirements. Featuring integrated avionics and weapons, plus state-of-the-art digital communications capabilities, the Apache Longbow can rapidly detect, classify, prioritize, and engage stationary and moving opposition targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather environments. The new U.S. Army Apache Longbow aircraft, to be built in the Block II configuration, are in addition to the 501 remanufactured AH-64D Apache Longbows built between 1997 and 2006 under two five-year, multiyear contracts.

Lockheed Martin A-10 prime team delivers situational awareness capability to U.S. Air Force for flight testing

The A-10 Prime Team, led by Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, N.Y., has delivered the full-function Situational Awareness Data Link (SADL) capability to the U.S. Air Force for developmental flight testing. SADL, part of the A-10C Precision Engagement program, improves pilot situational awareness by providing critical information about friendly and enemy air and ground assets. “SADL will help Air Force A-10 pilots further reduce fratricide in the combat environment,” says Roger Il Grande, A-10 program director at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration. “Enhanced situational awareness is a key element of the Precision Engagement program, helping to transform the legacy A/OA-10 aircraft from an analog aircraft to the enhanced digital A-10C configuration.” The U.S. Air Force is expected to conduct developmental flight test of the SADL capability through May 2007 at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. SADL is expected to be fielded to operational A-10 units by September 2007. In addition to SADL, the Precision Engagement effort enables the A-10C to use new precision-guided weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD).

Raytheon awarded $1.9 million option for research on advanced RF components

Raytheon Company’s Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) in Tewksbury, Mass., was awarded a $1.9 million option to develop a low-cost receiver-on-a-chip as an add-on to a two-year, $4.1 million contract with the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The purpose of the research contract is to develop affordable, advanced multifunction radio frequency components using low-cost silicon technology. These components are intended to support ONR’s integrated topside initiatives, which are aimed at reducing the number of arrays aboard ships that can perform radar, communications, and electronic warfare functions, and reducing associated lifecycle costs. “This research is significant because it paves the way for affordable multifunction array architectures that support the Navy,” says Mark Russell, vice president of Engineering at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. Raytheon, prime contractor for the program, is teaming with HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, Calif., and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

Air Berlin selects Rockwell Collins avionics for 85 B737NG aircraft

Air Berlin, the second largest carrier in Germany and the third largest low-cost carrier in Europe, has selected the Rockwell Collins MultiScan Hazard Detection System, Multi Mode Receiver (MMR) and Passenger Address Unit (PAU) for 85 Boeing 737NG aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in April 2008. “By selecting MultiScan and our Multi Mode Receiver, Air Berlin’s 737NG fleet will be equipped with systems that will provide advanced hazard detection capabilities, as well as the ability to meet future navigation requirements,” says Jeff Standerski, vice president and general manager, Air Transport Systems for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Rockwell Collins’ WXR-2100 MultiScan Hazard Detection System analyzes and determines actual weather hazards, not simply atmospheric moisture content.

Army selects Honeywell Tactical Advanced Land Inertial Navigator for Bradley Vehicle and Abrams Tank

Honeywell in Phoenix announced that its Tactical Advanced Land Inertial Navigator (influence) navigation and pointing system has been selected by the U.S. Army for the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and M1A1 Abrams Tank. Under the terms of the four-year, $40.7 million contract, Honeywell will provide 973 TALINTM systems to enhance battlefield navigation capabilities on the vehicles. The inertial systems will provide navigation position, velocity, heading, altitude, target location determination, communications reporting, and time data for map displays. Honeywell’s TALINTM can be integrated with command and control systems, providing data updates every five seconds, as well as fire control platforms to allow target transfer from one weapons system to another. The self-sustaining navigation technology can also host existing and future GPS capabilities. TALINTM systems are currently in use on the following U.S. military platforms: Bradley Fighting Vehicle, M1A1 Abrams Tank, Bradley Fire Support Vehicle (FIST), Stryker Force FIST vehicle, Stryker Force Mortar Vehicle, Mortar Fire Control System, Complementary Low-Altitude Weapons System (CLAWS), Canadian Forward Observer Vehicle and 155 mm Howitzer Towed Artillery Digitization. Honeywell has delivered more than 4,000 TALINTM Systems.

U.S. Army awards General Dynamics $12 million for Stryker combat vehicle work

The U.S. Army TACOM Lifecycle Management Command awarded General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., a $12.5 million delivery order in support of the Stryker family of combat vehicles. This delivery order funds procurement of one-inch slat armor and the associated headlight kits for Stryker vehicles. Work will be performed by existing General Dynamics employees in Lima, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2008. Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled combat vehicles, available in ten variants, that has been proven effective by the U.S. Army and the National Guard for defense and disaster-response missions.

Honeywell developing integrated primary flight displays

Honeywell in Phoenix announced that it is developing integrated primary flight display (IPFD) technology for helicopters to enhance flight safety by improving situational awareness and reducing pilot workload. Honeywell’s synthetic vision technology utilizes advanced computing power to provide easy-to-understand, three-dimensional graphic displays of surrounding terrain and obstacles, regardless of outside conditions. “Helicopter pilots often face situational awareness challenges when flying in rain, snow, dust, or at night,” says Vicki Panhuisev, vice president commercial and military helicopters, Honeywell Defense and Space. “Our ambient, natural and continuous synthetic vision technology is going to reduce the need for pilots to frequently scan and cross-check indicators on instrument panels, allowing them to focus on safely flying the aircraft.” Honeywell’s integrated display will replicate the view from the helicopter’s windshield on a clear day and overlay the terrain image with flight symbols including icons.

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