In Brief

Nov. 1, 2008

Lockheed Martin C4ISR equipment onboard National Security Cutter Waesche

The Lockheed Martin Coast Guard Systems team participated in the power up of the first set of electronic cabinets and consoles of the command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system onboard the U.S. Coast Guard’s second National Security Cutter, Waesche (WMSL 751). Lockheed Martin’s C4ISR systems will provide Waesche’s crew with a common operating picture to aid coordination among helicopters, aircraft, other ships, and shore facilities. The system has an open-architecture design and provides interoperability, assuring that the Coast Guard can work with several federal, regional, and state agencies and organizations to maintain maritime domain awareness and accomplish homeland security missions, Lockheed Martin officials say. The operation–Electronics Light-Off–powered up six operations center consoles, a large-screen display, and the vessel’s local area network electronics cabinets, marking the beginning of the National Security Cutter’s electronics test program. All 28 electronics cabinets, which constitute the core of the C4ISR system, will be powered up this week. The 418-foot Waesche, built at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s Pascagoula shipyard and equipped by Lockheed Martin, will be the second ship in a class of technologically-advanced, multimission cutters.

BAE Systems fires first shot from Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon prototype

BAE Systems in Minneapolis, Minn., fired the first round from the XM1203 Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Cannon prototype at a U.S. Army test site. BAE Systems officials made the announcement at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) in Washington last month. “Now we have a manned ground vehicle that can demonstrate its battlefield mission,” says Mark Signorelli, vice president of Army Programs at BAE Systems. The system’s predecessor, the NLOS Cannon Firing Platform, used a remote hardstand to support its firing. The first round was fired by the same prototype the Army and the FCS One Team debuted on the National Mall in Washington in June of this year. The company took the prototype through final laboratory tests before it went to the Army test site in August. The NLOS Cannon program is on schedule for soldiers to begin user tests with the system and experience push-button firepower capability as early as next year, company officials say. The NLOS Cannon is an automated, 155-mm, self-propelled howitzer being designed and built by BAE Systems, in partnership with General Dynamics Land Systems and the FCS Lead System Integrator team of Boeing and Science Applications International Corp. It is part of the FCS program and the lead vehicle in the family of eight FCS manned ground vehicles. BAE Systems has two prototypes undergoing testing with four additional prototypes moving through the integration phase.

Boeing submits proposal for Special Operations Forces contract

Boeing officials submitted a proposal in response to U.S. Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) Request for Proposals for the $5 billion Special Operations Forces Support Activity (SOFSA) contract. Boeing and teammate CSC will provide manufacturing; maintenance, and repairs; supply chain and asset management; and information technology to improve processes and systems within SOFSA. SOFSA is a 10-year program that provides logistics support services to ensure that the readiness requirements of the SOF warfighter are met. It includes support of virtually any product or item to the SOF. Boeing formed a Defense & Government Services division in September to enter the estimated $400 billion unawarded services market. Boeing already provides USSOCOM with the majority of its rotary wing fleet, including the MH-47G Chinook, AH-6 Little Bird, CV-22 Osprey, and A160 Hummingbird platforms. CSC provides experience in ground support and logistics systems.

General Dynamics proves networking of JTRS HMS radios

Officials at General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz., demonstrated the networked-communications capability of their Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit (HMS) radios in government-run Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) field tests. The tests have proved interoperability, range, video transmission, and networking abilities. Each of those capabilities is critical to accomplishing the Department of Defense’s transformational objectives of increasing connectivity among warfighters and military units. General Dynamics C4 Systems is the prime contractor for the JTRS HMS program. Characterized by their small, light, and power-efficient design, HMS radios work for close-combat tactical communication and are easier for soldiers to carry or wear compared to deployed legacy radios, General Dynamics officials say. They can also be embedded in lightweight sensors, robots, and unmanned aerial vehicles. The HMS radios all have the same core design but take on different functionality and physical shape depending on the mission, company officials say. The HMS radios also are meeting other key JTRS requirements, such as communicating with existing, Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) radios, transmitting video while embedded in unmanned aerial vehicles, and communicating with radios mounted in mobile ground vehicles. The JTRS HMS 1-channel radio for ground soldiers, the Small Form Fit-C (SFF-C) Version 1, or “Rifleman Radio,” is scheduled for user evaluation by the U.S. Army’s Evaluation Task Force at Fort Bliss, Texas, next month.

Northrop Grumman fields Guardrail Ground Baseline 2.0 hardware and software

Northrop Grumman in Reston, Va., fielded Guardrail Ground Baseline (GGB) 2.0 hardware and software to U.S. Army military intelligence battalions, standardizing Guardrail ground components across the service. GGB 2.0 provides common hardware and software and eliminates obsolete equipment, thus improving operations, supportability, deployability, and maintenance of the Army’s RC-12 Guardrail Common Sensor aircraft ground component. GGB’s network-based architecture supports forward garrison operators and rear operators via satellite link, as well as cooperative operations with other signals intelligence sensors. GGB 2.0 delivers enhanced data processing capabilities for signal analysis and command and control of the RC-12 Guardrail payload. Guardrail detects, identifies, and locates ground-based radar and communication signals. The GGB 2.0 effort is a shared accomplishment of Army Project Manager-Aerial Common Sensors in Fort Monmouth, N.J.; U.S. Army Intelligence and Signal Command (INSCOM) in Fort Belvoir, Va.; Northrop Grumman; L3 Communications-ILEX Systems in Eatontown, N.J.; CACI Technologies Inc. in Arlington, Va.; and L3-Communication Systems West in Salt Lake City.

U.S. Army places order for sniper detectors from QinetiQ North America

The U.S. Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) placed an order with QinetiQ North America in McLean, Va., for Soldier Wearable Acoustic Targeting Systems (SWATS). The SWATS units will be deployed to Army troops in Iraq and Afghanistan this year. The devices are part of QinetiQ’s Ears Gunshot Localization product line. The order marks the Army’s first large-scale deployment of any warfighter-wearable gunshot and sniper detection solution, QinetiQ officials say. The Ears systems for the REF will include next-generation sensors and rugged features tailored to the environment in Iraq and Afghanistan. The system was tested in the field and in stateside demonstrations, says Don Steinman, director of technology marketing for QinetiQ North America’s Technology Solutions Group. “The soldiers gave us feedback and we acted on it,” he adds. The mission of the REF is to equip operational commanders with off-the-shelf solutions, insert future force technology required by engaged and deployed forces, and assess capabilities, thus enabling U.S. forces to rapidly confront an adaptive enemy.

Air Force awards first CPP contract to ITCN

U.S. Air Force officials awarded the first Commercialization Pilot Program (CPP) to ITCN of Centerville, Ohio. The program involves a $700,000 investment to switch prototype 1553 databus network test equipment into a ruggedized, deployable, commercial preproduction design to test embedded military systems under rigorous field conditions. ITCN’s equipment–the Bus Characterization and Integrity Toolset (BCIT)–is an all-in-one test instrument for troubleshooting cables, diagnosing bus health, and monitoring system performance. The BCIT was originally developed through an Air Force Small Business Innovative Research contract. During prototype testing, field engineers found they needed a more rugged unit to troubleshoot MIL-STD-1553 buses and embedded avionics systems on the flight line without concern for mechanical or environmental constraints, ITCN officials say. “The BCIT is a great test tool for maintenance and troubleshooting of embedded systems. It can pinpoint wiring and cabling problems to within 6 inches, and is a versatile, programmable test tool as well,” says Roy Penwell, president of ITCN Inc. “Now with more rugged features added through the CPP, it will also be a tough, weather-resistant piece of instrumentation, suitable for field maintenance.”

ViaSat receives additional $7 million MIDS delivery order

ViaSat Inc. won an additional order worth approximately $7 million for Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) terminals from the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego. The order augments the $52 million Lot 9 delivery order announced this summer, received by ViaSat as part of the MIDS annual Lot procurements. The Lot 9 add-on consists primarily of LVT(2)/LVT(11) ground-based Low Volume Terminals, along with LVT(1) airborne terminals. MIDS LVT is part of the U.S. military’s Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) that collects data from many sources and displays an electronic overview of the battlefield using secure, high-capacity, jam-resistant, digital data and voice. The system is used by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, as well as militaries of other nations.

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