The INSIDER - October 16, 2012
We posted this story -- and the ADM -- on Friday, but it's still worthy of our top slot today:
Kendall Clears Manpack Radio For $250 Million Low-Rate Initial Production
The Defense Department has approved the two-channel Manpack radio made by General Dynamics C4 Systems for low-rate initial production after validating that previously identified flaws have been fixed, according to an internal Pentagon memo signed by DOD's acquisition chief.
The Manpack is part of the Joint Tactical Radio System program, which recently morphed into the Joint Tactical Networking Center. The LRIP award is for 3,726 Manpack units for the Army and will bring GD more than $250 million. Before the decision, the Army had been cleared to buy only 100 Manpacks.
"Procurement of these additional units will ensure orderly ramp up of production capacity, provide test assets for further developmental and operational tests, and facilitate the fielding in accordance with Capability Set 13 deployment," Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top acquisition officer, wrote in an Oct. 11 "for official use only" memo obtained by Inside the Army.
JTRS Manpack Radio Acquisition Decision Memo (FOUO)
In an Oct. 11, 2012, memo marked "for official use only," Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall approves the two-channel Manpack radio made by General Dynamics C4 Systems for low-rate initial production after validating that previously identified flaws have been fixed.
Top Weapons Tester Wants More Testing Of Harris Corp.'s 117G Radio
The Pentagon's chief weapons tester asserts that Harris Corp.'s 117G radio "has not been adequately tested" and has directed the Army to conduct "realistic operational testing" at the service's Network Integration Evaluation, according to an internal Defense Department memo obtained by Inside the Army.
The Army has acquired two brigade combat teams worth of non-program-of-record 117Gs in order to provide interim mid-tier communications for the network suite known as Capability Set 13 until follow-on BCTs can be outfitted with program-of-record Joint Tactical Radio System Manpack radios developed by General Dynamics C4 Systems, and Mid-tier Networking Vehicular Radios from a yet-to-be-determined contractor.
Until now, the radio has not been under the oversight of J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation. An Oct. 4 memo he sent to Army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu changed all that.
DOT&E Memo On Harris Corp's 117G Radio
In an Oct. 4, 2012, memo, Pentagon Operational Test and Evaluation Director J. Michael Gilmore calls for Harris Corp's 117G radio to receive further operational testing.
Inside the Navy leads off this week with two stories on unmanned aircraft:
Navy, Northrop Grumman Integrating Fire Scout With Four Ship Classes
The Navy is in the early stages of integration testing involving its MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter and four classes of ships after U.S. Special Operations Command requested additional maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, the Fire Scout program manager said last week.
Fire Scout developer Northrop Grumman will oversee the integration testing on eight vastly different ships -- two frigates, two Littoral Combat Ships, three destroyers and a Joint High Speed Vessel -- "to look at what modifications would be required on the [ships] to support putting Fire Scout on board and provide up to a 24-hour capability for flight operations," Fire Scout program manager Capt. Patrick Smith told Inside the Navy on Oct. 11.
Official: ONR's Unmanned Cargo UAS Will Fly At Night, Evade Enemy Fire
The Office of Naval Research has selected Lockheed Martin and Aurora Flight Sciences to build prototype cargo unmanned aerial systems, which the Navy will push to develop into systems much more sophisticated than the K-MAX UAS, the program manager told Inside the Navy last week.
ONR's Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility Systems effort is focused on developing and demonstrating a payload that could be attached to any unmanned vertical-lift platform and transform the aircraft into a cargo UAS that can ferry supplies anywhere in harsh conditions and evade enemy fire, Missy Cummings, program officer for AACUS, said in an Oct. 11 interview.
Cummings said at an industry day last November that ONR is trying to fast-track AACUS because it is urgently needed in the field. The contract awards to Aurora and Lockheed on Sept. 28 kicks off an 18-month dash to get a prototype ready for demonstration to the program. Lockheed will demonstrate its offering at Ft. Pickett, VA, and Aurora would most likely demonstrate its in Quantico, VA, although that is not set in stone, Cummings said.
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More front-page Navy news:
Official: Navy Establishes NECC Pacific To Support U.S. Pacific Fleet
The Navy has created Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Pacific to establish an administrative relationship between expeditionary combat forces and U.S. Pacific Fleet that has been lacking since NECC was created in 2006, an official told Inside the Navy last week.
Most Navy type commanders have headquarters on both coasts, such as Naval Surface Force Atlantic and Naval Surface Force Pacific, NECC Pacific chief of staff Capt. Frank Hughlett said Oct. 10. NECC, on the other hand, was led by a single type commander, and "command relationships between [U.S. Fleet Forces] and [U.S. Pacific Fleet] precluded the single TYCOM from developing an [administrative] relationship with PACFLT."
Without NECC PAC, NECC had provided explosive ordnance disposal technicians, naval construction teams, riverine forces and more to the Pacific theater but could not provide direct support to those personnel once they arrived, Hughlett stated.
Draft RFP For Ship Self-Defense System Overseer Due Out In November
The Navy will release a draft request for proposals next month for a Ship Self-Defense System Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) to oversee integration of new warfighting capabilities, interoperability upgrades and improved shipboard training, a program official said last week.
The competition for SSDS, which will be installed on six classes of amphibious ships and aircraft carriers, is meant to "keep this combat system relevant and outpace the threat," Capt. Mike Ladner, major program manager for the SSDS integrated combat systems in the program executive office for integrated warfare systems, said on Oct. 12.
Looking way down the road on vertical flight:
Six Companies Awarded Contracts To Study Future Rotorcraft Systems
The Army has awarded contracts to six companies to study future Joint Multi-Role rotorcraft mission systems technology, according to Army and industry officials.
The companies selected were Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, Sikorsky and Survice Engineering, Ned Chase, the Army's JMR project lead, told Inside the Army on Oct. 12. Officials within the Applied Aviation Technology Directorate, charged with managing these contracts, are calling these studies "Missions Systems Effectiveness Trades and Analysis." The findings that emerge from the studies will contribute to how the service's next major helicopter acquisition program, predicted to come on line around 2030, takes shape.
"The overall intent was to get industry's read on their visualization on next-generation mission systems. We didn't so much want to tell them what we thought that mission systems suite ought to be. We solicited their input for not only what it might be, but how it might be put together and the different features of it, say sensors or survivability or man/machine interface," Chase said.
Lawmakers say no to Army MECV plans:
House Appropriators Deny Army's 'Excess' MECV Reprogramming Request
The House Appropriations defense subcommittee has denied the Army's request to reprogram $28 million in "excess" funds away from the renewed humvee recapitalization effort known as the Medium Expanded Capability Vehicle, according to government documents and sources.
The Army has $48 million in research and development money in its light tactical wheeled vehicles funding line to pay for MECV-related activities, but the service sought to keep only $20 million to run a MECV survivability demonstration and identified the other $28 million as "excess to the program."
Now that House appropriators have denied the Army's request to move $28 million to other priorities, contractors involved in the MECV program hope the Army will use the money to conduct a more "holistic vehicle competition" for MECV than what the service currently envisions. "It means the Army now has an additional $28 million to use," said an industry source close to the matter. "Our hope would be that they expand MECV-S into the original MECV competition; there should now be enough money to do that."
And speaking of trucks:
MRAP In-Theater Evaluation Scheduled Before Transition To Services
The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle joint program office will plan an in-theater evaluation in early to mid-2013 before transitioning the program to the services, according to an Army spokesman.
Guard and Reserve news:
Reserve Advocates Find Their Voice In Looming Fight For Army End Strength
Reserve proponents are asserting themselves in what could soon become a spat over the size of the Army's active-duty and reserve components, with one former ground service official arguing the active Army can afford shedding an additional 50,000 soldiers beyond the downsizing target of 490,000.
One of the elements helping to shape the debate is the Reserve Forces Policy Board, one of many advisory committees to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The panel last met in September, and some of the invited experts offered fighting words in their briefings, according to the minutes of the session released in compliance with transparency regulations.
The California adjutant general, Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, referred to "poaching" when describing what he saw as a trend by the active-duty Army to assume missions traditionally carried by reserve forces, including peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Sinai, according to the minutes. In addition, board chairman Arnold Punaro lamented what he described as the "myth" -- believed by some senior Pentagon leaders -- that reserve forces are more expensive than active-duty forces.
OSD Reserve Forces Policy Board Annual Meeting Minutes
On Oct. 5, 2012, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Reserve Forces Policy Board held its annual meeting.
In Case You Missed It . . .
. . . last week:
New 'Strategic Capabilities' Office Imagines Ways To Deal With Emerging Threats
A new Pentagon office is spearheading efforts to cultivate cutting-edge technological concepts that could give U.S. forces new advantages against sophisticated military adversaries.
The Strategic Capabilities Office was formed this summer in the research and engineering directorate of the Pentagon's acquisition shop, according to government officials. It is headed by William Roper, who previously worked as the Missile Defense Agency's director for engineering.
"The new Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) was established by AT&L in 2012 to conduct analysis in support of ongoing efforts to shape and counter emerging threats with emphasis on innovative and architecture-level, cross-service and cross-Defense/Intelligence concepts," Lt. Col. Melissa Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a written response to questions about the office. "The specific details of the work of the SCO are classified."
DOD Concludes Night-Vision Industry Must Shed More Excess Capacity
Defense contractors that produce U.S. military night-vision sensors must shed more excess capacity to ensure they remain viable as the Defense Department rapidly cuts purchases of the devices, according to a previously unreported Pentagon assessment prepared for Congress.
DOT&E Moves To Limit Role Of Non-Testers In Determining Reliability
Aiming to bolster the independence of the testing process and improve verdicts of how reliable a system will be in combat, the Pentagon's top weapons tester wants to reduce the influence of non-testers during the operational evaluation of new programs.
In an Oct. 5 memo, Michael Gilmore -- the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation -- wrote that he has recently "observed" practices that do not comport with the conduct of independent assessments.
DOD Night-Vision Sensors Report To Congress
The August 2012 Pentagon report to Congress assesses the defense industrial base for night-vision sensors.
Gilmore Memo On Independent OT&E Assessments
In an Oct. 5, 2012, memo, Michael Gilmore -- the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation -- wrote that he has recently "observed" practices that do not comport with the conduct of independent assessments.
-- Dan Dupont
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