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Inside the Pentagon – 04/21/2005
Posted: Apr. 21, 2005
MODULARITY FUNDING, PLANS DROVE MAJOR REVISIONS TO TRUCK STRATEGY: The Army’s
expanded modularity push, fueled by billions added to the service budget by the Pentagon, prompted the Army to take a fresh look at its tactical wheeled vehicle strategy and come up with a more relevant plan, a service official tells Inside the Army.
The service received a huge funding boost for modularity in a late 2004 Pentagon budget decision, which added $25 billion over fiscal years 2007 through 2011. Additional billions of dollars are expected from FY- 05 and FY-06 emergency supplemental spending bills.
How the Army will spend that money remains undecided. Still, millions for trucks are certain to be among the service’s priorities as it tries to replace and refurbish vehicles returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“A normal year in the Army is not like this last year in the Army,” said Col. Lynn Collyar of Army’s G-4 (logistics) office, who worked on the new truck plan. “The modularity design that we are instituting now was not in the planning factors for the  TWV strategy. And that modularity has significantly increased, in most cases, the truck assets that are required It’s not just the units that are already there that we’re modularizing, it’s the units that are being formed to support those,” including 11 new truck companies.
REVIEW TEAM LOOKS FOR WAYS TO MAKE CH-53E REPLACEMENT AFFORDABLE: William Balderson, the Navy’s acquisition official in charge of air programs, says an independent review team is evaluating requirements, technologies and risks for the CH-53E replacement helicopter, looking for ways to match up the program’s scope with available money, Inside the Navy reports.
The CH-53E replacement program, previously called CH-53X, is now referred to as the Heavy Lift Replacement program.
An independent cost estimate from Naval Air Systems Command on the CH-53E replacement recently produced a higher figure than a separate cost estimate from the heavy-lift program office, Balderson told ITN April 14, following a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing on helicopters. (He did not cite specific figures.)
In response to the differing estimates, Navy acquisition chief John Young tasked the independent review team to see “whether or not we’re doing certain things that are driving excessive cost,” Balderson said. “What we’re trying to do is set the requirement in such a way that we have an affordable program so that we can proceed” with a milestone B review and the system development and demonstration phase in fiscal year 2006, he said.
AIR FORCE WILL MAKE COMMERCIAL C-130J CONTRACT A TRADITIONAL ONE: The Air Force is in the process of modifying a C-130J sustainment contract with Lockheed Martin from a commercial to a traditional defense procurement structure, making it subject to greater government scrutiny, Inside the Air Force reports. Should the Pentagon’s decision to cancel a multiyear procurement for the airlifter change, the Air Force will negotiate additional planes under a traditional contract structure as well, the service announced last week.
Lockheed Martin had advertised the C-130J Hercules as a commercial aircraft when the Air Force first started purchasing small quantities of it in 1995. This made the company’s sales subject to Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 12 rather than FAR Part 15, which is typically used to procure defense systems or subcomponents. The former limits government oversight, protecting the manufacturer from having to disclose cost and pricing information.
By 2003, program requirements had stabilized and the service transitioned to a multiyear contract strategy for 62 aircraft for the Air Force and Marine Corps — also subject to commercial item regulation
While two of Air Force’s three primary C-130J contracts are governed by FAR part 12, the Defense Department inspector general recently determined the aircraft is not a commercial item. In a report discussed on Capitol Hill last week, the IG concluded the decision to procure Hercules airlifters as a commercial item was “unjustified.”
ARMY SEEKING INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS FOR FUTURE COMBAT SYSTEM: The Army is
beginning to seek international participation in the development of the Future Combat System, reports Inside the Army.
FCS “looks to me like it’s going to be a multinational development program of some variety,” Michael Wynne, the Defense Department’s acquisition chief, said during an April 14 conference on international defense cooperation and trade.
Already, the service has signed a “land battlespace” memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom that governs medium and light vehicles. The Army also is looking to forge a similar alliance with Australia, and there are several U.S. technology arrangements with Singapore that could feed into the FCS program, officials say.
The MOU with Britain provides an overarching framework for information exchange and for future project arrangements. Any eventual project arrangements are likely to take the form of agreements through which other nations commit resources and share in the eventual product, according to an Army official.
MARINES TESTING FOUR DIFFERENT DUST PALLIATIVES IN IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN: To help military helicopters minimize the hazards of landing in dusty, desert environments, Marine Corps Systems Command is testing four dust palliatives in Iraq and Afghanistan, reports Inside the Navy. The command plans to compile a dust abatement guide book for combat scenarios, possibly later this year.
Four technologies are being examined: Soiltac, EnviroKleen, Surtac and Envirotac II. Dust abatement technologies have been used in theater since January 2004, according to Mike Farley, team lead for material and construction equipment at MARSCORSYSCOM.
“There is no single product that can really do the job,” Farley told ITN. “For example, all the products do fairly well. It depends on the soil type, it depends on if it’s real fine talcum powder or if it’s just sand . . . each product has a different property of its own that in and of itself provides better solutions than another one does.”
The chemicals are only one part of “the ultimate solution,” he explained. A combination of gravel, matting and the chemicals will ultimately determine the technology’s use, Farley noted. This evaluation process has been under way for more than a year, he added.
AIR FORCE SEEKS AGGRESSIVE TESTING OF PREDATOR, VIPER STRIKE COMBO: The Air Force is considering a new weapon for the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle that would give the aircraft’s operators a precise strike capability designed to cause minimal collateral damage, reports Inside the Air Force.
The service would like to embark on an aggressive testing schedule as soon as possible to determine whether the new option — the Viper Strike munition — would be useful for combat operations overseas, according to a senior service official. Viper Strike is a precision-guided munition, modified from parachute-dropped Cold War submunitions. The weapon carries a warhead that weighs less than 5 pounds, the official said in an April 5 interview.
“In an urban environment . . . having an F-16 drop laser-guided 500-pounders is one thing. Having Predator shoot a Hellfire with a 25- or 27-pound warhead is another thing.” the official said. “But maybe because of collateral damage concerns, you just want to take out one vehicle on a street corner, and you don’t want anybody who doesn’t need to be hurt, hurt. So that’s when you start talking smaller weapons — a couple-pound warhead.”
The Army is testing the Viper Strike on its Hunter UAV. The munition also is featured in one of the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2005 advanced concept technology demonstrations. The Standoff Precision Guided Munition ACTD pairs the Viper Strike with the AC-130 Gunship to give Air Force special operations aircraft the ability to hit targets within a meter from more than 25 miles away.
ARMY TO WAIT ON PRODUCTION DECISION FOR COMMON MISSILE WARNING SYSTEM: The Army has changed its plans for the acquisition of the Common Missile Warning System, an anti-missile technology being fielded to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,Inside the Army reports. CMWS was due for a full-rate production decision in July, but the service has decided to push that back two years and combine operational testing of the CMWS and its companion Advanced Threat Infrared Countermeasures system, according to Army officials.
Threats to the Army’s fleet of helicopters operating in Iraq prompted a decision in November 2003 — within eight months of the beginning of the war — to accelerate the fielding of CMWS “because of its demonstrated and advanced technical maturity and the urgency to upgrade infrared countermeasures,” said Lt. Col. Philip Carey, product manager for ATIRCM/CMWS.
In 2003, a “preliminary placeholder” for a CMWS full-rate production decision was set for July 2005, two years before ATIRCM would be assessed. This separate date for CMWS was abandoned, Carey said, when the Army decided to combine operational testing for CMWS with ATIRCM. The result will be a single production decision for the two systems in FY-07.
Carey said the Army benefits because it will “accrue the cost and schedule efficiencies” of conducting a single initial operational test and evaluation of the complementary systems.
NAVY DRAFTING NEW VERSION OF AEGIS MISSILE DEFENSE OPERATIONS GUIDE: The Navy is drafting a second version of the classified Aegis ballistic missile defense operational employment guide, building upon findings from the first version, Rear Adm. John Kelly, commander of Navy Warfare Development Command, tells Inside the Navy.
The initial meetings and discussions about the guidance have been held. Additionally, “we are beginning to draft the documents but it will probably take the better part of the year to complete it and to brief the results,” Kelly said in a telephone interview.
Late last year, the first version of the guide was signed. Further, 7th Fleet, Carrier Group 5 and Destroyer Squadron 15 were briefed on how the operational employment guide would support naval forces in upcoming missions. Work on the second version started in August with a scoping seminar. NWDC is working with “a number of fleet organizations” on this guide, including offices from the chief of naval operations and Missile Defense Agency, he said.
Kelly noted these are “working” documents that will continue to change as the Navy’s role in missile defense missions evolves and the threat develops. He acknowledged they do not have the complete scope and work for version two “completely nailed down now.”
RESEARCH LAB LAUNCHES LOW-COST, LIGHTWEIGHT XSS-11 MICROSATELLITE: The Air Force Research Laboratory last week launched its Experimental Small Satellite No. 11 (XSS-11), the latest in a new class of low-cost, lightweight satellites designed to explore future military space applications — including space servicing, support, maintenance and diagnostics, Inside the Air Force reports.
Launched April 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, aboard a four-stage Space and Missile Systems Center Minotaur Launch Vehicle, the microsatellite began a 12- to 18-month mission in which it will demonstrate autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations with other space objects. The Minotaur carried the microsatellite into a low-earth orbit of about 800 kilometers and inclined the spacecraft roughly 98 degrees, according to an AFRL statement.
XSS-11, is a follow-on to XSS-10, a $40 million experimental microsatellite the research lab launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, in January 2002. During a 24-hour mission, the 28-kilogram XSS-10 successfully maneuvered back and forth within 100 meters of its booster rocket’s spent stage. From its low-earth orbit, XSS-10 beamed television pictures of its activities back to Earth.
Weighing 130 kilograms when fully fueled, the XSS-11 features a radiation-hardened Power PC 750 processor that serves as the master avionics box, enabling autonomous operations and mission planning, according to Harold Baker, AFRL’s XSS-11 program manager.
ARMY MAPS OUT PLANS FOR HELICOPTER PURCHASING BEYOND FY-20: The Army’s plans for aviation modernization include shedding outdated aircraft, recapitalizing fleets and buying into future programs, reports Inside the Army.
New aircraft will be purchased primarily off-the-shelf, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, director of the Army Aviation Task Force, told the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee April 14.
A briefing chart to Congress outlining the modernization strategy follows aviation purchasing from the near term — last year — to beyond fiscal year 2020.
Plans approved by the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Richard Cody, call for keeping 597 Apache Longbow aircraft in the service’s inventory and providing the National Guard with 117 Model A Apache helicopters. The status of the Model A Apaches would be reviewed between FY-08 and FY-13.
Meanwhile, the Army will divest itself of its fleet of OH-58 Kiowa Warriors and purchase, instead, 368 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters, according to Army briefing charts. The ARH is needed because it will bridge capability gaps between the current and future forces, acccording to Scholesser.
JSF PROGRAM MANAGER WANTS 300 MORE POUNDS OFF STOVL AIRCRAFT: The officer in charge of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program said last week that he would like to see 300 pounds come off the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant, in addition to the 3,000 pounds that already have been shed from the aircraft, Inside the Navy reports.
The STOVL JSF had been delayed for being overweight. But its weight now is “down and stable,” having stayed at around the same level for the past several months, Rear Adm. Steven Enewold, JSF program executive officer, told reporters at an April 14 conference on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. As the aircraft moves from internal layout design to detailed design, he said he expects additional reductions in small increments throughout the aircraft.
The STOVL JSF is 150 pounds above the target weight for critical design review, which is 30,800 pounds, Kathy Crawford, a spokeswoman for the JSF program office, said last month. The design review is slightly more than a year away, and the program plans to achieve that weight target or below, she said.
The program currently is in the system development and demonstration phase, and formal negotiations will begin next month with JSF partner countries on agreements for aircraft production, sustainment and follow-on development. The program is scheduled for a review May 5 before the Defense Acquisition Board.
WIDEBAND GAPFILLER COSTS GROW 18 PERCENT WITH ADDITION OF SATS 4, 5: Pentagon documents released last week reveal program costs for the Air Force’s Wideband Gapfiller Satellites system increased by over 18 percent in the first quarter of this fiscal year because of a production gap between the first and second series of satellites, reports Inside the Air Force.
Total costs of the satellite communications program grew from $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion from late September 2004 through the end of December, according to a Pentagon selected acquisition report to Congress.
The WGS cost increase is due “primarily to the three-year production gap between satellite 3 and satellites 4 and 5 that resulted in [research, development, test and evaluation] migration cost growth and parts obsolescence (+110.6 million), procurement cost growth (+$122.0 million), the upgrade of primary injection points for satellites 4 and 5 (+$27.1 million) and the application of revised escalation rates (+$19.2 million),” the report explained.
Wideband Gapfiller is a follow-on to the Defense Satellite Communications System, providing high- bandwidth communications in both X- and Ka-band frequencies. In addition to augmenting current communications systems, it will add two-way Ka-band frequency for mobile users.