Monthly Archives: May 2013

Next-Stage C4ISR Bandwidth: The AEHF Satellite Program

Thumbnail

AEHF concept(click to view full) The USA’s new Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites will support twice as many tactical networks as the current Milstar II satellites, while providing 10-12 times the bandwidth capacity and 6 times the data rate transfer speed. With the cancellation of the higher-capacity TSAT program, AEHF will form the secure, hardened backbone of the Pentagon’s future Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) architecture, with a mission set that includes nuclear command and control. Its companion Family of Advanced Beyond-line-of-sight Terminals (FAB-T) program will give the US military more modern, higher-bandwidth receiving capabilities, and add more flexibility on the front lines…

Rapid Fire May 31, 2013: DoD Finally Succumbs to Stockholm Syndrome

After almost 2 years of denial, US Defense Undersecretary Ashton Carter instructed the services to work on FY 14 and FY15 budgeting scenarios that span a range going from the president’s unrealistic FY14 budget to full sequestration (~10% lower). Give it another year or two and they might start to defend sequestration. The Pentagon’s Operational Test and Evaluation office (DOTE) updated their Test & Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP) guidebook [PDF] with a new section on the design of experiments, and a few other changes. The US Coast Guard published its Arctic strategy [PDF] …

The F-35′s Air-to-Air Capability Controversy

F-35A test flight(click to view full) The $300+ billion, multi-national F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the largest single military program in history. It’s also reaching a critical nexus. In order to keep costs under control and justify the industrial ramp up underway, participating countries need to sign order agreements soon…

Kongsberg’s New NSM/JSM Anti-Ship & Strike Missile

NSM test launch(click to view full) Kongsberg’s stealthy new Naval Strike Missile (Nytt SjomalsMissil), which continues its development and testing program, has already shown potential in the crowded market for long-range ship attack and shore defense weapons. NSM’s Joint Strike Missile counterpart may have even more potential, as a longer-range air-launched naval and land strike complement to Kongsberg’s popular Penguin short-range anti-ship missile. The market for anti-ship missiles is a crowded one, and the distinction between anti-ship and precision land strike weapons is blurring fast. Aside from a bevy of Russian subsonic and supersonic offerings, naval buyers can choose Boeing’s GM-84 Harpoon, China’s YJ-82/C-802 Saccade, MBDA’s Exocet, Otomat, or Marte; IAI of Israel’s Gabriel/ANAM, Saab’s RBS15, and more. …

EELV Contracts: From Merger to Competition

Boeing Delta IV Heavy(click to view full) The EELV program was designed to reduce the cost of government space launches through greater contractor competition, and modifiable rocket families whose system requirements emphasized simplicity, commonality, standardization, new applications of existing technology, streamlined manufacturing capabilities, and more efficient launch-site processing. Result: the Delta IV (Boeing) and Atlas V (Lockheed Martin) heavy rockets. Paradoxically, that very program may have forced the October 2006 merger of Boeing & Lockheed Martin’s rocket divisions. …

Rapid Fire May 30, 2013: Group Think Tank Attack

4 major defense-focused American think tanks joined forces to weight budget trade-offs for the Pentagon over the next 10 years. They have a clear consensus [PDF] to primarily target personnel, and more specifically DoD civilians, for cuts, whether sequestration is applied fully or partially. 3 of them also seem to really like stealthy UAVs, while AEI likes their stealth aircraft manned (probably a more realistic option given the chosen timeframe) and doesn’t see the same need for a cyber splurge. Surface combatants would also be significantly cut under most of their scenarios. …

SSOP: Britain Extends Contracting Innovations to Naval Sensors

HMS Astute & Type 45(click to view full) In late May 2013, Thales UK signed a 10-year, GBP 600 million Sensor Support Optimisation Project (SSOP) with the Ministry of Defence. It extends the 2003 Contractor Logistics Support deal that covered electronic warfare/ ESM and sonar system support on an array of submarines and surface ships. SSOP coverage includes all British submarine classes (SSN Trafalgar and Astute classes, SSBN Vanguard Class), Type 45 Daring Class destroyers, Type 23 Duke Class frigates, and the Hunt and Sandown Classes of minehunting vessels. It also covers all visual systems (periscopes etc.) for all Royal Navy submarines, which had been a separate contract with Thales UK’s optronics business in Glasgow. This progression is familiar to readers who have followed British Future Contracting for Availability practices over the last several years. …

SSOP: Britain Extends Contracting Innovations into Naval Sensors

HMS Astute & Type 45(click to view full) In late May 2013, Thales UK signed a 10-year, GBP 600 million Sensor Support Optimisation Project (SSOP) with the Ministry of Defence. It extends the 2003 Contractor Logistics Support deal that covered electronic warfare/ ESM and sonar system support on an array of submarines and surface ships. SSOP coverage includes all British submarine classes (SSN Trafalgar and Astute classes, SSBN Vanguard Class), Type 45 Daring Class destroyers, Type 23 Duke Class frigates, and the Hunt and Sandown Classes of minehunting vessels. It also covers all visual systems (periscopes etc.) for all Royal Navy submarines, which had been a separate contract with Thales UK’s optronics business in Glasgow…