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01 Aug 18. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Marietta, Georgia, has been awarded a $185,580,265 cost-plus-incentive-fee modification (FA8504-16-D-0001-P00011) to contract FA8504-16-D-0001 for the C-130J long-term sustainment. Work will be performed in Marietta, Georgia, and is expected to be completed by July 31, 2019. Fiscal2018 operations and maintenance procurement funds in the amount of $77,814,520 are being obligated at the time of award. Total cumulative face value of the contract is now $331,658,989. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity.
01 Aug 18. The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, has been awarded a maximum $186,198,000 undefinitized contractual action delivery order (SPRPA1-18-F-0LB4) against a five-year base contract (SPRPA1-14-D-002U) with one five-year option period for F/A-18 aircraft spare parts. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. Location of performance is Missouri, with a June 28, 2024, performance completion date. Using service is Navy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2018 through 2024 Navy working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Awarded July 26, 2018)
27 Jul 18. Pentagon Report Will Reveal Military’s Dependence on Chinese Components. An upcoming report on the U.S. military supply chain will show the Pentagon depends on Chinese components for some military equipment, a top Defense Department official said on Friday. The industrial base report will show “there is a large focus on dependency on foreign countries for supply, and China figures very prominently,” the Defense Department’s chief buyer, Ellen Lord, told reporters in a briefing. She did not provide further detail but said the report is currently in the hands of the White House, and will be published within a month. When published, the report will come amid growing concerns from members of Congress and the U.S. intelligence community that Chinese telecommunications equipment is being used to spy on Americans. It is also the latest example of Pentagon efforts to deal with the military’s interactions with Chinese products. In April, the Defense Department stopped selling mobile phones and modems made by the Chinese technology companies Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp in stores on its military bases, citing potential security risks. (Source: glstrade.com/New York Times.com)
31 Jul 18. USAF begins in-house JSTARS maintenance amid Northrop Grumman’s shortfalls. The Air Force began conducting its own depot maintenance for JSTARS July 17 at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, in an effort to field the Air Force’s primary ground surveillance and battle management aircraft quicker, despite contractor shortfalls. Maintenance for the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft was previously done exclusively by Northrop Grumman at a facility in Louisiana, but the service has said the maintenance was too slow. Now, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex will supplement the contractors to speed up the process.
“Historically, the contractor has averaged about 400 days per aircraft,” Air Force Material Command spokesman Derek Kaufman told Air Force Times.
“The driver has been to increase the number of aircraft available for operations and training. The Air Force intends to fly JSTARS into the mid-to-late 2020s, while the follow-on Advanced Battle Management System [ABMS] is developed,” Kaufman said.
The Air Force has not released exactly what the ABMS entails, but it will fuse information from satellites, drones, ground sensors and manned ISR aircraft. Because Robbins AFB is also playing host to the initial elements of the ABMS program, Kaufman said the base will continue to play a role in the command and control mission. In the meantime, maintenance delays for existing JSTARS must be streamlined, according to the press release announcing the push.
“We’ve been focusing intensely for a couple of years on improving contractor-led depot performance, but aircraft are still remaining in depot too long,” said Steven Wert, the Air Force’s program executive officer for battle management, who oversees these efforts. “We have to find ways to increase throughput and overall depot capacity, and we believe this option is well worth exploring.”
The work done at the new facility will help the Air Force better understand the costs of performing JSTARS depot maintenance on its own.
“Should this first organic induction prove successful, we currently plan two more JSTARS aircraft to be inducted, one per year,” Kaufman said.
It’s important to note that this maintenance plan is separate from efforts to retire the Air Force’s fleet of 17 JSTARS. The 2019 defense authorization bill allocates funds for the ABMS program, but the Air Force will not be able to retire any of these planes until the second phase of that program is declared operational, according to Congress’ bill. As a result, service officials are anxious to get more JSTARS into the air for operations and training while waiting to bring the ABMS program online. In addition to slow delivery, Northrop Grumman has had some issues with their maintenance in the past. An Air Force investigation released in March 2017 showed that contract maintainers left drainage holes covered on the bottom of a JSTARS’ radome during depot maintenance between March 2015 and July 2016. This caused the radome to collect water and inflicted $7.35m worth of damage to the aircraft. That damage was discovered on July 28, 2016, when the JSTARS aircraft assigned to the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins experienced radar failures during checks conducted by Air Force radar specialists.
“When the specialists opened the radome for the radar, they discovered portions of the radar immersed in standing water with visible corrosion damage,” the report states.
In the future, inducting more aircraft into the Air Force’s own depot maintenance facility could offer some advantages, according to the service. The program office, operational wings, functional check flight crews and Air Combat Command’s flight test detachment are all co-located at Robins. These locality benefits could help cut down on transportation costs. Additionally, start-up costs should be minimal because Robins already hosts the E-8C operational wings, according to the Air Force.
“Our dedicated professionals and mission partners have extensive experience in overhauling and modifying large aircraft like the C-130, C-17 and C-5 fleet. I’m confident our team can leverage this experience and help the JSTARS community improve aircraft availability,” said Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, commander of Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, in another press release. “Our team is excited about this opportunity and we stand ready to support this effort by working closely with the PEO and Northrop Grumman.”
The Air Force still has an agreement with Northrop Grumman that runs through 2022, called a Total System Support Responsibility contract. The depot maintenance at Robins “would supplement, not supplant,” the work being done by the existing contract, the Air Force clarified.
“In fact, the Air Force will need Northrop’s help to successfully execute this proof of concept,” according to the release. (Source: Airforce Times)
01 Aug 18. More woes for Babcock! Following on from their loss of the Protected Mobility (PM) SSS (See: BATTLESPACE ALERT Vol.20 ISSUE 17, 30 July 2018, Babcock Loses Out On £1bn British Army Vehicle Repair Contract), sources suggest that the MoD has also declined to take up their proposal to be SSS for the rest of the wheeled fleet which would have included the MAN trucks and Oshkosh Wheeled Tanker.
31 Jul 18. Bring back ‘tank repairs’ contract under Ministry of Defence control, says Unite. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) should take the DSG (Defence Support Group) ‘tanks’ repair’ contract with defence giant Babcock back ‘in house’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 31 July). The union’s call comes after the MoD pulled the plug on a proposal by Babcock to become a ‘strategic support supplier’ (SSS) for the maintenance and availability of a number of different vehicle types. The MoD cited ‘value for money’ considerations. Unite argues that the MoD’s decision was influenced by dissatisfaction with Babcock, which brought the Army vehicle repairer, DSG, for £140m in 2015 and has yet to make a profit from the purchase. Unite said that the latest twist made it imperative that the DSG contract, which involves maintenance and repair services for the British Army’s vehicles, weapons and communications systems, be brought back under MoD control. Unite national officer for the MoD Jim Kennedy said: “Under Babcock’s stewardship, DSG has gone from a well-run and productive, publicly owned organisation to a private company that no longer provides value for money.
“Our members in DSG want to return to delivering a first rate service for the country and, therefore, we will be calling for an audit of Babcock’s activities and, ultimately, for the DSG to be returned to the MoD.
“Babcock was desperate to win a contract to become the strategic support supplier (SSS) for the maintenance of a number of different vehicle types.
“However, having failed miserably to meet key performance and equipment delivery targets set in its core MoD contract, it is not surprising that the MoD should have decided against putting its entire fleet of army vehicles into Babcock’s basket.
“In an attempt to recoup the vastly overinflated price it paid for the business, Babcock has made some ill-advised changes to DSG; such as removing a number of highly skilled and experienced employees, which now means that it will continue to struggle to meet its core MoD contract.
“The loss of SSS is a massive blow for Babcock as it had hoped there would be sufficient ‘fat’ in the SSS contract to bail out DSG and cover its continued losses.
“MPs have already risen for the summer recess, so the chance for probing questions being raised in the House has been put back to the autumn. Without the SSS, and with the Warrior armoured vehicle turret upgrade looking less likely to go ahead, Babcock is lumbered with a contract that it has yet to make money on.
“The MoD is stuck with getting less value for its money. Ultimately, this is bad for the taxpayer, demoralising for the workforce – and another poor advert for the Tories’ flawed outsourcing agenda.”
31 Jul 18. Eco-friendly Engine Wash Technology Nears Final Phase of Performance Testing. Fleet Readiness Centers East and Southeast engineers are completing the ground work to prepare Naval Air Systems Command for acquisition of a cost-effective and environmentally friendlier technology for cleaning engines. Chemist Keiko Sapp, subject matter expert for Engine Cleaning, and Kami Downey, of FRC Southeast, are in the final phases of performance testing of an engine cleaning technology by EcoPower System that shows promise of reducing water consumption, hazardous material usage and environmental waste and improving engine performance. The project has been in the works for about two years and Sapp is spearheading the research and performance testing phase for adopting the system for cleaning engines for the H-53, V-22, AV-8, and also P-8A, T-34 and T-44 aircraft.
Sapp said when she arrived at the idea to improve current engine cleaning practices, she was merely trying to answer a couple of questions: “How can I help my customers and improve my customers’ performance?”
The research project was approved for funding by the Navy Environmental Sustainability Development to Integration Program after being determined that it meets an enterprise need; the application method complies with environmental laws and standards; and is a viable solution to the need. The mission of the NESDI program is to provide solutions by demonstrating, validating, and integrating innovative technologies, processes and materials, and by filling knowledge gaps to minimize operational environmental risks, constraints, and costs while ensuring fleet readiness. The need identified at the start of the project was for a new technology that was a more efficient engine cleaning process, which would reduce environmental impact and improve engine performance. The process also needed to be transportable, to allow for use on Navy ships.
She said she began inquiry into the idea in 2015, and partnered with counterparts at FRC Southeast. She said she came across the technology, bookmarked it and returned to the idea after continued research to determine if such a system was a sustainable option.
According to Sapp, the current wash process requires a large volume of detergent solution and rinse water delivered via a pressurized wash hose. The alkaline detergent used is reported as being problematic to engines, as its chemical solution introduces possible corrosion when rinsed improperly. The low pressure wash can leave residual contaminants and detergent behind in the engine. The low pressure produces larger streams, improper rinse and a larger amount of run-off. The EcoPower technology uses only deionized heated water. The water is atomized that increases wetting of the surface area and prevents re-depositing of contaminants. Testing specifically looked at total dissolved solids in the effluent or the concentration of minerals and heavy metal elements. The technology also offers long-term cost avoidance, environmental and safety benefits. Its use of deionized water eliminates detergent costs and eliminates hazardous waste. Its recycle system process boosts water conservation and avoids risks of environmental offense. Its mobility and ease of setup reduces labor costs. According to Sapp, the technology’s performance has also proven to be beneficial in the way of engine performance by increasing time-on-wing, decreasing fuel consumption and improving quality of product throughput.
“Cleaner engines enhance environmental sustainability and flight crew safety,” Sapp said.
Sapp and Downey are laying groundwork to enable swift acquisition of the technology. She said the team is also talked with the Air Force who has been having success with the technology for about 10 years.
“I’m testing it to ensure this engine cleaning technology will bring the overall benefits to NAVAIR enterprise,” said Sapp, of her role of performance testing in such a process for adopting a new technology. “They know it works and this is the future. This technology will provide improved performance, minimized corrosion, reduced maintenance man-hours, fuel cost savings, and even on-ship board washing is possible.” (Source: ASD Network)
31 Jul 18. General Electric (GE), Lynn, Massachusetts, is awarded a $630,500,000 firm-fixed-priced, performance-based logistics requirements type contract for repair, replacement and program support of 773 F414 engine components used on the F/A-18 E/F and EA 18G aircrafts. Work will be performed in various GE supplier locations (99 percent); and Jacksonville, Florida (1 percent). Work is expected to be completed by April 2022. Annual fiscal year working capital funds (Navy) will be obligated to fund delivery orders as they are issued, and funds will not expire at the end of the contract ordering period. One firm was solicited for this non-competitive requirement, and one offer was received in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity (N00383-18-D-P601).
31 Jul 18. Lockheed Martin Corp., Rotary and Mission Systems, Orlando, Florida, is awarded a $57,883,028 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost reimbursable contract for the full-rate production of 26 electronic Consolidated Automated Support Systems (eCASS). This contract also provides for eCASS related equipment, kits and test sets in support of various Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance departments, fleet readiness centers, aircraft carriers and L- Class ships. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida (27 percent); Hunt Valley, Maryland (24 percent); North Reading, Massachusetts (14 percent); San Diego, California (14 percent); Irvine, California (6 percent); Austin, Texas (3 percent); Everett, Washington (2 percent); Bohemia, New York (2 percent); Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 percent); and various locations within the continental U.S. (6 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2020. Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $57,883,028 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposal; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-18-C-0681).
27 Jul 18. IRGC reactivates and upgrades Su-22 strike jets. Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on 25 July that it had reactivated and upgraded 10 Sukhoi Su-22 aircraft. Iranian media outlets reported that IRGC commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari and IRGC Aerospace Force commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh had attended a ceremony to mark the aircraft’s return to service. They cited Brig Gen Hajizadeh as saying the Su-22s can launch guided air-to-ground munitions and air-to-air missiles, as well as share data with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). He added that there is a plan to arm them with cruise missiles with a range of 1,500km. Iranian television showed footage of the Su-22s at a location that could be identified as the IRGC airbase next to Shiraz International Airport. The base was used by the IRGC’s Su-25s before they were transferred to Iraq in 2014: a donation that left the force without any fast jets until now. The television coverage showed five Su-22s flying together and one on the ground carrying a targeting pod and what appeared to be a laser-guided munition that may have been a Bina. Unveiled in 2014, the Bina looks like a US AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missile fitted with a semi-active laser seeker. At that time, it was seen being launched by one of the IRGC’s Su-25s. The work on the Su-22s was reportedly done by Iranian experts without foreign assistance, which would have violated the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by the UN Security Council.
In the past, former Soviet repair plants were involved in assisting Iran with maintenance of its Russian-made equipment. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
30 Jul 18. Shanahan Discusses F/A-18s, Naval Aviation Readiness at Oceana. Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan and Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer toured the Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic facilities here July 25 to discuss enhancing naval aviation readiness.
“What we were trying to get out is what are the major process changes we would make to get a step function improvement in performance,” Shanahan said in an interview after the tour and a closed-door session with the leadership team.
The deputy secretary said he wants to explore ways of taking a departmental approach to some of the issues and challenges in the maintenance and repair of F/A-18 Super Hornet jet aircraft.
“For the people who are responsible for those facilities, we wanted to get a sense of what are those big constraints where either you need help or a decision,” he said.
Seeking Higher Mission Capacity
The most important part of his visit, he said, was the discussion with the leadership team on ways to drive a higher mission capability. This, he pointed out, supports the National Defense Strategies priorities of creating a more lethal force. Topics included modernization, service life extensions, managing the supply chain, and working on the DoD-level to better engage the supplier, he said.
“We also talked quite a bit about how to set the priorities for improving the reliability of the airplane,” he said. “We talked quite a bit about how do we want to get the right pool of spare parts [and] how should we rotate spare parts to different depots and different bases where the F/A-18s are based.”
Sailors and civilians assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic perform maintenance and repair, inspections and structural and electronic system modifications on numerous carrier-based aircraft, as well as aircraft launch and recovery equipment on aviation-capable ships. (Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)
28 Jul 18. The US Navy’s fighter woes are boosting Boeing’s bottom line. The Navy’s ongoing aviation readiness crisis has been a boon for Boeing as the Navy looks to make its Super Hornet fleet healthy again after years of hard use in the war on terror. Boeing’s Super Hornets are helping push its Defense operation’s sales in a positive direction, contributing to a more than 10 percent year-to-date sales growth, according to analysts and company executives speaking on a quarterly earnings call this week. A total of 46 new Super Hornets – 18 for the U.S. Navy and 28 for Kuwait – are leading the way, but the company is also making a lot of money on the Navy’s quest to modernize and extend the life of its workhorse jets. All told, the Navy is planning to modernize all its current jets and buy dozens more in its quest to dig out of a severe readiness hole. Boeing Defense has seen an 11 percent year-over-year sales boost so far this year, said defense analyst Jim McAleese, and company executives said the cash flow from the Navy’s F/A-18 recapitalization isn’t slackening any time soon.
“Boeing continues to see strong support for our key products in fiscal year 2019 President’s budget and in Congress, including increased procurement of 110 F-18 Super Hornets across the future year defense plan and support for a fourth multiyear procurement for the F-18, and increases for various programs in our weapons and rotorcraft portfolios,” said Boeing top executive Dennis Muilenburg in the July 25 call.
The effort is also leading to big dollars for parts and depot-level repairs, meaning repairs that are done at maintenance depots because the complexity surpasses what maintainers in the fleet can do on the flight line. In May, Defense Logistics Agency awarded a five-year, $427m contract for Super Hornet parts and spares to begin working through a backlog of down jets. The quarter also saw the induction of the first Super Hornet into a service life extension program that will eventually see Boeing working on 40 to 50 F/A-18s per year in its facilities in St. Louis and San Antonio, USNI News reported in May. The Navy is working through a major backlog in down jets, even going so far as to slash scores of legacy fighters from the rolls in order to clear out room in the depots for the more modern, serviceable fighters. In November, the former head of Naval Aviation Vice Adm. Mike Shoemaker told lawmakers that nearly one in three Super Hornets were not ready to fly.
“We are meeting the combatant commanders’ requirements for ready, lethal carriers and air wings forward, but at a tremendous cost to the readiness of our forces at home,” Shoemaker told the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subcommittee. “For example, to get Carl Vinson, Nimitz and Theodore Roosevelt ready to deploy in January, June and October of this year, and equip their embarked air wings with the required number of mission capable jets, 94 strike fighters had to be transferred to and from the maintenance depots or between F-18 squadrons on both coasts.”
The Navy is banking on the major parts plus-up and the recapitalization program to start to dig out of the readiness hole. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
About Oshkosh Defense
Oshkosh Defense is a leading provider of tactical wheeled vehicles and life cycle sustainment services. For decades Oshkosh has been mobilizing military and security forces around the globe by offering a full portfolio of heavy, medium, light and highly protected military vehicles to support our customers’ missions. In addition, Oshkosh offers advanced technologies and vehicle components such as TAK-4® independent suspension systems, TerraMax™ unmanned ground vehicle solutions, Command Zone™ integrated control and diagnostics system, and ProPulse® diesel electric and on-board vehicle power solutions, to provide our customers with a technical edge as they fulfill their missions. Every Oshkosh vehicle is backed by a team of defense industry experts and complete range of sustainment and training services to optimize fleet readiness and performance. Oshkosh Defense, LLC is an Oshkosh Corporation company [NYSE: OSK].
To learn more about Oshkosh Defense, please visit us at www.oshkoshdefense.com.