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19 Sep 11. The two biggest losers in the fiscal 2012 spending bill approved Sept. 15 by the Senate Appropriations Committee may have difficulty remaining viable. The committee killed all funding for the Defense Weather Satellite System (DWSS) and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). With such a strong vote against them and additional cuts by the House, the long-term prospects probably aren’t good for either program. President Barack Obama asked for $444.9 million for Northrop Grumman’s DWSS. The Senate panel is still providing much of that amount — not for the satellite itself but for termination costs and $250m to continue making common sensors. DWSS has three sensors: Raytheon’s Visible Imaging Infrared Radiometer Suite(Viirs); the Space Environmental Monitor (SEM), made by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; and a yet-to-be-named microwave sensor. The program — which was part of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System until it was restructured to split the defense and civilian versions — “remains challenged by a difficult and confusing set of management challenges,” according to its report on the bill. Intellectual property rights and uncertain cost estimates are among the troublesome issues. “Each of these areas of risk indicates that DWSS is not on a sound acquisition footing.” Likewise, Senate appropriators list three key reasons behind the demise of the JLTV. Engineering and manufacturing costs doubled early in the program. The services already have the Humvee and are replacing only a fraction of their existing fleet. And vehicles on the market can already fulfill most JLTV requirements. In a year when the committee was looking for $26bn, those factors made the developmental vehicle program an easy target. The cut netted $172m from the Army’s R&D request and another $71.8m from the Navy’s. Even though the House didn’t take the full swing at the program, trimming $25m out of the Army’s and Navy’s shares, the House committee’s report on the bill notes similar problems. Three teams are competing for the JLTV contract: BAE Systems and Navistar, Lockheed Martin and General Tactical Vehicles, and a General Dynamics Land Systems and AM General joint venture. The Senate panel also gutted the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle because of schedule delays and changes to the acquisition strategy. Senators reduced the $884m request to $100m. The House bill cuts just $116m, leaving conference negotiators with a wide gap to resolve. In terms of missile defense, senators are providing money to make 48 interceptors, rather than 68, saying the contractor and the subcontractors cannot make as many as the president asked for in one year. And the committee is closely watching a recent test failure of the Standard Missile-3 Block IB. If the test and purchase schedule for the SM-3 Block IB missiles require “any adjustments” during fiscal 2012, Senate appropriators would divert $565m from the IB and direct the Missile Defense Agency to use that money to buy its predecessor, the SM-3 Block IA.
BATTLESPACE Comment: BATTLESPACE predicted the demise of the JLTV Program as far back as 2008. We said, ‘Don’t expect the venerable HMMV and Land Rover fleets to die quickly, using Through Life Support and reset techniques these can last forever. One clue to why a Land Rover survives on the battlefield is simplicity of build and strength coupled to a suspension (in pre-Wolf models)that is uncomfortable for passengers at high speed, making it less vulnerable to breakdown! Ironically 2008 is the 60th anniversary of the venerable Land Rover, expect many more years in service for this and its HMMV counterpart. The U.S. and U.K. are going down parallel tracks on light vehicle development with Australia, which signed a contract to participate