12 Jan 06. The United States Army announced today that it is terminating the $879 million Lockheed Martin, System Design and Development (SDD) contract for the Aerial Common Sensor.
“After carefully evaluating Lockheed’s proposals, we decided that the prudent course of action at this time was to terminate the contract and bring the various players — industry, the acquisition and user communities, the Navy and Air Force — back to the drawing board to make sure we all have a firm understanding of what the requirements are and the various challenges we need to overcome to make this program succeed. We are not terminating the program. I think — I know — that we learned a great deal in the early stages of this contract during the system’s design maturation phase and we intend to take this knowledge forward. The Army remains committed to building and fielding the next-generation reconnaissance aircraft for the Warfighter,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition Logistics and Technology Claude M. Bolton.
The Army issued a stop-work order to Lockheed in September and gave them 60 days to propose options to resolve the program’s execution issues while minimizing cost and schedule impacts. As part of the ACS program Lockheed Martin originally proposed using the Embraer 145 airframe to carry the ACS electronics, but detailed design engineering determined that the aircraft was too small to carry the electronics load.
In November, Lockheed Martin recommended a switch from the Embraer jet to the larger Bombardier Global Express business jet. Since the aircraft was an integral part of the overall program and a consequential discriminator in the original contract competition, and given our increasingly better understanding of the system’s overall requirements, the Army ultimately decided on termination.
“After evaluating all of the alternatives including those proposed by Lockheed Martin, we found that we could not provide the value that the tax payers and our war fighters would expect under the existing contract. Although our initial costs for the research and development were substantial, the long term costs of continuing this contract would not have fallen within acceptable parameters. As a diligent manager of its resources, the Army chose this sensible time to terminate this contract,” said Lt. Col. Steven Drake, Product Manager for Aerial Common Sensor.
The original ACS contract was awarded in August 2004 with an anticipated period of performance of fiscal years 2005 thru 2010. During that contract period, the Army planned to procure five fully configured aircraft, with the Navy purchasing two Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) aircraft.
Initiated in 2000, the Army is the lead service for the joint service Aerial Common Sensor (ACS). ACS capabilities remain a valid requirement for both the Army and the Navy, but the current program is not meeting critical operational performance goals and cost and schedule constraints, which resulted in the termination of the contract, not the program.
The Aerial Common Sensor, consisting of intelligence gathering equipment aboard an existing, off-the-shelf aerial platform, is planned to replace the Army’s Guardrail Common Sensor and Airborne Reconnaissance Low (ARL) and the Navy’s EP-3E “Aries” currently in use.
The Aerial Common Sensor program is managed by the office of the Product Manager for Aerial Common Sensor, part of the new Office of the Project Manager for Aerial Common Sensors, which is part of Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. The contracting activity for the Aerial Common Sensor selection award is the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command Acquisition Center at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.