Tag Archives: defense

Airlift Ready: Vehicles for the V-22

Special Operations Forces (SOF) need multi-functional, mission-critical light utility vehicles capable of conducting rapid ingress/egress and modular enough to redeploy by air at a moment’s notice. The Flyer Gen II and Phantom Badger can both fit in the Osprey—making them necessary mobility pieces for SOF and the Marine Corps.

Tactical Agility, Mission Mobility

GD-OTS was awarded a contract in October 2013 by SOCOM for its non-developmental V-22 Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) program. The three-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract is for up to 10 vehicles, with integration and logistical support and training. The total value of the contract is $5.8 million if all options are exercised.

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GMV Moves Forward

Flyer Gen III GMV

By Kevin Hunter

Now that disputes over the award of the Integration and Test (I&T) phase contract for Special Operations Command’s Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 program are resolved, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) is readying up to nine prototype vehicles. This will allow the company to conduct design reviews and finalize configuration for the Low-Rate Initial Production phase, which is scheduled to begin in 2015, or at the end of the I&T phase. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has indicated it might purchase up to 1,500 vehicles if all options are exercised, a prospective value of $562 million.

“We’re excited to finally move forward with the GMV 1.1 program,” Colonel Joe Capobianco, Program Executive Officer-Special Operations Forces (SOF) Warrior told A&M. “We see this vehicle design as the material solution that will close the validated SOF-peculiar capability requirement. GMV 1.1 will be the future centerpiece of SOF ground mobility, not only for its capabilities but also for its affordability.”

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The Charlie Takes Off

pgL_MQ-10027_017

By George Jagels

As the only DoD Program of Record for unmanned vertical takeoff and landing, and one tied to a major but downsizing Navy acquisition project, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Fire Scout is under quite a bit of performance and budgetary pressure. The Navy has purchased 17 of the new MQ-8C variant, but zeroed out acquisition from 2014-2019 in its most recent budget request.

Admiral Mathias Winter, the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Unmanned Strike Weapons, said that his service’s budget still requests procurement funding for ground control stations (GCSs) and other essential equipment to operate the C variant. “The reason you see zero quantities in [the budget] is because with the 23 MQ-8Bs and 17 MQ-8Cs we already purchased, based on LCS deployments that is enough air vehicles for now,” he said. An LCS can hold two MQ-8Cs and an MH-60S Seahawk.

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Weekly Defense Notes

With the AUSA show over, TDM gets back to work. Here’s our (belated) rundown of interesting defense news from last week.

The JLTV program is dealing with significant uncertainty due to sequestration, the continuing resolution in Congress, and the government shutdown. Breaking Defense quotes one colonel as saying this is the “most depressing” situation he’s seen in 34 years of service. Evidently, testing on the 22 prototypes by AM General, Lockheed Martin, and Oshkosh stopped on four hours notice early this month. Now they are several weeks behind. Oh well, there’s always the Aztek!

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments recently came out with a study cheerfully entitled “Chaos and Uncertainty: The FY 14 Defense Budget and Beyond.” Among many interesting points, the study notes that the cost of one soldier in Afghanistan will be $2.1 million annually. Like other things in life, deployments must work on economies of scale.

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Weekly Defense Notes

Big news: Women can fight on the front lines.

Happy Friday! Here’s what hit the headlines in the defense this week:

Equalizing the Battlefield

On Thursday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed a directive that allows the roughly 200,000 active-duty women in the military to move to the front lines of the battlefield. The move—which lifts the 1994 ban on women in such specialties as armor, infantry, and artillery—may ease the military’s problems with sexual harassment.

Navy to Begin Personnel Cuts

To cut expenses, Navy flag officers and executives have been ordered to lay off thousands of temporary civilian workers, reduce base operations, and cancel maintenance on dozens of ships and hundreds of aircraft. Because Congress has not yet decided on an annual budget, the Navy is left with $4.6 billion less than it requires for 2013.
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Today’s Links

  • Time’s Battleland has an excellent obit for the USS Enterprise. After fifty years of service, the aircraft carrier is being retired. A sad day for some, but also comforting to know she worked hard and well for five decades.
  • The robotic mule is coming soon to a USMC squad near you! DARPA’s $54 million Legged Squad Support System (LS3), which mimics a mule, just completed a couple weeks of field testing and is no worse for the wear. Among many other great features, the LS3 can recharge batteries and follow basic commands (“sit!”).
  • In allies news, Japan will up its defense budget a bit, though it is still a very low share of GDP. Canada’s love-hate relationship with the F-35 continues to twist and turn: Ottawa claims it will have to use private companies and allies for mid-air refueling because it will not modify tankers for the job.
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Today’s Links

  • At Fort Sill, the Army holds a meeting to discuss Anti-UAS measures:

U.S. ground forces detect an enemy unmanned aircraft performing reconnaissance  over their forward operating base. Now the soldiers must determine how to  neutralize the Unmanned Aerial System threat: whether to jam the electronic  signal from its ground controller, kill the ground controller or shoot down the  Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS.

  • The Afghan Army is not retaining its soldiers too well these days, but at least they’re not joining the Taliban:

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