Thursday, June 17, 2010

DTN News: Lockheed Martin’s SMSS Vehicle Demonstrates Autonomous Performance For Logistics Centers

DTN News: Lockheed Martin’s SMSS Vehicle Demonstrates Autonomous Performance For Logistics Centers
Source: DTN News / Lockheed Martin
(NSI News Source Info) DALLAS, TX, - June 18, 2010: Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] recently proved in a series of demonstration tests that its Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) vehicle can perform detailed logistics tasks without human control. The testing was conducted at the Lockheed Martin facility in Littleton, CO, for several military attendees. The SMSS vehicle performed all autonomous operations flawlessly, including:
• correctly following a road network,
• safely maneuvering through a building complex,
• avoiding obstacles inserted in its path, including mannequins simulating people,
• following a person using only optical tracking, exercising real-time obstacle avoidance, and
• navigating to a person who issued a “come-to-me” command. SMSS also demonstrated its ease of operability in real-time controller-to-controller hand-offs, allowing different operators to take control of the vehicle as it arrived at new locations. Operators also disengaged autonomy and went on board the vehicle to control it manually, showcasing user options in commanding the system. “These demonstrations exemplify how the military can benefit from SMSS as an autonomous logistics vehicle to move parts, tools and materiel around fixed installations,” said Don Nimblett, senior Business Development manager for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “SMSS has proved through performance that our approach to autonomy is flexible and adaptable to a variety of platforms and missions. We’ve already proved the advantages SMSS can bring in the field through U.S. Army-funded Warfighter experiments. These recent trials showed how SMSS can perform in crowded, limited environments transporting tons of cargo.” Attendees who witnessed the demonstration included representatives from the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence Solider Requirements Division, Combined Arms Support Command, Training and Doctrine Command Accelerated Capabilities Division, Rapid Equipping Force, Robotic Systems Joint Project Office, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force’s 60th Maintenance Group. The SMSS was initially developed as a Lockheed Martin initiative to lighten the load for light infantry Soldiers and Marines. A highly mobile 6x6 vehicle, SMSS can carry 1,200 pounds of gear for a 9- to 13-person squad, and it can accompany the squad on many missions through heavy terrain. The fully loaded SMSS can be sling-loaded under a UH-60L helicopter, or carried internally in a CH-47/53 helicopter. The robotic capabilities and autonomy utilized on SMSS are also applicable to a much broader range of robotic applications, missions and vehicles. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 136,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation reported 2009 sales of $45.2 billion. Craig Vanbebber, (214) 534-1921 e-mail For additional information, visit our website:

DTN News: DGA Delivers 200th VBCI To French Army

DTN News: DGA Delivers 200th VBCI To French Army
Source: DTN News / Defense Aerospace
(NSI News Source Info) PARIS, France - June 18, 2010: The French Army, which will receive its 200th VBCI wheeled combat vehicle next week, will deploy a dozen of them to Afghanistan during the summer. (DGA photo)
Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, will deliver the 200th Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) to the French Army on June 23. The VBCI is manufactured by an industrial consortium between Nexter Systems and Renault Trucks Defense, and a total of 630 units have been ordered by DGA. The total cost of the VBCI program, including development, pre-production engineering and production, is estimated at 2.86 billion euros.
The first VBCI rolled out of the factory in 2008, and the final production vehicles will be delivered by DGA to the French Army in 2015. The vehicles are built at the Nexter factory in Roanne (Loire district of central France). Overall, the VBCI represents over 8 million man-hours for Nexter Systems, Renault Trucks Defense and their subcontractors.
The VBCI is an armoured vehicle designed to meet the latest military requirements in terms of protection and growth potential. Successor to the AMX-10P tracked infantry combat vehicle, the eight drive-wheeled VBCI is designed for cross-country mobility and is being produced in command post (VPC) and infantry combat vehicle (VCI) versions.
The VCI variant, of which the French Army has ordered 520, is fitted with a 25mm turret and can carry up to 11 soldiers. Weighing about 30 tonnes fully laden, it can reach a top speed of 100 kph. It will be air-transportable by the future European A400M airlifter.
Designed as a true “life base” for infantrymen, the VBCI combines a high degree of protection including an NBC filtering system. Its armour can withstand direct hits by medium-calibre weapons and shrapnel, and also offers good protection against mines and improvised explosive devices. It is also fitted with infra-red decoy flares.
The 35th Infantry Regiment, stationed in Belfort (Eastern France) is the first combat unit to introduce the VBCI, and will deploy two VBCI combat sections to Afghanistan during the course of the summer.

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $642.2 Million To Modernize NASA Satellite System Ground Segment

DTN News: General Dynamics Awarded $642.2 Million To Modernize NASA Satellite System Ground Segment
*General Dynamics-led team to ensure continuous space-to-ground telecommunications of NASA’s global space network for decades to come
Source: DTN News / General Dynamics
(NSI News Source Info) SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - June 18, 2010: General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has been awarded a seven-year contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center for the Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) project. The company will modernize the ground system and network for NASA’s Tracking Data and Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract has a total potential value of approximately $642.2 million, including options. The period of performance is from June 21, 2010, through June 20, 2017.
As prime system integrator for the project, General Dynamics will implement a new ground-system architecture that ensures the space network will continue to provide global space-to-ground telecommunications and tracking coverage for low-Earth orbit and near-Earth space flight missions. Particular focus will be given to project integration, testing and operational transition so the new system is implemented without interruption to ongoing operations of the space network, which supports all NASA scientific and human space flight missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.
Commenting on General Dynamics’ 30-year commitment to supporting U.S. space programs, including ongoing involvement with the constellation and ground system, John Weidman, vice president of National Systems for General Dynamics C4 Systems, said, “As we modernize this critical national asset, the focus of our team’s efforts is ensuring the NASA Space Network continues the highly-reliable service it has delivered for nearly three decades.”
Operating out of the White Sands Complex in New Mexico and the TDRSS Terminal in Guam, the new flexible, extensible and scalable system will also expand the capabilities needed for future space missions by accommodating larger quantities of data with expanded coverage at greater distances.
General Dynamics will staff the SGSS project from its headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., and at its SpacePlex facility at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Research Park in Las Cruces, N.M.
General Dynamics is collaborating on the contract with a team of small and large businesses which has rich NASA experience, including Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Fla.; GMV Space Systems of Rockville, Md.; Rincon Research Corporation of Tucson, Ariz.; a.i. Solutions of Lanham, Md.; RT Logic of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Qwaltec of Tempe, Ariz.
General Dynamics C4 Systems is a leading integrator of secure communication and information systems and technology. With approximately 11,000 employees worldwide, the company specializes in command and control, communications networking, computing and information assurance for defense, government and select commercial customers in the United States and abroad.
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 91,200 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies.
More information about General Dynamics is available online at

DTN News: Lockheed To Halve Arms-Bazaar Presence This Year

DTN News: Lockheed To Halve Arms-Bazaar Presence This Year
* CEO says belt-tightening move part of new reality
* Farnborough Air Show alternates as top arms bazaar
* Restructured F-35 fighter program said making progress (Adds CEO comments, industry background) Source: DTN News / By Jim Wolf
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, - June 18, 2010: Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier by sales, will halve its corporate presence at the Farnborough Air Show outside London next month as part of stepped-up cost-consciousness on behalf of its clients, Chief Executive Robert Stevens said. "We are not going to look at the world the same way going forward as we looked at the world in the past," he told reporters Thursday at a company event to showcase big-ticket programs such as its F-35 fighter jet, new coastal combat ship and ballistic missile defenses. The Farnborough show, to be held July 19 to 25 this year, alternates annually with a counterpart in Paris to become the world's biggest arms bazaar. Stevens said he would skip along with "many of our corporate leaders" because he could not justify the expense and he wanted to set an example for the company. Overall, Lockheed's Farnborough participation would be slashed 50 percent, he said, citing a need to be more disciplined in setting priorities and allocating resources. "We're going to challenge every expense. We're going to examine every priority," Stevens said. "We're going to support our customers to the fullest. We're going to enrich our partnerships but we're going to do it in an increasingly cost-conscious way. That's what led us to this decision." Stevens said Lockheed saw the world through the same lens as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has launched a drive to free more than $100 billion in the coming five years from bloated Defense Department overhead to boost U.S. armed forces in the field. Lockheed's scaleback at Farnborough follows rising costs and schedule slips that forced a restructuring of the F-35 program, the Pentagon's costliest weapons purchase at up to $382.4 billion for more than 2,400 jets through 2036. He said efforts to put the program back on track were showing "substantial progress" and voiced confidence that as many as 25 countries ultimately would fly the radar-evading F-35. It is being developed with funds from Britain and seven other countries to replace a wide range of warplanes, including Lockheed's F-16. Stevens painted a picture of strong demand for Lockheed's military hardware amid what he called increased complexity and an expanding array of security challenges. But he said it was clear that the resources available to meet global security demands were under tremendous stress "that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future." Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin is one of the few companies to have built a permanent presence at Farnborough among the flimsier constructions that serve as catered quarters to meet, greet and fete prospective buyers. Lockheed has booked the same amount of additional floor space this year as it did during the last show, show organizers said. Overall, the show is "sold out this year and on the same level as 2008," said Philippa Ewart, a spokeswoman for Farnborough International, the event organizer. Boeing Co (BA.N) and Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), the Pentagon's second- and third-ranking suppliers by sales, did not immediately say whether they too would cut back their presence at the show.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf, additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Matthew Lewis)

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated June 17, 2010

DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated June 17, 2010 Source: U.S. DoD issued June 17, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - June 18, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued June 17, 2010 are undermentioned; CONTRACTS MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is pleased to announce the award of advisory and assistance services contracts to ~ALATEC, Inc., Huntsville, Ala. (HQ0147-10-D-0002); ~Computer Sciences Corporation, Huntsville, Ala. (HQ0147-10-D-0003); and ~Tetra Tech-EMC, Camarillo, Calif. (HQ0147-10-D-0004). Each firm is being awarded an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide advisory and assistance services to the Chief of Staff Directorate (DS) MDA. The contractors will assist DS in providing agency operations support services for the Ballistic Missile Defense System. This procurement is managed by the Missile Defense Agency Engineering and Support Services Program Office. This office is responsible for centrally managing the acquisition of advisory and assistance services for the agency. These contracts are being competitively awarded under the full and open (unrestricted) Request for Proposal HQ0147-09-R-0002. Each contract has a not-to-exceed ordering ceiling of $270,462,000. The companies will have the opportunity to bid on each individual task order. Work under these contracts will be performed in Huntsville, Ala. and other MDA locations. The performance period is through June 2015. Obligations will be made by task orders using Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funds. NAVY ~The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $25,000,000 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0014) to incorporate engineering change proposal 6213R2SOW, “trailing edge flap honeycomb redesign” into the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in October 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $25,000,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-04-C-0014). ~Raytheon Co., El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded a $9,045,214 firm-fixed-price delivery order against a previously issued basic order agreement (N00019-05-G-0008) for the procurement of 32 electro optical sensor unit weapon replaceable assemblies (WRAs), laser WRAs and laser electronic unit for the FA-18 and EA-18G aircraft. This order is in support of the WRAs in support of Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared Marker retrofit engineering change proposal 04270510. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas (60 percent), and El Segundo, Calif. (40 percent), and is expected to be completed in July 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $4,417,595 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-05-G-0008). ~Deschamps Mats Systems, Inc., Little Falls, N.J., is being awarded a $5,688,256 fixed-price contract for the procurement of A2x light weight mat and associated parts for use in constructing portable, reusable, forward-deployed airfields that can be assembled for the rapid introduction of air power. Work will be performed in La Couronne, France, and is expected to be completed in August 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-2. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-10-C-0387). DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ~Triumph Actuation Systems, LLC, Clemmons, N.C., is being awarded a maximum $8,949,528 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for hydraulic pump units. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Jan. 31, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency Huntsville (DSCR-AHB), Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (SPRRA1-10-D-0043).

DTN News: EU hits Iran With Tougher Sanctions Over Nuclear Row

DTN News: EU hits Iran With Tougher Sanctions Over Nuclear Row Source: DTN News / Paul Harrington
(NSI News Source Info) BRUSSELS, Belgium - June 18, 2010: European leaders on Thursday agreed new sanctions on Iran, going further than new UN and US punitive measures, targeting important oil and gas sectors and upsetting Russia in the process. "I believe this is evidence of the clear view in Europe that Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon is fundamentally unacceptable," said British Prime Minister David Cameron, attending his first EU summit since coming to power last month. The new European Union sanctions include a ban on new investment, technical assistance and technology transfers to Iran's huge gas and oil industry, particularly as regards refining and liquefied natural gas. It's a crucial area for Iran which is rich in natural energy resources but lacking in refining capacity. Also hailing the decision, French President Nicolas Sarkozy summed up Europe's carrot and stick approach to Tehran. "It's the sanctions that increase the chances of dialogue," he told reporters on the margins of the summit. The new EU measures also target the Islamic Republic's transportation, banking and insurance sectors and slaps new visa bans and asset freezes on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The move came the day after the United States added Iranian individuals and firms to a blacklist and one week after the UN Security Council slapped its fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its refusal to halt nuclear activities. In an agreed text the EU leaders expressed their "deepening concerns about Iran's nuclear programme." Tehran says the programme is purely for civilian purposes, but Israel and Western powers fear it may be trying to develop nuclear weapons that would tip the balance of power in the Middle East. Russia, which was persuaded to support the UN measures, strongly criticised the unilateral US and EU decisions to go further. "We are extremely disappointed that neither the United States nor the European Union heed our calls to refrain from such moves," Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying. His comments struck a strong note of discord after what has in the past months been relatively harmonious efforts between Russia and Western powers to resolve the nuclear crisis. The new EU sanctions had been proposed at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday, when backers overcame reticence from Sweden and a determination from Germany -- which had doubts about the gas sanctions -- to ensure ordinary Iranians were not unduly affected. EU president Herman Van Rompuy, who chaired the summit talks, said new sanctions "have become inevitable," given Tehran's intransigence. Therefore the EU leaders asked their foreign ministers to adopt, at their meeting next month, the UN sanctions and "accompanying measures." But the EU leaders' joint statement stressed their desire to resolve the dispute through diplomacy and urges Iran to resume negotiations. "The European Council calls on Iran to demonstrate willingness to build the confidence of the international community and to respond to the invitation for resumption of negotiations," the summit statement said. EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has written to Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, inviting him to resume negotiations on behalf of the five UN Security Council permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany. Tehran has long said that it accepts in principle such a meeting between Jalili and Ashton. On June 9, the UN Security Council slapped a fourth round of sanctions on Iran, this time tightening the noose on military and financial transactions. The US followed up by targeting insurance companies, oil firms and shipping lines linked to Iran's atomic or missile programs as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Iran's Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi. Iran has repeatedly ignored international demands to halt its uranium enrichment activities.


DTN News: Palestinian 'Hit By Israeli Fire' Near Gaza Border

DTN News: Palestinian 'Hit By Israeli Fire' Near Gaza Border
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) GAZA CITY - June 17, 2010: A Palestinian fighter was wounded by Israeli fire near the heavily guarded border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, medics and witnesses said. "A Palestinian was moderately wounded by Israeli shelling in the Abasan area east of Khan Yunis," a medical official said. Witnesses said Israeli tanks stationed along the border had fired at a group of armed men, and that the incident took place in an area that has seen two cross-border attacks by Palestinian militants in the past month. An Israeli military spokeswoman said troops had fired at a "Palestinian operative planting an explosive device along the border fence." Gaza's borders have remained mostly calm since the end of a devastating Israeli offensive in January 2009, but there are occasional clashes along the border of the impoverished Palestinian territory. Related content *Israel approves plan to ease Gaza blockade *Q&A - What's changing in Israel's blockade of Gaza? *Israel Votes To Relax Gaza Strip Blockade **Related Hot Topic: Gaza

DTN News: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates Says GE-Rolls Royce F-35 Engine Falls Short

DTN News: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates Says GE-Rolls Royce F-35 Engine Falls Short * Gates opposes lawmaker efforts to keep funding engine * GE denies engine falls short on performance * Says Pentagon's ratings belie Gates's remarks * Pratt & Whitney building engine in early F-35 fighters (Rewrites first paragraph to add political context; adds Gates and GE comments, stock prices) Source: DTN News / Reuters By Jim Wolf (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, - June 17, 2010: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said an alternate engine for the multinational F-35 fighter jet appears to fall short on performance, underlining his opposition to congressional moves to continue funding it. The Pentagon thinks that the second engine "does not meet, probably does not meet, the performance standards that are required," Gates, who deems the engine a costly extravagance, told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. The alternate engine is being developed jointly by General Electric Co (GE.N) and Rolls-Royce Group Plc (RR.L) in a battle for a projected $100 billion engine market for the F-35. United Technologies Corp's (UTX.N) Pratt & Whitney unit builds the engine used in early F-35 production models. A GE spokesman, Rick Kennedy, disputed Gates's comments. The engine is "meeting and exceeding all performance expectations in terms of aeromechanical characteristics, temperature margins, turbine design, the control system and operability," he said. "The secretary's comments contradict the detailed assessment from the Department of Defense, which has consistently awarded very good and excellent ratings to the (second engine)," said Kennedy in an email. President Barack Obama, consistent with Gates's advice, said last month he would veto any legislation to fund a second engine for the F-35, which is being built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N). The F-35 program is valued at up to $382.4 billion to develop and buy more than 2,400 F-35s through 2036, the Pentagon's costliest purchase ever. Obama's veto threat came after the House of Representatives adopted, on May 28, its version of a fiscal 2011 defense spending bill that included $485 million to keep the alternate engine alive. The Pentagon has sought to kill the second engine for four years, defied each time by Congress, which controls the Defense Department's purse strings. Several key lawmakers, including the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, have questioned whether Obama would use his veto over the second engine if presented with a military spending bill that delivered other important initiatives he has sought. Obama has said he would do so over either the second engine or any move to fund more Boeing Co (BA.N) C-17 cargo planes, of which the Air Force says it has more than enough. Gates cautioned lawmakers, "It would be a very serious mistake to believe the president would accept these unneeded programs simply because the authorization or appropriations legislation includes other provisions important to him and to this administration." He said the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, co-developed with Britain and seven other foreign partners, was meeting its performance parameters even though its development phase has been extended and even though the Pentagon's early purchase plans have been slowed amid efforts to put the program back on track after schedule slips and soaring costs. "What we think we have endured (in the F-35 program) is primarily management and production problems, a lack of adequate execution on the part of the Defense Department itself," Gates said. Kennedy, the GE spokesman, also disputed Gates's estimate that the second engine would cost at least $2.9 billion more to develop. The company has put the figure at another $1 billion. In another point of contention, Gates suggested the GE-led team had lost a competition to Pratt & Whitney, an analysis strongly rejected by GE, Rolls-Royce and their supporters in Congress. "My view is a competition is winner-take-all," Gates said. "And I think we've had that competition and it's time to move on with the program." GE and Rolls-Royce, in a statement last month, denounced such a view as "the oldest myth of the (F-35) program and totally untrue." The U.S. Air Force directed Boeing and Lockheed, which submitted competing Joint Strike Fighter designs, to both use a Pratt engine in their concept demonstrator aircraft. Congress recognized in 1996 that an engine competition for the aircraft was never held, and it authorized development funds to GE/Rolls-Royce with the intention of introducing a competing engine four years into the aircraft program, the GE-Rolls statement said. GE shares were up 0.9 percent to $15.92 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares in United Technologies were unchanged at $68.60. (Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, John Wallace and Tim Dobbyn)

DTN News: Israel Okays Plan To Ease Gaza Blockade

DTN News: Israel Okays Plan To Ease Gaza Blockade
Source: DTN News / AFP
(NSI News Source Info) JERUSALEM, Israel - June 17, 2010: The Israeli security cabinet on Thursday approved a plan to ease the blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, a statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Under the plan, Israel would "liberalise the system by which civilian goods enter Gaza (and) expand the inflow of materials for civilian projects that are under international supervision," the statement said. But it also stressed that Israel would "continue existing security procedures to prevent the inflow of weapons and war materiel." Alongside the easing of the four-year blockade, the 15-member security cabinet said it expected the international community "to work toward the immediate release of Gilad Shalit," the Israeli soldier snatched by Gaza-based militants in June 2006. The Gaza blockade was first imposed by Israel in the aftermath of Shalit's capture, but was tightened significantly after Hamas forcibly took over the Palestinian enclave a year later. Israel has faced mounting calls to lift the blockade following its botched raid on an aid flotilla trying to run the Gaza blockade on May 31, in which nine Turkish activists were shot dead.