Lt. Gen. Dennis Via, USA, J-6, The Joint Staff, offered the MILCOM 2010 Monday luncheon audience a glimpse of his wish list for U.S. forces. Items ran the gamut from new technologies and methodologies to improved efficiency in existing systems. On a large scale, the general called for information and services from the edge to be joint, integrated and operational "out of the box." With U.S. forces expected to be deployed virtually anywhere in the world, Gen. Via cited a need for global network access with a single sign-on. Technology must serve the user, not the other way around, he emphasized. Some existing capabilities are exploited to about only 25 percent of their full capability. Industry should help leverage those systems to a greater degree of use. Above all, the military must leverage "the significant investment" made over the past decade, Gen. Via added. This effort should entail spiral development and technology insertion so that the force can increase the benefits it receives from existing systems and technologies.
Equipment must work immediately and everywhere.
The U.S. Defense Department could benefit from building smaller but more numerous military communication satellites, said a director from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratories. Dr. Scott Sadler, head of communication systems and cyber security at the MIT labs, outlined several reasons why building a constellation of several medium-size satellites would be better than building few large orbiters. While large satellites would be more cost-effective in terms of on-orbit weight, medium-size satellites would cost less than their bigger counterparts, which would make the program less subject to budget-driven cancellation. Contracting for a number of medium-size satellites also would increase competition and reduce the cost of launch failure. Sadler pointed out that simply launching the equivalent in medium satellites would lead to quicker on-orbit access, but ultimately the constellation would deliver 33 percent less capability than a constellation of large satellites. However, if incremental advances are incorporated into the medium-size satellites throughout the program, then their final capability would match that of their larger brethren-and at less cost.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Newtown, Pennsylvania, was awarded a contract modification valued at more than $10 million, which will provide on-orbit operations and sustainment for the PGS IIR satellites, for one year beginning Nov. 1, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2011. Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity.
L-3 Communication Integrated Systems, Greeneville, Texas, was awarded an estimated $24 million contract modification, which will provide airborne information management system Phase III installation. Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is the contracting activity.
Raytheon Company Integrated Defense Systems, San Diego, California, is being awarded a $7 million contract for the procurement of long-lead-time materials in support of LPD 26 integrated shipboard electronics. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, Limited Liability Company, Newport News, Virginia, is being awarded a $45 million contract modification for services in support of the commercial air services program, which provides contractor-owned and operated Type III high subsonic and Type IV supersonic aircraft to Navy fleet customers for a wide variety of airborne threat simulation capabilities. This provides for training shipboard and aircraft squadron weapon systems operators and aircrew how to counter potential enemy electronic warfare and electronic attack operations in today's electronic combat environment. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
When it comes to computer design, sometimes, less is more.