The U.S. Air Force's venerable fleet of B-52 Stratofortress bombers is joining the network-centric force. They are being outfitted with the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system, which will provide the aircraft with enhanced situational awareness and mission flexibility. The CONECT modification involves the installation of a digital communications infrastructure into the B-52 that enables the aircraft to link to the Air Force's digital communications network and contact command and control centers, ground forces and other platforms. The first aircraft to receive the equipment is undergoing fight tests. All 76 aircraft in the fleet will receive CONECT after the flight test program is complete.
Research and development is the seed corn of our technology driven world. With the commercial sector providing many of the military's new technologies, the old lines delineating military and commercial technologies are blurring into nonexistence. The defense community is working with academia and the private sector to an ever greater degree, and the rapid pace of commercial information technology innovation is increasing the importance of laboratory research.
Dr. William Nolte, research professor and director of the Center for Intelligence Research and Education, University of Maryland, laid the problems on the line regarding industry and intelligence community organizations during the AFCEA Small Business Intelligence Forum, which took place today in Fairfax, Virginia. Ranging from determining who is in charge to the acquisition process, Nolte forthrightly shared that the many of the systems that facilitate government-industry partnerships are broken.
Rockwell Collins has been awarded a program to develop simulation and training solutions for the MA-60 and MA-600 flight platforms by Xian Aviation Science and Technology Company (XASC), an AVIC subsidiary.
ITT Corporation has been chosen by NASA to help design, develop and test a set of instruments to measure carbon dioxide (CO2) from air and space in support of NASA's Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days and Season (ASCENDS) mission. ITT has received an initial contract for ASCENDS mission support for a period of five years with a total value of $7 million.
BAE Systems has been awarded a $33.6 million low-rate initial production contract for the ALE-55. The AN/ALE-55 is part of the U.S. Navy's Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures system that provides fighter aircraft with electronic defense against radar guided missiles.
General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) to provide mission support services to the USJFCOM Joint Systems Integration Center (JSIC). The contract has a total potential value of $101.9 million. General Dynamics will support the JSIC in establishing, maintaining and extending the assessment of current military systems, near-term technology insertions and acquisition solutions for the joint warfighter.
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Joint Forces Command to provide research, development, engineering and technical services to the Joint Concept Development and Experimentation Directorate (J-9). The contract has a ceiling amount of $284 million.