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Razor Talon Sharpens Services’ Synergy

June 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

Integrating air land, and sea forces on a monthly basis saves money and creates continuity of operations.

Technology experts at the U.S. Air Force’s 4th Fighter Wing based at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, are networking joint units up and down the East Coast to provide unique training opportunities for the modern military. Through their efforts, advancements are being made to further the Air-Sea Battle Concept, simultaneously improving coalition interoperability. The events allow for interservice and international training without strain on organizations’ budgets.

These Razor Talon exercises are monthly large-force exercises that have grown significantly since their first iteration in March 2011. They evolved in part from an inability of units, because of timing or funding, always to send their assets to the major exercise of that type—Red Flag at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. “We needed a large-force exercise to essentially grow mission commanders,” explains Col. Michael Koscheski, USAF, 4th Operations Group commander. Though units from the East Coast can receive world-class training by attending annual, large-scale events, the home station training offered through Razor Talon ensures they can keep up-to-date. Sometimes units miss out for years on attending other exercises because of costs or mission schedules. Razor Talon planners lay out the yearly schedule for their monthly events, and groups see when they are available to participate based on their operations.

FLIR Systems to Provide Laser Spotter to Hungary

May 22, 2013
George I. Seffers

FLIR Systems Inc., Billerica, Mass., is being awarded a $10,090,426 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for SEE SPOT III+ Systems, test, teardown and evaluation, repairs, spares and data. The SEE SPOT III+ is a device that provides the user with the ability to view the Special Operations Force Laser Acquisition Markers invisible laser spot in the target scene field view. This contract supports a purchase for the government of Hungary under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Billerica, Mass., and is expected to be completed by May 2018. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity.  

Lockheed Martin to Provide Undersea Warfare System to Japan

May 22, 2013
George I. Seffers

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $111,512,730 cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-only, firm-fixed-price contract for the development, integration and production of AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Surface Ship Undersea Warfare Systems. The AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 is a Surface Ship Undersea Warfare combat system with the capabilities to search, detect, classify, localize and track undersea contacts, and to engage and evade submarines, mine-like small objects and torpedo threats. The contract is for development, integration and production of future Advanced Capability Build and Technical Insertion baselines of the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 USW Systems. This contract is for the government of Japan under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. 

Changing the Course of Coalition Connectivity

May 1, 2013
By Rita Boland

NATO has established a new organization in Afghanistan to manage the communications and information systems there in an attempt to revolutionize its approach to those services. The group subsumes operations that used to fall under multiple regional commands, streamlining activities while conserving resources.

The NATO Sector International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reached initial operational capability at the beginning of January and expects to reach full operational capability in June, putting the organization three-and-a-half months ahead of schedule. With the sector’s establishment, one group now oversees NATO’s entire footprint in Afghanistan to meet requirements in the most expeditious, effective and cost-efficient manner. This includes managing an estimated 70 to 75 points of presence. “It also gives us much more flexibility,” says Col. David E. Jenkins, USA, commander, Sector ISAF.

At full operation, the sector will have responsibility for all coalition, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) that NATO manages. In the event of any failure, sector personnel will have to find a solution to bring equipment back online through various service-level agreements.

Does the Joint Information Environment 
Help or Hinder Coalition Interoperability?

May 1, 2013
By Kent R. Schneider

Coalition interoperability has received a good deal of focus during the past few years. The Afghan Mission Network (AMN) has given many hope that a repeatable solution for coalition operations could be developed that would allow rapid deployment of a coalition-compatible network for future conflicts. The Future Mission Network (FMN) is envisioned to allow coalition partners to plug into a standards-compliant network with the functionality and security needed to support complex operations.

Recently, in discussions on the U.S. Defense Department initiative to develop a common operating environment referred to as the Joint Information Environment, or JIE, I began to consider whether the creation of such a common environment for the department would help move toward agile and effective coalition information sharing, or would put more distance between the U.S. military and its partners.

The conclusion I have reached is that the JIE could help or hinder coalition efforts, depending on how the JIE architecture is coordinated and whether it is kept on a path parallel to the FMN. It is important to remember that coalition information sharing today is more than just how the United States works with its foreign allies. Anywhere on the mission spectrum, the Defense Department must work with a wide range of U.S. federal agencies, industry partners and, sometimes, state, local and tribal agencies, as well as with international partners.

This means the legacy architectures, direction and needs of this extremely diverse set of players must be considered at every step of the development of the JIE. And, it is imperative to keep the development of the JIE and the development of the FMN coordinated every step of the way. Failure to do this will make it more difficult, not easier, to work with interagency partners and coalition partners.

Indonesian Navy Orders Corvette Simulators

April 19, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
The Indonesian Navy has ordered two NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulators, each with a 270-degree field of view projected on a cylindrical screen, from VSTEP, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The simulator bridges match the actual SIGMA Class Corvette bridge, allowing efficient and true-to-life bridge operations and navigation training. The Indonesian Navy also ordered five custom built ports, and customized navigation screens. VSTEP cooperated with local development and implementation partners, to increase the local content.

AFCEA Announces Award Banquet

April 15, 2013

The AFCEA International Awards Banquet will be held on September 25, 2013, in the East Hall of the iconic Union Station in Washington, D.C. Gen. Keith Alexander, USA, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, and director, National Security Agency, will be honored as the 2013 Sarnoff Award winner; Gen. Dennis Via, USA, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, will receive this year’s Adm. Jon L. Boyes Award; and Randy Cieslak, chief information officer, U.S. Pacific Command, and Gen. Vlastimil Picek, CZA (Ret.), minister of defence, Czech Republic, will be presented with the Gen. James M.

Thales Awarded French LTE Study Contract

April 1, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
The French defence procurement agency has awarded Thales, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, a contract to study long-term evolution (LTE) technology standards for mobile telephony. The 10-month technical and operational study will identify the potential capability gains of commercial LTE technology for French land, air and naval forces on domestic and expeditionary operations in collaboration with security forces.

Simlat to Provide UAS Training Center for Finnish Defense Forces

April 1, 2013
George I. Seffers

 
Simlat Ltd., Herzliya, Israel, was selected to provide an unmanned aerial system (UAS) training center, including its high-fidelity UAS training systems to the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF), as part of the FDF Mini UAS program. The simulation center will support the new Orbiter Mini UAS fleet, which was selected by the FDF last summer as its future UAS. The program includes the manufacturing and delivery of Orbiter Mini UAS, as well as the development of independent operational, training and maintenance capability.

Cobham to Provide Surveillance Technology for 2014 World Cup

March 27, 2013
George I. Seffers

Cobham’s Brazilian subsidiary has secured its first major contract in Brazil to equip state police helicopters with high definition video surveillance downlinks, which will be used on helicopters in 12 cities during the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup. The contract was developed with a local integration partner following the opening of the Cobham’s Sao Paulo office in August 2012 and includes both airborne and ground based equipment. This procurement was made through the newly-formed Extraordinary Secretariat for Security at Large Scale Events.

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