Not surprisingly, as the technology behind unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has increased over the decades, so have their costs. But why do modern-day UAVs and their equipment cost so much? The simple answer: because they can. But that doesn’t mean the cost is justified.
While attending an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) conference about a year ago, a senior U.S. military member stated that the best approach to modernizing and evolving ISR capabilities was through incremental steps. He used a baseball metaphor, saying, “We need to try to hit a series of singles rather than swing for the fences and try to do something big.” He cited a series of large ISR programs valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars that eventually were canceled, shelved or yielded little in terms of new capabilities.
The U.S. Air Force and industry partners are developing a unique phased array for high-throughput intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services for X-band satellite services.
During a recent display at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, Ball Aerospace and XTAR demonstrated that Ball’s Airlink X-1 antenna configured for the C-130 hatch was able to transmit 4.5 megabits of data per second over the XTAR-LANT satellite, a marked throughput increase over existing terminals, officials say.
AAI Corporation, Hunt Valley, Maryland, has been awarded a one-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (H92222-16-D-0032) for mid-endurance unmanned aircraft systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services. The services will be provided worldwide, as specified in individual task orders.
Insitu Inc., Bingen, Washington, has been awarded a one-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (H92222-16-D-0031) for Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MEUAS 1.5-B) intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services. The services will be provided worldwide, as specified in individual task orders. The period of performance is 12-months (six-month base period with two three-month options). This is a sole-source requirement and was issued under the authority 10 U.S.
Industry said, “Show me the money,” and NATO obliged.
Officials shared several key business initiatives to meet future NATO needs during the three-day NITEC 2016 cyber conference, informing industry members about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) worth of upcoming business opportunities and contract work.
SRI International, Menlo Park, California, is being awarded a $7,778,244 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for basic and applied research for methodologies and technologies that support rapid development, evaluation and deployment of interoperable surveillance, tracking, security and access control solutions to provide increased capabilities to the warfighter. These efforts will provide a modular and open system architecture approach for creating systems and system of systems across domains to develop sensors and systems that support a variety of aviation platforms/systems. Work will be performed in Princeton, New Jersey (75 percent); and Stonington, Connecticut (25 percent), and is expected to be completed
Maj. Gen. Burke Edwin Wilson, USAF, commander, 24th Air Force and Air Forces Cyber, offers that the 24th is working with industry “on a plethora of capabilities.” At the top of the list are defensive capabilities, particularly counter-reconnaissance for determining the threats that are coming at Air Force cyber. These include intrusion detection and protection systems, which would be especially useful for meeting the service’s critical infrastructure cyber challenge, he says.
The Air Force is experiencing significant growth in offensive cyber operations, he adds. The service wants to be able to conduct these offensive operations globally.
Across the entire Defense Department, situational awareness is mission critical. Real-time understanding of mission activities and the information delivered by intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, in particular, is crucial for military commanders to make key decisions.
To ensure that ISR systems provide mission-critical information, the information technology infrastructure must run flawlessly—relaying collected data to people quickly and accurately.
How do you ensure successful information flow? And just as important, how do you increase real-time visibility across traditionally siloed systems run by different teams and monitored and managed by different products?
Fourth Dimension Engineering, Columbia, Maryland (W911QX-15-D-0028); Applied Research Associates, Albuquerque, New Mexico (W911QX-15-D-0029); and Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Virginia (W911QX-15-D-0030) were awarded a $49,701,849 cost-plus-fixed-fee indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award task order contract for persistent surveillance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mechanical and electromechanical design, fabrication, assembly, test/evaluation and documentation efforts. Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received. Funding and work location will be determined with each order. Army Contracting Command, Adelphi, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
L-3 Communications, Platform Integration Division, Waco, Texas, has been awarded a $9,782,108 undefinitized contract action for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft and training to the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF). Contractor will provide the delivery/ferry of four ISR aircraft; RJAF pilot, maintainer and mission system training; and field service representative support in support of the counterterrorism efforts in Jordan. Work will be performed in Waco, Texas, and in Jordan, and it is expected to be completed by September 30, 2016. This contract is 100 percent foreign military sales. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition.
Modern Technology Solutions Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, has been awarded a $24,998,436 Small Business Innovation Research III sole-source, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Rapid Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Technology Integration Program effort. Contractor will extend the sensor resource management system developed in Phase I for the Missile Defense Agency and apply it to the integration of air, ground and space sensor systems and their associated platforms to provide ISR data products. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico; and Alexandria, Virginia, and is expected to be complete by September 17, 2019.
Wright State Applied Research Corp., Beavercreek, Ohio, has been awarded a $42,500,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for human-machine teaming for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) analysis. Contractor will provide research in three areas: (1) ISR knowledge elicitation; (2) ISR concept design and development; and (3) ISR performance assessment.
The Boeing Co., Seattle, Washington, is being awarded a not-to-exceed $358,938,513 modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-14-C-0067) for the procurement of long-lead items for the manufacture and delivery of nine United States Navy Full-Rate Production Lot II P-8A aircraft, 16 USN FRP Lot III P-8A aircraft, and four Royal Australian Air Force FRP Lot III P-8A aircraft. This contract combines purchase for the U.S. Navy ($219,407,863; 61 percent) and the government of Australia ($139,530,650; 39 percent) under a cooperative agreement.
Mission Essential Personnel, New Albany, Ohio, was awarded a $9,672,838 modification (P00005) to contract W560MY-15-C-0003 for intelligence support and ISR within Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of January 9, 2016. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $9,672,838 were obligated at the time of the award. The Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois is the contracting activity.
L-3 National Security Solutions Inc., Reston, Virginia was awarded a $7,705,643 modification (P00003) to contract W52P1J-15-C-0002 for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Work will be performed in Afghanistan with an estimated completion date of January 9, 2016. Fiscal 2015 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $7,705,643 were obligated at the time of the award. The Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois is the contracting activity.
Airtec Inc., California, Maryland, is being awarded an $80,661,914 modification against a previously issued firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N68335-14-D-0030) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services in support of the U.S. Southern Command. The contractor will provide ISR services utilizing a contractor-owned, contractor-operated Bombardier DHC-8/200 multi-sensor aircraft, with government-furnished property previously installed on the aircraft. Work will be performed in Bogota, Columbia (90 percent); and California, Maryland (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in September 2018. No funds will be obligated at time of award.
Years ago, commercial satellite providers successfully nudged their way into the military space domain, providing critical bandwidth services for platforms for which the Defense Department could not, particularly for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (AISR) missions. More than a decade later, some companies are gambling with technological improvements in hopes of retaining that hold on the lucrative market.
Insitu Inc., Bingen, Washington, is being awarded $10,919,060 for firm-fixed-price delivery order 0008 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N68335-11-G-0009). This effort is for the procurement of site activation services, and field service representative personnel to perform site lead, pilot/operator, and maintenance personnel duties to support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services program and force protection services for the government of Iraq. It will also procure one Mark 4 Launcher, two Full Mission Training Devices and spares kits.
The organization tasked with deploying and maintaining orbital reconnaissance assets is working on improving its ground architecture to keep those space-based capabilities relevant amid a changing threat picture. The National Reconnaissance Office, facing stringent budget pressures, is counting on architecture and technology advances on the ground to enhance the capabilities of existing platforms hundreds of miles above the Earth.