Straits come into Focus as Gulf Tension Mounts
The waters in the Arabian Gulf (or Persian Gulf), are highly
turbulent these days. The increasing presence of US naval
presence, and continued Iranian defiance of UN pressure
led Iran to raise the level of alert among its armed forces,
in anticipation of a possible attack. While potential nuclear
threat in the future is certainly a serious consideration,
Iran's domination of the strategic straits of Hurmoz is
the imminent threat.
Boeing and Northrop Grumman submitted this week their competing
bids for the US Air Force' KC-135 tanker replacement program
program will be worth $30-40 billion. The projected life cycle
cost of the new tankers has been estimated at $200 billion.
The Air Force plans spending about $8.2 billion until 2010 on
development and testing, and expects the first squadron of 16
aircraft to become operational by 2013.
A Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) made by Vision Systems
International, LLC (VSI) recently flew for the first time on
an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. The HMDS provides the
pilot video with imagery in day or night conditions combined
with precision symbology to give the pilot situational awareness
and tactical capability. The HMDS has been in development for
five years and recently completed all required safety of flight
tests toward full certification.
20 Global Hawk Begins Test Flights
The first RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk unmanned aerial system
successfully completed its first flight on March 1. The first
Block 20 aircraft is the 17th Global Hawk air vehicle to be
built. Following a final series of operational testing and evaluation
at Edwards AFB, the new Global hawk will be delivered to the
Air Force's 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base
near Sacramento, California.
Center to Test Networked, Panoramic Imagers
A new, panoramic imaging sensor will be tested on an unmanned
aerial vehicle, for testing by the Office of Naval Research
for potential use in security and force protection applications.
The system will comprise panoramic imaging hardware and software
developed by EyeSee360 Inc., integrated with the Augusta Systems
technologies' SensorPort and SensorBridge which provide intelligent
image processing within the sensor level, thus establishing
a network of distributed sensors, interconnected by wireless
links. The sensor systems will be utilized on-board unmanned
aircraft and in fixed-location, field deployments for convoy
protection, critical infrastructure protection, perimeter security
and a host of other uses.
The U.S. Department of Defense is planning to demonstrate
'Internet Routing In Space' (IRIS) under a Joint Capability
Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program recently awarded to
Intelsat. According to Bill Shernit, President and CEO of Intelsat
General, "IRIS extends the Internet into space, integrating
satellite systems and the ground infrastructure for warfighters,
first responders and others who need seamless and instant communications,"
The IRIS payload will support network services for voice, video
and data communications, enabling military units or allied forces
to communicate with one another using Internet protocol and
existing ground equipment.
ViaSat, Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT) will provide an upgrade for the
satellite network serving the US Army main tactical situational
awareness system, known as FBCB2-BFT
(follow-on Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below - Blue
Force Tracking). The upgrade will improve global coverage, increase
network capacity and reduce latency, especially in dense operational
Red Flag forces huddle up at Eielson
A French air force Mirage M2000 sits on the tarmac awaiting
a mission for Red Flag-Alaska 07-1 in April at Eielson Air Force
Base, Alaska. Red Flag-Alaska is a Pacific Air Forces-directed
field training exercise flown under simulated air combat conditions.
It is conducted on the Pacific Alaskan Range Complex with air
operations flown out of Eielson and Elmendorf Air Force bases.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jonathan Snyder).
After a five years of stagnation, the satellite market is finally
rising and is expected to enter positive cycle; compared to
80 satellites launched per year, in the period 2000 –
2005. However, in 2006 the wind has changed with 32% increase
in the number of satellite launched. According to Marco Caceres,
senior space analyst for Teal. "But something changed in
2006. We launched 107 satellites, or a 32% increase over each
of the previous two years. This represents more satellites than
we have launched since 2000."
L-3 Communications Infrared Products is introducing an uncooled
focal plane array (FPA) with 1024 x 768 pixel resolution. When
integrated into thermal viewing modules, the new thermal sensor
will offer significantly longer viewing range, with appreciably
greater scene detail and considerably more capable electronic
Navy to Improved
Air, Missile Defense with Raytheon's CEC
Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has been awarded $48 million
in follow-on contracts by the U.S. Navy for work on the Cooperative
Engagement Capability (CEC) program. CEC provides robust capability
to naval air and missile defenses by distributing force level
sensor and weapons data in a new and significantly different
manner. It pools high-quality tracking data from participating
sensors and distributes the data to all others in a filtered
and shared state. The result is a powerful and detailed air
picture based on all sensor data available that provides early
detection and more consistent tracking of air contacts. The
program will integrate seven AN/USG-2A Shipboard consoles, establishing
the CEC system.
The US Marine Corps plans to field hand held Target Location,
Designation and Hand-off Systems (TLDHS) to equip artillery
forward observers with entry device designed to "speak"
with new Excalibur Unitary
GPS Precision Guided Munitions expected to be fielded with
teh corps' M-777A2 155-mm howitzers by the third quarter of
fiscal year 2007.
to Produce 1,100 CREW IED Jammers for US Forces
EDO Corporation (NYSE: EDO) will provide the Department of
Defense with 1,100 CREW 2.1 vehicle mounted EW countermeasures
against radio-controlled IED, under an $88 million contract
awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command and the Program Executive
Office for Littoral and Mine Warfare.