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Bettina H. Chavanne

Bettina H. Chavanne
USCG Still Heavily Focused On Homeland Security, Report Finds 

For the eighth straight year, the U.S. Coast Guard has dedicated more resource hours to homeland security missions than to non-homeland security missions, according to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General’s (IG) recent annual review of the service’s mission performance.

Sikorsky Conducts First APU Test on CH-53K 

LIGHT OFF: Sikorsky’s CH-53K Heavy-Lift helicopter has conducted the first test of its Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) engine, signaling the program is ready to begin formal integration testing early next year. The APU provides power to a 45-kilovolt-ampere generator, a 58-horsepower hydraulic pump and hydraulic starter. The engine is now being prepared for safety-of-flight testing and accomplishing on-time delivery of hardware for the ground test article, the company says.

Lockheed Martin Announces Intention To Bid On Next-Gen Aegis Missile 

MISSILE BID: Lockheed Martin has announced its intention to bid on the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s next-generation ship-based interceptor, dubbed the SM-3 IIB. Raytheon manufactures the current SM-3, and Lockheed Martin leadership acknowledged at a Washington luncheon Aug. 25 that SM-3 IIB is not meant to supplant the current inventory. The next-generation missile will fill a gap at MDA for a post-boost, pre-apogee missile, Lockheed officials say. “There isn’t a missile that does that in the inventory today.”

U.S. Navy Pushes LCS Decision Date Again 

The U.S. Navy has pushed back its contract award date for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) again, announcing it will make its source selection “as expeditiously as practicable.”

The Navy asked bidders to hand in final proposal revisions by September, and those proposals will “remain valid for 90 days.” That extension allows the service an additional three months to continue conversations before making a firm decision. Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics have been in heated competition on the LCS program, and both have produced prototypes.

Chinese Arms Buildup Focuses More On Quality Than Quantity 

China’s growing military prowess goes beyond work on ever-more-advanced missile systems—the Pentagon also expects it to become a stronger force in the export market as its industry develops increasingly sophisticated technology.

GAO Denies ITT Protest Of Boeing JTRS Win 

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has denied a protest filed by ITT Corp. against the awarding of a Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) software contract to The Boeing Co.

ITT Corp. originally claimed Boeing enjoyed “unequal access to information,” which GAO found to be untrue. The “record shows that [the] protestor had access to the same information, and, in any case, the information was properly provided to the awardee by virtue of the agency’s contractual right to use the information.”

Pentagon Report On China Reveals Continued Arms Buildup 

The U.S. Defense Department’s latest annual report on Chinese military power notes the continued increase in the capability and reach of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Sikorsky Protests Russian Helos For Afghanistan 

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has filed a protest against U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (Navair) demanding the suspension of a request for proposals (RFP) for Russian Mi-17 helicopters for Afghanistan

U.S. Navy Establishes New Unmanned Maritime Vehicles Office 

The U.S. Navy has established a new program office to manage its unmanned maritime vehicle (UMV) efforts, marrying traditional acquisition and advanced development into a single charter.

“The goal is to coordinate [unmanned vehicle acquisition] efforts and then direct specific experimentation and technology maturation,” says new program manager Capt. Duane Ashton.

Amphibious Assault To Stay At Top Of USMC Priorities 

Amphibious assault remains at the top of the priorities the U.S. Marine Corps is setting for its post-Afghanistan force, according to a leading official at the Navy Department.

Robert “Bob” Work, undersecretary of the Navy, told a Center for Strategic and International Studies audience in Washington Aug. 3 that his top six priorities for the Marines will be reflected in the Force Structure Review Group findings, expected in November. Budget effects then would be felt in the Fiscal 2013 process.

Largest Maritime Exercise To Wrap Up 

MARITIME EXERCISE: The world’s largest maritime exercise, which started off the coast of Hawaii June 23, is scheduled to wrap up August 1. Fourteen nations are participating in Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) 2010, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. The exercise involves 32 ships, five submarines, more than 170 aircraft and more than 20,000 international military personnel.

U.S. Navy May Ditch Sonobuoy Launcher On Antisub MH-60R 

FARNBOROUGH — The U.S. Navy program manager for the H-60 helicopter, Capt. Dean Peters, says the potential exists to “take out the sonobuoy launcher” from the MH-60R, and launch fewer buoys using a different type of launch system.

The goal is to reduce the amount of cabin space taken up by the sonobuoy launcher. “We’re evaluating other options to free up space and reduce cost,” Peters says. The Romeo’s Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) worked so well during last year’s deployment that there “was not much need for the [sonobuoy] launcher.

Navsea Life-Cycle Management To Reach Key Milestone 

MAINTENANCE STRATEGY: As part of the continued drive toward a better planned and engineered surface-force maintenance strategy, the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (Navsea) Surface Ship Life-Cycle Management Activity will reach the key 75% milestone this month in the development of technical foundation papers (TFP) for the Ticonderoga (CG 47) and Wasp (LHD 1) classes of ships. On track for completion this September, these TFPs are designed to identify the maintenance requirements that must be performed for each ship class to reach its expected service life.

Foreign Dollars Pour In For U.S. Helicopters 

As the defense industry bemoans dwindling money in Defense Department coffers, it is benefitting from brisk business abroad, with billions of dollars in Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) each year. The helicopter industry in particular may be able to take advantage of overseas markets as production stateside slows.

Pentagon Supplemental Funding Requests Fall In Fiscal 2011 

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a comparison of Fiscal 2010 and FY ’11 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding, revealing a $4.7 billion decrease in requests overall.

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