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By Debbie Gregory.

In tests conducted with the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command in August, the Army’s Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) laser weapon brought down five 10.8′ wingspan Outlaw unmanned aerial systems.

Once ATHENA took aim at the back rudders of the Outlaw drones , they burst into flame, spiraling into a tailspin, falling to the ground.

“The system defeated airborne targets in flight by causing loss of control and structural failure,” Lockheed Martin said in press release. “Lockheed Martin and the Army will conduct post mission reviews, and data collected will be used to further refine the system, improve model predictions and inform development of future laser systems.”

Knocking drones out of the sky is just one of the uses that Lockheed envisions for its new laser technology. Lockheed Martin is hoping to expand the utility of its laser weapons systems to aircraft, ground vehicles, and ships.

“As we mature the technology behind laser weapon systems, we’re making the entire system more effective and moving closer to a laser weapon that will provide greater protection to our warfighters by taking on more sophisticated threats from a longer range,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s Chief Technology Officer.

“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems,” said Jackson. “We are investing in every component of the system – from the optics and beam control to the laser itself – to drive size, weight and power efficiencies.

ATHENA is a transportable, ground-based system that serves as a low-cost test bed for demonstrating technologies required for military use of laser weapon systems. Lockheed Martin is positioning laser weapon systems for success on the battlefield because of their speed, flexibility, precision and low cost per engagement.

 

The University of West Florida’s Military & Veterans Resource Center, in Partnership

with Veterans Florida, is conducting no-cost Entrepreneurial Workshops for Honorably

Discharged Veterans — Workshops that can lead to participating in a Business Plan

Competition where the three top Winners share $40,000 in Cash and In-Kind Services.

If you are interested in launching a Startup or growing your existing business, the next

Workshop is Saturday, October 28, from 9 a.m. until Noon at the Pensacola UWF Conference

Center.  Breakfast and snacks will be served, and participants have the opportunity to win Door Prizes as well.

The Topic is “Veterans – Don’t Be a Bean Counter — Learn the Secrets of Painless Accounting!”

For MORE INFORMATION please see:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/veterans-dont-bean-counter-learn-secrets-painless-robert-l-foster/

For REGISTRATION AND MORE INFORMATION please see:

http://www.veteransflorida.org/veterans/veterans-florida-entrepreneurship-program/

By Debbie Gregory.

To replace its aging fleet of Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) “Mike Boats”, the U.S. Army has awarded a massive contract to Oregon-based shipbuilder Vigor Works.

The Vigor Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) (Vigor MSV [L])  was designed and developed in partnership with BMT following a detailed study of the Army’s unique needs.

The contract represents the largest award in Vigor’s history, with a total value of $979,390,000 over a ten year period. The contract will provide sustained full time employment for roughly 200 skilled artisans.

The draft production schedule would have a prototype built for testing in FY2019,  four will be built during Low Rate Initial Production between FY 21 and FY 22; and, should the program reach full scale production, 32 will be produced during a four-year period between FY23 through FY27.

“This award is the culmination of a five year process of research and development that first began with Kvichak prior to its merger with Vigor,” said Vigor CEO Frank Foti. “We are honored to have been selected to serve the Army in this important project.”

The landing craft’s tribow monohull is an innovative design that provides superior maneuverability and stability in high sea states.

The 100-foot long beach landing boat is capable of hauling one M1A2 Abrams tank, a pair of Stryker armored transports, or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, and their trailers.

The new boats boast a top speed of 18 knots and will replace the slower 74-foot long Landing Craft Mechanized 8, which tops out at eight knots — and has been in service since the 1950’s.

The introduction of the MSV(L) into the fleet, says the Army, “will enable the agency to meet its movement, maneuver, and integrated expeditionary sustainment requirements with a more agile, versatile; and capable platform. The MSV(L) will conduct movement and maneuver of tactical force elements as well as traditional Army Watercraft System sustainment operations.”

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Navy is about to a close a $119 million deal with Raytheon to integrate a new sensor into the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) that would increase the missile’s capability to attack moving targets at sea.

The order provides for analysis, architecture, modeling, simulation, evaluation, and prototyping for the anti-ship missile version of the Tomahawk, which will be called the Maritime Strike Tomahawk variant.

The Raytheon Missile Systems segment in Tucson, AZ will integrate seeker suite technology and processing capabilities into the Tactical Tomahawk Block IV missile in support of the Maritime Strike Tomahawk Program. Additional locations for the project include Dallas, TX and Boulder, CO.

“We’re upgrading the radio, the harnessing and the antenna for the communication. So every recertified missile will get an upgraded navigation and communication,” said Capt. Mark Johnson, Naval Air Systems Command PMA-280 program manager.

TLAM program manager Dave Adams indicated that the final product could be a multi-mode seeker with a mix of passive and active sensors.

The Tomahawk carries a 1,000-pound high-explosive warhead or submunitions dispenser. The subsonic missile can fly more than 1,000 miles at 550 miles per hour at 98 to 160 feet above the ground or water.

Introduced by General Dynamics and in service since1983, the Tomahawk Missile was initially designed as a medium to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. Over the years, it has been upgraded several times with guidance systems for precision navigation. From 1992-1994, McDonnell Douglas Corporation was the sole supplier of the missiles. In 1994, Hughes outbid McDonnell Douglas Aerospace to become the sole supplier of the missiles. Raytheon began manufacturing the missile in 2016.

By Debbie Gregory.

Vets First, a policy that gives preference to veteran-owned small businesses, has long been circumvented by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is in direct defiance of orders from Congress, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and more recently, the U.S. Supreme Court.

The program was created for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and expanded the Service-Disabled Veteran contracting program for VA procurements. It was designed to ensure that legitimately owned and controlled VOSBs and SDVOSBs are able to compete for VA VOSB and SDVOSB set-aside and are credited by VA’s large prime contractors for subcontract plan achievements.

In Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, the court ruled that not only was the VA disregarding VETS First, but in moving forward, the department’s “rule of two” should be used for all VA procurements.

The “rule of two” states a contracting officer of the VA, “shall award contracts on the basis of competition restricted to small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans if the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans will submit offers and that the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price that offers best value to the United States.”

In order to be in compliance, the VA must:

Revise its acquisition policies and training to ensure better oversight of its contracting activities;
Improve the ability for veteran-owned small businesses to obtain Federal Supply Schedule contracts for the products the VA buys; and
Discontinue its use of contract vehicles that do not contain veteran-owned small businesses.

With more than 7,000 veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses in the U.S. that have met the Vets First criteria, there is no excuse for the not to award contracts to these businesses.

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