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By Debbie Gregory.

If Lockheed Martin is able to deliver on its laser weapon system in development, the U.S. Air Force may boast a fleet of fighter jets that can shoot lasers from a small, compact cannon.

As part of the Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments (LANCE program ) the $26.3 million contract with the Air Force Research Lab should result in a weapon system that is not only compact, but also light enough to be mounted on fighter jets.

Currently, most of these systems are limited to ground and sea use due to their weight and size. Such is the case for the ground vehicle–mounted system that Lockheed Martin just delivered to the U.S. Army that can burn through tanks and knock mortars out of the sky.

Lockheed Martin will be adapting the system it developed for the Army to address the challenge of self-protection against ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles.

The program’s work will be divided among three subsystems: the Shield Turret Research in Aero Effects (Strafe) includes the beam control system; the Laser Pod Research and Development (LPRD) will power and cool the laser on the fighter jet; and finally, the LANCE laser itself.

“The ability of a helicopter or bomber or fighter jet to shoot down or sufficiently damage or distract an incoming missile could allow them to operate in places they haven’t been able to operate recently,” said military analyst Peter Singer.

Raytheon became the first company to destroy a target with a laser fired from a helicopter at White Sands Missile Range when an Apache AH-64 shot a truck from more than a mile away. Raytheon is also building a laser-firing, drone-killing dune buggy. Boeing has its own anti-drone laser cannon.

Under the terms of the contract, Lockheed Martin plans to test a high-energy laser weapon mounted on a fighter jet by 2021.

 

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.

oshkosh

By Debbie Gregory.

Last week, Lockheed Martin Corp. officials announced that they have filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon over the U.S. Army’s decision to award a $6.75 billion contract to Oshkosh Corporation.

The contract is to build a replacement for the Humvee combat vehicle.

The Army plans to buy about 55,000 of the multipurpose vehicles for its troops and the Marine Corps through 2040, spending an estimated $30 billion. Oshkosh in August was awarded the initial order for about 17,000 JLTVs, which are more heavily armored than the Humvees they will replace.

“After careful consideration of all options, Lockheed Martin decided to file a complaint with the Court of Federal Claims concerning our Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) contract award process,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “We look forward to working with all parties involved on the next steps.”

A hearing was scheduled for Friday before Judge Charles Lettow. Lettow granted Lockheed’s motion to seal its complaint against the contract award. Lettow also sealed a Lockheed motion for an injunction in the case, but has not yet ruled on that move, court papers show.

The government’s answer is due by February16th.

Oshkosh Vice President John Urias said he believed the court will uphold the Army’s selection.

Oshkosh Corporation, based in Oshkosh, WI, was ranked the 48th largest American defense contractor for 2015 by Defense News. Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, MD, ranked first.

Urias stated that he had confidence in the Army’s procurement process, which he said included “exhaustive testing and evaluation to ensure our troops get the best vehicle.”

Because Department of Defense spending has been shrinking, competition for military contacts has tightened in recent years. While the number of contract protests filed with the GAO rose 5 percent in 2014 fiscal year, successful protests fell from 17 percent in 13 percent.

secret

By Debbie Gregory.

The Air Force has awarded the contract for the Long Range Strike Bomber, (LRS-B) to Northrop Grumman Corp.  Boeing, which along with partner Lockheed Martin submitted the losing bid, has filed a protest  with the Government Accountability Office (GOA) over the contract.

In a joint statement, Boeing and Lockheed Martin called the selection process for the LRS-B “fundamentally flawed.”

The contract is composed of two parts. The contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development, or EMD, phase. The second part of the contract is composed of options for the first 5 production lots, comprising 21 aircraft out of the total fleet of 100. They are fixed price options with incentives for cost.

Northrop Grumman won the award in part because of a projected cost per plane of $511 million in 2010 dollars, well below the Pentagon’s cost cap of $550 million in 2010 dollars. In fiscal 2016 dollars, those figures translate into $563 million and $606 million, respectively. The Boeing/Lockheed team bid $11 billion for EMD, but the Air Force calculated EMD at $21.4 billion, which shifts the risk from the contractor to the government.

“Although it is every competitor’s right to file a protest, the Air Force is confident that the source selection team followed a deliberate, disciplined and impartial process to determine the best value for the warfighter and taxpayer,” said US Air Force spokesman Maj. Robert Leese.

Boeing has little to lose and much to gain from a protest, but faces long odds of a successful outcome.

The LRS-B is designed to replace the Air Force’s aging fleets of bombers – ranging in age from 50+ years for the B-52 to 17+ years for the B-2 – with a long range, highly survivable bomber capable of penetrating and operating in tomorrow’s anti-access, area denial environment. The LRS-B provides the strategic agility to launch from the United States and strike any target, any time around the globe.

F35The Department of Defense (DOD) contract watch for building F-35 fighter jets for the U.S. military has received a lot of publicity over the past several years. So far, the F-35 program has generated over $1 billion in contracts to companies involved with various components of the project.

On August 13, 2014, the Lockheed-Martin Corporation was given an additional $233 million to work on flight-training and maintenance simulators for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The contract increase calls for production of 19 training simulators and nearly 70 technical support systems. The bulk of the money and the work for this contract will be done at Lockheed’s facilities in and around Orlando, Florida.

Lockheed’s Orlando training systems unit manages the F-35 flight training center at Eglin AFB. This division of the company also produces automated logistics computers for the stealth fighter jets. More than 500 jobs in Orlando are tied to the F-35 work, including weapons-targeting systems produced by Lockheed’s missiles group.

The F-35 program has survived scrapping from the DOD through frequent schedule delays, cost overruns and technical problems. One of the most notable incidents was an engine fire on June 23rd that temporarily halted the project. The DOD acknowledged that Lockheed has taken a number of measures to cut costs and address performance issues over the past year.

Last month, Lockheed and its F-35 partners unveiled a plan to reduce costs on each individual aircraft by the end of the decade. The plan calls for spending $170 million through 2016 to shave costs from each F-35 to $80 million, down from $100 million.

But with a projected overall price of $400 billion, the F-35 is still on track to become the most expensive U.S. weapons system in history, with 2,400 planes built for the U.S. military and its allies.

The Veteran and Military Business Owners Association (VAMBOA) is a non-profit business trade association that promotes and assists Veteran Business Owners, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) and Military Business Owners. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and responsible for job generation. That is why VAMBOA provides its members with Business Coaching, Contracting Opportunities, a Blog that provides information, Networking contacts and other resources. Membership is FREE to Veterans. Join Now!

VAMBOA: DOD Expands F-35 Contracts:  By Debbie Gregory

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