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GPS III DELIVERIES TO CONTINUE AT STEADY PACE NO MATTER WHO WINS CONTRACT
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

Artist's rendition of a GPS III satellite

Source: U.S. Air Force


Artist's rendition of a GPS III satellite

Source: U.S. Air Force


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NEWTOWN, Conn. - GPS IIF satellite construction is complete, and all of the 12 satellites have been launched. With all GPS IIF satellites now in orbit, the Air Force has turned its attention to the GPS III. The program has experienced a troubled development cycle. The latest problem was the discovery of small cracks in a ceramic capacitor. Although the problem was fixed, it delayed launch.

The program has achieved a number of milestones. The program reached its Critical Design Review in August 2010 and System Design Review in July 2011. The GNST's payload was powered on for the first time in May 2012. In May 2015, the GPS III propulsion core was integrated into the space vehicle, and it completed thermal vacuum tests were completed in January 2016.

Even as milestones continue to be met, the Air Force has further delayed the program. These delays are not due to development problems. Instead, the Air Force wants to open more GPS launches to competition and to purchase satellites in so-called block buys to reduce cost. The later launch dates will enable the USAF to achieve its goals. The first launch is now scheduled for 2018, with two per year between 2019 and 2021 and three launches per year after that.

While the USAF originally planned to order all GPS III satellites from Lockheed Martin, the service now plans to reopen the competition. Lockheed Martin is under contract to build 10 spacecraft. However, in May 2016, the Air Force awarded production feasibility assessment three contracts to study production feasibility with Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. One of the three companies will eventually be selected to build 22 satellites.

No matter which company receives the contract to build the remaining GPS III spacecraft, deliveries will continue at a steady pace throughout the forecast period. Satellites will need to continue to be launched to maintain global navigation coverage as older satellites reach the end of their useful lifespans.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: August 17, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 08/17/2017

 
 
GAO ISSUES UPDATE ON AIR FORCE NC3 OVERSIGHT EFFORT AND SELECTED ACQUISITION PROGRAMS
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
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Examples of NC3 elements

Source: US Air Force


Examples of NC3 elements

Source: US Air Force


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WASHINGTON - The Air Force has continued to take steps to provide an Air Force-wide nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) oversight structure for the NC3 Weapon System, but its focus has mainly been on sustaining the current system as it added personnel for this new structure. According to Air Force officials, the Air Force has built up its understanding of the short-term sustainment needs for the component systems that currently make up the NC3 Weapon System, but has not had the resources to focus on the long-term needs for NC3.

Each of the eight NC3 acquisition programs GAO reviewed has made progress towards meeting its acquisition goals, but most have challenges remaining. For example, four programs have compressed schedules that could result in delays if any issues develop during development, production, or installation of the communication terminals. In addition, two programs with draft schedules plan to proceed into development without benefiting from a key systems engineering event that would help to ensure the requirements are feasible and affordable before development contracts are awarded. NC3 program executive office officials stated that they plan to review the acquisition strategies and adjust them as appropriate before the acquisition approaches are finalized.

NC3 is a large and complex system comprised of numerous land-, air-, sea-, and space-based components used to ensure connectivity between the President and nuclear forces. The Department of Defense (DoD) is executing several acquisition efforts to modernize elements of NC3. In addition, the Air Force, which is responsible for the majority of DoD NC3 assets, has begun establishing an oversight structure for its NC3 capabilities and programs.

Since 2013, GAO has issued several products related to reviews of NC3, as well as provided classified briefings to congressional defense committees. Most recently, in June 2015, GAO issued a report on several NC3 modernization efforts, and in January 2017, GAO issued a classified report on briefings provided in May and June 2016 regarding the Air Force's efforts to establish its new NC3 oversight structure and on the status of several NC3 modernization efforts.

The Senate Armed Services Committee report accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 included a provision for us to update prior reviews of NC3. This is the second phase of work in response to that provision. GAO provided in-depth, classified briefings to congressional defense committee staff on the results of this phase in May and June 2017, which expanded on findings in the January 2017 report. This report is an unclassified summary of the classified briefings, which discussed (1) the extent to which the Air Force has made progress in establishing a new oversight structure for its NC3 capabilities and programs and (2) an updated status of several ongoing acquisition programs, selected because they were either the largest efforts in terms of estimated cost, or they address critical NC3 capabilities.

To understand the Air Force's NC3 oversight structure, GAO reviewed Air Force assessments and planning documents and discussed the plans with cognizant officials. To understand and assess the acquisition progress and remaining challenges for each acquisition program, GAO reviewed relevant acquisition and management documents, including the most recent program updates, and identified acquisition risks where the programs' ongoing and planned efforts are not consistent with acquisition best practices. GAO discussed the status of each program with officials from the relevant program offices.

GAO is not making any recommendations in this report. It provided a draft of this product to DoD for comment. The department responded that it had no formal comments.

Source:  US Government Accountability Office
Associated URL: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-641R
Source Date: August 15, 2017
Posted: 08/17/2017

 
 
GENERAL DYNAMICS RECEIVES CONTRACT MOD FOR VIRGINIA-CLASS SUBMARINE SERVICES
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
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Virginia-class Submarine Under Construction

Source: US Navy


Virginia-class Submarine Under Construction

Source: US Navy


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WASHINGTON - General Dynamics Electric Boat, of Groton, Connecticut, has been awarded an $115,310,691 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-16-C-2111), from the United States Navy, for additional lead-yard services, development studies and design efforts related to Virginia-class submarines.

This modification provides lead-yard services for Virginia-class submarines that will maintain, update and support the Virginia-class design and related drawings and data for each Virginia-class submarine, including technology insertion throughout its construction and post-shakedown availability period. The contractor will also provide all engineering and related lead-yard services necessary for direct maintenance and support of Virginia-class ship specifications.

In addition, this contract modification provides development studies and design efforts related to the Virginia-class submarine design and design improvements, preliminary and detail component and system design, integration of system engineering, design engineering, test engineering, logistics engineering and production engineering. The contractor will continue development studies and design efforts related to components and systems to accomplish research and development tasks and prototypes and engineering development models required to fully evaluate new technologies to be inserted in succeeding Virginia-class submarines.

Work will be performed in Groton, Connecticut (98 percent); Newport, Rhode Island (1 percent); and Quonset Point, Rhode Island (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed by October 2017.

Fiscal 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and fiscal 2016 and 2017 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funding in the amount of $74,627,623 will be obligated at time of award, and funds in the amount of $193,374 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The statutory authority for this sole-source award is in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1(a)(2)(iii) - only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.

Source:  U.S. DoD
Associated URL: https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1280763/
Source Date: August 16, 2017
Author: U.S. DoD 
Posted: 08/17/2017

 

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