SA benefits from British Hawk order

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 02 Nov 2006

SA benefits from British Hawk order

Lord Drayson, UK's minister for Defence Procurement, has announced that the contract for the new Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer Mk128 has been agreed with BAE Systems. The contract gives the go-ahead for 28 Hawk Mk128 aircraft to be produced for training future fast jet pilots for next-generation combat aircraft such as Typhoon and the F-35 Lightning II and includes support of spares and ground equipment.

The production contract follows a design and development programme for two Hawk Mk128 aircraft which has been taking place over the past two years. During this time BAE Systems has been working closely with the UK Ministry of Defence to develop a highly capable advanced jet trainer.

The decision will benefit South African companies including Denel, Saab-Avitronics and their respective suppliers and service providers, which produce structural components and IT systems for the Hawk programme.

CSC to support USAID

Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) has won a task order to provide IT operations and maintenance services to the US Agency for International Development (USAID). CSC estimates the value of the contract, which has a one-year base period and four one-year options, to be $98 million if all options are exercised.

The value of this task order is included under the USAID's Principal Resource for Information Management Enterprise-wide (PRIME 3.2) blanket purchase agreement, which CSC originally announced in May 2006, with an estimated value of $800 million.

Under the task order, CSC will provide network telecommunications, local and wide area networking, security operations, and customer and global logistical support activities to help the USAID provide humanitarian aid to more than 90 US foreign-based missions, and security of information and for personnel domestically and abroad.

SAIC awarded DHS contract

Science Applications International (SAIC) has been awarded a two-year, cost-plus-award-fee contract from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) to design, develop, fabricate, assemble, test and deliver a prototype next-generation high-energy radiation radiographic inspection system - Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography System (CAARS).

This contract culminates in the delivery of a prototype CAARS unit designed to automatically detect radiological and nuclear materials, such as highly enriched uranium or weapons-grade plutonium, even if shielded by other materials. The automated nature of this unit will eliminate the need for operator interpretation of radiographic images.

"This contract award represents a significant step in the production of an efficient, non-intrusive detection system to help identify nuclear materials and weapons of mass destruction that could be used by terrorist organisations as a means for unconventional nuclear attack on the US," said Alex Preston, SAIC senior VP and GM of the Security and Transportation Technology Business Unit.

ATK awarded $73m in contract upgrades

Alliant Techsystems has received a $21 million follow-on order for AAR-47 missile warning systems (MWS). The company also received $9 million in contracts for software upgrades and new sensor packages. If all production contract options are exercised, the total value of the recent awards could reach approximately $73 million.

The AAR-47 MWS is an electronic warfare system designed to protect helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft against surface-to-air missile threat. It also alerts aircrews to threats from laser-guided and laser-aided weapons. The AAR-47 plays a critical role in crew and aircraft survivability. Operational commanders attribute over 20 aircraft and 200 personnel saved due to the capabilities of the AAR-47.

"ATK's AAR-47 missile warning system is a battle-proven design that detects missile or laser-guided threats and automatically triggers appropriate countermeasures," said Steve Myers, VP and GM, ATK Integrated Systems. "The AAR-47's combination of highly reliable sensor technology and light weight, make it an ideal package to support air crews in the global war on terror."

Lockheed Martin support Hubble Space Telescope servicing

A team led by Lockheed Martin will provide support to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in the planning, training and implementation of Servicing Mission 4 (SM-4) to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), scheduled for 2008.

"We have found that working on the Hubble Space Telescope is more than just a job. It is a passion. And we are enormously excited to be going back to Hubble again and providing it a new lease on life," said Dennis Connolly, Lockheed Martin programme manager of HST Flight Systems and Servicing.

The SM-4 mission will involve five spacewalks by the astronaut crew of the space shuttle Discovery. Maintenance tasks will include replacement of all of Hubble's batteries and gyros, installation of a refurbished Fine Guidance Sensor, and the mounting of three insulation outer blankets on the outside of the telescope. Two new instruments - the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3 - will be installed - significantly expanding Hubble's astronomical observing capability. The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph will also be returned to operation via the installation of a new circuit board.