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Coming in late December, the U.S. Congress approval of the 2011 Defense Authorization bill puts a budget in place for the DoD allowing the Pentagon to spend $725 billion in fiscal 2011. Within that, approximately $80.0 billion is for programs that have been designated as Major Defense Acquisition Programs (MDAP). Packed with a host of provisions, the bill puts a lot of emphasis on management of costly programs. For example, it calls for analysis of extending the life of the F/A-18 aircraft in response to the troubles of the F-35 program. Other costly programs like the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle are also on the verge of getting axed according to recent reports. Figure 1 shows a breakdown of how major program funding is being allocated.
DoD FY 2011 Major Program categories.
The major categories within the MDAP umbrella include: Aircraft, C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems), Munitions/Missiles, Shipbuilding/Maritime Systems, Ground Programs, Missile Defense and Space Based and Related Systems.
Aircraft Major Programs
Aircraft funding has continued to increase to support the procurement of aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the V-22, and the Navy’s F/A-18 E/F and E/A-18G. But the F-35 continues to be under the Congressional microscope. As Figure 2 shows, a significant investment continues in UAV development, but even more investment is being made in upgrading existing manned aircraft. In terms of heavy use of advanced electronics, notable programs like the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye continue. The E-2D provides a two-generational leap in radar technology, and will provide the long range air and surface picture; theater air and missile defense, and is a key component of Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA).
The MQ-9 Reaper UAV exemplifies the kind of military platform demanding powerful, compact embedded computing gear.
Meanwhile the Predator and Reaper (Figure 3) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) are packed with electronics. Platforms consist of an array of sensors to include day/night Full Motion Video, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor payload, avionics and data links; a ground segment consisting of a Launch and Recovery Element (LRE), and a Mission Control Element with embedded ground communications equipment; a support element; and trained personnel. The Army Extend Range Multi-Purpose (ERMP) Predator MQ-1 is being developed with a 2.0L heavy fuel engine; whereas the Air Force Predator MQ-1 has an aviation fuel piston engine and the Air Force Reaper MQ-9 has a turboprop engine.
DoD FY 2011 Major aircraft program funding.
Major Ground Programs
With the cancellation of the Army’s Future Combat Systems program, the DoD ground vehicle plans have been thoroughly shaken up. The DoD is modernizing its ground force capabilities to ensure the United States remains a dominant force capable of operating in all environments across the full spectrum of conflict. They are also modernizing their tactical wheeled vehicle fleets by replacing older vehicles with new procurement. Some of the existing programs targeted for upgrades include howitzers, Stryker vehicles, M1 Abrams, Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV).
The Army is focused on developing a Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) that builds a versatile platform and includes the experiences of combat operations and the incremental modernization of brigades. The Marine Corps has been developing the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). The EFV is an amphibious armored vehicle that represents the Marine Corps primary means of tactical mobility during amphibious operations and subsequent ground combat operations ashore. The EFV’s future is in question, however, as talk of cutting this problem-fraught program has emerged recently. Figure 4 shows a breakdown of Ground Vehicle funding.
DoD FY 2011 Major ground systems funding.
Shipbuilding and Maritime Systems
The Navy’s Shipbuilding Portfolio details programs that ensure the overall maritime mission is accomplished. The Shipbuilding Portfolio consists of bought, built and maintained systems, subsystems, and components. The Navy’s 313-ship fleet will allow the U.S. to maintain maritime superiority well into the 21st century. Notable provisions in the Congress’s Defense Authorization Bill include questions over whether sea-based missile defense can be accommodated by upgrading 13 Aegis ships that exist or by procuring additional combatant surface vessels.
The active CVN 21 carriers in the Navy’s fleet are scheduled to get new technologies such as an integrated topside island with a new multifunction radar, a new propulsion plant, monitoring improvements, manpower reduction technologies, flight deck enhancements, Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) and advanced arresting gear. Meanwhile the budget funds the CVN 78 fourth year of incremental funding, the CVN 79 advance procurement long lead-time items, and the CVN 79 advance construction labor for modular assemblies.
Also of note, Lockheed Martin and Austal USA received contracts Dec. 29 to build more Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, which will probably mean each company will build 10 more of the fast, small warships over the next eight years. The LCS will be the first Navy ship to separate capability from hull form. For example, it will be capable of employing interchangeable mission modules for Mine Warfare, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare to counter anti-access threats close to shore such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and swarming small boats. The LCS mission modules will be exchanged as operational conditions warrant. Figure 5 shows a breakdown of shipbuilding and maritime systems.
DoD FY 2011 Major Shipbuilding and Maritime funding.
Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (C4)
The category making the most significant use of embedded computing and electronics is C4 (Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems). The DoD is transforming and developing new concepts for the conduct of future joint military operations. This network-based interconnectivity increases the operational effectiveness by assuring access to the best possible information by decision makers at all levels, thus allowing dispersed forces to communicate, maneuver, share a common user-defined operating picture, and successfully complete assigned missions more efficiently. Net-centricity is a services-based architecture pattern for information sharing. The three major programs here include JTRS, BCT Modernization and WIN-T. Figure 6 shows a general breakdown of funding areas.
DoD FY 2011 Major Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (C4) program funding.
The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program encompasses ground, airborne, vehicular, maritime and small form factor variants of the radio hardware; 17 Increment 1 waveforms for porting into the JTRS hardware; and network management applications. All JTRS products are being developed in a joint environment, enhancing hardware and software commonality and reusability. FY 2011 plans for JTRS include funding the design, development and manufacture of JTRS engineering development models (EDMs) and low rate initial production (LRIP), to include hardware and software, as well as sustainment of fielded radios and certified waveforms.
Although the Future Combat System (FCS) was cancelled, the Army is leveraging its technologies by accelerating the incremental fielding of capabilities to all BCTs by 2025. Increment 1will field a network of sensors, precision munitions, unmanned ground and aerial vehicles to nine Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs). Increment 2 will provide further advances in the network and an increased lethality for the remaining IBCTs. Heavy and Stryker BCTs will be included in later increments. The 2011 plan calls for procurement of two Increment 1 IBCT sets. RDTE provides for testing and support of Increment 1 and the development of Increment 2 capabilities to include the Armed Robotic Vehicle- Light (ARV-L), the Common Controller (CC) and further advances in the Network.
WIN-T Rolls Forward
Meanwhile, the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) is the Army’s on-the-move, high-speed, high-capability backbone communications network, linking warfighters in the battlefield with the Global Information Grid (GIG). This network is intended to provide C4ISR support capabilities. The system is being developed as a network for reliable, secure and seamless video, data, imagery and voice services for the warfighters in the theater to enable decisive combat actions.
The WIN-T program consists of four increments. Last spring the Army awarded General Dynamics C4 Systems a $164 million contract that will enable a General Dynamics-led team to begin low-rate initial production of the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2. Increment 2 will equip vehicles with on-the-move broadband communications enabling command and control from anywhere in the battlespace. The 2011 plan calls for WIN-T Inc 1 procurement and continues to field to the Army, with a Ka satellite upgrade, and for WIN-T Inc 2 entering into LRIP in anticipation of its Initial Operational Test in FY 2012. WIN-T Inc 3 continues in its System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase to deliver the full networking on the move, including the airborne tier of the program.