It’s election season, with an empty Capitol and plenty of eager congressional representatives looking for your vote.
America — enjoy your recent defense purchases:
$500 million for Air Force Rockets
Sounding rockets are used as essentially test rockets, collecting important data and measurements for NASA or the Air Force. The payload is usually a small measuring device which goes into orbit, collects data, then re-enters the atmosphere, parachuting down with valuable information.
This contract lasts until March, 2015.
$306 million to upgrade Bradley fighting vehicles
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to significant wear and tear on the Bradley Fighting vehicles that served throughout the conflicts, and BAE Systems has been tapped to re-manufacture them and get them back into fighting shape.
According to Defense Industry Daily, BAE Systems is taking the vehicles apart and putting them back together again, installing upgrades and replacing defective, damaged, or worn parts. Years of warfare in a desert has a highly corrosive effect on equipment, and these repairs are a long time coming.
This is the latest contract in a series that, at this point, costs well over half of a billion dollars.
$250 million for battle space awareness tech
Four companies — Cambridge International Systems, Mandex Inc, Grove Resource Solutions, and United JV are splitting a quarter of a billion dollars developing and integrating new ways to oversee and observe a battlefield.
That’s very broad, but each of these companies has specialty services they provide to the Military. Cambridge International Systems coordinates satellite linkups, Maritime surveillance systems and Combat identification systems. Mandex provides field support and electric engineering services. GRSI offers many cybersecurity services and other technological communications.
There are a lot of options built into this contract, and work could continue into 2017.
DARPA Double-shot: Two contracts worth $27 million for cylons and super-factories
DARPA had two big announcements this week.
The first was that Penn State will get $16.2 million to develop DARPA’s Instant Foundry Adaptive Through Bits program. That program seeks to change the way manufacturing is accomplished. Instead of a single facility devoted to building a single defense project — like one factory capable of only building Humvees — the program wants to explore the possibility of making factories that are capable of making many kinds of products, all by using a programmable, easily reconfigurable production line.
Next, Boston Dynamics is receiving nearly $11 million to build a set of identical humanoid robots to use in the DARPA robotics challenge. The robots will consist of two legs, a torso, two arms with hands, and a head with sensors in it. The robots will then be given to software development teams to work on. This contract is for the hardware element.