Monthly Archives: September 2008

Supplier Management Council (SMC)

Here at UIAGC we work tirelessly to ensure that we continue to be the leader in the Aerospace and Governmental consulting space. And part of how we continue to offer the highest level of domain expertise for our clients is to regularly publish and help publish industry reports and whitepapers.  Therefore we are excited to announce that one of our clients, Northrop Grumman, will be presenting at the next AIA conference. Northrop Grumman will be sharing their corporate supplier scorecarding and rating system which we created into a web-based application.  UI will have a contingent of team members at the upcoming AIA Supplier Management Council event in Manhattan Beach.

The Supplier Management Council is a unique aerospace forum where customers, AIA Regular Member companies, and AIA Associate Member companies unite to find solutions. Established in 1997, the Supplier Management Council (SMC) is the primary industry forum for improving the relationship between suppliers and customers.

Alion Wins U.S. Air Force Contract Valued at $3M

In some exciting news in the Aerospace and Defense industries, Alion Science and Technology, an employee-owned technology solutions provider, has been awarded a Logistics, Maintenance and Supply Support (LMSS) contract worth nearly $3 million from the U.S. Air Force to support the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing (AGOW) at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

The period of performance began August 13, 2008 and runs through August 1, 2013.

Alions experts can provide realistic insights into how to better train and operate in future combat situations, said Dick Brooks, Alion Senior Vice President and Manager of the Distributed Simulation Group. Such training is designed to integrate kinetic and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets with ground combat operations in order to protect service members lives and neutralize insurgent resources.

Under the program, Alion will provide operational management and technical integration in support of the warfighter in the areas of tactical air control and joint air ground operations. Integration of these two areas is the key to successful liaison between the Combat Air Forces and the U.S. Army ground commander’s scheme of maneuver. Alion will also ensure operational and tactical training to wing personnel, including equipment and technological advancements in communications, targeting and command and control. The goal is to increase both effectiveness and efficiency for Air Force personnel embedded within U.S. Army units.

The 93rd AGOW consolidates the tactical air control-party and battlefield weather specialties of the 3rd Air Support Operations Group at Fort Hood, TX, the 18th ASOG at Pope AFB, NC, and the specialized force protection capabilities of the 820th Security Forces Group at Moody AFB. The organization provides airmen specializing in ground-combat missions with a single command and control structure.

Volvo Aero Services and Boeing Extend Partnership Agreement

Image Courtesy of Volvo Aero Services

Image Courtesy of Volvo Aero Services

Volvo Aero Services and Boeing have extended a marketing and distribution partnership agreement, originally established in 1999, for an additional 10 years. Within the agreement, Volvo Aero Services will continue to provide multiple asset management services to support the distribution of quality aircraft parts for a wide range of Boeing aircraft models. In addition, Volvo Aero Services has been awarded the rights to manufacture and distribute Boeing proprietary parts.

The program, managed from the jointly established facility in Kent, Washington, covers the distribution of excess parts for in production and out of production Boeing and legacy McDonald Douglas aircraft.

“The extension of our contractual relationship with Volvo Aero further ensures that our customers will continue to receive the best, long-term parts support for their Boeing fleet,” said Dale Wikinson, vice president of Material Management. “They have proven to be an effective business partner that provides quality support.”

The extension of our contract with Boeing is a testament to the success of our existing relationship, says Claes Malmros, President and CEO of Volvo Aero Services. We are extremely proud of our relationship and what has been created with Boeing over the last 10 years. We are looking forward to the continued success of our partnership.

Volvo Aero Services Corporation, a subsidiary of Volvo Aero Corporation, is a leading provider of aftermarket services in the aviation industry. As the wholly-owned subsidiary of AB Volvo, Volvo Aero Corporation had 2007 revenues of $1.2 billion and employs over 3,200 people worldwide. Volvo Aero Services Corporation has a wide range of services based on its competence in asset management, logistics and leasing of aircraft engines as well as engine and aircraft components. The company is also the exclusive distributor of select material for Hamilton Sundstrand, Honeywell and The Boeing Company.

Airbus Taking Flight

Courtesy of Bloomberg

Courtesy of Bloomberg

Airbus SAS has been met with several delays this past year in regard to delivering their heavily requested A380 aircraft.  However this past week Airbus has said that they are confident that they are going to be able to produce the projected 12 jumbo jets by the end of 2008.  Due to the delays, along with the current economic conditions, the company’s stock has declined 34% this year, however after the announcement this past week, the stock rose 79 cents, the equivalent of 5.8%.

This could be a potentially very beneficial time for Airbus to gain significant market share against their main rival Boeing, due to Boeing’s current labor dispute and US political conflicts.  Presently there are already 21 orders of the A380 aircraft scheduled for 2009, Airbus confirmed their confidence that they would also be able to produce 100% of those orders as well.  So who is waiting for these planes?  Two large scale clients of Airbus are Qantas and Singapore Airlines, Bloomberg‘s Andrea Rothman had this to say about the situation and these two clients:

“The first Qantas A380 will be used on the Melbourne to Los Angeles route starting Oct. 20, and on the Sydney to Los Angeles route from Oct. 24. The carrier will later add A380 flights from Australia to Singapore and London.  Singapore Airlines Ltd., the first to fly the A380, took delivery of its sixth 470-seat plane this week. It will use the aircraft to operate a second daily round-trip flight to London.”

Qantas’ CEO, Geoff Dixon said: “When we ordered our A380 in 2000, we said that in addition to giving us the opportunity to reinvent our product, this revolutionary new aircraft offered capacity and operating savings, as well as environmental improvements. Everything we have seen since our initial order has reinforced this view.”

Why the Demand?

So why is the A380 sought after?  The four Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines will each deliver up to 72,000 lbs of thrust, contributing to the aircraft’s overall fuel efficiency of less than three litres of fuel per passenger per 100 kilometres.
Rolls-Royce Chairman Simon Robertson said: “We appreciate the opportunity once again to be an integral player in shaping the future success of Qantas, Australia’s iconic carrier and one of the world’s leading airlines. This occasion marks another milestone for the Trent 900, the market leading engine for the A380.”
The aircraft’s efficiency and advanced technologies result in higher operational flexibility and outstanding economics, with a range of more than 15,000 km and seat-mile costs 20 per cent lower than its closest competitor. The A380 also provides vital extra passenger capacity without increasing the number of flights.

“The A380 sets the standards for the 21st century, “ said Tom Enders, Airbus’ CEO. “More than 380 patents on board underline the aircraft’s leadership in eco-efficiency and innovation and will allow Qantas to continue to grow whilst reducing its impact on the environment. We appreciate Australia’s iconic airline sharing the A380 vision with us from the very beginning.”

Delivering On The Promise

Delivering on promises is key to success, and in this post I want to feature one of UIAGC‘s clients, Lockheed Martin.

A Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter executive said this past week that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is living up to the originally conceived ideal of a tri-service combat aircraft that leverages stealth technology, introduces multi-service interoperability, achieves economies of scale to drive down costs and strengthens important international alliances.  See below for a video of the F-35 Lightning II:

The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter. Three F-35 variants derive from a common design. Developed together, they use the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide. The fighter will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.  Two F-35s have entered flight test, two are in ground test and 17 are in various stages of assembly, including the first two production-model jets scheduled for delivery to the U.S. Air Force in 2010.

Tom Burbage, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and general manager of  F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Integration, reviewed the F-35 operational requirement and provided his thoughts on the game-changing technologies that are ensuring the delivery of dramatic improvements in fighter capability envisioned when the program was conceived more than a decade ago.

“The F-35 is designed to satisfy a very challenging operational requirement — to go deep into enemy territory against the most lethal surface-to-air missile threats. The aircraft is also designed to destroy targets through any weather while outnumbered by the most advanced current-generation fighters equipped with highly sophisticated air-to-air missiles,” Burbage said. “The F-35 can perform that mission from any base and at a lower cost than legacy programs. It’s a daunting expectation but we are on the way to fulfilling it.”

The intent of the program was to leverage recent major national investments in technology, introduce true service interoperability and achieve economies of commonality and scale as legacy combat aircraft fleets were replaced, according to Burbage.

In addition to its strategic military importance, the F-35’s integrated global production structure will promote worldwide allied collaboration and significant maturation of the global industrial base.

“The ongoing National Security strategy to require coalition based operations had also exposed significant capability gaps between U.S. and allied forces equipment,” said Burbage. “To address these gaps, a decision was made to allow participation by selected nations in the development and procurement of the JSF. The sharing of the technology capability with allied nations implies that future coalition combat operations will be more synergistic and much less expensive from a logistics standpoint.”

So keep up the great work Lockheed Martin, this is an exciting project and we will all be closely following its continued progress.

Northrop Grumman Gets $5.1 Billion Aircraft Carrier Contract

We, at UIAGC, work tirelessly to support our customers, and so I was excited to see that one of our clients, Northrop Grumman received a $5.1 billion, 7-year cost plus incentive fee contract award for detail design and construction of the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. This new class of carrier is the replacement for the Nimitz-class design that originated in the 1960s.

Carriers of the Ford class will incorporate many new design features including a new nuclear reactor design (the A1B reactor), stealthier features to help reduce radar profile, electromagnetic catapults, advanced arresting gear, and reduced crewing requirements. The U.S. Navy believes that with the addition of the most modern equipment and extensive use of automation they will be able to reduce the crew requirement and the total cost of future aircraft carriers. The primary recognition feature compared to earlier supercarriers will be the more aft location of the navigation “island”.

The company’s Shipbuilding sector will perform the work at the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia, the only shipyard in the United States capable of building and refueling nuclear powered aircraft carriers.

The Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) class will continue the legacy of highly capable U.S. Navy aircraft carrier ship platforms. Enhancements being incorporated into the design include flight deck changes, improved weapons handling systems, and a redesigned island, all resulting in increased aircraft sortie rates. It will also include a new nuclear power plant; increased electrical power generation capacity; allowance for future technologies; and reduced workload for the sailors, translating to a smaller crew size and lower operating costs for the Navy.

Matt Mulherin, vice president and general manager for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding’s Newport News operations said this about the contract:

“This contract award is an important and historic milestone for our company, our Navy and our country, it represents an incredible opportunity for the great shipbuilders of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding to build the first new aircraft carrier class in more than 40 years. The work we are doing today will play a significant role in America’s defense for many generations to come.”

Below is a time line:

  • Advance construction of the Gerald R. Ford began in 2005 under a separate contract valued at $2.7 billion.
  • About one third of the ship’s 1,200 structural units are currently under construction.
  • The ship’s keel will be laid in the fall of 2009 and delivery to the Navy is scheduled for 2015.

See Us at the NDIA conference in San Diego

We’re excited to announce that a paper co-written by Unlimited Innovations and Northrop Grumman was accepted for presentation at the upcoming NDIA conference in San Diego.  Here at UIAGC, we are constantly striving towards innovation in every aspect of the marketplace.

The paper that is going to be presented focuses on the use of predictive modeling to predict the likelihood of success for aerospace and defense programs.  Predictive modeling relies on historical program performance data (predictive analytics) in conjunction with a forecasting algorithm model to forecast future outcomes.  These models can range from simple extrapolation techniques to sophisticated Neural Network based models. The advantage of these models is that it allows practitioners to test their instincts before making strategic or operational decisions, and to greatly extend the use of historical data.   The presentation will discuss the principles of predictive modeling, outline the fundamental methods and tools, and present typical results from an aerospace application of the techniques.

There have been three other conferences that have accepted this paper for presentation.  Previous conferences include:

This particular NDIA conference has the goal to create an interactive forum for Program Managers, Systems Engineers, Software Engineers, Chief Scientists, and Engineers and Managers from government, industry, and the academic communities whose interests converge on Defense acquisition, from capabilities analysis through operations and disposal. This conference will provide the opportunity to learn from one’s peers on latest techniques and methodologies, and help shape policy and guidance through the exchange of innovative procedures and lessons learned to address a myriad of current issues.

Let's Be Fair

In the highly competitive landscape of large-scale defense contracts, one of the keys to continued innovation and technology growth are healthy bidding wars.  However, once a bidding battle has been completed, it should not have to be performed once again due to one company’s dissatisfaction with their loss.  Although it appears to be the what is occurring in the current Pentagon Tanker Competition.

Photo Courtesy of WSJ

Photo Courtesy of WSJ

The Wall Street Journal reported that the bidding war, for the pentagon’s highly sought after $40 billion dollar tanker contract, has been temporarily called off due to the political entanglements involved in the situation.  This is despite the fact that Northrop Grumman Corp. had already been declared the winner over Boeing this past February.  Boeing’s domestic domination has caused a slowdown in the competitive marketplace and it is clear that the next US Presidential regime will not be forced to make the decision between the two companies.

So does this decision give Boeing a legitimate chance at winning back this contract?  Most likely not.  And there are two main reasons:

  1. Boeing currently does not have a plane large enough to fulfill the Air Force’s request.  And with the current Boeing labor dispute (coverage), the company will certainly be meeting with delays for all new projects, especially its new 787.  Conversely, Northrop Grumman has already satisfied the Pentagon’s demand due to the fact that they won the original contract at the end of this past Winter.
  2. If the new President is Sen. John McCain, Boeing will find itself on an uphill slope considering that McCain has previously blocked contracts from the aerospace firm that he believed were won ‘too easily’.

Austin Cole from the WSJ says this about the situation,

“Although the decision gives Boeing a chance at a fresh start, the company will face the prospect that one of its key critics, Sen. John McCain, could potentially be the next president when the matter is decided. Five years ago, the Republican senator helped scuttle an original plan to lease a fleet of tankers from Boeing because the contract was not competitively bid. His office played a key role in opening up the competition to Northrop Grumman and its partner, European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co.”

So despite the fact that Boeing has been given a second chance to win this contract, Northrop Grumman still appears to be the most likely company to win this bidding war, and rightfully so.

Boeing's History Repeating

Photo Courtesy of AOL

Photo Courtesy of AOL

If you have followed the aerospace industry for the past few decades, you are well aware the the current Boeing strike is nothing new, and it is also important to note that the Boeing strikes are typically not short, with the last three ranging time spans of 28-68 days.  If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, the union’s 27,000 members are taking advantage of the record breaking orders for the new Boeing 787 aircraft in order to leverage a more profitable payday.  And if this strike is similar to the other labor disputes in Boeing’s history, it will not be easy for both sides to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

A key factor to note in this situation is that Boeing and their customers are not the only enterprises affected by a prolonged strike.  Each of Boeing’s suppliers are now having to put safe guards in place and cut their own production.  Prime domestic examples of this are suppliers such as:

  • GE
  • Spirit Aerosystems
  • Honeywell
  • Rockwell Collins
  • Hamilton Sundstrand
  • Vought Aircraft
  • Goodrich
  • Moog
  • Hexcel

Tim Hepher, from the International Herald Tribune, said this about the situation:

“Boeing itself is cushioned by a $4.1 billion profit last year and a record $275 billion worth of commercial plane orders, but analysts say each day of the strike will shave a cent per share off its annual profits.  The machinists, Boeing’s largest union, struck for 48 days in 1989, 69 days in 1995 and 28 days in 2005.  The machinists are protesting not only Boeing’s contract offer but also what they see as plans to shift more jobs to non-union and foreign companies.  Some were angered by a union decision to allow two days of extra talks after an overwhelming strike vote.”

Considering that the past year has seen Boeing’s stock price steadily decreasing due to several production delays of its new 787 model, I think we can all be certain that the company shareholders and senior level management are motivated to end this labor dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible so as to not incur further delays.

See below for Reuter‘s coverage of the strike:

We've Launched!

We’re excited to announce that we have launched this new blog to be a value added service to the aerospace and government consulting communities.  It will be updated regularly with news and information to assist you in whatever sector of the marketplace you work in.

In the Aerospace industry, it is vital to stay informed on the recent news and developments on a constant basis, and UI AGC provides aerospace and government client’s with subject matter experts and leading-edge information management systems driven by execution based dashboards that leverage legacy systems. Our third generation dashboards coupled with our domain expertise provides organizations a vastly improved approach to proactively managing excellence initiatives across the company, sectors, programs, and operational functions.