Monthly Archives: February 2009

Boeing Confirms Order Cancellations

This past week has proven to be a difficult time for the aerospace manufacturer.  James Bell, the company’s CFO, speaking at the recent Cowen and Co. Aerospace and Defense Conference in NYC, informed the investors attending that Dubai’s LCAL has limited its order of 787 Dreamliners from twenty-one to five.  This was not a surprise considering that Boeing’s CEO, Jim NcNerney, warned investors on January 28th that he expected an increase in order cancellations.

Christopher Hinton from Marketwatch had this to say about the situation, “The 787, an all-new and more fuel-efficient airliner that can carry up to 250 passengers and that makes extensive use of light-weight composite materials, has faced a series of design and production delays that have pushed back the estimated first commercial delivery of the plane to the first quarter of 2010.”

AECOM Awarded $54-million Task Order from Military

AECOM has won a task order from the U.S. Air Force for Contract Field Teams (CFT) valued at $54 million.  Under terms of the one-year assignment, which has an additional option year, approximately 290 AECOM employees will provide organizational and limited direct support for equipment sent to the CCAD. AECOM intends to staff this task order project primarily through the hire of the incumbent contractor’s workforce. The depot is the only Army facility for the repair and overhaul of rotary-wing aircraft.

The CFT contract is an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract with the Air Force to support the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Under this task order, AECOM will provide aircraft-maintenance services at Texas’ Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD).

“AECOM is proud to support this important program for the U.S. Air Force,” said John M. Dionisio, AECOM president and chief executive officer. “Through the CFT program, AECOM is providing mission-critical support to our U.S. DOD and DHS clients. We are also able to positively impact the economy by helping to sustain and create jobs in the regions where these projects are based.”

The CFT program, which has a maximum value of $10.12 billion over a seven-year period through 2015, provides major and minor inspections, maintenance, modifications and repairs of aircraft and ground vehicles at government locations around the world.

UPS Chosen for U.S. Project to Reduce Diesel Air Emissions

The EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction National Program has selected UPS for an award of nearly half a million dollars in order to reduce particulate matter generated by diesel engines at the company’s Worldport global all-points air hub.

The EPA funding will be disbursed to the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition, which in turn will distribute the monies to the UPS Airlines. The grant will fund two projects to reduce particulate matter: the replacement of diesel engines in ground support cargo tugs and the extension of ground electricity to parked aircraft.

In the first project, UPS will replace diesel engines in 92 tugs with much cleaner gasoline engines. Since the particulate matter emissions are nearly zero for the new engines, replacing the diesel engines will have the net effect of removing 5.3 tons of particulate matter per year from the air.

In the second project, UPS will install electric units to power aircraft parked at Worldport, allowing them to avoid the use of 26 diesel generators. Although commercial electrical power does require burning fuel at a power plant, removing the diesel generators from the airport will eliminate 2.2 tons of particulate matter per year in Louisville.

These two projects are the latest contributions toward UPS’s comprehensive sustainability strategy. The company’s Louisville-based airline division has undertaken extensive efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption, minimize noise and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by optimizing flight routes and speeds, managing aircraft dispatch and taxi times, shutting down unneeded engines for taxiing and experimenting with alternative fuels in ground support vehicles.

As Louisville seeks to improve its air quality, community leaders appreciate UPS’s corporate citizenship. “We have come a long way in improving our air quality in Louisville but we still need to improve,” said Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson. “This move by UPS helps our city move toward cleaner air.”

“Reducing emissions from vehicles and diesel equipment is one of the most important air quality challenges facing us today,” added Jeff Lykins, Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition president and Lykins Oil president.

iRobot Receives Order From the U.S. Army Totaling $5.5 Million

iRobot today announced that it has received a $5.5 million order from the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI).

This is the eighth order under the $286 million Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) xBot contract. It calls for the delivery of 72 iRobot PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit robots, spare parts and repairs. Orders to date under PEO STRI’s xBot contract now total approximately $73 million. iRobot will begin delivering the robots immediately.

The PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit provides a tool for non-Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) troops to investigate suspicious objects and potential threats while keeping them at safe distances. It is lighter than many other EOD robots and easily adapts to the constantly changing requirements of roadside bomb identification and other hazardous missions. This makes the PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit a practical robot for route clearance teams and general infantry.

“As we have seen on a daily basis with our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, robots are taking a more active role in military operations,” said Joe Dyer, president of iRobot Government and Industrial Robots. “iRobot is pleased to provide these life saving tools to our military. They are proven to increase mission effectiveness, and there is no doubt that they are helping to save lives on the battlefield.”

iRobot has delivered more than 2,200 PackBot robots that make a difference every day by conducting dangerous missions that keep warfighters out of harm’s way.

Astronics Acquires DME

Astronics today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase 100% of the stock of DME, a provider of weapons and communications test equipment, training and simulation devices and aviation safety solutions. DME, a privately-held company founded in 1976, has two operating divisions that employ about 350 employees including professional technicians and electrical, mechanical and software engineers. The company had unaudited revenue of approximately $86 million in 2008.

DME’s Orlando, Florida-based Test, Training and Simulation Division, which represents approximately 80% of DME’s total revenue, designs, develops, manufactures and maintains communications and weapons test systems and training and simulation devices for the U.S. Department of Defense and various branches of the armed forces, foreign military operations and prime defense contractors.

The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Aviation Safety Division provides safety and survival products and airfield lighting, approach and navigational lighting aids for commercial and government aviation markets. This division is a supplier to the FAA and airport authorities for approach lighting systems and precision approach path indicator lights. It is also a leader in the niche market it serves for survival aviation products to major aircraft manufacturers and commercial airlines around the world.

Peter J. Gundermann, President and CEO of Astronics, commented, “The addition of DME diversifies the products and technologies we currently offer and improves our market balance by increasing our military and defense content. We believe that this is an excellent strategic fit for us because of the parallels with our military and aerospace business and the experience that Astronics AES had in the electronics test equipment market prior to being acquired by Astronics in 2005. Like us, DME serves specific, well-defined markets and customers, provides highly-engineered products and has built a brand on quality, service and innovative designs. DME’s management and workforce have extensive experience and technical capabilities, strong relationships with their customers and a culture that we expect will be a great fit with ours.”

U.S. Army Awards Second 5 Year Contract to ASU’s Flexible Display Center

Arizona State University (ASU) today announced that the U.S. Army has committed to sponsor an additional five years of research and development at ASU’s Flexible Display Center. The five-year renewal, agreed upon in 2008, is for $50 million and follows initial funding of the center in 2004. Taken together, the two five-year commitments represent a total investment of nearly $100 million in this unique component of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory’s research portfolio.

The Flexible Display Center is a collaboration among government, industry and academia designed to advance the development of full-color flexible display technology. The U.S. Army’s continued commitment follows a rigorous evaluation of Flexible Display Center activities and progress during its first five years of operation, with a thorough assessment of the Center’s future plans. The review included an evaluation by leading technology experts assembled at the invitation of the Army.

Army officials say the Flexible Display Center represents a critical resource in the Army’s ongoing effort to provide military members with the highest level of technology assets. Since the Army’s initial support in 2004, officials say they have been consistently impressed with the Center’s track record in achieving critical development milestones. They expect that over the next five years, the Center will expand its portfolio beyond strictly informational displays and will extend its role as a national asset in the research and development of flexible electronics.

Over the past five years, the Flexible Display Center has established a strong set of core capabilities to support flexible display development, including six-inch wafer-scale and GEN II 370×470 mm display-scale manufacturing pilot lines and related toolsets. Through its collaboration programs, the center has achieved development and demonstration milestones that incorporate a broad range of advanced materials and processes necessary to accelerate the commercialization of flexible displays.

New Study Examines Increased Budget Request for IT Security at U.S. Department of Defense

Government Insights today announced the release of a new perspective which analyzes the 2009 Department of Defense IT security budget and programs.  According to the new report, the DoD IT budget request is $33.0 billion, which represents a 3% increase over DoD’s enacted ’08 IT budget. More specifically, the IT security component of the FY09 defense IT budget request totals $4.0 billion, which is 12.2% of the total IT budget. This represents a 3.4% increase over the FY08 IT security budget of $3.9 billion. By comparison, the enacted FY08 defense IT budget was $32.1 billion and the enacted FY08 defense IT security budget was $3.9 billion, or 12.1% of the total IT budget.

“If the 3.4% increase in DoD’s FY09 IT security budget is approved, it will mean that the IT security budget will have increased as a percentage of the total defense IT budget from 7.6% to 12.2% during the five years from FY05 to FY09, highlighting the critical importance of IT security in the Defense Department,” said Mark Kagan, research manager with Government Insights.

Furthermore, the Government Insights study forecasts the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the defense IT budget over the FY05–FY09 period to be 1.2% compared with a 10.9% CAGR for the defense IT security budget over the same five-year period. However, even the projected 3% increase in the FY09 defense IT budget will still not return defense IT spending to its FY06 level.

The new perspective examines the overall and programmatic budgetary trends during FY07–FY09 to provide very granular insight into Air Force, Army, Navy, and DoD security priorities and spending. The report also:

  • Identifies and provides detailed descriptions of the 52 Air Force, Army, Navy, and Defense Agency IT programs that are specifically coded in the federal IT budget as security programs.
  • Identifies and provides detailed descriptions of the 106 Air Force, Army, Navy, and Defense Agency IT programs that contain over 30% of the DoD IT security budget, but which is embedded spending not specifically identified in the budget.
  • Provides an estimate and analysis of IT security spending in the intelligence community budget, most of which is embedded spending contained in the defense budget.