TIM STARKS, CQ Roll Call: Hi, Tim Starks from CQ Roll Call. I have questions for both of you. Going back to the HMMWV for one moment. If you mentioned this, I apologize. Did you say the new chassis is in the field, or is it something you're hoping to convince the military that they need?
GREG SCHMIDT: No, it's currently not fielded. It is fully developed. And it has been field tested. And we're going to go over that in detail at the AUSA event. But we have several that have been in the field and have been field tested. And you'll see one of those on display at AUSA.
TIM STARKS: I know DARPA has been talking about the next generation kind of armored vehicle. I didn't know if this was something that you were looking at as part of that program, or as something separate from?
GREG SCHMIDT: No, we consider this to be something separate from. And we really believe that the HMMWV, for both the Army and the Marine Corps, and many of our allies, will have a role in addition to these future vehicles that DARPA and the U.S. Army are planning.
TIM STARKS: Thank you. And then for Jeff: You mentioned the need to upgrade the APR-39 as a response to the evolving threat. And I didn't know if you could go into any kind of detail about what that threat was, and how this would respond to it specifically.
JEFF PALOMBO: Well, I won't go into particularly what the threats are, but the APR-39 is a piece of equipment that's been around for 15 years, essentially. Almost unchanged over that period of time. We threats evolve extremely rapidly today. Think of that period of time over 15 years. And it's kind of “shame on us” collectively that the government and industry have permitted a capability like this to atrophy over that period of time. And in all fairness, the reason that that happened is, we weren't really in theaters of operation that were RF-intensive. If you think of the theaters that we've been in Iraq and Afghanistan, we've gained air superiority very quickly; therefore, that particular survivability aspect was not all the way up on the priority list.
But now, as you look at some of the evolving threats, some of the different potential theaters of operation, it's evident that we need that particular upgrade and to go from an analog to a digital capability, to the point where the APR-39 can do a better identification of the potential threat. Any time you can increase survivability with that kind of capability is something we really need to take that next step with.
BILL SWEETMAN, Aviation Week: Jeff, can you talk a little bit about the status of the EPAWSS program that the F-15 adaptation is aimed at. Also, can you achieve that upgrade without working on the front end, the RF antennas as well? Do you also have new antenna designs that will drop in the same real estate?
JEFF PALOMBO: The only thing I'll say about EPAWSS—and for those of you not familiar with it, it's the U.S. upgrade program for the F-15—it's in the throes of competition right now. So I'll have essentially no discussion associated with EPAWSS.
Our approach is to provide that fifth-generation capability at the most affordable cost, both for the electronic warfare suite and for the installation, that Group A that I talked about.
Valerie Insinna, National Defense: I had a couple questions for Greg about the Humvee. The field testing that you talked about, was that internal, or have you gotten in front of the Army yet? And can you give some concrete examples of how performance would be improved with the new chassis?
GREG SCHMIDT: Yes, we've actually had a cooperative agreement with the US Army. And we have through that agreement upgraded four vehicles, two of the vehicles the U.S. Army has taken for a variety of testing, and we have taken two vehicles and have tested them at the Nevada test site, about 30 miles northwest of Carson City, Nevada. And we put significant mileage and endurance testing on those.
Again, we'll go through a lot of this specific data at AUSA, but one of the most impressive things that has been accomplished is we have been able to increase the miles per gallon to approximately 16 miles per gallon for our HMMWV. And again, for those of you who may drive a large pickup truck, like myself, that may not be as efficient or almost darn-near as efficient as my truck, but a HMMWV, that is a significant improvement for an up-armored HMMWV. I think it also does a whopping zero to 60 in about 22 seconds.
And again, we'll have several videos. I'll have some other detailed information on that at AUSA as well.
GEOFF FEIN, Janes: Hi, Geoff Fein from Jane's. Mr. Palombo, given what you've talked about here today, I'm wondering what other areas—since a lot of the equipment out there is old, a lot of it is in need of upgrades; the services certainly have said that. The theater is beginning to change. There's a focus on the Pacific. Are you starting to see other opportunities, at least on the horizon? If so, what kind of things are you beginning to see that are also being discussed that the services want to see some upgrades in?
JEFF PALOMBO: There's a couple of places where I can give you some specific examples, Geoff. As you know, Northrop Grumman has been the contractor for the LAIRCM, the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system and the DoN LAIRCM, so Department of Navy; same thing there.
And as the IR threats– so this is protection against shoulder-fired missiles, heat-seeking missiles. So as the IR threat has continued to evolve very rapidly over the last ten years, five years, two years, we have managed through upgrades of those systems that are already on airplanes to keep ahead of the threat.
And it can be things like changing, tracking algorithms, like upgrading and changing how our laser defeats and tracks the head of a seeker missile, for instance. And if you look at the LAIRCM program, you will see five generations of systems for infrared countermeasures, directed infrared countermeasures, specifically to defeat evolving threats.
The second thing is on the Army side of the equation, for their infrared countermeasure system, known as CIRCM, Common Infrared Countermeasure system. We are in the throes of a competition there as well.
But the benefit is, and I talked about it briefly, I talked about the modularity and open architecture. So when you have the ability to swap out portions of your system, whether it's internal to a piece of electronics or an entire LRU, it makes your system more valuable to the customer, because when they have to change something because there's a new threat, they don't throw the system out and start all over again.
So if you need a different laser to defeat something, we have the ability to put a different laser on our system. If there's a new tracking device that industry comes up with, we have the ability to integrate that without changing the balance of the system.
So that modularity, that open architecture is extremely important in terms of sustainment, modernization and upgrade with threats.
The other thing we're seeing from our customers is multispectral sensing. So, how can you do two or three types of sensing in a single system where you used to have three of them on an airplane? So, for instance, we have a system in production called the ATW, the advanced threat warner. And historically in a threat warner package, we would just be looking for missiles, for instance. Well, now in that exact same package, we can do missile tracking. We can do hostile fire indication to see small arms fire. We can do laser warning. We can do situational awareness all in the exact same package. Cost savings, size, weight and power savings, for instance, for helicopters.
So those are examples of a couple of the things that we really see the customer base continuing to ask us of how would we innovate in those particular environment of aircraft survivability.
GEOFF FEIN: Where are you with this ATW? Can you talk a little bit more about that?
JEFF PALOMBO: We can. As a matter of fact, if you get online, you'll see information on the advanced threat warner. We have been in production for the Navy and Marine Corps for about a year, a year-and-a-half, now, in terms of systems. We've been asked to put that system on MV-22s, for instance, in a rapid deployment fashion. So that was one of the other things I talked about today, is speed to deployment.
The ATW is unique in industry in terms of its packaging, its form factor, and the fact that it is multispectral in that small package. Matter of fact, Greg's talked about AUSA. We generally have a demonstration model of ATW at AUSA; just stop by, Geoff.