PCB007 Magazine


Issue link: http://iconnect007.uberflip.com/i/306762

Contents of this Issue


Page 61 of 72

62 The PCB Magazine • May 2014 supporting, their current funding status, and future funding allocations. Equally important, we need to learn the funding status on newer programs we may have supported through en- gineering and prototype engagements that now may be slated for increased funding. Given that much of my activity is centered on C4ISR related programs (command, control, computers, communications, intel- ligence, surveillance, reconnais- sance), I turn first to an over- view analysis of the budget impacts to that technology set. Clearly, with the drawdown of troops from both Iraq and Af- ghanistan post-war, there was an expectation that our troop levels would be greatly reduced overall, and that the associated electronics manufacturing to support soldiers on the ground would be impacted. Both ex- pectations proved to be true. Without exception, every sin- gle Army program my business is supporting has pushed out to the right at least into Q3, and in several instances into Q4, for procurement activity. However, it may surprise many to learn that the cost of the wars is not accounted for in the defense budget. These funds are contained in the Overseas Contingency Operations budget (I still prefer the original name under President Bush—the Global War on Terror). At its current level, that budget contains nearly $80 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2015. Negotiable with Congress, this could potentially yield funding for small systems and technology upgrades. A clear budget winner from a program stand- point is the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35 Lightning II) manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Easily the most costly and ambitious acquisition in Pentagon history, Lockheed Martin and en- gine-maker Pratt and Whitney are developing multiple versions for the U.S. military and our international partners. The F-35 is funded in FY 2015 at $8.4 billion for twenty-nine aircraft and an additional $31.7 billion for additional units over the next several years. This program touch- es all service branches, as the Marines plan to replace F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers with a vertically landing F-35B. The Navy is onboard with an F-35C tail-hook version, and the Air Force will fly a conventional version. From an electronics content standpoint, the F-35's sen- sor and communications suite is said to possess situational awareness, command-and-control and net- work-centric warfare capabili- ties. The main sensor on board is the AN/APG-81 AESA-radar, designed by Northrop Grum- man. It is augmented by a nose-mounted Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS). The AN/ASQ-239 (Barracuda) Elec- tronic Warfare suite (BAE Sys- tems) provides sensor fusion of RF and IR tracking functions, basic radar warning, multi- spectral countermeasures for self-defense against missiles, situational awareness and electronic surveillance. Trans- lation: lots of printed circuit boards. In a major win for Northrop Grumman, the Air Force's venera- ble U-2 spy planes will be retired and will be replaced with Northrop's Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). While the two aircraft perform similar high-altitude ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) missions, the Global Hawks will need upgrades to its electronic suites to handle the mission to the tune of around $1.77 billion over the next 10 years. Approximately $500 million of that funding is marked for a universal payload adapter that would allow U-2 sensors to be at- tached to the RQ-4 Global Hawk. Electronic warfare (E/W) is both elegantly and simply defined by Alan Shaffer, U.S. Sec- retary of Defense for Research and Engineer- ing as, "the defense of spectrum and systems used by U.S forces and the attack of spectrum and systems used by our enemies." To at least keep pace near term with the E/W capabilities Clearly, with the draw- down of troops from both Iraq and afghani- stan post-war, there was an expectation that our troop levels would be greatly reduced overall, and that the associated electronics manufacturing to support soldiers on the ground would be impacted. Both expecta- tions proved to be true. " " PENTAGON BUDGET AFTERSHOCKS continues

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PCB007 Magazine - PCB-May2014