A U.S. Navy technology team has won top military honors for work it did in conjunction with an Austin-based defense contractor. As a result of its contributions, the contractor, Ultra Electronics Advanced Tactical Systems Inc., has been awarded more than $14 million in business by the U.S. Navy.
The Navy's PMA-290 team, supported by Ultra, recently won the Naval Aviation Foundation's Edward H. Heinemann award for "reviving and restructuring a struggling program and ensuring critical capabilities." The award-winning work resulted in the award of another kind of work for Ultra - namely new business calling for implementation of the new technology in 59 P-3 Anti-surface warfare Improvement Program (AIP) aircraft.
"The team resurrected a program that was heading for certain elimination, then guided it from concept through design, integration, development test and a full-rate production," said Martin Ahmad, PMA-290 Principle Deputy Program Manager.
Ahmad notes the accomplishments were all the more impressive given that the team performed the massive turn-around in just seven months.
"The U.S. Navy AIP program was on the brink of pulling the plug, when we stepped up and offered our services on a speculative basis, meaning it was all on our nickel," said John McAlonan, president of Ultra Electronics, noting the company has invested more than $14 million into the technology to date. "They had some very technically challenging issues, and were in a position to prove what our amazing group of talent could do."
Within four months, the company helped the Navy AIP program advance to their "milestone C," which means the technology cleared enough hurdles to progress to the production stage. Specifically, it improved Link-16 and International/Marine/Maritime Satellite (INMARSAT) capabilities - providing great enhancements to a combat aircrew's situational awareness.
The Navy AIP program has initially awarded Ultra a $6.3 million contract to install the new technology, called the USN Airborne Solution, in 10 aircraft. Over the next two years, Ultra will gain an additional $8 million to $12 million in new business from comparable USN P-3 programs, and install the new technology in up to 75 additional aircraft. The USN Airborne Solution offers further scalability because it can be implemented in any P-3 aircraft system.
The Heinemann Award honors the legendary Douglas Aircraft Company chief engineer, Edward H. Heinemann, who designed many naval aircraft including the SBD Dauntless, A-1 Skyraider, A-3 Skywarrior, A-4 Skyhawk, F3D Skynight, F4D Skyray, and the experimental aircraft Skystreak and Skyrocket. It is sponsored by the Naval Aviation Foundation (formerly the Association of Naval Aviators), and is presented annually to the individual or group of individuals within Naval Air Systems Command who achieved or helped achieve significant improvement in the design or modification of an aircraft or an aircraft system.
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