Military


P-8 Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA)
Broad Area Maritime Surveillance

The Department of Defense announced 15 June 2004 that McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Co., was awarded a $3,889,979,744 cost-plus-award-fee contract to develop the U.S. Navy's P-8 Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA).

The competition was very close, and the companies did an excellent job. Both companies proposed costs and the government assessed those costs, essentially doing an independent cost assessment. This government assessment of the costs in both proposal cases was slightly higher than what the companies proposed, and the Boeing proposal, at least for the development phase, was slightly lower than the Lockheed proposal. But that's not all -- this is a best value competition based on technical, management, past performance and other factors. So that alone, was not a discriminating factor.

The proposal provided by Boeing offered the potential to leverage their obvious experience with the 737 airframe to get an MMA slightly sooner -- by one year. And the government assessed, consistent with knowing the cost and the schedule of the program, that they may indeed be able to deliver a little sooner. That, if it's realized, will provide a benefit to the Navy that's very helpful. It might allow the Navy to avoid some costs on that P-3 fleet sustainment. The Navy evaluated the proposals equally on the technical merits. But if they do achieve that early delivery, which they have claimed they can accomplish and the government's assessed they can accomplish a portion of that, that is a beneficial -- and also it mitigates some of the risk of the ability of the P-3 fleet to be sustained into the future.

Both companies proposed performance-based logistics and a degree of contractor logistics support. So Boeing's worldwide capability really wasn't a factor. It's one of those after-the-fact factors because it wasn't laid out as a proposal evaluation criteria. But now that the Navy made the decision, the service can sit down and understand what their worldwide support network may mean to operational availability. It is a bonus. It may provide another bonus to the Navy's own support infrastructure if the Navy can make the right decisions about how to rely on them worldwide.

Boeing's plan to build the 737 using the existing line in the Seattle area and do the modifications there was an adjustment in their proposal late in the game. That significantly reduced the risk relative to other strategies that might have moved the aircraft around. The potential for Boeing, especially with the airframe in hand, to deliver on schedule or early just became a benefit in terms of that they understood their risk and the Navy understood their risk and could assess their technical management risks to be somewhat low. So those factors as well as the ability of both airplanes to meet the requirements, there was not a dramatic discrimination amongst those factors. But Boeing had several features in terms of confidence in their ability to manage and deliver in a timely way that helped tip the scales.

Although they have provided capable and dependable service for the past 40 years, the P-3 and EP-3 are approaching the end of their fatigue life. Faced with the first airframe retirements as early as FY03, the Navy requires a "whole system" approach to preserve maritime armed surveillance intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities. That whole system is Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA).

Initially the Navy planned to replace the P-3 Orion with the Multimission Maritime Aircraft in the 2015 timeframe, while performing service-life extensions to the P-3 fleet. As of 2000 the Navy was pursuing an analysis of alternatives for the Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) to replace legacy P-3Cs and EP-3Es, while developing an appropriate Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) as a bridge to MMA. According to some reports, the Navy then decided in late 2000 to move the MMA deadline up to 2010, and perform a structural inspection to make repairs that would keep the aging P-3s around until then. The Navy would need to start engineering and manufacturing development around 2004 to make an IOC in the 2015 timeframe.

Work on the Multimission Maritime Aircraft is moving forward. On 22 March 2000, the Defense Acquisition Board approved MMA for Milestone 0, the first major step in the life of an acquisition program and the green light to conduct a formal analysis of alternatives. All options will be considered for MMA, including a remanufactured P-3, a commercial derivative or a brand-new aircraft. PMA-290 has already begun to solicit proposals from industry. Efforts are also underway to define the right SLEP package, leveraging lessons learned in the Sustained Readiness Program, to maintain an adequate number of deployable aircraft and provide a bridge to MMA. In the interim, the Navy is committed to several critical modernization efforts to maintain P-3 viability.

Boeing, EADS, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon have expressed interest in being a prime contractor for MMA. A multidepartmental team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory won a $6 million contract to develop the operational requirements for the Navy's next generation Multimission Maritime Aircraft.

The Naval Air Systems Command awarded the Boeing Company's Space and Communication Group, one of four concept exploration study contracts for the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft program 10 June 2000. The contract is worth $493,000. The Boeing study will explore various options for developing a military version of the 737-700 airframe. This aircraft will fulfill the traditional P-3 and EP-3 missions while including the needed upgrades to meet the expanded requirements for the new MMA missions. Modifications will include the integration of specialized mission systems, sensors, weapons and stores deployment capability. The 737's the fuel economy at low altitude is claimed to be nearly the same as for the P-3, while the 737 has a larger payload capacity. The 737 would be able to reach its patrol area much faster because of the higher transit speed,

In July 2000, the US Navy awarded Northrop Grumman one of four contracts, valued at approximately $500,000, to perform concept exploration studies for the Multimission Maritime Aircraft/Broad Area Maritime Surveillance program. Northrop Grumman's concept is a hybrid system that uses a reduced number of piloted aircraft but multiplies their effectiveness through cooperative engagement with a fleet of adjunct high-altitude endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems.

NAVAIR awarded Raytheon Aircraft Integration Systems (AIS) the third of four concept exploration study contracts for the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft program on 10 June 2000. Raytheon's concept is a remanufacture of the P-3 and EP-3 aircraft. The contract is worth $223,000. Raytheon's "Procyon" concept included updates to the airframe, engines, cockpit and crew cabin. Compared to the existing P-3C, Procyon offered a 20-ton increase in payload and a 30% increase in endurance. The program also set targets of 50% reliability increase and 60% maintenance manhour reduction. [Procyon, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor, is one of Orion's hunting dogs]. Procyon, a modernized P-3 with a minimum life of 20,000 flight hours, will provide proven capability for all maritime surveillance and reconnaissance missions through extended mission endurance, and reduced operation and support costs. A new mission system, the Integrated Data Handling System (IDHS), a new two-person cockpit, compliant with Global Air Traffic Management (GATM), and interior modifications combine to reduce crew fatigue and maximize operator effectiveness. Raytheon is marketing its P-3 "Procyon", and hopes to sell as many as 50 aircraft to Italy, Germany and South Korea.

NAVAIR awarded the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company (LM Aero) the last of four concept exploration study contracts for the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft program. The contract is worth $493,000. Lockheed Martin's study will explore how to remanufacture the P-3 and EP-3 enabling the Navy to continue flying these aircraft through 2040. They will determine which is the best approach to extend the life of the airframe in addition to upgrading the engines and aircraft subsystems to improve their sustainability, reliability and performance. New engines under consideration include the Rolls-Royce Allison AE2100, though the Pratt & Whitney PW150 hasn't been ruled out. Other Lockheed Martin proposals include replacing wings, empennage and nacelles.

The results of this five-month study were used by the Center for Naval Analysis, which is conducting the MMA Analysis of Alternatives. This analysis will examine a comprehensive range of MMA alternatives to select the preferred MMA concept.

Japanese government and industry are interested in the potential for cooperative mission systems development to aid connectivity and interoperability. Any additional Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreements with other countries may require up to two years to establish, which does not fit well with the current MMA schedule. Australia hosted the US Global Hawk, which is participating in a series of flights to evaluate maritime suitability during exercise Tandem Thrust.

The CE Phase BAA defined IOC as a squadron of 10 SA variants, and a squadron of 7 SI variants, and four training aircraft (two training aircraft for each squadron) for a total of 21 aircraft. The current IOC definition, as stated in the draft Statement of Objectives (SOO), is a squadron of 10 SA variants, a squadron of 6 SI variants and 2 SI logistics aircraft (the logistics aircraft do not require an SI mission system), plus four training aircraft (two training aircraft for each squadron) for a total of 22 aircraft.

Maritime patrol and reconnaissance (MPR) forces roles maritime dominance include antisubmarine and antisurface warfare (ASW and ASUW), maritime targeting and strike, and knowledge superiority, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and indication and warning missions. The Navy has always placed a great premium on MPR capabilities. As the Navy moves toward a more fully netted force, enhanced connectivity and integration of our P-3 Orion and EP-3E Aries II aircraft will be a critical part of the total force answer for forward-deployed naval expeditionary forces.

Demand for MPR support from commanders in chief and battle group commanders has steadily increased, even as the inventory has aged. On the front lines in Sigonella, Italy; Souda Bay, Greece; Masirah off Oman; Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T.; Keflavik, Iceland; and Roosevelt Roads, P.R., this has been reflected in high utilization rates (particularly of the most modern and capable airframes and systems) and demand for a high degree of aircrew proficiency in multiple mission areas, often in a combat environment. On the flight lines at home in Brunswick, Maine; Jacksonville, Fla.; Whidbey Island, Wash.; and Kaneohe, Hawaii, the pressure created by sustaining forward-deployed readiness shows up in higher than normal cannibalization rates, less than desired mission-capable rates and increased juggling of available aircraft for squadron inter-deployment operations and training.

Sustaining appropriate MPR force structure is a priority, as is modernizing mission systems and determining requirements for a follow-on platform. Programs to meet these needs have been deferred in the past due to financial constraints, and some are of the view that the Navy has pushed past the optimum decision point for sustaining MPR force structure.

As of Dec. 26, 2002, after a long battle with the Pentagon about a possible $28.2 million MMA budget cut, MMA officials claimed that they received unofficial word that the PBD-113 mark against MMA has been restored. MMA is, once again, fully funded in FY '03 and '04. The financial examination received publicity in early December when an Inside the Navy article publicized Pentagon Comptroller Dov Zakheim's desires to strip MMA of its funding and consequently slide the Milestone B contract award to April 2004 - four months after it was originally scheduled. Both the technical and program leads agreed when budget cuts seemed imminent that this shift in MS B was necessary to maintain the current level of risk in the program. According to Craig Nickol, MMA's deputy for program operations, MMA would resume the original target dates suggested before the Pentagon's inquiry, moving MS B back to January 20, 2004. During the review, many MMA officials were busying themselves by preparing financial reclamas, budget drills, and contingency plans, which would re-allocate funds and defer the schedule. However, this temporary defensive positioning will not put them behind schedule. According to Tom Garrett, systems engineering and integration IPT lead, Navy leadership was briefed on the budget's impacts and decided to make the mark a Major Budget Issue. "We received word from the OSD comptroller on 13 Dec. that the funding from the mark would be restored."

In February 2003 the MMA program entered Component Advanced Development (CAD) Industry Phase II, an 11-month phase culminating with a Milestone B contract award to one prime contractor for one concept. This concept will ultimately be developed and demonstrated in the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. In CAD Industry Phase II, each contractor will provide a proposal to study both the Search-and-Attack (SA) variant and the Surveillance-and-Intelligence (SI) variant, providing an opportunity for Industry to refine their proposed concepts based on the results of CAD Phase I. In other news, PMA 290 leadership presided over the latest MMA off-site, held in the conference room of the RBC spaces in Expedition IV, to gain insight into the most up-to-date programmatic information concerning PMA 290's flagship program. PMA 290's program manager, Capt. Eastburg, who at the end of the day-long meeting claimed that the event was well-prepared and well-presented, gained better insight on many key issues, including finance and technology. He added at the end of the meeting that the MMA leadership team has shown a unique savoir-faire in its communicative strategy and assessment of potential risk. The off-site, which occurred on January 29, was held to give the MMA leadership team a holistic view of the proposals submitted by both prime contractors. It provided a forum to express candidly the current state of the program - bringing out both comments of concern and commendation. The MMA leadership team concluded that the program was in excellent shape, as it is on target with both its executing strategy and its schedule.

In March 2003, the MMA team conducted the fifth Joint Working Group with representatives from Japan in a Lexington Park, Md., RBC, Inc. conference room. The meeting was part of the Cooperative Avionics and Mission Systems Study for MMA, and the Japan Maritime Patrol P-X programs. Additionally, Captain Steve Eastburg, Maritime Survelliance Aircraft Program Manager (PMA 290) provided an update on MMA and participated in a panel discussion at the NDIA Navy-Industry International Dialogue Conference on May 1, 2003. The purpose of the panel was to address the international strategy for the development of the MMA/Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (BAMS-UAV) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As the effort to provide the fleet with the MMA continues, the team works with the future of maritime patrol in mind. The Component Advanced Development (CAD) Industry Phase I began in September 2002 with contracts awarded to Boeing for a derivative of the 737 and Lockheed Martin for a modernized P-3. During CAD Phase I, each contractor reviewed and commented on the draft MMA requirements document and draft Performance Based Specification, defined a proposed concept to meet those requirements, and developed cost estimates for the proposed concept. CAD Phase I concluded with the government's review and acceptance of data deliverables by industry. The Component Advanced Development (CAD) Industry Phase II began in February 2003. Each contractor was tasked with their concept refinement based on the detailed studies and analysis conducted during CAD Phase I and results of the Government's risk assessment of the proposed concepts, during CAD Phase I. The first data deliverables were received from CAD Phase II in April 2003. The CAD Phase II process will last about 13 months with Milestone B, the final source selection and contract award, occurring in the March 2004, timeframe. The initial list of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) Contract Deliverables (CDRLs) will continue to be refined until release of the SDD Release for Proposal (RFP) in September 2003. The program plans to select a concept based on proposals derived from the detailed and rigorous analysis and studies conducted during the competitive CAD work effort. MMA will initiate the development phase in FY04 after the planned Milestone B (MS B) Decision Review in March 2004. The schedule beyond MS B is alternative dependent; however, if the current pace is maintained, the target for attaining the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for MMA is FY2012.

As of August 2003 the Navy planned to build a large, land-based aircraft system that, with various payloads, could take on the patrol, intelligence-collecting, battle management, and transport roles employed by the aforementioned aircraft. In the foreseen version of MMA, the Search/Attack (SA) will succeed the P-3C. Initial operational capability would be achieved with 22 aircraft between the FY10-FY12 timeframe. The Navy may eventually acquire 120-150 MMAs, supporting a goal of maintaining 40 forward-deployed aircraft at all times. Navy officials are also exploring how Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can best complement existing intelligence, surveillance, and electronic warfare systems, and serve in an adjunct role with the manned MMA aircraft.

In November 2003 four of the world's leading aerospace companies combined forces with Boeing to form the Boeing Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) industry team. This is a crucial step toward making the 737 MMA the most cost-effective solution to the U.S. Navy's maritime patrol requirement. Boeing and partners CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Smiths Aerospace were focused on winning the MMA prime contractor selection in early 2004. CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of General Electric USA, and Snecma, France, provides the CFM56 military engines that power the Boeing 737 MMA. The 54,000 pounds of combined thrust provided by the CFM56-7B27A engines delivers unparalleled performance from the world's most reliable high-bypass turbofan. The engines deliver an industry leading .003 percent in-flight shut down rate per every 1,000 hours of flight. Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector will provide the electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, the directional infrared countermeasures system, and the electronic support measures system. Northrop Grumman's Information Technology sector, based in Herndon, Va., will develop data links for MMA. As an integral part of Boeing's MMA industry team, Raytheon will provide the APS-137 Maritime Surveillance Radar and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) solutions. Raytheon is also offering its revolutionary GPS Anti-Jam, Integrated Friend or Foe, and Towed Decoy Self-Protection Suites, and the aircraft's Broadcast Info System (BIS) and UHF Satcom capability. Smiths Aerospace supplies both the Flight Management and Stores Management systems on the Boeing 737 MMA. The Flight Management System provides an integrated open architecture that is CNS/ATM compatible along with an inherent growth path for upgrades. The Stores Management System provides a comprehensive system for the electronic control of integrated weapons management.

The Navy completed a Systems Requirements Review (SRR) of the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) program Sept. 30, 2004 at a three-day conference in Seattle. The review was a crucial step that permits the program to continue forward in the Systems Development and Demonstration phase of the acquisition. This was the first major review of the program since the contract was awarded to Boeing June 14, 2004. The purpose of the SRR was to ensure understanding of the planned system and contract requirements. Meetings included briefings and discussions that provided a detailed review of documents, such as the technical specifications, statement of work and contract schedule.

Conducted as an in-depth examination of the program, the SRR meeting was attended by the MMA team from the contractor that will develop the aircraft, Boeing, and the U.S. Navy's Maritime Surveillance Aircraft Program Office (PMA 290). Additionally, representatives from the Chief of Naval Operations, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Program Executive Office for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault and Special Mission Programs were present to aid in the analysis.



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