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2006 Defense Appropriations Includes $15M+ for Defense Projects at Pax River

Posted on December 19, 2005:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations conference report today that contains over $15 million in funding important to Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Southern Maryland at the request of Congressman Hoyer.

"A few weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Military Quality of Life Appropriations conference report for FY 06 which included more than $45 million to complete the construction of the VXX facility, one of the largest single programs at Pax River, and to construct a facility at Pax that will support a key component of the Navy's maritime surveillance. Those funds reinforced the decision made during the BRAC process that Pax River is one of the premier Naval aviation research, development, evaluation and testing facilities in the nation.

"Once again, the House has recognized the importance of programs at Pax River, as well as those being developed by the many skilled defense contractors in Southern Maryland. Pax River is home to some of our nation's finest technicians and engineers and it is a testament to their work that millions of dollars were included in this bill for the many programs at Pax.

"These programs are not only important to our state's economy, but will further enhance the technical testing capabilities at Pax and keep it at the forefront of defense systems research, testing and development. Pax River continues to play a vital role in our national security and these funds reflect that status."

The funding that will benefit Pax River and Southern Maryland companies included in the Department of Defense Appropriations conference report passed today is listed below.

Warfare Analysis Environment, $2.8 Million

This funding will be used by MANTECH in St. Mary's County to develop a Warfare Analysis Environment (WAE), providing a unique collaborative environment to understand future system requirements, explore new concepts, and evaluate solutions and will directly support many Naval programs. This investment will leverage the existing assets and capabilities of the ACETEF at Pax River, allowing various future threat scenarios to be evaluated prior to the development and acquisition of systems. WAE further expands the labs and facilities of ACETEF at Pax to make the most of existing and conceptual systems for more effective combat use.

Human Systems Design Support Tool, $2.1 Million

This funding will be used for the Human Systems Design Support Tool development at NAWCAD. Focus will be on development of NAVAIR-unique requirements for crew system integration and aviation unit size control. Areas of emphasis will be data collection and analysis, enhancement of existing and development of new systems engineering tools and integrating them with NAVAIRSYSCOM simulation and flight test resources. For platforms and aircrews, the key to success is crew-centered systems engineering. For "rightsizing" aviation units, the key is life cycle cost management under valid and fully informed engineering requirements and design constraints. Application of the new tool resource will result in greatly improved crew-centered design for dominant maritime combat power. The impact on aviation unit size control will assure cost effective readiness today and in the redesigned ships of the future fleet. Success will generate a minimum of 5% crew-size savings with increased assurance that the needed personnel numbers and skills are still available.

Advanced Maritime Technology Center, $2.1 million

This funding will upgrade the Maritime Facility at Patuxent River to an Advanced Maritime Technology Center (AMTC) and will take advantage of the world class facilities at Pax River to meet the needs for new and emerging technologies of both military and Federal agencies supporting Homeland Defense.

It will allow Pax to upgrade this facility and capitalize on technical expertise to improve the performance of small maritime combatant craft by miniaturizing the critical navigational, communications and sensor equipment needed on these boats in the same way they do for aircraft. Last year, Congressman Hoyer secured $1.9 million for this project.

ACETEF Upgraded RDT&E Capability, $2.1 million

The Air Combat Environment Test and Evaluation Facility (ACETEF) is the most advanced installed systems test facility in the world, and it enables Pax River to put aircraft and other systems through many different situations or combat environments before getting to the point of validation - which is the actual flight on an open air range or field testing. To meet increasingly complex threats, the U.S. military is transforming from a strategy based on threats to a strategy based on capabilities. This transformation requires sophisticated modeling, simulation and analysis at research, development testing and evaluation (RDT&E) and Training Range facilities, like ACETEF. This funding will be used to upgrade and support RDT&E at ACETEF which will support missions across all Naval and Joint warfighting communities.

Operational Experimentation Environment, $2.1 million

A Distributed Common Ground System-Navy (DCGS-N) at Pax River will form the basis of an Operational Experimentation Environment (OEE) capability to assess future C4ISR architectures and requirements. The integration of advanced naval communications and related networking technologies, along with associated software applications, is a critical future step towards demonstrating a time-critical and network-centric warfare capability. The planned enhancements will enable the DCGS-N node to access real-time, multi-intelligence data simultaneously from a broad range of sensors platforms, such as the P-3C, SH-60R, F/A-18 Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP), U-2, Global Hawk, Predator, JSTARS and National Technical Means.

SureTrak, $1.4 Million

Developed by the U.S. Navy at the Patuxent River NAWCAD, SureTrak was originally developed at Pax for the Coast Guard to track movements in U.S. ports. The system has now been improved and enhanced to track other activities in larger bodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay. The system employs a sophisticated alarms module and a fully integrated database that can be used to alert operators to developing situations or immediate threats and is an important tool for national security. SureTrak provides full remote control capability for the sensors and distributes sensor data in real-time to commercial-off-the-shelf computer workstations located at remote facilities. The use of Windows style pull-down menus throughout the system provides for a fast and familiar interface. This funding will support further development of the SureTrak program.

Naval District Washington Firefighting, $1.05 Million

This funding, which was included in the bill at the request of Congressman Hoyer and was not requested by the President, will help address some of the serious funding shortfalls projected for firefighting operations at facilities within the Naval District Washington (NDW), including Patuxent River, Indian Head, US Naval Academy, Chesapeake Beach, Carderock, St. Inigoes and Dahlgren. Significant shortfalls exist for personnel, operations and equipment needs at all of the facilities throughout the NDW, and the ability of these federal firefighters to adequately protect the military personnel and equipment at these facilities is being dangerously diminished by these funding gaps. This funding will help address these urgent needs and ensure the safety at our region's Naval facilities. Last year, Congressman Hoyer secured $1.1 million which was used to purchase three fire vehicles for the NDW, one at Dahlgren, one at Bolling, and one at Indian Head.

NAVAIR DECKPLATE, $1 Million

In FY02, the Naval Aviation Logistics Data Analysis program began development of a "data warehouse" as part of an effort to provide one, centralized Navy Aviation Logistics Database and Management Information System. Since that time, the Naval Air Systems Command has expanded the Maintenance Data Warehouse program to apply the sophistication of enterprise-wide data mining and decision support to the readiness of Naval assets and commands. Through this process, squadron commanders and other officials will have new insight into the state of readiness of units and material, the ability to identify maintenance trends, the capability to predict weaknesses and potential failures, and the means to prevent costly accidents and downtime. This system is now known as DECKPLATE (DECision Knowledge Programming for Logistics Analysis and Technical Evaluation). Currently, DECKPLATE continues its expansion of the existing data warehouse to support additional types of maintenance data. This funding will continue this Program at the NAVAIR System Command in Pax River. Last year, Rep. Hoyer secured $2.2 million for the Maintenance Data Warehouse.

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