File photo by Jamie Scott Lytle.
The Littoral Combat Ship USS Omaha in dry dock at BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair in 2018.

File photo by Jamie Scott Lytle. The Littoral Combat Ship USS Omaha in dry dock at BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair in 2018.

The following are selected defense contracts awarded to San Diego County companies in April. They have been announced by the U.S. Department of Defense or the contractor itself.

The U.S. Navy increased the potential value of existing ship maintenance contracts going to six ship repair firms: BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, East Coast Repair and Fabrication, General Dynamics NASSCO, Marine Group Boat Works, Pacific Ship Repair and Fabrication and Vigor Marine. Each contractor will receive up to $550 million in work on the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships.

Littoral Combat Ships are small ships, 422 feet in length, designed to go into shallow coastal waters. Their purpose is to defeat what the Navy calls “anti-access” threats including mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

Each of the six indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts has a five-year ordering period. Delivery orders will be competitively awarded under the contracts. Fifteen companies bid on the work. The Naval Sea Systems Command of Washington, D.C. awarded the contract extensions, announced on April 14.

Small Businesses to Split $117M

Separately, the Navy awarded $116.6 million worth of contract modifications to seven ship repair firms that are small businesses: Colonna’s Shipyard West LLC, East Coast Repair and Fabrication, Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc., Marine Group Boat Works, Pacific Ship Repair and Fabrication, Propulsion Controls Engineering and South Coast Welding and Manufacturing. Under the deals, the contractors will do maintenance work on destroyers, cruisers and amphibious ships. Work will be performed in San Diego and is expected to be complete by May 2021. The Southwest Regional Maintenance Center of San Diego awarded the contracts.

Kratos to Deliver Drones

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said on April 15 that its aerospace business recently received sole-source contracts valued at more than $19 million. Under the deals, Kratos will deliver 21 high-performance jet target drones in models BQM-167 and MQM-178. The business will also provide spares and support. In addition, it will provide development engineering to give certain drones a new capability.

Kratos did not name its customers.

“To prepare for a forecasted growth in demand, Kratos Unmanned has invested in and expanded our production facilities over the past 12-18 months, allowing us to begin immediately fulfilling new orders even in these uncertain times,” said Steve Fendley, president of the company’s Unmanned Systems Division. Kratos opened a new factory in Oklahoma City with a subsidy from the state government. The new factory complements its existing factory in the Sacramento area.

“We are proud to continue supporting our defense customers as critical infrastructure within the defense industrial base. Upholding the nation’s security by helping our customers meet their critical needs while also protecting the safety and health of our employees is our top priority and will continue to be as we meet the increasing demand for our high-performance UAS.” The initials stand for unmanned aerial systems.

The target drones are used in war games, serving as a stand-in for threats. They allow troops to practice using weapon systems, radar and other systems.

The body of a BQM-167 is made of carbon fiber. The drone can fly as low as 50 feet and as high as 50,000 feet. It can reach speeds of about 700 mph or 0.92 Mach, approaching the speed of sound.

A fact sheet on the Air Force website puts the BQM-167’s price tag at $570,000, though it was unclear whether that is the current price.

Genasys Receives $1.5M in Orders

Rancho Bernardo-based Genasys Inc. announced $1.5 million worth of contract wins on April 9. An unidentified naval port in the Middle East ordered remotely operated LRAD 950RXL acoustic hailing devices as well as Genasys hardware and software mass notification systems. Separately, a European country ordered LRAD 950RXL units for its frigates, small navy ships. And a country in the southeast part of Europe ordered LRAD 450XL systems for its coast guard vessels. LRAD systems send highly focused sound over distances as long as 2 miles.