It doesn’t have the storyline, the visual spectacle or the love interest of the “Top Gun” movies, either the 1986 original or the just-released sequel.
But the high-speed thrills and the smarts are definitely there.
San Diego-based Cubic Corp. has long helped fighter pilots train with what is known as its P5 Combat Training System, or P5CTS.
The electronics — attached to a fighter jet in a housing resembling a giant pencil — keep track of aircraft position and movements during war games. After the exercise, the data helps pilots and their instructors reconstruct the action and take lessons from it. The generic term for such a system is ACMI, short for Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation.
A training sequence in the original “Top Gun” movie featured the Cubic electronics. Hollywood provided the bravado to go with it: “That was some of the best flying I’ve seen to date,” said one pilot, Jester, to his fellow pilot Maverick, played by Tom Cruise. “Right up to the part where you got killed.”
Though the basic premise is decades old, the military is still improving the Cubic ACMI system, used by U.S. forces and many U.S. allies.
This month, the U.S. Air Force awarded Cubic a contract for a cybersecurity update to the P5 system that could be worth as much as $90.6 million over the next six years. Work will be done in San Diego.
Work will center on a Type 1 encryptor that provides a National Security Agency-certified control interface that enables or restricts the access or transfer of information between security domains on the P5 system.
The contract, which runs through May 2028, includes 10% foreign military sales to Qatar and other classified customers, the Pentagon said in a statement. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hill Air Force Base, Utah awarded the contract, announced on May 12.
Australia Cleared to Buy MIDS
Carlsbad-based Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT) is in line for more defense contracts with a U.S. government decision to provide communications gear to Australia. It is unclear how much work will be steered Viasat’s way or when.
The State Department approved a possible foreign military sale of 106 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS JTRS) terminals as well as related equipment for an estimated cost of $42 million. Also expected to benefit from the potential sale is Data Link Solutions of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a Viasat competitor. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the decision on April 19.
Austal Supports Port Project
Austal USA, which builds the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships, has contributed $250,000 to the Port of San Diego’s Pepper Park redesign and improvement project. The port made the announcement in early May.
In November, Austal inked a long-term lease for a ship repair facility on San Diego Bay along the National City waterfront. Pepper Park is also in National City. Park improvements are scheduled to be completed by summer 2024.
There are two versions of Littoral Combat Ships, the Freedom class and Independence class. Austal builds the Independence class, which has a trimaran hull.