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Program discussions
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Ken Francois, Battle Control Systems Division chief, speaks to attendees at the Hanscom Representatives Association meeting Dec. 6 at the Minuteman Commons. Francois discussed the capabilities and opportunities of the division's programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt.)
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Division chief discusses program capabilities and opportunities

Posted 12/9/2011   Updated 12/9/2011 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

12/9/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Providing systems that protect the nation's airspace to ensure what happened on Sept. 11 never happens again is a key role of the Battle Control Systems Division.

"I've never had a job that has been more directly related to protecting our families in North America," said Ken Francois, BCS Division chief, during a presentation to the Hanscom Representatives Association Dec. 6 at the Minuteman Commons. "I'm thrilled to be able to tell my kids I'm doing something that protects them directly."

Francois spoke about capabilities and opportunities regarding the division's four current programs: Battle Control System - Fixed; National Capital Region Integrated Air Defense System; Control and Reporting Center; and Three-Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar. The BCS-F, NCR-IADS and CRC are all operational systems.

The CRC is one program where Francois says he sees a number of upcoming opportunities. CRC is a mobile command, control and communications radar element that integrates a comprehensive air picture and can conduct threat warning, battle management, theater missile defense, weapons control, combat identification and strategic communications.

"The CRC is a massive capability that is globally deployed, although its current focus is on Afghanistan," Francois said. "I'm looking to structure an approach to work more with you on how we develop market opportunities and the acquisition documents. We're doing our best to steer this in the right direction."

Francois said a Request for Information for the system's C2 Engine Modernization Market Research was published on FedBizOpps in late November. This is to upgrade the operational module of the system.

"The heart of the CRC is the OM," said Francois. "And it's been a while since the computing processes have been updated."

Another possible area for industry opportunities is with the 3DELRR program. The 3DELRR is anticipated to be the principal Air Force long-range, ground-based sensor for detecting, identifying, tracking and reporting aircraft and missiles in support of theater commanders.

"The system will provide an improved CRC capability to replace the aging TPS-75 radar in the new millennium," said Francois.

However, he said the program has been facing challenges. Currently, discussions are ongoing with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force regarding how to reduce the cost of the program in today's fiscally constrained environment.

"An excellent acquisition strategy is in place," said Francois. "If we get approval to move forward, our projected RFP [Request for Proposal] release date would most likely be in the second or third quarter of FY12."

Both the BCS-F and NCR-IADS programs are moving to a modification through sustainment strategy.

Through the integration of 200 radar feeds, the BCS-F provides a comprehensive picture of North American air space so decision makers at the Pentagon, Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command- Air and Space Operations Center and NORAD-NORTHCOM have the critical information they need. The system also provides tactical data links to communicate with combat air patrols and command and control aircraft, such as AWACS.

The NCR-IADS provides enhanced regional situation awareness through the use of cameras and a laser visual warning system to support Operation Noble Eagle in the Washington, D.C., area.

Francois explained the division constantly works to ensure they have correct, updated requirements.

"We've got to have those," he said, "because we want to give the user what they need, in the timeframe they need it and at an acceptable cost."

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