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Author Topic: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program  (Read 221144 times)

Offline marauder2048

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #675 on: October 25, 2017, 06:25:53 pm »
That's the second or third high-profile program that NG has "no-bid" recently (T-X, 3DELRR).  Seems like a strategic decision not to spend money on things they think aren't at least 50-50 shots.

The common thread is that T-X, 3DELRR and MQ-25 are all fixed price development contracts.

from the earnings calls with NG CEO Wes Bush

Quote
We have notified the Navy that Northrop Grumman will not be submitting a bid on the MQ-25 program.
Our assessment of the final RFP, which required a fixed price incentive bid for this development work, was
that we could not put forward an attractive offering to the Navy that would represent a reasonable
business proposition for our company.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 06:28:55 pm by marauder2048 »

Offline _Del_

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #676 on: October 25, 2017, 07:38:59 pm »
Companies exist to make money, first and foremost. I don't think a company like NG is just cherry picking what they feel like working on.

Well, right. The ROI probably looks terrible on a fixed-price contract that has demonstrated constantly shifting goals. Invest that time and energy on other projects.

Offline George Allegrezza

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #677 on: October 25, 2017, 08:08:09 pm »
Note that the ATA was fixed-price as well.  “Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Offline NeilChapman

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #678 on: October 25, 2017, 09:42:35 pm »

Northrop drops out of Navy's MQ-25 competition


They did the right thing. Does anybody really believe the MQ-25 will make it into production with so many factions hell bent on repeatedly changing its mission requirements?

Well they did manage to give themselves an all Hornet fleet so I'll have to agree with you.  At times it seems they couldn't find their ass with both hands.

Recall Northrop designed the YF-17.  But yes, Navy management consistently disappoints.  I'm sure glad the Marines are in charge for a little while.

I'm also glad NG dropped out.  The Navy will want $1.20 of value for $.80.  And I think TERN can be a significant program. 

Besides, NG needs to integrate Orbital.  They've got a lot on their plate.



Offline Moose

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #679 on: October 25, 2017, 11:01:44 pm »
Whenever one of the suppliers we work with voluntarily drops out of a competition for business, its always been a case of they had something else more important or lucrative they are working on to consider devoting manpower or plant space to another project.

That could be the case with NG and black projects. Maybe they are spread thin with things we don't know about.

Companies exist to make money, first and foremost. I don't think a company like NG is just cherry picking what they feel like working on.
There's absolutely something NG is working in: Raider. And while NG has a history of avoiding fixed-price contracts that is probably worth some criticism, in this case it's probably a smart move not to assume extra risk for MQ-25 whime making Raider happen.

Offline sferrin

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #680 on: October 26, 2017, 05:00:58 am »
And while NG has a history of avoiding fixed-price contracts that is probably worth some criticism,

Why would you criticize a company for making a smart move?
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline Airplane

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #681 on: October 26, 2017, 07:48:04 am »
Whenever one of the suppliers we work with voluntarily drops out of a competition for business, its always been a case of they had something else more important or lucrative they are working on to consider devoting manpower or plant space to another project.

That could be the case with NG and black projects. Maybe they are spread thin with things we don't know about.

Companies exist to make money, first and foremost. I don't think a company like NG is just cherry picking what they feel like working on.
There's absolutely something NG is working in: Raider. And while NG has a history of avoiding fixed-price contracts that is probably worth some criticism, in this case it's probably a smart move not to assume extra risk for MQ-25 whime making Raider happen.

If Raider consumes all of their engineering resources, then they are in piss poor health as remaining viable. One single platform should not ever take up all of the resources of a company like NG. Gee, let's suppose Raider gets capped 30 to 40 airframes. Northrop is f***ed because they gave away T-X and the Navy drone. And then what, they wait to roll the dice on PCA and hope for a win?
"The test of success is not what you do when your on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.”
– General George S. Patton

Offline AeroFranz

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #682 on: October 26, 2017, 09:37:32 am »
It's hard to maintain design teams when you're building a bomber every thirty years.
All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics.   TSR.2 got the first three right - Sir Sydney Camm

Offline sferrin

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #683 on: October 26, 2017, 09:47:57 am »
It's hard to maintain design teams when you're building a bomber every thirty years.

The story of almost the entire industry.  :(  I've run into so many people where I work who formally worked on things like the Shuttle, Midgetman, ducted rockets / ramjets, B-2, B-1B, etc. etc., and been laid off due to lack of programs, that it's damn depressing.  All that tribal knowledge / experience off doing something completely unrelated. 
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 09:53:54 am by sferrin »
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline yasotay

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #684 on: October 26, 2017, 10:05:19 am »
It's hard to maintain design teams when you're building a bomber every thirty years.

The story of almost the entire industry.  :(  I've run into so many people where I work who formally worked on things like the Shuttle, Midgetman, ducted rockets / ramjets, B-2, B-1B, etc. etc., and been laid off due to lack of programs, that it's damn depressing.  All that tribal knowledge / experience off doing something completely unrelated.

Endemic of the entire aerospace sector.  I don’t think Boeing could design a military aircraft (fixed or rotor) out of their own staff.  They just buy the staffs when they need them then slowly attrite them away.  It is disheartening to see the USN getting as bad as the Army at procurement.  Air Force appears to be confused about it as well.  Only USMC seems to have retained a clue at the byzantine process as they continue to acquire new aircraft at a “normal”, albeit smaller rate.
Industrial age acquisition is looking to be a house of cards I think.  Interestingly I note in the rotorcraft sector small design teams (Karem and AVX) involved in major efforts who are potentially courted by the larger aerospace groups to do initial design efforts.  If the government bits, then they acquire the rights, without the overhead of maintaining a design team.  I wonder if this sort of thing is a harbinger of information age acquisition.


Offline sferrin

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #685 on: October 26, 2017, 10:15:46 am »
It's hard to maintain design teams when you're building a bomber every thirty years.

The story of almost the entire industry.  :(  I've run into so many people where I work who formally worked on things like the Shuttle, Midgetman, ducted rockets / ramjets, B-2, B-1B, etc. etc., and been laid off due to lack of programs, that it's damn depressing.  All that tribal knowledge / experience off doing something completely unrelated.

Endemic of the entire aerospace sector.  I don’t think Boeing could design a military aircraft (fixed or rotor) out of their own staff.  They just buy the staffs when they need them then slowly attrite them away.

The problem with that strategy is nobody really gets good at it and / or they take a lot of time ($$$) getting up to speed, leading to perpetual budget and schedule over runs.  I predict the MMIII replacement will be a CF of epic proportions for this very reason.  It's all about this quarter's returns and to hell with where the company will be in five years.
"DARPA Hard"  It ain't what it use to be.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #686 on: October 26, 2017, 11:38:40 am »
Whenever one of the suppliers we work with voluntarily drops out of a competition for business, its always been a case of they had something else more important or lucrative they are working on to consider devoting manpower or plant space to another project.

That could be the case with NG and black projects. Maybe they are spread thin with things we don't know about.

Companies exist to make money, first and foremost. I don't think a company like NG is just cherry picking what they feel like working on.
There's absolutely something NG is working in: Raider. And while NG has a history of avoiding fixed-price contracts that is probably worth some criticism, in this case it's probably a smart move not to assume extra risk for MQ-25 whime making Raider happen.

Recall, NG threatened to no-bid LRS-B after Boeing/LM offered to do it under a fixed-price contract.

And according to the GAO protest, NG's cost basis advantage for LRS-B was premised on
a workforce biased towards low skill/low-level design engineers and that they, NG,
would not have to recruit or retain higher skilled positions.

So I have trouble buying the argument that NG is engineering resource constrained.

Offline NeilChapman

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #687 on: October 26, 2017, 01:14:57 pm »
Whenever one of the suppliers we work with voluntarily drops out of a competition for business, its always been a case of they had something else more important or lucrative they are working on to consider devoting manpower or plant space to another project.

That could be the case with NG and black projects. Maybe they are spread thin with things we don't know about.

Companies exist to make money, first and foremost. I don't think a company like NG is just cherry picking what they feel like working on.
There's absolutely something NG is working in: Raider. And while NG has a history of avoiding fixed-price contracts that is probably worth some criticism, in this case it's probably a smart move not to assume extra risk for MQ-25 whime making Raider happen.

If Raider consumes all of their engineering resources, then they are in piss poor health as remaining viable. One single platform should not ever take up all of the resources of a company like NG. Gee, let's suppose Raider gets capped 30 to 40 airframes. Northrop is f***ed because they gave away T-X and the Navy drone. And then what, they wait to roll the dice on PCA and hope for a win?

NG has a SIGNIFICANT piece of F-35 production.  All variations and they're in the middle of ramping up production to 15+ center fuselage sections per month. 

NG is also in the middle of fielding the MQ-4C for US, Australia etc., Fire Scout and Fire-X along with many other projects.  They're making smart business moves because they can. 

Fixed-price development is fine if you're building a McDonalds restaurant.  If it's something you've done before you probably have a good idea what it's going to cost and your risk.  But there is no way in heck that it's a good idea to accept a fixed-price development cost on something you've never built.

Look at Boeing and the KC-46.  They lost their shirt.



Offline marauder2048

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #688 on: October 26, 2017, 02:02:55 pm »
The Washington Business Journal just reported that NG elected to No-bid on LRSO as well.


Similar to 3DELRR and MQ-25, NG was awarded (cost-plus) risk-reduction/concept definition contracts
with the expectation that they would ultimately bid.

It's become a bit of a pattern.



Offline DrRansom

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Re: US Navy’s UCLASS / CBARS / MQ-XX / MQ-25 Stingray Program
« Reply #689 on: October 26, 2017, 02:17:01 pm »
For the Northrop design teams, I see there being at least 4 projects under way:

Advanced Concepts --> NGAD
Full scale development --> B-21
Manufacturing incremental development --> F-35

leftovers --> unspecified black projects

Why would Northrop have any more design teams available? Boeing would struggle to build two major aircraft at a time, why should Northrop be any different?

As for willingness to fire design staff, that is a major block to people considering entering the industry. If you work in Finance and Consulting, you get paid tons and usually have a solid string of related jobs for life. If you work in Aerospace, the pay is lower and halfway through your career you should expect a major career change, back to Finance and Consulting. Why bother with aerospace in the first place?