NOAA makes awards for ocean observing system

A project to improve predictions of climate change and weather moved forward this week when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded contracts for the system's conceptual designs.

Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. won work for the Integrated Ocean Observing System, a proposed multiyear program to build an integrated environment to collect, distribute and apply coastal and ocean information, said a NOAA official. The project should help agency officials better understand the effects of climate change and weather on coastal communities and the nation.

The Integrated Ocean Observing System contract is linked to NOAA's future Global Earth Observation System of Systems

The remote sensing and data integration capabilities of these systems also will improve the safety and efficiency of marine operations, more effectively mitigate effects of natural hazards, improve national and homeland security, reduce public health risks, protect and restore coastal ecosystems more effectively, and enable sustained use of ocean and coastal resources, according to Lockheed Martin officials.

Lockheed Martin received a six-month contract to develop a conceptual design, life cycle cost estimate and viability narrative for the observing system. It will lead a research, systems and information technology team that includes the Southeastern University Research Association, Itri Corp. and Metier Ltd., company officials said.

"This work will help us launch new capabilities for ocean observing, and will contribute to a global Earth observing system that will address key societal concerns of the United States and many other nations around the globe," Richard Spinrad, assistant administrator for NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, said in a statement.

The ocean observing system is the U.S. contribution to the oceans and coasts component of the Global Earth Observation System. It encompasses the oceans and United States' Exclusive Economic Zone, the Great Lakes and estuaries.

The system's infrastructure includes a network of buoys, ships, satellites, underwater vehicles and other platforms that supply information for rapid detection and timely prediction of changes in the oceans.

An integrated system to observe all oceans will collect the data and make it available more efficiently than possible today.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs 135,000 people and ranks No. 1 on Washington Technology's 2005 Top 100 list, which measures federal contracting revenue. Raytheon of Waltham, Mass., has 80,000 employees and had annual revenue of $21.9 billion in fiscal 2005. The company ranks No. 7 on the Top 100 list.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Washington Technology.

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