Monthly Archives: April 2015

Navy Field Testing Semi-Auto Carrier Recovery | Russia, Japan Follow SOCOM in Developing ‘Terminator’ Suits

Americas On Wednesday the House Armed Services Committee shot down an amendment intended to transfer money from the F-35 program to the National Guard and Reserves as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. Representative Jackie Speier pushed to shift $589 million – representing six F-35 fighters – from the $1 billion funding increase, with Speier’s amendment losing on a voice vote, following a heated exchange between the Democrat Representative and Chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee Rep. Mike Turner. The Army awarded an up-to $3.89 billion firm-fixed-price and cost reimbursable, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to Thales Defense & Security for rifleman radios, beating out two other bids. Thales was previously awarded a US Army contract in 2012 for its AN/PRC-154 radios, jointly developed with General Dynamics…

Air Force Testing Plasma Engines | Gripen on Export Roll | Tata/Airbus Likely to Reap Growing Light Air Transport Orders

Americas The Air Force will test a plasma-based propulsion system on board a X-37B reusable space vehicle, in a joint effort between the The Air Force Research Laboratory, Space and Missile Systems Center, and Rapid Capabilities Office. A Hall thruster can provide greater fuel efficiency compared to conventional engines, with the new thruster a modified version of those equipping the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites. The launch is scheduled for 20th May. On Tuesday, the Air Force awarded a $325 million IDIQ contract to engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney for the Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (VAATE) engine’s Phase III stage. That is the same amount GE won several months ago for the same project. …

Lacking Realistic CAS Alternative, Congress May Forbid AF from Dumping A-10 | House Also Meddling in F-35 Basing Decisions | Poland to Decide Attack…

Americas The House Armed Forces Readiness Subcommittee is seeking clarification regarding F-35 basing criteria. The panel is asking the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to specify the methodologies leading to site selection, as well as a host of other related F-35 stationing, basing and laydown decisions. All this is included as Report Language attached to the 2016 Defense Authorization Bill, which can be found on page 145 of the bill. …

A Higher-Tech Hog: USAF A-10C Upgraded, Refurbished, Unloved

A-10A over Germany(click to view full) The Precision Engagement modification is the largest single upgrade effort ever undertaken for the USA’s unique A-10 “Warthog” close air support aircraft fleet. While existing A/OA-10 aircraft continue to outperform technology-packed rivals on the battlefield, this set of upgrades is expected to make them more flexible, and help keep the aircraft current until the fleet’s planned phase-out in 2028. When complete, A-10C PE will give USAF A-10s precision strike capability sooner than planned, combining multiple upgrades into 1 time and money-saving program, rather than executing them as standalone projects…

BAE, Airbus Selling Assets | Navy Winces, Asks to be Thrown into F-18 Briar Patch | Army Saves Time Not Re-Inventing Fire Control

Europe BAE Systems is looking to see what it might get were it to sell its services division. The parts for sale generate between one and two billion dollars per year and employ almost 8,000 people, a ratio about on par with non-technical professional services industries. The BAE divisions, however, involve technical, mission and IT support services. Similarly, Airbus is reportedly shopping around its defense electronics business as part of its plan announced in 2014 to raise cash by selling non-core assets. Its hopes for cash raised are also optimistic, having asked an investment bank to organize a sale that would realize ten times EBITDA…

Last of the Globemasters: The Final C-17 Orders

Happy ‘trails…(click to view full) The C-17 has had more money-driven last hurrahs than The Who. Even so, FY 2010 featured the USAF’s last planned orders of C-17 Globemaster III short field, heavy-lift transport jets. The Pentagon had been trying to end the program for years, but 3 factors led Congress to keep adding new C-17s to the budget, year after year: (1) deep doubts about the premises, pre-9/11 vintage, and quality of the Pentagon’s mobility studies; (2) uncertainty concerning the C-5 Galaxy super-heavy transport’s upgrade programs; and (3) a fleet wear tempo much higher than originally forecast, driven by constant requests from theater for C-17s. All things end, and there were no new C-17s bought in the FY 2011 or FY 2012 budgets. That would leave the USA with a total ordered fleet of 223, once they’re all under contract…

Army Tests MRZR-4 Buggies | Canadians Test Domestic UAV | Italy Probes Alleged Copter Bribes | Court: India’s Rifle a Stinker Too

Americas The Army is currently evaluating Ultra Light Combat Vehicles – the Polaris MRZR-4 – with a potentially large procurement in the pipeline. This acquisition is dependent on results of the testing currently underway, with the vehicles already used by Special Operations. The Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence wants approval for a plan to procure commercial off-the-shelf vehicles, with a target of fielding 300 by 2016, before a longer-term acquisition strategy can be implemented. A dozen Air Force A-10s are to be deployed to the Middle East for six months, with 350 personnel accompanying them. This latest batch of A-10s in the second the US has sent to assist in the fight against ISIL…

Industry Opposes Reform Bill | Germans to Dump G-36 | Japan Picks Dassault’s Falcon 2000

Americas Defense contractors are unhappy with the House Armed Services Committee’s defense acquisition reform bill, with an industry trade organization – the Professional Services Council – raising objections to the committee’s Chairman, Rep. Thornberry. Concerns principally revolve around the bill’s plan on centralizing decisions on when commercially-available products should be procured in lieu of defense-specific designs. Canada’s military will benefit from a $9.6 billion budget boost over the next ten years, with this increase increasing year-on-year to 2026. Colombia is putting the finishing touches to its acquisition program for eight new frigates. …

UK to Top Off Bomb Stocks After 300+ ISIS Sorties | Saudi-Financed French Arms Deliveries Hit Lebanon | Blue Force Tracker Gets First Export

Americas On Monday the Air Force handed a $138 million modification to United Launch Services for launch vehicle production services, in support of the launch vehicle configuration of one National Reconnaissance Office Atlas V 541. The modification also included the backlog transportation of GPS IFF-10 and -11 satellites, plus commodities for the MUOS-4 mission. The company also showed-off of its Next Generation Launch System earlier this month<</a>, which is set to include reusable booster main engines. General Dynamics was awarded a $36.4 million contract to produce and repair components for the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical network (WIN-T), with the firm beating two other bids to take the contract. The US Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has selected AVL Powertrain Engineering to help develop an opposed piston, two-stroke Single Cylinder Advanced Combat Engine Technology Demonstrator…