Canadian Procurement System Criticized | Chairman of IAI Under Fire | EU to Lead Green Energy Initiative
- Despite recent successful testing of missiles on the F-35, a DoD weapons expert has expressed concerns over the fighter’s software development. A recently reported December memo from Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, expresses worry that plans to finish work on the F-35’s Block 3F software by July 2017 are unrealistic. Rushing the testing schedule for the software could result in a failure for the crucial IOC testing before the decison is made to put the jet into full production. The Joint Program Office, however, has dismissed the concerns, maintaining that the program is on track and that IOC dates for the Navy and Army will be met.
- Canada’s procurement system has come under further criticism. Oshkosh Defense has initiated a challenge against a recent awarding of a major truck contract to Mack. Oshkosh is requesting the contract, worth $83 million, be overturned and for a new competiton to be restarted. The contract would see the winning company supply 1,500 trucks to the Canadian Army. Canada’s procurement process has seen a number of disputes as of late as competition for contracts grows. US firm Raytheon recently appealed a decision made to award a $250 million contract to Rheinmetall Canada to provide communications to the Canadian Army. On the flip side, Oshkosh was the winner in a $6.5 billion contract to supply trucks to the USMC and Army, which was the subject of a challenge by Lockheed Martin in 2015.
Middle East North Africa
- A rather public and ugly dispute is unveiling in Israel, as moves are being made to sack the chairman of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Rafi Maor. Government Companies Director Ori Yogev, the overseer of state-owned companies, is citing “improper stewardship unworthy of the company” as reasons behind the move. In response, Maor has accused Yogev of abusing his position for a personal vendetta, and putting Israeli security in danger in the process. The beef goes back to the Maor ascention to the role in December 2013, and has mostly been based around IAI’s powerful labor union and its longtime, former union boss Haim Katz, (now a cabinet minister) and Maor’s role in readying the state-owned firm for initial privatization. Union boss Katz was deemed to have played an integral part in bringing Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party into power for a fourth term.
- Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) hopes to have a contract to design Turkey’s first indigenous fighter by mid-2016. The TF-X program will see one of three design options chosen by the Turkish Air Force after discussions conclude between TAI and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), Turkey’s procurement agency. Turkey hopes to have its national fighter operational by 2023, as it gradually expands its indigenous production of weapons and machinery. However the TF-X fighter will have some outside help with Rolls Royce offering its EJ200 engine to the jet, with talks ongoing over production, training and export licenses. Turkey is keen to turn any of its domestically produced arms into exportable goods and any agreement with Rolls Royce will depend on the ability to export the license without opposition.
- As much as fifteen companies have responded to Turkey’s Request for Information (RFI) issued for new coast guard aircraft. The contract concerns the integration of subsystems into a coast guard aircraft for maritime surveillance operations. The successful company will be tasked with the maintenance, operational services and integration of required subsystems for the one Beechcraft King Air 350ER the government will purchase for the coast guard program. The new aircraft will be involved in maritime border security missions, search-and-rescue support and maritime surveillance operations.
- Bulgaria will acquire new fighters to replace its older Soviet-era MiG-25s by 2019. The procurement will see Sofia purchase retired F-16s, the Gripen or the Eurofighter Typhoon as it moves away from its reliance on older Russian technology. The country’s 2004 joining with NATO saw them vow to have their MiGs retired and purchase eight new fighters by 2016. The last three of their MiG-25s were retired last December and an announcement on their replacement is expected by March of this year.
- The European Union is to lead a green energy initiative to encourage energy efficiency and promote green energy in militaries. The “go green” drive will be will be coordinated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) on behalf of the European Commission, and aimed at promoting green energy solutions on both sides of the Atlantic. Launched in Brussels at a meeting of the consultation forum for sustainable energy in the defense and security sector, the drive will see academics, national administration experts and military officials discuss how to improve energy efficiency and how to better employ renewable energy technology to reduce fuel bills for the defense industry.
- Dassault expects to have a contracts signed with India over their sale of Rafale fighters within a month. The company announced on Monday that both the French and Indian governments signed a tentative inter-governmental agreement on Monday during President Hollande’s recent state visit to India. The agreement will pave the way for Dassault to conclude the deal for thirty-six fighters once some final financial issues are sorted out over the next couple of days. The expected early delivery date for the jets were initially stated for between 2016-2017, but pre-existing contracts with Egypt, Quatar and the French Air Force may see these deliveries delayed.
- Maiden flight of the medivac variant of KAI’s Surion helicopter:
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