Jun 16, 2013 12:01 UTC
Latest updates[?]: SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 begins certification process to open up EELV launch opportunities.
Boeing Delta IV Heavy
The EELV program was designed to reduce the cost of government space launches through greater contractor competition, and modifiable rocket families whose system requirements emphasized simplicity, commonality, standardization, new applications of existing technology, streamlined manufacturing capabilities, and more efficient launch-site processing. Result: the Delta IV (Boeing) and Atlas V (Lockheed Martin) heavy rockets.
Paradoxically, that very program may have forced the October 2006 merger of Boeing & Lockheed Martin’s rocket divisions. Crosslink Magazine’s Winter 2004 article “EELV: The Next Stage of Space Launch” offers an excellent briefing that covers EELV’s program innovations and results, while a detailed National Taxpayer’s Union letter to Congress takes a much less positive view. This DID Spotlight article looks at the Delta IV and Atlas V rockets, as well as the contracts placed since the merger that formed the United Launch Alliance.
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Apr 24, 2013 16:12 UTC
Latest updates[?]: UK A400M program forecast more than $1 billion over approved costs.
A400M rollout, Seville
Airbus’ A400M is a EUR 20+ billion program that aims to repeat Airbus’ civilian successes in the full size military transport market. A series of smart design decisions were made around capacity (35-37 tonnes/ 38-40 US tons, large enough for survivable armored vehicles), extensive use of modern materials, multi-role capability as a refueling tanker, and a multinational industrial program; all of which leave the aircraft well positioned to take overall market share from Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules. If the USA’s C-17 is allowed to go out of production, the A400M would also have a strong position in the strategic transport market, with only Russian AN-70, IL-76 and AN-124 aircraft as competition. To date, 174 orders have been placed by Germany (now 53 + 7 options), France (50), Spain (27), Britain (now 22), Turkey (10),
South Africa (8), Belgium (7), Malaysia (4), and Luxembourg (1). Chile has expressed an unfinalized interest in 3 planes, but is now likely to buy Brazilian KC-390s instead.
EADS’ biggest issue, by far, has been funding for a project that is more than EUR 7 billion over budget. The next biggest issue is timing, as A400M delivery penalties and Lockheed Martin’s strong push for its serving C-130J Super Hercules cast a pall over the A400M’s potential future. The entire project was under moratorium for over a year as all parties decided what to do, but it’s now moving forward again. This DID Spotlight article covers the latest developments, as the A400M Atlas moves into production.
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Mar 27, 2013 12:00 UTC
Latest updates[?]: In the anticlimax of the year, President Obama signs the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (HR 933), which finally wraps up US defense funding legislation for fiscal year 2013.
On normal years the US Department of Defense goes through a complicated-enough process to establish and finalize its budget. But whereas FY 2012 offered a welcome return to normalcy after a very long continuing resolution, the budgeting cycle for fiscal year 2013 unfolded in an unproductive, fractious political environment.
As fiscal year 2012 came to a close Congress bought time with a continuing resolution. And as the new civil year started, Congress begrudgingly applied a short-term patch to avoid the fiscal cliff, while the President eventually signed a FY13 authorization bill containing language he had threatened to veto for months. By March 2013 everyone seemed to capitulate to wrap up appropriations for the rest of the year. But FY13 appropriations ended up including sequestration, an outcome that few had predicted since the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011. The FY14 budget cycle then started late, with only dim hope of a more reasonable outcome.
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