Jan 15, 2008 16:13 UTC
At the end of November 2007, engine maker Rolls-Royce employed around 39,500 people in 50 countries: around 23,300 are employed in the UK, 8,300 in North America, 2,300 in Germany, 3,400 in the Nordic countries, 680 in Asia with an additional 2,000 working in joint ventures, and about 1,500 in the rest of the world. One of their managerial foci is the metric of sales per employee, and this has underpinned their approach in a number of areas, including investments in process controls and IT systems.
The firm is now negotiating with its employees and their unions with the aim of reducing 2,300 staff and management positions (about 5.8% of their workforce), focusing on overhead and support functions. The Independent is reporting that most of the job losses are expected to be in Britain, where executives hope to use voluntary buyouts. The firm says that it does not intend to lay off manufacturing employees, though a separate union/political battle is being fought over the proposed closure of the Merseyside, UK plant and relocation of its production to Mount Vernon, OH, USA. Rolls-Royce’s release said that the firm “will continue to recruit graduates, apprentices and those required directly to deliver growth.”
While the firm cites “external headwinds” like increasing raw material costs and the weak US dollar, the reductions are expected to have no net impact on the Group’s 2007 or 2008 performance, once all costs are factored in. The most likely explanation, therefore, appears to be the straightforward one of a corporation creating a leaner support structure and managing to its key metrics like productivity and sales per employee. Rolls Royce release | Reuters report | UPI report.
Jan 15, 2008 15:57 UTC
Star SAFIRE HD
FLIR Systems, Inc. recently announced a $13 million order from the Colombian Ministry of Defense for its Star SAFIRE HD stabilized, multi-sensor surveillance turrets, to be used on board Colombian Air Force helicopters. That country already uses FLIR Systems products on its Super Tucano counter-insurgency aircraft, but FLIR Systems’ release indicates that this contract was competitively awarded against competitors. Work will be performed at FLIR’s facility in Portland, Oregon, and deliveries are expected to take place during the second half of 2008. Customer support, training, and integration services will be performed from FLIR’s licensed maintenance facility located in Bogota, Colombia.
The fully-digital Star SAFIRE HD packs 120x zoom daylight, low-light, and forward looking infrared (FLIR, 640 x 512 array) cameras, laser targeting and designation options, and IMU relative positioning to transmit coordinates, in a compact 15″ turret system that weighs about 120 pounds. Star SAFIREs are also 6-axis stabilized, which means they will remain locked on their viewing point no matter what the helicopter does. Helicopters equipped with these kinds of systems can operate in day, night, or twilight reconnaissance mode against guerrillas, drug runners, and narco-terrorists, providing overwatch along their flight paths and scanning landing zones et. al. to reduce the odds of fatal surprises. If targets are confirmed, or key features need to be pointed out, laser designation can be used to illuminate targets or objects of interest for nearby helicopters and supporting aircraft.
(lick to view larger)
Colombia recently purchased 15 second-hand UH-60L Black Hawk/ Arpia helicopters from the USA, which would bring the core of its Fuerza Aerea Colombiana and Brigada XXV de Aviacion del Ejército (BRIAV) fleets to an estimated 29-45 UH-60 Arpias, about 45-50 UH-1 Huey/ Huey-IIs, and about 16 Russian Mi-17s.
Jan 15, 2008 12:34 UTC
M1117 on base, Tikrit
Add one more European nation to the bandwagon of emergency mine-resistant vehicle purchases. On Dec 7/07, Sofia News Agency reported that Bulgaria has just signed a deal with Textron Land Systems for armored vehicles. The memorandum is to be in force until 2011, and each year a concrete agreement will be signed for a given number of armored vehicles. The first 7 vehicles, worth 14 million leva ($10.5 million), are meant for the Bulgarian contingent in Afghanistan and are to be delivered by the end of the 2007.
The vehicles are almost certainly the firm’s mine-resistant M1117 Guardian ASVs, an armored car design that combines good mobility and protection with strong anti-personnel firepower from the combined .50 caliber machine gun and 40mm grenade machine gun in its turret. The ASV is popular with US military police, but was removed from the MRAP competition by the US Marines after testing.
Jan 14/08: Textron confirms a $10.2 million contract for 7 M1117 Armored Security Vehicles to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense, with anticipated delivery of the vehicles in the first quarter of 2008.
Jan 14, 2008 16:30 UTC
Russia’s Type 877 Kilo Class diesel-electric submarines have gained a reputation as extremely quiet boats, and are in service with Russia (24), China (2), India (8), Iran (3), Poland, Romania and Algeria. India’s Type 877EKM Sindhugosh Class submarines [S55-S62] began to travel to Russia for refits in 1997, with S58 INS Sindhuvir as the first candidate. A German-designed, Indian-built main battery has replaced the Russian batteries in all vessels, and India’s submarines have also received either a Russian upgrade package of missiles, sonar, and machinery & weapon control systems, or India’s indigenous Panchendriya package. The goal is to bring them closer to parity with the more advanced Type 636 Improved Kilo Class variant – S65 INS Sindhushastra, and possibly S63 INS Sindhurakshak, are already rumored to be at or close to that level.
Now a serious incident has put a brake on the refit program, as India has returned S62 INS Sindhuvijay to its Russian contractor, citing unacceptable performance with its new sub-launched Klub missiles. With the $1+ billion Admiral Gorshkov carrier refit already in trouble, and Russia making hostile foreign policy moves, the last thing the relationship needs is another problem – but that’s what it has.
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Jan 14, 2008 15:39 UTC
Watts-Weitz in Novato, CA received a $67.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for construction of trainee barracks at the US Army Maneuver Support Center and Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Fort Leonard Wood offers United States Army Basic Combat Training for most non-combat arms soldiers; and more advanced training for motor transport operators, combat and bridging engineers, chemical specialists and military police. The latter 2 specialties were added after BRAC 1995, and Fort Leonard Wood has also been approved as the center of excellence for Homeland defense by the Chief of Staff of the Army – but the base lost its role in Drill Sgt. training during BRAC 2005.
In October 2007, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a series of articles about basic training at the facility. The base is located in the Ozark highlands about 120 miles SW of St. Louis, and some wags call it “Fort Lost in the Woods” due to its terrain.
Work is expected to be complete by Aug 1/09. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on May 9, 2007, and two bids were received. Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity W912DQ-08-D-0057.
Jan 14, 2008 13:30 UTC
Mk19 on M3
Cape Fox Professional Services in Ketchikan, Alaska received an $8.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 12,278 M3 tripod mount. The M3 tripod (see associated Field Service manual) is the standard ground mount for M2 12.7mm heavy machine guns and Mk19 40mm grenade machine guns.
CFPS is an Alaska Native Company (ANC) certified in the Small Business Administrations 8(a) Business Development program, and is HUB Zone certified as well. Their web site states that “the purpose of CFPS is to engage in the business of providing information technology IT services and integrated solutions.” Parent firm Cape Fox Corp. has a number of subsidiaries, however, including interests in HDPE piping and coating.
M3 tripod, labeled
Work will be performed in Ketchikan, AK and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2010. Web bids were solicited on Aug 1/07, and 4 bids were received by the US Army Tank Automotive and Armaments Command in Rock Island, IL (W52H09-08-D-0107).
Jan 13, 2008 15:41 UTC
Israeli firm Plasan Sasa recently announced a $200+ million order to supply Navistar’s International Military and Government, LLC with armoring systems for an additional 1,500 armored MRAP blast-resistant vehicles, to be delivered by the end of July 2008. The Plasan Sasa release says that this armor contract continues and builds on the US military’s June 2007 order for 1,200 MaxxPro vehicles. Their release also says that:
“Plasan, while enjoying international acclaim for its achievements and rapid growth, recognizes the importance of providing employment not only to workers and suppliers in Israel but to workers and suppliers in every one of its user countries. Plasan purchased manufacturing companies in both France and the U.S. “We maintain”, points out Ziv, “and expand our ongoing cooperation initiatives with local companies in our client countries.” Ziv goes on to say, “This is an integral aspect of our mode of operation. We recognize the need to generate employment and to contribute to the further development of technological know-how and manufacturing capabilities everywhere our systems are sold.”
Jan 13, 2008 13:26 UTC
MRAP-III Buffalo & C-5
EG&G Technical Services, Inc. in Dumfries, VA received a $9.9 million task order under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9011) for professional technical support to the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Joint Program Office. The contractor shall provide expert support directly to the MRAP Joint Program Manager and Deputy PMs; Assistant PMs for all MRAP vehicle variants and the following functional managers: Integration and Government Furnished Equipment, Spiral Development, International Programs, acquisition, contracts, production, quality, logistics, engineering, test & evaluation and safety. This effort builds upon existing contract support that will remain in place. Work will be performed in Stafford, VA and is expected to be complete in November 2008. The Marine Corps System Command in Quantico, VA issued the contract.
As of Dec 17/07, the US DoD has announced that 1,300 MRAPs were in theater, with another 180 are en route by sea aboard the RO/RO(Roll-On, Roll-Off) USNS Pililaau and another 15 MRAPs are in the air headed to Iraq. While the success of the revolt against al-Qaeda in Anbar province has led to a (not yet granted) request by the US Marines to reduce their order from 3,700 to 2,300, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell has told reporters that the Army’s request may actually increase, as commanders in Afghanistan are expressing an interest in getting more MRAPs than originally planned.
Jan 10, 2008 17:34 UTC
Dextre: part of ISS
Alliant Techsystems announced today that it has negotiated definitive agreements with Canadian-based MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to acquire its Information Systems and Geospatial Information Services businesses for C$1.325 billion (about $1.318 billion). MDA’s IS/GIS business has more than 1,900 employees and estimated FY 2009 revenues of approximately USD$ 500 million, and is a global leader in space-based radar systems, space robotics (the robotic arms for the NASA Space Shuttle and International Space Station are MDA products), satellite systems, and imaging satellite ground stations and processing; with additional world-class capabilities in satellite payloads, C4ISR, and geospatial services.
ATK’s rationale for the acquisition was straightforward:
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Jan 10, 2008 15:37 UTC
The US Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest in San Diego, CA has awarded a number of firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award construction contracts for commercial and institutional building construction at various locations within its area of responsibility. In fact, it has awarded 2 very similar sets of contracts to the same set of providers. the only thing that differs is their exact areas of performance within NAVFAC SW.
The term of the contracts are not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of January 2009 for the 1-year base period, and January 2013 if all 4 option years are exercised. For each of these 2 contract sets, the maximum dollar value over all 5 possible years, for all 6 winning contracts combined, is $500 million, with a guaranteed minimum of $25,000 for each contract. In practice, this means a grand total of $1 billion for all 6 contractors combined, with a guaranteed minimum of $50,000 for each. These 6 contractors may now compete for individual task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contracts. The winners are:
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