Nov 22, 2011 16:24 UTC
Thanks to its location on the oil-rich Island of Borneo, which it shares with Indonesia and Malaysia, the State of Brunei Darussalam is best known to most people as a frequent Guinness Book of World Records entry, with its Sultan as the world’s richest man. The former British protectorate also has a small but well trained and well equipped armed forces. As part of its ongoing modernization, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces Support Helicopter Project decided to replace the air force’s existing fleet of 10-11 Bell 212 twin-Hueys (1st squadron) and 4 Bo-105 helicopters (2nd squadron), with 12 of Sikorsky’s S-70i International medium utility helicopters. The RBAF already operates 4 earlier-model S-70 Black Hawks, and the S-70Is are expected to be delivered between 2013 – 2015. Once delivered, all RBAF assets are based at Brunei International Airport.
Brunei’s Defence White Paper Update 2007 included a requirement for a single wave tactical air lift, and the region’s history of typhoons, volcanoes, etc. makes helicopters very useful for regional humanitarian missions. A February 2011 Invitation to Tender opened the RBAF’s Support Helicopter Project competition to 4 vendors. In July 2011, Brunei’s MINDEF decided that Sikorsky and Eurocopter were the finalists…
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Nov 17, 2011 21:57 UTC
Eurofighter over Dubai
With the 2011 Dubai Airshow in full swing, the biggest question on site is: what’s happening to the UAE’s planned fighter deal? The United Arab Emirates’ interest in up to 60 Dassault Rafale fighters has seen years of negotiations, and the 2011 show was expected to be the clincher.
Instead, it has opened the door to Eurofighter GmbH, even as Boeing admits to giving classified technical briefings centered on its F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-15 Strike Eagle families. Unlike Eurofighter, Boeing hasn’t received an RFP, but other reports suggest that the UAE may be about to reduce its planned new jet order and buy more of its unique Lockheed Martin F-16E/F Block 60s, regardless of what happens next. The bombshell hit at Dubai’s 2011 air show.
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Nov 16, 2011 19:45 UTC
A friend in high places
In November 2011, USMC Systems Command issued a pair of contracts for advanced Vehicle Optic Sensor Systems (VOSS). Gyrocam Systems, which was acquired by Lockheed Martin in 2009, has traditionally supplied these 15″ class gyro-stabilised surveillance turrets, which have generally been mounted on blast-resistant MRAP vehicles. They offer a combination of color, night vision and thermal sensors, and have been used for everything from force overwatch, to noting disturbed ground that might indicate land mines.
This new contract splits up to $755.6 million between Lockheed Martin Gyrocam Systems, LLC in Sarasota, FL (M67854-12-D-5504), and FLIR Systems, Inc. in North Billerica, MA (M67854-12-D-5503), over 1 base year and up to 4 option years. They’ll compete under the firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contract for delivery orders, which could purchase up to 951 VOSS systems, plus spare parts, maintenance/sustainment, training, and provisional technical data in Afghanistan and the continental United States. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 3 proposals received.
To kick things off, each contract received an initial delivery order for 1 VOSS unit, and co-site integration, to be delivered within 30 days. FLIR Systems delivery order 0001 is worth $3 million, while Lockheed Martin Gyrocam Systems’ delivery order 0001 is worth $2.25 million. Totals were corrected by the Pentagon on Nov 23/11.
Nov 16, 2011 12:47 UTC
Latest updates: Happy endings. Mostly.
LHD 8 construction
USS Makin Island [LHD-8] was built in Pascagoula, MS, as the last ship of America’s Wasp Class amphibious assault carriers. The keel was laid in February 2004, but all of the changes from the LHD-1 Wasp Class meant that about 67% of the previous line drawings, and 75% of the test procedures, needed to be modified for Makin Island. Then Hurricane Katrina hit the in-progress ship. The labor pool also took a hit, with up to 1/3 of the Gulf Coast personnel leaving the area and the company. The pool of electrical professionals was especially hard hit, and 55-60% of the LHD 8’s final labor force was under the 4-5 year threshold to be considered experienced workers.
Even so, Katrina hit back in August 2005. Which is why Northrop Grumman was surprised at the slowness of its integration and testing progress during final construction in 2008, as part of the ship’s preparation for sea trials. That led to a comprehensive review and audit – and a bill of $320-360 million to fix the ship, which was footed by Northrop Grumman:
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Nov 15, 2011 17:45 UTC
Defender Class RB-S
Huge US Coast Guard projects like the frigate-sized National Security Cutters get a lot of attention, but they can only be in so many places at once. Most people who encounter the Coast Guard do so inshore, and their encounter is often with a “Response Boat – Small.” RB-S was developed as a direct response to 9/11, and the corresponding need for additional homeland security assets. The current Defender Class boats are assigned to the Maritime Safety and Security Teams (MSST), the Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT), Marine Safety Units (MSU), and to small boat stations throughout the coastal United States. They’re used for port, waterway, and coastal security; search and rescue; drug interdiction; immigration-related operations; fisheries enforcement; defense readiness; and law enforcement missions.
As you might imagine, these boats take a pounding. The first RB-S Defender Class boats arrived in May 2002, and they’re reaching the end of their expected 10-year service life. The US Coast Guard is looking to replace them with a new RB-S, and they’ve picked a winner.
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