Sep 23, 2012 15:18 UTC
French EC725, SAR
In September 2012, the Thai Air Force signed an undisclosed contract with EADS Eurocopter for 4 EC725 medium search and rescue (SAR) helicopters. The twin-engine EC725 Cougar features a unique digital 4-axis autopilot, which is very useful for precise positioning during retrievals. It’s also a good deal larger than the Army’s H-60 Black Hawks and UH-1 Hueys, with seating on board for 25 persons. Based on contracts elsewhere, a price of around $180-220 million seems likely. Deliveries will take place in 2015, at which point Thailand will join their neighbor Malaysia and Singapore as local military operators of the Super Puma family.
There’s also a larger competition underway for business within Thailand, as the country looks to modernize its Vietnam-era helicopter fleet. Eurocopter sold the Thai Army 8 AS550-C3 Fennec light scout and utility helicopters in 2011, and has received interest from the Royal Thai Police. Eurocopter’s line will be competing with Sikorsky’s Black Hawk/ Seahawk family. Thailand’s services have bought several H-60 variants, and the Cougar implicitly beat HH-60 Pave Hawks for the SAR mission. Eurocopter and Sikorsky will also have to deal with Russia’s Mil series – especially the multi-role Mi-17, whose low price has given it a foothold in Thailand’s armed forces. Eurocopter.
Sep 20, 2012 15:55 UTC
Beretta 92/M9, firing
In September 2012, Beretta USA Corp. in Accokeek, MD received a 5-year, $64 million firm-fixed-price contract for up to 100,000 of their M9 9mm Pistols. All of the pistols will be manufactured at the Beretta USA facility in Maryland, where an American work force of nearly 300 employees has been making M9 pistols since 1987, and will now continue doing so until Sept 8/17. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 4 bids received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI manages this contract (W56HZV-12-D-0011). Beretta USA adds that:
“We are very proud to continue supplying the M9 pistols to the U.S. Army… and we look forward to the opportunity of working with the Army to improve the current M9 design with many of the existing solutions available to us in the new Model 92A1 [USMC] and 96A1 pistol families”.
Beretta’s M9 is the standard sidearm pistol for the US military, with over 600,000 pistols delivered to date. SOCOM operators can use other pistols, and the US Marines’ MARSOC special forces formally decided to go back to the stopping power of Colt’s .45 caliber pistol in July 2012. Even so, Colt will need to fix some of the guns’ failures if they want wider adoption in the Corps.
Sep 20, 2012 13:59 UTC
In September 2012, Northrop Grumman Information Technology Inc. in McLean, VA received an $8.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support the Biometric Identity Intelligence Resource System. Biometrics has found an important but unheralded niche on modern counter-insurgency battlefields, and there are a number of programs underway within the services. It all starts with the ability to match, and disseminate, biometric personal data to known (and especially flagged/ watchlisted) identities.
Work will be performed in Charlottesville, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept 6/15. Sixteen bids were solicited, with one bid received by US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) in Charlottesville, VA (W91QUZ-07-D-0005). This order was actually issued under the US Army’s $20 billion ITES-II umbrella contract.
Sep 20, 2012 09:50 UTC
- Swedish general Hakan Syren, the Chairman of the European Union Military Committee, tells it like it is:
“The military capabilities of the EU member states are on a steady downward slope. [...] Looking a few years into the future, it is simple mathematics to predict that many member states will be unable to sustain essential parts of their national forces, air forces being the prime example.”
- The French and German governments have started talks among advisors about the BAE/EADS merger plans, in preparation of a meeting between President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend. EADS CEO Tom Enders has argued in a letter seen by AFP [in French] that broader access to international defense markets was vital to EADS, given its current reliance on shrinking European budgets. The primary concern, whether in Berlin or Paris, is preserving jobs and maintaining influence: Der Spiegel [in English] | L’Usine Nouvelle [in French] | Le Monde [in French].
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