Rapid Fire 2011-09-09: Scrambling for Budget
- Bulgaria is looking for 8-12 new fighters, and the USA has a financing offer for its F-16s. Other contenders include the JAS-39 Gripen leased by Bulgaria’s neighbors, EADS’ Eurofighter, and even a Russian offer to sell NATO-interoperable MiG-29s (something the Israelis also offer). Bulgaria just signed a MiG-29 repair contract with RAC MiG, but the country has had financial issues with past weapon buys, and the government is in no hurry to buy new fighters.
- British forces are beginning to use Raytheon-BBN’s Boomerang III acoustic sniper detectors in Afghanistan.
- Brazil’s Embraer, and Elbit Systems’ local AEL subsidiary, enter a 51%/49% joint venture. Harpia Sistemas S.A. will focus on UAVs like Elbit’s Heron 450, along the lines of a previous agreement. It will also handle simulators and avionics modernization, where AEL has carved out a strong Brazilian niche.
- Dassault’s Brazilian presentation lists the UAE as a country flying twin-engine fighters. Just one thing: that isn’t true yet, unless they order Dassault’s Rafale (or the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet) to replace their single-engine Mirage 2000-9s. Dassault had a team in the UAE trying to close the Rafale deal last weekend (Les Echos, in French).
- WABEP (Wirksystem zur abstandsfähigen Bekämpfung von Einzel und Punktzielen) UAV double-teaming: Germany has run tests involving Rheinmetall’s KZO reconnaissance drone working with IAI’s Harop loitering kamikaze UAV. WABEP demonstrated data & imagery exchange between the UAV operators, and the ability to pass targeting information to the Harop.
- Australia’s $10,000 DSTO Eureka prize goes to University of Wollongong prof. Salim Bouzerdoum, for a radar that can see through walls and edit out background clutter inside.
- That’s nothing. India’s DRDO R&D agency has gone and invented… a skin cream. “Lukoskin” will fix that vitiligo condition for ya.
- ATK moves HQ to Arlington, VA.
- Affordable acquisition? Lt. Gen. William Phillips, Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition Logistics and Technology), wants more upfront feedback from industry on likely costs, while Stuart Hazlett, Deputy Director, Program Acquisition and Strategic Sourcing, said competitive bids that receive a single answer will be resolicited for another 30 days. Meanwhile an audit by the DoD’s Inspector General shows overpricing by Sikorsky on Black Hawk spare parts (Bloomberg, DoD IG PDF).
- The Super Committee approved its rules during its 1st meeting (video embedded at the bottom of this entry). Most future meetings will be public, but possibly not all of them. A memo from Democratic staff listing possible options didn’t seem primarily focused on defense. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) asserted he would quit the panel if further defense cuts were made part of its deliberations. Groups such as the Sunlight Foundation don’t like that most Supercommittee members have fundraisers lined up in the fall.
- Leon Panetta, who told NPR the budget was getting most his attention, will meet members of the Aerospace Industries Association’s next week to argue in favor of sustained budgets. Todd Harrison at the CSBA says the DoD budget could fall by 31% over the next decade in the most aggressive scenario (see his brief from last month).
Categories: Airbus, Americas - Other, Asia - Central, Australia & S. Pacific, Avionics, Britain/U.K., Contracts - Awards, Elbit Systems, Europe - Other, Fighters & Attack, Israel, Middle East - Other, Other Corporation, Partnerships & Consortia, R&D - Private, Radars, Raytheon, Russia, Sensors & Guidance, UAVs, USA