Bomber to Be Bought Cost-Plus | More A-10s Mothballed | China Defense Budget up 10%
- The Wall Street Journal (paid) reported today that the impending choice for the future bomber will be constructed via a cost-plus deal, surprising most Pentagon watchers, as the DoD has been trying hard to move away from owning the cost overage liabilities. Boeing, teamed with Lockheed Martin, is competing against Northrop Grumman in a competition expected to finish this summer for 80 to 100 bombers at an expected cost of about $55 billion. The Air Force has said it will keep costs down by sticking largely to the 2010 spec and by using established technologies, although those methods would imply lower liabilities and make the cost-plus decision a bit more puzzling.
- Lockheed Martin’s ATHENA currently-ground-based laser weapon disabled a running (but stationary) truck. It was a demonstration of fiber optic laser technology that they have been tweaking to maximize efficiency.
- Two days ago, we reported on the Air Force mothballing 9 A-10s. Yesterday, the Air Force announced another 18 A-10s put in Backup-Aircraft Inventory status, for a total of 27, nine fewer than the 36 authorized by Congress. The Air Force says that there would be too few maintenance techs available for the F-35 program if they were to try to run all of their A-10s.
- Sikorsky thinks it has a good thing in its coaxial Raider helicopter that sports double rotors on top and a pusher propeller in the back. It hasn’t even flown yet, but Sikorsky is looking at potential military competition applications, including as a possible replacement for the H-60 Black Hawks and AH-64 Apaches.
- Sikorsky is signaling that it wouldn’t mind if someone took over its Schweizer line of light helicopters. Sikorsky hasn’t done much with the line since it closed the Elmira, NY plant six years after its acquisition. A few orders are now being produced out of its Coatesville, PA facility. Sikorsky used the Schweizer S-434 platform – now discontinued – for the basis of its bid for the MQ-8C Fire Scout competition, which it lost to Bell’s 407.
- SAIC is buying Scitor Corp., an IT support firm for intelligence, national security and space-related agencies. The deal is reported to be for $780 in cash.
- Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) very publicly requested a meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to discuss spending waste. Sanders, a supporter of the F-35 program, which has been working to use a Burlington facility as a base, pointed to many GAO recommendations that have not yet been heeded by the Pentagon. Sanders has been exploring the possibility of running for president.
- A few NATO warships in the Black Sea appear to be getting a good view of the newest Russian fighters, as they are reportedly conducting mock attack runs. The Su-30s and Su-24s appear to hail from a recently annexed Crimean air base.
- Finmeccanica-AgustaWestland has started producing its AW609 tilt-rotor aircraft out of Philadelphia, PA.
- China announced that its next budget will increase military expenditures by just over 10 percent. Official figures in the past have been prone to quite significant under-reporting.
- The Phillipines will soon be flying new C-295 medium lift aircraft a few months early. The transports, made by EADS/CASA-Airbus Military, are part of a roughly $120 million contract. They are scheduled for a March delivery, instead of the contracted August deadline.
- Lockheed’s powerful laser test of late was much more powerful than this one shown a year ago employing Lockheed’s ADAM system to defeat a small rocket…
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