Pilots don’t enjoy thinking about ejection – but when they have to, Martin-Baker Aircraft Co., Ltd. in Middlesex, England is known worldwide as the #1 manufacturer. Their rocket-boosted pilot seats are designed to get a pilot out of a plane quickly, away from lethal impacts with a tail or wing, and if necessary, to a safe altitude for parachute deployment.
The firm recently received a $39.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for 172 Navy Aircrew Common Ejection Seats (NACESs), including 70 for the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft; 20 for the US Navy’s T-45 Goshawk trainers; 22 for the US Marine Corps’ F/A-18A+ Hornets; and 60 for the Government of Canada who also flies F/A-18A+ Hornets. In addition, this contract provides for associated component parts and production support for the U.S. Navy production aircraft, and for the Government of Switzerland (F/A-18 C/Ds).
Work will be performed in Middlesex, England (71.5%); Johnstown, PA (16%); Northridge, CA (7%); and Ronkonkoma, NY (5.5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2008. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy/USMC ($26.5M, 66.70%); and the governments of Canada ($13.1M, 33.02%); and Switzerland ($109,549, 0.28%) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-07-C-0011).
Under Jack Welch, General Electric Company became famous for its determination to be #1 or #2 in a field, or get out and focus on areas where it could achieve a commanding position. That aim still drives GE, which is why it’s worth paying attention to GE’s announced purchase of aircraft control & diagnostic systems manufacturer Smiths Aerospace plc for $4.8 billion in cash.
Smiths Aerospace plc was part of the Smiths Group, with more than 11,000 employees in Europe, North America, and Asia; and $2.4 billion in equivalent 2006 revenues. In addition to being a leading supplier of flash-welded rings used in the manufacture of aircraft engines, their key products and services also include flight management systems, airborne platform computing systems, monitoring systems, power generation, conversion and distribution products, actuation products and systems for flight control, thrust reversers and landing gear applications, various engine components, aircraft structural components, land navigation, and a global customer services organization. The company has quietly but firmly built up key positions in these areas, with a significant presence on most commercial aircraft, many military aircraft, and even military land vehicles. See this diagram for a fine overview. More important, Smiths has a firm presence inside new aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 super-jumbo, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, P-8 MMA maritime aircraft, Britain’s Future Lynx multi-role helicopter, et. al.
There are still a few Is to be dotted and Ts to be crossed, with completion scheduled for Q2 2007; in the meantime, both firms have plans, and approval is moving through key regulatory bodies…
Michelin Aircraft Tire Company LLC in Greenville, SC received a minimum $368.4 million fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for tires supplied to the US Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Locations of performance are Moorestown, NJ; Hebron, CT; Akron, OH; Nashville, TN; and Lawrence, NY. There were 23 proposals solicited and 2 responded. Date of performance completion is December 28, 2011. Contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) in Columbus, OH (SPM7L10-07-D-7001).
This contract will actually privatize the production and logistics for aircraft tires, and is valued at up to $700 million over 10 years if all options are exercised. See the US DLA’s January 10, 2007 release “First tire contracts to save taxpayers more than $172 million” for some descriptions of how the DLA/DSSC and the various military services reached this point.
Michelin will not be the only major player in this effort. Lockheed Martin will act as a subcontractor to Michelin to manage the logistics and warehousing for all tires used. This work is valued at approximately 15% of the contract value (calculates to $55.2 million now, up to $105 million over 10 years), and includes demand forecasting, inventory management, warehousing and transportation. Logistics analysts in the command center forecast requirements, process orders, monitor warehouse operations, track shipments and operate a 24/7 call center with Lockheed Martin’s SCM+(TM) supply chain management system. With SCM+(TM), management is performed on an exceptions basis with more than 95% of orders processed without human intervention. Lockheed Martin will manage the USAF’s global supply chain from its lifetime support command center in Moorestown, NJ; Michelin and Lockheed Martin have provided similar services to the U.S. Navy for its aircraft tires since 2001. See Lockheed Martin release | Follow on $1.7 billion contract for all US military services issued on January 25, 2007.
Variants of the SM-2 Standard missile are the USA’s primary fleet defense anti-air weapon, and in service with 13 navies worldwide. The most common variant is the RIM-66K-L/ SM-2 Standard Block IIIB, which entered service in 1998. It includes a number of modifications over previous versions, including greater capability at even lower altitudes, a more powerful fragmentation warhead, and a side-mounted infrared seeker developed in the Missile Homing Improvement Program (MHIP) to supplement the missile’s semi-active radar guidance system. These missiles work best when paired with the AEGIS radar and combat system, but can be employed independently.
India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) recently announced that it had concluded a “very big order” for airframe structures from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and signed an agreement with Elbit Systems to make aircraft and helicopter simulators. While precise details were not offered, PTI reports that the deals are “expected to run into millions of dollars.”
HAL CEO Ashok K Baweja also held talks with top Boeing officials attending Franborough on a major program for outsourcing aircraft structural components for Boeing’s present and future programs.”A roadmap of various processes is being finalised,” Banerjee said. HA currently makes aircraft doors for both Boeing and Airbus, and also makes kits to convert 737 passenger aircraft into freighters.
Lear Siegler Logistics International Inc. in Gaithersburg, MD received a $142 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity with fixed-price award-fee and cost-reimbursable contract line items contract modification. It provides for the purchase of nonstandard, and hard to support standard supply items, maintenance/ repair support, and task orders. These items include such things as nuts, bolts, circuit cards, engines, pylons, panels, generators, power units, battery chargers, fuel tanks, regulators, power units, fuel nozzles, valves, pumps, filters, heat exchangers, speed control indicators, fuel control panels, turbines, helmet canopies, rafts, landing gear struts, arresting hook actuators, etc. In additions, repair or maintenance is contracted for such items as engines or test stands. Task orders are also used to conduct studies, analysis or obtain technical assistance that may require technician’s travel to a county that requires this type of support.
The aircraft and weapon system includes are C-47 Dakota/”Puff the Magic Dragon,” T-33 Shooting Star/ Silver Star, T-37 Tweet/Dragonfly, C-130 Hercules, F-111 Aardvark, F-4 Phantom, F-5 Freedom Fighter, and the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to the maximum amount indicated above, although the actual requirements may be less than the amount indicated above. Negotiations were complete in May 2006, and work will be complete December 2006. The Headquarters Air Force Security Assistance Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (F33657-01-D-2014/P00035). Note that with the exception of the C-130 and F-16, almost all of these models are flown only by foreign countries.
C-5 Refuels from KC-135 Note KC-135 = 707 airliner!
Eagle Tool and Machine Co. Inc. in Springfield, OH received a $7.5 million fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract. This action provides for 104 (each) landing gear cylinder and piston assemblies applicable to the C-5 Galaxy aircraft. At this time, total funds have been obligated. Solicitations began March 2006 and negotiations were complete May 2006. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base, UT is the contracting activity (FA8203-06-C-0165).
Boeing has reached a deal to acquire Aviall Inc. for $48 per share or $1.7 billion, plus the assumption of approximately $350 million of debt. Aviall is the largest independent provider of new aviation parts and services in the aerospace industry, with capabilities that include global parts distribution and supply chain services for aerospace, defense and marine industries worldwide. Aviall’s 2005 revenue was $1.3 billion, with more than 25% growth expected in 2006, and Boeing sees a $25 billion industry for new aviation parts and services.
Aviall will report to Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, which offers Integrated Materials Management (IMM) services to airline customers, and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary. As DID’s analysis of BAE’s Airbus share sale noted, those kinds of capabilities are increasingly important in the military sphere as well. See the Boeing and Aviall releases for further details.
Marvin Engineering Co., Inc. in Inglewood, CA received a $5.6 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide for LAU-117 (V3) launchers used with AGM-65 Maverick precision attack missiles. This effort support foreign military sales to Chile, Poland, Taiwan, and Oman, all of whom fly F-16s. Work will be complete by June 2007. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (FA8213-06-C-0025).
The Elbit/ Rockwell-Collins joint venture Vision Systems International, LLC (VSI) in San Jose, CA received a firm fixed price contract for $156 million from Lockheed Martin, as part of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase. This new contract expands the company’s effort to include provision of pilot flight gear, including the oxygen mask and chemical/ biological hazard protection. VSI was previously awarded a contract to design the advanced JSF Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS) for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and Lockheed Martin informed VSI that it has been selected to supply JSF HMDS to all domestic and international F-35 customers. See corporate release.
Principal suppliers include Elbit Systems Ltd. (display Management Computer, contains advanced graphic processing and head tracking); Rockwell Collins, (helmet Mounted Display, including advanced optical design); and Helmet Integrated Systems Ltd. of the UK (helmet shell and pilot personal fitting system).
DID has covered its predecessor the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS) before, from its revolutionary effect on air combat when used with high off-boresight 4th generation SRAAMs like the AIM-9X Sidewinder, AA-11 Archer et. al., to the program’s rocky but ultimately successful history as a key companion to US F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 aircraft. JSF HMDS takes this one step further, providing day or night imagery that applies to both air and ground attacks; it also features advanced head tracking capability and near-zero latency, in order to provide a virtual heads-up display and imagery screen anywhere the pilot’s head moves. Since the F-35 will be the first tactical fighter jet in over 30 years to fly without a HUD, this capability is mandatory.