December 2005 saw confirmation that Saudi Arabia had ordered Eurofighter Typhoons, but the 72-plane deal started sinking into the tar sands shortly thereafter. Investigations from Britain’s Serious Fraud Office swirled around a GBP 43 billion oil-for-planes deal from the 1980s called Al-Yamamah (see Appendix A); in return, the Saudis played some hardball of their own. The investigation was eventually called off at the highest levels of government, and later confirmed by the House of Lords. After a period of uncertainty, a contract was finally signed on Sept 11/07. Ironies aside, the price was a bit lower than many expected; even so, it comes with support arrangements that are likely to push the final value quite a bit higher.
This DID Spotlight article covers the Saudi Eurofighter deal, its associated controversies, and related developments.
British naval theorist Sir Julian Corbett saw the navy’s proper role as “directly or indirectly either to secure the command of the sea or to prevent the enemy from securing it.” Airpower plays a prominent role in both of those missions. In 1996, Britain began a program to rebuild their existing Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol planes to the MRA4 standard with new wings, new engines, and new internal technologies and mission systems.
Unfortunately, that program has faced a series of budget cuts, stalls, and conditions that have reduced the program from 21 aircraft, to 12, to 9 – and then to 0. In 2010, Britain decided to give up fixed-wing maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft entirely, then scrapped all of its Nimrod MR2s. Its MR1 electronic eavesdropping planes followed, in June 2011. Leaving the burning question: now what? Periodic “reminders” from Russia and other entities have kept that question very current, indeed.
In July 2008, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Israel’s request to buy up to 9 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, which will replace some of the aging C-130 aircraft that Israel made famous in its 1976 commando raid at Entebbe, Uganda.
It took some time, but Israel finally became the 13th C-130J customer nation in April 2010. Appropriately, Israel’s new “Samson” planes will contain a number of features associated with the new special forces variants bought by India and the USA. The first plane landed in Israel in April 2014, but program of up to 9 planes looks like it will take a while to finish…
In January 2010, Damen Schelde announced a contract from the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation to build a 28,000t “Joint Logistic Support Ship” (JSS), which will become the HNLMS Karel Doorman. The vessel is scheduled to launch in 2014, and will replace the retired 16,900t HNLMS Zuiderkruis.
The Dutch wanted a very versatile ship that can resupply other warships, transport significant loads of army equipment and vehicles, act as a floating headquarters, take on hospital duties, and embark up to 6 helicopters. That level of versatility will come with costs. Canada’s ill-fated JSS program had similar or larger ambitions, but the 3-ship, C$ 2.9 billion program was ultimately suspended when contractors couldn’t supply what Canada wanted at the prices demanded. Can the Netherlands be more successful? So far, the answer is “yes”.
“The Armed Forces have six C-130H Hercules transport aircrafts today [DID: 335 skv, out of Oslo-Gardermoen]. These were bought in 1969 and are outdated. Recent updates have made them able to be operational until 2012-15, but it is now known that the planes need further work done to them still. Therefore the Norwegian government has started investigating the possibility of either renting or buying up to four new planes of the type Hercules C-130J.”
Faced with the prospect of further C-130H refurbishment work on one hand, and entreaties by the A400M consortium on the other, Norway had to decide what to do. They did, and the decision promptly came under political attack – but a deal was done for 4 stretched C-130J-30s, and the final aircraft flew off to Norway in July 2010. A tragic crash cut the fleet to 3, but an expedited buy has restored it.
Britain flies a unique version of the AH-64D Apache Longbow, built under license from Boeing by AgustaWestland. Their AH Mk.1s have put their more powerful Rolls Royce/ Turbomeca RTM322 engines to good use in Afghanistan’s lift-killing “hot and high” flying conditions, allowing them to retain key equipment that other countries had to strip out as a weight-saving measure.
In October 2009, AgustaWestland signed the Apache Integrated Operational Support (IOS) through-life contract with the UK Ministry of Defence. The contract fits within their March 2005 Partnering and Business Transformation Agreement, and will result in a shift of British military personnel toward the front lines…
The US Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Teams have relied on BAE’s 30+ ton Bradley family of M2/3/6/7 vehicles for a variety of combat functions, from armed infantry carrier and cavalry scout roles, to specialized tasks like calling artillery fire and even short-range air defense. The Bradley first entered US Army service in 1981, however, and the fleet has served through several wars. Even ongoing RESET, modernizations, and remanufacturing cannot keep them going indefinitely.
The Army’s problem is that replacing them has been a ton of trouble. Future Combat Systems’ MGV-IFV was terminated, along with the other MGV variants, by the 2010 budget. A proposal to replace it with a “Ground Combat Vehicle” (GCV) program raised concerns that the Army’s wish list would create an even less affordable solution. Now a revised GCV program is underway. Can it deliver a vehicle that will be effective on the battlefield? Just as important, can it deliver a vehicle that the US Army can afford to buy and maintain, in the midst of major national budgetary problems and swelling entitlement programs?
Latest updates: Major deal adds HIOS segment to 2015.
UK C-130 C5
In mid-2006 the UK MoD added another platform to the expanding list of long-term, performance-based, public-private, “contracting for availability” maintenance solutions for Britain’s key military platforms, by awarding Marshall Aerospace a GBP 1.52 billion contract ($2.86 billion conversion back then) to begin supporting its fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft until 2030.
The deal has several segments, with mechanisms for price adjustments upward and downward as the contract continues. Britain’s SDSR plans may also cut the deal off early, if the entire C-130 fleet retires by 2022 as planned. As prime contractor, Marshall Aerospace is working in partnership with the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO), the Royal Air Force, Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce to deliver the Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS) programme. The HIOS programme will provide guaranteed levels of aircraft availability to a fleet that includes both older C3/C1 models (C-130K stretched and normal) and C4/C5 models (C-130J-30 and C-130J).
The latest companiesandmarkets.com report predicts that the global aerospace and defense sector will achieve revenues of $399 billion by 2015. While the United States will retain its position as the largest aerospace and defense market, the Asia-Pacific region will experience the fastest growth during the reporting period.
The head of the French Navy tells The Telegraph that he was ‘stunned’ by the Royal Navy’s decision to axe its aircraft carriers and Harrier jump jets.
Almost three months after RAFAEL’s ASPROA-/Trophy active protection system was used to intercept an anti-tank missile fired at an IDF tank in the Gaza Strip, reports suggest that the U.S. military is close to combining two active protection systems into a single defense for armored vehicles in Afghanistan.