In a September 2005 article, DID covered total awards under a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Patriot anti-air missile system engineering services, along with dates/amounts of each award in FY 2004-2005. We’ve brought that list forward, and we’ll be updating it as new FY 2006 engineering services contracts roll in. We’ll also use this post as an updated hub for other Patriot SAM related contracts in calendar year 2006.
The F-35 Lightning II is a major multinational program which is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role strike fighter that will have three variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE)Lightning jet.
This article covers the $300 billion international program’s events, main contracts, and ancillary programs during FY/CY 2006, while the most recent developments are tracked here.
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.
Back on June 13, 2005, while covering the “US101” EH-101 variant’s approval as the next US Presidential helicopter, DID noted that the rivals for this bid (Lockheed’s “US101” and Sikorsky’s H-92 Superhawk) would likely be squaring off again for an $11-12 billion contract to provide the USA’s next generation Combat Search And Rescue helicopter. Lockheed remained firm on its European EH101 platform, while Sikorsky would eventually announce the HH-92 Superhawk as its contender in Febrary 2005.
In September 2005, DID wrote a background/analysis called “US CSAR Competition: And Boeing Makes 3…” as that firm entered the fray on two fronts. Boeing’s choices left its rivals in a difficult competitive position, and even though one of those options was withdrawn before the end of the contest, Boeing’s HH-47 would eventually win it all and fly off with a contract estimated at $10 billion for 145 aircraft. This DID FOCUS Article chronicles the CSAR-X program impetus and winning entry, as well as ongoing contracts and key events in the program as they come up.
The CSAR-X competition had at least as many complications and happenings as the missions they will execute. The latest twist is big: cancellation of the program in the FY 2010 budget. Those decisions and their aftermath are covered in DID’s supplementary article “GAO re: CSAR-X… Re-Compete the Contract!“. For more information concerning Boeing’s Sikorsky & Lockheed competitors, and Sikorsky’s competitive dilemma in September 2005, read these sections from “And Boeing Makes 3…”:
The German Bundeswehr is no longer the formidable force that some remember from the Cold War. The force has been downsized, significant quantities of its heavy equipment have been sold off, and Germany’s level of defense spending has fallen sharply over the past decade and a half. Is the German military transforming, or just shrinking?
The US Department of Defense has submitted its FY 2007 budget request for $439.3 billion. This is 7% more than the FY 2006 request, but slightly less than the $441.5 billion eventually appropriated by Congress in the FY 2006 budget. Note that this is just the first step in a long process that involves bills drawn up in both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, which will add some things, subtract others, and impose conditions. Then the House and Senate bills must be reconciled in committee into one common bill for the President to sign into law. Last year’s FY 2006 budget, introduced in February 2005, was finally signed into law on December 30, 2005.
This budget would wait until October 17, 2006 for Presidential signature as Public Law No. 109-364. It provides $462.8 billion in budget authority, and Senate and House conferees added the $70 billion defense supplemental budget request to the act – overall, therefore, the act authorizes $532.8 billion for FY 2007.
Because this budget was put together in parallel with the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, it bears some imprints from that process and begins to implement some of the QDR’s proposed directions. Rather than try to summarize such a vast document for our readers, DID will simply link you to the key source and ancillary materials, which contain their own summaries as well as access to more detailed information.
The fifth-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. This DID focus article covers both sides of that controversy, and also addresses key events and procurement decisions that took place during FY 2006 (October 1, 2005 – October 1, 2006).
It has been a long road for the USA’s aerial tanker replacement competition. After the Darlene Druyun scandal and the linked but separate withdrawal of Boeing’s KC-767 lease proposal, the USA continues to examine its options. Some reports note that the existing tanker fleet of “more than 490” KC-135 Stratotankers (USAF figure, out of 732 built until 1966), derived from Boeing 707s, and 59 KC-10 Extenders derived from McDonell Douglas DC-10-30CFs, may be able to perform until 2040. Yet a combination of procurement momentum, steadily increasing and future-uncertain maintenance costs, and the impact of an unforeseen fleet-wide grounding for the USAF’s aging Boeing 707s continue to push the competition ahead.
With a Phase One buy of around 175 aircraft, whose unmodified civil versions cost well over $100 million each, this could easily become a $100 billion program by the time all is said and done. Meanwhile, studies like “Brittle Swords: Low-Density, High-Demand Assets” [PDF] highlight the dangers and potential false economies of under-investment.
KC-10 extends F/A-18C
In the wake of the USAF’s recent RFI, industry-watchers are paying attention again. Boeing’s latest 10K investors’ report noted that the likelihood of KC-767 tanker orders coming in before the civilian 767 production line runs out had “diminished”; Boeing added that the decision to “complete 767 production” could come before the end of the 2006 calendar year. Meanwhile, some observers believe the EADS Airbus/ Northrop-Grumman KC-30 (A330 MRTT) tanker may have become the competition front runner – but new options like the larger 777 or A340 are being bandied about, and military opinions differ re: the preferred size and mix of the USAF’s future tanker force.
The latest news is the release of the KC-X RFP, amidst uncertainty over the EADS/Northrop Grumman team’s willingness to compete.
“Over the past several decades, the increases in acquisition costs for U.S. Navy amphibious ships, surface combatants, attack submarines, and nuclear aircraft carriers have outpaced the rate of inflation. To understand why, the authors of this book examined two principal source categories of ship cost escalation: economy-driven factors (which are outside the control of the Navy) and customer-driven factors (features for which the Navy has the most control). The authors also interviewed various shipbuilders to find out their views on other issues contributing to increasing costs. Based on their analysis, the authors propose some ways the Navy might reduce ship costs in the future, including limiting growth in features and requirements and reconsidering the mission orientation of ships. It is recognized, however, that such reductions come at a cost, since the nation and the Navy understandably desire technology and capability that is continuously ahead of their competitors.”