Democrats from the House Appropriations Committee published their estimates of the consequences of sequestration not just on defense, but as DID recently half-jokingly predicted, with an increasingly broad scope and dire consequences. If the loss of 1 million2 million jobs did not adequately frighten you, consider that the sequester also means “3 million fewer malaria treatments” and “more than 14,000 deaths from completely preventable illnesses.”
It seems recent outreach efforts from US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and his deputy Ash Carter might be paying off: according to the Times of India a $1.4B order for 22 AH-64D Apache helicopters (and assorted weapons) is about to be signed. However such reports that Boeing had won the competition already surfaced up in October last year, while the initial DSCA request dates from December 2010.
Separately the Indian Navy has issued an RFP for 56 light naval utility helicopters that may be worth $1B. Induction planned for 2016.
Russia will deliver 55 Mi-171E transport helicopters to China at an estimated $10M+ each.
Given the high number of Chinese military aircraft that have not been produced several years after first exhibiting models, Richard Fisher, Jr. from the International Assessment and Strategy Center thinks [PDF] the vaporware label is often – though not always – justified.
China’s naval modernization [updated CRS report, PDF] seems to be more substantial and sustained.
Then there’s the discrepancy between how you model the threat, and what the threat actually is. Bill Sweetman at AviationWeek as a good post about the colorful experience of USAF pilots who flew Russian fighters in the 80s:
Acting US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management Frederick Vollrath testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee on the timeline of announcements leading to the reduction of the Pentagon’s civilian workforce to comply with sequestration. A first deadline is around September 21st, less than 2 months from now. Yet the Pentagon maintains its focus on rolling back sequestration, a matter that is out of its hands and is for Congress to address. This is starting to look like a reckless bet, if DoD is actually not planning for the sequester that is. Video abstract of the hearing at the bottom of this entry.
This comes just as the GAO states that it “remains concerned that DOD lacks critical information it needs to effectively plan for its workforce requirements.”
The International Crisis Group (ICG) nonprofit released a report [PDF] which concludes that conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea are at a deadlock. China’s actions are shaped by its own internal dynamics [PDF] and its neighbors are not passively watching:
In mid-July 2012, Russia’s Rosoboronexport announced an order from Sri Lanka for another 14 Mi-171 helicopters, to be built at the Ulan-Ude plant. The SLAF started operating Mi-17s in 1993, and the current fleet of 13-18 machines equips No. 6 Helicopter Squadron at Anuradhapura, in north-central Sri Lanka.
The additional buy is part of a $300 million, 10-year loan to buy equipment for Sri Lanka’s military, which was signed during a 2012 state visit to Russia. Why buy more helicopters? SLAF spokesman Group Captain Andrew Wijesuriya told Reuters they were buying them for civilian tourism. Oddly enough, that’s probably at least partly true…
The US Navy said it would start releasing emergency funds today to start compensating the households whose property was destroyed in an F/A-18 crash on Friday in Virginia Beach. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt: “about as close as you can get to a miracle.” Video at the bottom of this entry.
A RAF Chinook had to make an emergency landing in Arizona on Saturday but nobody was injured either.
The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote a glowing profile of Susie Alderson, an engineer now at the US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) who promoted the production of MRAPs to protect troops from roadside IEDs.
We welcome the Department’s better performance in controlling project-level cost increases, but remain concerned that total costs of the top 15 projects continue to rise for other reasons each year. Projects approved since 2002 have shown significantly lower overall cost growth than those approved before this date and since 2008 there has been no overall cost increase from project-specific technical issues. However, in 2010-11 the forecast costs to complete the 15 largest defence projects still increased by £466 million overall [DID: about $735M], and the Department continues to struggle to live within its means.
A note on variables that a Department cannot control: macro-economic factors such as exchange rate changes accounted for 38% of the 2010-2011 increase. Meanwhile the National Audit Office (NAO) reviewed the way the Ministry of Defence is handling reductions in the size of its workforce.
Oshkosh subsidiary Pierce Manufacturing, Inc. in Appleton, WI won a maximum $7.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for fire fighting vehicle pumpers, for use by the US Army. The contract will run until Nov 28/12. There were 3 solicitations made, with 3 responses to the The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in Philadelphia, PA (SPM8EC-11-D-0062-0009).
Fire fighting specialist Pierce was acquired by Oshkosh in 1996, and in 2001, their fire trucks introduced Oshkosh’s TAK-4 independent suspensions. The firm makes a range of fire pumpers, including their own foam systems that can spray multiple foam viscosities at the same time, in order to handle Class A and Class B fires. The Army order, though not large, will be very welcome at Oshkosh…