The maximum dollar value, including the base period and 4 option years, for all 4 contracts is $75 million. The companies will perform construction work in Bahrain (50%), Djibouti (40%), and UAE (10%), and expect to complete the work by July 2014. This contract was competitively procured via the European Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with 8 proposals received by the NAFAC Europe and Southwest Asia in Naples, Italy.
Djibouti is an important base for western navies, the French Foreign Legion, and the US Marines. It sits in a very strategic location, at the entrance to the Red Sea and astride the passage from the Indian Ocean to the Suez Canal. Growing pirate troubles to the southeast, around the area that used to be Somalia, have magnified Djibouti’s importance.
The URS-IAP, LLC joint venture in Austin, TX recently received $11.3 million for a cost reimbursement task order under a billion-dollar multiple-award construction contract (N62470-06-D-6009, #0012) issued in August 2006 by the US Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic in Norfolk, VA. The joint venture between IAP Worldwide Services and San Francisco based engineering design firm URS Corp. will design and build a 2,150 square meter aircraft maintenance hangar and a 340 square meter telecommunications facility at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, by November 2010. All 3 awardees under this multiple-award contract bid for this task order.
IDEX 2009 grabbed headlines recently with multi-billion dollar deals for C-17 and C-130J transports. Those deals are likely to elevate the UAE’s position on the international stage, but interests closer to home also need tending. With the UAE’s trade hub of Dubai heavily dependent on shipping, and emirates like Abu Dhabi dependent on open waterways for oil exports, maritime patrol in the Arabian Gulf (aka. Persian Gulf) remains a priority.
Aerial surveillance is part of that mix, and an AED 1.071 billion (C$ 370M/ $290M) contract will add 2 specialized aircraft…
The Republic of Ireland is a neutral power with a small armed forces, whose equipment is more suited to policing than war. Eire’s troops do deploy abroad on UN missions, however, where more protection and firepower are needed. French AML-20/AML-90 armored cars, and GD MOWAG’s wheeled LAV/Piranha vehicles have been purchased and deployed for those operations.
In September 2005, Ireland canceled a planned purchase of up to 66 light-armored tactical vehicles (LTAV), which would have provided its forces with mine-resistant patrol vehicles for use on its missions in Pakistan/Afghanistan, Bosnia, Lebanon and the Golan Heights, The Congo, Liberia, and the Western Sahara between Morocco and Algeria. Instead, the Department of Defence purchased 15 more Piranha-III wheeled APCs in January 2006.
That move has now been reconsidered. In early 2008, the EUFOR Chad mission was added to the above deployments, and in May 2008, the An Roinn Cosanta (DoD) restarted the LTAV tender competition. The new competition will be for 27 vehicles, plus a pair of options that could add 27 more and bring the total number of vehicles to 54. Tenders were received in early July 2008, and in September 2008 the 3 finalists were announced. Now, it seems that we have a winner…
Phoenix Air Group of Cartersville, GA received a $26.3 million fixed price indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide air charter service for Headquarters United States Africa Command (US AFRICOM) passengers from Stuttgart Army Airfield, Germany, to various points throughout Africa and Europe. The performance period is from April 1/09 to March 31/12, including unexercised options. This contract was a competitive acquisition, with 7 bids received by United States Transportation Command’s (USTRANSCOM) Directorate of Acquisitions at Scott Air Force Base, IL (HTC711-09-D-0001).
AFRICOM emerged as its own command on Feb 6/07, as the culmination of a 10-year process within the Department of Defense (DoD). It has stepped back from its original “whole of government” model, but still has a significant civilian component and aims to merge aid, relationship building, and capability building within Africa’s own militaries. Its headquarters will remain in Stuttgart, in the wake of political controversies that made an African location infeasible.
Phoenix Air Group is best known as an operator of reconfigurable Learjets and Gulfstream turboprops, designed to assist in exercises. These reconfigurable aircraft can perform electronics training of all kinds, including electronic warfare simulation and simulation of incoming enemy aircraft. They can also be used for target towing, range surveillance and clearance, and related roles.
In 2008, the point was underlined by sales like the deal with Zimbabwe for 12 K-8/JL-8 jet trainers and light attack aircraft, but a number of deals are reportedly pending with various countries. These reportedly include everything from K-8 Karakorum jets and FC-1/JF-17 fighters, to WMZ-551 wheeled APCs, artillery, and of course the usual set of small arms and ammunition deals. One of the challenges that the July 2008 Forecast International report had discussed is the region’s economic weakness, but UPI Asia notes that China has a solution. Zambia has used its copper resources to pay China in a number of military deals, Kenya has been negotiating with China to trade fishing rights for arms, and similar deals are under discussion elsewhere.
While China’s economy has cooled as a result of the global recession, long-term, secure access to the resources needed to supply its growing economy is one of the regime’s top strategic priorities. Africa is poor by policy, but the continent has rich resources of oil and key industrial metals. This Chinese arms thrust is one component of a unified strategy that bundles weapon sales and economic ties. Other building blocks include soft-power approaches, and a key component block was added recently with the launch of a PLAN hospital ship. Few countries own dedicated hospital vessels, which can serve in quasi-diplomatic goodwill roles, or function in their traditional role as high-capacity medical support for amphibious assaults.
A combination of arms sales, naval activities, and economic ties is promising, but it will also require other forms of local relationship-building and military presence, in order to give China the full range of tools for influencing African regimes. Oddly, none of these sales, deal structures, or strategic considerations were even mentioned in a recent SIPRI(Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) analysis of China’s stepped-up deployment of peacekeeping troops. Troops whose chosen missions appear to have a strong focus on African operations.
Naval Open Source Intelligence is a good set of quick links to international navy-related stories in the news. Each year, they also add a summary of their take on the most significant trends and items to their “Naval Year in Review” set.
They’ve added the 2008 list, which includes piracy, the continuing crisis in US Navy shipbuilding (4 of last 5 years, see DID), environmental groups’ lawfare against the US Navy (2 of last 3 years, see DID), the steady growth of the Chinese Navy, the use of semi-submersibles to smuggle drugs into the USA (see readings), humanitarian operations, arctic sovereignty, and more.
Western militaries are quickly coming to the realization that the light Land Rover, G-Wagen, and HMMWV type flat bottom vehicles deployed as light troop transports are no longer adequate on a non-linear battlefield with no defined front lines, in a world where the technology for making improvised and professional land mines is proliferating globally. Spain has been late to this realization, and the Ministerio de Defensa has been the target of criticism for that lateness. Spanish soldiers have also been targets: 4 successful land mine attacks in the 16 months leading up to Spain’s MRAP decision had killed 10 soldiers and a translator (6 in Lebanon, 5 in Afghanistan).
In November 2007, with 4 months to go before elections, the situation in Spain shifted. The Spanish Council of Ministers announcement amounted to a major MRAP(Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected) Class I and Class II program for Spain. The program will replace/supplement its VAMTAC (Vehiculo de Alta Movilidad Ta¡ctica, a licensed HMMWV) and recently-acquired Anibal (Land Rover derivative) vehicles by 2009. Over the longer term, Spain will also replace its 6×6 BMR(Blindados Medios de Ruedas = Armored Medium Wheeled) Armored Personnel Carriers. The 575+ vehicle acquisition program is sketched out, the finalists are lined up, and a program to buy wheeled APCs will follow.
While the winners for the first 2 phases are clear, purchase and delivery are taking a long time. The winning vehicles have yet to be deployed to the front lines, and the issue has become a political controversy in Spain. Meanwhile, the government has signed a contract now for RG-51 Mk5E stretched vehicles. They’ve also started deploying the Iveco MLV to Afghanistan…
American Science and Engineering’s Z Backscatter Van(TM) (ZBV) is a low-cost, extremely maneuverable short-range screening system built into a commercially available delivery van. The ZBV employs AS&E’s patented Z Backscatter technology, which reveals contraband that transmission X-rays miss – such as explosives (including car bombs), plastic weapons, and people – providing photo-like imaging for rapid analysis.
The Z-Backscatter Van is also capable of identifying low levels of radioactivity from both gamma rays and neutrons with optional Radioactive Threat Detection (RTD) technology. This article explains how it works, and provides an illustrative slice of coverage regarding contracts and key events from FY 2005 to the end of FY 2008. The latest set of additions wraps up DID’s coverage…
In response, reports in the Polish press indicate that Poland is seeking an emergency buy of 40 MRAP vehicles, with deliveries to conclude before the end of 2008. The contenders are reported to be BAE OMC’s RG-31 Mk5E extended version, Force Protection’s Cougar, or KMW’s Dingo 2. This early buy is expected to be followed by a follow-on tender for 140 vehicles, using more standard tender procedures.
Now, an article in the Polish press hints that the competition may have been pre-empted by a leasing arrangement.