The Aerospace Corp. is actually a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC). The aerospace FFRDCs are non-profit companies that provides technical analyses and assessments for US national security and space programs. This may include scientific and engineering support involving launch, space, and related ground support systems, research and advisory services, general systems engineering, engineering support, and systems integration support. Most people in the industry know them as publishers of the excellent Crosslink magazine, but see their program involvement timeline for a better sense of how broad their efforts have truly been. As they put it:
The Israeli Air Force has known since December 2008 that its fleet of A-4 Skyhawk jet trainers and light attack aircraft would leave service. It took until July 2012 to sign a contract for the Skyhawk’s successor, despite justifiable complaints from South Korea that the process lacked full professional formality. The first M-346 Master trainers should begin arriving in Israel around mid-2014, where they will be operated by the IAI/Elbit “TOR” joint venture as a public-private partnership service to the IAF.
Italy’s M-346 eventually beat KAI’s supersonic T-50, thanks to a combination of air force evaluations, geo-political considerations, and countervailing industrial offers. For most countries, “industrial offsets” mean sub-contracting work in their country, sometimes even in sectors of their economy outside of the defense industry. Israel’s weapons industry is far more developed, however, and so their advanced trainer competition saw “industrial offsets” as the purchase of full-fledged Israeli weapons systems. South Korea was already a customer for Israeli radars, UAVs, and missiles, and was seen as the favorite thanks to their relationships and their jet. Italy was a much smaller customer, but relations between Silvio Berlusconi and the Jewish state had been good for a long time. By October 2011, reports surfaced that Italy had made Israel a very impressive offer – one that would make Italy a major export customer for strategic systems, even as it equalized purchases on both sides. In the end, it was an offer the Israelis couldn’t, and didn’t, refuse.
In June 2008, they secured the contract. That began a combination of infrastructure build-out, aircraft modification, and managed competition, aimed at fulfilling a contract estimated at up to GBP 6 billion (about $11.7 billion)… when it was signed. It’s hard to evaluate that number until Britain finally buys its training aircraft and associated training service, and as of 2012, they haven’t even put out the RFP.
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).
On July 25/06 Al-Anbar commander and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer submitted an MNF-W priority 1 request. It pointed to the hazards inherent in American supply lines, and noted that many of the supply convoys on Iraq’s roads (up to 70%, by some reports) were carrying fuel. Much of that fuel wasn’t even for vehicles, but for diesel generators used to generate power at US bases. That is still true, and Afghanistan has even more daunting logistics. By some estimates, shipping each gallon of fuel to Afghanistan requires 7 gallons of fuel for transport.
In 2005, the Canadian Department of National Defence awarded a 22-year, $1.77-billion (USD $1.5 billion) contract to an “Allied Wings” team lead by Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd. of Kelowna, British Columbia, who beat out a competing group led by Bombardier’s military training division in Mirabel, Quebec. The long-term contract will provide primary flight training training and support services to the Canadian Forces and international allies. These services will be provided out of the “Canada Wings Aviation Training Centre” in the Southport Aerospace Centre near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
This is not the first time the Canadian government has chosen a public/private approach to aviation training. Bombardier was already managing the Contracted Flying Training and Support (CFTS) program, and the public-private NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program has been running since 1997. In some ways, however, the new “Allied Wings” contract was a logical next step aimed at solidifying Canada’s traditional advantages, as Canada attempts to make itself an international center of excellence for foreign military aviator training:
NATO Flying Training in Canada
Primary Training: Competition for CFTS [updated]
The Big Picture: International Flight Training in Canada [updated]
Latest updates: Improved 5.56mm; New production facility opening.
81mm mortar (click to view larger)
A weapon without ammunition is useless, which is why ammunition is almost always a strategic national capability whose production must remain in-country. On the other hand, government demand has a tendency to swing up and down within narrow limits, and the demands of efficiency usually lead to a single supplier situation – often using equipment that dates back to World War 2. The USA has run into problems because of its reliance on a single small arms ammunition plant, for instance, and has moved to modernize and diversify its base. Its ally Australia is modernizing key ammunition facilities, and trying to modernize its industrial approach as well.
Then there’s Britain, whose long-term defense contracting practices are establishing world-class benchmarks. The UK MoD had been working on an arrangement that secures national supply needs from British sources, and ensures that modernization investments continues to improve industrial efficiency. Hence the new 15-year, GBP 2+ billion “Munitions Acquisition Supply Solution” (MASS) program, inaugurated in August 2008.
Intelsat is a commercial satellite provider, who launches and maintains global coverage for its customers with over 50 satellites. One interesting wrinkle is a program that lets customers pay to host partial or full payloads on Intelsat’s birds, locking in recurring service revenues and defraying the cost of deployment.
Australia is a US military partner for the Wideband Global SATCOM program, buying WGS-6 and gaining access to the constellation’s services under Joint Project 2008, Phase 4. In April 2009, a decision was made to add a partial communications payload on Intelsat’s IS-22 UHF satellite, under JP 2008, Phase 5A. That is now a full UHF payload, under a revised contract – and the USA will benefit, as well…
In November 2005, the Australian Government, Tenix Defence and Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace (AA) have signed the P3 Accord Master Agreement to provide capability upgrades and Through Life Support (TLS) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The three parties have established a Joint Management Office (JMO) to supervise all Accord activities under a unique risk-sharing contractual arrangement. The JMO will develop and implement all RAAF AP-3C capability upgrades and TLS solutions through to the aircraft’s planned withdrawal date – at which point it will likely be replaced by the 737-based AP-8A MMA.
The combined value of the TLS and block upgrades to the aircraft is expected to be more than A$ 1 billion, and the project is moving on to a new phase – even as some of the efforts that led to the most recent announcement win Australian awards…
The Canadian Communication Security Establishment (CSEC) plays the same role in Canada that the ultra-secretive NSA (National Security Agency) does in the USA, and cooperates closely with its American counterpart. Unlike counterparts like the Canadian CSIS, or American CIA, both agencies stay firmly out of the public spotlight. They specialize in the tripartite domains of electronic eavesdropping, robust encoding, and cyber-security. The ECHELON interception system, which also features cooperation from the UK and Australia, is the allied agencies’ best-known cooperative venture.
The problem is that the agency’s activities are growing, and its buildings can’t hold them all. Since one can’t just rent random office space for an agency of this type, that means new buildings. One emergency contract is already underway. A second, much larger contract, is readying itself for a public-private partnership deal as the government seeks interested firms.