The UK government has named a European consortium as its preferred bidder for a GBP 13 billion (USD $25 billion; EUR 19 billion) contract to build refuelling and operate aircraft for the RAF, and will now move on to negotiations. The preferred AirTanker group is led by European defence giant EADS, and includes British firms Rolls-Royce and Cobham. AirTanker plans to use 15 to 20 Airbus A330-200 planes to refuel RAF fighter jets and military planes (EADS owns 80% of Airbus, and Britain’s BAE Systems owns 20%). The A330-200 has also been mentioned as a competitor to the Boeing KC-767 for the Pentagon’s controversial air-air refueling contract.
Under Britain’s public-private partnership proposal, the private sector would own and maintain the refuelling tankers on behalf of the RAF. When not in use for refuelling, the tankers would be converted to passenger planes or used for military transport purposes. This arrangement bears some similarities to Boeing’s KC-767 leasing deal that created such controversy in the US, so the impact of a successful UK deal on the Pentagon’s pending contract may be somewhat mixed. The British deal is expected to run for 27 years, with the first tanker coming into service in 2010.
Colorado Springs, CO firms Arctic Pipe and Materials LLC and TDF Construction Joint Venture received a $150 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements (SABER) construction contracts for Peterson Air Force Base (AFB), Pinon Canyon, and Ft. Carson Post around Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, CO. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to $150 million, although actual requirements may be lower. Future funds will be obligated as individual delivery orders are issued. Solicitation began August 2004, negotiations were complete January 2005, and work will be complete November 2005. The 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, CO issued the contracts (FA2517-05-D-5001 and FA2517-05-D-5002).
Last month Turkey’s defense officials pushed the button for a huge consolidation plan when Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI), the country’s second largest defense company, and Turkish Aircraft Industries (TUSAS), TAI’s parent company, agreed to merge under a single corporate identity. TAI and TUSAS formalized the merger plan at their extraordinary general meeting of Feb. 18, 2005. TAI assembled F-16 fighter jets at its plant in the 1980s and 1990s, and presently manufactures parts for Boeing Co. of Chicago and U.S. helicopter maker Sikorsky. The company also is a participant in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter and Future Large Aircraft programs.
Now the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) plans to create a Turkish Defense Industry Holding Inc., or Turk Savunma Sanayi Holding A.S., as a parent entity for the country’s top defense companies presently owned by the government and/or the military.
BAE Systems Technologies Inc. in Rockville, MD is being awarded a $6.6 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-01-C-0192) to exercise an option for engineering and technical support for Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems. Work will be performed in St. Inigoes, MD (88.5%) and San Diego, CA (11.5%), and is expected to be completed in March 2006. The Naval Air Systems Command Aircraft Division in St. Inigoes, MD issued the contract modification. BAE Systems Technologies, Inc. is part of the Eurosystems merger deals recently approved by the EU.