There are over 500 maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft around the world, some 85% of which are P-3 Orions. In service with 15 countries (including India’s recent adoption), they have accumulated over 14 million flying hours performing a wide variety of missions. Including a surprising overland role in locations like Kosovo and Afghanistan. As DID has noted in its ongoing coverage of the P-3 platform and its upgrades, however, the Orions are near the end of their service life and require extensive efforts to keep them in the air. Some are over twice as old as the pilots flying them. Worse, P-3 Structural Life Assessment Program (SLAP) tests showed that their inherently punishing mission profiles were accumulating fatigue damage faster than previously believed.
The Jordanian armed forces have been busy of late, snapping up Russian strategic transport aircraft, discussing other Russian deals, and now upgrading their air defense systems. Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected for a multi-phase, five-year contract valued at more than $230 million to update Jordan’s national command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (C4I) networks with systems based in part on the U.S. military’s Global Command and Control System, and designed from the outset to be interoperable with allied forces. See full release.
The recent tsunami also triggered a wave of military contacts and cooperation between the USA and Indonesia, with American naval forces serving as the backbone of on-the-ground relief efforts. Overall relations and public sentiment on both sides improved considerably. Nevertheless, the US House and Senate recently decided to include the Senate’s prohibitions on lethal military equipment sales to Indonesia in the 2006 Foreign Operations Act until key conditions regarding accountability, human rights, and civilian control of the military were met. Now, the US State Department has exercised its authority under that law to waive those restrictions “in the interests of US national security.”
L-3 Communications Titan Unidyne in Norfolk, VA won an $8.8 million firm-fixed-price contract to upgrade landing craft air cushion (LCAC) hovercraft 62, 64, 65, and 76. The US Marines’ LCACs can carry as many as 11 Humvee jeeps or a 60-ton M-1 Abrams tank directly from the well deck of an at-sea vessel like an LHD or LPD, and continue right up onto land before disembarking its cargo. Or, it can embark troops and vehicles on land and deliver them directly to an at-sea ship. A total of 91 LCACs were built between 1984-2001, and depending on their in-service dates they will require regular refurbishment, upgrades, and even life extension programs to keep them operational into the future.
Work will be performed in Camp Pendleton, CA and is expected to be complete by October 2006. This contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Internet, with two offers received. The Southwest Regional Maintenance Center in San Diego, CA issued the contract (N55236-06-C-0002).