Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 55,000t-65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at around 22,000t. HMS Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21, in contrast, fall in the 90,000t-105,000t range. Hence the unofficial designation “super-carriers.” Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations – and as we saw during the recent tsunami, their capabilities can make a huge difference in a wide variety of situations.
USA’s Nimitz Class & UK’s Invincible Class
The USA isn’t resting on its laurels, however; the new CVN-21 Class will resemble the Nimitz Class super-carriers in size, but a slew of changes and new technologies are promising improved operational effectiveness, substantial efficiency savings, and future upgrade potential. Along those lines, Raytheon passed a recent systems requirements review (SRR) for the CVN-21 Class’ electronics. They’re the industry lead for integration of all government furnished combat systems, C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and aviation support systems.
In a December 11, 2005 article, DID noted that South Korea was looking to award its E-X airborne early warning aircraft contract and get on with the program. Their $1.1 billion choice was the G550 platform offered by an American-Israeli consortium of General Dynamics Gulfstream, L-3 Communications, and Israel Aircraft Industries.
Unfortunately, DID also noted that snags with tech transfer of basic equipment like Link 16 avionics risked holding up the program. While the $1.3 billion deal with Eurocopter that DID also mentioned in that article went through smoothly yesterday, The Chosun Ibo reports that the E-X program does indeed face a delay over US technology transfers until some time in 2006. Read DID’s earlier report for the full briefing re: the two contending E-X bids, and the list of “banned” items.
Heavy mileage in a war zone has predictable effects. Things break, and maintenance piles up. This results in a number of very unglamorous but necessary contracts. Like the $8.8 million delivery order amount General Dynamics Land Systems in Muskegon, MI was recently awarded for serviceable HMPT500-3ECA Transmissions. It’s part of a $48.8 million firm-fixed-price contract that involves taking broken M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle Transmissions provided by the government, rebuilding/ repairing them, and handing back working transmissions.
Work will be performed in Muskegon, MI and is expected to be completed by April 18, 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Dec. 10, 2002, and one bid was received. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI issued the contract (DAAE07-03-D-N118).
Breeze-Eastern in Union, NJ received a $9.9 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for repair, overhaul, and test and evaluation of various cargo hooks, winches, and other components used in support of the H-3 Sea King and the H-53 Stallion helicopters. Work will be performed in Union, NJ, and is expected to be complete by September 2009. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point (N00383-06-D-002F).
South Korea appears to be leaning toward some clear choices for its Korean Helicopter Program (KHP) utility helicopter competition, and its E-X airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft acquisition program. The projects have a combined budget of 7 trillion Won (about $7 billion).
A deal with Eurocopter has now been confirmed for 245 helicopters, and an Israeli-American consortium based on the General Dynamics Gulfstream G550 is believed to be the front runner in the E-X competiton – if technology transfer approval from the US government doesn’t delay South Korea’s E-X program again.