These acquisitions are part of the FRES Integrated Technology Acquisition Programme (ITAP), which is focused on reducing risk around the latest technologies and their integration into FRES. This program is intended to provide the British Army with a family of medium-weight, network-enabled, air-deployable armored vehicles to meet up to 16 roles. FRES is intended to be the central pillar of a capable and highly deployable medium force that will be able to project power rapidly world-wide, complementing the UK’s existing heavy and light forces. In this respect, it fills a somewhat similar niche to the USA’s Stryker vehicle family, and to the Phase 3 Land Vehicle segment of the USA’s $120+ billion Future Combat Systems experiment.
TACOM Rock Island Arsenal has awarded five-year indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract W52H09-05-D-0328 to Airtronic Services, Inc. in Elk Grove Village, IL for the production of Beretta M9 Pistol Magazines. The contract requires Airtronic to initially produce 900,000 magazines for $4,059,000. The maximum number of magazine to be produced is 14 million units at $63 million. Airtronic noted that the previous vendor, Checkmate, had charged $8.51 each.
Defense Review has a fine investigation and review of the M9 pistol’s various reported problems and controversies over the years, and their note re: the past performance of pistol magazines in Iraq and Afghanistan provides valuable food for thought that Airtronic is addressing. But TACOM’s award did not remain uncontested…
Defense-Aerospace.com reports that Thailand has ordered ten CN-235 aircraft from Indonesia. Six of the planes will be operated by Thailand Ministry of Defence, while the other four will be flown by Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture. Indonesia’s Dirgantara had originally proposed a barter system for the purchase, but final negotiations concluded that the $200-220 million deal will be paid in cash.
The CN-235 was developed jointly by Indonesia with EADS-CASA, and is produced and sold separately by CASA and Dirgantara. The aircraft entered service in 1988, and serves as a short takeoff light transport that can be employed a variety of roles. Many variants have been produced; over 230 CN-235s are currently in service with more than 20 countries worldwide, flying in conditions ranging from tropical rainforests to deserts and even the Antarctic.
Elbit Systems Ltd. reported that its 40%-owned subsidiary, Tadiran Communications Ltd., announced yesterday that it signed an agreement valued at $55 million with “an Asian country.” Under the agreement, Tadiran will provide the customer with “advanced communications systems and equipment.” The firm has already received full advance payment for the first phase of the agreement, under which Tadiran will provide equipment valued at $5.5 million. The remainder of the contract is expected to be performed in three phases during 2006-2007. See corporate release [PDF].
Israeli announcements are often somewhat cryptic, as Arab hostility and anti-Jewish bigotry can create problems for some of their customers. In Singapore, for instance, Israeli military advisers were often described as “Mexicans” during the city-state’s early days. Because of DID’s insistence on attaching detail information to the contracts we cover, however, Israeli contracts tend to be slightly under-reported. Elbit’s subsidiary (now a 100% subsidiary) Elisra’s recent $80 million contract with an unnamed customer for fighter electronic warfare suites [PDF] is an example of something DID tends to pass on covering.
Comtech Mobile Datacom Corp. in Germantown, MD received a $16.9 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Satellite Communications and Network Management Services for the Force XXI Battle Command and Below/ Blue Force Tracking System. DID has covered Blue Force Tracker and its profound implications for land warfare before.
Performance locations will be determined as needed, and work is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2006. This was a sole source contract initiated on Nov. 27, 2005 by the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, NJ (W15P7T-06-C-J401).