Today, DID features three items that touch on this topic. One is about Ernie Fitzgerald, who beat Richard Nixon but had less luck with the acquisition system. Another is an article in the U.S. Naval Institute’s February 2006 Proceedings magazine from 50-year acquisition veteran Thomas Christie, whose positions included DoD Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. He asks: “What Has 35 Years of Acquisition Reform Accomplished?” Finally, we have a short bit on the revolving door between the Pentagon and weapons contractors, and the fate of a recent Senate ethics provision.
The three year selection process finally ended in a formal way. Avio recently signed contracts with the French shipyard DCN and the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the 27 LM2500+G4 turbines, starting with the option for the first 8 which will be delivered between 2008 and 2013. Avio estimates that the FREMM contract will be worth about EUR 150 million, as the turbines are assembled, installed, and serviced in the 10 Italian and 17 French ships which will enter service between 2011-2022. Avio will also supply other high-technology components such as the power system’s accompanying electronic management system (TCS).
DID has covered the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Squadron VF-31 and the “Black Lions” of VF-213, whose ROVER-compatible F-14D “Bombcats” have been performing missions in Iraq from the deck of CVN 71 USS Theodore Roosevelt. Their six-month deployment ended at Naval Air Station Oceana on March 10, and with it the F-14 Tomcat fighter fades into US naval aviation history. The swing-wing F-14 remains a capable aircraft in both air-air and air-ground roles; yet it lacks electronics upgrades for the most modern weapons, and its maintenance burden is several times that of the competing F/A-18 Super Hornet. On average, NNS reports that an F-14 requires nearly 50 maintenance hours for every flight hour, while the Super Hornet requires 5-10 maintenance hours for every flight hour.
“Black Lions” F-14D
VF-213 “Black Lions” pilots will begin training on the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet in April. VF-31 “Tomcatter” pilots, who have borne that name since 1948, will be transitioning to the single-seat F/A-18Es after September 2006, when they will fly the last Tomcat in the Navy’s inventory from NAS Oceana. “We’re putting the premier fighter to sleep,” said pilot Lt. Jon Jeck. See the Navy Newsstand article for more.
Ironically, the last Grumman F-14s flying will belong to Iran…
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Small business qualifier Cox Construction Co. in Vista, CA received a $21.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a Border Patrol sector headquarters building in Vista, CA. Work is expected to be complete by Aug. 12, 2007. There were 330 bids solicited on Oct. 26, 2005, and 3 bids were received by the U.S. Army Engineer District in Fort Worth, TX (W9126G-06-C-0008).