The US Air Force’s has been maneuvering in a way that puts in question the “joint” in “Joint Cargo Aircraft” (JCA). The rationale for JCA is to buy smaller and cheaper planes than the C-130 Hercules, which could provide tactical transport in-theater into smaller airfields, with smaller loads, more quickly, and at less cost than C-130s or maintenance-intensive CH-47 helicopters. The $1.3 billion program for 33 initial aircraft is an Army priority, as its C-23B Sherpa and C-12 Huron aircraft are wearing out quickly and the current war has highlighted this area as a problem for soldiers on the ground. Combat commanders have also complained about air transport that couldn’t make full use of the shorter runways found throughout CENTCOM’s areas of operation. Despite this, the JCA program was recently on the receiving end of almost total FY 2007 cuts from a Senate committee.
Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica will transfer some production activities for the C-27J Spartan light tactical transport aircraft to the Czech company Aero Vodochody under a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). The final contract is scheduled to be signed by the end of May 2006, and is based on a business plan that anticipates the supply of 350 center wing boxes (where the wings attach to the body) with an estimated value of more than $200 million. Aero Vodochody’s participation will include responsibility for the equipment installed and final tests, promotion in export markets, production, production process improvement and possible modifications as required by customers around the world, and a possible role as a single-source manufacturer of the structure.
Now Defense Tech reports that the vehicles performed well but have been turned down by the US Army, which is looking to remount the technology in more standard military vehicles rather than the prototype vehicles Ionatron used. One hopes there are more intelligent and compelling reasons behind this decision than the ones reported by Defense Tech.
In March 2006, DID called attention to a brewing battle over the 1973 Berry Amendment, which says among other things that all “specialty metals” used in US defense purchases must be refined in the USA. The aerospace industry, which uses specialty metals like titanium extensively, is facing off against the 3 major American titanium producers. Now the Aerospace Industry Association reports they have reached agreement in principle with senior leaders of the Defense Department on changes to the Berry Amendment.
Further details re: the exact changes agreed to in principle were not released. An indication of the AIA’s position, however, can be gleaned from the linked documents on its “Issues by Subject” page.
Advanced Acoustic Concepts, Inc. in Hauppauge, NY received an $11.3 million modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-5486) for three scaled improved performance sonar (SIPS) kits and engineering services in support of the AN/SQQ-89(V) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) combat system. Work will be performed in Hauppauge, N.Y. (60%) and Union Town, PA (40%), and is expected to be completed by March 2007. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued the contract.
Lockheed’s AN/SQQ-89 Undersea Warfare Combat System provides surface warships with a seamlessly integrated undersea warfare system. It presents an integrated picture of the tactical situation by receiving, combining and processing active and passive sensor data from the ship’s hull-mounted array, towed sonar array, helicopters, and sonobuoys, and displays a picture of the tactical situation. The SQQ-89 also provides control of undersea weapon systems. AN/SQQ-89 is integrated with the AEGIS combat system. The system is deployed on over 100 Arleigh Burke [DDG-51] and Spruance [DD-963] Class destroyers and Ticonderoga [CG-47] Class cruisers. NAVAIR has details re: the various versions (1-15).