Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX received a $137.4 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive fee contract for the fiscal year 2006 low rate initial production (LRIP) lot III procurement of 7 UH-1Y aircraft, 1 UH-1Y full flight simulator, and 4 composite maintenance trainers (Phase I) under the H-1 upgrade program. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX (80%), and Amarillo, TX (20%), and is expected to be complete in September 2008. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-06-C-0086).
As DID has noted, the H-1 upgrade program to remanufacture 100 of the Marines’ old UH-1N Hueys and 180 of its AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters into advanced UH-1Y Venoms and AH-1Z Vipers with strong parts commonality has run into some problems. In May 2005, the Navy warned Bell that the H-1 program was in serious jeopardy because the Texas-based company has been failing to meet its needs, reserved the option of killing the program, and demanded “fundamental changes.”
In the fall of 2003, the Dutch government announced the retirement and sale of its P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft fleet, including 2 aircraft stationed at Curacao that flew missions for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The Orions were sold to Germany (8) and Portugal (5), but their services needed to be replaced. Australia’s contracted public-private Coastwatch approach offers a solid model for such situations, and now similar Dash-8 aircraft with maritime patrol mission suites will be operating in the Caribbean – operated and managed by a private Canadian firm.
Greek F-16D Block 52s (via EPA: click to view full)
Raytheon Co. in Goleta, CA received a $96 million firm-fixed-price, time and materials contract for the foreign military sales of the advanced self protection integrated suite to the country of Greece. This electronic warfare system will be used on the F-16 aircraft being procured under a separate acquisition by the F-16 program office. Associated spares, support equipment, engineering services, flight test support and data are also being acquired under this contract. Solicitations began March 2006, negotiations were complete July 2006, and work will be complete April 2009. The Headquarters Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8253-06-C-0027).
The boats will reportedly be 30, 20 and 17 meters long (approx. 100, 75, and 55 feet). In order to avoid the US ITAR arms export regulations that appear to have killed the deal for EADS-CASA aircraft, they will reportedly use European and Japanese navigation and communication equipment that does not fall under such regulations.
Rodman R1250 Fisher Pro
El Universal refers to the vessels as “surveillance, security and salvage ships,” and notes that “technology transfer under the agreement will consist in supporting construction of a shipyard to build polyester boats, especially small-size fishing boats, in Venezuela.” Rodman Polyships is to provide technical assistance and moulds. We think they mean composite-construction boats, an area in which Yachtmaker Rodman has considerable expertise. In any event, DID would certainly recommend against cotton boats as an option; the 30-meter patrol craft tend to shrink to 17 meters when cleaned.
The US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in Charleston, SC has issued an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity multiple-award contract for portable satellite communications (SATCOM) terminals. Man-portable SATCOM terminals are used regularly by Special Forces, and larger vehicle-portable systems are also seeing increased use as part of military command elements – vid the SWE-DISH FA150T fly-away system pictured here.