Back on June 13, 2005, while covering the “US101” EH-101 variant’s approval as the next US Presidential helicopter, DID noted that the rivals for this bid (Lockheed’s “US101” and Sikorsky’s H-92 Superhawk) would likely be squaring off again for an $11-12 billion contract to provide the USA’s next generation Combat Search And Rescue helicopter. Lockheed remained firm on its European EH101 platform, while Sikorsky would eventually announce the HH-92 Superhawk as its contender in Febrary 2005.
In September 2005, DID wrote a background/analysis called “US CSAR Competition: And Boeing Makes 3…” as that firm entered the fray on two fronts. Boeing’s choices left its rivals in a difficult competitive position, and even though one of those options was withdrawn before the end of the contest, Boeing’s HH-47 would eventually win it all and fly off with a contract estimated at $10 billion for 145 aircraft. This DID FOCUS Article chronicles the CSAR-X program impetus and winning entry, as well as ongoing contracts and key events in the program as they come up.
The CSAR-X competition had at least as many complications and happenings as the missions they will execute. The latest twist is big: cancellation of the program in the FY 2010 budget. Those decisions and their aftermath are covered in DID’s supplementary article “GAO re: CSAR-X… Re-Compete the Contract!“. For more information concerning Boeing’s Sikorsky & Lockheed competitors, and Sikorsky’s competitive dilemma in September 2005, read these sections from “And Boeing Makes 3…”:
The Royal Netherlands Air Force, which has already selected RAFAEL’s REECELITE pod for aerial reconaissance, recently selected [release in Dutch] Northrop Grumman & RAFAEL’s 3rd-generation LITENING Advanced Targeting (AT) pods for their F/A-16 Advanced Targeting program to replace their existing LANTIRN twin-pod sets. Under the terms of the contract, which Northrop Grumman described to DID as “over $40 million,” they will deliver 20 targeting pods and spares to the Royal Netherlands Air Force beginning in 2007. Final deliveries will take place in 2008.
LITENING AT was selected following a full competitive analysis that included Lockheed’s Sniper XR and RAFAEL’s LITENING III as alternative finalists. So, what exactly does LITENING AT offer, and how come Northrop Grumman ended up competing against partner RAFAEL?
In June 2005 the government of Turkey and Sikorsky signed a Memorandum of Understanding to buy 12-17 S-70 Seahawk helicopters for the Turkish Navy. Sikorsky just announced that it has managed to turn that MoU into a contract with the Ministry of National Defense, Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) for 17 new S-70B Seahawks, with first deliveries to begin in a year later than originally envisioned in 2009.
Turkey currently flies 7 S-70B Seahawks, after one of its helicopters crashed in 2002. The contract includes an order for 12 helicopters with options for another 5, as well as a retrofit program for existing S-70Bs, ongoing support, and other aspects. According to Turkish reports, the reason for the long delay was apparently the settling of a payment methods dispute between Turkey and Sikorsky.
Donald Rumsfeld resigned as US Secretary of Defense on Wednesday, November 8, 2006. Former CIA chief Robert Gates has been nominated as his replacement. There has been a fair bit of commentary on Rumsfeld’s tenure, much of which – appearing in the popular press – seems shallow and ephemeral rather than informed by deep looks into the organization, the challenges of military and procurement reform, or the forces shaping military procurement going forward. Meaningful assessments of the positive and negative aspects of Rumsfeld’s tenure are likely to emerge only with time and serious study.
Having offered that caveat, DID points to a few articles of some worth, along with links to some of DID’s past features covering either SecDef Rumsfeld himself or key challenges/ milestones during his tenure. Readers who wish to suggest other useful or insightful pieces are invited to submit the URLs and a quick statement of why each item is worthy to tips@ here at defenseindustrydaily.com.
“…demonstrate stable and controllable high-speed underwater transport through supercavitation. The intent is to determine the feasibility for supercavitation technology to enable a new class of high-speed underwater craft for future littoral missions that could involve the transport of high-value cargo and/or small units of personnel. The program will investigate and resolve critical technological issues associated with the physics of supercavitation and will culminate in a credible demonstration at a significant scale to prove that a supercavitating underwater craft is controllable at speeds up to 100 knots.”
James Bond is officially jealous, Q’s insurance division is cringing, and a pair of American defense contractors could be $78.6 million richer if the contracts they’ve just received pan out. We explain “supercavitation,” and detail the contracts involved.
The US has since issued a follow-on orders for the basic C-130J aircraft and some key variants (KC-130J tanker, EC-130J broadcaster, WC-130J weather, et. al.) in order to begin recapitalizing its decaying C-130 fleet, making the C-130J their successor by default. It has since been deployed into theater by the USAF, where its vastly improved performance in “hot and high” environments has come in very handy. Unlike the pending Airbus A400M, however, the C-130J doesn’t solve the sub-survivable 20-ton armored vehicle limit that has stymied multiple US armored vehicle programs from the Stryker IAV to Future Combat Systems. As such, it represents an improvement that fails to address US tactical airlift’s key bottleneck limitation.
Air Force officials recently announced that the multi-year procurement contract for the C-130J Hercules has been changed…
Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems Corp. in Redondo Beach, CA received a $126.2 million cost-plus-award fee contract modification to perform activities associated with rebaselining the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS, formerly SBIRS-Low) program for FY 2005 through FY 2008 due to funding restrictions. They will also perform additional government directed testing to improve mission assurance for the low-orbiting infrared ballistic missile detection & tracking satellites. Work will be complete June 2008, and the Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA issued the contract (F04701-02-C-0009/P00106).
So, what does this mean? Fiscal year funding constraints on STSS forced work content to be prioritized and time in a way that wasn’t congruent with the current block 6 performance baseline. In order for the contractor to make up for that lost time, efforts like double/triple shifts, additional personnel, etc. will increase their cost and this “pays the piper” for that politically-driven decision.
DRS Technologies, Inc. announced that it has received approximately $76 million in new orders to produce next-generation advanced uncooled Thermal Weapon Sights II (TWS II) for U.S. Army soldiers. DRS makes thermal imaging night vision sights that currently support the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operations forces, and the order was issued on behalf of US Army Program Executive Office Soldier by the Army’s Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) acquisition center in Fort Monmouth, NJ. It is is part of a competitively secured 5-year contract awarded to DRS in March 2004, with a total potential value of $375 million if all options are exercised.
The specific quantities, capabilities, and compatible weapons for the thermal sights ordered are described below. We’ve also included links that explain how thermal sights work, and offer industry forecasts for the larger electro-optical market.
The European Commission has granted clearance under EU Merger Regulation for the efforts of France’s Thales S.A. Germany’s Diehl Stiftung & Co. KG to make a joint control acquisition involving French firm TDA Armements SAS. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure.
The firms are setting up a joint venture for the production and sale of fuzes for ammunition, and safety and arming Devices (SAD) for missiles. In addition to relevant parts of TDA Armaments SAS, Thales’ Thales Munitronic BV (The Netherlands) and Forges de Zeebrugge (Belgium), and Diehl’s Junghans Feinwerktechnik GmbH & Co KG (Germany), will be added to the joint venture. See EC English release.