British efforts to move toward a new way of supporting their aircraft have involved through-life umbrella maintenance contracts based on availability rather than hours or spares. It is a model that Britain is using for several weapons platforms, and with the recent B-2 bomber contract it is even beginning to take hold in the USA.
In recent days, the UK MoD and BAE Systems have taken a pair of steps to extend that model. One step is a recent GBP 74 million contract (currently about $145 million) that introduces the concept to Britain’s fleet of 131 Hawk T Mk.1 trainer aircraft.
What’s driving this interest? Four things. One is persistence, in an era where constant surveillance + rapid precision strike creates a formidable military asset. A second is cost, especially in an era of rising fuel prices. A recent US NAVSEA release offers figures that starkly illustrate the gap in surveillance cost per hour between an aerostat and planes or UAVs:
Boeing Corp. in Huntington Beach, CA received a $49.5 million cost-plus-award fee contract modification for one Delta II Launch Vehicle in the standard 7925-9.5 configuration, used to launch the last GPS IIR satellite on the National launch Forecast. At this time, 50% ($24.75 million) of the funds have been obligated, and work will be complete September 2008. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA issued the contract (FA4701-93-C-0004/P00345).
The Delta II booster purchase includes a 1st stage, a 2nd stage, a payload attach fitting, a spin table, a 3rd stage motor, a 9.5 ft payload fairing, and 40 inch Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEMS); plus all integration activities.
ATK subsidiary Alliant Lake City Small Caliber Ammunition Company L.L.C. in Independence, MO received the full $30 million delivery order amount of $30 million as part of a firm-fixed-price contract for intellectual property and capital equipment/improvement settlement. Work will be performed in Independence, MO and is expected to be complete by April 30, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Sept. 30, 1998 by the U.S. Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, AL (DAAA09-99-D-0016).