In June 2006, Australian Minister of Defence the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson announced that Government has approved an A$ 2 billion (USD $1.475 billion at current rates) buy of 34 more NH90 multi-role helicopters.
Australia had already signed a contract for 12 “MRH-90” multi-role helicopters in June 2005 as additional troop lift for the Army, and delivery of that batch is scheduled from December 2007 – December 2009. These additional aircraft will bring the total MRH-90 fleet to 46. Initial deliveries of all MRH90s are still slated for December 2007, with 3 more MRH 90 delivered in 2008 and then 7-8 per year delivered until 2014. Deliveries of Australian-assembled helicopters will commence in December 2008. As these new helicopters are delivered, Australia’s old Sea Kings will be retired in 2010, followed by progressive replacement of the smaller S-70A-9 Black Hawks between 2011-2015.
Anticipated benefits from this consolidation into a single helicopter type include greater operational flexibility and efficiency through common operational, training and logistic systems and a capability to rotate personnel, aircraft, spare parts and role-specific equipment between troop lift, special operations and maritime support commitments. Some of the language and initiatives in the Minister’s statement may also have long-term implications for Australian procurement.
Forecast International reports that Sweden has decided to equip its 5 Visby Class stealth corvettes with Denel’s Umkhonto-IR anti-aircraft missile system (and see PDF brochure) at a total cost of about SEK 1 billion (currently about $149.6 million). The deal has yet to be approved by the Swedish parliament. This Umkhonto (“spear”) relies on inertial guidance coordinates transmitted by the attached 3-D radar, followed by lock-on after launch with the infrared seeker. The entire system is capable of engaging up to 8 targets, and has a range of 12 km and a maximum intercept altitude of about 10 km/ 33,000 feet. Umkhonto is currently in service on Finland’s Hamina class missile boats and Hameenmaa class minelayers, on South Africa’s new Meko Class frigates, and by the South African Army as a land-based SAM(Surface to Air Missile) system.
Visby stealth corvette
Forecast International adds that the stealthy Visby corvette program has received other setbacks and downgrades lately. Earlier in 2007, the new 127 mm ALECTO Anti-Submarine rocket system with its 2 trainable 6-rocket launchers had its development stopped. Visby corvettes will carry RBS15 Mk2 anti-ship missiles with half the range of the Mk3 variant, though their 100km range and warhead punch will still outclass the USA’s much larger Littoral Combat Ships by a wide margin. Unlike the LCS, however, Visby class ships won’t have an enclosed helicopter hangar, since the ship wouldn’t allow enough room for the planned A-109 HKP-15SBO.
A Swedish DID reader takes issue with Forecast International’s characterization, however, and also offers an explanation for the Umkhonto’s selection…
Osborne Construction Co. in Kirkland, WA received a $117.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of family housing replacements at Fort Wainwright, AK. Work is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2009. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Oct. 4, 2006, and 1 bid was received by the U.S. Army Engineer District, Elmendorf, Alaska (W911KB-07-C-0018).
Among other tenants, Fort Wainwright is home to the 172nd “Arctic Wolves” Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which earned he Valorous Unit Award (VUA) for service in Iraq from August 2005 – December 2006. Stories like PFC Stephen Sanford’s help to explain why. As for the housing, it was needed yesterday. This message greets visitors to the base’s home page:
“Soldiers reporting to Ft. Wainwright, Alaska, need to know that housing may not be immediately available and that they and their families might be required to live in an extended stay hotel for a lengthy period (several weeks/ months). Soldiers must also be advised that bringing pets is strongly discouraged because extended stay hotels do not allow pets and kennel space is extremely limited. If available, kennels will cost Soldiers approximately $15-$25 per day. It is suggested that Soldiers make arrangements to ship their pets only after permanent lodging is available and that they also check with the airlines to determine whether any travel restrictions exist.”
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of Turkey’s request for 100 MK-54 Lightweight All-Up-Round Warshot Torpedoes, 50 containers, required equipment platform and auxiliary upgrades and modifications, kits, support equipment, exercise hardware, maintenance facility upgrades, software development/integration, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, maintenance, training equipment, U.S. Government (USG) and contractor representatives, contractor engineering and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $105 million.
Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ received a $30.1 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N00019-03-C-0003) for the upgrade of 268 AIM-9M missiles for the Governments of Pakistan (200; $21.4M, 70.8%), Malaysia (57; $6.1M, 20.2%), and Korea (11; $1.2M, 3.9%); and for 229 Circuit Card Assembly kits for the Government of Canada ($1.5M, 5.1%).
The AIM-9M missile began production in 1982, and has been bought in quantity. Even though the new AIM-9X is now in production, the AIM-9M remains the main short range air-air missile (SRAAM) of the US Air Force and several allied Air Forces. DID describes the AIM-9M version, and its updates. One of these orders is also related to a larger fighter fleet expansion and refurbishment, and ties into previous DID articles. We cover that, too…
On April 24, 2007, BAE Systems announced a definitive agreement to sell its Inertial Products group within the Electronics & Integrated Solutions division to J.F. Lehman & Co. for $140 million cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. The sale also includes BAE Systems’ share of Silicon Sensing Systems, a joint venture between BAE Systems and Sumitomo Precision Products that is based in the U.K. and Japan. BAE’s release added that: “The sale is consistent with BAE Systems’ strategy to expand as a developer and integrator of systems and de-emphasize its role as a components provider.”
The Inertial Products business supplies military and commercial customers inertial sensors and measurement units for the control, navigation and guidance of fixed-wing and rotary-winged aircraft, precision weapon systems, missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, aerial targets and drones, tanks and fighting vehicles. It has approximately 810 employees at sites in Cheshire, CT; Heath, OH; Wayne, NJ; and Plymouth, UK. The transaction, is expected to occur within 60 days following receipt of regulatory approvals.
Cardinal Health, Inc. in Dublin, OH received a maximum $12.9 million firm-fixed-price prime vendor contract awarded to meet the pharmaceutical requirements of the routine Navy fleet, and the hospital ships USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy. Date of performance completion is May 19, 2008. This contract consists of a 12-month base period and four 12-month option periods; this is the third option year. There were 11 proposals solicited and 3 responded to the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA (SPM200-04-D-7020).
Sundt Construction Inc. in Phoenix, AZ received a $42.4 million increment as part of a $61.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of an armed forces reserve center, vehicle maintenance shop, and organizational unit storage facility in Bell, CA.
Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Oct. 12, 2006, and 2 bids were received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, KY (W912QR-07-C-0020). Work is expected to be completed by March 30, 2009.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in Goleta, CA received a $9.6 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract (N68936-04-D-0005) to provide continued engineering technical services in support of the development and production of advanced electronic warfare systems to include the AN/ALR-67(V)3 and AN/ALE-50A. Services include engineering support and products for software and systems engineering, software configuration management, operational flight program, user data file, and other software configuration item development and testing.
This award is additive to a $6.1 million contract announced on August 30, 2004. Work will be performed in Goleta, CA (80%); China Lake, CA (10%); and Pt. Mugu, Calif. (10%) and is expected to be complete in December 2007. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA issued the contract.
The Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, TX received a $928.3 million cost-plus-fixed fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity order type modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-D-6200) for approximately 45,653 staff months of research and development and specialized engineering support. Work will be performed in Austin, TX and is expected to be complete by March 2012. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued the contracts.
ARL:UT, as a Navy University Affiliated Research Center, will continue to provide research and development, test and evaluation and specialized engineering capabilities. These capabilities have been established and maintained at the Applied Research Laboratories since the 1940s, and have continued to be determined essential to the Navy’s needs.