April 25/07: According to the European Defence Agency, Britain’s “Specialist and Utility Vehicles (SUV)” Integrated Project Team is seeking tenders for about 180 “Medium Protected Patrol Vehicles” for “a wide range of patrol tasks” under solicitation EDA-1064. The MPPVs will be wheeled vehicles with a gross weight fully loaded of around 14 tonnes (about 36,000 pounds), offering “very high levels of protection against a number of known and emerging threats of a varied nature including Ballistic, Blast, Mine and Fragmentation” and “a degree of cross country mobility” despite being slated mostly for road and rough track use.
Delivery into service is expected in early 2009, at an estimated cost of GBP 20-100 million. Indications of interest must be in by May 11, 2007 at 12:00 GMT.
The new RG-33L
These specifications closely match the Cougar variant “Mastiff PPV” vehicles Britain has bought before to fill this role, though some have criticized the modified design’s lack of visibility. The approximate contract value for all 108 Mastiffs purchased to date is $70.1 million, currently around GBP 35.1 million. This contract may well see renewed competition, however, as options like BAE’s RG-33/RG-33L are also available on the market these days; furthermore, the solicitation is being specifically described as a “risk reduction measure to investigate the possible options available” under a funded “Cat D Capability Concept Demonstration (CCD) programme.” The DVD 2007 event on June 27-28 will provide manufacturers with an opportunity to show equipment or concepts for informal assessment; when/if funding is released, the program will transition to normal Category C procurement procedures.
Under Jack Welch, General Electric Company became famous for its determination to be #1 or #2 in a field, or get out and focus on areas where it could achieve a commanding position. That aim still drives GE, which is why it’s worth paying attention to GE’s announced purchase of aircraft control & diagnostic systems manufacturer Smiths Aerospace plc for $4.8 billion in cash.
Smiths Aerospace plc was part of the Smiths Group, with more than 11,000 employees in Europe, North America, and Asia; and $2.4 billion in equivalent 2006 revenues. In addition to being a leading supplier of flash-welded rings used in the manufacture of aircraft engines, their key products and services also include flight management systems, airborne platform computing systems, monitoring systems, power generation, conversion and distribution products, actuation products and systems for flight control, thrust reversers and landing gear applications, various engine components, aircraft structural components, land navigation, and a global customer services organization. The company has quietly but firmly built up key positions in these areas, with a significant presence on most commercial aircraft, many military aircraft, and even military land vehicles. See this diagram for a fine overview. More important, Smiths has a firm presence inside new aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 super-jumbo, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, P-8 MMA maritime aircraft, Britain’s Future Lynx multi-role helicopter, et. al.
There are still a few Is to be dotted and Ts to be crossed, with completion scheduled for Q2 2007; in the meantime, both firms have plans, and approval is moving through key regulatory bodies…
Price Waterhouse Coopers L.L.P. in Washington, DC received a delivery order amount of $7.5 million as part of a $16.8 million firm-fixed-price contract to conduct a financial statement audit of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works FY 2007 financial statements.
Work will be performed in Washington, DC and is expected to be complete by April 25, 2008. There were 5 bids solicited on March 20, 2006, and 5 bids were received by the Washington Headquarters Services in Arlington, VA (N00421-05-D-0025).