On Aug 3/07, the US DSCA formally announced Israel’s request [PDF] for various US bombs and precision guidance kits. Requested items include 10,000 live MK-84 2,000-lb. bombs; 1,500 live MK-82 500-lb. bombs; 2,000 live BLU-109 2,000-lb. bombs with penetrator warheads; JDAM tail kits that add GPS/INS guidance to bombs (10,000); Paveway II laser-guidance kits for the 500-lb. MK-82 (2,500), the 1,000-lb. MK-83 (500), and the 2,000 pound MK-84 (1,000) bombs; 10,000 FMU-139 live fuze components; 10,000 FMU-152 live fuze components; and 50 GBU-28 Enhanced Paveway III 5,000-lb. ‘bunker buster’ laser/GPS guided live bombs. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $465 million.
Israel already has all of these munitions in its inventory, which was depleted during its 2006 war against Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran. It also produces many similar devices domestically, but can allocate American foreign assistance dollars to pay American firms and so Israel always finds itself balancing domestic capabilities and spending against American industry purchases. Amidst rumors of a planned attack by Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in late 2007, rapid replenishment may also be a consideration. The principal contractors will be:
Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corporation in St. Charles, MO (JDAM kits)
Alliant Techsystems Incorporated in Janesville, WI (ATK makes fuzes and explosives)
Alliant Techsystems Incorporated in Clearwater, FL
The Chosun Ibo newspaper reports that Korea Aerospace Industries has finalized a contract to export 55 of its homegrown XKT-1 light trainers to Turkey by 2013. The deal is valued at $500 million, making it Korea’s largest ever aircraft order and the country’s second largest defense sale behind the $1 billion 2001 with Turkey for its K-9 mobile howitzer. Other sources including Yonhap, Middle East Times, et. al. confirm the news.
On Aug 3/07, the US DSCA announced [PDF format] Bahrain’s request for 6 Bell 412 Air Search and Recovery Helicopters configured with PT6T-9 engines and electronic engine control, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government (USG) support, and contractor representatives’ engineering and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of one Contractor Field Service representative to Bahrain for one year to assist in the delivery and deployment of the helicopters. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $160 million.
Bell 412s are listed as commercial helicopters, but they are used by a number of militaries around the world, including the Canadian military (CH-146 Griffon). The principal contractors will be Bell Textron of Fort Worth, TX, and Bell Textron of Canada. These Bahraini helicopters will be used for “various military operations to include the protection of sovereign borders as well as the protection and defense of U.S. and coalition strategic facilities.” Among other things, Bahrain is an anchorage for the US 5th fleet.
The US DSCA has formally announced [PDF] Morocco’s request for 60 M109A5 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 30 HMMWV engines, 233 wheel assemblies, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, Quality Assurance Team support services, U.S. Government logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $29 million; if no Congressional opposition blocks the proposed sale within 30 days, the parties will be free to finalize a contract and complete the procurement.
There will be a U.S. Government Quality Assurance Team in country for 1 year to check out the equipment. A Technical Assistance Field Team also will participate for 2-week intervals twice annually, to participate in program management and technical reviews.
Morocco currently operates earlier version M109A1B self-propelled howitzers, and will use this new procurement to retire older artillery pieces and modernize its Army’s fire support capability. On the US end, the equipment is considered long supply and is no longer utilized by the U.S. Government. The M109A5 stops short of the full M109A6 ‘Paladin’ upgrade fielded with many US units, but it does feature a number of electronics and mechanical improvements. With Morocco’s neighbor and rival Algeria in the middle of a $7.5 billion Russian arms buy, the country is looking to make judicious purchases that upgrade its own capabilities – French Rafale jets are also rumored to be in the pipeline.