BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems have signed a memorandum of agreement to work collaboratively in support of the U. S. Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Team modernization plan aimed at achieving modernization and commonality among the US Army’s heavy brigades. BAE already has partnership agreements with the Army concerning its M2/M3 Bradley infantry/ cavalry fighting vehicles, and its M109 tracked self-propelled howitzers. General Dynamics makes the USA’s M1 Abrams tanks, which are undergoing upgrades (M1A2 SEP & M1 TUSK) and RESET programs of their own.
The agreement was developed with the Army’s encouragement under the leadership of Kevin Fahey, the Army’s Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat System (PEO-GCS). It defines how both companies will work with the Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Team Project Manager, and the Abrams & Bradley vehicle Product Managers, to turn front-line requirements into common solutions for relevant vehicles in the HBCT. The agreement also establishes the basic process for collaborative specification and product development, and provisions for the common procurement of material to support system evolution on both companies’ combat vehicles. common solutions would reduce logistics burdens, lower development costs, and make Soldier training easier; the HBCT’s combat vehicles have already demonstrated successful common requirements management in programs like HTI for thermal imaging.
BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems are also One Team partners for the Future Combat Systems program, with primary responsibility for the program’s family of tracked vehicles. FCS Spinout 1 is already transferring communications systems and networking hardware to HBCT vehicles, and this partnership makes it easier to leverage other emerging technologies into common upgrades as well. BAE Systems release | GD release.
The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP) in Philadelphia, PA issues contracts for American field rations, knows as Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), and for Humanitarian Daily Rations used when providing aid in emergency situations abroad.
While there are reports that the French RCIR (Ration de Combat Individuelle Réchauffable) has superior trade value on the front lines, MREs are generally considered to be a significant improvement over earlier US rations. DID readers with a high fright threshold might wish to view a set of comparative photos of modern army rations from various militaries; even if you knew nothing about China, you could guess that their soldiers are draftees. Or, you can learn about the tactical uses of MREs as protection against anti-tank rockets. See below for field anecdotes and contracts from FY 2007 – Present.
In 2005, issues regarding Israeli weapons exports boiled over between Israel and the USA. Israel’s status as an observer in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program was suspended until a resolution in 2006 resulted in the USA assuming de facto veto power over all Israeli exports – even those that do not use American technologies, and fall outside of ITAR as non-military items, but could have potential security implications.
Israel’s canceled $100 million deal to upgrade Venezuela’s F-16s at a time when America was still shipping spare parts is often touted as the first example of that covenant in action. A more recent illustration of that covenant’s effects was recently provided when China sought to purchase time-share use of an Eros-B satellite from the ImageSat International (ISI) joint venture. IAI’s Eros series is derived from Israel’s Ofek-5 military satellite, and provides sub-1.8m imaging similar to France’s Spot satellites, and Space Imaging’s IKONOS. Although the Eros is not classified as a military item, the ISI Satellite Operating Partner (SOP) program allows images to be streamed directly to a customer’s ground stations, and it was submitted for review – a review that may yet scupper the deal…
The Royal New Zealand Air Force is a shadow of its former self these days, but at least the service was recently given permission to upgrade its helicopter capabilities. Phase 1 involved buying 9 NH90s in 2006 to replace its Vietnam-era Hueys. Phase 2 aims to replace their Bell B47G-3B-2 Sioux, an upgraded derivative of the Bell 47 helicopters that most people recognize from watching the Korean War TV show M
A*S*H. Over 6,000 Bell 47s were produced in over 20 versions from 1946-1973.
The AgustaWestland A109 is New Zealand’s preferred choice for a new training and light utility helicopter (T/LUH). It will provide a platform to train aircrew in basic helicopter operations, plus the advanced skills required to operate both the Navy SH-2G Super Seasprites, and the RNZAF NH90s that were scheduled to come into service in 2010, but have been delayed. It is also capable of performing basic light utility missions like transport, rescue, and medical evacuation if needed.
It’s Cpl. Klinger! (click to view larger)
The New Zealand Ministry of Defence will now begin negotiations with Finmeccanica subsidiary Agusta-Westland for 5 aircraft and a simulator. The A019E/LUH currently serves with the armed forces of Malaysia, South Africa, and Sweden, the US Coast Guard, and with a number of national police and border agencies around the world. The broader A109 family also serves in Albania, Argentina, Australia (Navy), Belgium (A109BA, associated with a major bribery scandal), Benin, China (licensed CA109), Chile (Carabineros), Ghana, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Sweden, UK, and Venezuela. RNZAF release.
Special Projects Special Applications (SPSA), LLC in Harrisonburg, VA received a $54.4 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract with a maximum ordering quantity of 1,806 Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Kits. The initial Delivery Order is for 1,031 out of the 1,806 EOD Kits, and is valued at $12.9 million.
Work will be performed in Harrisonburg, VA, and is expected to be complete by October 2012. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a full and open competition award to SPSA, LLC as they won the competition for the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Kits. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-D-5011).
Boeing Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Jim McNerney said that “We are executing a balanced cash deployment strategy that’s serving Boeing and its shareholders well.” The next wave of share repurchases will be made on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions.
South of the Sahara desert, there are few successful states in Africa – and even fewer with anything resembling a modern military. Even so, the African Union wants 5 regional rapid deployment forces ready for use in 2010. Whether this can be achieved is questionable; Africa is legendary for its difficulties and fragmentation, and NATO’s recent decision to scale back its own Rapid Reaction Force promises graphically illustrates the need to back up words with budgets, action, and political cohesion. If any success is possible in southern Africa, however, it’s likely that South Africa will be the 6,000-10,000 man force’s anchor state. Whether responding to wars, or to disaster relief scenarios like Mozambique’s floods in 2000, these forces would face two critical challenges. One is interoperable communications. The other is logistics.
Given Africa’s poor infrastructure, seabasing options begin to look very attractive. Which may help to explain the FNS Tonnerre’s recent visit to South Africa – and the South African military’s interest in a “strategic support ship” that can land vehicles and support them with helicopters. In other words, an LHD, with a large helicopter deck, roll-off vehicle decks, accommodations for troops, fresh water production, a built-in hospital, et. al. In Africa, it will also want to have a shallow draught that allows it access to Africa’s “unimproved” harbors.
According to Defense News, South African defense analyst Helmoed-RÃ¶mer Heitman sees 3 major contenders if the project goes forward. The first is France’s DCNS and its 21,300t Mistral Class LHD, which visited South Africa recently and performed vehicle loading and helicopter landing tests with South African equipment, before undertaking a stormy sail around the Cape. The second is Spain’s Navantia, which is building a 27,500t BPE (LHD/CV-E) ship for the Spanish government, and recently beat DCNS after submitting a very similar design for Australia’s 2 Canberra Class LHDs. The third is Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and its Multi-Role Helicopter Dock Ship; TKMS co-built South Africa’s Meko Class frigates and enjoys good relations with the South African military.
The political situation in Israel around missile defense has always been more cohesive and certain than other countries. Japan is another such case, thanks to an emerging consensus after North Korea’s unstable leadership fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan. In Israel’s case, they are confronted by a regime in Iran that has openly threatened to wipe out the Jewish state several times, while preaching the moral value of suicide-murder and building ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons of their own.
France’s semi-private naval design & construction firm DCNS has signed a “purchase general contract” for R&D cooperation with Russia’s the Krylov Shipbuilding Research Institute, via Rosoboronexport. It is an amplification of the Letter of Intent the two companies signed during the 2006 Paris Euronaval exhibition.
Work is expected to include “technical relationships for hydrodynamic studies and experimentations… for surface ships as much as for submarines is within the R&D scope of the general contract.” DCNS release.
In December 2006, The Business online reported that the Saudi government was in talks to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from the French, regardless of how ongoing issues with the Eurofighter Typhoon contract were resolved. The Dassault Rafale contract would reportedly be in addition to the Eurofighter, not an either-or deal. With support and complementary ordnance added in, this could easily become a $5-15 billion transaction of its own.
It was just the latest chapter in a string of reports along these lines that stretch back to at least April 2005. Now, a Reuters report indicates that interest in the French fighter may be fading.