Nov 05, 2007 18:00 UTC
DID has covered the stealthy AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) cruise missile’s key characteristics and development troubles. The February 2006 article “Breakup, Interrupted: JASSM Missile Back on Track” noted its 2006 budgetary allocations, and a subsequent article covered the regional military implications of JASSM’s winning Australia’s future strike missile competition. Despite its status as the program that got the Universal Armament Interface started, ongoing production, and efforts to upgrade the missiles with a full 2-way targeting and reporting link and range extension from 200 to 500 miles, the JASSM program remains troubled by very low test success scores that imperil its existence. Over 11 years of development, problems have arisen with its engine, warhead, power, electrical and other systems. Spring 2007 tests demonstrated guidance and detonation failures, testing success rates since December 2006 are reportedly just 58%, and the program has been reported to Congress for cost breaches.
Now a related and rather public controversy has boiled over, thanks to a United Press International article by Theodore Gaillard. Gaillard’s piece cites testing and reliability issues with the missile, but it also goes a step further and argues that JASSM is the wrong concept. In response, his articles have provoked an official reply from Lockheed Martin that directly addresses his arguments.
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Nov 05, 2007 13:05 UTC
EADS recently put out a release informing all of its Airbus A400M military transport customers that deliveries of the aircraft are now expected to start 6 months later than initially planned, with a risk of a further slippage of up to a half year. This pushes delivery of the first production aircraft back from 2009 to 2010 or early 2011, and delays all anticipated orders by up to 12 months. Current orders on the books include Germany (60), France (50), Spain (27), Britain (25), Turkey (10), South Africa (8), Belgium (7), Malaysia (4), Chile (3), and Luxembourg (1).
Concern was recently expressed in Britain about A400M schedule slippage and its effect on their airlift capabilities, and countries like Norway have chosen to buy smaller C-130J Hercules aircraft right now rather than wait to replace an aging fleet. The schedule slippage could affect order decisions by uncommitted countries. It has already contributed to Britain’s purchase of a 6th C-17, and may add urgency to NATO’s multinational C-17 pool initiative.
Key contributing factors in the A400M’s schedule slippage include slower than expected development of the plane’s 10,000 shp TP400-D6 turboprop engines from the EuroProp International consortium (Rolls-Royce, Snecma Moteurs, MTU Aero Engines and Industria deTurbopropulsores, plus Ratier-Figeac’s FH386 propellers), schedule overruns in systems development, and “a flight test program that differs significantly from that of commercial Airbus aircraft” [implied: and for which Airbus was no fully prepared]. The first test A400M is currently in production on the new final assembly line in Seville, Spain and is expected to make its first flight in summer 2008. Milestones reached to date include inauguration of the Aircraft Test Facility, and presentation of a fully functional A400M Systems Simulator demonstration at the end of July 2007.
UPDATE: EADS reports a EUR 1.2 – 1.4 billion charge to earnings (up to $2 billion) as a result of the delay. In October 2008, first flight was later back to early 2009, as a contract dispute erupted between Airbus and its customers.
Nov 05, 2007 12:57 UTC
Odebrecht Construction Inc. in New Orleans, LA received a $41.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a hurricane protection levee in New Orleans, Loisiana. Work is expected to be complete by Oct. 30, 2008. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Sept 5/07, and 5 bids were received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans, LA (W912P8-08-C-0007).
Nov 05, 2007 11:56 UTC
Aptly-named mall business qualifier Sprung Inc. in West Jordan, UT won an $8.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for sprung structures to be used in support of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Program. You might think this means vehicle springs, or something like that. No – these are a form of relocatable, semi-rigid “instant buildings”. The firm has come a long way since 1887, when it made chuck wagon covers & tepees… OK, maybe it hasn’t. Still, a product that has been used as a Utah church can surely help a program whose vehicles may be one of the few places one finds more fervent prayer.
Work will be performed in Iraq, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 25, 2007. Bids were solicited via the World Wide Web on Oct. 13, 2007, and 8 bids were received by the Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/Afghanistan jn Baghdad, Iraq (W91GDW-08-M-0003).