Gathering opposition in the US Congress has been slowing weapons requests from Saudi Arabia and resulted in postponement of the planned request for JDAM GPS-guided bombs. On Jan 14/08, the US DSCA announced the Government of Saudi Arabia’s official request for 900 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits: 550 GBU-38s for the 500 pound MK-82 bombs, another 250 GBU-31s for the 2,000 pound MK-84s, and 100 GBU-31s for BLU-109 2,000 pound “bunker buster” bombs). Also included are bomb components, mission planning, aircraft integration, publications and technical manuals, spare and repair parts, support equipment, contractor engineering and technical support, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $123 million, and Boeing would be the prime contractor.
The JDAMs are specifically noted as being “for use on RSAF F-15S aircraft”; though its Tornado GR4 fleet would also present a logical set of candidates, JDAM requires a MIL-STD-1760 data bus. Implementation of this sale would require the assignment of approximately 4 contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia to provide technical assistance to integrate the weapons into the operational units, plus annual 1 week Program Management Reviews in Saudi Arabia with U.S military and contractor personnel.
If the sale goes through. Congressional opposition hasn’t gone away, and the Saudi sale will face a serious fight.
The small to mid-tier acquisition engine continues in the US defense industry. Fresh from its acquisition of BAE Systems’ Surveillance and Attack business in Lansdale, PA, British firm Cobham plc has reached agreement to purchase SPARTA Inc. for to $416 million on a debt and cash free basis. The acquisition is expected to complete in the second quarter of 2008, subject to regulatory and SPARTA shareholder approvals, and Cobham expects that the acquisition will be earnings enhancing in 2008.
The purchase price represents a 12.1x EBITDA multiple; SPARTA’s FY 2006 operating profit was $28.6 million on revenue of $297.3 million, with $122 million in gross assets. $381 million will be payable on completion and satisfied from Cobham’s existing cash and debt facilities. SPARTA an employee-owned US company which is SEC registered, but unquoted; the balance of up to $35 million will be paid over the next 3 years to holders of unvested options who remain with the company. Cobham plc release.
SPARTA, Inc. specializes in systems engineering, and has done a lot of work on missile defense projects, including Project Hercules. Subject to approvals, SPARTA will become a separate strategic business unit within Cobham’s North America Division. Cobham CEO Allan Cook sees SPARTA as providing: “…an exciting platform for growth in the Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance segment, which is complementary to our existing US intelligence and defence capabilities. This is a major step forward in the implementation of Cobham’s technology strategy and the creation of a significant Tier 2 business supplying the US DoD and intelligence markets.”
It sounds like something James Bond would be sent to keep out of enemy hands. In January 2008, BAE Systems announced contract to develop ‘Capability E’ for its Harrier II GR9 (AV-8B+ counterpart) V/STOL(Vertical or Short Take-Off and Landing) jump jets.
There’s no need to call James, but the CAP E contract is nonetheless important to the UK’s Harrier fleet, which will remain Britain’s key expeditionary close-support aircraft and naval aviation backbone until the F-35B Lightning II STOVL(Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing) fully supplants them some time in the 2020s…
Booz Allen Hamilton in Norfolk, VA received a $25.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price contract to provide expertise in change management, organizational barrier identification and removal, and key enterprise performance metrics to the US Navy. This contract includes a base year and 4 one-year options, which if exercised, bring the total estimated value of the contract to $120.1 million.
Work will be performed in various locations around the continental United States (CONUS), and the base year will be complete by January 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured though Government-wide Points of Entry, Navy Electronic Commerce On-line, and Federal Business Opportunities websites, with 3 offers received by the Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk (N00189-08-D-0022).