Thales and Sabena Technics have won a EUR 40+ million (about $60 million) contract from the French DGA(Délégation Générale pour l’Armement) procurement agency to design, develop and deliver avionics upgrades to France’s 14 C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft. France doesn’t talk much about its C-130s, preferring to stress locally-designed aircraft like the similar 2-engined C-160 Transall, and the forthcoming Airbus A400Ms. With airlift requirements increasing given deployments in Africa and Central Asia, however, upgrades to the existing fleet are a must.
These upgrades will ensure the Hercules’ continued compliance with ICAO regulations, allowing unlimited use of European and international airspace (rather than restricted flight zones and special permits) from 2010. This comprehensive upgrade also includes standardization of system ergonomics to bring them more in line with the current “glass cockpit” standard on other aircraft. Thales and Sabena Technics will design, develop and integrate a new avionics architecture on a prototype C-130 aircraft, which will be qualified by Atelier Industriel de l’Aeronautique (AIA). Once qualified, Thales and Sebena will supply the kits, and AIA will handle installation on the rest of the French C-130 fleet. Thales will provide through-life support for the new avionics suite to 2013.
With Boeing’s C-130 Avionics Modernization Program experiencing rising costs, Thales sees this project as a “springboard to the global market of more than 200 C-130 Hercules transport aircraft that will require avionics upgrades in the next few years.” Thales release.
Lockheed Martin Government Services, Inc. in Seabrook, MD received a 7th year option of $27.1 million as part of contract MDA220-01-D-0002 for management of the Retired and Annuitant pay service. The service was formerly managed by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), but was the subject of an “A-76 action.” The core concept of the American “A-76” option is that it puts in-house services up for bid against private contractors, and may outsource the function if outside contractors can deliver better and cheaper. This sort of thing can be rather disconcerting to our readers in government departments, while many our readers working in large corporations probably wish they had this option with some of their internal departments. DID covered option #6 last year, along with a very provocative and interesting follow-on question from a reader re: A-76 competitions.
The estimated aggregate face value of this contract at time of award was $346.4 million. Primary work is performed at DFAS Cleveland, OH and secondary work which includes document scanning and primarily imaging is performed at London, KY. Under this option, work will be performed between Feb 1/08, through Jan 31/09. The DFAS Contract Services Directorate in Columbus, OH issued the contract (MDA220-01-D-0002).
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The UK Ministry of Defence recently placed a GBP 6.6 million (about $13.1 million) order for 44,000 chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) suits. The suits guard against biological or chemical attacks, and provide some degree of protection from nuclear fallout. They are worn with rubber over-boots and gloves, and are designed to seal around the CBRN service respirator and fit over combat clothing. Woodland and desert camouflage patterns are available.
The suits will be manufactured by Remploy, which was formed more than 60 years ago to provide work for people injured at home and abroad during the World War 2. The company has supplied specialist protection suits for several years from its workshops around Scotland and the United Kingdom.
Britain has made a number of improvements to its CBRN capabilities lately. While its forces no longer face a Soviet enemy across the Fulda Gap, whose operational doctrine caled for massive chemical weapon strikes in advance of an attack. Nevertheless, the falling technology curve continues to make it easier for rogue states and other elements to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction. Other recent improvements the UK moD has made in this area include truck-mounted Integrated Biological Detection Systems, man-portable chemical agent detectors, and tactical radiation monitoring equipment. MoD release.