On June 20/08, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] South Korea’s official request for a variety of weapons to equip its air force, in conjunction with the planned Direct Commercial Sale of 21 additional F-15K Strike Eagle fighters detailed in “Korea’s F-X Multi-Role Fighter Buy, Phase 2: The Race is Over“. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $200 million.
The principal contractor is Raytheon in Tucson, AZ. South Korea should have no problem integrating these weapons, and there are currently 4 U.S. Air Force pilots and 5 maintenance Extended Training Service Specialists in the Republic of Korea. They are expected to remain for the next 5 years.
Canada’s military personnel have a reputation for being well-trained, but the state of their equipment and capabilities had become much bleaker after decades of neglect. Significant emergency purchases were required to secure the equipment needed for operations in Afghanistan, and despite being the second largest country in the world, the state of its military airlift capability was poor and deteriorating at all levels. Recent years have seen something of a turnaround, especially the funding injection and the beginning of major airlift (C-17, C-130J) and helicopter (CH-47D, CH-47F) projects in 2005-2006, and the shift away from wheeled armored vehicles to tracked tanks and M113s. Budget 2006 provided $5.3 billion over 5 years to sustain operations, acquire new equipment, and expand both the Regular and Reserve Forces, and ratcheted planned spending by $1.8 billion annually starting in 2011-2012.
Decades of neglect cannot be fixed overnight, however. Over 50% of the country’s military infrastructure is over 50 years old. On the equipment side, Canada’s Tribal Class destroyers, City Class frigates, CP-140/P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, Buffalo fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, CF-18 fighter aircraft, and land combat vehicles and systems (other than tanks) will all reach the end of their service lives and need to be replaced at varying times over the next 20 years.
To this end, the Conservative Party of Canada led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is proposing a long-term funding framework that would increase defense spending by about $600 million per year over the next 20 years. Nevertheless, the nature of its timelines, and of Canada’s political system, must both be considered as one evaluates this plan… which is now available in more detail, online.
The Patria Group s Finland’s biggest defense company, with product offerings that range from mortars to vehicles to aircraft. The joint venture Millog Oy is part of that group, and the firm has just signed an 8-year, EUR 484 million (currently $755 million) base partnership agreement that will transfer most of the Finnish army’s equipment maintenance at the beginning of 2009. Patria Oyj’s release says that Finnish Army equipment maintenance currently costs about EUR 100 million per year.
The partnership is best described as a partial transfer, but it does fit the general model of partnered defense maintenance contracts around the world. Front line repair shops will continue their operations as part of the Finnish Defence Forces, while the partnership agreement covers life-cycle support and depot-level vehicle repairs. Millog will work on electronic, missile and weapon systems, as well as modifications and installations to all equipment. The maintenance organisations of Materiel Command, including Electronics Centre, Vehicle Depot and Depots in Kuopio, Lievestuore and Tervola will be transferred to Millog at the beginning of 2009. Millog will use the Defence Forces’ information systems and will receive about 520 people from the military, plus another 100 who will be retired by 2013 and will work under Millog’s supervision.
Finally, Millog Oy will act as a neutral expert, helping the Army plan for the maintenance costs of related procurements. The joint venture of Patria, Insta Group, Raskone, Sisu Auto Ab and Oricopa expects annual net sales of about 70 million going forward, and by 2016 the firm expects to raise 25% of revenues from customers other than this Army partnership.
Raytheon in Tucson, AZ received a maximum $6.9 million contract. This contract will provide a Global Positioning System (GPS) circuit card assembly that utilizes Selective Availability Ant-Spoofing Module (SAASM) technology. With GPS embedded in everything from smart bombs to hand-held devices carried by thousands of US and foreign military troops, the ability to protect GPS-related “m-code” circuits from jamming is a critical capability.
This contract will support foreign military sales to Austria, Bahrain, Chile, Columbia, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. Raytheon Facility-100% Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA received the contract (FA8807-08-D-0002)
ECC, Inc. in Burlingame, CA received a $13.2 million firm-fixed price contract for design and construction of facilities for the Afghan National Police Border Police Zone. Work will be performed in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, and is expected to be complete by July 1, 2009. Five bids were solicited on April 23/08, and 4 bids were received. The U.S. Army Engineer District, Afghanistan manages the contract (W917PM-07-D-0015).
Mazar-e-Sharif is located in northern Afghanistan, near the border with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. While there are a good number of Uzbeks among the foreign jihadis in Afghanistan, the Uzbek border is not their major transit point. Most come from fifedoms within al-Qaeda’s enclaves in Pakistan, which were set up by al-Qaeda and the Taliban after friction between foreign jihadis and local tribes flared into serious violence. Nevertheless, securing Afghanistan’s borders is an important job for the civil government, and allowing any obvious weak points is an invitation to have them exploited.
Saudi Arabia has an unusual land forces structure whereby it has an “American brigade” (8th Armored Brigade) currently armed with US equipment like M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradleys et. al., and a “French brigade” (4th Armored Brigade) armed with French equipment including AMX-30 tanks, AMX-10P APCs, et. al. This approach hedges against supplier continuity and creates wider markers for geopolitical favors, at the cost of increased maintenance burdens, and potential logistical and interoperability headaches. Which are generally outsourced via comprehensive maintenance contracts.
Walsh Construction in Chicago, IL received a $71.6 million firm-fixed price contract to build a 4-story addition to the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, IL. The work also provides for some demolition and renovation work for tie-in connections to the VA Medical Center in North Chicago, IL.
The new center is the result of merging the North Chicago VA Medical Center and the Great Lakes Naval Hospital. The USA’s first joint Veterans Affairs (VA)/Navy care facility is scheduled to open in 2010, and will care for nearly 100,000 veterans, sailors, retirees and family members. The project was originally a $130 million joint initiative, and is named after astronaut and Chicago native Jim Lovell. Most people know him as the commander of the “Houston, we have a problem” Apollo 13 mission, but he was also the command pilot of Apollo 8, the first Apollo mission to enter lunar orbit. Lovell is a recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Work will be performed in North Chicago, Ill., and is expected to be complete by July 2010. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 3 proposals received by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Midwest in Great Lakes, IL (N40083-08-C-0059).
June 16/08: Northrop Grumman Corp. in Rolling Meadows, IL received a $9.1 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N00019-08-C-0007) for hardware and services required to operate and maintain AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT Block-2 Pods in support of the Government of Finland’s F/A-18 Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, IL and is expected to be complete in December 2012.
Dec 17/07: Northrop Grumman Corp. in Rolling Meadows, IL received a $23.4 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide 10 AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT Block II Pods and the associated hardware and services required to operate and maintain the system. All services are being performed in support of the F/A-18 aircraft program for the Government of Finland under the Foreign Military Sales Program. LITENING pods have been integrated with other F/A-18 fleets, so that process is fairly straightforward.
Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, IL and is expected to be completed in Dec. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-08-C-0007). See also Jan 31/08 NGC release.
Nevertheless, the tent continues to be the US military’s preferred form of shelter for troops in war zones, and FEMA/DHS’ preferred option for disaster relief. Even upgrades like airbeam technology appears to be having difficulty finding a quick foothold, despite SSC Natick’s best efforts. Recent additions include a recent set of 10 awards, which begin a new set of contracts with the same roster of suppliers…
M.A. Mortenson Co. in Minneapolis, MN received a $72.1 million firm-fixed price contract for a design/build project at Fort Lewis, WA, including 2 Special Operations Forces complexes. Work is expected to be complete by May 30/10. Web bids were solicited on Jan 11/08, and 2 bids were received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District in Seattle, WA (W912DQ-07-D-0053).
Fort Lewis is home to many units, including the Army’s 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), with responsibility for the Pacific sphere, and the 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.