In August 2006, a $156 million DSCA request for the refurbishment/ sustainment of 1,000 M113A1 Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) to M113A2-Jordan configuration was one of a slew of DSCA announcements. The request included various upgraded conversion kits: diesel engines, transmission upgrades and overhaul, differential conversions, suspension upgrades, cooling system upgrades, and drive train upgrades; spare and repair parts; and support. The contractor is BAE Land Systems & Armaments in Santa Clara, CA. See full DSCA release [PDF format].
In April 2007, Flight International reported that Israel had approached the USA about acquiring F-22 stealth fighters, as concern mounted about new threats to the IAF’s regional air superiority from proposed sales of advanced US weapons to the Gulf states, and Israeli assessments of a growing threat from Iran. Sources say that the issue was raised during a trip by US defense secretary Robert Gates to Israel, though Gates replied with briefings designed to encourage Israel to accept the F-35 instead.
Current Israeli Air Force plans call for F-35s to replace retiring F-16s, a request that has been approved by the State Department. The F-22 request is likely to face tougher sledding, for a number of reasons. Nevertheless, Israel may be about to revive it, in the wake of sticker shock over the F-35A’s price tag, and concerns about delivery dates. Israel will be one of several countries (Australia, Israel, Japan, to some extent South Korea) who will be following upcoming Congressional deliberations over lifting the F-22’s export ban, in order to keep the production line alive with a downgraded variant.
Use means wear. Wear means maintenance or replacement. Use in combat conditions also generates life-or-death requests for improvements. The Dutch are facing al of these imperatives thanks to combat operations in southern Afghanistan, and so they are turning their attention to the weapons their soldiers carry. Their army currently uses a combination of C7 (M16), C8 (M4), and LSW (M16 CAR sustained fire weapon) rifles from Diemaco (now Colt Canada), and FN Herstal’s Minimi 5.56mm light machine gun. Under Project SRIM-OAD, the Dutch intend to RESET and upgrade 25,000 Diemaco rifles, and receive 2,000 new and upgraded Minimis, in order to re-equip their front line forces. The Dutch also aim to keep a spares reserve of 5% for mechanical elements and 10% for optical elements; the latter figure being because optics are more delicate and have longer repair or replacement times.
This EUR 43.8 million (VAT tax included, about $56 million) project will add at least 2 major upgrades to their weapons, and a contract has now been signed.