On July 2/10, the US DSCA announced [PDF] Tunisia’s formal request to buy 12 refurbished US Navy SH-60F Seahawk utility Helicopters, plus associated equipment. The SH-60Fs would be offered as Excess Defense Articles (grant EDA notification is being submitted separately). In the US Navy, the SH-60F is a utility and search and rescue helicopter, with secondary submarine hunter capabilities via its dipping sonar and sonobuoys. This distinguishes it from its SH-60B Seahawk/LAMPS counterpart, which adds a maritime radar and surface attack capabilities.
Tunisia is expected to use the helicopters for border/sea surveillance, search and rescue, and utility duties. The country sits between Libya and Algeria on the southern Mediterranean coast, right across from Italy, so naval helicopters are very useful to them. Its air force currently flies some old H-3/S-61 Sea Kings, so even used SH-60Fs would represent a frugal upgrade. The recent fall of Tunisia’s government has placed this deal in doubt…
Combat boots remain one of the infantry’s most important and least-appreciated pieces of gear. Unless you’ve served in the infantry, of course. After decades of “Army boots” being used as a term for old-fashioned, heavy, uncomfortable items worn by serving soldiers and the mothers of childhood antagonists, modern professional militaries have begun to get smarter about footwear. Their new aim is to leverage civilian advances in design and materials, in order to build or buy new boots that are more comfortable, longer lasting, and support the efforts of troops in the field, rather than acting as a limiting factor. The US military has been following this path for some time now. Other nations like Britain are also coming on board with the trend.
A set of contracts were issued in 2007, with future option years to follow. This article tracks those specific contracts, and is meant to be representative, not a comprehensive look at all US military combat boot orders. Participating firms and orders include:
Oilers do what their name suggests: provide fuel to Navy ships at sea, and jet fuel to aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers. They’re often overlooked, or considered secondary, but the truth is that the number, quality, and capacity of a fleet’s oilers determines its ability to deploy on distant missions, especially in surge scenarios. They work alongside fast replenishment ships and other vessels that also have fuel-carrying capabilities, and generally shuttle fuel to Navy ships and to a strike group’s accompanying T-AOE station ships.