General Electric Aviation of Cincinnati, OH received a $50.5 million contract modification which will provide newly redesigned High Pressure Compressor and High Pressure Turbine assemblies, newly redesigned Aging Engine Upgrade Components, initial provisioning spares, and new technical data to support the F110-GE-100/-129 jet engines’ Service Life Extension Plan (SLEP) and Aging Engine Upgrade initiatives. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the 448th SCMG/PKBC at Tinker Air Force Base, OK.
The F110-GE-100 engine flies in USAF F-16C/D Block 30 and Block 40 aircraft. The F110-GE-129 engine, which first entered service in 1992, equips F-16 Block 50 aircraft, which is the most recent USAF production version. Although Pratt & Whitney’s F100 was the initial engine for all F-16s, its maintenance and performance problems escalated to the point that the USAF began buying the newly-developed GE F110 engine instead, which featured more reliability and higher thrust. It also required a larger air inlet, hence the “bigmouth” F-16 designs from Block 30/32 onward. The resulting competition has spurred both manufacturers to improve their products over the years, and Pratt & Whitney’s F100-PW-229 has scored a number of recent wins among international F-16 customers, but most serving USAF F-16s fly with GE’s F110 engine.
As the 2005 contract date implies, this award is just one of a long series. The F110 SLEP upgrade uses technology from the CFM56-7 commercial engine core in use by modern 737s, 3D aero technology, and a redesigned flow path with changes to the combustor and high-pressure turbine. GE believes these changes provide up to a 25% improvement in cost-per-flying-hour, a significant time-on-wing increase, and elimination of special inspections, and estimates the potential life-long savings at approximately $1 billion for 800 F110 engines (FA8104-05-C-0053, PO0018).
What do you do with 469 attack helicopters, once you’ve decided to phase them out of service? That was the question facing America, after the Army decided to retire its AH-1P/S/F Cobra attack helicopter fleet in 1999, and the National Guard followed suit in 2001. In 2000, Redstone Arsenal’s Scout-Attack Helicopter Program manager kicked off a Cobra retirement program at Fort Drum, NY. The helicopters wound up at Fort Drum’s Foreign Military Sales shop, near Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. Instead of focusing on dismantling them, the program looked for ways to give them a new lease on life.
A number of countries still fly AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, so some were gutted for parts, then used as military training targets. The US Marine Corps, for instance, still flies a different set of AH-1 models. They bought $75 million worth of those parts. Most of the Cobras, however, ended up going through a 5,500 man-hour, $1 million refurbishment, before being sold to military customers overseas, or to American federal and state forestery departments. Instead of costing money, the AH-1 fleet’s retirement has turned out to be a profitable process for the Army. Still, as the saying goes, even if the world does owe you a living, the collection process is hard work…
Weapons bazaar: Afghanistan could look to buy military equipment from non-NATO countries if NATO supplies prove insufficient, President Karzai said. Of course, they’re already doing that in several areas, like helicopters. Wonder what China would offer for more mineral concessions?
$18M to Alion for Special Ops mobile repair systems under WSTIAC contract. (Nov 22/10)
The US Department of Defense’s Information Analysis Centers (IACs) are research and analysis organizations operated by the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). Chartered by the DoD to help researchers, engineers, scientists and program managers, IACS offer specialized research staff to DoD agencies and military services.
The mission of the IACs is 2 two-fold: (1) IACs provide access to worldwide scientific and technical information to improve the productivity of personnel in the defense science and technology communities. The IACs accomplish this mission by collecting, analyzing, synthesizing, and disseminating relevant information in clearly-defined and structured subject areas; (2) IACs serve their respective fields by providing technical services and solutions…
Russia says Da: NATO leaders agree on NATO missile defense shield at Lisbon summit; Russia pledges to cooperate if it is a “full-fledged strategic partner.”
Hotly disputed: As early as fiscal 2014, Japan plans to deploy 100 ground self-defense forces to the Diaoya (Senkaku) islands – ownership of which is disputed with China and Taiwan – the Nikkei newspaper reported.
UAV bazaar: China unveils more than 25 different models of UAVs at Zhuhai air show, Wall Street Journal reports.
This week’s – maybe this year’s – must-read: “Leadership and Accountability” at the US Naval Institute’s blog discusses a recent failed court-martial, the court’s implied rebuke regarding the state of the LPD-17 ship class, and the corresponding state of Navy leadership. Sobering – and see also the comments section.
Lame duck: US Congress drags feet on passage of FY2011 defense spending and authorization bills.
Hijacked: China is denying a claim made in a report [PDF] by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission that it hijacked US Internet traffic, including Pentagon traffic, for 18 minutes in April.
Russia delivers a total of 20,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and over 2.5 million rounds of ammunition to Afghanistan, for use by police units in and around the capital, Kabul. The betting pool is now open: how many of those rifles will remain in police hands by the end of 2011?
San Diego-based defense contractor Cubic Corp to pay $124 million to acquire Abraxas, a Herndon, VA-based provider of risk mitigation services to the national security community.
American Defense Systems, a Hicksville, NY-based supplier of transparent and opaque armor, had a net loss of $395,000 and a 31% decline in revenues from continuing operations for the third quarter, which the company attributed to a slowdown in government orders.
Correction: In a previous version of the Nov 12/10 Rapid Fire, we incorrectly reported that Raytheon had laid off 1,000 workers; the 1,000 figure was for layoffs at other Massachusetts employers. In fact, the number of employees laid off by Raytheon was not disclosed.
Defense diet: Pentagon chief Gates opposes recommendation of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility to slash the defense budget [PDF] by $100 billion over 5 years and apply the savings to deficit reduction.