The United Kingdom has sustained extensive efforts to strike long-term, through-life support contracts for various weapons systems under a “contracting for availability” (rather than for maintenance hours) framework. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) keeps driving the point home with new contracts that encompass more and more of their military.
The Royal Air Force currently flies 28 AW101 Merlin HC3 medium helicopters that work with the army, whilst the Royal Navy’s 42 soon-to-be upgraded AW101 Merlin Mk1s are used for both Anti-Submarine warfare and Anti-Surface warfare. This single 25-year contract covers both helicopter types…
During a January 2011 visit to Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd’s assembly line in Mirabel, QB, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a 10-year, C$ 640 million (about $646 million, get used to this) contract to maintain Canada’s fleet of about 90 CH-146 Griffons (Bell 412EP) utility helicopters, until their expected withdrawal from service in 2021. It also includes the option to extend the contract for up to 4 more 1-year periods, stretching it to 2025 if necessary.
Latest updates: System handed from Army to Luftwaffe.
Rheinmetall’s MANTIS C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortars) system is a further development of their Skyshield system. Also known by its German initials NBS (Nachstbereichs-Schutzsystem, very short range protection system), it is intended to detect and physically intercept incoming rocket, artillery and mortar rounds, in order to protect stationary bases.
The USA and Britain have already taken similar measures, deploying and using modified Mk15 Phalanx “Centurion” land-based systems equipped with special self-destructing ammunition. While the German C-RAM system looks set to reach the field 2 years late, reports indicate that the German government has approved a purchase – and signed a pair of contracts: