After recoiling for months from planning for sequestration for fear of triggering a self-fulfilling prophecy, the Pentagon has now started doing so, or at least admitting that they do. AP.
The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) published its 2012 review/forecast [PDF]: “The U.S. military aircraft sector continues to contract, falling 2.4% over last year and will further decline by more than 10% in 2013.” But with a backlog edging close to the 2008 peak above half a trillion dollars, the overall aerospace industry still has plenty of work ahead thanks to global civilian orders.
Rolls Royce announced they are under investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office for allegations of bribery in China and Indonesia. The company’s internal inquiry acknowledges “matters of concern.” This must be for civil aerospace or energy products, given the destination countries.
Charles Edelstenne plans to retire from Dassault Aviation next month as he is reaching the statutory age limit. His successor as CEO should be known within days, though it is not clear whether that person will come from within or outside of the company. L’Usine Nouvelle [in French].
During a hearing at the French Assemblée Nationale’s defense committee, Edelstenne mentioned a potential change in corporate governance at Thales, where CEO Luc Vigneron is in a protracted spat with unions. Dassault Aviation is the second largest shareholder in Thales, just behind the French state. Reuters | L’Usine Nouvelle [both in French].
Since EADS confirmed on Monday that talks in the media of a new shareholder structure are founded, reports of what that would look like have kept coming. Bloomberg | Reuters.
Medical expenses are a large and growing portion of the Pentagon’s budget, and continuing care is part of that issue. There are also side programs, like the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP). It’s a form of worldwide group coverage for eligible personnel retired from the uniformed services, un-remarried surviving spouses, eligible dependents, former members of the armed forces who are Medal of Honor recipients, and their eligible dependents. Enrolees pay the premium costs themselves, but the totals add up for the winning firm.
In 2008, as the USA’s program to field blast-resistant vehicles hit its stride, the US Army moved to field specialized variants for their Engineers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams. The $2.288 billion MMPV program would buy up to 2,500 vehicles for use through 2015. The initial buy is expected to involve 1,362 MMPVs: 684 are slated for engineering units to conduct route and area clearance missions, command and control, mount mine clearing systems, and conduct explosive hazards reconnaissance. Another 678 will go to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams to neutralize Improvised Explosive Device land mines and other unexploded ordnance.
BAE Systems was picked as the sole-source winner, with a design based on their blast-resistant RG-33.
The Czech Republic’s armed forces aren’t large enough to make large foreign commitments, but the country is a frequent participant in NATO missions abroad, and needs airlift capacity for use during domestic emergencies. It currently depends on Soviet-era AN-26 “Curl” aircraft, which are wearing out quickly, and will need to be replaced soon.
“Czech L-159s: Cheap to Good Home” explored one possibility, which involved a trade of the Czechs’ fine light trainer and attack aircraft, in exchange for EADS-CASA C-295M light transports to replace the AN-26s. That turned out to be the Czechs’ preferred option, and a contract for 3 planes was signed in 2009. The EU couldn’t be content to leave well enough alone, of course, and they began legal action around the deal. That went nowhere, but their efforts may not be the only legal action. Technical problems, and allegations of overpricing, have triggered an investigation within the Czech Republic. Even as the C-295Ms themselves remain undeployable.
Investor Carl Icahn and Oshkosh exchanged another round of press releasehostilities in recent days. According to the AP as of today Icahn has effectively given up on his effort to buy out the truck maker.
Following the review of many amendments and a 93-0 roll call vote on cloture last night, the FY13 NDAA should finally come to the floor of the US Senate today. But climate change might be a last-minute contentious curveball.
Arms control treaties and other deactivations have left the USA with over 1,400 ballistic missile rocket motors in storage. The USAF’s Rocket Systems Launch Program looks at ways to reuse them for missile defense testing or spacecraft launches, examines the use of ballistic missile technology for a Conventional Strike Missile (CSM), and studies related technologies. RSLP has supported various technology development efforts for guidance and navigation systems; advanced reentry physics; avionics; Missile Technology Demonstration (MTD); Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) and Ballistic Missile Range Safety Technology (BMRST).
In December 2012, US Space & Missile Command’s Space Development and Test Wing issued 3 indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price RSLP contracts, with up to $900 million in task orders to be competed among the winners:
Nov 30/12: International Development and Resources in Centreville, VA receives a $250 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide aviation specialized support services in support of the US Special Operations Command, Technology Applications Program Office (TAPO). The resulting contract will provide specialized support services to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. They are SOCOM’s helicopter pilots, also known as the Night Stalkers.
Orders will be placed as needed, and Task Order #0001 for $952,395 will begin on Jan 1/13. Most services will be performed at Fort Campbell, KY; however, “other duty locations may be needed.” No kidding. The contract could run until Dec 31/22, managed by U. S. Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, FL (H92241-13-D-0001).