Rolls Royce intends to cut or relocate 378 defense-related jobs at its plant in Ansty, UK, or almost half its staff. This follows the confirmation by the Ministry of Defence of a third tranche of redundancies affection 5,300 Army soldiers.
The SPEEA trade union explains [PDF] why it rejected Boeing’s latest (of many) contract proposal which the company had presented as its “best and final.” It’s all about pension schemes. Employees are to vote in a process whose outcome won’t be known until mid-February.
Embraer’s ability to design and deliver EMB 145 AEW&C aerial surveillance jets to Brazil’s FAB and foreign customers places Brazil within an elite group of countries. The FAB’s 5 “E-99” jets play a critical role in the SIVAM program to monitor the Amazon, provide security overwatch for major sporting events like the coming 2014 FIFA World Cup, and serve as a global showpiece for potential customers. They survey and manage air traffic, provide fighter positioning and interception control, and can conduct signals interception and analysis (SIGINT) missions.
In January 2013, Embraer received a $215 million (BRL 430 million) contract to upgrade the FAB’s 5 E-99s…
In January 2013, Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, CA received a $9.5 million to cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification under the Aero-Adaptive/Aero-Optic Beam Control (ABC) Program.
To explain that term in plain English, turbulence and other atmospheric conditions can de-focus laser beams, limiting their range and effectiveness. A laser that can adapt its focus to the conditions in its path offers a way to mitigate these problems, which makes it a topic of keen interest to militaries around the world. The famous 747 Airborne Laser did some pioneering work in this field, but lasers have both defensive and offensive uses beyond Ballistic Missile Defense. In ABC’s case…
In the absence of FY13 appropriations, the US Navy is stuck with Ticonderoga-class cruisers that it wanted to decommission but Congress decided otherwise. However federal funding is currently provided by a continuing resolution (i.e. the extension of FY12 spending levels) that does not include money to maintain, let alone upgrade these ships. Congressional cognitive dissonance? Say it ain’t so. Virginian-Pilot | CRS backgrounder [Dec. 2012 PDF].
NAVSEA has issued solicitation N00024-13-R-4400 for the Extended Dry-Docking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) of USS Porter (DDG 78). Work will include repairs after the destroyer crashed with a tanker last August. Bids expected by Feb. 15, 2013. Voyage repairs were made in the UAE and the ship returned to Norfolk, VA, in November.
The NYT notes that China, flush with 3 trillion dollars in foreign reserves, is investing in aerospace which in turn raises security questions. The appropriate time for such considerations from lawmakers and the media would have been before selling China more than one trillion dollars worth of US treasuries [CRS briefing, PDF].
General Atomics may make the USA’s Predator and Reaper drone fleets, but Battlespace Flight Services LLC in Arlington, VA has been a key provider of maintenance support for several years now, and their FY 2007 multi-year contract ended up being worth over $500 million. It actually applies to “predator MQ-1 aircraft and related systems”, which may include the Predator B (as it was known, now the MQ-9 Reaper). Both the MQ-1 and MQ-9 are explicitly within the scope of Battlespace’s 2012-2014 follow-on contract, which is worth up to $950 million.
Recent contracts appear to be the close-out and bridge to the new arrangements. Note that Battlespace is hiring, if you’ve been an MQ-1 or MQ-9 pilot or sensor operator. As for the contracts…
The US Marines’ F-35Bs are grounded because of a glitch in a fuel line used in the exhaust system.
The US Navy and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) are investigating whether a faulty digital nautical chart might be the reason why the USS Guardian (MCM 5) minesweeper ran into reef in Philippine waters last Thursday, where it remains grounded.
Embraer and AgustaWestland signed a Memorandum of Understanding “aiming at establishing a joint-venture which could lead to the production of AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil to be marketed for both commercial and military use in Brazil and Latin America.” As the phrasing indicates [emphasis: DID], this is not a finalized, operating deal yet.
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) spent 6 years chasing BAE Systems, over allegations that bribes were paid to secure foreign deals in a number of countries. Bribes are the least of the allegations involved in some international defense deals, and contract wins without inducements would be far more surprising in countries like Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, and South Africa. Nevertheless, the UK does have laws to prevent British firms from paying them.
An SFO investigation into the giant Saudi Al-Yamamah aircraft deal was killed in December 2006 on national security grounds, after the Saudis threatened to cut off anti-terrorism cooperation and intelligence sharing. The government’s decision was upheld by the British House of Lords, but the SFO continued to pursue other reports concerning Chile, the Czech Republic, Romania, South Africa, Tanzania, and Qatar. The US Department of Justice, meanwhile, never let go of the Saudi deal.
In 2010 a settlement was reached that included the SFO – and the US DoJ, which got the lion’s share. A held-up deal with Tanzania then settled in early 2012. By 2013 this left an “investigation” in South Africa, and a Czech case with little apparent progress.
Airbus Military delivered 29 aircraft in 2012 – 20 light and medium military transport, 4 P-3 conversions, and 5 A330 MRTTs – and received orders for 32 planes: 28 C295s and 4 CN235s. The backlog stands at 220 aircraft: 174 A400Ms, 17 MRTTs, 5 CN235s, 20 C295s, and 4 P-3s.
France’s AFP [AFP] says that according to unnamed sources “close to the talks” between India and Dassault, an option for an additional 63 Rafale jets could be added to their buy-in-progress. First they need to finalize the contract, agree on what will be manufactured in India, and at the moment the country is decreasing its defense budget. But this could make sense if their 5th-gen option keeps getting postponed.
Egypt is doubling the number of C295 transport aircraft it will own, to a total of 12, after an initial order in October 2010.
Rolls-Royce won a 4-year contract to support the RB199 engines of Saudi Arabia’s fleet of Tornado aircraft. The firm’s press release mentions a “schedule of fixed price maintenance.” Meanwhile ST Aerospace will maintain and modernize [PDF] 3 C130s operated by Oman’s air force.