DOJ Looks at Alleged Sikorsky Overcharging | Marines Shop Sniper Rifles | Star-Crossed ALIS System Updated in F-35s
- The US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into alleged overcharging of the Navy through a contract handed to a Sikorsky business unit in 2006. The contract allegedly saw Sikorsky Support Services Inc subcontract another subsidiary – Derco Aerospace – for T-34 and T-44 aircraft spare parts, adding overheads and profit in the process, from 2006 to 2012 and violating the False Claims Act. The total damages the government could claim amounts to $148 million, with Lockheed Martin reportedly aware of the issue during due diligence investigations prior to buying Sikorsky for $9 billion earlier this month.
- The Marine Corps is reportedly looking to evaluate various sniper rifles to replace the in-service M40A5 rifle. The options under consideration reportedly include the Mk21, currently fielded by SOCOM and the Army. The M40A5 has a problem with range, particularly when compared to other rifles in service with US forces and allies, such as the British L115A3.
- The F-35B’s Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) – the system designed to monitor and relay critical aircraft system data – has received its final software upgrade ahead of the fighter achieving Initial Operating Capability. The system has also received critical hardware modifications. IOC for the Marine Corps’ first F-35Bs is expected later this year, with the Corps deciding in March to push on according to schedule, despite issues with the jet’s 2B software.
- On Monday, New Mexico State University was awarded a $75 million IDIQ contract to support the Information Operations Vulnerability/Survivability Assessment program, an effort by the Army Research Laboratory to identify the susceptibility of systems to hostile information warfare threats. Also on Monday the Air Force handed a $732 million contract to Carnegie Mellon University to operate the Software Engineering Institute, with the contract running for five years. The Institute is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), funded by the DoD.
- Argentina is reportedly negotiating with Israel Aerospace Industries regarding a procurement of Kfir Block 60 fighters. The Argentinians sent a delegation to Israel to finalize negotiations for the aircraft in March 2014, with the Argentine Air Force submitting a list of technical requirements which would be a prerequisite for any sale. The Kfir Block 60 is reportedly priced at around $20 million, considerably less than more modern fighters, with the aircraft’s operating cost also thought to be much lower. Argentina previously attempted to procure Saab Gripen E fighters, running into a brick wall when the British government announced that it would not allow British-manufactured Gripen components to ultimately end up in Argentine hands.
Middle East North Africa
- Egypt may purchase a second and third FREMM frigate from France, to complement the first vessel transferred to the Egyptian Navy in late June. The Egyptian Navy is also set to receive four Gowind 2500 corvettes between 2017 and 2019, with the current negotiations also reportedly including a possible sale of four additional corvettes.
- The German Army has officially received its Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) from Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, following the fleet’s approval [German] in May, along with a delivery of seven vehicles as a training contingent. The German BWB procurement agency placed an order for 405 of the vehicles in July 2009 to replace the Bundeswehr’s fleet of Marder IFVs, subsequently revising the number down to 350 in July 2012. The full force of Puma vehicles is expected to be completed by 2020, with batches currently being received and passed to units for training before returning to home bases.
- Turkish Aerospace Industries is looking to export its T129 attack helicopter, with the company angling for a US export license in order to do so. TAI is hoping to find a customer in Poland, which requires around thirty attack helicopters under its Kruk competition. The country’s defense ministry announced in April that a winner will be announced by the end of the year.
- Lockheed Martin has been contracted to provide an additional six years of logistics support to the British Ministry of Defence, under the company’s Joint Asset Management Engineering Solutions (JAMES) program. The program has been in operate since 2005 and is designed to track equipment throughout the supply chain and inventory, as well as monitor the status and condition of items. The $29 million contract builds on the JAMES system’s December 2010 full increment capability, which included inventory management and Maintenance, Repair, Modification & Overhaul (MRMO) as part of a JAMES upgrade. The UK MoD has been heavily criticized in recent years over supply chain inefficiencies.
- India is looking at how the country could relax current ‘blacklisting’ policies for defense firms accused of wrongdoing. Currently, companies can be excluded from bidding or signing agreements with the Indian government if they are suspected of breaching Indian law, regardless of whether these accusations emerge as valid or not. The Defence Procurement Policy body is contemplating a move to a system similar to that of US and British government policies, which give these governments room to negotiate with firms accused of wrongdoing, without necessarily excluding them from ongoing or future contract negotiations. These arrangements include Deferred Prosecution Agreements, which can allow the government and the company to establish sanctions and other measures in return for non-prosecution.
- The Puma IFV:
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