F-35 Software Pushing Out Schedule – Except for Flaw-Tolerant Marines | Turkey Throws in With China with $3.4 Billion Purchase
- Following yesterday’s announcement that the Air Force is to procure one MC-12W ISR aircraft, the Navy is following suit, with a $11.7 million contract announced today for one aircraft in the UC-12W variation. The Navy previously ordered six of the model in 2008 for $48.8 million.
- Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $21.8 million contract modification to provide support to the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, bringing the total cumulative value of the contract to around $2.39 billion. The modification will provide on-orbit operations and sustainment.
- Three firms have been awarded contracts to provide tactical data link systems for research, integration, human and a host of other factors, with the three firms having the option to compete for task orders over an initial one-year period. Tactical Engineering & Analysis Inc. was awarded a $19.7 million contract, Computer Sciences Corp. $17.8 million and Odyssey Systems Consulting Group $16 million, totalling approximately $53.5 million. Each of these come with a two-year option period, which if exercised would total approximately $90.7 million. A separate $23.3 million contract was announced today for 5,000 joint chemical agent detectors.
- The F-35’s 2B software requires a testing extension in order to debug flaws, according to media reports. This extension will likely lead to Lockheed Martin losing a portion of the contract’s $300 million incentive fee. This latest speed bump in the F-35 program will reportedly not delay the Marine Corps’ use of the aircraft, with the Corps planning on steaming ahead with the current software package with a view to modifying and/or restricting the use of the aircraft as appropriate until the patch becomes available.
- The test launch of the Air Force’s Super Strypi rail-guided satellite delivery system, originally planned for October 2013, has now been delayed until this coming October following problems with the rocket’s three-stage motor. With the launch vehicle designed by Sandia National Laboratories, the rocket’s problematic propulsion system is designed and produced by Aerojet Rocketdyne.
- Airbus is cutting its share in French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of the Rafale. After dropping its percentage share by 4.2% in November, Airbus announced today that it is selling a further 17.5% of the company. Airbus will still own more than a quarter of Dassault after the transaction.
- Following the news that Turkey is reportedly set to sign a $3.4 billion air defense deal with China, the country’s Prime Minister has called for a focus on developing indigenous missile and space technologies. Turkey’s domestic defense industry is currently involved in several high-profile development programs, including the Altay tank and TF-X fighter projects.
- Taiwanese media is reporting that Myanmar will purchase the JF-17 (AKA the FC-1 Xiaolong) from Pakistan, the love-child of China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex. Myanmar has pondered the purchase for a while, previously opting for the MIG-29 over the JF-17 in 2009; this change of heart is likely a result of the difficulties involved with keeping MiG-29s in service.
F-35 trials on the USS Nimitz (CVN-68):