GAO: Air Force A-10 Abandonment Divorced from Financial Reality | DoD Refiguring Satellite Control | Russia Receiving New SU-34 Fullbacks
- Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work has announced his intention to stand-up a joint intelligence-military operations center for satellites, allowing all intelligence and military satellites to be controlled from a single location. Work is likely hoping that the co-location will enable the development of joint doctrine and closer operational liaison, with this new station designed as a back-up to the existing Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The center is scheduled to come online within six months, indicating that the announcement has likely been a long time coming.
- The Government Accountability Office slammed the Air Force’s body of evidence and cost projections used to make the case for retiring the A-10. A report published on Thursday claims that the Air Force did not fully quantify the economic argument for favoring more advanced multi-role aircraft over the time-tested A-10. Manufacturer Boeing recently floated the idea of selling refurbished US A-10s to international customers.
- Booz Allen Hamilton has emerged as prime contractor for the Air Force’s $7.9 billion NETCENTS-2 program, following the awarding of an IDIQ contract to twenty-one firms in May. The contract is set to run for a minimum of three years, with four one-year options.
- Huntington Ingalls Industries delivered the submarine John Warner (SSN-785) to the Navy on Thursday, with this marking the twelfth Virginia-class sub to be delivered. The boat’s keel was laid in March 2013 and the sub was christened in September last year; the five-year, $17 billion deal will build ten Virginia-class Block IV fast attack submarines for the US Navy Navy, with production split between HII and General Dynamics Electric Boat, with the latter designated as the design authority. Commanders recently pushed for an increase in firepower for the Virginia-class. Commissioning for the newly-delivered boat is set for August.
- The Air Force awarded a $5 billion IDIQ contract on Thursday for the Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP IV), a rapid contingency contracting tool. This contract will see eight firms provide a range of base support and logistical support, running to 2021.
- Also on Thursday, the Navy awarded a $237.8 million delivery order for spares in support of the Lot 9 low rate initial production of the F-35.
- Polish helicopter manufacturer PZL-widnik is challenging the government’s decision in April to select the Airbus H225M Caracal over its own AW149 and Sikorsky’s S-70i Black Hawk and S-70B Seahawk for the country’s tri-service helicopter requirement. The company – a subsidiary of AgustaWestland since 2010 – is questioning the competition’s evaluation criteria, as well as the infringement of Polish offset law.
- Russian aerospace firm Sukhoi delivered an undisclosed number of SU-34 long range strike fighters to the Russian Air Force this week, according to Russian press reports. The manufacturer delivered thirty-two of the aircraft in December 2013 following a low rate initial production contract, with full rate production announced in 2011. Sukhoi announced a contract in March 2012 for ninety-two SU-34s, scheduled for delivery by 2020.
- The first of twelve Korean Aerospace Industries FA-50 fighter aircraft sold to the Philippines through a government-to-government deal with South Korea in 2013 has successfully completed its first test flight, with the first deliveries expected by December, when the Philippines will receive its first two FA-50s ahead of schedule. The full dozen should be delivered by 2017, with the Korean fighter/trainers a strategic interim as the Philippines looks ahead to acquiring more capable multi-role aircraft.
- In related news, KAI has signed two contracts totaling $1.4 billion with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and the Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology (KEIT) to advance the Light Civil Helicopter/Armed Helicopter (LCH/LAH) requirement. KAI partnered with Airbus in March to sell the helicopters globally.
- Afghanistan has received its fourth C-130 transporter, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, to complement the three aircraft delivered between 2013 and 2014. The gifting of the four C-130Js was decided in January 2013 by then-US Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox.
- A-10 takeoff…
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