JSTARS Opened Up to European Vendors | DDG-1000 Late but Loved
- Sweden’s defense minister said the country will not renew its defense cooperation deal – in effect since 2005 – after the left-leaning government saw its relations gradually worsen with the Saudi monarchy. Sweden has been critical of the Saudi human rights records, and recently watched Germany forbid certain defense deals with the country for similar reasons.
- Airbus, Dassault and Bombardier may now be invited to compete for a JSTARS replacement. The initial decision to attempt a replacement with a Boeing 767-based airframe with Northrop Grumman was cancelled due to gushing costs. The Air Force is opening it up to international competition. The service also indicated that it would like to see an airframe that is smaller than the original JSTARS Boeing 707 E-8C.
- Boeing and Saab cooperated to get an interesting project off the ground, with a ground-launched version of the Small Diameter Bomb now in testing. The SDB is already quite maneuverable, and with the ground launched version (GLSDB) it doesn’t need an airframe for delivery. The bomb has the theoretical capacity to attack targets from the unexpected angles, unlike ballistic bombs or missiles.
- Navy observer Chris Hooper is calling this the moment to which everyone will look back and realize that the Navy had started pushing again to resurrect the almost assuredly canceled DD(X). The ingredients are certainly there, with a bloating DDG-51 program making the excesses of the DD(X) a bit more tolerable. Sea trials will start soon with the first of the three hulls, so the drumbeats of passed tests should soon start rolling, along with YouTube videos of the futuristic craft slicing through the Kennebec.
- Meanwhile, the Navy indicates that the Zumwalt, the first of the DD(X)s, or DDG-1000, won’t be delivered until November, about a year late, and won’t earn initial combat readiness until September 2018, a couple years after initially scheduled.
- It took an Army major to do the math as to why mothballing the A-10 won’t actually save the Air Force the $3.5 billion it hopes to squeeze out, primarily due to the much higher costs of running other aircraft as close air support vehicles.
- Officials with the F-35 program indicated the airframe won’t be ready for full close air support duties prior to the 2022 scheduled delivery of the new Small Diameter Bomb II. This may miss the point of many Air Force critics that SDMs are a poor tool for CAS relative to slow-flying, strafing aircraft. The gap-filling aircraft are slated to be F-16s and F-15s, which suffer the same mismatched speed specifications.
- Inside Defense reports (subscription) that the F-35A cost $67,549 per flight hour in FY 2014, according to the Air Force’s own figures. This is $813 per hour less than what the F-22 cost per hour the last time those figures were released in 2012. It is typical for cost per flight hour figures to be quite high in the early years of an airframe. The F-35 has only had seven years of flight versus the F-22’s 18 years.
- General Dynamics Land Systems and Thales Australia will team together to answer the request for tender for Australia’s Land 400 Phase 2 – Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability, which is Australian for armored fighting vehicles.
- The U.S. was keen to show video of Abrams and Bradleys moving off transport ships onto Latvian soil…