Oshkosh Takes JLTV Competition | Air Force Keeps ‘Em Guessing on A-10 | More Nations Interested in French Heli Carriers
- Oshkosh won one of the largest land forces defense contracts ever, taking the $30 billion JLTV contract. The initial order for 17,000 vehicles will start replacing Humvees in fiscal 2016 and really ramp in 2018. Runner ups were Lockheed and AM General.
- In what is perhaps the biggest reality perception difference between the Air Force and the rest of the military and civilian government, the Air Force has been working hard to shut down the A-10 program, maintaining that the close air support stalwart isn’t earning its keep. The several billion dollars saved would go to more F-35 work, as that platform has been tipped to be the replacement, although some senior Air Force officers have suggested that perhaps a completely new craft would be in order. So it was newsworthy that a senior officer for testing had suggested a shoot-out between the A-10 and F-35. That test is now taking fire from the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, who called such a test “silly.” Still, Welsh said that the F-35 was never intended as an A-10 replacement, so that leaves observers scratching heads as to which parts of the Air Force desire what outcome, especially as few believe an A-X replacement would be cheaper.
- After a series of embarrassments, such as a test cheating scandal, the Air Force’s Global Strike Command will be part of an officer exchange program with their well-respected submarine equivalents. The “Striker Trident” program this week saw the start of two-year tours for two boomer officers, who will be working at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, presumably in hopes some of the sub culture will rub off.
- Northrop Grumman’s naval UAV the Fire Scout is completing endurance demonstrations, flitting about for 10 hours at a time.
- The U.S. will deploy F-22 fighters to Europe in an effort to shore up Eastern European depth of defense against a theoretical incursion by Russia.
- France is reportedly in talks with Malaysia to take on the two helicopter carriers initially purchased by Russia. France found it impolitic to sell to the Russians after various instances of Russian ill behavior. Malaysia joins a lengthening list of countries reportedly interested in the craft, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
- Airbus has been straining politeness as it protests the Japanese decision to choose an indigenous vendor along with Textron for its $3 billion transport contract. When asked about a rumored lawsuit, Airbus responded that things had not quite reached that stage, but managed to lay in some insults to its winning competition, noting that the Textron version of the UH-X will be built around a 60-year old design, versus Airbus’s “clean sheet” design.
- Russian state news agency Tass reports that the much touted Armata tank program is moving along and will be presented to various foreign defense markets through exhibitions.
- The Thai Air Force took delivery of four of six ordered Airbus EC725 helicopters. They are to become operational in September. Ordered in 2012, the remaining two will be delivered next year.
- The “invisible” Russian Armata tank gets towed after breaking down in the big Red Square parade: