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Military Purchasing News for Defense Procurement Managers and Contractors
Updated: 1 hour 21 min ago

Sig Sauer to be Face of New US Modular Handgun Program | Comp Air Works with Nigerian AF on NAFSA Eagle | SK Urges US to Press Forward with THAAD

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 23:58
Americas

  • Sig Sauer has won out against eight other bidders to provide new Modular Handgun Systems for the US Air Force and Army’s Modular Handgun Program. Valued at $580 million, the contract includes the provision of versions of the P320 handgun, accessories and ammunition to replace the M9 handgun currently used by the service. Baretta’s M9 has been the standard sidearm of the Navy, Army, and Air Force since 1985.

  • With the trial of US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edward Lin due in March, its been reported that prosecutors are finding it difficult to find any concrete evidence that he is guilty of espionage. The revelations come from a redacted NCIS report obtained by the Navy Times, who cites it as appearing “to reveal a wide gap between the most damning crimes Lin was originally accused of and the evidence prosecutors have in hand now.” Lin was arrested in 2015 on charges that he had sold sensitive information on US weapons programs to Chinese and Taiwanese military officials.

Africa

  • The Namibian Armed Forces have ordered a number of new armored patrol vehicles and lightweight remote weapon systems from South African firm Denel. Windheok’s order includes eight mine-resistant 4 x 4 RG32M vehicles in addition to four Self Defense Remotely Operated Weapon (SDROW) weapon stations, which are fitted with a light machine gun and are capable of hitting enemy targets at range of over 1,968 feet away. Delivery of the systems will be completed by this March.

  • Florida-based firm Comp Air Aviation will collaborate with the Nigerian Air Force to develop a light utility air platform known as the NAFSA Eagle aircraft. The program will see shared research and development work carried out to produce an aircraft that can be fitted for various purposes, such as transport, search-and-rescue, or light attack roles. Nigeria hopes the contract will help the country become more technologically independent and better equipped to face domestic threats as it modernizes its armed forces. Current domestic threats include the notorious jihadist group Boko Haram in the north and a renewed militancy in the oil-producing Niger Delta region in the south.

Europe

  • Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya has reported that Ukrainian authorities have seized a plane allegedly transporting Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles to Iran. A search of the plane’s hold at Kiev’s Zhulyany Airport was conducted when 17 containers onboard were not registered in the flight’s cargo manifesto. Three containers were filled with 9K111 Fagot ATGMs.

  • Lockheed Martin has delivered its first shipment of cruise missiles to the Polish Air Force. The AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) were ordered back in 2015 in a $225 million deal to deliver and integrate the munitions on Polish F-16 fighters. Warsaw also plans to have the Extended Range (ER) version of the JASSM delivered as well as an unspecific number of Raytheon’s AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles.

  • French weapons sales in 2016 hit a new record with contracts inked last year in excess of $21.33 billion. While the total tally has yet to be completed, big ticket deals such as the completion of the arduous Rafale fighter negotiations with India and December’s agreement with ship-builder DCNS to build 12 new submarines for Australia, all helped push sales comfortably passed 2015’s record of $18.2 billion.

Asia Pacific

  • The acting South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn has urged the US to move forward with the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system on the peninsula. Hwang, who was speaking on behalf of impeached President Park Guen-hye, warned that North Korea “has been expanding its nuclear capabilities and developing the technology to create nuclear weapons. They are also miniaturizing nuclear weapons,” and that “right now is not the time to talk to try to resolve North Korea’s nuclear issues.” In return, China has called for the cancellation of THAAD, citing that the system’s radar could penetrate its own territory.

Today’s Video

The Army’s new handgun: P320:

Categories: News

AGM-158 JASSM: Lockheed’s Family of Stealthy Cruise Missiles

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 23:55

JASSM-ER from B-1B
(click to view full)

The 2,000 pound AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is intended to be a stealthy, inexpensive GPS/IIR (Global Positioning system/ Imaging InfraRed) guided cruise missile. It’s designed to attack well-defended targets without putting its carrier aircraft in the crosshairs of new long-range surface to air missile systems. JASSM has experienced a rocky development history, due to long-standing reliability issues. In 2005 it was threatened with cancellation following a series of poor test results. The program went through 2007 on an ongoing roller coaster of ups and downs, and by May 2009 it appeared the program was facing cancellation once again.

A production hiatus did take place between Lot 7 and FY 2010’s Lot 8 in FY 2010, but test results allowed the USAF to move forward, and the missile is beginning to win export orders.

The JASSM Missile Family

F/A-18 & test JASSMs
(click to view full)

JASSM family missiles are guided by a combination of GPS/INS positioning en route, and Imaging Infrared (IIR) for final targeting. They carry a dual-mode penetrator and blast fragmentation warhead at subsonic speed, in a body shape designed to have a very low radar profile.

The US military intends to buy over 5,000 missiles in this family: 2,400 JASSMs, and 2,978 JASSM-ERs. AGM-158 JASSM production looks set to end around FY 2021, but planned AGM-158B JASSM-ER orders would keep the production line going into the late 2020s, and possibly beyond. Customers include the USA, Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, and Poland.

The AGM-158 JASSM is currently integrated on B-2A Spirit stealth bombers, B-1B Lancer, and B-52H Stratofortress bombers. On the fighter front, its platforms include the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Falcon (MLU standard & Block 50), and the Royal Australian Air Force’s upgraded F/A-18 AM/BM Hornets. Finland is following suit for its own F/A-18C/D Hornets.

The US military intends to add the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet family to this list, and to extend F-16 compatibility to earlier Block 40 models. JASSM will also be carried by the F-35, eventually, but it’s no longer on the list of weapons for certification by the end of the development program. If and when it’s certified for the F-35 family after 2020, it will have to be carried externally, because it’s too large for the internal weapon bays.

Unit cost for the baseline AGM-158 JASSM is currently around $1 million per missile, but the USAF hopes to bring that down to around $800,000 eventually. Don’t forget the ongoing maintenance costs, either: Lockheed Martin has a 2012-2017 support contract underway for the entire weapon family.

JASSM-ER: Long Range Reach

JASSM-ER Medley
click for video

The AGM-158B JASSM-ER maintains the same mold line and size, but it substitutes a Williams International turbofan for the baseline JASSM’s Teledyne turbojet, and adds extra fuel within the missile body, without dropping payload or electronics capabilities. The 2 variants share 70% of their hardware, and 95% of their software.

The result is an extension of the missile’s range from “over 200 nm” to “over 500 nm”. JASSM-ER has also been certified for use in environments where GPS is heavily jammed, or not available.

JASSM-ER unit cost is eventually expected to be around $1.25 million per missile, but current costs are running around $1.75 million.

The USAF says that AGM-158B JASSM-ER will eventually be integrated with as very similar plane set: B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Falcon (Block 25+), F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, and F-35A-C Lightning II.

Under current USAF plans, the B-1 Lancer will be the only plane certified with the new missile for the next few years. The B-1’s 24-missile payload capacity is double the B-52’s, and the new missile will make the USAF’s Lancer fleet its key strike force in the Pacific theater. Even as operating costs per flight hour are putting very large crosshairs on that same fleet’s continued existence.

LRASM

The Navy may have an answer. A variant of JASSM-ER called LRASM will add F/A-18 Super Hornets as a carrying platform, with orders beginning in FY 2017, as part of the Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW) program that’s also designed to hit targets like ships. OASuW’s next phase promises will focus on shipborne vertical launch capabilities, and LRASM is just one of several potential competitors for that phase of the program. Even if LRASM isn’t picked for that phase, Lockheed Martin is likely to cycle some of its design and technology improvements back into the JASSM family.

Global Competition

Storm Shadow
(click to view full)

The JASSM family has several international competitors, with MBDA’s Storm Shadow leading the pack. Storm Shadow was used over Libya by French and British aircraft, and a SCALP Naval variant offers very long range strike from submarines, or from shipborne Sylver A70 vertical launch cells.

MBDA & Saab’s Taurus KEPD 350, Raytheon’s powered JSOW-ER, and Boeing’s AGM-84K SLAM-ER also represent sub-sonic air-launched cruise missiles with some level of stealth, and similar range to the base AGM-158. Norway’s NSM/JSM is about to add itself to that mix, and will fit inside the F-35. The JASSM family can’t match that stealthy internal carriage, which may open a significant global niche for Kongsberg.

Russian strike missile designs, and derivatives like the Russo-Indian PJ-10 BrahMos, emphasize speed over stealth, and aren’t compatible with the same base platforms. They aren’t really competitors in the same niche.

Contracts & Key Events

Unless otherwise noted, JASSM contracts are issued to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL. Note that naval LRASM/ OASuW contracts and events are covered separately.

FY 2016 – 2017

Full rate production approved.

Infographic

January 24/17: Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya has reported that Ukrainian authorities have seized a plane allegedly transporting Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles to Iran. A search of the plane’s hold at Kiev’s Zhulyany Airport was conducted when 17 containers onboard were not registered in the flight’s cargo manifesto. Three containers were filled with 9K111 Fagot ATGMs.

December 1/16: The US State Department has cleared the potential sale of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) to Poland. Estimated at $200 million, if passed Warsaw will receive 70 AGM-158B JASSM-ER missiles, 2 AGM-158B Flight Test Vehicles, 2 AGM-158 Mass Simulant vehicles, and 1 Captive Carry variant of the AGM-158B Flight Test Vehicle. F-16 C & D upgrades, along with training services, and additional supporting equipment are also included in the deal.

September 8/16: Lockheed Martin announced that it recently delivered the 2,000th Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) to the USAF. This missile is a baseline version completed under the 12th production lot. Production of this lot began in January and covers 150 baseline JASSM cruise missiles and 60 JASSM-Extended Range (ER) missiles.

March 7/16: Lockheed Martin is to provide more Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) for the USAF. The $116.8 million contract will also include provision of system upgrades, integration, sustainment, management, and logistical support. Delivery of the missiles will be completed by June 2019. Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to Surface Standoff Missile is a long-range, radar-evading cruise missile designed to destroy hostile air defenses before aircraft are within range.

November 27/15: Lockheed Martin has been put on contract to upgrade the B-52H to carry its new extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff (JASSM) Weapon in a deal worth $9.1 million. The facelift will allow the B-52 to carry missiles that will double the bombers strike distance. The JASSM takes advantage of several concurrent digital upgrades that will allow every B-52 to carry smart weapons internally for the first time and on its pylons, giving the 54 year old a new lease on life and usability.

October 15/15: Lockheed Martin has been awarded a production contract for the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), with the $305.5 million contract also covering upgrades, logistics and support services. The stealthy cruise missile’s extended-range (ER) upgrade hit full-rate production in December last year, with the US planning to purchase around 2,400 JASSM missiles and a further 3,000 JASSM-ER variants. Poland became the third JASSM export customer in September after Lockheed Martin announced a Foreign Military Sales contract to provide forty missiles to equip the Polish Air Force’s fleet of F-16C/D fighters.

FY 2015

Full rate production approved.

September 15/15: Lockheed Martin has bagged a contract to integrate its Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) onto Polish F-16s, signing a Foreign Military Sales contract with the US Air Force on Monday. The contract covers an initial batch of 40 missiles, estimated to value approximately $500 million, including test and training missiles, aircraft upgrades and support services, according to a FMS request in September 2014. Poland’s fleet of 48 F-16C/D Block 52s are to receive the missiles as part of an expanding arsenal of Polish strike weapons, with the country being the third international JASSM customer following Australia and Finland.

Dec 15/14: FRP. Almost 4 years after Milestone C, Lockheed Martin announced that the U.S. Air Force has approved full rate production for JASSM-ER.

FRP

Dec 11/14: Poland. Reuters reported on Dec. 5 that Poland’s JASSM order is worth about $250M and should be officially confirmed on December 11. And indeed the contract was officially confirmed on that date. First the Americans will upgrade Poland’s F-16s, as well as their software to Operational Flight Plan M6.5 tape. Missile deliveries should then follow in the second half of 2016.

The US congress had already approved the sale of 40 missiles to Poland (q.v. Oct 4/14), and in November Reuters had reported that the deal was underway for Poland’s initial JASSM missiles and F-16 upgrade, so this has been a well-scripted ramp-up to the contract:

“Deputy Defence Minister Czeslaw Mroczek also told reporters negotiations have been concluded for the purchase of 40 JASSM long-range air-to-surface missiles for its 48-strong fleet of F-16…. the agreement will be signed in December and the missiles will be fully operational in March 2017, Mroczek said.”

Sources: Reuters, “Lockheed missile deal with Poland worth $250 million” | Polish government: Umowa na uzbrojenie do F-16 | Reuters, “Polish attack helicopter tender attracts four potential bidders”.

Polish order

Oct 22/14: Poland – and Russia. Russian Air Force commander Gen. Viktor Bondarev, announces that Russia’s airbase in Belarus will be located in Babruysk by 2016. That’s almost 250 km east of, and a year later than, earlier reports that Russia would be a joint tenant at Baranovichi AB by 2015. Babyrusk will begin with 24 modernized Russian Su-27M3 fighters, which will provide depth behind the RBAADF’s SU-27P/UBs and MiG-29(U)BMs at Baranovichi.

Defence analyst, Alexander Alesin is quoted as saying that the new location will be “harder to reach by the cruise missiles which are to be acquired by the Polish Air Force.” That’s certainly true, and it also keeps a Russian base off of Belarus’ territory before their 2015 Presidential elections. On the flip side, Babruysk gives the Russians an unused base that was once supposed to hold Tu-22 bombers, and has space for a larger and more varied Russian presence once it’s refurbished and ready. Time to order some JASSM-ERs… (q.v. Oct 4/14). Sources: Defence24, “Russian Air Base Pushed Away from the Polish Borders – JASSM is the reason”.

Oct 4/14: Poland. The 15-day period for NATO allies has expired, which green-lights Poland’s JASSM request (q.v. Sept 19/14). At the same time, the cost has become somewhat controversial. Up to $500 million for 40 missiles and F-16 upgrade bundle seems like a lot beside Finland’s $225 million public request for 70 JASSM missiles – but Finland ordered about $400 million in F/A-18C/D MLU3 fighter upgrades separately.

Poland is apparently interested in buying more missiles once the F-16 fleet’s OFP 6.5 fighter software upgrade is done, including AGM-158B JASSM-ER missiles that will extend their strike range even further. Meanwhile, Russia is beginning to introduce S-400 advanced anti-aircraft missile systems, whose 400 km range could cover much of Poland if they’re forward-based in Belarus. Source: US Embassy in Warsaw.

FY 2014

Orders: USA, Poland; Australia’s ANAO report, as JASSM acquisition wraps up; Polish request changes Russian basing decisions.

Sept 30/14: Support. Lockheed Martin in Orlando, FL receives a $100 million sole-source indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for JASSM system upgrades, integration, sustainment, management and logistical support from FY 2015 – 2019.

Work will be performed at Orlando, FL, and is expected to be complete by Sept 29/19. This award is the result of sole-source acquisition. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin AFB, FL, manages the contract (FA8682-14-D-0029).

Sept 24/14: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $9.1 million sole-source, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Subminiature Flight Safety System integration onto JASSM. The contract covers all activities necessary to design, develop and qualify an SFSS demonstration unit via ground, captive-carry and flight tests. $8 million is committed immediately, using FY 2013 & 2014 USAF RDT&E budgets.

Work will be performed at Orlando, FL, and is expected to be complete by March 24/18. the USAF Life Cycle Management Center’s Armament Directorate, Advanced Programs Division, at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8677-14-C-0137).

Sept 19/14: Support. Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions in King of Prussia, PA receives a $7 million sole-source, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for JASSM software maintenance; specifically, improvements to JASSM Enterprise Management System (JEMS) Phase 3B. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF O&M budgets.

Work will be performed at King of Prussia, PA, and is expected to be complete by Sept 14, 2015. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The USAF Lifecycle Management Center at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8682-14-C-0264).

Sept 19/14: Poland. The US DSCA officially announces that Poland’s earlier interest (q.v. May 26/14) is formalized through an export request worth up to $500 million. If a contract is concluded, the principal contractor will be F-16 and JASSM manufacturer Lockheed Martin in Ft. Worth, TX.

It could include 40 AGM-158A JASSM missiles, 4 missiles (2 of them inert) with Test Instrumentation Kit (TIK) and Flight Termination Systems (FTS) for testing, and 2 Flight Certification Test Vehicles. The Polish will also need to upgrade their F-16C/D Block 52s fleet’s core Operational Flight Plan software to M6.5 tape. so that their Modular Mission Computers (MMC) can work with JASSM.

This OFP release is specific to European F-16 fleets, adding features like Link 16 and GPS updates alongside integration with new UAI weapons like JASSM. the request also includes the usual integration, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, technical documentation, personnel training and related equipment, and other US government and contractor support services. Sources: US DSCA #14-44 | USAF FY15 budget for F-16 squadrons.

DSCA: Poland (40 + fighter upgrades)

RAAF JASSM tests

May 28/14: Australia. Australia’s DoD announces that Project AIR 5418 has achieved Final Operational Capability (FOC) with the AGM-158A Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile (JASSM), which closes out the acquisition program. That’s a bit past the recent target date of September 2013, but Australia’s JASSM program has been consistently late due to unforseen difficulties. For full coverage, see “Australia Chooses JASSM Missiles on F-18s for Long-Range Strike.”

May 26/14: Poland. Deputy Defence Minister Czeslaw Mroczek says that Poland will accelerate some planned arms buys, changing their PLN 131.4 billion (about $43.1 billion) “Technical Modernisation Programme 2013-2022” in response to the Ukrainian situation. One of the changes involves JASSM missiles for its F-16C/D fleet. Sources: IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, “Poland to accelerate arms programmes”.

March 4/14: FY15 Budget. The USAF and USN unveil their preliminary budget request briefings. They aren’t precise, but they do offer planned purchase numbers for key programs between FY 2014 – 2019.

The FY 2014 USAF budget included a total of 187 JASSMs for about $271 million, while the FY 2015 request includes a total of 224 for about $337 million. That’s where the USAF’s briefing window ends, but the Navy’s brief introduces low-rate production of the LRASM derivative later on: 30 in 2017, 40 in 2018, and 40 in 2019. Source: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | USAF, Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview.

Feb 27/14: Industrial. Lockheed Martin breaks ground on a 62,000 square foot annex to its Pike County Operations’ Long Range Strike Systems cruise missile production facility in Troy, AL. When it’s complete, the facility will have expanded its existing space by 67%. The annex is supposed to be done by Q1 2015.

The Pike County facility builds JASSM missiles, and also produces test missiles for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) development program. While there is foreign interest in JASSM, an expansion of this magnitude suggests that the firm expects LRASM/OASuW to become a program in its own right. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Breaks Ground on New Cruise Missile Annex at Award Winning Facility in Alabama”.

Feb 26/14: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a sole-source $10.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification. The contract pays them to develop JASSM’s anti-jam GPS receiver, with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module Version 3 (JAGR-S V3), and exercises options for a V3 Qualification Failure Review Board (FRB), V3 Flight Test FRB, and Transit Case Assembly.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 missile procurement budgets. Work will be performed at Orlando, FL, and Troy, AL, and is expected to be completed by Dec 31/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBJK at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract (FA8682-12-C-0006, PO 0017).

Dec 19/13: FY 2013 – 2014. Lockheed Martin receives 2 sole-source contracts worth a total of $449 million, for a total of 410 missiles: 310 AGM-158 JASSM baseline, and 100 AGM-158B JASSM-ERs. Both contracts will also implement a redesign of the JASSM-ER’s Avionics Bulkhead, as shared-savings “Value Engineering Change Proposal”, and contracts Lockheed Martin to act as the designer and manage electronics obsolescence. For the military, that doesn’t mean slow chips, it means items that aren’t being manufactured any more. Management can involve laying in a large stock of spares, improving the supply chain, or redesigning the missile to use newer technology that is in production. Work will be performed at Orlando, FL, and Troy, AL, and expected to be completed by Nov 30/16. The USAF’s Life Cycle Management Center/ EBJK at Eglin Air Force Base, FL manages these contracts.

A $232.5 million firm-fixed price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract will provide 190 JASSM baseline missiles and 40 JASSM-ER missile, plus systems engineering, foreign military sales test assets, etc. All funds are committed immediately, using USAF FY 2013-2014 missile procurement budgets, and about $7 million (3%) that involves foreign military sales for Finland and Australia (FA8682-14-C-0069).

A $216.5 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract buys 150 JASSM and 60 JASSM-ER missiles for the USAF, plus the items common to both contracts as noted above. All funds are committed immediately, using USAF FY 2013-2014 missile procurement budgets (FA8682-14-C-0084).

Lot 11 & 12 contracts

Dec 17/13: ANAO Report. Australia’s National Audit Office releases their 2012-13 Major Projects Report. JASSM falls under Project AIR 5418, Phase 1, otherwise known as the Follow On Stand Off Weapon (FOSOW) program. Australia retired its long-range FB-111 fighter-bombers in 2011, and picked the AGM-158 to give its modernized F/A-18AM/BM Hornets some extra strike reach. It doesn’t fully compensate, but it helps. The missiles were also supposed to have anti-ship capabilities, but when the USAF dropped funding for that capability, Australia had to follow suit in mid-2010. Initial Operational Capability was about 2 years late, arriving in 2011 instead of 2009.

The program is mostly complete, with expected delivery of all purchases and close-out of the program in September 2013. Two live test firings occurred in mid-2013, and explosive ordnance storage facilities are available to meet all storage requirements. Initial inspections had yanked the facilities’ Explosive Limit Licenses due to design shortcomings, but Australia found alternative temporary storage facilities during the rectification gap.

FY 2013

Finnish integration contract; Missiles shifted from JASSM to JASSM-ER.

AGM-158 JASSM

July 15/13: Sub-contractors. ITT Exelis announces a contract “in excess of $10 million” to produce JASSM and JASSM-ER composite missile bodies and structures, as part of Production Lot 10 (FY 2012). Deliveries for this order will be completed by June 2014.

Their Salt Lake City, Utah facility uses braiding, resin transfer mold, and vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding to produce the complex structures, and the release says that they have built more than 1,500 missile bodies and structures so far. ITT Exelis.

June 14/13: Australia & Finland. A $9.9 million delivery order for JASSM Common Unique Planning Component software, on behalf of Australia and Finland.

Work will be performed at Orlando, FL, and is expected to be complete by June 2/15. All funds are committed immediately by USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBJK at Eglin AFB, FL manages the contract on behalf of their clients (FA8682-11-D-0155, #0030).

June 10/13: Finland. Lockheed Martin announces a follow-on a $34.2 million contract to integrate JASSM with Finnish Hornets. It’s the 2nd contract (q.v. Dec 3/12) in a 6-year integration, production and sustainment effort.

Airworthiness activities will occur at NAS Patuxent River, MD, followed by flight testing at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA.

May 31/13: Finland. A $34.2 million contract modification for initial development of the Precision Targeting Module software package brings total funds committed to $39.3 million to provide key items for Finland, upgrade and expand Pike County Operations at the JASSM AUR building, and provide general JASSM systems engineering services. Deliverables for Finland include 1 containerized instrumented JASSM test vehicle, 1 containerized Jettison test vehicle, 2 containerized separation test vehicles, 2 containerized mass simulation vehicles, global positioning systems controlled radiation pattern antennas, 1 weapon support simulator consisting of a system support simulator and transit case assembly, and tooling, along with various forms of support (FA8682-11-D-0155, #0022 modification 04).

Work will be performed at Orlando, FL and Troy, AL, and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/16. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/EBJK at Eglin Air Force Base, FL manages the contract.

May 24/13: SAR. The Pentagon finally releases its Dec 31/12 Selected Acquisitions Report [PDF]. Both programs are mentioned, as the USAF shift 447 missiles out of the standard variant and into the JASSM-ER program:

“JASSM Baseline – Subprogram costs decreased $641.5 million (-18.0%) from $3,555.6 million to $2,914.1 million, due primarily to a quantity reduction of 447 missiles from 2,400 to 1,953 missiles (-$313.0 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations (-$198.0 million). There were additional decreases related to the movement of all support requirements from the JASSM Baseline subprogram to the JASSM-Extended Range (ER) subprogram starting in FY 2017, since the JASSM Baseline program ends in FY 2016 (-$210.9 million). These decreases were partially offset by the reallocation of development work from the JASSM-ER subprogram to the JASSM Baseline subprogram (+$48.9 million).

JASSM-ER – Subprogram costs increased $653.6 million (+17.4%) from $3,750.5 million to $4,404.1 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of 447 missiles from 2,500 to 2,947 missiles (+$436.6 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations (+$108.1 million). There were additional increases in support, since the JASSM program will transition to an all JASSM-ER missile in FY 2017. All support funding from the JASSM Baseline program transitioned to the JASSM-ER program between FY 2017 to FY 2035 (+$193.5 million).”

SAR – switch from JASSM to ER variant

April 19/13: Exports. The Pentagon announces potential deals for “standoff weapons [that]… can navigate to their targets and are more precise and can be fired at further distances.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE will still require DSCA notifications, and then negotiated contracts, before any weapons head their way. While it’s possible that the announcement is referring to weapons like the GBU-39 SDB-I or AGM-154C-1 JSOW glide bombs, the announcement seems to be tipped toward JASSM as the true standoff weapon of the trio. The irony is that it was the USA’s initial refusal to let UAE F-16E/Fs carry JASSMs that pushed the UAE to modify their Mirage fleet to Mirage 2000-9 status, and equip them with “Black Shaheen” derivatives of MBDA’s competing Storm Shadow. US DoD.

March 28/13: GAO Report. The US GAO tables its “Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs“. Which is actually a review for 2012, plus time to compile and publish.

“According to the program office, they successfully completed [JASSM-ER] operational testing in October 2012 with initial results indicating the missiles achieved a direct hit on 16 out of 16 targets. Program officials stated since 2006, JASSM-ER successfully performed 26 out of 27 flight tests, including developmental, integrated, and operational testing.”

Overall, the technologies are judged to be mature and the program is fairly stable, but it’s still assessed as a moderate risk. The internal oil leak was fixed, and program officials say that the issue with metal shavings in the oil have also been resolved with engine retrofits. Fuzes have been a problem in the past, and that has created production shortages. The program intends to move to an electronic safe and arm fuze that can be tested without destroying it, but the fact that smaller issues keep cropping up, and that fuze supply is an issue, pushes the program into moderate risk.

Dec 3/12: Finland. Lockheed Martin announces a $5.1 million initial contract to support integration of the AGM-158 JASSM onto Finnish Air Force (FiAF) F-18C/D Hornets. It’s the 1st phase of a 6-year software development and aircraft integration support program, with additional contract awards expected for the remaining phases of integration support, missile procurement and post-production support. For convenience and economies of scale, the award aligns with the FY 2012 JASSM Production Lot 10 procurement contract.

Finland becomes the 2nd international customer for JASSM, whose integration will coincide with the FiAF’s F/A-18 Mid-Life Two upgrades. The U.S. Navy will lead the integration effort in coordination with the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin and the FiAF. Integration activities will take place at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA.

Finnish integration

JASSM-ER successfully completes Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). The missile is later recognized as “operationally effective and suitable” by the Pentagon’s DOTE office, with the caveat that Lot 8+ production missiles haven’t been tested yet. Source: DOTE FY13 report [PDF].

IOT&E

FY 2012

Lot 10 order; 5-year support deal; Requests – Finland; Done testing with B-1B bomber; F-15E integration 1st with UAI; Off the concern list in Australia.

Blowing stuff up
click for video

Aug 9/12: The USAF says that the 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron is scheduled to complete JASSM-ER’s final phase of operational testing with its “threshold” B-1B platform on Aug 30/12. USAF Capt. Philip Atkinson adds that:

“One of the emphasis items is to be able to operate in contested and degraded environments… and we have demonstrated the ability to operate with intense GPS jamming. Even without GPS, the JASSM can find its target due to its internal sensor.”

July 26/12: F-15E integration. Lockheed Martin announces that its AGM-158 JASSM has completed F-15E platform integration, following a successful all-up round (AUR) launch test at White Sands Missile Range, NM. This marked the 1st time that any missile, has been integrated onto a platform using the new Universal Armament Interface (UAI).

F-15E added

June 28/12: JASSM Lot 10. Lockheed Martin announces a $241.6 million contract for Lot 10 production of 221 AGM-158 JASSM family missiles. It includes 190 AGM-158 JASSM missiles, plus 30 missiles in the 2nd year of low-rate initial production for the AGM-158B Extended Range JASSM-ER variant. The contract also buys Test Instrumentation Kits and systems engineering support.

The missiles are produced at the company’s Shingo award-winning manufacturing facility in Troy, AL. to date, Lockheed Martin says they’ve has assembled more than 1,100 JASSMs for testing and operational use, toward a total objective of 4,900 JASSM and JASSM-ER missiles.

The release adds an update re: “January [2012] certification of JASSM on the Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 and successful integration on the U.S. Air Force F-15E.”

Lot 10 contract

March 30/12: SAR. The Pentagon releases its report, and JASSM-ER is highlighted for a good news reason:

“Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) – Program costs decreased $637.0 million (-14.5%) from $4,387.5 million to $3,750.5 million, due primarily to an acceleration of the procurement buy profile that shortened the program by five years from FY 2028 to FY 2023 (-$726.0 million), offset by the application of revised escalation indices (+$85.0 million).”

JASSM-ER cost drop

Dec 13/11: Australia. Australia’s DoD removes JASSM from their notorious “Projects of Concern” list, and explains the rocky procurement history to date:

“This project was approved in December 2005 to acquire JASSM for deployment on Classic Hornets. The project was listed as a Project of Concern in November 2010… The JASSM project has been used as a case study for improvements in the management of major Defence projects. Lessons from the project informed the Government’s response to the “Review of the Defence Accountability Framework” (the Black Review), which Minister Smith released in August [2011].

In July this year, the missile was successfully tested at the Woomera Test Range in South Australia. In November [2011] the Chief of Air Force provided service release, certifying the JASSM for use on Australia’s F/A-18 A/Bs.”

Following positive recommendations from the Airworthiness Board, AIR 5418 has also achieved Initial Operational Capability on F/A-18 mission software OFP 23X. This is 2 years later than the original December 2009, and ANAO attributes the delay to “delays in the AF/A-18 A/B software development and certification process, which has required extensive testing and redevelopment”. Read: “Australia Chooses JASSM Missiles on F-18s for Long-Range Strike” for full coverage.

Australia: IOC, and Off the “Projects of Concern” list

Oct 31/11: Finland request. The US DSCA finally allows Finland’s official request [PDF] for AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles to go forward. Finland would receive 70 AGM-158 cruise missiles, 2 test vehicles, plus support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $255 million. Read “Finland to Buy Cruise Missiles for its Hornets” for full coverage.

Finland request

June 13/11: The Pentagon announces a 5-year, $100 million support contract for Lockheed Martin’s JASSM family, and its WCMD family of GPS-guided cluster bombs. Read “$100M to Support JASSM & WCMD family Weapons, 2011-2016” for full details.

%-year support

FY 2010 – 2011

Production resumes; JASSM-ER Milestone C approval; JASSM-ER production begins.

Gotcha
(click to view full)

May 9/11: Lot 9 to 200. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $45.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to increase the Lot 9 Joint-Air-to-Surface-Missile buy by 75 AGM-158 baseline missiles. At this point, all funding has been committed by the AAC/EBJK at Eglin Air Force Base, FL (FA8682-11-C-0001, PO 002).

In their June 1/11 teleconference, Lockheed Martin personnel said that funding under the Continuing Resolution would have meant a low number of JASSMs produced (125, vs. the Troy, AL plant’s current maximum of 360). That would have upped the price per missile, due to manufacturing inefficiencies. Once a budget passed, the USAF stepped in to remedy that by raising the order to 200, out of a maximum of 391 possible under the Lot 9 authority.

This order brings the Lot 9 contract to $208.5 million for 200 missiles (170 AGM-158, 30 AGM-158B JASSM-ER), plus warranty and continued systems engineering work. The FY 2011 budget is for $238.5 million, which also include USAF costs for testing, etc. Lot 9 brings the contracted total over the years to more than 1,300 missiles. Lockheed Martin has assembled approximately 1,100 JASSMs for testing and operational use at its Troy, AL facility, towards its total objective of 4,900 missiles. The USAF’s objective reportedly sits at 3,700 missiles, but that could change. See also Orlando Sentinel.

April 4/11: Lockheed Martin Corp., of Orlando, FL receives a $162.7 million firm fixed price Lot 9 production contract for approximately 95 JASSM and 30 JASSM-ER missiles, which also includes warranty, systems engineering, and test support.

According to Lockheed Martin personnel, some of the JASSM “systems engineering” efforts underway include reliability & producibility upgrades for the current fuze, as they try to automate some of the steps in its rather involved manufacturing. A new fuze type has been discussed, but isn’t funded in Lot 9. Lockheed Martin also acknowledged USAF interest in modifying JASSM to strike ships within the near future, though the technical approach for that isn’t set yet. Raytheon’s AGM-154C-1 JSOW Block III glide bomb has already made this transition for the Navy.

Officially, work will be performed at Orlando, FL, which is HQ for the firm’s Missiles and Fire Control division. In practice, the missiles are assembled at the firm’s Troy, AL facility, though about 135 Orlando jobs are tied to JASSM work, along with more than 2 dozen jobs at Lockheed Martin’s military electronics plant in Ocala, FL. The AAC/EBJK at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, manages this contract (FA8682-11-C-0001).

Lot 9

Feb 28/11: Australia. A Letter of Certification re: JASSM’s integration with Australia’s F/A-18AM/BM Hornets running OFP 23X mission software is issued by the USN. Interesting ANAO lesson learned from the experience: “Interface Control Documents are not always correct or may not have been interpreted correctly during host platform design.” Source: ANAO 2012–13 Major Projects Report.

January 2011: JASSM-ER Milestone C/LRIP. The US Defense Acquisition Board issues Milestone C authorization go-ahead for JASSM-ER to,allowing it to proceed into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), after the missile went 10 for 11 (91%, goal 80%) against a variety of targets and mission objectives. Source.

Milestone C

Feb 4/10: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $245 million contract to produce 160 AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM). The contract includes both baseline and extended range missiles to support the US Air Force and Foreign Military Sales customers.

Lot 8 includes up to 391 JASSMs and JASSM-Extended Range systems. The 308th Armament Systems Group at Eglin Air Force Base is the contracting activity (FA8682-10-C-0016). FBO.gov | Lockheed Martin release.

Lot 8

Dec 22/09: The USAF issues FedBizOpps pre-solicitation #FA8682-11-C-0001, “JASSM Lot 9 Production”:

“The 308th Armament Systems Group plans to award a sole source contract to Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control-Orlando… The proposed contract covers JASSM production Lot 9 for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) , FMS, and/or Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) systems. Also included are Systems Engineering, Telemetry Instrumentation Kits (TIKs); Operational Safety, Suitability and Effectiveness (OSS&E). The Lot 9 quantity of up to 391 units will be authorized in first or second quarter of fiscal year 2011… Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando FL is the only known source to meet the government’s requirement under the SPS… Direct any questions to 676 ARSS, Attn: Bridget Smith, Contracting Officer, 205 West D Ave Ste 632, Eglin AFB, FL…”

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections, comments, or information to contribute are encouraged to contact DID’s Founding Editor, Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

JASSM Alternatives

Categories: News

US Army Solicits Proposals for Quadcopter Swarm Dispenser | Boeing to Develop Parachute Kit for SHARC | Safran Elec Acquiring Zodiac Aerospace for $9B

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 23:58
Americas

  • The USAF is looking into testing a new low-cost light attack aircraft as soon as this spring. While Pentagon plans to acquire a new light attack platform are not new, the funding and scope of an earlier effort, the OA-X program, has never materialized into contracts being signed. However, if the experiment is approved and funded fully, the new platform will compliment the A-10 in close air support and reconnaissance missions.

  • Industry has been asked by the US Army to submit proposals for a missile that can dispense a swarm of quadcopters. Once released, the drones will decelerate and seek out their target and terminate them by landing on them, detonating explosively formed penetrators. Possible targets named in the solicitation are tanks and large caliber gun barrels, vehicle roofs, fuel storage barrels, and ammunition storage sites. The call out comes shortly after the launching of a swarm of 103 Perdix micro-drones from three separate F/A-18 Super Hornets as part of Pentagon efforts to integrate micro-drones for use on surveillance missions.

  • Boeing is developing a parachute kit to fit on the Sensor-Hosting Remote Autonomous Craft (SHARC) unmanned surface vehicle. The company purchased SHARC’s developer, Liquid Robotics, last month and sees great potential in SHARC as a persistent sensor platform for long-dwell surveillance needs, such as anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. SHARC is capable of towing underwater sensors and sensor arrays and is being promoted as an ideal solution for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions.

Middle East North Africa

  • Rolls Royce will provide MTU diesel engines to the Turkish Coast Guard for use in their six new search and rescue vessels currently under construction at Damen Shipyards. Ankara is expecting all of the boats to be delivered by the end of 2017 with the EU providing financial support for the effort. Since 2015, the UK has sold $405 million-worth of arms to Turkey, representing a growing market for UK defense exports. However, human rights and anti-arms trade campaigners have criticized the deals, saying London is putting arms deals ahead of human rights, a reference to the ongoing political crackdown by Turkish authorities in the wake of a failed coup against the Erdogan regime.

Europe

  • Safran Electronics will acquire fellow French aerospace firm Zodiac Aerospace in a $9 billion deal, creating the world’s third-largest aircraft equipment provider. Following the acquisition of Zodiac, Safran will gain access to the companies assets, which include seats, cabin interiors, power distribution, and fuel equipment. Safran says it will use its new capabilities to push for the development of “more electrical aircraft.” The pending merger will now be subject to approval from regulatory agencies and is expected to be finalized by early 2018.

  • UK PM Teresa May has come under fire following news that ministers covered up a failed test of the Trident nuclear deterrent weeks before a crucial Commons vote on the future of the £40 billion program. Previous tests have been publicized by the Government. Details of the test, which happened last July, still remain undisclosed to the public, and opposition MPs are calling for an inquiry into the incident.

Asia Pacific

  • Stocks of certain munitions in the Indian armed forces are so low, they are at half the reserves necessary to conduct 40 days of intense fighting. Urgent requirements for the Indian Air Force call for 50,000 rounds of 30mm ammunition for the GSh-30-1 gun and more than 60,000 rounds of 12.7 mm ammunition to be fired from the Yak-B Gatling gun. The munitions are used on IAF Su-30MKI and Mi-35 platforms. Efforts in the last three months have seen New Delhi rush to buy $1 billion worth of arms and ammunition from Russia and Israel for the Indian Army and Navy under a fast track procedure instead of relying on the notoriously slow bureaucratic channels.

  • Confusion is rife in Indonesia as military and government fail to collaborate over the purchase of AW101 helicopters. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacud told reporters that he needs to “coordinate” with the new Air Force chief over the procurement. Initially planned to be used as Presidential VIP transport before being scrapped by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the deal was then pursued by the air force for use in combat and rescue operations.

Today’s Video

Boeing’s SHARC:

Categories: News

A Higher-Tech Hog: USAF A-10C Upgraded, Refurbished, Unloved – But More in Demand

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 23:50

A-10A over Germany
(click to view full)

The Precision Engagement modification is the largest single upgrade effort ever undertaken for the USA’s unique A-10 “Warthog” close air support aircraft fleet. While existing A/OA-10 aircraft continue to outperform technology-packed rivals on the battlefield, this set of upgrades is expected to make them more flexible, and help keep the aircraft current until the fleet’s planned phase-out in 2028. When complete, A-10C PE will give USAF A-10s precision strike capability sooner than planned, combining multiple upgrades into 1 time and money-saving program, rather than executing them as standalone projects. Indeed, the USAF accelerated the PE program by 9 months as a result of its experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This is DID’s FOCUS Article for the PE program, and for other modifications to the A-10 fleet. It covers the A-10’s battlefield performance and advantages, the elements of the PE program, other planned modifications, related refurbishment efforts to keep the fleet in the air, and the contracts that have been issued each step of the way.

A/OA-10 Thunderbolt II: Experiences on the Ground

A/OA-10 at Bagram, AF
(click to view full)

The Major’s Email: British Harrier Support in Afghanistan, Revisited” examined the statements of a British officer who had criticized British close air support, and openly stated a preference for USAF A-10s over any aircraft the British could deploy in theater.

As we explained at the time, this comes as no surprise. The O/A-10 “Warthog” has the advantage of armored protection, along with a purpose-built design that allows slower speed forward flight and longer loiter time over the battlefield. Not to mention its infamous GAU-8 Avenger 30mm gatling gun that can take apart a tank – or just about anything else in its field of fire. This is what allowed it to do a substantially better job in Desert Storm than fast-moving fighters like the quickly-abandoned “A-16” F-16 experiment, and it’s currently keeping them very busy in Afghanistan.

It kept them busy in Iraq, too. A July 2003 report in Air Force News quoted Lt. Col. Dave Kennedy:

“Kennedy said during a Pentagon interview that in the first week of the war, close-air support requests went to the Combined Air Operations Center “open-ended” — meaning no specific aircraft type was requested. After the first week, he said, 80 to 90 percent of the requests for close-air support were A-10-specific.”

As one can see, the British Major is hardly alone in his preferences. Why is this?

As this National Defense magazine article notes, fast jets simply aren’t an ideal choice for close air support, and the British aren’t alone in having this issue. US Army Sgt. First Class Frank Antenori discuss his recent experiences in Iraq:

“The aircraft that we have are awesome, but they are too awesome, they are too fast, too high speed. The older technology, the A-10, is far better than the new technology, Antenori said. “The A-10s never missed, and with the F/A-18s we had to do two or three bomb runs to get them on the target,” he said, recalling his recent experiences in combat.”

Dispatches from Afghanistan add an additional edge, and reinforce the point:

The A-10 combines some of the best of today’s high-technology Air Force with a solid, low-tech foundation. The addition of a targeting and laser-designation pod was a huge boost to the plane’s capabilities, but still no substitute for the pilot’s eyeballs.

“Most other aircraft rely heavily on (electronic) sensors to find and target the enemy,” said Capt. Rick Mitchell, deployed here from the Air Force Reserve Command’s 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. “In the A-10, it’s not unusual for a pilot to use binoculars.”

“Killer Chick”
flew it home
(click to view full)

Which is not to say that technology is useless. A/OA-10s have made effective and frequent use of LITENING AT surveillance and targeting pods, for instance. Integrating them directly into the aircraft’s systems is a fine idea that lowers pilot workload, and adds scanning range and improved night/bad weather capabilities. While a second crewman would be ideal, and was part of a 1980s “A-10 Night/Adverse Weather” model that was never produced, the sensor pods are clear improvements. Likewise, adding the ability to drop additional precision weapons like JDAM or its WCMD cluster bomb counterpart can only be a plus. On the flip side, A-10s have also been involved in several notable friendly fire incidents, which makes datalink improvements a critical fix.

The difference is that conventional fast jet fighters are forced to depend on these enhancements for effectiveness, because of their aerodynamic design a vulnerability to damage. With the new Precision Engagement additions, the A-10C adds many of the newer fighters’ tricks and weapons, but its cheaper, purpose-built design and stronger protection give its pilots additional options. Those additional options contribute directly to effectiveness in combat, and can still be used if hostile fire or simple technical failure render those technological enhancements useless.

The net result is an A/OA-10A Thunderbolt II/ “Warthog” platform that is a worthy successor to its P-47 Thunderbolt/”Jug” namesake, whose top 10 aces all survived World War II.

The “Hog” is the best western close air support aircraft by a very wide margin, and the A-10C upgrades make it the best close-support aircraft in the world. It’s likely to remain so well into the future, despite competition from the upgraded Sukhoi SU-25/28 “Frogfoot”/”Scorpion”, or boasts from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program that their aircraft will be able to replace it.

The A/OA-10 Precision Engagement Modification Program

A-10 cockpit, before
(click to view alternate)

To date, A-10 fleet upgrades have been somewhat patchwork and piecemeal. The A-10C PE program changes all that. The entire A-10 fleet will be modified over 4-5 years, and an April 2/07 GAO report estimates the A-10 Precision Engagement program’s total overall cost at around $420 million.

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego is the A-10C Precision Engagement program’s prime contractor and systems integrator under the direction of the A-10 program office (508th Attack Sustainment Squadron), leading a team that includes Northrop Grumman of St. Augustine, FL; BAE Systems of Johnson City, NY; and Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) of San Antonio, TX. The Air Force awarded the Precision Engagement development contract to Lockheed Martin in 2001, and as the prime contractor Lockheed is expected to deliver a total of 356 kits over 5 years, at an estimated cost of $168 million. Lockheed Martin received the production contract in February 2005, with the first production kits delivered to Hill AFB in March 2006.

While the program was originally supposed to consist of several spirals, these plans were modified in light of USAF requests and needs. The program now consists of 2 increments, with JTRS fielding left as an open item to be addressed once the JTRS AMF equipment is available.

A-10 PE, Increment 3.2

A-10C, partly upgraded
(click to view full)

The Maryland ANG(Air National Guard) 175th Wing at Warfield ANG Base in Baltimore, MD was be the first unit to convert to the modified aircraft and integrate them into normal operations, beginning in September 2007. They received Increment 3.2, which will include the PE kit described below plus datalink capability (14 months early), basic JDAM and WCMD compatibility (9 months early), the Spiral 1 PE kit described below, and targeting pod compatibility.

Each Spiral 1 Precision Engagement kit consists of a new cockpit instrument panel. A new computer called the Central Interface Control Unit (CICU) adds new cockpit controls and displays, including a pair of 5×5 inch multi-function color displays that include moving digital map functions. The new integrated Digital Stores Management System (DSMS), meanwhile, keeps track of weapons and launches them; it will be linked into applications as diverse as video from the targeting pod, weapons status reports, and the data link. These upgrades require a major change to the aircraft’s wiring, and consume a lot more power. Not to worry, though; a second DC generator will double the A-10’s generator capacity.

For the pilot, a new stick grip and right throttle provide true hands-on-throttle and-stick (HOTAS) fingertip control of aircraft systems and targeting pod functionality. Using the HOTAS, the pilot can designate the targeting pod to monitor an area of interest, confirm target identification, and provide laser guidance to weapons from his A-10 or from another platform – all without taking his hands from the controls. Upgrading 6 of the A-10C’s 11 pylons to ‘smart’ weapons capability via MIL-STD-1760 is the final piece of the basic infrastructure upgrades.

A-10s w. LITENING
(click to view full)

Key add-ons build upon these initial steps, and targeting pod integration is touted as the final piece of spiral 1. PE Program modifications will allow the A-10 to carry either the Northrop-Grumman/ Rafael LITENING AT or the Lockheed Martin Sniper XR targeting pod on an underwing pylon as fully integrated devices, with connections to all of the aircraft’s other systems. The pods, which include long-range TV and infrared cameras with zoom capabilities and a laser target designator, will enable the pilot to identify targets from medium altitudes on the order of 20,000 to 30,000 feet day or night, then illuminate them for homing, laser-guided or GPS guided bombs. During the initial deployments in Iraq, their heat-sensing capability has even proved useful for finding buried land mines, which tend to retain a differential heat signature because they’re made of different materials than the earth around them.

The targeting pods will help reduce mistaken attacks on friendly forces and noncombatants by giving the pilot a closer look at potential targets, and experience with other jets indicates that their stabilized, “point and stare” capabilities are likely to prove especially important in urban operations. Eventually, they will allow A-10 aircraft to engage targets from a higher altitude using advanced sensors and targeting pods and precision guided weapons, including the JDAM and their companion WCMD kits for cluster bombs.

Integration with ROVER devices carried by ground troops also becomes possible, allowing front line forces to communicate using annotated map displays and specific positional data.

SADL screen
(click to view full)

Another very significant Increment 3.2 upgrade involves Raytheon’s SADL data link. SADL was added after the A-10 Precision Engagement program requirements were finalized, which is usually a predictor of trouble. Instead, it went from requirements to delivery in just 17 months, thanks to a general sense of urgency and extraordinary contractor efforts. Those efforts included hardware purchases by Lockheed Martin before they had a government contract to do so, putting their funds at risk but ultimately shortening project completion by 6 months. Back in February 207, Major Drew English, the USAF program manager for A-10C Precision Engagement, told Military Aerospace Technology that:

“I would say the biggest [change] we have coming impact wise is the data link. It will shape our tactics and it bring us into a new era, probably as much as night vision goggles did when we got those in the mid-’90s”

SADL automatically sends and receive data from the Army Enhanced Position Locating and Reporting System (ePLRS) that is part of FBCB2, a.k.a. “Blue Force Tracker.” This means that friendly troops on the ground receive the plane’s position and altitude, while the 5 closest “friendlies” will show up on the aircraft’s heads-up display and/or multi-function cockpit displays at the beginning of an attack. SADL also offers Link 16 integration with other fighters and air defense systems, allowing the A-10C to automatically known receive position data for enemy aircraft, air defenses, and other targets – including targets beyond its range of sight. Link 16 and SADL share information via gateways, which are land-based or airborne portals that permit the transfer of information between different formats.

A-10C pilot Capt. Rich Hunt of the Maryland Air National Guard’s 175th Wing said from Al-Asad AFB, Iraq:

“Previously, for me to keep track of all the other airplanes that are around me or to help us perform the mission, I would literally have to write those down with a grease pencil inside my canopy or write them down on a white piece of paper on my knee board in order to keep track of all that… Now I have a color display that has all of the other airplanes that are up supporting the same mission across all of Iraq right now. And they are all digitally displayed through that data link on my map. So now, especially at night when awareness is a little bit lower, I can look at that beautiful map display and know exactly what other airplanes are around me.”

He also praised the ROVER downlink capability, allowing the aircraft to transmit the live video feed to a joint terminal attack controller on the ground, and the new JDAM capabilities:

“In Iraq that is especially important because it’s a very difficult situation when we provide close-air support in such a densely urban environment. By the controller being able to look through my targeting pod real time, we can compare exactly what we are looking at and make sure we have an absolutely 100 percent positive identification of the target… Sometimes we find ourselves where we have to destroy a terrorist stronghold location. But in the house across the street are friendly Iraqi civilians. We know we have to destroy the stronghold, but we don’t want to cause any collateral damage whatsoever. So the JDAM has been outstanding for us. Between the situational awareness data link, the targeting pod with the ROVER down link to the controller on the ground and the JDAM, the A-10C on this deployment has been an amazing success for us.”

The USAF adds that:

“A command and control platform — such as the 12th Air Force Air Operations Center here — can send digital communication via SADL to the A-10C for a variety of purposes. Tasking messages, targeting information, threat warnings, and friendly locations can all be sent and received by the A-10C. Additionally, the A-10C is the only platform with the ability to task other fighter platforms to attack targets.”

Given past A-10-related friendly fire incidents, the appeal of a system like SADL is obvious.

Together, these Increment 3.1 and 3.2 additions create an A-10C aircraft that looks the same on the outside, but offers a very different set of capabilities and can be used in very different ways.

The Air Force has been conducting flight-testing of the A-10C at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, and at Nellis Air Force Base, NV, since early 2005. Operational Testing Certification (OT Cert) begins in July 2007, with Air Force operational test and evaluation center Operational User Evaluation (AFOTEC OUE) in August 2007 that includes a final look at JDAM integration and the SADL datalink. If everything continues to go well, operational fielding begins in early September 2007 and The AFOTEC report will follow in October 2007.

A-10 PE, Increment 3.3

A-10C fires cannon
(click to view full)

A second fielded Precision Engagement release will provide for CNS/ATM, full smart weapon integration, more software upgrades, additional improvements as a result of feedback from earlier flight tests, and some maintainer functional improvements.

Releases to test were scheduled for August 2007 and December 2007, with fielding expected around May 2008.

Overall PE kit production ran to 2008. Squadrons released their jets for modification at Hill AFB, UT for upgrades, and they returned about 90 days later as A-10Cs. Installation work was scheduled to run until 2009.

A-10 Fleet: Other Planned Improvements

In service to 2028

The A-10C PE program is only part of the effort required to keep the Reagan-era fleet of A-10s battle-worthy out to 2028. A separate $2.02 billion dollar wing replacement program is underway, a multiple-award $1.72 billion contract covered overall fleet maintenance and some upgrades from 2009-2019, and more technology inserts and structural modifications were planned. The GAO’s April 2007 report placed the potential total cost of upgrades, refurbishment, and service life extension plans for the A/OA-10 force at up to $4.4 billion.

The Pentagon began pushing to retire the entire fleet early in the FY 2015 budget. If that effort fails, possible upgrades could include electronics and engines, as well as structural work.

The USAF planned to replace the “thin skin” wings on 242 aircraft with new wings, and that effort is now underway. The cost was originally estimated at $1.3 billion, but the June 2007 contract was for $2 billion. This effort will help to extend A-10 service lives to 16,000 flying hours.

At some point, the A-10s would need to install Joint Tactical Radio System-based (JTRS) radios. As of April 2007, JTRS AMF was only in the bid phase, and as of 2014 it was not a required USAF standard.

To improve the A-10’s overall power and maintainability, the USAF hoped to eventually upgrade the existing General Electric TF34-GE-100 turbofan engines. Components of the existing engine will be replaced; in particular, a more efficient fan section with wider blades would be installed by General Electric along with digital engine controls. Flight testing of the revamped engine was slated to begin in FY 2008, and production in 2009-2010. Instead, this effort was downgraded in priority and deferred.

An April 2/07 GAO report places the potential total cost of upgrades, refurbishment, and service life extension plans for the A/OA-10 force at up to $4.4 billion.

Contracts & Key Events

Unless otherwise specified, all contracts are awarded to Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY as leader of the A-10 Prime Team; and they are issued by the Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT.

FY 2016 – 2017

A-10 firing run

January 23/17: The USAF is looking into testing a new low-cost light attack aircraft as soon as this spring. While Pentagon plans to acquire a new light attack platform are not new, the funding and scope of an earlier effort, the OA-X program, has never materialized into contracts being signed. However, if the experiment is approved and funded fully, the new platform will compliment the A-10 in close air support and reconnaissance missions.

August 9/16: Recommendations for the replacement of the A-10 Warthog are to be expected as soon as September. While recent reporting on the OA-X close-air support (CAS) aircraft has leaked some information on the program, it looks likely that USAF will want to acquire two CAS platforms. This would involve a a low flight-hour cost light attack aircraft augmenting the A-10 in the short term, with the service procuring an existing or potential new CAS design. Also on the table are rewinging the A-10 or buying just one replacement platform.

July 28/16: Reports that the USAF was proposing a dual procurement to replace the A-10 Warthog have been dismissed by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, saying that the funds were not available for two programs, and stating that she had heard of the dual proposal via the news and had not been briefed by anyone within the service, or options or strategy in relation to the new close air support (CAS) A-X program. The stories that the USAF had met with industry officials were initially reported last week.

July 25/16: Two new close air support aircraft to complement and eventually replace the A-10 are being sought by the USAF. Beechcraft’s AT-6 and Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucano are being looked at for an off the shelf procurement while an initial order of 20 light attack OA-X aircraft could deliver as early as next year. For the OA-X, the service is looking for a medium-altitude aircraft with some level of precision strike capability, such as the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser-guided rocket.

March 14/16: The USAF is to look at a variety of options to replace the A-10 Warthog for its Close Air Support (CAS) requirements. A study will investigate whether a new clean-sheet design is required, or if existing aircraft such as the AT-6 or A-29 would be best for continued low-intensity “permissive conflict” like counter-terrorism and regional stability operations. An alternative option could involve a derivative of the T-X Advance Trainer, however with the T-X program not due until 2024, it would miss the A-10’s retirement in 2022.

February 4/16: The life of the A-10 attack jet will be extended until 2022 after it was announced in Secretary for Defense Ash Carter’s 2017 defense budget preview on Tuesday. Lawmakers including former A-10 pilot Rep. Martha McSally and Sen. John McCain who supported the plane’s continuation were pleased with the announcement. The close-air support aircraft will continue to see service in the operations against the Islamic State in the Middle East where it has been supporting ground troops. The deferral of the A-10’s retirement comes as continued delays seem likely for the F-35, which is due to replace the A-10 once it comes into active service. The A-10’s ability to swoop in to heights of 50 feet above ground and engage enemies has been held up as an advantage against the F-35 by supporters.

February 1/16: Rep. March McSally has written to the White House in defense of the A-10 ahead of Obama’s budget rollout this week. The former USAF pilot has been one of the biggest political supporters of keeping the close air support aircraft in service until full plans for its legacy replacement are in motion. McSally’s efforts to keep the plane have so far resulted in the USAF reportedly shelving the A-10’s retirement plan indefinitely, due to increased demand for the attack plane in military operations in the Middle East. The letter also urged the president and defense secretary to fund depot support, maintenance, and upgrades to extend the life of the A-10 fleet, such as finishing the wing replacement effort.

November 12/15: The Air Force is considering pushing back the retirement schedule for the A-10, following a spike in demand from US forces operating in the Middle East. The venerable Close Air Support platform has been on the service’s chopping block for years, with recent efforts to retire the aircraft early blocked by lawmakers in September. The Air Force also recently released a RFI to identify sources for a new A-10 re-winging program, with the Thunderbolt Lifecycle Program Support effort intended to extend a portion of the Air Force’s A-10 fleet out to 2028.

October 23/15: The US Air Force deployed a dozen A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft to the south of Turkey last week in anticipation of the aircraft seeing more combat against ISIS in Syria, according to reports Thursday. The first Warthogs were first deployed to the Middle East in November 2014, with the Air Force remaining adamant that the fleet should be retired. The aircraft have been deployed to Incirlik Air Force Base, having relocated from their home base at Moody AFB, Georgia.

FY 2015

Election results make retirement tougher.

September 21/15: The Air Force released a Request for Information on Friday to identify potential industry sources for the re-winging of an unspecified number of A/OA-10A close air support aircraft. Over half of the A-10 Warthog fleet is already undergoing a re-winging program, with Boeing acting as prime contractor for 173 of the aircraft, with options for an additional 69. The RFI comes despite repeated calls by the Air Force’s top brass to retire the fleet early in order to free up money and resources. These calls have been blocked, with this latest RFI part of the A-10’s Thunderbolt Lifecycle Program Support (TLPS) program, intended to keep the aircraft flying until at least 2028.

September 4/15: The Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told Congress that their rejection of her branch’s decision to retire the A-10 – a cut projected to save about a couple billion dollars per year – could cause major problems and delays for programs such as the F-35, the new long-range bomber and the KC-46 refueler – programs that together constitute unprecedented expenditures for any nation in history.

September 1/15: The on-again, off-again Air Force comparison test between the F-35 and the A-10 for close air support is back on again, according to the Washington Times. The F-35 doesn’t carry – and isn’t anticipated to carry – the sorts of weapons that have proven useful in the typical CAS mission. It has but a few seconds of canon ammunition and its weapons bay was once compared to a purse after the F-35C variant further infringed on internal storage. A test between the platforms would likely hinge on the scenario imagined by the Air Force brass, so a cynic might expect a profusion of bogeys best handled by stealth fighters.

August 26/15: 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.

July 27/15: The Air Force has quashed Boeing’s hopes of selling refurbished A-10s to international customers, following the floating of the idea in May. With the House protecting the A-10 from comprehensive retirement for another year, the Air Force is planning to mothball outgoing A-10s, thereby saving a reported $4.2 billion in sustainment over a five year period.

June 26/15: 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.

May 22/15: Boeing wants to sell refurbished A-10s to international customers. The US is the only operator of the Warthog, with the House recently voting to fund the fleet for another year, despite the Air Force chiefs’ efforts to cut down numbers. Boeing is currently engaged in an extensive re-winging program for the aircraft, following a $2 billion 2007 contract.

May 1/15: On Thursdaythe House Armed Services Committee voted to keep the A-10 operational for another year, with the 2016 defense policy bill including an amendment to prohibit the Air Force from retiring the plane. The amendment – proposed by Rep. McSally – passed while a “middle ground” amendment proposed by Rep. Moulton failed. That amendment would have allowed the Air Force to retain a hundred of the aircraft while retiring up to 164.

April 28/15: The House is seeking to block the A-10 from being retired, with Rep. Martha McSally reportedly planning to introduce an amendment to prevent the Air Force from pushing the aircraft aside. This amendment will be attached to Thornberry’s version of the defense budget, with the A-10 fleet fully-funded. An A-10 recently had to conduct an emergency landing while deployed to Iraq, with the aircraft’s engine reportedly suffering “catastrophic damage.”

Nov 11/14: Politics. The USAF has a new angle in the A-10 fight, proposing to retire 72 A-10s in order to switch their maintenance workers over to the F-35. It’s being sold as part of having the F-35A reach Initial Operational Capability, but A-10 proponents like Sen. McCain and Kelly Ayotte say the USAF has other choices. The USAF says that their previous plan B has been blown apart by renewed needs in Iraq and Syria. Sources: Defense News, “USAF Discussing A-10 Compromise With Congress”.

Nov 4/14: Elections. American mid-term elections leave the Republican Party with a bigger House Majority, and recapture the Senate from the Democrats. That result leaves John McCain [R-AZ] as the new chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. There are 80 A-10s at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ in Tucson, and McCain is very much a proponent of engagement in places like Iraq, Syria, and other places where the A-10’s unique capabilities make a big difference. He’s going to be a staunch opponent of any retirement plans.

The election also features A-10 pilot Lt. Col. Martha McSally [AZ-2], who was the first woman to command an American fighter squadron, and has been described as one of the Republicans’ top House recruits. McSally is narrowly ahead in a traditionally-Democratic district, but the vote count and recount process is going to take a little while. If she is elected, it will have obvious implications for A-10 lobbying in Congress. Sources: AP, “Sen. John McCain vows to save A-10 from retirement” | McSally for Congress, “McSally Campaign Statement on Challenge to Uncertified Ballots” | Politico, “The House GOP’s top recruit”.

FY 2014

Attempted retirement of the fleet.

A-10Cs
(click to view full)

Sept 19/14: Ki Ho Military Acquisition Consulting, Inc. in Layton, UT wins a $31.4 million firm-fixed-price, engineering support, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to identify new and developing technologies that can “support the accomplishment of A-10 missions, and either eliminate or minimize operational and/or sustainability gaps.” $5.3 million is committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF O&M funds.

Is this operational consulting, or payment to make more arguments for retiring the A-10? Poor results so far against in Iraq and Syria aren’t making fantastic arguments for other systems.

Work will be performed at Hill AFB, UT, and is expected to be complete by Sept 15/19. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition, with 3 offers received by the USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Hill AFB, UT (FA8202-14-D-0002).

Sept 9/14: Support. Korean Air Lines’ Aerospace Division in Seoul, South Korea receives an estimated $46 million firm-fixed-price maintenance and repair contract for depot level support to A-10 aircraft stationed in the Asia/Pacific region. Funds will be committed as needed.

Work will be performed at KAL’s facility in Seoul, South Korea, with an expected completion date of Sept. 30/20. This contract was a competitive acquisition, with 2 offers received by USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Hill AFB, UT (FA8202-14-D-0001).

Week of June 20/14: Politics. Things continue to move at a brisk pace in the House, with floor action starting for HR 4870 then leading to a vote within days. The White House issued its usual set of “strong” disagreements [PDF], with C-130 AMP, E-3s, and AH-64 transfers among the points of contention. At least the executive appreciated that someone in Congress sided with them to retire A-10s. But it was not meant to be, as an amendment against divesting A-10s easily passed with a 300-114 roll call. This was expected given the fact A-10 retirement was at odds with the already approved authorization bill.

The Administration will now have to find Senatorial opponents to the A-10, among other cuts the House doesn’t want, that are convinced enough to push the issue all the way through reconciliation. The odds are not in their favor.

On June 20 the bill was wrapped up with a 340-73 roll call, showing even broader bipartisan support than the authorization bill: amendments [PDF] | Bill report [PDF].

June 10/14: Politics. The House Appropriations Committee votes 13-23 against Rep. Jack Kingston’s [R-GA-1] amendment to transfer $339 million from the Pentagon’s operations and maintenance account to sustain the A-10 fleet. Former USAF pilot Chris Stewart [R-UT-2] was one of the speakers in favor from both parties, and he outlined the inherent issues with the close-air support mission, but it was to no avail.

What really matters is what the House ends up approving by final vote, but these kinds of losses can hurt politically. Sources: DoD Buzz, “House Panel Votes to Scrap the A-10 Warthog”.

May 23/14: Political. The Senate Armed Services Committee has completed the mark-up of the annual defense bill, which passed by a 25-1 vote. The section relevant to the A-10 is explained this way:

“Prohibits the Air Force from retiring or preparing to retire any A-10 or Airborne Warning and Control Aircraft (AWACS), or making any significant changes in manning levels in FY15.”

That isn’t as comprehensive or as long-term as Sen. Ayotte’s S.1764 bill (q.v. Nov 21-Dec 5/14), but it fulfills the same purpose in the immediate term. If the measure remains in the Senate’s FY 2015 NDAA bill, it will have to be reconciled with similar but different provisions in the House bill (q.v. May 8/14). Bottom line? Unless these measures are stripped from the final bill in either the House or the Senate, the A-10C fleet isn’t going anywhere just yet. Sources: US Senate Armed Services Committee, “Senate Committee on Armed Services Completes Markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015”.

May 8/14: Political. A 41-20 voice vote in the House Armed Services Committee changes the language of Rep. McKeon’s A-10 compromise, and institutes terms that are similar to HR.3657. Ron Barber [D-AZ-2] and Vicky Hartzler [R-MO-4] and Austin Scott [R-GA-8] from HR.3657 are the amendment’s sponsors, and they’ve added interesting requirements. One example would have the Comptroller General’s Office assess the cost per-plane for close air support missions, as part of the set of activities necessary before retiring the A-10s. The F-35’s high operating costs, and heavy depreciation due to its high initial cost, would cripple it in any comparison with the A-10. The F-35’s figures per mission would probably be at least 100% higher, and could easily be worse than that.

May 5/14: Political. House Armed Services Committee chair Buck McKeon [R-MO] proposes a compromise measure that would require “Type 1000 storage” for the retired A-10C fleet. Planes kept in that condition can be recalled to duty and fly again within 30-120 days, because after the initial removal and proper storage of key items like engines and weapons, no parts can be pulled without the express permission of the program office at Wright-Patterson AFB. That’s significantly better than Type 2000/4000 storage, but a step below Type 3000 “temporary storage” planes that receive engine runs, tow-outs to lubricate their bearings, and fluids servicing every 30 days.

Defense News estimates the cost for the 283-plane fleet at $25.7 million over 5 years ($12.17M initial storage + $283k/year + $12.17M refurb every 4 years). Sources: Air Force Magazine, “Living Boneyard” | Defense News Intercepts, “The Price of Storing the A-10 in “Type-1000″ Storage” | House Armed Services Committee, “McKeon Releases Full Committee Mark”.

Feb 24/14: Scrap the A-10Cs. The announcement isn’t a surprise (q.v. Sept 15/13), but Chuck Hagel’s FY 2015 pre-budget briefing explains the official justification for removing the A-10 fleet:

“For the Air Force, an emphasis on capability over capacity meant that we protected its key modernization programs, including the new bomber, the Joint Strike Fighter, and the new refueling tanker. We also recommended investing $1 billion in a promising next-generation jet engine technology, which we expect to produce sizeable cost-savings through reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance needs. This new funding will also help ensure a robust industrial base – itself a national strategic asset.

To fund these investments, the Air Force will reduce the number of tactical air squadrons including the entire A-10 fleet. Retiring the A-10 fleet saves $3.5 billion over five years and accelerates the Air Force’s long-standing modernization plan [to replace it with the F-35]…. the A-10… cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses. And as we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, the advent of precision munitions means that many more types of aircraft can now provide effective close air support, from B-1 bombers to remotely piloted aircraft. And these aircraft can execute more than one mission.

Moreover, the A-10’s age is also making it much more difficult and costly to maintain. Significant savings are only possible through eliminating the entire fleet, because of the fixed cost of maintaining the support apparatus associated with the aircraft. Keeping a smaller number of A-10s would only delay the inevitable while forcing worse trade-offs elsewhere.”

The A-10’s original concept did, in fact, aim to survive and operate in the face of advanced fighters and air defense, which makes Hagel’s statement questionable. Expect to see others question Hagel’s use of the term “effective” as well. The A-10 remains peerless in the close support role, and the use of fighter guns for close-in attacks on the front lines remains reality. That isn’t possible for drones, and it’s problematic for the vulnerable F-35A, which carries only 14% as much ammunition (only 180 rounds) in a lesser caliber. It would be possible to defend the decision by saying that the USAF is downgrading Close Air Support in order to build up other capabilities, but that isn’t how the Pentagon is selling this. Sources: US DoD, “Remarks By Secretary Of Defense Chuck Hagel FY 2015 Budget Preview Pentagon Press Briefing Room Monday, February 24, 2014”.

FY 2015 Budget: Retire the fleet

Nov 21-Dec 5/13: Politics. House and Senate members introduce bills in each chamber that would restrict the USAF’s ability to retire its A-10Cs. The Senate’s S.1764 is introduced by Kelly Ayotte [R-NH], While the House’s HR.3657 is introduced by Vicky Hartzler [R-MO-4]. Both have cosponsors from each party, but they’ll need more cosponsors to improve the chances of getting to a vote and being passed into law.

The core condition in both bills is that the USAF must have a fleet of F-35As with Block 4A software, including integration with the GBU-53 Small Diamater Bomb II or equivalent capability, all certified by an audit by the Comptroller General that also says that there are enough F-35s to replace the A-10s. In practice, that would defer A-10C retirement to 2025 at least, and might even push all the way to the A-10’s planned 2028 retirement.

FY 2013

APKWS laser-guided rockets added; A-10s out of Europe.

BAE/GD APKWS
(click to view full)

Sept 26/13: TLPS. Northrop Grumman Technical Services in Herndon, VA receives an estimated maximum $11.3 million task order under a combined firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee engineering support contract. They’ll provide evaluations, analysis, repair designs, and/or testing to support the requirements for the A-10 aircraft structural integrity program and maintenance of operational safety, suitability, and effectiveness. All funds are committed immediately.

This award is a result of a competitive acquisition under the Thunderbolt Life Cycle Program Support contract, but only 1 bid was received.

Work will be performed at Hill AFB, UT, although various portions of the work will take place at subcontractor facilities, and work is expected to be completed by Sept 18/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WWAK at Hill AFB, UT manages the contract (FA8202-09-D-0003, 0012).

Sept 25/13: Political. Sen. Kelly Ayotte [R-NH], whose husband Joe was an A-10 pilot, puts a hold on the nomination of Deborah Lee James to be Secretary of the Air Force, until she gets clear and acceptable answers regarding the USAF’s proposal to kill the platform. Sources: Defense News, “Ayotte Blocks Air Force Secretary Nominee Over Possible A-10 Cuts”.

Sept 20/13: Political. House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Ron Barber [R-AZ-02] initiates a letter signed by 8 colleagues, calling the A-10:

“…a critical capability…. In Operation Desert Storm, the A-10 was responsible for the destruction of 4,000 military vehicles and artillery pieces. In Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, the A-10 has performed nearly one third of the combat sorties…. The Department of Defense must maintain its ability to wage ground combat and support those at the tip of the spear.”

The letter is co-signed by Reps. Rob Bishop [R-UT-01, HASC on leave to Rules]; Paul Gosar [R-AZ-04]; Vicky Hartzler [R-MO-04 HASC]; Jack Kingston [R-GA-01, Ways & Means]; Candice S. Miller [R-MI-10]; C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger [D-MD-02, Intel.]; Austin Scott [R-GA-08, HASC]; and Mike Simpson [R-ID-02, Budget/ Approp.]. Sources: Rep. Ron Barber Release | Full letter [PDF].

Sept 17/13: Political. Gen. Mike Hostage reiterates to reporters at the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference that the A-10 may be on the chopping block, and repeats the point about savings only becoming substantial when you remove entire fleets. He adds:

“You can’t get your money out of installations because they won’t support [base realignment and closure]. You can’t get money out of people fast enough. It takes about a year to get savings out of people.”

Gen. Welsh’s address
click for video

Sept 15/13: End of the A-10? USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, is quoted as saying that “You can cut aircraft from a fleet, but you save a lot more money if you cut all the infrastructure that supports the fleet.”

That’s a step beyond initial reports about the Strategic Choices and Management Review, and current reports have the USAF considering the removal of all 343 A-10Cs, all 59 KC-10 tankers, and more of the 249 or so F-15C/Ds. The CRH successor to the HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters is also up for review.

The KC-10 option seems to make zero sense as a “single-role” retirement, as it’s far more capable and multi-role than the smaller KC-135s, giving it especial value in the huge Pacific theater. It’s also the USAF’s key insurance against a grounding of its 1950s-era KC-135 aerial tanker fleet – which may explain the decision. If the USAF is trying to protect its KC-46 program, removing any operational insurance for the aged KC-135s makes the KC-46 program that much harder to mess with, or even to delay.

The F-15Cs, on the other hand, have had serious aging out problems, including maneuvering restrictions, and even a months-long grounding after one of the planes broke in 2 in mid-air. The F-22 Raptor fleet’s small size means that retiring the F-15Cs would be a big hit to US air superiority assets, but the multi-role F-15E Strike Eagles can perform the air superiority role almost as well. It’s just a continuing data point in the long-term downsizing of American TacAir. Sources: Defense News, “USAF Weighs Scrapping KC-10, A-10 Fleets” and “USAF General: A-10 Fleet Likely Done if Sequestration Continues”.

Sept 4/13: Wings. Boeing announces a $212 million follow-on order for 56 A-10C replacement wings, bringing total orders so far under the $2 billion program (q.v. June 29/07 entry) to 173 of a maximum 242.

Work will be performed at Boeing’s plant in Macon, GA. Sources: Boeing, Sept 4/13 release.

Aug 12-13/13: Cut the USAF? Prof. Robert Farley makes a condensed argument for abolishing the USAF as a separate service, in advance of his book “Grounded! The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force.” Farley argues that the USA needs air power, but not a service that’s divorced from the ground and naval forces they support. A misguided focus on strategic effect, which he argues hasn’t panned out in wartime experience, will interfere and has interfered with effective contributions to a land/ sea/ air team.

Michael Auslin of the neoconservative AEI think tank responds, arguing that the USAF’s space role and global fast-reaction capabilities make it a unique asset that can reach areas far inland where the Navy cannot go, and go overseas in a way the Army is unable to. An independent Air Force, he says, will wring every advantage out of the air and space domains, just as the Navy does at sea.

Here’s the thing. What if the USAF is seen as a non-team player, one who consistently short-changes the needs of other services? It then becomes very hard to argue that the USAF is in fact wringing every advantage out of the aerial domain for the USA. At a time of significant budget cuts, cutting an entire service offers much bigger administrative savings than removing aircraft fleets, and removing fleets the other services see as their top priorities could create a level of friction that will place that kind of radical option on the table. Sources: War Is Boring, “America Does Not Need the Air Force” | Breaking Defense, “Why America Needs The Air Force: Rebuttal To Prof. Farley”.

Aug 6/13: Combat. An engagement in Afghanistan illustrates the A-10’s strengths, and underscores why high-altitude bombing simply isn’t going to replace what it does on the front lines:

“Even with all our (top-of-the-line) tools today, we still rely on visual references,” said the lead pilot, who is on his first deployment from Moody Air Force Base, Ga. “Once we received general location of the enemy’s position, I rolled in as lead aircraft and fired two rockets to mark the area with smoke. Then my wingman rolled in to shoot the enemy with his 30 millimeter rounds.”…. “We train for this, but shooting danger-close is uncomfortable, because now the friendlies are at risk,” the second A-10 pilot said. “We came in for a low-angle strafe, 75 feet above the enemy’s position and used the 30-mm gun — 50 meters parallel to ground forces — ensuring our fire was accurate so we didn’t hurt the friendlies.

The engagement lasted two hours that day, and in that time, the A-10s completed 15 gun passes, fired nearly all their 2,300, 30-mm rounds, and dropped three 500-pound bombs on the enemy force.”

As a reference point, the F-35s the USAF wants to use as replacements can’t fly as slowly for visual references, are highly vulnerable to battle damage, and carry just 180 25mm cannon rounds. Sources: USAF, “Bagram pilots save 60 Soldiers during convoy ambush”.

Front-line reality

Aug 5/13: Political. Defense News reports that the 4-month Strategic Choices Management Review will report that the USAF could eliminate most of its older C-130E/H transports, and 5 of 55 tactical A-10, F-15, or F-16 squadrons (up to 120 jets, based on 24-plane squadrons).

The USAF’s problem is that Congress wants to cut money, but won’t countenance closing bases. They’re also not receptive to aircraft retirements, which has left the USAF with several squadrons’ worth of unflyable planes that can’t be retired. FY 2013 budget proposals to retire 22 C-130Hs and shut down two A-10 squadrons were blocked by Congress. Sources: Air Force Times, “AF considers scrapping A-10s, KC-10s, F-15Cs, CSAR helos”

June 18/13: Basing. As part of budget cuts (q.v. Feb 1/12 entry), a ceremony at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany inactivates the 81st Fighter Squadron and its A-10Cs. The ceremony marks the end of A-10 operations in Europe.

The A-10 was originally designed for combat in Europe, and was seen as a crucial fast-reaction asset that could stop heavy armored thrusts through NATO’s defenses. Now, the 52nd Fighter Wing is left with only F-16 fighters on its roster. Considering the situation in Europe, and likely threats, wouldn’t it have made more sense to remove and retire F-16s? That would have left the A-10s as an inexpensive but uniquely reassuring deterrent for NATO’s eastern flank, with fast deployability to the CENTCOM AOR if needed. Pentagon DVIDS.

Europe, Adieu

April 2/13: APKWS guided rockets. Eglin AFB announces successful tests of the APKWS laser-guided 70mm rocket from an A-10C, marking the 2nd test from a fixed-wing aircraft (a Beechcraft AT-6B was the 1st). For the final A-10C test sortie, 2 APKWS rockets were fired at a surface target at altitudes of 10,000 and 15,000 feet. The first rocket hit within inches, and the 15,000 foot shot hit within 2 meters despite a 70-knot headwind.

The USAF used a US Navy rocket launcher, because the guidance section adds 18″ to the Hydra rocket. If the USAF continues to move forward with APKWS on the A-10C and F-16, they’ll buy the Navy’s modified launchers to replace their 7-rocket LAU-131s. The US Navy is preparing to qualify APKWS on the MQ-8C VTUAV, USMC AV-8B Harrier II V/STOL jets, and F/A-18 family fighters. Pentagon DVIDS.

FY 2012

A-10C fleet cut; 1st re-winged A-10C rolls out; A-10C flies on biofuel; Thales acquires Scorpion HMD.

Alcohol-to-Jet
(click to view full)

Nov 5/12: Thales buys Scorpion HMD. Thales announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Gentex Corp.’s Visionix subsidiary for Helmet Mounted Displays (HMD) and motion tracking. Products include “Intersense” motion tracking, and the Scorpion HMD that equips American A-10Cs. Thales has a strong position in helicopter HMDs with its TopOwl, but it hasn’t had quite as much luck with fighter HMDs. Visionix has good technologies, which can help Thales improve that position against the Elbit/Rockwell joint venture VSI, and secondary competitors BAE systems and Saab Group.

Visionix will operate as a subsidiary of radio supplier Thales Communications, Inc., a Thales USA company that operates independently under a proxy agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense. Its management team will remain, and they’ll continue to operates from Aurora, IL and Billerica, MA. Thales Group.

July 12/12: Sub-contractors. Boeing calls South Korea’s KAI “a key supplier on the A-10 Wing Replacement Program,” while discussing the Korean company’s role in delivering AH-64D Block III attack helicopter fuselages. Boeing is a huge customer for KAI, who supplies parts for commercial jets and F-15s, as well as helicopter fuselages, A-10 wings, etc.

July 10/12: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Owego, NY receives a $7.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for repair service for the A-10 central interface control unit (CICU), and related Circuit Card Assemblies. This computer is also knows as a Signal Data Processor, and the idea is to provide a support bridge, while the USAF gets ready to perform maintenance in-house.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and will be complete by Sept 9/12. The USAF GLSC at Hill AFB, UT manages the contract (FA8251-12-D-0005). See also FBO.gov announcement.

June 29/12: Liquored up. An A-10C from Eglin AFB, FL flies using a cellulosic alcohol derivative, called “Alcohol-to-Jet.” That trick works better for the jets than it does for the pilots, apparently. The fuel comes from Colorado’s Gevo, Inc., and can be had for the bargain price of just $56 per gallon.

The $700,000 flight was just a test, obviously. The A-10 is a good test platform for this sort of thing, because its fuel system was segregated in order to help the plane survive hits. The system allows the 2 engines to run off of different fuel supplies, allowing simple performance comparisons. If a test fuel creates failures, the plane can still make it back on one engine. Daily Mail | Terra.com.

Alcohol flight

May 16/12: Flight International:

“The US Air Force has concluded that the short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) Lockheed Martin F-35B- model aircraft cannot generate enough sorties to meet its needs; therefore the service will not consider replacing the Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog close air support jet with that variant.”

The short take-off F-35B’s ability to base near the battle does multiply the number of flight sorties from each plane, and improves total time over the battlefield. On the other hand, that’s multiplied relative to the F-35A. The A-10 has excellent endurance, whereas the F-35B has to sacrifice fuel capacity in exchange for its short-takeoff and vertical landing capabilities. Beyond that, F-35s of any vintage lack the armoring or gun for in-close support, remove most of their stealth protection if they carry the same array of weapons as an A-10, suffer from the usual problem identifying targets at fast jet speeds, and don’t offer significantly better battlefield sensors than the LITENING-SE or Sniper-SE pods on current A-10s. No matter what the sortie rates may be, replacement of the A-10 with any F-35 is a poor idea.

Feb 15/12: Boeing and the USAF officially roll out of the 1st re-winged A-10C Thunderbolt II in a ceremony at Hill AFB, UT. Boeing is under contract with the Air Force to deliver 233 wing sets through 2018, and delivered the 1st set in March 2011. In the intervening year, the new wings had to be installed, verified, and conduct initial test flights. Boeing.

1st re-winged A-10C

Feb 1/12: US Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz released a short white paper [PDF] outlining its priorities and choices within forthcoming budget constraints. The A-10 fleet bears the largest cuts by far, even though it has been the most consistently requested plane by troops on the ground in recent wars, and offers high value in both counterinsurgency and full-war scenarios:

“More than 280 aircraft have been identified… for elimination… over the next five years. This includes 123 fighters (102 A-10s [emphasis DID’s] and 21 older F-16s), 133 mobility aircraft (27 C-5As, 65 C-130s, 20 KC-135s, and 21 C-27s), and 30 select ISR systems (18 RQ-4 Block 30s, 11 RC-26s, and one E-8 damaged beyond repair)”

That’s 102 of 345 total A-10s flown, leaving 243 in service. It remains to be seen whether Boeing’s re-winging contract will be cut, but if not, 233/243 A-10Cs left will be re-winged planes. Unconfirmed reports point to the elimination of 2 regular USAF units, plus 3 Guard units: the 107th Fighter Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base (ANGB), MI; the 163rd Fighter Squadron at Fort Wayne ANGB, IN; and the 184th Fighter Squadron at Ebbing ANGB, AK. See Military.com | Salt Lake Tribune | Neoconservative AEI think-tank’s Weekly Standard.

A-10 fleet cuts

FY 2011

A-10Cs to South Korea; TLPS support contracts.

A-10 wing work
(click to view full)

Sept 6/11: TLPS. Boeing announces a 1-year, $2.9 million contract to develop and validate a modification of the A-10’s Digital Video Audio Data Recorder (DVADR), which was becoming difficult to support. That’s not uncommon with electronics, which become obsolete much faster than their fighter jets do.

This contract is the 6th Boeing task order under the A-10 Thunderbolt Life-Cycle Program Support (TLPS) program.

Dec 7/10: TLPS. Northrop Grumman announces a set of 3 small task orders under the A-10 Thunderbolt Life-cycle Program Support (TLPS) indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract, worth almost $2 million. Under the terms of the 2-year Aircraft Structural Integrity Program Modernization II task order, Northrop Grumman and its teammate Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX will develop and document non-destructive inspection (NDI) procedures and source data, and report discrepancies found between current technical data program requirements.

The Critical Safety Item (CSI) Technical Deficiency Improvement task order has 1 base year with 3 option years. Along with Wyle Laboratories in El Segundo, CA, and Rowan Catalyst Inc. in Libertyville, IL, the team will identify the engineering and technical correct CSI technical and acquisition data deficiencies.

Northrop Grumman is also teamed with Wyle Laboratories and Rowan Catalyst Inc., for the Critical Systems Component Analysis task, which has 1 base year with 2 option years. The team will perform component analysis of critical systems and provide solutions for increasing system reliability, safety, and aircraft availability; and reducing maintenance requirements and man-hours.

Nov 16/10: To Korea. Brahmand relays reports that the USAF 25th Fighter Squadron has deployed A-10Cs on the Korean peninsula at Osan AB, near Seoul. Subsequent USAF reports indicate that the last A-10A left the base on Dec 4/10, marking the 25th fighter squadron’s transition to an all A-10C force.

FY 2010

A-10C getting a Scorpion HMD, but not Hellfire missiles.

A-10A fires Maverick
(click to view full)

Sept 27/10: OFP Suite 7, no Hellfire. A $48 million contract modification which will allow for the “completion of the full A-10 Suite 7 Operational Flight Program.”

Asked about this, Lockheed Martin confirmed that this is part of the A-10C program, adding that the government had reached its ceiling on this contract for mission software, also called Operational Flight Programs (OFPs) or Suites. Like the current modification, the original Oct 19/07 sole source contract ceiling for Suites 6, 7 and 8 was not an award, just a maximum. The government awards funds suite by suite, and based on additional things they wanted to add to the A-10C fleet, they requested this ceiling extension to $123 million total. The USAF has since separated Suite 7 into Suite 7A and Suite 7B, and Lockheed Martin recently received a contract for the remainder of OFP Suite 7A work.

The 2007 award also mentioned Hellfire II missiles, which are not normally fired from jets. Lockheed Martin says that the high cost of developing and purchasing a special missile launch rail for the A-10 caused the USAF to change its mind. The AGM-65 Maverick missile can perform the same role at a higher cost per missile, and Hellfire’s forthcoming JAGM missile successor is expected to work with fast jets (FA8635-07-D-6000, PO0012).

July 19/10: Scorpion HMD. Raytheon announces a $12.6 million USAF contract for Phase 1 integration and qualification of the Helmet Mounted Integrated Targeting (HMIT) system for USAF and Air National Guard A-10C and F-16C Block 30/32 aircraft. Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC (RTSC), the prime contractor, is teamed with Gentex Corp. in Simpson, PA to produce the system, based on Gentex’s Visionix Scorpion(TM) Helmet Mounted Cueing System.

HMIT will be a night-vision compatible helmet-mounted display that shows crucial information in high-resolution color imagery directly in the pilot’s field of vision. The color imagery is a step forward, and information displayed will include weapons-cueing, targeting and situational data from on-board and remote sensors. Like other HMDs, the system will track helmet movement to display accurate imagery, regardless of the direction the pilot’s head is turned. The program includes 5 one-year production options, with a potential total value up to $50 million.

April 13/10: Sub-contractors. CPI Aerostructures, Inc. of Edgwood, NY announces an additional $10 million in orders from Boeing in support of the A-10 fleet’s $2 billion re-winging effort. The original contract with Boeing was for $70 million (see July 1/08 entry).

Boeing has added additional structural assemblies and subsystem installations to the CPI Aero contract. These additions include pylon covers, center trailing edge wedge fittings, lower outer trailing edge panels, wingtip covers, wingtip light installations and aileron light installations.

Nov 20/09: OFP. Lockheed Martin announces a $17.8 million contract from the US Air Force to upgrade software that integrates communications and situational awareness capabilities on the A-10C close air support aircraft. The software upgrade is the 3rd in an annual series planned for the A-10 and is scheduled for release in May 2011. The earlier two upgrades were also performed by Lockheed Martin; the first was fielded on schedule in May 2009 and the second is on target for release in May 2010.

The software upgrade will provide improved pilot vehicle interface (PVI) and weapons delivery. Also included with the upgrade are software baselines for the helmet-mounted cueing system that provides situational awareness through improved visual cues for the pilot and for the lightweight airborne recovery system that integrates search and rescue capability. The upgrades will be integrated in Lockheed Martin’s A-10 Systems Integration Lab in Owego, NY. Lockheed Martin A-10 industry team includes Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX and Northrop Grumman in St. Augustine, FL.

Nov 11/09: TLPS. Northrop Grumman announces an 18-month, $3.3 million A-10 TLPS contract to develop and test an anti-jam embedded GPS and an inertial navigation unit (EGI) for the A-10C. Northrop Grumman Technical Services will perform an integrated architecture and life cycle costs analysis and install a temporary modification. The company will then develop a system safety program, and provide program and engineering management support in order to conduct an operational assessment of the EGI capability during flight test. Northrop Grumman’s team includes subcontractors BAE Systems Control Inc., Johnson City, N.Y., and Borsight Aerospace, Farmington, Utah.

FY 2009

$1.72 billion TLPS multi-award maintenance contract; A-10C adds Laser JDAM; Wing cracking in 130 planes.

LJDAM test from A-10C
(click to view full)

Sept 24/09: Boeing announces that it received 2 separate contracts from the US Air Force to support modernization of its 365 A-10A+ and A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft. The contracts, which have a total value of $4.2 million, consists of several tasks ranging in duration from 3 to 18 months as part of the A-10 Thunderbolt Life-Cycle Program Support (TLPS) contract. For details on the TLPS contract, see the June 11/09 entry.

Under the 1st contract, Boeing and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) will provide engineering services for the A-10 Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP), which involves updating and aligning modern structural analysis tools, processes and standards for the A-10 fleet. Under the 2nd contract, Boeing, Raytheon Technical Services, and BAE Systems Platform Solutions will conduct a trade study analysis and operational assessment/proof of concept for the A-10 Upgraded Data Transfer Unit (UDTU). The goal of this contract is to update the aircraft’s avionics architecture to improve memory and data capability.

Other A-10 contracts Boeing has received include a contract to provide on-site engineering support and 3-D models of the A-10 wing, and a contract for fuselage lofting – the transfer of a scaled-down plan to full size. The $2 billion A-10 Wing Replacement Program, which Boeing received in June 2007 (see June 29/07 entry), plans to manufacture up to 242 enhanced wing assemblies. The 3-D models allow the Air Force to resolve wing-crack issues that temporarily grounded the A-10 fleet in 2008 (see Oct 3/08 entry).

June 11/09: TLPS. The A-10 Thunderbolt Life-Cycle Program Support (TLPS) “provides a multiple-award indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract vehicle to sustain and modernize all A-10 weapon system configuration.” It’s a follow-on to the A-10 Prime Contract, which was competitively awarded to Lockheed Martin in 1997. A-10 TLPS could run for up to 10 years, with an initial 4-year award that can be followed by up to 3 more 2-year option periods. All funds have been obligated, and the A-10 TLPS is managed by the 538 ACSG/PK at Hill Air Force Base, UT.

The Aug 29/08 entry explains the key rule change from the USA’s 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which requires DoD task & delivery order contracts exceeding $100 million to be awarded to multiple contractors. The USAF will select up to 3 contractors to compete for individual A-10 TLPS orders over the life of the contract, which will include avionics, mechanical, structural, and propulsion system upgrade work and a program integration support. The 3 winners of the $1.72 billion total contract are:

  • Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY (FA8202-09-D-0002). Current incumbents. Partnered with Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio TX; and Northrop Grumman in St. Augustine, FL.

  • Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Saint Louis, MO (FA8202-09-D-0001). Also on contract for the $2.015 billion A-10 re-winging program (q.v. June 29/07 entry).

  • Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc. in Herndon, VA (FA8202-09-D-0003). NGC will manage the program from Clearfield, UT. Work will also be performed at Warner Robins, GA; Bethpage, NY; El Segundo, CA; and Rolling Meadows, IL.

See also: Lockheed Martin | Boeing | Northrop Grumman.

TLPS support contract

June 11/09: TLPS. Boeing’s A-10 TLPS release adds information concerning the separate $2.015 billion A-10 Wing Replacement Program:

“The work remains on schedule as Boeing develops the 3-D models that provide the engineering foundation for production of the new wings. The models also allowed Boeing to help the Air Force quickly resolve wing-crack issues that temporarily grounded the A-10 fleet last year.”

June 11/09: A-10PE Update. Lockheed Martin’s A-10 TLPS release adds some details concerning the separate A-10C Precision Engagement program:

“Lockheed Martin will remain under contract to complete efforts that are underway including work to provide Precision Engagement modification kits through 2011… To date, the Air Force has converted more than 200 of the 356 aircraft fleet. The A-10C was declared combat ready in August, 2007… In 2007, Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego and the Air Force were co-recipients of a Top 5 DoD Program Award from the National Defense Industrial Association and the Department of Defense for A-10 systems engineering and program management excellence.”

Feb 4/09: TLPS. Boeing announces that it has submitted a proposal to the to the USAF for the $1.6 billion A-10 Thunderbolt Life-Cycle Program Support (TLPS) contract. This is a separate endeavor from the A-10C PE program, but it will have connections to ongoing modernization work.

Boeing is looking to leverage its work creating 3-D models of the plane under the $2 billion A-10 Wing Replacement Program. The A-10 was designed in the 1970s, and 3-D modeling was not used at the time. Lockheed Martin currently handles a large share of A-10 work, and competition is also expected from BAE Systems and L-3 Communications. Boeing release.

Jan 12/09: Cracking up. DoD Buzz quotes 12th Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, who says the USAF has inspected 200 of 244 aircraft with thin wings. Of those, 40% remain grounded, 41% have been inspected and returned to flight and the remainder are considered “flyable and awaiting inspection.” June 2009 remains the target date for a fix. Among the “thick winged” A-10s, 30% are still grounded, 23% will keep flying and the rest should be ready by June 2009.

The USAF’s challenge has been to keep all of the pilots current in their required flight hours for pilot certification, while providing enough aircraft to meet front-line combat needs.

Nov 14/08: LJDAM. The USAF announces that an upgraded USAF A-10C has dropped the GBU-54 LJDAM in a successful test. The next step is operational testing to develop tactics and techniques for employing the 500 pound dual laser/GPS guidance bombs from A-10s, who can use them to hit moving targets or drop bombs through clouds.

If those tests continue to go well, Eglin AFB’s test team may have their feedback as early as January. The goal is to have the LJDAM/A-10C combination deployed on the front lines by early 2009.

Nov 12/08: Cracking up. USAF release: Approximately 5 members of a depot maintenance team from Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT arrive at Moody AFB. They will provide hands-on training to perform major crack repairs on A-10 aircraft to Moody maintainers and another 40 active duty, Reserve and Guard maintainers from bases including Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, Nellis AFB, NV, Whiteman AFB, MO, and Willow Grove Air Reserve Station, PA. Master Sgt. Steve Grimes, Air Combat Command Headquarters A-10 maintenance liaison:

“It would cost too much to fly all the aircraft to Hill. It would also take longer to repair all since three could only be sent at a time. This method is more cost-effective and it would be a faster way to repair the A-10s.”

Oct 3/08: Cracking up. The USAF announces “a time compliance technical order requiring immediate inspection and repair of wing cracks” for approximately 130 A-10 aircraft that were originally built with thin-skin wings.

“Such action has become necessary due to an increase in fatigue-related wing cracks currently occurring in aircraft assigned to Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces, the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command and Air Force Materiel Command… The inspections, however, will not impact on-going or future operational combat missions.”

The USAF explicitly notes this as one of the issues associated with its aging aircraft fleet. The US military currently has about 400 active A-10s. See USAF release | Reuters.

Wing cracking grounds 130 A-10s

FY 2008

USAF prepared to compete future support; A-10C #100 delivered; Creating a 3-D model of the A-10.

A-10C at Davis-Monthan
2006-11-29
(click to view full)

Aug 29/08: New Rules. Aviation Week reports that the A-10C program is likely to be an early test case for a dramatic rule change inserted in the USA’s 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which requires DoD task & delivery order contracts exceeding $100 million to be awarded to multiple contractors.

The kits that upgrade the A-10A to an A-10C are still sole-sourced to Lockheed Martin, but that’s about to change. A final RFP is expected soon, and the current plan is for 3 associate prime contractors to win a “multiple award” contract that lets them compete for individual task orders. The Air Force will reportedly oversee all modifications above and beyond the A-10 Precision Engagement aircraft under the Thunderbolt Lifecycle Program Support (TLPS) contract, with a $1.6 billion ceiling over 5 years and an additional 5-year option.

Boeing, who has extensive fighter experience and makes new A-10 wings under the $2 billion re-winging program, is likely to add itself to the mix. L-3 Communications also has strong experience with aircraft refurbishment and upgrades, and BAE Systems is heavily involved in the A-10A+ program.

July 1/08: Sub-contractors. CPI Aerostructures, Inc. of Edgwood, NY announces a long-term, $70 million requirements from Boeing in support of the A-10 fleet’s $2 billion re-winging effort.

The first ordering period is to run until Sept 30/11, with an additional option period that runs from Oct 1/11 through Sept 30/16. CPI expects to receive the initial order under this contract within the next 30 days.

June 19/08: Model me. Integrating new weapons and systems onto new aircraft involved aerodynamic and mechanical considerations, in addition to electronic compatibility. Modern engineering practices offer comprehensive 3-D design drawings that account for every part, and can be used to create models that reduce the trial-and-error associated with new work. An aircraft designed in the 1970s wouldn’t have those 3-D CAD/CAM models to work from, however, which is where Eglin AFB’s 46th Test Wing’s SEEK EAGLE office enters the picture.

Visibility Size and Shape Targeting Accuracy Room Scale (V-STARS) uses a photogrammetry system of triangulation to collect thousands of data points involving every external surface of an aircraft. These data points are then used to create a model that’s accurate to within 0.03 inches of the aircraft measured. The B-52H bomber has already been through this process, and now the SEEK EAGLE office is measuring an A-10C on loan from the Maryland National Guard. The 1000,000 data points that result will build an A-10C model that can be used when integrating future weapons. USAF.

Jan 22/08: Wings. Boeing announces a $14.9 million U.S. Air Force contract for systems engineering and modeling services under the A-10 Wing Replacement program (see April 2/07 and June 29/07). William Moorefield, Boeing A-10 Wing Replacement program manager, said that the contract will provide the engineering foundation for the program; the goal is “a true paperless engineering package.”

Boeing will perform the majority of the work in St. Louis, MO, with the remaining work done in Salt Lake City, UT. The contract runs through September 2010.

Jan 18/08: #100. The USAF announces that the 100th A-10C has taken off and flown from Hill AFB, UT to Moody AFB, GA. Aircraft 80-0172 was based at Pope AFB, NC before the modification, but transfers to Moody AFB as part of the base realignment and closure (BRAC 2005) recommendations.

On average, the 571st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron technicians at Hill AFB are upgrading each A-10 aircraft to the new A-10C configuration in less than 90 days. The A-10C Precision Engagement program started in the 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group in July 2006.

100th A-10C delivered

Oct 19/07: OFP. Lockheed Martin Systems Integration of Owego, NY receives a $75 million contract modification to fund the A-10C’s Operational Flight Program (OFP) Hardware Improvement Program for the plane’s mission computers, and Development and Integration of mission software Suites 6, 7, and 8, including Hellfire II Missile Development and Integration. This is just an umbrella contract and ceiling, no funds have been obligated by the 642th AESS/PK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8635-07-D-6000).

The USAF eventually decided to abandon Hellfire II missiles on the A-10C.

FY 2007

$2.015 billion contract for new wings; 25 more kits; Work on SADL datalink; A-10C arrives and reaches IOC.

IOC ceremony
(click to view full)

Aug 22/07: Basing. The USAF announces that an associate group of about 215 reservists will support the active duty 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, GA, while a smaller associate detachment of 14 reservists will augment the A-10 Formal Training Unit at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ. The arrangement means the reservists and active-duty personnel have opportunities to train and deploy as a unit; development of fighter associate units began in March 1997 with the launching of the Fighter Reserve Associate Test program. The success of that program led to the signing of an agreement in April 2003 by the commanders of ACC (Air Combat Command) and AFRC (Air Force Reserve Command) to establish fighter associate units at ACC F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle locations.

“Reservists in the Moody group will fly and maintain the A-10s with the regular component under the classic associate unit structure. The first A-10C Thunderbolt II arrived at Moody Aug. 7. About 50 of the upgraded aircraft will move to the Georgia base as a part of force realignment.”

Aug 21/07: IOC. The precision engagement modified A-10C Thunderbolt II receives its Initial Operational Capability certification at a Langley AFB, VA ceremony. The USAF report says that around 75 A-10s have already been upgraded as of IOC receipt.

Aug 7/07: A-10C #1. The first A-10C arrives at Moody AFB, GA.

1st arrival & IOC

July 18/07: AFSOC A-10s? Jane’s Defense Weekly mentions that USAF Chief of Staff General Michael Moseley has told Jane’s he is considering the creation of a new counterinsurgency (COIN) squadron of A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft for the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Gen Moseley said he is mulling the possibility of putting a squadron of A-10A close-support aircraft inside AFSOC to serve US Special Operations Command, which has the lead engagement role in the US-declared global war on terrorism.

The A-10C would certainly be useful in this role as it comes into service; a 2-seater all-weather version like the canceled A/OA-10B would have been even more useful in situations like this.

July 10/07: Sub-contractors. Rockwell Collins Government Systems, Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA received a $24.85 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract, exercising an option for AN/ARC-210(V) Electronic Protection Radio Systems. The AN/ARC-210 Multimode Integrated Communications System provides 2 way multimode voice and data communications over the 30-512 MHz frequency range in either normal, secure or jam-resistant modes via LOS or satellite communications (SATCOM) links.

The ARC-210 family of equipment is made up of several variants of the receiver-transmitter, each providing a specific combination of functionality. This modification consists of 329 each RT-1851 ARC-210 Receiver-Transmitter Radios; 323 each C-12561 Radio Control Sets, and 294 each MT-4935 Mounting Bases for the USAF’s A-10 aircraft. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, IA, and is expected to be complete in July 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command, at Patuxent River, MD issued the contract (N00019-05-C-0050).

June 29/07: New wings. Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas Corp. in St Louis, MO received an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for $2.015 billion for Engineering Services plus 242 enhanced A-10 Wing sets. The new wings will extend the planes’ life to 16,000 flight hours, and the program calls for the replacement wing sets to be delivered in parts and kits for easy installation. See also our April 2/07 item, which mentions the USAF’s original estimate of $1.3 billion for this program.

Solicitations began November 2006, negotiations were completed May 2007, and $74.2 million has been committed as of the award announcement. Work on the contract could run from 2007-2018, with a base ordering period from June 2007 – September 2011, plus an option period that runs from Oct 2011 – September 2016. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (FA8202-07-D-0004). Boeing release

Re-winging contract

April 11/07: +25 kits. A $17.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to produce and deliver A/OA-10 Aircraft Precision Engagement production kits and associated items. This will include: 25 Precision Engagement Modification Kits, 30 Portable Automated Test Sets, 5 Throttle Quadrant Tester Upgrades, 25 Third SP103 Single Board Computers, 30 Stick Grip Attachment, and 357 Throttle Grip Covers. At this time, $8.8 million have been obligated, and work will be complete January 2009 (FA8202-05-C-0004/P00022).

April 11/07: SADL. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Owego, NY received a $70 million indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity, firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee and time-and-materials contract. This action covers continuing development, integration, and production of Raytheon’s Situation Awareness Data Link (SADL), and Improved Date Modem (IDM) efforts in support of on-going A-10C Precision Engagement (PE) fleet modernization and upgrade efforts. At this time, $4.1 million have been obligated, and work will be complete December 2009. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8635-07-D-6015).

April 9/07: SADL. The A-10 Prime Team announces successful delivery of the full-function Situational Awareness Data Link (SADL) capability to the U.S. Air Force for developmental flight testing. The U.S. Air Force is expected to conduct developmental flight test of the SADL capability through May 2007 at Eglin Air Force Base, FL. SADL is expected to be fielded to operational A-10 units by September 2007. Lockheed Martin release.

April 2/07: GAO Report – Costs. The US Government Accountability Office releases #GAO-07-415 – ‘Tactical Aircraft: DOD Needs a Joint and Integrated Investment Strategy’. A key excerpt:

“The Air Force will retain the A-10 “Warthog” fleet in its inventory much longer than planned because of its relevant combat capabilities– demonstrated first during Desert Storm and now in the ongoing Global War on Terror. However, because of post-Cold War plans to retire the fleet in the early 1990s, the Air Force had spent little money on major upgrades and depot maintenance for at least 10 years. As a result, the Air Force faces a large backlog of structural repairs and modifications – much of it unfunded – and will likely identify more unplanned work as older aircraft are inspected and opened up for maintenance. Major efforts to upgrade avionics, modernize cockpit controls, and replace wings are funded and underway. Program officials identified a current unfunded requirement of $2.7 billion, including $2.1 billion for engine upgrades, which some Air Force officials say is not needed. A comprehensive service life extension program (if required) could cost billions more.”

…A major re-winging effort is planned for 2007 through 2016 that will replace the “thin skin” wings on 242 aircraft at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion. This effort will help to extend the A-10’s service life to 16,000 hours… Total cost to complete the [Precision Engagement] modification is estimated to be $420 million.”

GAO on costs

March 27/07: EMD. Lockheed Martin announces a $40.4 million contract modification to complete the A-10C Precision Engagement program’s engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase. Work will continue through May 2008 to conclude development of the Precision Engagement software suite and to support flight testing conducted by U.S. Air Force. Lockheed Martin release.

Oct 17/06: Update. The USAF reports that as of October 2006, 21 A-10C aircraft have been modified at Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah; the entire fleet of 356 active aircraft are to receive the upgrades, including active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard Warthogs.

FY 2005 – 2006

179 upgrade kit orders (or is it 239?); DSMS delivered.

The Warthog in Winter
(click to view full)

Sept 27/06: +107 Kits. A $49 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-incentive fee and time and material contract. Lockheed Martin’s release cites 107 PE kits, representing the 2nd production lot following the initial award for 72 kits in March 2005:

“The contractor shall provide total systems performance responsibility for A-10 aircraft integration by managing all system problems to a final solution. Interfaces are maintained between the performance work systems primary areas of modifications, system test/evaluation, project management, system engineering, and facilities.”

DID’s own records show 2005 orders for 132 kits, but we’ll go with the manufacturer’s numbers. At this time, $1.3 million have been obligated, and work will be complete September 2010. The 309th Aircraft Maintenance Group at Hill AFB, UT began installing the first award production kits in March 2006 (FA8202-06-D-0001)

March 21/06: DSMS. Lockheed Martin announces that the A-10 Prime Team has delivered the Digital Stores Management System (DSMS) to the U.S. Air Force’s A-10C flight-test program as scheduled. The new system is integrated with the Sniper ATP and LITENING surveillance and targeting pods, and automates many of the weapons control functions that A-10 pilots today perform manually.

Integration of the targeting pods and DSMS took place in Lockheed Martin’s A-10 Systems Integration Lab (SIL) in Owego, NY, where A-10 pilots validated and refined the mechanization of the upgrade before official release of the software to ground and flight test. “The pilot reviews saved significant ground and flight test time,” said Roger Il Grande, A-10 program director at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration – Owego. Built by Lockheed Martin in 2003, the SIL duplicates the aircraft’s wiring and cabling infrastructure, and is outfitted with actual weapon hardware, missile seekers, suspension racks and rocket launchers to emulate an A-10 aircraft on the flight line.

July 25/05: Kits. A $9.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide for 72 A-10 aircraft precision engagement spiral 1 modification kits with 3 option years and associated test equipment. Looks like an adjustment to a previous order.

At this time, the total amount of funds has been obligated. Work will be complete at a rate of 6 per month beginning 13 months after receipt of order. Solicitation began July 2004 (FA8202-05-C-0004, PZ001).

June 28/05: Sub-contractors. Enertec America in Alpharetta, GA received a $15.3 million firm-fixed-price modification to provide for A-10 digital video and data recorders. Total funds have been obligated, negotiations were completed June 2005, and work will be complete by November 2006 (FA8202-04-C-0023, P00005).

Feb 22/05: +60 Kits? A $28.5 million, firm fixed price, time and materials contract modification for 60 A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter precision engagement Spiral 1 modification kits, along with associated parts and test equipment.

Solicitations began July 2004, negotiations were complete in July 2005, and work will begin 13 months after the exercising option and will refit 6 aircraft per month after that (FA8202-05-C-0004/P00002).

Feb 17/05: +72 Kits. A $37.8 million contract to provide the U.S. Air Force with 72 Precision Engagement Spiral 1 production kits to modify A/OA-10 “Warthog” close air support aircraft, plus associated test equipment. At this time, $28.3 million of the funds have been obligated. Solicitation began July 2004 (FA8202-05-C-0004). Lockheed Martin release.

The production kits, a result of work by Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Southwest Research Institute, are one component of the Precision Engagement program.

FY 2004 and earlier

Main upgrade contract; Sniper pods for A-10Cs.

Sniper XR

Feb 12/04: Sniper. Lockheed Martin announces a contract to integrate the Sniper XR targeting pod on the A-10 aircraft in support of the A-10 Precision Engagement (PE) Program. The contract award follows a successful demonstration of the Sniper system during the A/OA-10 Precision Engagement upgrade program’s critical design review.

Some existing A-10s do fly with targeting pods, but they’re earlier models of Northrop Grumman’s LITENING pod. The USAF picked Sniper as its future targeting pod in 2001 (though they’d shift to a dual-pod approach again in 2010), and the current contract will ensure that Sniper pods work seamlessly with the A-10’s upgraded stores management systems, pilot displays, weapon targeting, etc.

As part of the integration effort, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control will develop the Pilot Vehicle Interface (PVI), pod Operational Flight Program (OFP) software, and pod interface adapter hardware for the A-10. Upon completion of this effort, the Sniper XR pod will self-detect and automatically load the appropriate Operational Flight Program when installed on either the A-10, F-16 or F-15E airframes.

Feb 15/01: Lockheed Martin announces the contract win, stating that:

“The A/OA-10 Prime contract modification has an estimated value of $226 million, $74 million for the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase through 2004 with follow-on production at $152 million.

This innovative government and industry teamwork approach cost-effectively combines multiple A-10 upgrade requirements into one program that fits within current available funding and saves the U.S. Air Force approximately $150 million over the cost of executing the requirements as standalone projects. The Precision Engagement modification also provides the A-10 fleet with enhanced close-air support and precision strike capability earlier than originally planned.

During the EMD phase, the company’s Aerospace Systems business unit will design, manufacture and test the Precision Engagement system. This effort involves the installation of a digital stores management system for cockpit interface with its weapon systems; new cockpit displays; a Situational Awareness Data Link (SADL) to provide accurate information about friendly forces and potential threats; a Direct-Current (DC) generator upgrade; and the integration of guided weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) along with future targeting pod integration. Follow-on efforts will then outfit the entire A-10 fleet.”

A-10C upgrade contract

Additional Research Background: A-10 Platform & Enhancements

News & Views

Categories: News

Trident II D5 Missile: Keeping Up with Changing Times

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 23:50

Trident II D5 Test Launch
(click to view full)

Nuclear tipped missiles were first deployed on board US submarines at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, to deter a Soviet first strike. The deterrence theorists argued that, unlike their land-based cousins, submarine-based nuclear weapons couldn’t be taken out by a surprise first strike, because the submarines were nearly impossible to locate and target. Which meant that Soviet leaders could not hope to destroy all of America’s nuclear weapons before they could be launched against Soviet territory. SLBM/FBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile/ Fleet Ballistic Missile) offered shorter ranges and less accuracy than their land-based ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) counterparts, but the advent of Trident C4 missiles began extending those ranges, and offering other improvements. The C4s were succeeded by larger Trident II D5 missiles, which added precision accuracy and more payload.

The year that the Trident II D5 ballistic missile was first deployed, 1990, saw the beginning of the end of the missile’s primary mission. Even as the Soviet Union began to implode, the D5’s performance improvements were making the Trident submarine force the new backbone of the USA’s nuclear deterrent – and of Britain’s as well. To ensure that this capability was maintained at peak readiness and safety, the US Navy undertook a program in 2002 to replace aging components of the Trident II D5 missile called the D5 Life Extension (LE) Program. This article covers D5 LE, as well as support and production contracts associated with the American and British Trident missile fleets.

D5 Life Extension Program

By the time the latest D5 version was deployed, the existence of the Soviet Union itself was in doubt. The previous year, the Soviet’s Eastern European client states began to fall, symbolized by the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Then the Soviet Union itself began to crumble, with various Soviet republics rebelling against the central government in 1990. In 1991, a failed coup attempt against Soviet reformer Mikhail Gorbachev brought Boris Yeltsin to power, who promptly dissolved the Soviet Union.

The end of the Soviet Union and the easing of the Soviet first strike threat did not end the need for a nuclear deterrent. States like Russia and China still have them, North Korea is the first nuclear-armed rogue state but will not be the last, and non-state actors remain a potential threat, given instability in key countries like Pakistan. The US nuclear deterrent got smaller, but it did not go away – and as it became smaller, the importance of the Trident fleet rose. Especially given Britain’s use of the same missiles as its sole nuclear deterrent.

The Trident C-4 has been in service since 1979, but the D-5 Trident II is more recent. Its 1st firing on March 21/89, from the USS Tennessee, almost ended the program. Fortunately, fixes were made in an environment of “tell the truth, only the truth, tell it quickly…” A set of 7 successful test-launches from 1989-1990 saved the program, bringing its funds back from escrow. As of January 2013, it has had a remarkable 143 consecutive flight test successes since that initial launch.

Trident II D5

First deployed in 1990 and scheduled for operational deployment until 2042, 12 of the USA’s 14 SSBNs have been outfitted with Trident II D-5 missiles, and the other 2 were scheduled to be back-fitted as opportunity permits.

The Trident II D5 LE Program is intended to extend the service life of the weapon system until 2042, to match the hull life of the Ohio-class submarine. Under the program, 108 additional missiles [PDF] are being purchased, in order to meet long-term inventory requirements.

The LE program involves updating the missile’s electronics, guidance and reentry systems. In particular, the Mk6 LE guidance system is a replacement for the aging Mk6 guidance system, which used 1980s technology that isn’t in production any more. The Next Generation Guidance (NGG) program aims to develop the Mk6 LE as a modern replacement that can achieve the same or better performance as the guidance systems that are breaking down. This requires development of precision instruments, sensors, and radiation hardened architectures, in order to adapt the underlying commercial technologies for use in a must-not-malfunction nuclear weapons system.

The prime contractor [PDF] for the Trident II D5 program is Lockheed Martin, who has managed all of the US submarine-launched ballistic missile/ fleet ballistic missile (SLBM/FBM) programs since the first generation Polaris. Charles Stark Draper Labs is the inventor of the guidance system.

Contracts and Key Events

1989-03-21: Avoid this.

These entries cover overall support and surveys of the American and British Trident fleets, Trident LE efforts, associated testing, and production of new materials and missiles. It does not cover work on the launcher systems rather than the missiles themselves, unless it’s a multiple-items contract that also includes missile work. Unless otherwise noted, the US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs in Arlington, VA issued the contracts. As one might expect with such secretive work, many of the contracts are sole-source or non-competed.

Note that despite the recent article improvements, materials before FY 2007 may not be fully up to date.

FY 2014 – 2017

SSBN design 101
click for video

January 23/17: UK PM Teresa May has come under fire following news that ministers covered up a failed test of the Trident nuclear deterrent weeks before a crucial Commons vote on the future of the £40 billion program. Previous tests have been publicized by the Government. Details of the test, which happened last July, still remain undisclosed to the public, and opposition MPs are calling for an inquiry into the incident.

July 19/16: Lockheed Martin has won a $21 million US Navy contract to provide Trident II D5 missiles to the service. The latest submarine-launched fleet of ballistic missiles, Trident II follows the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident I C4 programs. Trident was first deployed in 1990 and is currently deployed on board US Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines.

Sept 19/14: Production. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $146.3 million fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee, and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for new Trident II (D5) missile production, D5 Life Extension development and production, and D5 Deployed Systems Support. $128.1 million is committed immediately, including $48.5 million from Britain. Options could raise the contract to $828.4 million if exercised.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (35.12%); Magna, UT (16.55%); Kings Bay, GA (8.26%); Cape Canaveral, FL (7.57%); Culpeper, VA (4.51%); Silverdale, WA (4.43%); Bloomington, Minnesota (4.32%); Kingsport, TN (2.51%); El Segundo, CA (1.59%); Lancaster, PA (1.57%); Oakridge, TN (1.44%); and other various locations less than 1% each (12.13%). Work is expected to be complete by Nov 30/19. US Strategic Systems Programs in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contract (N00030-14-C-0100, PZ0001).

D5 & LE missile production

Sept 19/14: Infrastructure. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $34.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for all facilities, equipment, and processes required for successful activation and support of a Trident II (D5) missile storage facility at Camp Navajo, AZ, plus design and delivery of specialized support equipment for D5 missile movement and storage. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 US Navy weapons budgets.

Work will be performed at the following locations: Cape Canaveral, FL (38.29%); Oakridge, TN (30.13%); Magna, Utah (10.48%); Sunnyvale, CA (10.02%); Merritt Island, FL (4.45%); Rensselaer, Indiana (1.85%); Arlington, WA (1.26%); Bangor, WA (1.01%); St. Mary’s, GA (0.60%); Tullahoma, TN (0.51%); St. Augustine, FL (0.42%); Jacksonville, FL (0.37%); Poway, CA (0.31%); and other various locations (less than 0.10% each, 0.3% total); work is expected to be completed by Sept 30/19. US Strategic Systems Programs in Washington Navy Yard, DC manages the contract (N00030-13-C-0100, PO 0012).

July 1/14: FY15 Long-lead. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA received a $20 million unpriced-letter contract for long-lead materials, labor, planning and scheduling necessary to support FY 2015 Trident II D5 missile production.

Work will be performed at Sunnyvale, CA, with an expected completion date of Sept 30/19. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy weapons budgets. This contract was a sole source acquisition pursuant to 10 USC. 2304(c)(1) by US Strategic Systems Programs in Washington Navy Yard, DC (N00030-14-C-0100).

April 25/14: Navigation. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc. in Cambridge, MA receives a maximum $283.1 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive, and cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the ongoing Trident (D5) MK 6 Guidance System Repair Program. This includes failure verification, test, repair and recertification of inertial measurement units, electronic assemblies, and electronic modules.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy funds and funds from Britain ($40 million). Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA (42%); Minneapolis, Minn. (29%); Clearwater, FL (22%); Cambridge, MA (6%); and Terrytown, NY (1%), with an expected completion date of April 30/17. This contract is a sole source acquisition pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). Strategic Systems Program, Washington, D.C. manages the contract (N00030-14-C-0001).

April 1/14: UK Support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $21.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, level of effort, completion type contract to provide the United Kingdom (UK) with Trident II engineering and technical support services and deliverable materials.

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (76.4%); Cape Canaveral, FL (12.5%); Coulport, Scotland. (4.4%); Aldermaston, England (3.3%); St. Mary’s, GA (2%); Silverdale, WA (less than 1%), Campbell, CA (less than 1%), Denver, CO (less than 1%), other US cities (less than 1%); and Italy (various cities less than 1%), with an expected level-of-effort completion date of March 31/15 and deliverable items completion date of June 30/16. This contract was a sole-source acquisition pursuant to 10 USC. 2304(c)(4). The US Department of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs Office manages the contract (N00030-14-C-0028).

Dec 19/13: Support. BAE Systems receives a 3-year, $171 million contract to continue providing engineering and integration support to the US Navy’s Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic Missiles. The company has supported the US Navy’s program for more than 50 years, through the Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident lifecycles. They’re also involved to some degree in the US/UK Common Missile Compartment program.

BAE Systems’ support for the Fleet Ballistic Missile program is performed in Kings Bay, GA; Bangor, WA; Mechanicsburg, PA; Norfolk, VA; and the Washington, DC area. Sources: BAE, “Maintaining the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Ballistic Missile Program under a $171 Million Contract”.

Dec 12/13: Support. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA receives an $112.9 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. They’ll perform Trident II Underwater Launcher System and Advanced Launcher Development Program Support, technical engineering services to support the CMC Development and Prototyping effort, and other specialized technical support. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and one option year, is $220.3 million.

ULS/ AL: Includes ongoing support for the TRIDENT II D-5 and the SSGN underwater launcher subsystem, Engineering Refueling Overhaul shipyard support, spares procurement, US and UK launcher trainer support, Vertical Support Group E-mount and shim procurement, Nuclear Weapons Safety and Security Review, Missile hoist overhaul, underwater launch technology support, US and UK SSP Alterations and non-compliance report projects, gas generator refurbishment, and case hardware production.

CMC: Assess and analyze technologies and concepts to support the selection of a preferred system concept, which includes the identification of critical cost and risk impacts as a result of immature launcher technologies and/or immature requirements.

Specialized: Technical support of TRIDENT II D-5 Missile tube closure production, technical engineering services, and tactical hardware production efforts for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

All funds are committed immediately, using a combination of US Navy FY 2014 procurement, R&D, and O&M budgets, and British funds ($11.5 million). Work will be performed at Sunnyvale, CA (78%); Kings Bay, GA (7%); Bangor, WA (6%); St. Charles, MO (5%); Gardena, CA (2%); Camarillo, CA (1%); and Los Angeles, CA (1%); with an expected completion date of Sept 30/18. This contract was a sole source acquisition in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1), managed by the US Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, DC (N00030-14-C-0011).

Dec 11/13: Interstate Electronics Corp., Anaheim, CA receives a $47,401,675 cost-plus-incentive fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, level of effort, completion type contract for specialized technical support for Trident II flight test operations and data acquisition, systems engineering, post-mission processing and analysis, instrumentation refreshes, and strategic weapons system training program support. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and 2 option years, is $177.3 million.

Funds from a number of different budget lines are committed, ranging from FY 2012 – 2014. Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (55.5%); Cape Canaveral, FL (25%); Newark, CA (3.2%); Bremerton, WA (3%); Kings Bay, GA (3%); Norfolk, VA (3%); Washington, DC (3%); Silverdale, WA (2%); Austin, (1.3%); San Jose, CA (less than 1%); Huntsville, AL (less than 1%); Sunnyvale, CA (less than 1%); and El Segundo, CA (less than 1%); with an expected completion date of Sept 30/16. This contract was a sole-source acquisition pursuant to 10 U.SC 2304(c) (5). The Department of the Navy, Strategic Systems Programs Office, Washington, DC manages the contract (N00030-14-C-0006).

Dec 6/13: Navigation. Lockheed Martin, Mission Systems & Training in Mitchel Field, NY receives a $58.8 million cost-plus-incentive fee, cost-plus-fixed fee contract for United States and United Kingdom D-5 navigation subsystem engineering support services. This contract provides for US and UK fleet support, US and UK trainer systems support, OH-class SSBN engineered refueling overhauls, US and UK SSI4 trainer system, SSBN-R strategic weapon training system and training system development, UK successor support, software modernization and Linked Autonomous Programmed Navigational Operational Trainer modernization. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and 1 option-year, is $114.2 million.

Funds are committed from a number of FY 2014 budget lines, and from the UK ($6.9 million). Work will be performed in Mitchel Field, NY (97%), Clearwater/Oldsmar, FL (2%) and Manassas, VA (1%), with an expecteDCmpletion date of April 2017. This contract was a sole-source acquisition in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1), managed by the US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, DC (N00030-14-C-0002).

March 29/13: UK Support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives an $18.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide engineering/technical support for the UK’s Trident II Missile Systems. This includes: UK FBM Program efforts; deliverable materials; and on-site technical support in Britain.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale CA (72.9%); Cape Canaveral, FL (12.3%); Coulport, Scotland and Aldermaston, England (10.3%); St. Mary’s, GA (2.7%); other US sites (0.8%); Silverdale, WA (0.7%), and Poway, CA (0.3%), and is expected to be complete by by March 2015. All funds are committed immediately, and the UK’s FMS agent will be the US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, DC (N00030-13-C-0034).

Nov 5/13: Production. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives an initial $8.4 million fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee, and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded un-priced letter contract. Options could push it as high as $803.2 million for new Trident II D5 missile production, D5 life extension development and production, and D5 deployed systems support. The funding breakdown, subject to availability, is:

  • $673.4 million FY 2014 Navy procurement
  • $60.8 million FY 2014 Navy O&M, all of which expires on Sept 30/14
  • $23.1 million FY 2014 RDT&E
  • $6.5 million FY 2014 Navy other procurement
  • $35.7 million British government

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (34.31%); Brigham City, UT (21.55%); St. Mary’s, GA (9.49%); Cape Canaveral, FL (5.59%); Silverdale, WA (5.25%); Pittsfield, MA (3.23%); Kingsport, TN (2.81%); Gainesville, VA (2.09%); El Segundo, CA (1.84%); Clearwater, FL (1.74%); Lancaster, PA (1.67%); Inglewood, CA (1.57%); Camarillo, CA (0.75%); Santa Fe Springs, CA (0.62%); Oakridge, TN (0.57%); Arlington, WA (0.5%); St. Charles, MO (0.36%); Joplin, MO (0.36%); Defew, NY (0.34%); Hollister, CA (0.33%); Diamond Springs, CA (0.33%); Santa Ana, CA (0.28%); Miamisburg, OH (0.27%); Bethel, CT (0.24%); Orlando, FL (0.24%); Colorado Springs, CO (0.22%); Torrance, CA (0.20%); Wenatchee, WA (0.19%); Santa Clara, CA (0.14%); Englewood, CO (0.14%); San Diego, CA (0.12%); San Jose, CA (0.12%); Santa Cruz, CA (0.12%); Simi Valley, CA (0.11%); Simsbury, CT (0.10%); and other various locations of less than 0.10% each (2.21%), and work is expected to be complete in December 2014. If options are exercised, all work will continue to November 2018. The US Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, DC manages the contract (N00030-13-C-0100, PZ0001).

D5 & LE missile production

FY 2013

Missile contract; Reentry body contract; Guidance systems contract.

Launch!
click for video

Sept 13/13: FY 2014 long-lead. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $15.2 million un-priced letter contract for FY 2014 long lead Trident D5 materials and associated labor, planning, and scheduling. All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA, and the contract is expected to be complete by Sept 30/18. This contract is a sole source acquisition in accordance with FAR 6.302-1 and 10 U.S.C.2304c1 (N00030-13-C-0100).

March 7/13: Navigation. Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Inc. in Cambridge, MA receives a sole-source $257.8 million to provide Trident II (D5) Guidance System Strategic Program Alteration (SPALT) materials including: labor and consumable material to meet requirements for the guidance system on-going SPALT of MK6 MOD 1; test and procure data package assemblies; and circuit card assembly materials with electronic components.

All contract funds are committed immediately, with $15 million expiring on Sept 30/13, at the end of FY 2013. Work will be performed in Pittsfield MA (84%); Cambridge, MA (7%); Clearwater, FL (5%); Terrytown, NY (2%); El Segundo, CA (1%) and other (1%); and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/16 (N00030-13-C-0007).

March 7/13: Program Support. Aero Thermo Technology, Inc. in Huntsville, AL receives a $6.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide guidance systems, technical, analytical and program services to support the TRIDENT II SLBM. This contract contains options, which could bring the contract total to $20.7 million.

The US Navy and Air Force will conduct closely coordinated strategic ballistic missile technology development and application programs based on recommendations of the U.S. Strategic Command, Defense Planning Guidance, and Nuclear Posture Reviews. Work will be performed in Huntsville, AL, and is expected to be completed Dec 3/13, or Dec 31/15 if all options are exercised. $1.4 million is committed immediately, and $3.9 million will expire on Sept 30/13, at the end of the current fiscal year. (N00030-13-C-0013).

Dec 21/12: Production. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. (LMSSC), Sunnyvale, CA receives a $592.2 million fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to perform additional work such as Trident II D5 Deployed Systems Support, D5 Life Extension Development and D5 Life Extension Production. $550 million is committed immediately, leaving $42.2 million to be spent as needed, plus another $1.082 billion in options to cover D5 Missile Production and additional support for deployed missiles. That creates a maximum contract total of $1.675 billion, if all options are exercised.

Work will be performed in Chandler, AZ (0.151%); Sunnyvale, CA (39.075%); El Segundo, CA (0.672%); Torrance, CA (0.322%); Camarillo, CA (0.245%); Santa Fe Springs, CA (0.240); San Jose, CA (0.174%); Modesto, CA (0.077%); Huntington Beach, CA (0.071%); Simi Valley, CA (0.041%); San Diego, CA (0.035%); Poway, CA (0.018%); Santa Ana, CA (0.014%); Santa Maria, CA (0.013%); North Hollywood, CA (0.013%); Santa Clara, CA (0.011%); Milpitas, CA (0.011%); Campbell, CA (0.009%); Upland, CA (0.004%); Pawcatuck, CT (0.117%); Simsbury, CT (0.049%); Cape Canaveral, FL (14.915%); Clearwater, FL (0.987%); Merritt Island, FL (0.044%); Titusville, FL (0.013%); Cocoa, FL (0.008%); St Mary’s, GA (12.246%); Atlanta, GA (0.049%); Rockford, IL (0.095%); Pittsfield, MA (2.466%); Elkton, MD (0.407%); Jackson, MI (0.148%); Joplin, MO (0.150%); St. Charles, MO (0.120%); Las Vegas, NV (0.334%); East Aurora, NY (0.079%); Miamisburg, OH (0.188%); Lancaster, PA (0.802%); Harrisburg, PA (0.082%); Bristol, PA (0.020%); Valencia, PA (0.015%); West Warwick, RI (0.002%); Kingsport, TN (1.247%); Oakridge, TN (0.247%); Round Rock, TX (0.022%); Brigham City, UT (11.356%); Salt Lake City, UT (0.093%); Gainesville, VA (3.544%); Fairfax, VA (1.381%); Silverdale, WA (7.242%); Poulsbo, WA (0.169%); Wenatchee, WA (0.103%); and Arlington, WA (0.064%), and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/17 – or April 30/18 if all options are exercised.

Technically, $291.1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/13, but more than that is already committed for payment. The contract was not competitively procured in accordance with FAR 6.302-1 and 10 U.S.C. 2304c1 (N00030-12-C-0101, PZ0001).

D5 LE & Missile Production

Dec 17/12: Support. Excelis Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo., is being awarded a $15.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide professional, technical, programmatic, and operational engineering services to September 2016. $4,371,011 will be obligated at the time of award, and this contract contains options which could extend performance to March 31/16, and raise its value to $44.4 million. Their work will support of Navy Reentry Systems programs, including:

  • Reentry Body (RB) systems assessment, vulnerability, and nuclear safety and surety support
  • RB Life extension studies and analysis
  • Support for the development of refurbished reentry systems
  • Support for Strategic Systems Program’s declassification review program
  • support for Nuclear Weapons System Safety
  • Support to weapons facilities manager

Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, CO (95%); College Park, MD (2%); and various locations throughout the continental USA (3%). This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304c1 by the Strategic Systems Program, in Washington, DC (N00030-13-C-0016).

FY 2012

Missile orders; SHIPALT kits; Mk6 LE work; Support contracts; Common Missile Compartment integration

British firing
click for video

Sept 28/12: Support. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $76.8 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support the Trident II fleet, which could rise as high as $111 million with options. This will include:

1) Ongoing SSBN/SSGN fleet support including engineering refueling overhaul shipyard support, spares (SSP), SSP alterations and non-compliance report projects for the USA & UK, launcher trainer support for the USA & UK, vertical support group e-mount and shims, nuclear weapons safety and security review, missile hoist overhaul, underwater launch technology support, gas generator refurbishment, and case hardware.

2) Specialized technical support includes missile tube closure production, technical engineering services, and tactical hardware production efforts for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

3) New designs. Technical engineering services and analysis to support the USA & UK’s Advanced Launcher Development Program and Common Missile Compartment concept development and prototyping. This work will support the military’s efforts to pick a preferred system concept, including both critical costs, and clear awareness of risks from immature launcher technologies and/or immature requirements. The technology development phase for the next-generation launcher will be based on those conclusions.

The contract was not competitively procured. Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (79%); Kings Bay, GA (10%); Silverdale, WA (10%); and Camarillo, CA (1%), and will run to Sept 30/15. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procure in accordance with l0 U.S.C. 2304c1, and 10 U.S.C. 2304c4. The Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00030-13-C-0010).

Sept 27/12: CMC integration. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a sole-source $51.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for engineering efforts to support next-generation SSBN programs. The firm was deemed to be the only company that could integrate the TRIDENT II Missile and Reentry Strategic Weapon System subsystems into the CMC, and design an updated missile service unit that will be compatible with both current and new submarine fleets. With options, this contract could rise to $52.2 million.

Work will be performed in Cape Canaveral, FL (50%); Sunnyvale, CA (34%); Syracuse, NY (10%); Magna, UT (2%); Washington, DC (1%); yet to be determined locations (2%); and other locations of less than 1% (1% TL); and will run until Dec 31/17. Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00030-12-C-0058).

Sept 27/12: D5 LE. Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Inc. in Cambridge, MA receives a $113.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a wide variety of engineering and R&D services, which could grow to $304.6 million if all options are exercised. Work can include:

1) Trident II support. That includes specialized tactical engineering services, logistics services, fleet support services, test equipment, and guidance SSP alteration services to test, guidance subsystems maintenance and fixes; test equipment, and related support equipment.

2) Trident D5 MK6 MOD 1. Test and evaluate engineering development units and preproduction units systems to verify performance, and document items for flight tests, qualification, and production support.

3) R&D related to TRIDENT II D-5 guidance and reentry systems, including specialized technical knowledge and support for hypersonic guidance (ballistic missiles fly at well over Mach 5), navigation and control applications utilizing an integrated avionics computer and Global Positioning System.

Work will be performed in Cambridge, MA (69%); Pittsfield, MA (19%); El Segundo, CA (10%), and Clearwater, FL (2%), and the contract run through FY 2015 to Sept 30/15. The contract was not competitively procured. Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00030-13-C-0005).

July 3/12: Long-lead. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA received a $12.2 million unfinalized contract to provide the long lead time material for FY 2013 Trident II D5 missile production, as well as the required labor, planning, and scheduling.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA., and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/17. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302.1 and l0 U.S.C. 2304c1 (N00030-12-C-0101).

June 5/12: Navigation. Boeing in Huntington Beach, CA received a $10.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide TRIDENT II (D5) navigation test equipment upgrades. They’ll upgrade test equipment for theodolites; offer drift test station binnacle overhaul kits and necessary contingency replenishment items and program plans; perform electrostatically supported gyro container power supply strategic systems programs alteration (SPALT); and work on resolver replacement, network board SPALT, and TR-C5 A/C 1/6 software SPALT. Options could bring the contract’s total value to $15.6 million.

Work will be performed in Huntington Beach, CA (96.4%), and Heath, OH (3.6%), and is expected to be complete by June 30/15. This contract was not competitively procured by US Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, DC (N00030-12-C-0026).

May 31/12: Testing. Lockheed Martin reminds us that the US Navy’s 4 successful Trident D5 test flights from April 14-16/12, from the submerged USS Maryland in the Atlantic Ocean, bring the total number of successful Trident flight tests to 142 since design completion in 1989.

Thankfully, there have been no operational flights to provide data.

April 25/12: D5 LE. Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Inc. in Cambridge, MA receives a $236.7 million firm-fixed-priced, fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to produce modified Trident II (D5) Missile guidance systems.

Work will be performed in Pittsfield MA (42.2%); Cambridge, MA (26.7%); Clearwater, FL (22.3%); El Segundo, CA (7.2%); and Tarrytown, NY (1.6%). Work will run to Sept 30/16, the end of FY 2016. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-12-C-0005).

April 2/12: UK support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives an $18.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide engineering and technical support for the UK’s Trident D5 Missile Systems.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (70.8%); St. Mary’s, GA (13.3%); Coulport, Scotland & Aldermaston, England (9.3%); Cape Canaveral, FL (2.8%); Cocoa, FL (2%); Silverdale, WA (0.5%); and other various location in the United States (1.3%), and will run to March 31/13. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-12-C-0024).

Dec 15/11: Multi-year contracts. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA receives almost $1.2 billion in cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, fixed-price-incentive contract modifications, associated with the support and production of Trident II D5 missiles. $321.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12, but work will run to April 30/17.

The $427.4 million deployed systems support (DSS) contract involves various forms of engineering and operational support, including trainers and training, spares and repairs, flight test analysis and range support, safety assurance including Nuclear Weapon Security; and development, production and installation of special projects.

The unfinalized but not-to-exceed $772.2 million award for TRIDENT II D5 production includes missile bodies, re-entry bodies, D5 instrumentation systems and support equipment, components and requalification activities as part of D5 life extension requirements, and alternate release assembly production.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (65.92%); Cape Canaveral, FL (10.33%); St. Mary’s, GA (7.18%); Bangor, Silverdale, WA (7.15%); Brigham City, UT (2.20%); Torrance, CA (1.01%); Pittsfield, MA (0.76%); Poulsbo, WA (0.75%); Clearwater, FL (0.26%); San Jose, CA (0.24%); Elkton, MD (0.10%); Chandler, AZ (0.08%); East Aurora, NY (0.07%); Gainesville, VA (0.07%); Lancaster, PA (0.06%); Rockford, IL (0.02%); and various other locations (3.79%). These contracts were not competitively procured (N00030-12-C-0100, PO 0001).

Multi-year production & support contracts

Dec 9/11: Support. BAE Systems in Rockville, MD receives a $58.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to provide Systems Engineering Integration support for the TRIDENT II D5 Strategic Weapon System (SWS) Program, the SSGN Attack Weapon System (AWS) Program, and the Common Missile Compartment (CMC) Program. Options could bring the contract’s total value to $123.3 million.

Work will be performed in Rockville, MD (70%); Washington, DC (20%); St. Mary’s, GA (5%); Bangor, WA (4%); and Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, United Kingdom (1%), and is expected to be completed Sept 30/12, or Sept 30/13 if the options are exercised. $38.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. This contract was not competitively procured (N00012-C-0009).

Dec 2/11: D5 LE. Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Inc. in Cambridge, MA receives a $120.8 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee contract modification. They’ll provide Trident II D5 Guidance System micro circuit wafers, and Strategic Systems Programs alterations materials.

Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA (83.5%); Cambridge, MA (7%); by Honeywell, Inc. in Clearwater, Fla. (5%); Terrytown, NY (2.4%); El Segundo, CA (1.1%); and other places yet to be determined (less than 1%), and is expected to be complete on Dec 31/15. This contract was not competitively procured, and contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00030-11-C-0014, PE0003).

Dec 2/11: Support. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems – Marine Systems in Sunnyvale, CA, received an $83.2 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide FY 2012 support for the TRIDENT II D-5 launchers, submarines, and next-generation development efforts. This contract contains options, which could bring its total value to $123.1 million.

Northrop Grumman will provide services to help with existing SSBN/SSGN Underwater Launcher Systems; Engineering Refueling Overhaul shipyard support; spares procurement; United States and United Kingdom launcher trainer support; Vertical Support Group E-mount and shim procurement; TRIDENT II D-5 missile tube closure production; Launcher Initiation System (LIS) Critical Design Review and Nuclear Weapons Safety and Security Review; TRIDENT II D-5 missile hoist overhauls; underwater launch technology support; U.S. and U.K. Strategic Systems Programs alterations and non-compliance report projects; gas generator refurbishment and case hardware production; LIS Trainer Shipboard Systems Integration Increment 11 conversion; and ancillary hardware and spares.

Technical engineering services and container production restart efforts for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty will also be included, as will technical engineering services to support the Advanced Launcher Development Program and Common Missile Compartment concept development and prototyping efforts for the U.S. and U.K.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (80%); Bangor, WA (10%); and Kings Bay, GA (10%); and will end with the fiscal year on Sept 30/12, whereupon $45.3 million of these funds will expire; or it will end on Sept 30/14 if all options are exercised. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-12-C-0015).

Dec 2/11: Support. Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, CA receives a $43 million cost-plus-incentive fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide FY 2012 and 2013 United States and United Kingdom Lead System Integrator support. An option would add a year, and bring the contract value to $85.8 million.

Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (77.2%), and Cape Canaveral, FL (22.8%), and will end on Sept 30/12, whereupon $37 million in contract funding expires; or on Sept 30/13 if the option is picked up. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-12-C-0003).

Nov 25/11: Fire control. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Inc. in Pittsfield, MA receives a $96 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, fixed-price incentive contract to provide FY 2012 and FY 2013 engineering support to United States and United Kingdom Trident II SSBN Fire Control Subsystems, Ohio Class SSGN Attack Weapons Control Subsystem, and the Common Missile Compartment for the USA and UK’s next-generation nuclear missile submarines. This contract contains options which could bring its total value to $225 million over almost 4.5 years.

Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA, and could run to April 14/16 with all options exercised. $35.1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. This contract was not competitively procured by the US Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, DC (N00030-12-C-0006).

Oct 26/11: Components. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a not-to-exceed $64.5 million cost-plus-incentive-fee completion contract modification. It exercises Trident II LE contract line item number 0030 for: 12 flight control electronic assemblies; 2 active inert missile (AIM) flight control electronic assemblies; 12 command sequencer assemblies; 12 interlocks package assemblies; 2 AIM interlocks package assemblies; and 12 missile inverters.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (53.5%); Bloomington, MN (15.2%); El Segundo, CA (12.4%); Albuquerque, NM (11.5%); Clearwater, FL (3.7%); Camarillo, CA (2.5%); and Middletown, PA (1.2%). Work is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14 (N00030-11-C-0100).

Oct 17/11: Support. Lockheed Martin MS2 in Mitchel Field, NY receives a $40 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide FY 2012-13 U.S. and U.K. TRIDENT II (D5) Navigation Subsystem Engineering Support Services. This contract contains options which could bring it to $94.6 million, if they’re all exercised.

Specific work includes U.S. and U.K. Fleet Support, U.S. and U.K. Trainer Systems Support, next-generation Ohio Replacement Program Support, Engineering Refueling Overhaul Support, and Navigation Subsystem studies.

Work will be performed in Mitchel Field, NY, (99.8%) and Manassas, VA (0.2%), and is expected to be complete by March 31/14. $30.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. The contract was not competitively procured by the Strategic Systems Programs in Washington, DC (N00030-12-C-0002).

FY 2011

Missile orders; SHIPALT kits; Mk6 LE work; Support contracts; 3D Design software.

Sept 21/11: D5 LE. Cadence Design Systems, Inc. in San Jose, CA receives a $7.4 million firm-fixed price, 5-year software license and support for their commercial electronic design automation software tools. Cadence’s electronics design tools will be used as part of the D5 MK6 Life Extension Guidance System program.

This contract was sole-sourced, and the Pentagon describes the suite as “compatible with collected historical data and utilized for present efforts.” Work will be performed in San Jose, CA, and is expected to be completed by September 2016. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-11-G-GM23).

March 28/11: Support. Boeing in Huntington Beach, CA received a $31.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus incentive contract to maintain, repair, and rebuild TRIDENT II D5 navigation equipment. This contract contains options which could bring its total value to $64.1 million.

Work will be performed in Huntington Beach, CA (89%), and Heath, OH (11%), and is expected to be complete Sept 30/14. $16.1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-11-C-0002).

March 1/11: Testing. USS Nevada (SSBN 733) successfully launches an unarmed Trident II D5 missile off the coast of southern California, completing a 3.5 year long submarine refueling and overhaul certification process. The launch certifies the readiness of both the SSBN crew and the operational performance of the submarine’s strategic weapons system, before it becomes available for operations again. Nevada was commissioned in 1986 as the eighth Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarine.

US Navy Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) oversees the demonstration and shakedown operation (DASO) certification process, and more than 150 SSP employees and special guests were invited aboard US Military Sealift Command’s test range ship USNS Waters (T-AGS 45). This test marked the 135th consecutive successful test flight of the D5 missile since 1989. USN SW Region Navy Compass | Lockheed Martin.

Feb 15/11: UK Support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA received a $7.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to the United Kingdom technical services contract in support of the TRIDENT Strategic Weapons System, providing for “Collaborative Replacement Material Experiment Two.” We have no idea what that means, and don’t expect to be enlightened.

Work will be performed primarily in Sunnyvale, CA, and is expected to be complete by March 31/14 (N00030-10-C-0026, P00003)

Feb 14/11: Budgets. The Pentagon releases their FY 2012 budget request, and Pentagon documents indicate that the Trident D5 LE program may increase its budget in 2012. The FY 2012 request is for $1.398 billion ($88.9 million RDT&E and $1.309 billion procurement), a 17.8% jump compared to a FY 2011 request of $1.188 billion, which rose slightly from a FY 2010 request of $1.115 billion. The funds will go to:

“Funds the D5 Missile Life Extension Program replacing missile motors and other critical components, and production support (including flight test instrumentation and additional re-entry system hardware).”

Feb 10/11: D5 LE. Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Inc. in Cambridge, MA receives a $57.7 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive contract for Trident II (D5) Guidance System micro circuit wafers and “strategic systems programs alteration repair equivalent units”.

Work will be performed in Clearwater, FL (44.9%); Pittsfield, MA (29.9%); El Segundo, CA (13.6%); and Cambridge, MA (11.6%); and is expected to be complete by June 30/13. This contact was not competitively procured (N00030-11-C-0014).

Dec 27/10: D5 LE. Charles Stark Draper Laboratories, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, is being awarded a $494.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Trident II D5 work: guidance system tactical engineering support, guidance applications program, and life extension development.

Work will be performed in Cambridge, MA (82%); Pittsfield, MA (11%); Clearwater, FL (2%); and El Segundo, CA (5%). Work is expected to be complete by Sept 20/16, and $84 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by US Strategic Systems Programs in Arlington, VA (N00030-11-C-0005).

Dec 10/10: Lockheed Space Systems Company in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $920.8 million fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed system support.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA; Bangor, WA; Kings Bays, GA; and Cocoa Beach, FL, and is expected to be complete by April 30/16. The contract funds will be drawn from multiple fiscal years – $44 million in FY 2009 weapon funds, and $304.7 million in FY 2011 O&NM funding, all of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/11. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-11-C-0100).

Missile production

Dec 9/10: Support. L3/ Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, CA receives a $28.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for specialized technical engineering services to operate, maintain and repair the TRIDENT II D5 test instrumentation subsystems, plus spares and related support equipment in support of the U.S. TRIDENT II D5 weapon systems.

Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (80%); Cape Canaveral, FL (13%); Arlington, VA (5%); Austin, TX (1%); Los Angeles, CA (0.5%); and Sunnyvale, CA (0.5%), and is expected to be complete by Sept. 30/11. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-10-C-0009, P00012).

FY 2010

Missile orders; SHIPALT kits; Mk6 LE work; Support contracts.

Aug 3/10: Support. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors in Mitchel Field, NY won a $11.8 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide: Trident II D5 strategic systems programs shipboard systems integration; Strategic weapon system navigation subsystem; Systems design and development; and Electrostatically supported gyro navigator refresh. This contract contains options which could bring the total contract value to $230.1 million.

Work will be performed in Mitchel Field, NY (35.4%); Huntington Beach, CA (27.9%); Oldsmar, FL (14.8%); Phoenix, AZ (14.2%); Cambridge, MA (7.2%); and Eagan, MN (0.5%). The contract is expected to end on July 30/15. This contract was competitively procured, with 2 offers received (N00030-10-C-0018).

July 7/10: Long-lead. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA received an $11.3 million fixed-price incentive, cost-reimbursable, incentive contract to provide long-lead materials for the FY 2011 follow-on production of the Trident II D5 missile system.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA, and is expected to be complete Sept 30/15. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-10-C-0101).

April 9/10: Testing. Teradyne in North Reading, MA received a $10.6 million, 5-year firm-fixed-price commercial basic ordering agreement for procurement of Teradyne Spectrum 9100 testers, which are used for the development of test program sets (TPSs) for Trident fire control, missile, and guidance electronic modules that are being redesigned as part of the D5 Life Extension program.

The TPSs will also be used for production testing of modules and for service life evaluation. The proposed acquisition is for additional testers, spare equipment, instrument calibration, training, and maintenance contracts that are required to maintain the necessary tester availability.

Work will be performed in North Reading, MA and is expected to be completed by April 2015. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00024-09-C-6317).

March 29/10: UK Support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $17.7 million cost plus fixed fee contract to provide technical services that support Britain’s TRIDENT Strategic Weapons System.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (70.69%); Cape Canaveral, FL (12.54%); St. Marys, GA (2.58%); Bremerton, WA (0.81%); and other locations inside and outside the United States (13.38%). Work is expected to be complete by March 31/11. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-10-C-0026).

March 22/10: D5 LE. Lockheed Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA received a $24.1 million modification under a previously awarded contract (N00030-07-C-0100) for the procurement and testing of Trident II D5 missile commonality parts needed for the life extension program. The total contract value after this award is $1.2 billion (see March 28/07 entry).

Lockheed Martin will perform the work in Bloomington, MN (93.24%); Sunnyvale, CA (4.15%); Fairview, NC (2.46%); Marionville, MO (0.10%); and Clearwater, FL (0.05%), and expects to complete the work by May 31/12. Contract funds in the amount of $11 million expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Feb 2/10: D5 LE. Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA received a $131.1 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the Trident II D5 MK6 life extension guidance system. This contract is to procure long lead materials and circuit card assemblies to support the delivery of 20 MK6LE guidance systems.

Draper Lab will perform the work in Bloomington, MN (59%); Clearwater, FL (22%); Cambridge, MA (15%); and Pittsfield, MA (4%), and expects to complete it by June 30/15. This contract is a sole source acquisition by the US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs in Arlington, VA (N00030-10-C-0015).

Dec 28/09: Testing. Lockheed Martin announces that the US Navy conducted a test flight of a Trident II D5 missile from the USS Alaska (SSBN 732) in the Atlantic Ocean. The test, conducted Dec 19/09, marks the 130th successful test flight of the Trident II D5 missile since 1989.

The Navy launched the missile as part of a Demonstration and Shakedown Operation (DASO) to certify USS Alaska for deployment, following a shipyard overhaul period. For the test, a missile was converted into a test configuration using a test missile kit produced by Lockheed Martin that contained range safety devices and flight telemetry instrumentation.

Dec 14/09: Chips. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems received a contract from Charles Stark Draper Laboratory to produce integrated circuits for the Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile program. This is a 3-year contract with a total potential value of $110 million including the pre-priced options.

The contract is part of the Trident II D5 LE program. General Dynamics is also providing circuit card assemblies for the Trident II D5 missile and guidance systems. The principle subcontractor to General Dynamics for the wafer foundry services is Honeywell International and work will be performed at its Plymouth, MN facility.

Dec 8/09: Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA received a not-to-exceed $851 million cost-plus-incentive-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide support for production of Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles as well as maintenance of deployed D-5 and C-4 missiles.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin is providing D5 missile hardware production support and reentry system hardware, as well as operations and maintenance to support the readiness and reliability of missile systems deployed aboard the US Navy’s Trident II Ohio-class SSBNs. The contract also continues the D5 LE effort, which updates electronic components to support the extended service life of the Ohio-class SSBNs

Mature D5 production efforts will transition to a fixed-price-incentive contract in fiscal year 2011. Lockheed Martin expects to complete the work by Dec 30/13. Contract funds in the amount of $284,965 will expire at the end the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-10-C-0100).

Missile Production

Dec 4/09: Support. Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA received a $133.3 million modification (#P00003) under a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00030-09-C-0008) for the Trident II D5 guidance system tactical engineering support and guidance applications program. Specific tasks include:

  • provide tactical engineering support;
  • provide Mk6 LE field support services;
  • develop a strategic guidance application program;
  • develop a GPS receiver design approach;
  • provide support for the Extended Navy Test Bed (ENTB) and ENTB derivative reentry body experiments (ENTB [PDF] is a special Trident reentry body used to test performance of the missile’s reentry vehicle guidance using GPS); and
  • assess maintaining the accuracy of the existing reentry systems.

The contract modification increases the total contract value to $290.7 million. Work will be performed in Cambridge, MA (73%); Pittsfield, MA (21%); El Segundo, CA (4%); Clearwater, FL (1%); and Andover, MA (1%). Work is expected to be complete by Sept 30/11.

Dec 4/09: D5 LE. Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA received a $109.7 million modification under a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for guidance system repair and delivery of Trident II D5 Mk6 LE pre-production units, to support 3 planned proofing test missile flights.

The modification increases the total contract value to $547.6 million. Work will be performed in Cambridge, MA (82%) and Pittsfield, MA (18%) and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/12 (N00030-08-C-0010, PO 0009).

Nov 24/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors in Mitchel Field, NY received a $62.9 million cost-plus incentive fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide navigation subsystem engineering support services to the US and UK fleet of Trident II D5 ballistic missiles. The contract contains options, which if exercised, would bring its cumulative value to $141.4 million.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide fleet support, strategic weapon system shipboard integration support and trainer, trainer systems support, sea-based strategic deterrent support, engineering refueling overhaul support, and navigation subsystem studies.

Lockheed Martin will perform the work in Mitchel Field, NY (95.4%); Oldsmar, FL (3.6%); Baltimore, MD (0.4%); Moorestown, NJ (0.4%); Eagan, MN (0.1%); and Manassas, VA (0.1%). The company expects to complete the work by Dec 31/11, or Sept 30/13 if all options are exercised. Contract funds in the amount of $30.1 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00030-10-C-0002).

Nov 16/09: Support. L3 Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, CA received a $39.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide data acquisition, processing, and analysis for Trident missile flight test missions of the United States and United Kingdom. This contract contains options, which if exercised, would bring the contract value to $49.4 million.

L3 Interstate Electronics will perform the Trident flight test data work in Anaheim, CA (50%); Austin, TX (20%); Ascension Island (10%); Cape Canaveral, FL (10%); and St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (10%), and expects to complete it by Sept 30/10, or September 2012 if all options are exercised (N00030-10-C-0009).

Oct 23/09: Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co in Sunnyvale, CA receives an $853.3 cost-plus-incentive-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee (CPIF/CPFF) unfinalized contract to support Trident II D5 missile production, and deployed systems (C4 and D5). The contract type will be CPIF/CPFF for this contract only, and mature production efforts will transition to fixed-price-incentive in FY 2011.

The place of performance is to be determined, pending finalization of the award. Work is expected to be complete in Dec 30/13. Only $284,965 will expire at the end the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-10-C-0100).

Missile production

FY 2009

Incremental changes: Missile orders; SHIPALT kits; Mk6 LE work; Support contracts.

Sept 30/09: Support. Boeing in Anaheim, CA received a $28.8 million contract modification, exercising an option to provide the following efforts for the TRIDENT II (D5) navigation subsystem:

  • Engineering support services, and problem investigations for U.S. and U.K.-owned electrostatically supported gyro navigator (ESGN) navigation inertial equipment;
  • Modification, refurbishment, and repair of US and UK ESGN instruments and components;
  • TRIDENT II (D5) shipyard overhaul field engineering;
  • US Fleet documentation, surveillance program, and training;
  • US/UK stable platform housing refurbishment.

These options increase the total contract value to $62.6 million. Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (84%) and Heath, OH (16%), and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/12. $1.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, which is more or less immediately (N00030-09-C-0002).

Aug 31/09: Support. General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT received a $30.9 million contract modification to add new procurement CLIN(contract line item numbers). The new tasks will include:

  • Produce and install the NAVSEA ship alteration kits, for the SSP shipboard integration Increment 1, MK98 MOD 6/7 fire control system
  • Conduct investigations and resolution of problems associated with TRIDENT I and TRIDENT II submarine launched ballistic missile programs
  • Provide strategic weapon systems technical engineering support.

This is follow-on work from the base contract, vid. June 20/08 entry. Work will be performed in Groton, CT (68%); Silverdale, WA (14%); Kings Bay, GA (14%); and North Kingstown, RI (4%), and is expected to be complete Aug 4/10. $1.25 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00030-08-C-0031).

April 9/09: Support. Boeing in Anaheim, CA received a $33.9 million cost plus incentive fee, cost plus fixed fee contract to provide the following efforts for the TRIDENT II (D5) Navigation Subsystem:

  • Engineering support services, and problem investigations for U.S. and U.K.-owned electrostatically supported gyro navigator (ESGN) navigation inertial equipment
  • Modification, refurbishment, and repair of US and UK ESGN instruments and components
  • TRIDENT II (D5) shipyard overhaul field engineering
  • US Fleet documentation, surveillance program, and training
  • US/UK stable platform housing refurbishment.

Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA (90%) and Heath, OH (10%), and is expected to be complete in June 2012. $25.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-09-C-0002).

March 31/09: D5 LE. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $63.6 million modification under a cost plus incentive fee contract for the Trident II D5 Life Extension (LE) SPALT(SPecial Products ALTerations) Production.

Work will be performed in CA (46.20%); MA (18.57%); MN (15.01%); NM (6.25%); GA (6.11%); FL (5.29%); PA (0.77%); SC (0.53%) and other locations (1.40%), and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-07-C-0100, P00027).

March 30/09: UK Support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $21.3 million cost plus fixed fee contract to provide for technical services in support of Britain’s TRIDENT Strategic Weapons System.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (75%); Cocoa Beach, FL (10%); Hudson, NH (2%); St. Mary’s GA (1%); Groton, CT (1%); Bremerton, WA (.5%); other US locations (.5%); and other UK and Italian locations (10%), and is expected to be complete by March 31/10. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-09-C-0018).

Jan 30/09: D5 LE. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. in Cambridge, MA received a $146.2 million cost plus incentive fee contract for a Trident II D5 MK6 LE Guidance System.

Work will be performed in Clearwater, FL (35%); Plymouth, MN (27%); Bloomington, MN (16%), Cambridge, MA (12%); and Pittsfield, MA (10%), and is expected to be complete by December 2011. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-09-C-0011).

Dec 5/08: Support. Charles Stark Draper Laboratories in Cambridge, MA received a $157.3 million cost plus incentive fee, cost plus fixed fee contract for services supporting the TRIDENT II (D-5) weapons system. Services will include:

  • Specialized tactical engineering services, logistics services, fleet support services, and guidance repair services to test, repair and maintain guidance subsystems, test equipment, and related support equipment;
  • Research in the application of technologies to support TRIDENT II (D-5) Guidance and Reentry Systems;
  • Failure verification, test, repair and re-certification of Inertial Measurement Units P/N 5807000, Electronic Assemblies P/N 6285900, electronic modules and MK 6 Guidance System related components;
  • Design, analysis and test of service life related upgrades of Inertial Measurement Units P/N 5807000, Electronic Assemblies P/N 6285900, electronic modules and MK 6 Guidance System related components.

Work will be performed in Cambridge, MA (72%); Pittsfield, MA (21%); Clearwater, FL (3%); El Segundo, CA (3%); and Andover, MA (1%), and is expected to be complete Sept 30/09. $91.2 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-09-C-0008).

Dec 1/09: Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $720.1 million modification to a cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide TRIDENT II (D5) and TRIDENT I (C4) missile subsystems. Specific tasks may include:

  • Missile body, re-entry body, D5 instrumentation systems and support equipment production (D5 only);
  • D5 Production Continuity Hardware (D5 only);
  • Components and requalification activities in support of D5 life extension requirements;
  • Critical components in support of D5 life extension requirements;
  • Field Processing;
  • Engineering and operational support services;
  • Training material development and maintenance;
  • Trainer design and operational support;
  • Spares and integrated logistics support;
  • Flight Test Analysis and Range Support;
  • Safety Assurance including Nuclear Weapon Security (NWS);
  • Missile and support equipment repair;
  • Flight Test Planning and Flight Test Data Acquisition and Processing (D5 only);
  • Development, production and installation of SPALTs/PADs/Sers [Special Projects Alterations, POMF (POLARIS Missile Facility) Alteration Documents, and Support Equipment Requirements];
  • Develop and produce an Alteration Release Assembly;
  • Develop an Enhanced Telemetry System;
  • Technical services in support of the C4/D5 Ballast System and Test Instrumentation Mast program;
  • Technical services in support of all requirements associated with TRIDENT I (C4) related to asset dispositions and disposal.

In addition to TRIDENT II (D5), and TRIDENT I (C4) missile subsystem requirements, there is also a requirement to:

  • Provide storage and maintenance for the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, Nuclear (TLAM-N) at the Strategic Weapons Facilities;
  • Perform processing and provide technical services in support of the SSGN Attack Weapon System (AWS) at SWFLANT;
  • Provide TRIDENT SWS(Strategic Weapons Systems) Missile Training;
  • Develop technology applicable to global strike objectives that integrates with existing TRIDENT missile and/or the platform, and the missile processing and TRIDENT operations infrastructure;
  • Provide Options for Flight Test Data Acquisition and Analysis for the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency.

Work will be performed in California (42%); Georgia (11%); Utah (16%); Florida (9%); Washington (8%); Virginia (3%); Tennessee (2%); New Jersey (1%); Massachusetts (1%); Illinois (1%); Maryland (1%); other (5%), and is expected to be complete in September 2012. $285.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00030-08-C-0100, PZ0001). See also March 26/08 entry.

Missile & components production, D5 LE, Services

Nov 19/08: Fire control. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Pittsfield, MA received a $52.3 million contract modification for FY09-FY11 US and UK TRIDENT II (D5) fire control system (FCS) work, and US SSGN attack weapon control system (AWCS) support. These efforts include:

  • US/UK weapon control systems (WCS) and weapon control training system (WCTS) operational support
  • US/UK WCS operational support
  • US/UK WCS and navigation system repair and return (R&R)
  • FCS software 344 (Mk 6 life extension) development
  • US/UK Mk 98 Mod 8/9 FCS development
  • Engineered refueling overhaul service
  • Mk 98 Mod 4, 5, 6 and 7 FCS updates
  • AWCS training unique
  • Strategic weapon system training unique.

Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA, and is expected to be complete on April 1/11. $25.8 million will expire at the end of current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00030-08-C-0041, P00013)

Nov 12/08: D5 LE. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory receives a $117.4 million contract modification for Trident II (D5) guidance system repair, guidance system parts, and MK6 LE work. This modification increases the total contract value to $298.3 million.

Work will be performed in the following locations: Cambridge, MA (43%), Pittsfield, MA (38%), El Segundo, CA (12%), Clearwater, FL (5%), and Andover, MA (2%) and is expected to be completed by 30 Sept. 2011. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-08-C-0010, P00006).

FY 2007 – 2008

Missile orders; SHIPALT kits; Mk6 LE work; Support contracts.

Sept 17/08: Support. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors in Mitchel Field, NY receives a $35 million modification to a previously awarded cost plus incentive fee, cost plus fixed fee contract (N00030-08-C-0002), exercising options to provide U.S., and U.K. Trident II (D5) Navigation Subsystem Engineering Support services, and Engineering Refueling Overhaul Support. The options increase the contract value to $112.1 million.

Work will be performed in Mitchel Field, NY, and work is expected to be complete in September 2011.

July 18/08: Support. Aero Thermo Technology Inc. in Huntsville, AL receives a $5.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide technical, analytical, and program research and development services to support the TRIDENT I and TRIDENT II Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) program, and the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile guidance system requirement. This contract contains options, which if exercised, will bring the total contract value to $32.5 million.

Work will be performed in Huntsville, AL (59%); Nashville, TN (20%); Honolulu, Hawaii (18%); and Colorado Springs, CO (3%), and is expected to be complete in December 2008 (December 2012 with options). This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-08-C-0030).

June 20/08: Support. General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. in Groton, CT received a $13.7 million contract modification to:

  • Produce and install the Naval Sea Systems Command Ship Alteration (SHIPALT) kits for the Strategic Systems Programs Shipboard Integration (SSI) Increment 1, MK98 MOD 6/7 Fire Control System;
  • Conduct investigations and resolution of problems associated with TRIDENT I and TRIDENT II Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile programs, Ohio Class Submersible Ship Guided Nuclear requirements, Attack Weapon System (AWS) Trainer requirements and Advanced Weapons Systems Development requirements;
  • Provide Strategic Weapons Systems (SWS) technical engineering support.

Work will be performed in Groton, CT (68%); Silverdale, WA (14%); Kings Bay, GA (14%); North Kingstown, RI (4%), and is expected to be complete in May 2012. $1.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/08. This contract was a sole source award (N00030-08-C-0031).

March 26/08: initial FY 2008. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA received a $19.3 million unpriced letter contract to provide Long Lead Material (LLM) required for FY 2009 follow-on production of the TRIDENT II (D5) Missile System. This unpriced letter contract will be definitized on/about Oct 1/08 as a cost reimbursable, multiple incentive contract with incentives on cost and performance.

Work will be performed in locations yet to be determined, and is expected to be complete in September 2012. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-08-C-0100).

March 21/08: UK Support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $15.5 million cost plus fixed fee contract to provide for technical services in support of Britain’s TRIDENT Strategic Weapons System.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (74.47%); Cape Canaveral, FL (17.37%); St. Mary’s, GA (1.35%); Silverdale, WA (0.73%); Jenkintown, PA (0.34%); Indianapolis, IN (0.05%); Broomfield, CO (0.03%) ; Herndon, VA (.02%); other U.S. locations to be determined (0.32%); and locations to be determined in the United Kingdom and Italy (5.32%), and is expected to be completed March 2009. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-08-C-0019).

March 4/08: Support. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors in Mitchel Field, NY received a $21.3 million modification under a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to exercise options to provide U.S. TRIDENT II (D5) navigation subsystem engineering support services requirements. Specific efforts include U.S. Strategic Weapon System shipboard integration support and U.S. trainer shipboard integration support. The options increase the contract value to $80.1 million.

Work will be performed in Mitchel Field, NY, and is expected to be complete in April 2010 (N00030-08-C-0002).

Nov 21/07: Support. Northrop Grumman Space Mission Systems Corp. in Van Nuys, CA received an $8.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide for U.S. and U.K. TRIDENT Flight test data collection, planning, support, and refresh of the radars used to collect the data.

Work will be performed in Los Angeles, CA (37%); Arlington, VA (7%); Van Nuys, CA (2%); Huntington Beach, CA (4%); Pleasant Hill, CA (2%), and Huntsville, AL (1%), and is expected to be complete in September 2008. $4.4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was a sole source acquisition (N00030-08-C-0005).

Nov 19/07: Support. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Pittsfield, MA is being awarded a $91.3 million Strategic Systems Programs contract for FY 2008 through FY 2009 work. The contract is a cost plus incentive fee contract (incentives on cost, performance, and schedule) awarded based on a sole source acquisition. The funding profile is as follows:

  • $2,978,000 FY2007 UK (3.3%)
  • $9,973,000 FY2008 UK (10.9%)
  • $35,613,891 FY2007 OPN (39%)
  • $2,327,403 FY2008 SCN (2.5%)
  • $27,865,698 FY2008 O&M, USN (30.5%)
  • $9,096,830 FY2008 OPN (10.0%)
  • $3,467,739 FY2008 WPN (3.8%).
  • $27,865,698 of FY2008 O&M, USN funding which would expire at the end of the current fiscal year on Sept 30/08.

Specific work will include: U.S. and U.K. operational support, repair, installation, and checkout; Mod 6/7 development and production; Mod 8/9 development; Engineered Refueling Overhaul Support; Training Unique Development; AWCS; Auxiliary Systems Tech Refresh; AWCS Mod 0 updates; Conventional TRIDENT Modification development; and Mk 6 Life Extension development; from Oct 1/07 through April 2/11. Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA (N00030-08-C-0041).

Oct 16/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors in Mitchel Field, NY received a $58.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide FY 2008 U.S. and U.K. TRIDENT II (D5) Navigation Subsystem Engineering Support Services requirements. Specific efforts include U.S. and U.K. Fleet support, Strategic Weapon System Shipboard Integration support, modifications to Trident II (D5) backfit navigation computer software and hardware, U.S. and U.K. trainer systems support, engineering refueling overhaul support.

Work will be performed in Mitchel Field, NY, and is expected to be complete in April 2011. $30.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/08. This contract was awarded based on a sole source acquisition (N00030-08-C-0002).

Sept 28/07: Support. L3/Interstate Electronics Corp. in Anaheim, CA received a $59.6 million cost- plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for specialized technical engineering services to operate, maintain, and repair the TRIDENT II D5 Test Instrumentation subsystems, spares, and related support equipment in support of America’s TRIDENT II (D5) missiles. It includes operation and maintenance of the Launch Area Support Ship (LASS) Flight Test Support System, the M250 Test Missile Radio Frequency set, and M240R Data Recording System (DRS). The contractor will also monitor and provide recommendations/updates to the formal training materials, documentation, and hardware/software utilized in the Strategic Weapons System (SWS) training program.

Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA, and is expected to be complete in May 2009. This contract was awarded based on a sole source acquisition (N00030-08-C-0006).

Sept 10/07: Support. Boeing in Anaheim, CA received a $21.4 million contract modification, exercising options for TRIDENT II (D5) Navigation Subsystem work. Specific efforts include:

  • Engineering support services and problem investigations for U.S. and U.K. owned Electrostatically Supported Gyro Navigator (ESGN) navigation inertial equipment;
  • Modification, refurbishment, and repair of U.S. and U.K. ESGN instruments and components
  • TRIDENT II (D5) shipyard overhaul field engineering
  • U.S. Fleet Documentation, Surveillance Program, and training.

Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA, and is expected to be complete in September 2010. This contract was awarded based on a sole source acquisition (N00030-07-C-0002).

March 12/07: UK Support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $14.2 million cost plus fixed fee contract to provide for technical services in support of Britain’s TRIDENT Strategic Weapons System.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (69.94%); Cape Canaveral, FL (18.64%); Helensburgh, Scotland, UK (8.6%); St. Mary’s, GA (1.05%); Silverdale, WA (0.67%); Herndon, VA (0.22%); Indianopolis, IN (0.21%) and other yet to be determined sites (0.67%), and is expected to be complete in March 2008. This contract was procured on a sole source basis (N00030-07-C-0028).

March 28/07: Long-lead. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. in Sunnyvale, CA won a $20.5 million unpriced letter contract to procure Trident II D5 long lead time materials. Work will be performed at various locations and is yet to be determined for this undefinitized effort, and is expected to be completed by September 2011. This contract is a sole source procurement (N00030-07-C-0100).

Jan 9/07: FY 2007. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co’s Space and Strategic Missiles division in Sunnyvale, CA receives a $654.9 million cost-plus-incentive-fee/ cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for Trident II D5 and Trident I C4 nuclear sea-launched ballistic missiles (N00030-06-C-0100, PZ0001).

The Trident C-4 has been in service since 1979, but the D-5 Trident II is more recent. First deployed in 1990 and scheduled for operational deployment until 2042, 12 of the USA’s 14 SSBNs have been outfitted with Trident II D-5 missiles, and the other 2 will be backfitted as opportunity permits.

Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, Irvine, Torrance and Santa Ana, CA (33.42%); St. Mary’s, GA (15.76%); Brigham City, UT (15.76%); Cape Canaveral, FL (11.89%); Silverdale and Nepoulsbo, WA (10.5%); Gainsville, VA (2.34%); Kingsport, TN (1.65%); and miscellaneous sites throughout the U.S. (9.3%). Contract funds in the amount of $247.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, and work is expected to be complete by September 2010.

Missile production

Nov 27/06: D5 LE. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA received a $195.75 million contract for tactical engineering support re: the Mk 6 guidance system used on American and British Trident II D-5 nuclear missiles. Contract funds in the amount of $76.6 million will expire at the end of current fiscal year, and this contract contains options which would bring its cumulative value to $201.9 million if exercised.

Work will include repair and recertification of Mk 6 guidance systems, including pendulous integrating gyroscopic accelerometers, inertial measurement units, electronic assemblies, inertial measurement units electronics, repair parts, test equipment maintenance, and related hardware; deliver a product and process improvement study to investigate approaches to reduce life-cycle cost and improve performance of the Fleet Ballistic Missile Guidance System program; and employ its personnel and facilities in the conduct of various important technical studies including the Guidance Application Program and the Radiation Hardened Application Program. It will be performed in Cambridge, MA (64%); Pittsfield, MA (23%); Andover, MA (5%); El Segundo, CA (3%); Clearwater, FL (3%); and Woodland Hills, CA (2%), and is expected to be complete September 2007 (N00030-07-C-0001).

FY 2005 – 2006

Missile order; Rocket motors; R&D and work on improved guidance; support contracts.

June 1/06: UK support. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Sunnyvale, CA received a $12.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for technical services that support Britain’s TRIDENT strategic weapons systems. Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA, and is expected to be complete in March 2007. This contract was not competitively procured (N00030-06-C-0038).

April 6/06: Rocket motors. Alliant Techsystems received a $76 million contract from Lockheed Martin to produce solid propulsion systems for all three stages of the US Navy’s Trident II D5 missile. Under the terms of the contract, ATK will continue to supply Trident solid propulsion systems to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Sunnyvale, CA through 2010.

April 5/06: Support. Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA received a $26.9 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to provide repair and recertification of MK-6 guidance systems, including pendulous integrating gyroscopic accelerometers, inertial measurement units, electronic assemblies, inertial measurement units electronics, repair parts, test equipment maintenance, and related hardware. Work will be performed in Cambridge, MA and is expected to be complete September 2006 (N000-30-06-C-0002).

Dec 22/05: FY 2006. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA received an $869 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-plus-award-fee contract from the US Navy to provide funding for fiscal 2006 Trident II D5 Missile Production and Deployed System Support.

Work on this FY 2006 Trident II D5 production & sustainment contract will be performed in Sunnyvale, CA (39%); Magna, UT (12%); Kings Bay, GA (11%); Cocoa Beach, FL (12%); Bangor, WA (8%); Gainesville, VA (3%); Kings Port, TN (1%), Rockville, MD (1%), Lancaster, PA (2%); and other locations (11%), and is expected to be complete by September 2009 (N00030-05-C-0100, Mod. No. PZ0001).

Missile production

Dec 12/05: D5 LE. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL) in Cambridge, MA received a $101.1 million modification to previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract (N00030-05-C-0007) to develop all the system software and algorithms, system sensors, gyroscopes, and accelerometers for the MK6 LE system. CSDL will also build all the system test beds and integrate all the subsystems produced by the subcontractors (General Dynamics, Raytheon, Honeywell, Dynamics Research Corp.) into the final MK6 LE proof of concept model.

Nov 16/05: Support. BAE Systems Applied Technologies in Rockville, MD is being awarded a $62.5 million cost plus fixed fee and cost-plus incentive-fee-of-effort contract. This contract provides for System Integration Support for the Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Program in implementing interface control programs and performing special technical investigations such as the following:

  • Modify and update system test procedures;
  • Perform configuration management and alteration control via documentation, drawings and technical manuals;
  • Provide logistics, engineering and material control support; and
  • Provide maintenance support data system installation and support for the strategic weapon system, including materials.

The contract also contains option effort to plan for and participate in strategic weapon system testing during submarine overhaul, refit and backfit; and to provide

  • Tomahawk Land Attack Missile-Nuclear (TLAM-N) support
  • Advanced Systems’ Studies
  • Strategic Weapon System Underwater Launch Technology Sustainment
  • Trident II D5 Life Extension Systems Engineering, and
  • Trident Submarine Operation and Employment Studies.

Work will be performed in Rockville, MD (78.58%), Kings Bay, GA (11.78%); Mechanicsburg, PA (2.83%); San Diego, CA (5.96%), and Bangor, WA (0.85%); and and is expected to be complete by September 2006. Contract funds in the amount of $44.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00030-06-C-0006).

Nov 16/05: Fire Control. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS) in Pittsfield, MA received an $8.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to provide Trident II weapon control systems operational support and weapon control system repair and return. Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA, and is expected to be complete by September 2006. Contract funds in the amount of $4 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00030-05-C-0051).

Nov 15/05: Support. The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL) in Cambridge, MA received $130.6 million cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, elements of which will also be subcontracted out to various other firms. The contract encompasses the following efforts:

  • Providing tactical engineering support (TES) for the US and UK Mk6 Guidance System
  • Providing tactical engineering support (TES) for the Trident II D5’s Guidance System Test Equipment
  • Providing tactical engineering support for investigation, evaluation, and development of Strategic Programs Alteration (SPALT) plans and/or special studies for the Mk6 Guidance System.

CSDL will subcontract to the following companies:

  • Dynamics Research Corp. (DRC) in Andover MA to maintain and operate the centralized engineering database for the Mk6 guidance system, and perform various product improvement tasks related to the Mk6 guidance system test equipment;
  • General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS) in Pittsfield MA, to provide field-engineering support at Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic and Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific;
  • Raytheon Company Electronics Systems Division in El Segundo, CA to provide test equipment maintenance and support, fleet support, stellar camera development, and electronic factory support;
  • Honeywell International, Inc. in Clearwater, FL, to provide storage assessment testing on Trident guidance systems inertial instruments; and
  • Litton Systems in Woodland Hills, CA, to provide for the development of the alternate pendulous integrating accelerometer.

CSDL’s work will be performed in Cambridge, MA, and work on this contract is expected to be complete in September 2006. Contract funds in the amount of $73.7 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N000-30-06-C-0003).

Nov 14/05: Navigation. The Boeing Co. in Anaheim, CA received a $14.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee letter contract to provide for Trident II Subsystem Fiber Optic Gyro Navigator Design Investigations and Test System Design. Work will be performed in Anaheim, CA and is expected to be complete by October 2007. The contract was not competitively procured (N00030-05-C-0063).

Sept 29/05: Fire Control. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Pittsfield, MA received a $28.3 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract to provide Trident II Mk98 MOD 6/7 Strategic Weapons Systems Development and Production. The Mk98 mod 6/7 is an updated fire control system for the SSBN 726 Ohio Class nuclear ballistic missile submarines and their Trident II nuclear missiles. Work will be performed in Pittsfield, MA and is expected to be complete by December 2009 (N00030-05-C-0051).

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections, comments, or information to contribute are encouraged to contact DID’s Founding Editor, Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

Categories: News

F-35 Costs Expected to Drop | Boeing-IAI Deliver First Arrow-3 to IAF | Turkey & Russia Conduct First Joint Air-Strike | Airbus Wins $2B A400M Buy from Indonesia

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 23:58
Americas

  • Investors and traders looking to avoid/gain from the stock market turmoil caused by US President Donald Trump have a new best friend: an app that will generate trading alerts for shares based on comments made by the man on social media. Tweets sent by Trump in December, criticizing big ticket defense programs such the F-35 and the new Air Force One, sent stock prices of Lockheed Martin and Boeing tumbling, and the CEOs of the US’ biggest defense companies scrambling to find ways to trim the fat on program costs. Behind the creation, London-based FinTech firm Trading.co.uk said the Trump signal generator used artificial intelligence technology to differentiate between tweets or other messages that, for example, just mention Boeing and those liable to move markets. Happy Inauguration Day!

  • Speaking of costs, the price of the F-35 looks set to take a tumble, as the US DoD and Lockheed Martin come close to an agreement on a new contract for the Joint Strike Fighter. While talks on the warplane’s tenth batch are still ongoing, sources close to discussions say the fighter will drop below its current $100 million per-plane price tag for the first time. Believed to be in the range of $9 billion, an official announcement on the 90-plane deal is expected to come at the end of the month.

Middle East North Africa

  • The Israeli Air Force has received delivery of their first Arrow-3 missile defense battery. A joint-development effort by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Arrow-3 interceptor will form the upper-tier layer of Israel’s multi-tiered Arrow Weapons System (AWS), and is designed to fly nearly twice as high at half the weight of the Arrow-2 interceptor, which covers the lower-tier segment of the network. Arrow-3 missiles will allow the IAF to shoot twice against a single ballistic target, assess for battle damage and, if needed, divert to other approaching threats, with the Arrow-2 operating as a back-up.

  • Warplanes from Turkey and Russia have conducted their first joint air-strike. In what is a strange development for a NATO member to coordinate so closely with Russia, the raid comes just fourteen months after Ankara downed a Russian Su-24 for allegedly crossing into Turkish airspace. Focusing on the town of al-Bab in Aleppo province, the strike included four Russian Su-24s, four Su-25s and an Su-34, joined by four F-4s and four F-16s from Turkey. Al-Bab, located just 12 miles from the Turkish border, has been the focus of a five-month Turkish-backed Syrian rebel campaign aimed at pushing back both IS and Kurdish forces.

Europe

  • Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has said that his government is considering a 2017 splurge on new military hardware. Macierewicz name-dropped Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky subsidiary, Leonardo, and somewhat surprisingly Airbus, as potential suppliers of 14 helicopters to the Polish army. While both Sikorsky and Leonardo have plants located in Poland, relations between Airbus and the ruling Law & Justice Party soured last year following the cancellation of a $3.2 billion deal to provide 50 H225M Caracals. The ministry has also proposed a plan to buy between 50-100 F-16s as well as three new submarines with contracts to be signed by either the end of the year or in early 2018.

  • Thales will update the master radars for the Swiss Air Force in a deal worth $78.90 million. The five-year upgrade is part of a life extension project to keep the former’s FLORAKO system running until the 2030s. Thales said the project will involve development of a new radar signal and upgrading the radar’s data processing and antenna system.

Asia Pacific

  • Indonesia’s government has approved a $2 billion plan to purchase five A400M transport aircraft from Airbus. News of the deal marks a significant leap in the country’s modernization plans and provisions included in the deal will allow Indonesian engineers to study and observe the assembly of various major aircraft components, including wings and fuselage shells, for the first two airframes in Seville, Spain. State-owned firm PT Dirgantara will then conduct the final fit-out of the last three airframes at its plant in Bandung.

  • A Royal Thai Air Force plan to purchase Mil Mi-17V-5 helicopters has paved the way for the potential setting up a production and maintenance facility in the kingdom. The facility will help support the new helicopters as well as five models previously purchased by Bangkok; once established, the facility would look to provide maintenance support to other Mi-17V-5 operators in Southeast Asia. Once a strong US ally, relations between the two have gone south in recent years following a 2014 coup, resulting in a reorientation toward Russia for defense and industrial ties.

Today’s Video

Unveiling of the Arrow-3 to the IAF:

Categories: News

Swiss Spend $$ on Updating Master Radars to keep FLORAKO Running

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 23:57

ThalesRaytheonSystems (TRS) received $120 million in contracts from the Swiss defense procurement agency, ARMASUISSE, to provide the Swiss Air Force with advanced Link-16 connectivity for their fighter aircraft.

The funding represents a continuation of work by TRS on the FLORAKO command and control program. Phase VII will add voice and data transmission over an encrypted link, nation-wide Link-16 coverage, allow aircraft to acquire Link-16 information before take-off, and incorporate multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS) technology. DID has covered the significance of MIDS and Link 16 technology before; in Switzerland, MIDS technology will be especially useful for overcoming the challenges of maintaining full situational awareness at all times, even when flying aircraft within the mountainous Swiss terrain. With respect to the FLORAKO program generally…

Link 16 Display

TRS’ fully distributed FLORAKO comprises master surveillance radars, a data and communication system, a new airspace management system and new air command and control centers.

FLORAKO went into operation on Feb. 2, 2004, after successfully completing final tests and operating in parallel with the previous Swiss air defense system. It’s replacing Switzerland’s older Hughes FLORIDA with a system whose main functions include:

  • Joint civil-military airspace management
  • Air surveillance with multi-sensor tracking (military and civil radars)
  • Identification
  • Sensor management
  • Threat assessment
  • Air mission Command and Control

Phase VII is slated for completion in late 2008. Work will be performed by ThalesRaytheonSystems employees in Fullerton and Massy, France. Swiss industry will also participate in the system’s deployment. Read corporate release.

Future upgrades to FLORAKO will integrate more real time data and to interface with more sensors and reconnaissance assets.

ThalesRaytheonSystems is an equally owned transatlantic joint venture between Raytheon Company and Thales Group, with offices in Massy Cedex, France and Fullerton, California, USA.

Update

January 20/17: Thales will update the master radars for the Swiss Air Force in a deal worth $78.90 million. The five-year upgrade is part of a life extension project to keep the former’s FLORAKO system running until the 2030s. Thales said the project will involve development of a new radar signal and upgrading the radar’s data processing and antenna system.

Categories: News

Israel’s Arrow Theater Missile Defense

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 23:55

Arrow test concept
(click to view full)

In a dawning age of rogue states, ballistic missile defenses are steadily become a widely accepted necessity. Iran is widely believed to be developing nuclear capabilities, and Israeli concerns were heightened after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged that Israel be “wiped off the map” (the fact that America was also placed in that category went largely uncovered).

Because missile defenses are so important, states like India and Israel have taken steps to ensure that they have the ability to build many of the key pieces. The Arrow project is a collaboration between Boeing and IAI to produce the missile interceptors that accompany the required radars, satellites, command and control systems.

NOTE: Article capped and coverage suspended in 2011.

The Arrow System

Arrow launch
(click to view full)

In general, the Israeli Arrow is a more advanced weapon than the Patriot and possesses far more range, undertaking high altitude interceptions and covering a wide area (est. 90km/ 54 mile range, maximum altitude 30 miles/ 50 km for Arrow 2) as a Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system. Unlike the USA’s THAAD, PAC-3, or SM-3 which all use “hit to kill” technology, Israel’s Arrow relies on a directed fragmentation warhead to destroy enemy missiles. It can work in conjunction with a number of systems, but its main Israeli partner is the Green Pine long-range, ground-based fire control radar. The system and its engagements are controlled by the mobile Citron Tree battle management center. Since the launchers are also mobile, and the radars are semi-mobile, the system is resistant to pre-emptive strikes if good discipline is maintained.

The exoatmospheric, 2-stage Arrow-3 will use pivoting optical sensors and its own upper-stage kick motor, instead of separate control rockets for final steering. The goal is a highly maneuverable missile that can reach more than double the height of existing Arrow-2 interceptors, using a lower-weight missile. This will also have the effect of extending the missile’s range.

In contrast, Israel’s Patriot PAC-2s are more of a local point defense system with a range of about 40km/ 24 miles. They were all Israel had during the 1991 Gulf War, but these days, Israel’s Patriot PAC-2 GEM+ missiles will only be launched if the Arrow missile fails, or the target is outside the Arrow’s protective umbrella. In that respect, the Arrow/Homa system will play a role similar to the longer-range naval SM-3 Standard missile that forms the high end of Japan’s planned ABM shield (and seems destined for Europe and other states in a land-based role), or the US Army’s THAAD.

Overall responsibility for Arrow lies with the U.S. Missile Defense Organization (MDA) in Washington, DC, and the Israel Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Israel. The program is executed by the Israel Missile Defense Organization in Tel Aviv, and the US Army Program Executive Office for Air and Missile Defense’s Arrow Product Office in Huntsville, AL. Key contractors include:

  • Israel Aircraft Industries (prime contractor, Arrow missile, Green Pine fire control radar)
  • Tadiran Electronics in Holon, Israel (Citron Tree battle management center)
  • Boeing (about 35% of the Arrow missile, manages many US subcontractors)
  • Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control in Orlando, FL (radar seeker)
  • Raytheon in Santa Barbara, CA (Infrared seeker)
  • Other American subcontractors include ATK in Iuka, MS and Clearfield, UT; Manes Machine, in Fort Collins, CO; Ceradyne Thermo-Materials, Inc., in Scottsdale, GA; and Sanmina SCI, in Huntsville, AL.
  • Rafael Armament Development Authority, Haifa, Israel (Black Sparrow air-launched target; joint U.S./Israel effort).

EL/M-2080 “Green Pine”
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Israel deployed the first battery of Arrow-1 missiles on March 14/2000, and has continued to upgrade the system. The summer of 2005 marked delivery of the first co-produced Boeing/IAI missiles. Israeli and US troops engaged in pre-training for the biennial Juniper Cobra exercise in 2007, and part of that process includes working out interoperability issues between the Patriot PAC-3 system (ad PAC-2 GEM+ that Israel deploys) and Arrow.

On July 29/04 Israel and the USA carried out joint experiment in the USA, in which the Arrow was launched against a real Scud missile. The experiment was a success, as the Arrow destroyed the Scud with a direct hit. In December 2005 the system was successfully deployed in a test against a replicated Shahab-3 missile. This feat was repeated on February 11/07.

Despite some international interest in the Arrow, the USA has blocked export initiatives so far. Although India purchased an Arrow-capable “Green Pine” radar from Elta in 2001, and has expressed interest in deploying its own battery of Arrow interceptor missiles, U.S. concerns regarding compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR, an international agreement limiting the proliferation of ballistic missile technology) have effectively halted such plans for the time being. This did not stop India from using the Green Pine technology in its own November 2006 anti-missile test, using a modified Prithvi short-range ballistic missile with an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle and a hit to kill warhead.

Contracts & Key Events, 2004-Present

Arrow-3 development
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The section is still being updated.

January 20/17: The Israeli Air Force has received delivery of their first Arrow-3 missile defense battery. A joint-development effort by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Arrow-3 interceptor will form the upper-tier layer of Israel’s multi-tiered Arrow Weapons System (AWS), and is designed to fly nearly twice as high at half the weight of the Arrow-2 interceptor, which covers the lower-tier segment of the network. Arrow-3 missiles will allow the IAF to shoot twice against a single ballistic target, assess for battle damage and, if needed, divert to other approaching threats, with the Arrow-2 operating as a back-up.

June 16/15: Joint US-Israel missile programs may benefit from additional funding under a Defense Appropriations Bill, following a vote in the House. The programs covered by the increase in funds include the Iron Dome, Arrow, Arrow 3 and David’s Sling systems. The last of these will receive the most significant boost, with an additional $286.5 million allocation.

Feb 22/11: An Arrow System successfully intercepts a ballistic target missile during a flight test conducted at Pt. Mugu Sea Range, CA. This test is part of the Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP) and was conducted jointly by the Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The test represented a realistic scenario, and all the elements (Arrow, Green Pine radar, Citron Tree BMC) performed in their operational configurations, using new Block 4 software designed to improve their ability to discriminate targets. US MDA release | video || Defense News.

July 27/10: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense votes to fund Israel’s missile defense programs at $422.7 million for 2011, nearly $96 million above the original White House funding request. This represents a doubling of aid for missile defense from 2010, in the wake of an emerging consensus that the CIA’s 2007 estimate of Iran’s nuclear weapons program was wrong, and underestimated Iranian progress.

On the other hand, the structure of that funding is less good for the Arrow program. While the HASD added $58 million to the administration’s original FY 2011 Arrow-3 request, that provisional $108.8 million is actually less than FY 2010 funding of $157.4 million ($60M request + $97.4M Congress added). Likewise, the complementary medium range RAFAEL/Raytheon David’s Sling/Magic Wand dropped from $134.7 million in FY 2010 to $84.7 million requested in 2011. The net increase comes from a one-time, $205 million grant for the procurement of 10 RAFAEL Iron Dome batteries for defense against short-range missiles. HASD Chair statement [ PDF] | HASD Table [PDF] | AllGov | Jerusalem Post | Israel’s Globes business news.

July 26/10: Israel and the United States sign a deal to develop and field the Arrow 3 system. It will be capable of tracking and shooting down ballistic missiles at a higher altitudes, including fully exoatmospheric threats. US MDA | China’s Xinhua.

March 22/10: Defense News reports that U.S. and Israeli government and industrial partners will press ahead with Arrow 3 work through good faith understandings, until formalized government-to-government accords catch up. The goal is to deploy the new missile by 2014.

Production of the Arrow-2 is winding down, and final deliveries are planned by the end of 2010. Government and industrial partners have apparently been working together on Arrow-3 for nearly 2 years, moving the program through at least 4 of the US Missile Defense Agency’s required technology “knowledge points, and validate critical subsystems. A first fly-out is planned for 2011.

Manufacturing
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April 7/09: The Israeli Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency conduct a successful test of the Arrow ballistic missile defense system. The operationally realistic test was conducted in Israel, using an ASIP interceptor co-produced by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The event marked the co-produced Arrow II’s 2nd intercept in 2 attempts, as well as its 3rd successful flight test. Boeing.

Jan 4/09: Israel’s Arutz Sheva news service reports that the Arrow missile defense system has been deployed near Ashkelon, in part because IAI has worked with American firms and developed an updated radar system named MC4. The new radar can also deal with smaller missiles, such as the Hamas government’s Kassam or Grad rockets being launched from Gaza. Using GPS and camera sensors, the MC4 system tracks the flight path, and within a minute of launch, it can determine both the launch site and projected landing site of the missile.

At the same time, pressure is building to add Northrop Grumman’s SkyGuard laser system to Israel’s defenses, a system whose technology is based on joint US-Israeli research:

“Supporters claim that the Skyguard laser based system is more suited to Israel’s needs than the rocket-based Rafael solution. Firstly, the laser can intercept short range missiles such as the Kassam rocket which hit their targets in less than 10 seconds. The rocket-based Rafael system can only hit medium-range rockets which reach their targets in more than 20 seconds. In addition, each laser round fired costs approximately $3,000. In contrast, defensive rockets for the Iron Dome system are estimated to cost over $100,000. Supporters also claim that the Skyguard system could be deployed in a short amount of time, whereas the completion of the Iron Dome rocket system is not foreseen in the near future.”

Sept 29/08: The USA has deployed an unspecified X-band radar system in Israel, manned by around 120 American personnel. Reports hint that the system may be similar to the radars deployed to Japan, or the AN/TPY-2 used as part of the THAAD system. The Guardian:

“One key feature of the system is that information from early-warning satellites – which greatly increases the radar’s ability to pinpoint launches – would remain in US hands. The satellite ground station would be in Europe and transmit data to Israel.

…The high-powered X-Band system, manufactured by Raytheon Company, would allow Israel’s Arrow II ballistic shield to engage an Iranian Shehab-3 missile about halfway through its 11-minute flight to Israel, six times sooner than Israel’s existing Green Pine radar can. The X-Band can track an object the size of a baseball from 2,900 miles away.”

Feb 14/08: IAI announces that The Israel Ministry of Defense (IMOD) / Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) has awarded a follow-on production contract to Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s MLM Division for an undisclosed number of additional Arrow 2 Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile (ATBM) system interceptors. The interceptors will be assembled in Israel at IAI’s MLM Division, the Arrow prime contractor, with major portions coming from Boeing IDS, the U.S. prime contractor in Huntsville, AL., ATK in Luka, MS., and various other subcontractors across the U.S.

Aug 23/07: The Jerusalem Post publishes “IDF modifying Arrow deployment in the North.” Key quote:

“Following this past summer’s war and the recognition that the next war will involve Syrian and Iranian missile barrages, the Air Defense Forces decided to adopt a “wide deployment” for its Arrow missile batteries.”

Aug 6/07: Jane’s Defence Weekly: “Israel is leaning towards upgrading its own anti-ballistic missile Arrow Weapon System (AWS) rather than acquiring the US Theatre High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system. While no formal decision has yet been taken, Jane’s has learned that officials from the Israel Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation (BMDO) have informed the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) about potential complications with integrating THAAD into the country’s missile-defence alignment.”

March 26/07: An improved Arrow II missile, with modifications to its hardware and electronics under the Arrow System Improvement Program, is successfully test-fired this afternoon at Palmahim Air Force Base. The interceptor performed successfully according to design specifications, meeting all expectations and objectives. This is the 1st successful test of the improved configuration, and the 2nd test overall of a co-produced interceptor. Testing is managed by the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, in close cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Test objectives were to collect flight engineering data for future test events, and to test the capabilities of the improved Arrow interceptor. This test marks the U.S./Israeli Arrow II program’s 14th success in 16 attempts. US MDA [PDF].

Feb 12/07: A successful ballistic missile intercept test by the Arrow missile defense system, conducted at night over the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the 1st test of a co-produced Arrow intercept missile fired from an improved launcher, using 2 Arrow batteries separated from each other. The target, called “Black Sparrow,” was launched from an F-15 fighter aircraft at which point the Fire Control Radar acquired the target and notified the Battle Management Center. A defense plan was issued and a mission command was sent to the Launch Control Center to fire the interceptor missile. This test marks the U.S./Israeli Arrow II program’s 13th success in 15 attempts. US MDA [PDF].

Spring 2005: The 1st co-produced Arrow 2 interceptor is delivered by IAI to the MoD. Source [PDF].

Feb 2/05: Israel Defense Forces carry out a successful test of the IAI/Boeing Arrow anti-missile system at a secret location in the center of the country. The Jerusalem Post reports that “an F-15 fighter jet flying over the Mediterranean dropped a Black Sparrow test missile specially designed to simulate an incoming Iranian Shihab 3 missile headed toward the Israeli shore.” The successful interception occurred at a higher altitude than previous efforts, and tested recent improvements made to the Arrow 2 system.

Israeli Air Force Patriot missile batteries also participated passively in the test, following the incoming missile with their radars. The Times of India notes that this was the 14th test of the system, which has included joint tests in the USA and advanced tests simulating advanced separating warheads. As evidenced by the Patriot batteries’ participation in this latest test, Israel is working to integrate all of its key assets and connections to US data into one national system, rather than relying on fragmented local control. Jerusalem Post | copy at United Jerusalem.

Pt. Mugu launch
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Aug 26/04: US Missile Defense Agency [PDF]:

“The Arrow anti-ballistic missile system was used today in a joint Israel/United States test exercise as part of the ongoing Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP). The test was the second in a series conducted at the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. It was the thirteenth Arrow intercept test and the eighth test of the complete weapon system. The Arrow interceptor was launched toward the target but no intercept was achieved. Many of the test objectives were successfully completed, and the test data is being analyzed by test engineers to determine why an intercept did not occur.”

July 29/04: A modified Arrow System Improvement Program anti-ballistic missile successfully intercepts and destroys a ballistic missile target today, west of San Nicolas Island on the Pt. Mugu Sea Range in California. Point Mugu was used, in order to offer a realistic scenario that could not have been tested in Israel due to test-field safety restrictions.

The objective of the test was to demonstrate the Arrow system’s improved performance against a target that represents a threat to Israel. This was the 12th Arrow intercept test, and the 7th test of the complete Arrow system. US MDA [PDF]

April 1/04: Boeing announces a $78 million contract from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to produce Arrow II interceptor components. The contract, effective immediately, runs through 2006 with options for additional production until Q2 2008. The total contract value could exceed $225 million if all options are exercised.

Boeing and IAI signed a teaming agreement in 2002 to co-produce the interceptor for the Arrow weapon system. The firm is responsible for production of the electronics section, the radome, motorcases for the booster and sustainer, and the canister that holds the interceptor in the missile launcher. Boeing production and program management will be conducted in Huntsville, AL. IAI, the prime contractor of the Arrow system, is responsible for system integration and final interceptor assembly in Israel.

Boeing will manage several major subcontracts to support the Arrow interceptor production including Alliant-Techsystems in Iuka, MS and Clearfield, UT; Manes Machine, in Fort Collins, CO; Ceradyne Thermo-Materials, Inc., in Scottsdale, GA; and Sanmina SCI, in Huntsville, AL.

Sept 14/2000: The Israel Ministry of Defense, in cooperation with the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Army, conduct the 2nd successful intercept of a target ballistic missile by the Arrow Weapon System (AWS) in Israel. This was the 8th overall Arrow-2 flight test, but the 1st intercept for the against a new air-launched, in-bound target called the Black Sparrow.

The Arrow interceptor took off and flew in a nominal trajectory, acquired the Black Sparrow target, then locked on and homed on the designated threat. The warhead was fused at the proper range and the Arrow interceptor destroyed the target. The Green Pine fire control radar and Citron Tree battle management center participated fully in the test, performing battle planning, launch operations, and up link/down link message applications, as well as post intercept verifications. Both assets worked according to plan and fulfilled all test objectives. Analysis of all data is underway to evaluate and confirm results. US MDA [PDF]

Additional Readings & Sources

Categories: News

Progress on F-35 Ejection Seat Safety Issue | IAF Testing Self-Protection on LM C-130Js | Airbus Successfully Refuels H225M Caracel with C295W

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:58
Americas

  • Tuesday saw Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg sit down with soon-to-be-President Donald Trump, to discuss matters including Air Force One and the F-18 Super Hornet. In relation to AF1, Muilenburg cited “great progress” on the simplifying of requirements, process, and certification for the new presidential aircraft. Talk surrounding the Super Hornet stemmed from suggestions made by Trump that extra procurements of an upgraded version of the fighter could compete with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

  • A 62-page report by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester has released sort of good news in relation to the F-35: that there has been progress toward fixing a safety issue with the aircraft’s ejection seat. The Martin-Baker manufactured US16E seat and escape system was found to pose a significant risk of neck damage or death during ejection of pilots in the lowest weight range, resulting in pilots weighing under 136 lb being barred from flying the aircraft. But a three-part solution posed by the company to protect a lightweight pilot’s head and neck during ejection is currently being tested with light-weight pilots. This includes a lighter helmet to ease strain on the neck during the first phase of an ejection, a lightweight switch on the seat to delay deployment of the main parachute, and a fabric panel sewn between the parachute risers that will protect the pilot’s head from moving backward during the parachute opening, called a “head support panel” or HSP.

Middle East North Africa

  • C-130 aircraft operated by Egypt will be fitted with electronic intelligence (ELINT) systems. Sierra Nevada Corp. won a Pentagon contract to provide the capability on one of the Egyptian Air Force’s 22 C-130H or three C-130H-30 Hercules aircraft, and could do so by either fitting integrated mission equipment or with a roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) mission compartment. It is possible that some C-130 aircraft have already been fitted with similar ELINT equipment following a US DSCA notification to Congress in 2003, however it remains unknown whether the plan was officially implemented.

  • The Israeli Air Force has tested a new self-protection system on its Lockheed Martin C-130Js to protect from surface-to-air missiles. Once equipped with the updated self-protection package, the air force’s new transporters will be able to operate in areas where terrorist groups have ready access to shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles. At present, Israel operates four C-130Js, with plans to purchase three more.

Europe

  • Airbus announced the successful refueling of an H225M Caracel helicopter with the help of two C295W medium transports. Contacts during the test were executed at speeds of 105 to 115 knots, with the company reporting that all crews reported a smooth operation. Air-to-air refueling of the multi-role combat helicopter can be performed during forward flight or while hovering.

  • Russia has test-fired a Topol-M ICBM, one of the first ballistic missiles to be developed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Capable of being deployed from missile silos or APU launchers mounted on the 16-wheeled MZKT-79221 universal transporter-erector-launcher, the test was carried out to confirm the weapon’s stability. The weapon’s developers claim their product is able to bypass any current or planned US missile defense system, and can make evasive maneuvers to avoid missile interceptors during flight.

  • Leonardo has been contracted to provide new jet trainer aircraft to the Italian Air Force as well as develop a new helicopter for the Italian Army. The company stated that the two contracts with the Italian National Armaments Directorate of the Italian Defense Ministry have a combined value of more than $530 million. Under the first award, Leonardo is to deliver five M-345A trainers to the air force and will work alongside the fleet of 18 twin-engine M-346s already ordered and currently used by the Italian air force for the advanced phase of pilot training. The second contract is for the development, production and testing of three reconnaissance and escort helicopter prototypes, of which 48 units will be eventually produced to replace the current fleet of AW129s.

Asia Pacific

  • South Korea is shopping for 12 new naval helicopters as its Defense Acquisition Program Administration earmarks $768 million for the acquisition. A decision will be made by the end of 2018 with AgustaWestland’s AW-159, the Sikorsky MH-60R, and NHIndustries’ NH-90 are all in the running. Deliveries will take place between 2020-2022 and the choppers will be deployed on next-generation frigates to counter North Korean submarines and surface vessels.

Today’s Video

Refueling the C295:

Categories: News

Russian Armed Forces: Bring on the Big Budget Boost

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:56

Making a comeback?
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The Russian Ministry of Defense plans to replace nearly half of the Russian Army’s hardware by 2015, according to Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Ivanov said military spending over the next 8 years was planned at $189 billion, and that official Russian military spending had quadrupled from 2001 to reach $31 billion this year.

Ivanov said weapons purchases would include “17 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 4 military spacecraft with the same number of launch rockets for them,” as well as new bombers, ships, and other heavy equipment. The ICBMs are believed to be the new SS-27 Topol-M, and other plans reportedly include 50 new bombers, 31 ships of varying sizes, and fully re-arming 40 tank, 97 infantry and 50 parachute battalions. Some outside observers doubt Russia’s ability to fulfill these plans, however, given a closed military procurement system, that’s very resistant to scrutiny, in a country with a record of corruption. See Defense-Aerospace: “Russia to Spend $189bn on Weapons by 2015” | “Russia’s Defense Minister Unveils Plans to Overhaul Military.”

Update

January 19/17: Russia has test-fired a Topol-M ICBM, one of the first ballistic missiles to be developed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Capable of being deployed from missile silos or APU launchers mounted on the 16-wheeled MZKT-79221 universal transporter-erector-launcher, the test was carried out to confirm the weapon’s stability. The weapon’s developers claim their product is able to bypass any current or planned US missile defense system, and can make evasive maneuvers to avoid missile interceptors during flight.

Categories: News

South Korea Beefs Up Anti-Air Defenses as North Blusters

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:56

SM-2 salvo
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North Korea’s recent aggressive actions, including abrogation of the 1953 ceasefire, nuclear detonation, and testing of short and long-range missiles, has increased international tensions and directly threatened its southern neighbor. South Korea has been modernizing its defenses for some time now, and a recent request for Standard Missile 2 (SM-2) systems from the United States is a case in point.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced May 26/09 [PDF] South Korea’s official request to buy 46 SM-2 Block IIIA missiles, 35 SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, 3 SM-2 Block IIIB Telemetry Missiles for testing, 84 SM-2 missile containers, and associated test and support equipment, spare and repair parts, training, and other forms of support. The estimated cost is $170 million, and the prime contractor will be Raytheon in Tucson, AZ. The sale would require temporary travel for U.S. Government or contractor representatives to the Republic of Korea for in-country training, as a recurring requirement during the life of the missile systems.

How does this purchase fit into South Korea’s overall defense plans?

HY-2G missile
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While press reports didn’t identify the type of short-range missiles that North Korea tested in May from Musudan-ri, North Korea has tested both short range ballistic missiles and HY-2 anti-ship missiles on a number of occasions over the last decade. The 150 – 200 km HY-2 coast-to-ship tactical missile weapon system, with the Western designation “Seersucker,” is employed at coastal fortifications, bases, or islands, to attack enemy surface ships. Ship-launched versions are also produced.

Since South Korea would be reliant on shipping for war supplies, keeping its sea lanes open against naval and aerial attacks would be a key strategic objective. A recent Yonhap News report adds that with the renunciation of the 1953 cease-fire:

“The North said it will no longer guarantee the safe passage of civilian ships, as well as U.S. and South Korean warships, operating along the Yellow Sea border.”

A second dimension of the North Korean threat targets South Korea’s cities, as well as allied military bases throughout the region. North Korea recently tested medium- and long-range ballistic missiles, most noticeably the April 5/09 test of a long-range Taepodong-2 missile with a range of over 6,700 km. North Korea has a large arsenal of short- to medium-range ballistic missiles, and exports them to countries around the world. The Associated Press has compiled an informative list of North Korea’s ballistic missiles and capabilities.

ROKN KDX-II: DDH 976
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The SM-2’s primary role is to provide area defense against enemy aircraft and anti-ship missiles. The current generation of SM-2s, Blocks IIIA and IIIB, capitalize on technology improvements to substantially increase performance against advanced anti-ship missile threats. In a pinch, the SM-2 can also be used against small and fast naval surface targets. South Korea already uses SM-2 missiles on its KDX-II (SM-2 Block IIIA) and its KDX-III AEGIS (SM-2 Block IIIB) destroyers.

The SM-2 Block IV is a different variant of the missiles that South Korea is ordering. It adds a booster rocket, allowing it to be used for terminal phase ballistic missile defense as well as wide area anti-aircraft defense. It can be employed in stand alone mode, or alongside longer-range Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) missiles that add late mid-course interception. The Bush administration was working on such as “system of systems” approach to defense against ballistic missiles from rogue states, such as North Korea.

SM-3 missiles fired by American ships on station, and Patriot PAC-3 missiles operated on Korean territory by American forces, can already provide some coverage against a limited number of North Korean missiles. At the moment, however, South Korea lacks the native ability to intercept ballistic missiles over its territory.

Under South Korea’s current modernization program, that will change. A billion-dollar South Korean program called AMD-Cell will install long-range radars that can track ballistic missiles as well as enemy aircraft deep within North Korea, and link those radars to new command centers that would be able to share information with allied forces. Another billion-dollar program called SAM-X will give Korea land-based Patriot PAC-3 systems. They offer marked improvements over its older Nike and Hawk anti-aircraft missiles, and add short-range protection against ballistic missiles.

While the SM-2 order will not give South Korea additional ballistic missile defense capabilities, it does fit within a larger context of modern radars, improved missiles, and strengthened anti-aircraft defenses that can protect South Korean and allied forces on land and at sea. See “Raytheon’s Standard Missile Naval Defense Family,” for more information about the SM-2 and SM-3 missile families.

Update

January 19/17: South Korea is shopping for 12 new naval helicopters as its Defense Acquisition Program Administration earmarks $768 million for the acquisition. A decision will be made by the end of 2018 with AgustaWestland’s AW-159, the Sikorsky MH-60R, and NHIndustries’ NH-90 are all in the running. Deliveries will take place between 2020-2022 and the choppers will be deployed on next-generation frigates to counter North Korean submarines and surface vessels.

October 20/16: North Korea could have an operational Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile by next year, according to experts. John Schilling, an aerospace engineer specializing in rocket propulsion, wrote on the 38 North website that Pyongyang’s aggressive testing schedule also points to its determination to have the weapon ready in the near future. The dictatorship’s latest test this month was tested far from its Musudan-ri test facility, instead moving to a roadside near Kusong. Schilling likened the move to “taking the training wheels off the bicycle, seeing if you really have mastered something new.”

With its own spy satellite program facing delays, South Korea is contemplating leasing a surveillance satellite from Israel. Seoul is already heavily reliant on intelligence data provided by the US and military officials are keen to be able to independently obtain information on North Korea’s military activities. In addition, the military plans to purchase another 90 KEPD-350K air-launched cruise missiles from Germany to add to the 170 currently en route.

July 8/16: The US State Department has cleared the sale of 17 SM-2 Block IIIB standard missiles to South Korea. Estimated at a cost of $60 million, the medium-range surface-to-air missiles will be used to compliment the RoK Navy’s existing stocks of SM-2 Block IIIA/IIIB inventory. The missiles operate on Aegis destroyers as ballistic missile interceptors and represent a beefing up by Seoul of its stocks to counter potential threats from North Korea.

Categories: News

The C-130J: New Hercules & Old Bottlenecks

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 23:55

RAAF C-130J-30, flares
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The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs?

C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS Article describes the C-130J, examines the bottleneck issue, covers global developments for the C-130J program, and looks at present and emerging competitors.

The (Private) Labors of Hercules: the C-130J Family

C-130J Hercules
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Most American planes rely on their huge home market as their base, then seek exports. The privately-developed C-130J “Super Hercules” was different. Australia, Britain, Denmark, and Italy were all ahead of the curve, and have been operating this heavily redesigned upgrade of the popular C-130 Hercules transport aircraft for several years. By the time the C-130J finally reached “initial operating capability” for the US military late in 2006, these faster-moving foreign customers were already banding together to create a common upgrade set for their serving fleets. A number of variants are currently flying in transport (C-130J), stretched transport (C-130J-30), aerial broadcaster (EC-130J), coast guard patrol (HC-130J), aerial tanker (KC-130J), special forces (MC-130J), and even hurricane hunter weather aircraft (WC-130J).

The C-130J looks a lot like its predecessors, except for the new 6-bladed Dowty propeller. In reality, a number of changes have been made to its construction and components, and its internal systems are almost wholly new. Unlike most defense programs, however, the C-130J was not a government contract. Lockheed Martin spent almost $1 billion of its own funds developing the update, then began selling it in the USA and abroad.

Base Platform: The C-130J

Super Hercules Promo
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The C-130J’s improvements are mostly clustered around 2 key characteristics: performance, and operational costs. Instead of Rolls Royce 4,600 shp T56 Series III turboprop engines, it uses lighter Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 engines, coupled with a 6-blade Dowty R-391 propeller system made of composite materials. The overall system generates 29% more thrust, while increasing fuel efficiency by 15% and offering improved reliability and maintenance. Compared to the 1960s-era C-130E (note: there was an intermediate C-130H version), maximum speed is up 21%, climb-to-altitude time is down 50%, cruising altitude is 40% higher, and range is about 40% longer.

The enhanced capacity of the “J” variant is especially noteworthy in hot climates and/or high altitude operations, where the new plane can deliver 40% better payload/range performance than earlier versions. US experience in places like Afghanistan and Iraq indicates that as many as 3 C-130H models may be required to do the job of 1 C-130J in these “hot and high” conditions.

C-130J Cockpit
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The C 130J only requires 2-3 crew members for most missions instead of 4, and avionics have been changed to incorporate more advanced capabilities into the night-vision-system compatible “glass cockpit” (computer screens, not dials) and heads-up display. A pair of mission computers and 2 backup bus interface units provide dual redundancy. Equally important, they host an integrated diagnostics system to assist with maintenance and reduce long-term ownership costs.

The interior of the C-130J has also seen a number of improvements, simplifying and automating key cargo tasks. An automated airdrop system, for instance, delivers parachute loads more precisely. These kinds of additions have dropped the crew required for airdrops from 4 to 2 (pilot, co-pilot). In addition, innovations such as flip-over rollers allow loaders to reconfigure the cargo area in about 5 minutes instead of the traditional 25, getting planes out of airstrips quickly and maximizing overall loading/unloading efficiency during larger operations.

An optional dorsal aerial refueling system can extend the C-130J’s range significantly, while optional aerial taker kits can convert the C-130J into a flying gas station that offloads fuel faster than previous KC-130 versions, and can handle both helicopters and jets due to its range of flight speeds.

Finally, the C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System (MATS) is designed to complement the C-130J, adding a high-tech simulation angle to both flying and maintenance training.

The worldwide fleet of C-130Js exceeded 355,000 flight hours As of August 3/07.

C-130J vs. C-130J-30
via CASR
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The stretched C-130J-30 adds 15 feet of fuselage length over its C-130J counterpart, most of which is placed forward of the wing as the plane stretches from 97’9″ (29.3 m) to 112’9″ (34.69 m). The extra cargo space allows it to add adds 2 standard pallets (to 8), 23 litters (to 97), 8 CDS bundles (to 24), 36 combat troops (to 128), or 28 paratroopers (to 92) over C-130H/J models, and the aircraft’s maximum weight increases by 9,000 pounds (to 164,000 pounds/ 74,393 kg).

Maximum allowable cargo payload rises by a ton over the C-130J, from 42,000 pounds to 44,000 pounds/ 19,958 kg); the 36,000 pound maximum normal C-130J-30 payload is 2,000 pounds higher than the C-130J, but 500 pounds lower than the C-130H’s 36,500 pounds. Even so, the extra space comes in handy. C-130J-30s can carry 33% more pallets of equipment or supplies, 39% more combat troops, 31% more paratroopers, or 44% more aeromedical evacuation litters than previous unstretched Hercules versions. The stretched C-130J-30 also shares the C-130J’s ability to use much more of its theoretical cargo capacity in hot or high altitude environments than previous C-130 versions.

In exchange, the stretched C-130J-30 suffers a speed drop of 7 mph (410 mph at 22,000 feet) vs. the C-130J, a 2,000 foot lower ceiling (26,000 feet with full payload), and maximum range at full payload that falls by 115 miles to 1,956 miles. It does outshine the smaller C-130J when carrying only 35,000 pounds of cargo, however: its 2,417 miles is a 576 mile increase over the C-130J, and a 921 mile increase over the C-130H.

Note that except for maximum normal payload, all of the C-130J’s figures remain significantly better than the C-130H, with statistics of 366 mph cruise speed at 22,000 feet, a 23,000 foot ceiling, and range at maximum normal payload of 1,208 miles.

C-130J Variants

As one might imagine, Special Forces variants are undergoing the most change, but the platform’s versatility is also pushing Lockheed Martin toward an advanced naval variant.

AC-130J “Ghostrider”. This new gunship will be based on the MC-130J, but it won’t carry hose-and-drogue refueling pods. It will have a 400 Amp power supply, added defensive systems, more surveillance sensors, terrain-following radar, and a Precision Strike Package (PSP).

The PSP includes a side-firing 30mm GAU-23A chain gun, wing-mounted GBU-39 GPS-guided SDB-I bombs, and laser-guided AGM-176 Griffin missiles launched from a “Gunslinger” attachment on the rear cargo door. It may eventually add a side-firing 105mm howitzer like existing AFSOC AC-130H/Us, and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles like the USMC’s KC-130J Harvest Hawks, but those aren’t currently funded. These weapons will be controlled from a dual-console Mission Operator Pallet in the cargo bay, which will include multiple video, data, and communication links.

Ghostrider surveillance equipment will include 2 day/night surveillance and targeting pods and a ground-looking synthetic aperture radar pod, tied into the pilot’s helmet-mounted display. Defensive systems will include the AN/ALR-56M radar warning receiver, AN/AAR-47(V)2 missile warning system, and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system, along with standard options like fuel tank foam, system redundancy, and some armoring.

One sore point is its comparative lack of armor compared to the AC-130H/U, with no armoring for the Mission Operator Pallet and just 7.62mm level protection elsewhere. Most AC-130s brought down in Vietnam were killed by 37mm guns.

HC/MC-130J Increment 1. Modifications include additional defensive countermeasure dispensers, high-altitude ramp and door hydraulics, a 4th flight deck crew member station, an extra intercom panel and 60-Hertz electrical outlets in the cargo compartment.

HC/MC-130J Increment 2. Includes increased 28-volt direct current internal power capacity, crash-worthy loadmaster scanner-position seats, and provisions for Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures defensive systems. This is as high as the HC-130J Combat King IIs are expected to go, though they’ll also receive a T-1 communications modification with a Specialized Automated Mission Suite/Enhanced Situational Awareness system (SAMS/ESA: SADL data link, High Power Waveform, and Air Force Tactical Radio System-Ruggedized), Blue Force Tracker, and the Joint Precision Airdrop System.

HC/MC-130J Increment 3. Includes a 400 Amp power supply, dual special mission processors, and a secure file server. MC-130J Commando IIs will be improved to Increment 3.

SC-130J Sea Herc

SC-130J MPRA. A proposed maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, created by moving a number of P-3 Orion systems onto and into the C-130J. A Magnetic Anomaly Detector boom is installed in the tail for submarine detection, along with a sonobuoy storage pallet and 2 rotary launchers in the rear interior. A day/night surveillance turret goes under the nose, a 360 maritime radar is mounted under the fuselage, and ESM electronics for pinpointing and geolocating radars, communications, etc. are mounted via on wingtip pods and fore and aft fuselage points. A set of roll-in console modules would contain the necessary electronics and screens to manage it all.

Countries that wanted to go beyond surveillance would push further development to add wing hardpoints for torpedoes and missiles, and/or a weapons bay and torpedo racks in the front fuselage.

C-130J operator Britain is Lockheed Martin’s biggest SC-130J target, and the plane’s flexibility could appeal to others who see the value in fleet commonality and good mid-range performance, with easier upgradeability than standard MPAs. The downside is that the C-130J is designed for short-field performance first, and efficient cruising operation second. That will make it expensive to operate compared to smaller twin-engine competitors, which are typically derived from commercial light cargo and passenger aircraft. The Airbus ATR-72 MPA is an example of a larger competitor that also follows this pattern; ATRs have won significant share in the mid-range regional airline market on the strength of their operating efficiency.

The Value of Variants

KC-130J’s “gunslinger”
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These variants and kits give the C-130J an edge in the global market, and will help Lockheed Martin retain that edge as the 20-ton tactical transport market starts to get crowded in 2020 or so. The type’s strong Special Forces niche has already helped to close orders with export clients like India, who could easily have chosen additional orders of plane types already in its fleet (AN-32, IL-76). The second big edge for the platform is a related niche: multi-role armed transports that can deliver troops and supplies, then provide close-air support for counterinsurgency fights. The KC-130J’s Harvest HAWK kits, and C-130H-derived MC-130W Dragon Spear, offer prospective customers an important set of clip-on capabilities that none of its major competitors (A400M, KC-390, MRTA) are even designing, let alone fielding. The SC-130J maritime patrol option could become a similar kind of selling point.

Those “ecosystem strengths” are going to become more important in future. The C-130XJ, unveiled in December 2011 at the Credit Suisse aerospace and defense conference in New York, NY, may not offer enough savings by itself to prompt orders from target customers like South Africa. A cheaper base aircraft, plus existing modifications available on the market, is more appealing. Likewise, the C-130NG could sell among existing C-130J customers, but its changes by themselves might still leave it lagging behind the price of low-cost turboprop options like China’s Y-9, behind the performance of new jet-powered rivals like Embraer’s multinational KC-390 and HAL/Irkut’s MRTA, and very much behind the capacity of Airbus’ larger A400M.

The existence of clip-on kits and proven specialty variants may have to sell it, instead. Especially if the C-130NG also fails to resolve the biggest limitation in today’s medium tactical transport field…

Turbulent Flight: The C-130J Program

WC-130Js
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The privately-developed Hercules variant has been the subject of heavy criticism and a 2005 near-death budget experience, followed by its reinstatement by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld on the stated grounds that canceling the contract would be almost as expensive as completing it – though a later government report established that its cancellation costs were wildly overstated.

In order to comply with the FY 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, however,Air Force Print News reported that the C-130J contract was converted from the existing commercial item procurement to a traditional military procurement in FY 2006. In technical terms, it was converted from a Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 12 to an FAR Part 15 contract, which includes much more extensive Congressional oversight and cost reporting requirements. In bottom line terms, this involved repricing 39 aircraft, resulting in net savings anywhere from $170-245 million (reports vary). Under the restructured contract, the Air Force said Lockheed cut the program cost by 8% for the remaining 26 Air Force C-130Js, and nearly 12% for 13 Marine KC-130Js.

The Wall Street Journal reported this as a decision by Lockheed Martin to cut its profit margins on the plane, after investing $1 billion in private funds to develop it. Lockheed spokesman Tom Jurkowsky was quoted as saying that “national defense outweighs the continued recovery of funds we invested in its development.” It’s widely suspected in reports from Associated Press et. al. that direct criticism of the FAR Part 12 contract by Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] played a role as well.

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Since FY 2006, American C-130J orders have continued, and the aircraft has continued to expand its export successes as well. C-130J aircraft are now flown and/or under contract by the USAF and Air National Guard, US Marines, and US Coast Guard; and by Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Italy, Iraq, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Tunisia. DSCA requests that have yet to become publicly-announced contracts include Mexico (2012), Libya (2013), and Brunei (2014).

According to official Pentagon documents, the C-130J’s past and planned American budget breakdowns include:

Note that each year’s procurement budget almost always includes advance “long-lead time material” orders for the next fiscal year. That way, once the main contract is issued, construction isn’t delayed by long waits for predictable items.

The C-130J and the 20-ton Bottleneck

RAF C-130J & friends
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The C-130J offers a genuine improvement over past versions of the Hercules, especially in hot and/or high-altitude environments where all aircraft lose lift and carrying capacity. It has proven these capabilities during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, where its additional reserves of power have come in very handy on the front lines.

On the other hand, the ability to fit into tactical transports is a very common requirement and benchmark for ground systems, including armored personnel carriers. Billions have been spent on R&D for the wheeled Stryker armored vehicle family, and for the USA’s $160+ billion Future Combat Systems MGV armored vehicle family. Both vehicle families were sold as options that would fit into US tactical transports, in order to meet the military’s timeframe goals for deploying units to crisis situations. Both projects failed to meet their goals after spending billions in R&D, leaving the USA’s expensive C-17 fleet overworked, and achievement of the USA’s strategic deployability goals unlikely.

Unlike the pending Airbus A400M, therefore, which offers a larger interior and a 33-35 ton vehicle capacity, the C-130J doesn’t solve the sub-survivable 20-ton armored vehicle limit that has stymied multiple US armored vehicle programs. As such, it represents an improvement that fails to address US tactical airlift’s key bottleneck limitation. Meanwhile, reports from the USAF indicate that C-130Js are often flying with very little weight and/or small cargo, because the demands of counterinsurgency airlift lead to more and smaller requests from a number of front line sources.

The C-130J thus finds itself in the odd position of offering capabilities that are both too great for many tactical needs, while being too small to meet important American strategic goals. Even Special Forces worry that future air defense threats will make the C-130 non-survivable in future gunship and insertion roles.

A400M
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That’s the bad news. On the other hand, its major competitor the Airbus A400M went through major delays and contract re-negotiation in System Design & Development, and has a production backlog of over 180 aircraft as deliveries are beginning. Future competitors like the Indo-Russian MRTA, and Embraer’s multinational KC-390 are currently in even earlier R&D stages. Which means that any nations needing to replenish a 20+ ton tactical airlift fleet any time soon are limited to a choice of buying the C-130J, or purchasing old designs like Russia’s AN-12 or China’s Y-8 aircraft.

As the A400M becomes available, and the 20-ton segment begins to crowd with new offerings, the C-130J will face a very different competitive environment. Without major American C-130J buys, or establishment of the C-130J as a market leader in key segments like Special Operations, recouping its $1 billion investment would have been challenging for Lockheed Martin. Fortunately for the firm, they’ve made considerable progress toward both of these goals.

Contracts and Key Events

C-130J: SIGINT roll-on
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The USA’s JMATS contracts for C-130J simulators and training are a critical but separate component, and are covered in their own article. International customers aren’t part of JMATS, so their arrangements may be covered here.

DID has covered C-130J buys in Canada, India, Israel, Iraq, and Norway; and the UAE’s potential buy, as dedicated articles. Important milestones from those purchases may also appear here.

DID also has a separate article covering training and simulators, under the MATS, JMATS, and JMATS-II programs.

Unless otherwise noted, all contracts are issued by the Headquarters Air Force Material Command (AFMC) in Wright Patterson AFB, OH; and the contractor is Lockheed Martin Corporation in Marietta, GA. Note that coverage is complete only from Jan 1/06 forward.

FY 2016 – 2017

Requests: Denmark.

Kuwaiti KC-130J
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January 19/17: The Israeli Air Force has tested a new self-protection system on its Lockheed Martin C-130Js to protect from surface-to-air missiles. Once equipped with the updated self-protection package, the air force’s new transporters will be able to operate in areas where terrorist groups have ready access to shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles. At present, Israel operates four C-130Js, with plans to purchase three more.

December 5/16: Lockheed Martin has been contracted to supply two US government-configured C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft to France. Work on the $133.4 million deal is expected to be completed by August 2020. A stretched-out version of the C-130J, the Super Hercules acquisition comes as France tries to fill a cargo and refueling capability gap created by problems related to the development and delivery of the A400M by Airbus.

October 20/16: The fourth C-130J “Samson” tactical transporter has been delivered to Israel. Operated by the Israeli air force’s “Elephants” squadron, the aircraft has already been tested during aerial refuelling missions with a Boeing 707 tanker, and is currently testing its low-level flight capabilities using some Israeli-developed systems. Two more will be delivered by the end of the year.

October 6/16: A pooling initiative is to commence between the French and German defense ministries for the purchase and joint use of C-130J transport aircraft following the signing of a declaration of intent in Paris. Berlin announced plans to purchase between four and six of the aircraft from Lockheed Martin which would be added to those recently ordered by France. The move is part of a solution to fill a German cargo and transport aircraft capability gap caused by delays and limitations of the larger A400M from Airbus and the retirement of their older Transall cargo planes.

October 3/16: A decision on Germany’s small transport requirement is expected for later this fall. The winner will replace existing Transall aircraft, due to be retired in 2021, for missions that the new Airbus A400M could not perform due to its larger size. A likely candidate touted by Reuters is Lockheed Martin’s C-130J, which could be purchased and used jointly with France or bought second-hand from the UK.

August 30/16: Lockheed Martin is to provide five additional C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to the USAF. The $287 million modification contract is expected to be completed by April 2020. An update of the C-130 Hercules, the C-130J has attracted a wide number of interested customers, with orders received from at least 15 nations since induction in 1999. It’s expected that the company could see another 100 units produced for US and international customers.

August 22/16: Approval has been given for the Indian ministry of defense to procure one additional C-130J Super Hercules, adding to six recently ordered by New Delhi in a $1 billion deal. The new aircraft was earmarked to replace one that crashed during an exercise in 2014, resulting in the death of five crew members. Once delivered, the aircraft will most likely be based in West Bengal’s Panagarh, which has been slated to be the base of the Indian Air Force’s second C-130J hub.

Last week ended on an extremely good note for both Boeing and Lockheed Martin after the companies were awarded major multi-billion contracts by the USAF. For Boeing, an impressive $2.8 billion award was granted on Thursday as part of the low rate initial production of the KC-46A following the tanker’s Milestone C decision earlier this month. 19 aircraft will be produced alongside spare parts, engines and refueling pods. However, this was astronomically dwarfed on Friday when Lockheed Martin was handed a $10 billion deal for all future orders of the C-130J Super Hercules production program as well as any foreign military sales for the aircraft.

August 19/16: All 13 C-130Js operated by the Australian Defense Forces are now installed with the latest networked battlespace system. Engility’s Joint Range Extension (JRE) TDL system will see its first operational use during exercises at training ranges in the country’s Northern Territory. This marks the first time that a C-130 has integrated Link 16 with a loadmaster station on board.

July 7/16: A laser is to be mounted on the side of the AC-130J Ghostrider instead of on the gunship’s belly in order to increase its fielding time. While this will limit the area of coverage of the weapon, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) believe they will still learn a lot about how to employ a laser in AFSOC missions. AFSOC chief Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold is also aggressively pushing the schedule for the laser gunship and plans to field a testbed by 2020 saying “Let’s go simple, let’s shoot it off the left side and eventually it will evolve.”

June 7/16: According to Joseph Fountain, supervisory contract officer with Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Mobility Directorate, a multi-year contract has been signed with Lockheed Martin to procure 78 C-130J Super Hercules with the option to buy up to 83 over the next five years. Under the contract, the second multi-year deal for the C-130J, the Defense Department will save about $680 million and provide the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard with important airlift capabilities. The contract also funds an affordability program in which Lockheed receives $35 million up front and agrees to $65 million in labor reductions over the life of the contract, which according to Fountain will allow the company to assemble the aircraft more efficiently.

May 13/16: A scheduled to be retired KC-130R Hercules has been transferred to the Chilean Air Force. The plane was delivered on May 2 after being sold to Chile via the foreign military sales (FMS) route. Prior to its transfer, the plane was part of the Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20, at Patuxent River, Maryland as a test evaluation/range support platform.

An ambitious plan is being proposed by the USMC to convert all of its 79 KC-130J aerial refueling aircraft into gunships, equipped with the Harvest Hawk weapons system. The package will also be added to the service’s MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor fleets and will allow both aircraft multi-mission capabilities. For the V-22, the most obvious “Osprey Hawk” benefit is the much-improved strike capability, while the C-130J, would become a multi-mission craft, with a sensor ball allowing for route reconnaissance missions when needed.

May 11/16: South Korea is about to induct four modified C-130s into service. The program to upgrade the aircraft so that they can deploy special operation troops behind enemy lines has been delayed since 2007. Issues causing delays involved malfunctions including the land detection capabilities in multi-purpose radars on the aircraft. The planes will allow South Korean special forces to fly at low altitudes and drop special forces troops and supplies deep behind enemy lines such as North Korean nuclear and missile facilities.

February 3/16: French procurement agency DGA announced the finalizing of an order with Lockheed Martin for four C-130 aircraft. The models to be delivered are two standard C-130J transports, and two KC-130Js equipped for in-flight refueling of helicopters. While the exact figure of the deal is unknown, the core value of the deal is around $355 million, slightly more than the $340 million set aside in the revised multiyear defense budget for acquiring four C-130s. The orders will plug a growing capability gap in the French military caused by the Airbus A400M program. Development of the multi-purpose A400M has seen delays in delivery as Airbus looks to fix technical problems over inflight helicopter refueling capabilities, and for paratroopers to be able to jump from the side door.

January 29/16: Rolls-Royce Corp has been awarded two contracts by the DoD for a combined total of $153 million. The first will see the company supply twenty-four engines for Saudi Arabia’s C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in a foreign military sale worth $77 million. The engines will be delivered by the end of this year. Rolls will also supply C-130J propulsion system sustainment to the USAF in a deal worth $76 million. Due to be completed by this time next year, they will provide logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares, and technical data for the system.

January 21/16: Pakistan’s C-130 fleet is set to get a series of upgrades with Rockwell Collins selected to carry out the work. The Pentagon awarded the company a $30 million contract to carry out the work including the design, manufacture, integration, training, provision of technical support during installation, and delivery of 11 C-130E model kits and five C-130B integrated avionics suites and kits to Pakistan. Furthermore, they are to develop, validate, and deliver consolidated B/E flight manual and associated checklists, and maintenance supplements required to operate, maintain, and sustain the PAF C-130 fleet. All work will be carried out in Islamabad, and will be completed by the end of 2020.

January 6/16: Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems have been selected to develop a new self-protection suite for Lockheed Martin’s AC-130J and MC-130J gunships. The two electronic super weights will equip the aircraft with next-generation radio frequency countermeasure (RFCM) systems that can “detect, disrupt and defeat” anti-aircraft weapons, radars and other threats that use electromagnetic signals. While the value of the contracts are worth $32.8 million and $20 million respectively, the potential earnings for both companies could rise to $400 million each if the eight potential follow-on contracts are activated. By 2021, the USAF is expected to have thirty-seven MC-130Js and thirty-two AC-130Js ready for combat duty.

January 5/16: France has confirmed that it is to buy four C130 Hercules transport planes from Lockheed Martin. Plans to procure that aircraft are said to have been in the works since May 2015, coinciding with the crashing of an Airbus A400M that month. France, along with several other European NATO members, are set to buy the European A400M, but production delays and technical errors have seen these governments become wary of the planned procurements. Deliveries of the C130s could start as early as 2017 and would see service in missions conducted by France in Syria.

January 4/16: Multi-year funding for orders of C-130 procurement by the Pentagon has been awarded to Lockheed Martin. The first thirty-two aircraft were ordered on December 30 in a deal worth $1 billion. Up to seventy-eight will be delivered by 2020 in contracts potentially worth $5.3 billion of the company. The total order will see the US Air Force receive thirty MC-130Js, thirteen HC-130Js and twenty-nine C-130J-30s. The Marine Corps will get six KC-130Js and the Coast Guard will have the option to buy five HC-130Js.

December 18/15: France is planning to purchase four brand new C-130Js after authorization was given from the French Defense Minister. The news comes as the option to purchase second-hand C-130s from the British RAF failed to get the green light. The deal is said to exceed the $357 million set aside for the acquisition, but the remaining funds will come from adjustments made to other portions of the budget. While it is unlikely that anything will be signed before early 2016, Paris is hoping to receive delivery of the aircraft as soon as possible. The order will fill France’s need for tactical transport and in flight fueling. Other European nations such as Germany and Sweden have been helping coalition air strikes in Syria by offering refueling and transport aircraft.

November 12/15: France is looking to buy four C-130J transport aircraft through the US’ Foreign Military Sales program, with the State Department approving the sale. Previous reports indicate that the sale could be intended to plug a gap in Airbus A400M delivery schedules to the French Air Force, with French officials meeting with Lockheed Martin in June. The French defense budget for FY16 includes the provision of $1.7 billion for four C-130s, with the FMS request running to $650 million, including communications and self-protection systems and support services.

Meanwhile, the US Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $968.7 million contract action modification for the production of 17 C-130J variants, including six C-130J-30, one HC-130J, nine MC-130J and one KC-130J aircraft. The Air Force and Lockheed Martin reached an agreement in October to fund a five-year deal for C-130Js, covering 83 aircraft for the Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

October 19/15: Lockheed Martin and the Air Force have reportedly reached an agreement on the acquisition of C-130J Hercules transport aircraft. The five-year contract will see 83 C-130Js delivered to the Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps and is anticipated to be finalized by the end of this year. Lockheed Martin sunk nearly $1 billion into the development of the aircraft, with the type seeing significant export success; sixteen countries have purchased the C-130J, including Canada, India, Israel and Norway.

October 5/15: An Air Force C-130J transport aircraft came down in Jalalabad, Afghanistan early on Friday morning, killing the aircraft’s six crew members and five civilian contractors on board. The Taliban claim that they shot down the aircraft as it took off, with this assertion denied by the Air Force. The crash is the sixth loss of a C-130J to date and the second time the USAF has lost one of the aircraft; however this is the first time US service personnel have been killed in a C-130J crash.

October 1/15: Denmark is reportedly looking to buy a fifth C-130J transporter, rejecting the A400M in the process. Plans to buy the Airbus design were reportedly dropped on financial grounds, with operating costs deemed too high by the Danish defense ministry.

FY 2015

Requests: Brunei.

September 18/15: Air Force Special Operations Command is reported to be looking to acquire an expendable unmanned system capable of acting as remote sensors deployable from C-130 gunships. A Coyote UAV is currently being used as a concept-demonstrator, with a longer-term solution also reported to be underway. AFSOC also wants to see lasers incorporated into the gunship of the future, retaining some aging C-130s to use as test beds. The Air Force wants industry to come up with a solution for an electric-powered laser weapon to equip the AC-130J by the end of the decade, the first aircraft of which was delivered at the end of July.

July 29/15: The Air Force has reportedly retained some ageing C-130U Hercules aircraft for use as airborne laser testbed aircraft. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) plans to use the aircraft to test both offensive laser weapons and defensive lasers designed to act as less-than-lethal options. DARPA has been field testing the use of lasers against hostile projectiles, with the Air Force expecting to field airborne lasers on larger cargo aircraft models from 2021. However, the further development of these capabilities could be hamstrung by sequestration and a lack of political will.

March 24/15: The Air Force is adding one HC-130J to its original 2012 contract, at a cost of $72.7 million.

Oct 7/14: The US DSCA announces Brunei’s export request for 1 C-130J aircraft, 6 AE2100D3 turboprop engines (4 installed and 2 spares), Government Furnished Equipment, communication equipment, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support.

The C-130J would become Brunei’s largest aircraft, far bigger than its 3 ordered CN-235MPA maritime patrol planes. why does such a tiny country need it? Not to haul the Sultan’s famous fleet of over 300 top-end cars, but:

“This proposed sale of a C-130J to Brunei will provide a critical capability to assist in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions. The aircraft will enable Brunei to provide aid and assistance in greater capacities to regional allies and partners in need. The aircraft will also provide the ability to execute maritime patrol missions and contribute to search and rescue missions in the region.”

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin-Aerospace in Marietta, GA, and the estimated cost is up to $343 million. That’s over 5x the standard flyaway price for a C-130J, a huge differential given that the notice that no additional contractors will be needed in Brunei. Perhaps they plan to perform long-term support elsewhere; it’s hard to think of another explanation if the notice’s facts are correct. Sources: US DSCA #14-37, “Brunei – C-130J Aircraft”.

DSCA request: Brunei (1 C-130J)

FY 2014

Orders: USA (7 SOCOM etc.), Saudi Arabia (2 KC-130J), India (6 C-130J-30), Israel (2 C-130J-30), Civil (10 LM-100J); Long-term engines supply contract; Indian crash; ROKAF deliveries done; AC-130J flies; DOT&E testing report.

C-130J at work
click for video

Sept 29/14: Engines. GE Aviation Systems (actually Dowty Propellers) in Sterling, VA receives a sole-source $20.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 42 C-130J propellers (P/N 69703900) and spare parts. All funds are committed immediately using FY 2012-2014 USAF aircraft budgets, and funds from Foreign Military Sales – but the announcement doesn’t identify the foreign customers.

Work will be performed at Gloucester, UK and is expected to be complete by May 31/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (SPE4A1-14-G-0009-RJ03).

Sept 29/14: Software. A $6.6 million contract modification to integrate system and Mission Computer (MC) software changes into SOCOM’s HC/MC-130J Increment 2 aircraft. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 USAF RDT&E budgets.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by March 31/17. Fiscal 2013 research, development, test and evaluation and procurement funds in the amount of $6,568,120 are being obligated at the time of award (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0277).

Sept 26/14: +7. A $413.2 million finalization for 1 HC-130J and 6 MV-130J aircraft, subsuming previous advance procurement funding into full production efforts. That works out to $59 million per aircraft, plus the cost of government-furnished equipment for these special forces planes. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 & 2013 USAF aircraft budgets.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 30/15 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0239).

USA: HC-130J & 6 MC-130Js

Sept 26/14: Sensors. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives an $18.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 12 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems (AN/AAS-54) and spare parts for the Air Force C-130 program. Short version: it’s for Special Forces HC/MC-130s. Long version: the AAS-54 combines long-range day and night cameras for high-altitude target acquisition, and adds tracking, range-finding, and laser designation for all tri-service and NATO laser-guided munitions. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 & 2013 USAF aircraft budgets; $7.7 million will expire on Sept 30/14.

Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and is expected to be complete by September 2016. The US Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Indiana manages the contract (N00164-12-G-JQ66).

Aug 6/14: FY15 long-lead. A $116.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy long lead parts for 14 FY 2015 C-130Js. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USAF advance procurement budgets.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by June 30/15. The USAF Nuclear Weapons Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-14-C-6450, PO 0001).

July 23/14: Counter-fighter. Defensive tactics against enemy fighters isn’t the first thing you normally associate with a C-130, but a pair of 317th Airlift Group C-130Js had to do just that en route to Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, TX. The exercise demonstrated C-130J capabilities that will be used during the multinational fighter meet at Red Flag-Alaska.

Here’s how it worked: The loadmasters sat high in the flight decks of their aircraft, looking through a bubbled window in the ceiling. They communicated to the pilots, who reacted and maneuvered to delay the fighter pilot’s ability to locate and lock on the C-130Js. 39th AS assistant director of operations for tactics Maj. Aaron Webb described the tactics as “pretty effective,” adding that a casual observer “doesn’t expect a 130,000-pound cargo plane to be able to maneuver as nimbly as the J-model does.” Sources: USAF, “Dyess C-130Js successfully evade F-16”.

July 18/14: India. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, GA receives a maximum $564.7 million contract modification to to fund 6 more India foreign military sales C-130J-30s, field service representatives and 3 years of post-delivery support after the first aircraft delivery. $50.9 million of this contract is committed immediately, and this brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $2.067 billion; but the contract itself applies to orders beyond India’s.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA and is expected to be complete by April 30/20. Once all 6 planes are delivered, India’s fleet will rise to 11, given the March 2014 crash of KC3803. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract as India’s agent (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0273).

India: 6 C-130J-30

July 16/14: LM-100J sale. ASL Aviation Group in Dublin, Ireland signs a Letter of Intent with Lockheed Martin to order up to 10 LM-100J commercial freighters. Their Safair subsidiary in Johannesburg, South Africa currently operates 6 L-100-30 (C-130E/H) aircraft, but the LM-100J will be an entirely new type for their Air Contractors subsidiary in Dublin. Lockheed Martin adds:

“Engineering and detailed design of the LM-100J is currently underway. Assembly of the first aircraft will begin in 2015 and first flight of the LM-100J is expected by early 2017. Because much of the flight test done to civil certify the C-130J in the late 1990s will be directly applicable to the LM-100J, testing and certification of the newest Hercules variant is expected to take about twelve months.”

Which means deliveries can be expected in 2018, unless problems arise in testing. The firm sold 115 L-100s from 1964 through 1992, positioned to address the oversize cargo market and unimproved airfields. They’ve also been used for airdrops and humanitarian aid, VIP transport, aerial spraying, aerial firefighting, etc. Unfortunately, Lockheed acknowledges that legacy L-100s have higher direct operating costs relative to Russian An-12s, or even relative to 737 freighters when the 737’s special ground-handling cargo equipment is available. The LM-100J is intended to address that, while adding CNS/ATM compliance that will allow them to fly in civil airspace after 2015.

The firm predicts double-digit growth in the Latin American, African, and Middle Eastern air freight industries over the next decade, as a subset of overall 4% per year growth in the global market. Sources: Lockheed Martin Code One Magazine, “LM-100J: Airlifter For Hire” | Lockheed Martin, “ASL Aviation Group Signs Letter of Intent To Procure Lockheed Martin LM-100J Freighters”.

Civil: 10 LM-100Js

May 30/14: Korea. The ROKAF’s final 2 C-130J-30s fly out from Marietta, GA, to join their fellows in South Korea (q.v. Dec 2/10, March 27/14). Lockheed Martin is still working under an initial 2-year support and training program for the 4 planes, and is also involved with the ROKAF’s C-130H fleet. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “ROKAF Receives Additional C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft”.

Korea deliveries done

April 25/14: Extended Life. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives an initial $27.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for extended service life center wing boxes [DID: the section of the fuselage that connects to the wings] on 5 C-130J aircraft. Aging C-130E/H planes have received replacements; USAF C-130Js only began entering service in February 1999, but it’s the mileage that matters. Lockheed Martin would say only that replacement decisions are “based upon the service life of the part”, which can be shorter if a plane is subjected to heavy operational use. Meanwhile, the ESL wing boxes are equipping production line aircraft as well.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 budgets. Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/16. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition by the USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCA at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-14-C-0003).

March 28/14: Crash. An Indian Air Force C-130J-30 (tail #KC 3803) hits a hillock during low-level flight training, and crashes in a riverbed 116 km west of Gwailor. Everyone dies, including the 2nd-in-command of the 77 ‘Veiled Vipers’ squadron, Wing Commander Prashant Joshi, 2 pilots, and a trainee.

The C-130J was reportedly part of a 2-plane formation that had taken off from Agra. Sources: The Indian Express, “5 officers killed as IAF’s new showpiece Super Hercules crashes near Gwalior”.

Crash

March 27/14: Korea. The ROKAF takes delivery of 2 of its 4 ordered C-130J-30s (q.v. Dec 2/10), in a Marietta, GA ceremony. This makes them the plane’s 14th customer. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Republic Of Korea Air Force Accepts First C-130J Super Hercules”.

March 6/14: Sensors. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives a $10.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 10 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems, to be installed on AFSOC HC/MC-130Js.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY12 aircraft procurement budgets. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by April 2015. There’s 1 set source for these, so this contract was not competitively procured per FAR 6.302-1. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-12-G-JQ66-0045).

March 4/14: FY15 Budget. The USAF and USN unveil their preliminary budget request briefings. They aren’t precise, but they do offer planned purchase numbers for key programs between FY 2014 – 2019. The C-130J program is still waiting for the full FY 2014 contract (q.v. Dec 6/13, Feb 12/14), but that budget introduced a multi-year contract (q.v. April 10/13), which makes cuts in FY 2015-2018 very difficult.

The USAF’s FY 2015 budget request involves 13 C-130Js (7 regular USAF, 2 MC-130J, 4 HC-130J), while the USMC plans to buy 1 KC-130J. The overall effect will drop US annual production from 17 in FY 2014 (6 C-130J, 1 KC-130J, 5 AC-130J gunships, 1 HC-130J, 4 MC-130J) to 14 in FY 2015, but steady exports should cushion that.

The USAF’s initial materials don’t delve beyond FY 2015, but the USMC plans to order another 5 KC-130Js from FY 2016 – 2019. They’ll finish the FY 2014-2018 deal 1 KC-130J short of their maximum, though, with only 6 planes bought, and make up the 7th in FY 2019. Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | USAF, Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Overview.

Feb 28/14: Support. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $54.3 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for depot level repair of 50 KC-130 aircraft engines, propellers and other propulsion system components for the US Marine Corps (47 planes/ $50.2M / 92%) and the government of Kuwait (3 planes/ $4.1M/ 8%).

$24.5 million is committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy O&M budgets. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN (92%), Al Mubarak, Kuwait (2.1%); various locations in Japan (2%); Cherry Point. NC (1.3%); Miramar, CA (1.3%); and Fort Worth, TX (1.3%), and is expected to be complete in February 2015. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-14-D-0007). See also Rolls Royce, “Rolls-Royce supports US Marine Corps KC-130Js through $50 million contract”.

Feb 25/14: Support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA receives a sole-source $12.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide spare parts that are unique to US SOCOM’s HC/MC-130Js, and can’t be drawn from general C-130J fleet spares.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 aircraft budgets. Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Feb 16/16. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WISK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0209).

Feb 12/14: Engines. Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce complete a long-term agreement worth up to $1 billion, to deliver approximately 600 AE2100 turboprop engines for American and international contracts from 2014 through 2018. That works out to about 150 aircraft, but it’s probably closer to 125 with spares added in. Rolls Royce benefits from more predictable demand, while Lockheed Martin presumably benefits from lower prices.

Rolls Royce adds that “the agreement secures the Rolls-Royce AE 2100 as the engine of choice for all variants of the C-130J to 2025.” That was never really in doubt. The most likely break-point for an engine upgrade would be the design of a new C-130NG variant, in order to address competition from jet-powered 20-ton class transports after 2020. Sources: Rolls Royce, “Rolls-Royce and Lockheed Martin agree US$1BN deal to power future C-130J aircraft”.

Multi-year engine contract

Jan 31/14: AC-130J. The USAF flies a fully-converted AC-130J gunship for the 1st time, at Eglin AFB, FL. They also appear to have scales the program back a bit:

“A total of 32 MC-130J aircraft will be modified for AFSOC as part of a $2.4 billion AC-130J program to grow the future fleet, according to Capt. Greg Sullivan, the USSOCOM AC-130J on-site program manager at Det. 1.”

The Pentagon’s recently-released DOT&E report for FY 2013 had placed the AC-130J program at 37 aircraft. Sources: USAF, “New AC-130J completes first test flight”.

Jan 31/14: Support. A $105.3 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract modification, exercising the 3rd option under the USAF’s C-130J Long Term Sustainment Program. It’s a 2-year ordering period for sustainment services including logistical support, program management support, engineering services, spares, and technical data. Funds will be committed as needed through task orders.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/16. USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCA at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0026).

Jan 28/14: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2013 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). Their focus is on US SOCOM’s variants: HC-130J/MC-130J Combat King II CSAR/ Commando II transports, and AC-130J “Ghostrider” gunships. The USAF intends to field 37 HC-130J Combat King IIs developed to Increment 2 capability, 57 MC-130J Commando IIs developed to Increment 3 capability, and 37 AC-130J Ghostrider gunships that will be converted from MC-103Js (TL: 94 MC-130Js produced).

All: The core problem across this fleet involves the enhanced electrical system and in 400 Amp power supply, which is required for Increment 3 upgrades and AC-130J gunship conversions. At present, the fleet is limited to a 200 Amp system. Minor issues include Mean Time to Diagnose a Fault of 119 minutes (30 required), and just 83% probability of completing a 4-hour mission without a failure (95% required). The good news is that DOT&E deems the HC/MC-130J to be operationally effective and operationally suitable, with a 95% mission availability rate (89% required) and survivable in the low to medium threat environments it was meant for.

AC-130J: The program conducted a Preliminary Design Review in March 2013 and a Critical Design Review in August 2013, and 1st flight was expected in January 2014. The PSP weapon set is planned in 3 increments, and both development and the Live Fire Alternative Test Plan (ATP) will leverage some data from the C-130H-based AC-130W. This was concerning, though:

“Armor requirements and the amount of armor differ significantly between the AC-130U and AC-130J aircraft. The AC-130U armor was designed to provide protection to the aircrew stations, personnel, ammunition, and critical systems against a single 37 mm high-explosive incendiary round at a range of 10,000 feet, while the AC-130J’s primary crewmember positions and oxygen supplies should be protected against single 7.62 mm ball projectile at 100 meters [DID: just 330 feet, where bullet velocity is higher] …. The planned armor layout on the AC-130J does not include the Mission Operator Pallet, which should be considered a “primary crewmember” position and protected in accordance with the associated Force Protection Key Performance Parameter (KPP).”

The 37mm criterion isn’t random: most AC-130 kills over Vietnam involved 37mm guns. It isn’t rare for gunships to face enemies that can deploy 14.5mm – 23mm guns, to say nothing of the common .50 cal/ 12.7mm caliber. Even an unarmored C-130J would be a difficult kill for a 12.7mm machine gun. With that said, it sounds like they’ve left the crew nearly unprotected, in an aircraft that’s designed to go where the enemy is shooting. That does require an explanation.

Jan 27/14: Engines. Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, IN receives an $182.7 million firm-fixed-price, requirements contract modification, exercising the 7th annual option for AE2100-D3 engine logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares, and technical data.

Funds will be spent as needed. Work will be performed at Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete by Jan 31/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLKCA at Robins AFB, GA, manages this contract (FA8504-07-D-0001, PO 0023).

Jan 21/13: LM-100J. No, it’s not gamerspeak for iRobot’s “Looj” gutter cleaner, or for a fast sled. It’s Lockheed Martin’s new civil variant of the C-130J, and the FAA just received Lockheed Martin’s Program Notification Letter for a type design update. FAA documents refer to it as an L-382J, but it will be marketed at the LM-100J. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Files For FAA Type Design Update”.

Dec 26/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA ereceives an $11,060,628 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for logistics and engineering services in support of the C/KC-130J Aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps/Marine Corps Reserve, U.S. Coast Guard and the Kuwait Air Force.

Work will be performed in Marietta, GA (65.3%); Afghanistan (12%); Palmdale, CA (9.2%); Kuwait (3.3%); Okinawa, Japan (3%); Miramar, CA (1.8%); Cherry Point, NC (1.7%); Elizabeth City, NC (1.6%); Fort Worth, (1.5%); and Greenville, SC (.6%); and is expected to be completed in December 2014. No funds are being obligated at time of award. Funds will be obligated against individual delivery orders as they are issued. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Marine Corps/Marine Corps Reserve ($8,886,223; 80.3%); U.S. Coast Guard ($1,423,148; 12.9%); and the Government of Kuwait ($751,257; 6.8%) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-D-0006).

Dec 6/13: long-lead. A sole-source, maximum $169.7 million firm-fixed-price advance procurement contract for funding related to 18 C-130Js. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 procurement budgets.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Oct 31/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8625-14-C-6450).

Dec 3/13: long-lead. A $48.5 million advance procurement contract modification for funding related to 5 more C-130Js. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 procurement budgets.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 aircraft budgets. Work under this multi-year contract will be performed at Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA until Dec 31/16. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0230).

Dec 3/13: #4. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a not-to-exceed $81.2 million modification to an existing contract to fund Israeli C-130J-30 aircraft #4, advance long-lead procurement of C-130Js #5 and 6, and external fuel tank modification kits.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be completed by June 30/16. This contract is 100% foreign military sales for Israel, with the USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH acting as Israel’s agent (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0231).

Israel: 4th C-130J-30

Oct 10/13: DMS Redesign. Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., was awarded a $21.6 million contract modification to redesign the C-130J’s Color Multipurpose Display Unit and Multi-Function Color Display for C-130J aircraft. Computer equipment goes out of production quickly, and the CDU & MFCDs need new central processor and graphics processor chip sets, in order to cope with “diminishing manufacturing sources.”

Sure beats trying to source spares from grey traders whose supply chain includes Chinese counterfeits.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/15. This contract actually includes 15% foreign military sales to C-130 customers Norway, Israel and Kuwait, on top of the $21.6 million in FY 2012 in USAF procurement funds that are committed immediately. USAF Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0228)y. (Awarded Oct. 10, 2013)

Oct 3/13: A maximum $181 million not-to-exceed contract modification lets Saudi Arabia buy 2 KC-130J transport and tanker aircraft under the US umbrella deal, along with associated non-recurring engineering support. It’s just a small part of the 25-plane, $6.7 billion request (q.v. Nov 9/12).

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be completed by April 2016. This contract is 100 percent foreign military sales for Saudi Arabia. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0177).

Saudi Arabia: 2 KC-130J

FY 2013

US order; Saudi request; DOT&E report.

Saudi C-130
(click to view full)

July 25/13: Israel. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, GA receives a maximum $13 million unfinalized contract for the advanced procurement of a 4th Israeli C-130J-30 and field services representatives, out of an FMS case for up to 9 planes (q.v. July 30/08). The total cumulative face value of the contract it’s bought under is now $1.631 billion, but most of that contract doesn’t involve Israel.

Work will be performed at Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Dec 30/15. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract as Israel’s FMS agent (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0172).

July 11/13: Engines. Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, IN a $22.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for more USMC KC-130J Power-by-the-Hour support.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in February 2014. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0020).

July 2/13: Training. IKBI Inc. in Choctaw, MS receives a maximum $7.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for a Special Forces HC-130J Simulator Facility at Moody AFB, GA. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by the Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah, GA (W912HN-13-C-0011).

June 10/13: Libya. The US DSCA announces the new government of Libya’s official export request [PDF] for 2 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, 10 Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 engines (8 installed and 2 spares), aircraft modifications, Government Furnished Equipment (including radios), support and test equipment, personnel training package, and a 3-year package for other forms of US Government and contractor support. Libya would join their neighbor Tunisia as a C-130J-30 customer.

The DSCA request cites “a mix of legacy C-130s” in operation, but pre-revolution reports weren’t clear on their airworthiness, and it’s unclear if the new government has working C-130s to fly alongside its (former Air Libya) BAe-146. The estimated cost for the 2 stretched C-130Js is $588 million, which is a tremendous amount, but they’ll need to build up the associated infrastructure from a very damaged base. The scale of the support is made clear by the request. A USAF logistics specialist will help Libya establish supply systems for flight operations, supply management, inventory control, and documentation procedures. At the same time, 4 contracted Field Service Representatives (FSR) and 1 Logistics Support Representative (LSR) will need to have expertise in airframe, avionics/electrical systems, propulsion systems, ground maintenance systems, and logistics support. As expected, Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor.

Libya has been making a number of announcements about rebuilding its air force, and favoring countries that helped them during the war. It’s hard to give much credit to reports that the country will be buying both Rafale and Eurofighter jets in the near future, though one understands why they might want to repay France and Britain in some way. Meanwhile, transport is a higher priority for a large country with lots of hostile terrain, and a weak central government.

DSCA request: Libya C-130J-30s (2)

May 31/13: LAIRCM. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $16.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to finish designing LAIRCM aircraft modification kits (A-Kits) for the USMC’s KC-130Js, to protect them against shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles. This modification includes 10 LAIRCM A-Kits, a test kit installation of a LAIRCM A-Kit, and a validation installation of a LAIRCM A-Kit.

Work will be performed in Marietta, GA (51%); Greenville, SC (31%); and Rolling Meadows, IL (18%), and is expected to be completed in November 2015. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 and 2013 contract dollars. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-13-C-0017).

April 29/13: Iraq. Lockheed Martin announces that it has ferried Iraqi C-130J-30s #4-6 to the USAF, as an interim step in delivering them to Iraq. Once the planes arrive in Iraq, they will complete the order, though the contract itself will continue with support services. Lockheed Martin.

Iraqi C-130J-30s all delivered

April 10/13: FY 2014 & MYP. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage.

The C-130J program submits a proposed $5.809 billion multi-year buy from FY 2014 – 2018, which would purchase 79 planes: 43 aircraft for SOCOM (25 MC-130J + 13 HC-130J + 5 AC-130J), 29 C-130Js for the USAF, and 7 KC-130Js for the US Marine Corps.

All aircraft would be fully funded with initial spares in their order years, and the multi-year deal would include a priced option for 5 more United States Coast Guard HC-130Js – whose base aircraft and array of radars and equipment are very different from SOCOM’s HC-130Js.

Multi-year buy proposed

April 4/13: Tunisia. Lockheed Martin announces that they’ve delivered the 1st of 2 stretched C-130J-30 Super Hercules to the Republic of Tunisia, marking the first delivery to an African country.

Tunisia currently operates a fleet of C-130Hs and C-130Bs, but they were bought in the mid-1980s. Lockheed Martin’s 2010 contract involved 2 planes between 2013 – 2014, plus training and an initial 3 years of logistics support. The Tunisian government fell in the meantime, but the new government still needs the planes.

Feb 22/13: Engines. Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, ID receives a $16.8 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for more additional power-by-the-hour work in support of the USMC’s KC-130Js.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in July 2013. Funds will be committed by individual delivery orders, as needed. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-09-D-0020).

Jan 17/13: DOT&E testing. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The report covers the C-130J platform generally, as well as the HC/MC-130J special forces variants.

The biggest take-away is that the USAF is scrapping plans to field the Block 7.0 upgrade, or incorporate the set into the production line. Block 7.0 has been experiencing delays, and is expected to enter test & evaluation in early 2013, but the results will probably just be used to plan the USAF’s Block Upgrade 8.1.

On the bright side, the C-130J family’s DTADS maintenance support system is a “significant improvement” in multiple areas, but the Windows XP operating system means it can’t connect to government networks. Windows 7 is apparently the minimum.

With respect to the special forces platforms, the HC/MC-130J got a preliminary rating of being as good or better than previous variants, and availability/ maintenance rates were also improvements (vid. Nov 1/12 entry). Key strengths include better takeoffs from short or unimproved runways, expanding the flight envelope for aerial refueling, and improved cargo loading and unloading features. Despite that latter assessment, airdrops create very high workloads and head-down time for the pilot monitoring the drops. The new HC/MC-130Js may also have to do some retrofits to add standard search and rescue equipment: flare launcher tubes, large forward scanner windows, additional oxygen regulators, and intercom panels.

Survivability and situational awareness were another area mentioned, though the specific survivability issue wasn’t detailed. With respect to situational awareness, pilots would like a tactical datalink such as Link 16, so they’re more aware of what’s around them. Inside, the loadmasters want more control over cargo lighting, especially since the night vision lighting is a bit problematic for covert operations. On an audible level, the loadmasters want the intercom system to transmit system tones for diagnostic or defensive system alerts.

Jan 16/13: India support. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $6.7 million contract modification for Power by the Hour support to the IAF’s C-130Js.

Work will be performed at Hindan Air Station in New Delhi, India, and is expected to be complete by Jan 30/13. The AFLCMC/WLKCB at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract on behalf of their FMS client (FA8504-07-D-0001-0501-09).

Aug 6/12: Made in India. The Hindu reports that the offset program has begun to bear fruit, with some components now made in India:

“The latest feather in the Tata cap is that certain critical components for the C-130 are now being ‘Made in India’… on the outskirts of Hyderabad. That is the promise held out by Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures Ltd., (TLMAL), a joint venture between Tata Advanced Systems and Lockheed Martin. The Friday gone by was a landmark day with TLMAL delivering the first C-130 Center Wing Box (CWB) to Lockheed.”

Nov 9/12: Saudi Arabia The US DSCA announces [PDF] Saudi Arabia’s DSCA request for up to 25 C-130J family aircraft, in a deal that could be worth up to $6.7 billion once a contract is negotiated.

The RSAF currently operates 30 C-130H medium transport aircraft, and another 7 KC-130H aerial refueling tankers with secondary transport capabilities. External engine fleet and depth maintenance contracts take care of them, but as the hours pile up, replacement looms. The Saudis would replace their fleet with just 20 stretched C-130J-30s, and another 5 KC-130Js. On the other hand, the stretched planes offer more room, and the C-130J’s extra power makes a big difference to real cargo capacity in Saudi Arabia’s lift-stealing heat. The request includes:

  • 20 C-130J-30 stretched transports
  • 5 KC-130J aerial tankers, which could be armed in future
  • 120 Rolls Royce AE2100D3 Engines (100 installed and 20 spares)
  • 25 MIDS-LVT Link-16 systems
  • Plus support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed-Martin in Bethesda, MD (C-130Js); General Electric Aviation Systems in Sterling, VA; and Rolls Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN (engines). Implementation of this sale will require the assignment of U.S. Government and contractor representatives to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for delivery, system checkout, and logistics support for an undetermined period of time.

DSCA request: Saudi C-130J-30 & KC-130J (25)

Nov 1/12: MC/HC-130J. Lockheed Martin announces that their HC-130J Combat King II and MC-130J Commando II special operations planes have been formally certified as “Effective, Suitable and Mission Capable” by the USAF’s Operational Test and Evaluation Center.

Oct 23/12: 13 more. An $889.5 million contract modification for the USA’s FY 2012 production aircraft buy of 13 planes: 7 MC-130J CSAR planes and 4 HC-130J Commando IIs for SOCOM, 1 KC-130J for the USMC, and 1 USAF C-130J production aircraft.

Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and run to July 31/15 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0139).

FY 2012 main buy

FY 2012

Israel buys #3/9; USCG buys 3; Senior Scout SIGINT kit; India’s follow-on request for 6 more; Mexican request; C-130XJ, C-130NG, and SC-130J “Sea Hercules” concepts unveiled; AC-130J gunship appears.

Norwegian C-130J
(click to view full)

Sept 28/12: A $218 million contract modification to buy 3 more US Coast Guard HC-130J Long Range Surveillance aircraft, which will bring the USCG fleet to 9, and add 2 more roll-on mission suites. The 3rd plane will get its mission equipment from a future contract, scheduled for FY 2013. By 2016, the Coast Guard plans to accept these aircraft and base them at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii.

The HC-130J’s special mission suite is comprised of a 2-person mission system operator station located behind the pilot and co-pilot, a belly-mounted 360-degree Seaspray 7500 long range search radar, nose-mounted day/night surveillance turret, and an advanced mission communications suite. Work will be performed in Marietta, GS, and Greenville, SC. The contract runs until May 31/16 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0069).

The current Coast Guard C-130 LRS fleet includes 23 HC-130Hs, and 6 HC-130Js based at Air Station Elizabeth City, NC. The USCG’s HC-130Hs are running out of useful service life, and by 2027, the USCG is planning to have a uniform fleet of 22 HC-130Js. See also USCG | Lockheed Martin.

3 USCG HC-130Js

Sept 25/12: Mexico. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Mexico’s official request for 2 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, 10 AE2100D3 engines (8 installed and 2 spares), aircraft modifications, communication equipment, other Government Furnished Equipment, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and other US Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $412 million, which is very expensive for 2 C-130Js, but there are a number of add-ons to consider, and actual cost will depend on contract negotiations.

The DSCA notice says that Mexico will use the planes as “Presidential support,” but local defense expert Inigo Guevara says that they’re mostly intended for regular defense use. The FAM’s existing tactical transport fleet of 7 old C-130E/K/Ls is reaching its limits, and the recent buy of 4 new C-27J Spartan light tactical transports replaced an original requirement for 5 used C-130H aircraft to upgrade that fleet. The 2 C-130J-30s offer a heavier-lift option with some C-27J engine and avionics compatibility. Guevara says that current requirements will eventually add another 2 Super Hercules transports, leaving a tactical transport fleet of 4 C-27Js and 4 C-130Js. Any VIP modules are likely to be “roll-on, roll-of” options. Guevara adds that:

“The Presidential fleet is getting a new aircraft in the form of a strategic transport (very likely a Boeing 787 Dreamliner), which will replace the current B757 and should arrive by 2016. It is apparently being acquired through a [full turnkey] wet lease.”

DSCA request: Mexico C-130J-30s (2)

Sept 21/12: The Air Force’s 19th Special Operation Squadron is retiring its MC-130E Combat Talon I simulator, and they are waiting for an MC-130J simulator to replace it. They do not quite seem to know what to do with it. Any takers? It would be quite the living room conversation piece.

Sept 10/12: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $9.7 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification, to meet increased requirements for the USMC’s “power by the hour” per-engine support contract. Translation: the USMC is flying its KC-130J fleet for more hours than the contract had expected.

Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, and is expected to be complete in February 2013. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-09-D-0020).

Sept 5/12: Iraq. The 1st of 6 C-130J-30 Super Hercules for the Iraqi Air Force has completed its first flight, at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, GA facility. Lockheed Martin.

Aug 30/12: Oman delivery. The 1st C-130J ordered by Oman is formally accepted by the country at a signing ceremony in Marietta. Lockheed Martin initially told DID that the delivery of this plane was likely to happen in early November, but the Sultanate sped up the process and flew its plane home on September 12. Lockheed Martin.

Aug 28/12: Sea Hercules? Defense News reports that Lockheed Martin is working on an SC-130J Sea Hercules modification. It’s designed as a $150 million alternative, to be developed in 3 stages. Stage 1 will involve roll-on/ bolt-on radar and electro-optical sensors, and accompanying processing workstations. Stage 2 would add wing-mounted surface attack weapons, along with upgraded workstations and weapon control systems. Stage 3 would be a full anti-submarine conversion, including sonobuoys, a magnetic anomaly detector boom, extra fuel pods, and 2 added bays for 6 Harpoon missiles.

Lockheed Martin reportedly says they expect to sign at least one contract “in North Africa”. Tunisia, who already has a contract for 2 C-130J-30s that was signed shortly before their revolution, could certainly use that capability. So could Britain, which has its own fleet of C-130s, but no maritime patrol planes since they retired the Nimrod fleets.

Lockheed Martin will have no shortage of competitors around the world. Established competitors include EADS’ CN-235 Persuader, C-295 MPA, ATR-42 MP, and ATR-72 ASW turboprops; and Embraer’s P-99 MP jet. On the development front, Boeing is starting to look at options beyond its P-8A Poseidon, because their customers are saying that they don’t need its full versatility, and find its $200 million price tag prohibitive. Bombardier’s Challenger 600 seems to be the target platform. There’s also some talk in Britain of adding maritime patrol capabilities to its Sentinel R1 ground surveillance jets, based on Bombardier’s Challenger. Saab has options are in development based on the Saab 2000 regional turboprop and Piaggio P-180 executive turboprop, and Russia has a unique offering in development based on its Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft.

Aug 8/12: Oman. Flight testing begins for the 1st of Oman’s 3 ordered C-130Js (1 C-130J-30, 2 C-130Js). Oman currently operates a fleet of 3 C-130Hs purchased in the early 1980s, and their first new Hercules is scheduled for delivery later in 2012. Lockheed Martin.

July 23/12: AC-130J. Production begins in Marietta, GA, but the gunship is actually built as an MC-130J Commando II. It will become an “AC-130J” (vid. Feb 19/12 contract) when it’s equipped with a “Precision Strike Package. When queried, Lockheed Martin representatives said that:

“The initial contract is to cross-deck the current MC-130W [DID: link added] equipment to the new AC-130Js. The PSP referenced here is a new package.”

AC-130J Initial Operating Capability is scheduled for 2015, and AFSOC expects to order 16. Lockheed Martin.

AC-130J begins

June 7/12: Norway request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Norway’s formal request to buy 2 C-130J-30s equipped to the USAF baseline, 9 Rolls Royce AE2100-D3 Engines (8 installed and 1 spare), plus aircraft modifications for Norwegian specifications, Norwegian-compatible communication equipment and support, defensive countermeasure systems, other Government Furnished Equipment, tools and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US government & contractor support.

If a contract is signed, Norway’s C-130J-30 fleet will rise to 5 planes. The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA, but the proposed sale won’t require any more representatives in Norway. The estimated cost is set at up to $300 million, however, which is about the cost of Norway’s first 4 planes (vid. Nov 7/07 entry). Actual amounts will depend on negotiations, but it looks like Norway is thinking about a significant support contract as well.

DSCA request: Norway C-130J-30 (1)

June 4/12: Norway. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, ID receives a $14.3 million (face value) firm-fixed-price contract to purchase spares, field services support and program management, return and repair support, and engineering services support for the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s C-130J fleet at Gardermoen AFB, Norway. Work is to be complete by Jan 31/14. The WR-ALC/GRBKB at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract, on behalf of its Norwegian client (FA8504-07-D-0001-0602).

May 8/12: Canada. The Royal Canadian Air Force formally accepts the 17th CC-130J Super Hercules at a Marietta, GA ceremony, completing the order placed in December 2007. Lockheed Martin.

Canada: all delivered

April 2/12: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $25 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification for contractor logistics support and technical engineering support of USMC KC-130Js’ AE2100-D3 turboprop engines, and R391 propellers.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and is expected to be complete in February 2013. All funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-09-D-0020). Navy/USMC C-130Js fall under a separate engine maintenance agreement than the USAF – see also April 6/10, Feb 27/09 entries.

March 9/12: MC-130J “Commando II”. USAF officials announce that the MC-130J’s designation will change from “Combat Shadow II” to “Commando II”.

The 1st aircraft with the “Commando” designation was the C-46, which flew missions “over the hump” from Burma to China in World War II, conducted covert missions during the Korean War, and flew many missions for the CIA’s “Air America”. Some still fly to this day, for civilian airlines in remote areas. Hopefully, the MC-130J won’t also be adopting the C-46’s reputation as a maintenance nightmare that was dangerous to fly on military operations. USAF.

MC-130J becomes “Commando II”

March 15/12: Norway crash. Norway’s newest C-130J-30 crashes into Sweden’s Mount Kebnekaise at an altitude of almost 5,000 feet, during the international military exercise “Cold Response.” All 5 crew are killed, and the RNoAF is left with just 3 C-130J-30s. Read “Norway Renews Its Tactical Transport Fleet” for full coverage.

Crash

Feb 29/12: AC-130J, etc. A $70 million firm-fixed-price advance procurement contract, buying long-lead items for US AFSOC: 2 AC-130J gunships, 1 HC-130J “Combat King” Combat Search And Rescue, and 4 MC-130J “Combat Shadow” transport aircraft. This is the FY 2013 budget request, but long-lead materials to ensure on-time construction are always in the previous year’s budget.

The AC-130J is new, and hasn’t been talked about much. The current AC-130H “Spectre” and AC-130U “Spooky” gunships remain vulnerable to even light defenses like anti-aircraft cannons, and are often restricted to night flying. On the flip side, they offer unparalleled fire support volume and accuracy, up to and including 105mm howitzer fire, to help special forces and friendly troops out of jams. SOCOM’s heavy gunship fleet has seen predictably heavy usage in recent years, and needs replacement. The hanging question is what capabilities a full C-130J gunship option might have.

Work will be performed Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete during calendar year 2016. The USAF/AFMC Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0081).

Feb 22/12: Israel #3. Israel buys its 3rd C-130J-30, out of a formal October 2008 FMS request for up to 9 special forces capable planes. It does so by exercising a maximum $58.3 million firm-fixed-price option, on top of previous planning and advance long lead procurement funding (vid. April 8/11).

Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and expected to be complete by Nov 30/14. The ASC/WLNN at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH is Israel’s Foreign Military Sales agent for these buys (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0085).

Israel: 1 C-130J-30

Feb 22/12: Support. A $7.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for C-130J and HC/MC-130J spares for at Moody Air Force Base, GA. Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and the contract runs through Dec 31/13. USAF AMC’s Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0085).

Feb 22/12: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $45.2 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for AE-2100D3 turboprop engine and R-391 propeller contractor logistics and technical engineering services, for the USMC’s KC-130Js.

Funds will be committed only as services are needed, and work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN until February 2013. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00019-09-D-0020).

Feb 16/12: #250. The 250th C-130J Super Hercules variant ever built is delivered to Dyess Air Force Base, TX. It’s the 15th of 28 planes that will ultimately be delivered to Dyess AFB by 2013.

To put that in perspective, a Jan 30/11 MC-130J delivery to US Special Operations Command marked the 2,400th C-130 delivered, of all types, since production began. Lockheed Martin.

#250

Jan 31/12: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $112.2 million firm-fixed-price, requirements type contract, exercising Option V/ Year 6 of the C-130J’s AE2100D3 engine and R-391 propeller support contract. That includes logistics support, program management support, engineering, spares and technical data are included.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN until Jan 31/13. The Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (FA8504-07-D-0001, #0600).

Jan 31/12: Support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $63 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-award-fee, time-and-material, and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support systems unique to the C-130J. Their work will include logistics support, program management support, engineering services, repairs, spares and technical data.

Work will be performed in Marietta, GA until Jan 31/14. The Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0020; Delivery order 0700).

Jan 31/12: Norway. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA receives a $7.8 million firm-fixed-price, time-and-material contract for spares, field support representatives, program management, return and repair support, and engineering services from the Royal Norwegian Air Force, to support their new 4-plane C-130J fleet.

Work will be performed in Marietta, GA until Jan 31/14. The Warner Robbins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages this contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, #0606).

Dec 28/11: Support. An $8.5 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for spares and material in support of the USMC’s KC-130Js. Funds will be obligated by individual delivery orders as they are issued. Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete in December 2013. US NAVAIR manages this contract (N00019-09-D-0015).

Dec 13/11: Engines. A $10.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 9 spare C-130J quick change engine assemblies, under the terms of the Fiscal Year Orientation Committee IV contract. The units are a split buy: 5 units for the U.S. Air Force; and 4 as a Foreign Military Sales effort for Kuwait (q.v. May 27/10, July 20/09 entries). Work will be performed in Marietta, GA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 28/14 (FA8625-11-C-6597, PO 0068).

Dec 7/11: SIGINT kit. Lockheed Martin delivers the USAF’s 4th Senior Scout containerized roll-on, roll-off signals intelligence (SIGINT) system. Senior Scout was 1st fielded in Operation Desert Storm (Iraq) in 1991, but the latest model is enhanced to be structurally compatible with the newest C-130J, adds updated system interfaces and technology enhancements, and offers better maintenance access. Lockheed Martin considers Senior Scout to be part of its DRAGON Shield series of modular ro-ro ISR offerings.

Acceptance testing is about to begin, and if all goes well, the USAF’s other 3 Senior Scouts will be converted to the same standard over the next 2 years. Lockheed Martin.

Dec 2/11: New variants. Flight International reports on Lockheed Martin EVP Ralph Heath’s presentation to the Credit Suisse aerospace and defense conference in New York. The presentation mentions 2 new variants: the stripped-down C-130XJ, without the automatic loading system and other niceties; and a more streamlined C-130NG concept aimed at the market beyond 2020.

Oct 27/11: India request. The US DSCA announces India’s official request to buy up to 6 more C-130Js, which would bring its fleet to 12. The previous May 25/07 request also asked for C-130J USAF baseline aircraft, but the order involved stretched C-130J-30s. It remains to be seen whether India will order more stretched C-130J-30s (likely), or 6 of the smaller C-130Js. The estimated cost is up to $1.2 billion.

Read “India Buys C-130J-30 Hercules for Special Forces” for full coverage.

DSCA request: India C-130J (6)

FY 2011

Israel buys #2; MATS II training contract; Block 7.0 software contract; Australian software innovation; Oman’s request; Crashworthy seating; What India left out. Deliveries: 1st SOCOM HC-130J & MC-130J, Qatar’s 4; India’s induction.

MC-130J enhancements
(click for video)

Sept 29/11: 1st MC-130J delivered. Lockheed Martin delivers the 1st of 20 MC-130J Combat Shadow IIs to United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), at Cannon Air Force Base, NM. Delivery had been scheduled for August.

While the HC-130J is the combat rescue model, the MC-130J is the standard special operations insertion and cargo plane. It’s also based on a KC-130J tanker, with the UARRSI boom refueling receptacle, Enhanced Service Life Wing, Enhanced Cargo Handling System, a surveillance and targeting turret, a combat systems operator station on the flight deck, and dual SATCOM. They’re more or less the same planes, actually, just with different roles, and different operators. Initial operational capability is planned for 2012.

Sept 28/11: Qatar. Lockheed holds a delivery ceremony in Marietta, GA for Qatar’s 4 ordered C-130J-30s. Arabian Aerospace.

Qatar – full delivery

Sept 24/11: 1st HC-130J delivered. US Air Combat Command officials receive their 1st HC-130J Combat King II, at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. Delivery had been scheduled for August.

The new HC-130J will be flown by the testing squadron, then members of the 79th Rescue Squadron will complete the 8 months of training needed to fly and operate the new model. USAF officials expect HC-130Js to begin regular duty at the base in early 2013. USAF.

Sept 16/11: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract modification to increase the ceiling on engine support contract line items for the KC-130J fleet. They include power by the hour, which pays a fixed fee per engine flight hours, and spares. The KC-130J fleet are triple-role aircraft: cargo, aerial refueling, and on-call strike aircraft (with the Harvest Hawk roll-on kit).

Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, and is expected to be complete in February 2012. No funding is being committed at time of award, but it’s available if needed. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract, as the KC-130Js are USMC birds (N00019-09-D-0020).

July 11/11: A not to exceed $89 million firm-fixed-price contract modification commits FY 2011 Congressionally-mandated advance procurement funding for 9 C-130J family planes: 1 USAF stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, and 8 US SOCOM HC-130J/ MC-130Js.

These 9 planes will receive their main orders in FY 2012, but advance ordering ensures that manufacturing can start when that order does come in (FA8625-11-C-6597 PO 0029).

May 2/11: Qatar. The 1st of 4 Qatar Emiri Air Force C-130J-30s has completed production at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, GA. It would make its first flight on June 8th. See also Oct 7/08 entry.

April 8/11: Israel #2 & 3. Israel exercises $76.2 million in fixed-price not-to-exceed (NTE) options to buy a 2nd C-130J-30 aircraft, and begin planning and advance long lead procurement for the 3rd Israeli aircraft.

This unfinalized contract also includes recurring in-line production modifications for the 2nd aircraft to include but not limited to the following: Block 6X Operational Flight Program (July 30/08 DSCA cited Block 7.0, looks like Israel-specific mods), enhanced service life wing, 2 embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation System Embedded Module IVs with Precise Positioning System and GAS-1 controlled radiation pattern antenna, and a UARRSI receptacle on top of the plane to accept aerial refueling booms. The 657th AESS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597).

Israel: 1 C-130J-30

April 5/11: MC-130J i3. A $21.4 million contract modification for MC-130J increment 3, to develop 1 trial kit installation, and perform developmental tests of this capability on 1 MC-130J increment 2 aircraft. The overall scope of this effort is to add the C-130J Block 7.0 software upgrades, and “a special mission processor capability that include both developmental [work] and integration of known/low risk improvements.” The ASC/WLNNC at Wright Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8625-11-C-6597 PO0002).

March 31/11: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA receives a $10 million firm-fixed-price contract to obligate FY 2010 advance procurement funding for 1 FY 2011 C-130J aircraft. Work will be performed at Marietta, GA (FA8625-06-C-6456-P00243).

March 29/11: MC-130J rollout. Lockheed Martin officially rolls out the 1st MC-130J Combat Shadow II for the U.S. Air Force’s Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Contracts have been placed to build 15 MC-130Js, and AFSOC is authorized to buy up to 20, against an approved long term requirement for 37 to replace the aging MC-130H fleet. Initial Operational Capability with the new type is expected in 2012.

All C-130J special forces configurations are based on the KC-130J aerial tanker, as they also have aerial refueling roles for SOCOM helicopters. Beyond that, MC-130Js will have the Enhanced Service Life Wing, a boom refueling receptacle (UARRSI) so they can be refueled in mid-air, more powerful electrical generators, a day/night surveillance turret, a combat systems operator station on the flight deck, and provisions for LAIRCM missile defense systems, among others. Technically, it’s basically the same as the HC-130J, it just performs a different role. Lockheed Martin.

MC-130J rollout

March 29/11: India. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $8.5 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide “spares, fuser, and program management support” for the Indian Air Force, to support the arrival of their new C-130J fleet. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN, and the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract (FA8504-07-D-0001-0501).

March 22/11: USAF Air Combat Command’s HC-130J personnel recovery aircraft, completes developmental testing by receiving fuel from an aerial tanker boom. This test point also applies to AFSOC’s MC-130J Combat Shadow II aircraft.

Rollout of the first MC-130J is later celebrated at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, GA on March 29/11, and the first HC-130Js and MC-130Js started deliveries in September 2011, instead of August. Initial Operational Capability for both is scheduled for 2012.

March 18/11: Support. An $8.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide C-130J logistics support through Jan 31/12. Work will be performed at Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA (FA8625-11-C6597).

March 1/11: Australia – C-17 or C-130Js? Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith confirms that the government is looking into buying a 5th C-17, and has sent a Foreign Military Sale Letter of Request to the United States asking about costs and availability.

The tradeoff under consideration was whether to buy 1 more C-17A, or buy 2 more C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical transports between 2013-2015 under project AIR 8000 Phase 1. One C-17A can carry up to 4 C-130 Hercules loads in a single lift, and cover twice the distance in three-quarters of the time. On the other hand, it costs over 3 times as much, and can’t be in 4 places at once. In the end, Australia chose to buy the C-17 instead.

Feb 14/11: The 1st MC-130J Combat Shadow II for US AFSOC completes manufacturing, and will begin flight tests after additional special mission equipment like the chin-mounted sensor turret is installed. MC-130Js work insertion missions, almost always at night. Their missions can include low-level aerial refueling missions for special operations helicopters, along with infiltration/ exfiltration, and resupply for special forces teams.

Feb 5/11: India induction. The 1st Indian C-130J-30 with Special Forces enhancements is inducted in a special ceremony at Air Force Station Hindon, India. There’s still work to do, however. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik says of the American communications and security systems that were left out: “We have our own communication system and yes, we will be integrating them on the aircraft. They are already being made and they will be put on the aircraft.” Andrha News | MSN India.

Jan 31/11: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $203 million contract modification to cover support services for the C-130J’s AE-2100D3 engines and R-391 propellers, under the Option Year IV (5th overall year) of their support contract. Sustaining services will include logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data.

At this time, $49.6 million has been committed by the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center GRBKA, at Robins Air Force Base, GA (FA8504-07-D-0001, 0500).

Jan 31/11: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA receives a $69.8 million contract modification to cover support for systems unique to the C-130J fleet, as opposed to systems that are common to C-130Js and earlier model Hercules. The contract exercises the 2nd option, covering years 6 through 8 of logistics support, program management support, engineering services, repairs, spares and technical data.

At this time, $20 million has been committed by the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center GRBKA, at Robins Air Force Base, GA (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0015).

Jan 28/11: Iraq, Norway. A $16.9 million contract modification exercises an option to purchase support equipment and spares for Iraq, as well as logistic support services for Norway. Both are C-130J customers, and Norway has already received its 4 aircraft. At this time the entire amount has been obligated by the ASC/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456).

Jan 11/10: USA, Norway. Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems in Marietta, GA receives a $13.3 million contract modification, exercising an option to purchase support equipment and spares for the United States and Norway.

While the platform is not named, the contract number is the C-130J contract. At this time, the entire amount has been committed by the ASC/WLNNC at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456).

Indian C-130J-30
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Dec 21/10: Sub-contractors. BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services in Rockville, MD receives a $12 million contract for C-130J/J-30 Loadmaster crashworthy seats systems. The contract will buy 101 systems: 7 “first article” systems for testing, then up to 88 systems and 6 systems of spares. $8.5 million has been committed by the WR-ALC/GRBK at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-11-D-0003).

Dec 17/10: India. India’s 1st C-130J is formally delivered in a ceremony at Marietta, GA.

Dec 2/10: South Korea. Lockheed Martin announces a contract with the Republic of Korea for 4 stretched C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft, which are a one-for-one replacement of the ROKAF’s 4 C-130H-30s in its 12-plane Hercules fleet. Deliveries will take place in 2014, and the contract also contains a 2-year support program including aircrew and maintenance training.

The absence of a previous DSCA announcement indicates that this is a Direct Commercial Sale. Prices were not disclosed, but the flyaway cost of a C-130J-30 is around $65 million, and the modifications and maintenance agreement will be extra.

South Korea: 4 C-130J-30

Nov 30/10: Training. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL receives a $23.3 million contract for the HC/MC-130J Special Operations variant’s weapon systems trainer. At this time, $2,044,798 has been committed by the ASC/WNSK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH (FA8621-06-C-6300).

Nov 18/10: Oman request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] The Sultanate of Oman’s request for equipment, support and training associated with 1 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft being bought through a separate Direct Commercial Sale (see June 5/09 entry). The RAFO C-130J-30 would receive 1 AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures System, 7 AN/AAR-54 Missile Approach Warning Systems, 2 AN/ALR- 56M Radar Warning Receivers, 2 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Sets, plus communication and navigation equipment, software support, repair and return, aircraft ferry and refueling support, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $76 million.

Lockheed Martin sells the C-130, but for this request, the prime contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation in Rolling Meadows, IL. Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Oman involving up to 10 U.S. Government and 10 contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, and program management for a period of approximately 6 years.

DSCA request: Oman support & defensive

Nov 10/10: A $160 million contract modification that commits FY 2010 advance procurement funding for 16 C-130J aircraft that will have their contracts completed in FY 2011. At this time, the entire amount has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456; P00174).

Nov 8/10: Production accelerating. Flight International reports that Lockheed Martin has entered the final 12 months of F-22A production in Marietta, GA, and details the shifts underway. They add that the plant is also working to treble the C-130J’s production rate, to about 36 aircraft per year.

Oct 7/10: Australian innovation. Australian Defence magazine reports that Australian software investments are about to benefit global C-130J fleets, thanks to strong support from RAAF No. 37 squadron and the DSTO. The software is estimated to save about $2 million in maintenance hours and fuel over the plane’s lifetime. How?

Multi-engine propeller planes need to “balance” their propellers, in order to reduce vibration levels. That’s normally a labor-intensive process involving up to 5 maintenance staff, and multiple ground runs, over 1-2 days. Australia’s DSTO decided to look into a software solution that drew on an existing advanced engine monitoring capability, and coupled it with algorithms that take the flight data. Balancing now takes 2 hours, without the need for engine ground runs.

Flight tests before and after were promising, and the UK, Italy, Denmark, Canada and Norway will begin using the software soon. The USA is still reviewing the software license.

Oct 6/10: India omissions. Indian defense journalist Shiv Aroor lists the technologies that he says will not be in India’s C-130J-30 special forces aircraft, as a result of India’s refusal to sign the USA’s CISMOA End-User Monitoring agreement: AN/ARC-222 SINCGARS radios, KV-119 IFF Digital Transponder (Mode 4 Crypto Applique), TACTERM / ANDVT Secure Voice (HF) Terminal, VINSON KY-58 Secure Voice (UHF/VHF) Module, and no SINCGARS/crypto features in the embedded AN/ARC-210v SATCOM Transceiver.

Oct 5/10: India. The 1st of 6 Indian C-130J-30 special forces aircraft takes flight from Lockheed Martin’s plant and airfield in Marietta, GA.

FY 2010

USA plans to increase buy; Israel buys 1st; Kuwait buys 3; Oman requests 2 and buys 2; Tunisia buys 2; Australian modernization plan; Italian 5-year support deal; US multi-year contract proposal; Deliveries: Canada accepts 1st; Norway’s 4th and last; HC-130J rollout.

Danish C-130J
(click to view full)

Sept 13/10: A $59.8 million contract modification to buy 1 more FY 2008 OCO C-130J aircraft. At this time, $39.6 million has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456; PO0193).

DID offers our readers the usual caveats, and reminds them that buying an aircraft doesn’t necessarily include “government furnished equipment” niceties like engines, etc.

Sept 2/10: A $315.6 million contract modification buy 3 FY 2008 “Overseas Contingency Operations” (supplemental wartime funding) C-130Js; 1 FY 2008 OCO KC-130J aerial tanker/ transport for the US Marines; and 1 FY 2010 HC-130J aircraft for US SOCOM. At this time, $250.8 million has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456; PO0178).

Aug 31/10: Sub-contractors. UK firm GKN Aerospace announces that they have delivered the 1,000th C-130J engine nacelle. The firm has been supplying these since 1993, and plans to increase production from 18 aircraft sets (72 nacelles) per year in 2008 to “near double that” in 2011. GKN has set up a new state of the art production line at their Isle of Wight facility.

To meet this significant production rate increase GKN Aerospace has moved manufacture to an entirely new, state of the art production line at the Company’s site on the Isle of Wight, UK.

Aug 16/10: Oman contract. The Sultanate of Oman buys 2 C-130J aircraft, to complement the stretched C-130J-30 that’s already under contract for delivery in 2012. When this buy is complete, they will have replaced their existing fleet of 3 1980s-vintage C-130Hs with 3 C-130Js.

The 2 new C-130Js will not be the stretched J-30 version discussed in the July 2/10 DSCA announcement, and will be delivered in 2103 and 2014. Price is not disclosed, and the DSCA announcement referred to a “direct commercial sale” of the aircraft themselves, to accompany Oman’s request to buy up to $54 million worth of defensive equipment and support through the Foreign Military Sale procedure.

Oman: 2 C-130J

Aug 5/10: Italian support. Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica signs a 5-year, EUR 155 million (about $203 million) contract with the Italian Air Force to provide technical and logistical support services to their fleet of 20-21 C-130Js and C-130J-30s.

Alenia will partner with Avio and Lockheed Martin to offer a fully integrated service that will be responsible for the supply of spare parts, management of the supply chain, equipment maintenance including landing gear, the maintenance of the Air Ground Equipment (AGE), and engineering support activities, including responsibility for the C-130J flight simulator based at the 46th Air Brigade of Pisa.

Alenia will have overall responsibility, and will execute most of the work. Avio will be in charge of the complete propulsion system, including overhaul and technical/logistical and engineering assistance to the Aeronautica Militare’s 92 Rolls Royce AE2100D3 engines. C-130J builder Lockheed Martin will be responsible for the supply of repair components produced in the U.S. and for any modifications. These 3 companies have been providing support and technical and logistical assistance to the Italian C-130J fleet since 2007.

Italy support

HC-130J
click to play video

July 29/10: The 1st production HC-130J personnel recovery variant flies at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Marietta, GA. It’s due for delivery to USAF Air Combat Command in September 2010, and is scheduled to reach initial operational capability in 2012. An Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOCOM) MC-130J variant of this aircraft will fly in early 2011.

July 20/10: Canada Engine support. Rolls Royce announces a contract from Lockheed Martin. The base contract to support the Canadian CC-130Js’ AE 2100D3 engines is worth USD $70 million, and the entire contract could be worth up to $260 million over the CC-130J fleet’s lifetime.

Under this contract, Rolls-Royce will be providing all engine management and repair, logistics support and on-site technical support for the engine. It is paired with the long-term fleet support contract mentioned in the Dec 18/09 entry. Read “Replacing Canada’s Failing CC-130s: 17 C-130Js” for full coverage.

Canada engine support

July 1/10: Norway. The last of 4 ordered RNoAF C-130J-30s heads off to Norway. Read “Norway Renews Its Tactical Transport Fleet” for full coverage.

Norway: all delivered

July 2/10: Oman request. The US DSCA announces Oman’s request to buy additional equipment, logistics support, and training for 2 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, which are being bought via a Direct Commercial Sale outside of the DSCA’s Foreign Military Sales process. Additional military equipment bought under FMS rules includes 2 AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning Systems, 2 AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receivers, 2 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispenser Sets, plus communication equipment, software support, repair and return, installation, aircraft ferry and refueling support, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $54 million.

The Royal Air Force of Oman currently operates 3 C-130H aircraft, and has already bought 1 C-130J-30 (q.v. June 5/09). They can absorb the new equipment, but a sale would require annual trips to Oman involving up to 10 U.S. Government and 10 contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, and program management for a period of approximately 6 years.

DSCA request: Oman support & training

June 18/10: Multi-year proposal. The Hill reports that Lockheed Martin continues to work on a multi-year C-130J buy, and that the current negotiations for 65 C-130Js would serve as a starting point. Lockheed Martin’s international VP for air mobility business development, Jack Crisler, says the key target is 10% savings demonstrated, adding that his firm plans to propose the multi-year contract in September-October 2010.

The proposal could also become more inclusive, potentially adding US Special Operations and US Coast Guard aircraft. If other multi-year deals serve as any guide, the deal might also end up including foreign buys, which would benefit from the US government’s volume pricing. USAF acquisition chief David Van Buren says the USAF is receptive to the idea, but past discussions haven’t shown that 10%+ savings over the existing year-by-year contracts. The USAF reportedly pegs the current price of a C-130J, without spares or Government-Furnished Equipment such as engines and some electronics, optional refueling pods, etc. at $57.6 million.

June 4/10: Canada acceptance. Canada formally accepts the first of 17 CC-130J Super Hercules aircraft, to the Canadian Forces 8 Wing in Trenton, ON, 6 months ahead of the original delivery schedule. The remaining 16 aircraft will begin delivery in winter 2010 as planned, with deliveries running into 2012. Canadian DND.

May 27/10: Kuwait contract. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA announces a $245 million contract to provide 3 KC-130J aerial tankers to the government of Kuwait. This order is part of a larger approved request to buy up to 8 KC-130Js and associated equipment (see July 20/09 entry).

KC-130Js will provide aerial refueling for the Kuwait air force’s F/A-18 C/D fighter fleet, and augment its current airlift fleet of 3 L-100s (civilian C-130). Kuwait’s KC-130Js also will perform air mobility, disaster relief and humanitarian missions throughout the world.

Kuwait: 3 KC-130J

April 30/10: Israel +1. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA receives a $98.6 million contract, to provide one C-130J aircraft for the government of Israel. The contract also includes additional non-developmental items for the aircraft, and $18.5 million of foreign military financing has been committed by the 657th AESS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456).

This order has been some time in negotiation, and follows a July 30/08 DSCA announcement that covered up to $1.9 billion for 9 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, with Special Operations features.

Israel: 1 C-130J-30

April 19/10: HC-130J rollout. Lockheed Martin rolls out the first HC-130J combat rescue tanker, at an official ceremony in Marietta, GA. The 563rd Rescue Group, based at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ and at Kirtland AFB, NM will be the first bases to receive the new model for training purposes once it has undergone initial testing, which typically takes about a year. Initial Operational Capability is slated for 2012. Maj. Gen. Thomas K. Andersen, USAF Air Combat Command’s director of requirements, said that:

“The recapitalization of the C-130 fleet is a big deal and the new model represents a quantum leap in technology which allows us to continue completing the mission. Right now, the C-130 has one of the lowest availability rates [emphasis DID’s] in the Air Force and the introduction of the J-model will increase that rate by 46% as well as decrease needed crewmembers from 7 to 5.”

The HC-130J, like all of the Special Forces C-130Js, uses a KC-130J tanker baseline. It adds the Enhanced Service Life Wing, Enhanced Cargo Handling System, a dorsal aerial refueling boom receptacle, an electro-optical/infrared sensor, a combat systems operator station on the flight deck, and provisions for the large aircraft infrared countermeasures system (LAIRCM) missile defense system. The maintenance techs especially appreciate the C-130J-standard improved diagnostic systems, as opposed to the C-130H models’ more manual approach. Lockheed Martin is currently contracted to build 21 HC/MC-130Js, and the USAF is currently authorized to buy up to 31 (11 HC-130J, 20 MC-130J). USAF | Lockheed Martin.

HC-130J rollout

April 6/10: Engines. Rolls-Royce announces $51 million engine production and MissionCare services contract for the AE 2100D3 engines on the USMC’s KC-130J tanker. The award falls under a 4-year contract with US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), which is administered at NAS Patuxent River, MD.

Rolls-Royce will provide engines, engine management, support, trouble shooting, parts supply and logistics support for aircraft operating at 3 US Marine Air Stations: Miramar, CA; Cherry Point, NC; and Okinawa, Japan.

April 3/10: The first HC-130J combat rescue tanker leaves Lockheed Martin’s main assembly building in Marietta, GA. The plane next steps include a trip to the painting facility, production flight testing, and formal presentation to the USAF on April 19/10. The HC-130J will be delivered later in 2010, then undergo operational flight testing to meet an Initial Operating Capability target of mid-2012. Lockheed Martin release.

April 1/10: Support. Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA received a $77.1 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0015) to provide additional funding for logistics and engineering services in support of the US Marine Corps KC-130J aircraft.

Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC (36%), Miramar, CA (36%), and Okinawa, Japan (28%), and is expected to be complete in December 2010. The Naval Air Systems Command manages the contract.

April 1/10: SAR – more C-130Js. The Pentagon releases its April 2010 Selected Acquisitions Report, covering major program changes up to December 2009. The C-130J is featured, because the US military wants more of them:

“C-130J – Program costs increased $3,148.8 million (+26.2%) from $12,029.3 million to $15,178.1 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of 34 aircraft from 134 to 168 aircraft (+$2,749.3 million), and increases in other support costs (+$972.8 million) and initial spares (+$394.7 million) associated with the quantity increase. These increases were partially offset by decreases for actual contract values for aircraft costs (-$541.5 million), to properly account for advanced procurement that was erroneously reflected in the previous report (-$246.0 million), and for funding reductions in fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2015 (-$140.9 million).”

SAR – more C-130Js

March 2/10: Tunisia contract. Lockheed Martin announces an unspecified contract with Tunisia for 2 C-130J-30 stretched transports, and says the contract was signed in February 2010.

Deliveries are scheduled for 2013-2014, and the Tunisian contract also contains an initial 3 years of logistics support. The country currently operates a fleet of C-130Hs and C-130Bs, first purchased in the mid-1980s.

Tunisia: 2 C-130J-30

Feb 25/10: Australia upgrades. Australia’s government announces that they have approved AUD $45 million to upgrade and modernize their C-130J fleet, as part of a multi-national Joint User Group Global Project Arrangement with United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Canada and Italy. The “Block 7.0” upgrades will address system obsolescence, maintain international compatibility, and enable these aircraft to comply with new global air traffic standards. Defence minister Sen. Faulkner is quoted as saying that:

“Importantly, there is likely to be significant opportunity for Australian Industry to be involved in the national installation and support of the upgrade. Funding for these elements will be considered by Government following successful testing of the first modification kit on an Australian C-130J. [as a] risk management strategy.”

Feb 1/10: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. of Indianapolis, IN receives a $146 million firm-fixed-price contract, exercising Option III (year 4) of logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data in support of the C-130J propulsion systems. This includes the AE2100D3 engine, and the R-391 propeller as well.

At this time, $42.7 million has been committed by the 330th ACSG/GFKA at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-07-D-0001, Delivery #0400).

Jan 22/10: Support. A $16.7 million contract completely funds an “engineering change proposal” (ECP) to replace the C-130J’s Star VII mission computer. (FA8625-06-C-6456).

Jan 13/10: Canada. The 1st Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules produced for Canada leaves the company’s paint facility in Marietta, Georgia.

CC-130J: just painted
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Dec 18/09: Canada support. The Government of Canada signs a C$ 723 million (currently $698 million) contract amendment with Lockheed Martin. This initial CC-130J fleet support funding covers an initial 5 1/2 year period ending June 30/16.

The contract also includes a mechanism to extend the period of in-service support throughout the fleet’s service life, to 20 years or more. Public Works Canada release.

Canada support

Dec 22/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL receives a $14.5 million contract to provide FY 2010 operations and maintenance services for the C-130J. At this time, $3.5 million has been committed (FA8621-06-C-6300, P000046).

Dec 19/09: The 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, flies its first C-130J Super Hercules mission in support of U.S. Air Forces Africa to bring home 17 American troops from a training mission in Mali. 37th Airlift squadron of the 86th Airlift Wing, 17th Air Force flew the mission.

The USAF release cites the C-130J’s increased range as a helpful factor in Africa, and also cites the aircraft’s improved cargo capacity, especially in hot and/or high-altitude conditions. A pickup of this nature exercises the former but not the latter, expanding operational familiarity with the aircraft, in return for higher operating costs to perform this particular mission.

Nov 23/09: Italian crash. Italian air force C-130J #MM62176 crashes and burns after a touch-and-go landing, during a routine training sortie from Pisa. The crash kills both pilots, and all 3 passengers. It could have been worse – the plane crashed on a nearby railway line, but an oncoming train managed to stop.

C-130J MM62176 was delivered to Italy in 2000 as its 1st of 12 regular C-130Js, but was later adapted for tanker applications. The Italians have not halted flying operations with their remaining 21 C-130Js, which include 1 KC-130J and 10 stretched C-130J-30s.

This is not the 1st C-130J lost. On Feb 12/07, A UK Royal Air Force C-130J was extensively damaged by 2 land mines that were detonated while it was landing on a semi-prepared strip in southern Iraq. The British decided to destroy the plane. Flight International.

Crash

Nov 9/09: Engines. Rolls-Royce announces an $8.5 million contract to provide AE 2100D3 spare engine parts to power the C-130J military transport aircraft for the US Air Force. As part of this order, deployable kits and initial provisioning spares will be delivered to Cannon AFB in NM, Dyess AFB in TX and Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The contract, which is managed by Robins Air Force Base in GA, involves an initial 956 AE 2100D3 spare engines parts for delivery through 2011.

Oct 20/09: Industrial. Lockheed Martin CFO Bruce Tanner, discussing Q3 2009 earnings, reveals that global C-130J deliveries will grow from 12 aircraft in 2008 to 16 in 2009 and 26 in 2010. Q3 Earnings slides [PDF] | Flight International.

Oct 19/09: Shadow Harvest. Flight International reports that Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works division wants clearance to export its “Shadow Harvest” roll-on/roll-off suite of intelligence sensors for the C-130 Hercules, which was developed for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) with sponsorship from the Miami, Florida-based Southern Command.

Shadow Harvest is designed to identify targets concealed under camouflage or foliage, and reportedly includes BAE’s SPIRITT hyperspectral camera, and a low frequency/ multi-band synthetic aperture radar (MB-SAR), among other sensors, plus containerized roll on/off controllers and displays. It’s expected to become an official USAF program of record by 2012.

Oct 19/09: C-130 plans. Flight International has a video of 2 USAF Colonels who are answering questions regarding a number of C-130-related programs, including potential future gunships, programs to add weapons to C-130s beyond the USMC’s KC-130Js, SOCOM programs, etc.

Oct 16/09: Lockheed Martin Corp. in Marietta, GA received an $827.4 million contract for advance procurement funding for 3 FY 2010 C-130J aircraft, 4 FY 2010 HC-130J aircraft, and 4 FY 2010 MC-130J aircraft. An option is being exercised for the acquisition of 1 HC-130J aircraft to be fully funded with FY10 funds. Note that MC/HC-130Js are Special Operations aircraft.

At this time, $8.3 million has been obligated. The 657 AESS/SYKA at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456, P00087).

Oct 5/09: Lockheed Martin officially launches production of its HC/MC-130J special forces search-and-rescue aircraft. Future upgrades involve an internal investment to design a retractable housing for the aircraft’s MTS-A turret, in order to reduce drag and extend range. Other possibilities reportedly include airframe changes to accommodate more equipment, possibly including an enlarged nose section, and a wider cross-section for the fuselage. Flight International.

FY 2009

Qatar orders 4; Iraq orders 4; USA begins arming C-130Js; UAE says “maybe”; France interested – really?!?; Australian 5-year support deal; Canadian 5-year support deal; Shadow Harvest kit clearance?; Italian crash; Video re: USAF thinking.

AE2100 engine
c. Rolls-Royce plc 2009
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Sept 30/09: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp., of Orlando FL received a $9.9 million contract which will provide for FY 2010 C-130J maintenance and training, as orders are placed by the 677th AESG/SYK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8621-06-C-6300).

Sept 10/09: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $11.1 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-09-D-0020) from the U.S. Marine Corps, for 3 of the C-130J’s AE2100D3 turboprop engines. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, N.C., and is expected to be complete in May 2012. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

Aug 24/09: Engines. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA receives a $30.2 million modified contract to purchase the quick engine change assemblies for American C/KC/BC/HC/MC-130J aircraft, and Foreign Military Sale aircraft for Norway and India.

“At this time $31,972,726 has been obligated.” The US Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8625-06-C-6456).

Aug 11/09: Iraq order. A $140.3 million unfinalized firm-fixed-price contract modification for 2 more Iraqi C-130J-30s, completing their 6-aircraft request. The contract also includes engineering and integration tasks associated with Iraq’s distinctive C-130J-30 configuration.

At this time no funds have been obligated. The 657 AESS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages this contract (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00098). Read “Iraq Orders C-130Js” for all contracts and requests related to that program.

Iraq: 2 C-130J-30

July 20/09: Kuwait request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Kuwait’s official request to buy up to 8 KC-130J cargo/refueling aircraft and associated equipment, parts and support for an estimated cost $1.8 billion. This would significantly upgrade Kuwait’s air force, which currently lacks aerial refueling aircraft, and depends on just 3 L100 civilian C-130E equivalents for transport duties. Kuwait’s purchase would reinforce a trend in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which has seen similar purchases and requests in the last year from Saudi Arabia (A330s), Qatar (C-130J-30s), and the UAE (C-17s, C-130Js pending).

Kuwait has requested 8 KC-130Js with the accompanying 32 AE-2100D3 Turbo propeller engines, plus 8 spare AE-2100D3 Turbo propeller engines, 4 AN/ALR-56M Radar Warning Receivers, 4 AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning Systems, 4 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser Sets, and 20 AN/ARC-210 (RT-1851A(U)) Very High Frequency/Ultra High Frequency HAVEQUICK/SINCGARS Radio Systems. The contract, to be negotiated, would also include spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of program support.

The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Marietta, Georgia. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

DSCA request: Kuwait KC-130J (8)

June 5-15/09: France? With the A400M program seriously behind schedule, and a fleet of C-160 and Lockheed Martin C-130H tactical transports that continue to see heavy demand, France is apparently looking at the one option its government had said would not be considered.

French Defense Minister Herve Morin is quoted as saying that the government has expanded its stopgap options to include lease or purchase of some C-130Js; and Bloomberg reports that France has officially requested C-130J availability and performance data for review. Other possibilities for France include stepped up per-hour leasing of Russian AN-124s under NATO’s SALIS pool, per-hour C-17 leasing under NATO’s SAC pool, acquisition or lease of EADS’ smaller C-295Ms, or advancing their planned Airbus 330 MRTT aerial tanker & transport buy. France has also approved the modernization of its 10 newest C160 Transalls so they can remain in service until the first A400Ms arrive, which is now expected to happen in 2014-15.

These options group themselves by tradeoffs. Some contenders (C-295M, A330 MRTT) lack the reinforced floors required for dense tactical loads like armored vehicles. Others (AN-124, A330 MRTT, C-17s to lesser extent) require longer runways to operate from, which removes some of their utility as front line delivery aircraft. Range and refueling capability are potential issues for some (C-295M, some C-130Js), while maintaining overall fleet strength and front line airlift availability is a concern in other cases (AN-124, C-17, A330 MRTT to some extent). The C-130J sits in the middle of many of these tradeoffs, which may be why it has climbed back into consideration. Bloomberg.

June 5/09: Oman order. Lockheed Martin announces that the Sultanate of Oman has ordered a single stretched C-130J-30, to complement its 3 existing C-130H aircraft which were bought in the 1980s. Price is not disclosed.

The Lockheed Martin release doesn’t mention the UAE as a customer, despite earlier reports that contracts had been negotiated at IDEX 2009 (see Feb 25/09 entry). Company representatives informed DID that they are in final negotiations with the UAE, but have no contract yet, adding that negotiations are also underway with Israel (see July 30/08 entry).

Oman: 1 C-130J-30

May 27/09: Engines. Rolls-Royce announces an $80 million contract to provide AE 2100D3 spare engines and parts to power the C-130J military transport aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, the Royal Norwegian Air Force and the Indian Air Force.

The contract, which is managed by Robins Air Force Base in GA, involves an initial 27 AE 2100D3 spare engines and parts for delivery through 2011.

May 8/09: Armed C-130Js. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Marietta, GA received a $22.8 million firm-fixed-price contract to develop a roll-on, roll-off armed targeting capability for the Marine Corps’ KC-130J. The program is known as Harvest Hawk.

Work will be performed in Palmdale, CA and is expected to be complete in December 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $15.5 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-09-C-0053).

May 4/09: Armed C-130Js. The USAF is also interested in roll-on armament for its C-130 fleet, and issues a PIXS solicitation for a “Precision Strike Pkg 360 Degree Situational Awareness Camera System.” The solicitation adds that:

“This system would operate at altitudes at or above 10,000 feet and act as a hostile fire indicator system to provide aircrew with the ability to virtually scan the outside of the aircraft for hostile ground threats that would possibly target them. This system is part of a broader Persistence Strike Package (PSP). The purpose of the PSP program is to add a modular PSP to a medium lift cargo aircraft, to include a medium caliber gun and Stand-Off Precision Guided Munitions (SOPGM).”

April 30/09: Iraq order. Lockheed Martin of Marietta, GA receives a maximum $292.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy 4 C-130J-30 aircraft for the Iraqi government. At this time, $6.9 million has been obligated. The 657 AESS in Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456,P00080).

Note the July 25/08 entry. The initial request was for 6 aircraft. Since the DSCA request went unchallenged, Iraq’s government has the freedom to buy up to 2 more aircraft at a later date.

Iraq: 4 C-130J-30

April 30/09: The Air Force is modifying a fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., of Marietta, GA for $15.8 million. This contract modification will exercise options to purchase Special Forces configuration equipment for 6 MC-130J Global War on Terror aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 657 AESS, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456).

March 11/09: Australia support deal. Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) announces a contract to EADS Eurocopter subsidiary Australian Aerospace to provide Through Life Support services for the RAAF’s fleet of 12 C-130J and stretched C-130J-30 Hercules aircraft. Australian Aerospace already supports the RAAF’s AP-3C maritime patrol aircraft, so this is not a huge departure for the firm. Lockheed Martin will be the sub-contractor for aircraft maintenance, engineering, and supply chain management; and engine support will continue to be provided by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise subsidiary StandardAero under an existing contract arrangement.

The contract is worth up to A$ 292 million, and is structured as a 5-year rolling contract whose continuation will reportedly be linked to demonstrated performance and cost containment, with an eye to: improved delivery of services; performance-based, long-term, support arrangements; relationship with the Commonwealth; price disclosure; and meaningful transfer of risk. Contract extensions can continue under these arrangements, through to expected life-of-type in 2030.

RAAF Air Vice-Marshal Thorne says that the contract will create over 80 additional industry jobs in the Sydney/Richmond area over the next year. Australian DoD.

Australia support

March 5/09: Britain. Britain’s RAF is under strain, trying to sustain an aerial supply bridge for 8,000 deployed troops in Afghanistan. With its 20 C-130Ks (C1/C3) being forced toward retirement, Aviation Week reports [link now broken] that Britain is looking at the possibility of leasing 5 C-130Js as a potential “bridge” until the A400Ms can begin to arrive, and/or finding ways to add to their 6-plane C-17 fleet.

Senior British Defense Ministry officials are believed to have met on March 4/09 to examine proposals for the ministry’s next “Planning Round 09.” Airlift and budget issues would have been prominent within those discussions.

Feb 27/09: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives a $106 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J, which includes the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and Dowty R391 propeller.

The KC-130J MissionCare contract is a single contract line item number is used to pay a fixed price based on aircraft hours flown. Under the terms of the agreement, Rolls-Royce will provide engine management, support, trouble shooting, parts supply and logistics support for the aircraft, operating at 3 U.S. Marine Air Stations: Miramar, CA, Cherry Point, NC and Okinawa, Japan.

The contract covers a base year plus 3 option years, with the base year funded at $39.1 million and running to February 2010. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-D-0020).

Feb 26/09: Norway engine support. Rolls-Royce announces a $23 million MissionCare support services and spares contract for AE 2100D3 engines. The engines are installed on the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s (RNoAF) C-130Js.

The contract is modeled after the USAF’s Power By The Hour contract, providing a comprehensive support package to the RNoAF on a per-engine flight-hour basis. The contract covers on-site technical support, maintenance support, training, provision of spare parts, supply replenishment with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the engine, and supply of an R391 Dowty propeller.

Feb 25/09: UAE. The UAE announces an AED 5.9 billion (about $1.6 billion) deal for 12 of Lockheed Martin’s C-130J medium-range tactical transports, which will accompany a deal for 4 of Boeing’s larger C-17s. Abu Dhabi’s privately-owned Waha Capital usually finances airline purchases, and has been tapped to finance the C-17 and C-130J contracts.

Neither deal is finalized, and the C-17 contract takes a while. The C-130J contract remains unsigned as of September 2012.

Feb 2/09: Engines. The USAF is modifying a contract to Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN for $120 million, in return for spares, program management support, engineering services, and technical data in support of the C-130J’s AE 2100D3 engine and R-391 propeller. At this time $17.5 million has been committed, and the contract will be managed by 330 ACSG/GFKA at Robins AFB, GA (FA8504-07-D-0001, P00004).

Dec 16/08: Industrial. Reuters reports that Lockheed Chairman and CEO Robert Stevens told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit in Washington that the company expected to sell “hundreds [of C-130Js] domestically and hopefully hundreds internationally” in coming years. “We’re building one airplane a month and our goal is to maybe double that…” he said.

Dec 12/08: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $6 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002). The Us Marine Corps is buying 2 more AE2100D3 turboprop engines for their KC-130Js.

Work will be performed in Indianapolis, IN and is expected to be complete in July 2010. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract.

Dec 3/08: Canada. The Ottawa Citizen’s defense reporter Davd Pugliese reports that Canada has signed a contract for early delivery of 2 of its 15 ordered C-130Js. One aircraft will arrive in June 2010, and the other will arrive in July 2010.

This still misses the RFP’s original must-deliver date of early 2009, but that was based on a contract being signed in 2006, instead of in 2008. Under the signed 2008 contract, the delivery deadline for the first Canadian C-130J would have been January 2011.

Dec 1/08: MC-130J mods. The USAF is modifying a firm-fixed-price not-to-exceed $74.9 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corp in Marietta, GA. It includes time and material and cost reimbursement, and covers an Engineering Change Proposal for one-time efforts to incorporate Special Operations Forces-unique modifications in the MC-130J. At this time, $19.6 million has been committed (FA8625-06-C-6456).

See also the related June 13/08 entry.

Oct 7/08: Qatar order. Qatar recently moved to upgrade its military transport capabilities by buying 2 C-17 strategic airlifters, and 18 AW139 utility helicopters. Now it will also add 4 stretched C-130J-30 tactical transports, under a recent $393.6 million deal with Lockheed Martin.

Qatar has never flown C-130s, so the package includes 4 aircraft, training of aircrew and maintenance technicians, spares, ground support and test equipment, servicing carts, forklifts, loading vehicles, cargo pallets, and a team of technical specialists who will be based in Qatar during an initial support period. See also July 29/08 entry.

Qatar: 4 C-130J-30

FY 2008

Canada orders 17; India orders 6; HC/MC-130J special forces configurations unveiled, get initial US orders; Qatar orders 4; Italian 3-year support deal; Israel request; Iraq request; 1st US Coast Guard C-130J delivered; As US SAR points to program growth, Lockheed confident C-130J will make it.

USMC KC-130J
(click to view full)

Aug 14/08: Sub-contractors. Rockwell Collins Aerospace and Electronics, Inc. in Portland, OR received a $7.2 (in total ceiling amount) firm-fixed-price, Basic Order Agreement (BOA) for spares, repairs, and engineering services and support of HGS-3000 heads-up display system for the C-130J aircraft sustainment program.

Work will be performed 100% in Portland, Ore and is anticipated to be complete at the conclusion of the BOA in August 2013. Funds will be obligated as each job order is identified. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, Navy Electronic Commerce Online, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane website with one offer received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-08-G-WT00).

July 30/08: Israel. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress [PDF] of Israel’s request for up to 9 stretched C-130J-30s, including a number of ‘non-standard’ equipment items associated with Special Forces use. The total value could be as high as $1.9 billion.

Read Israel Orders ‘Special’ C-130J-30s for full coverage.

DSCA request: Israel C-130J-30 (9)

July 29/08: Qatar. DACIS reports [link now broken] that The Qatari Ministry of Defense has awarded Lockheed Martin an undisclosed contract for C-130J Hercules transports. While no DSCA announcement has been issued, there are civilian versions of the C-130 that would not require a Foreign Military Sale request. Later announcements reveal that Qatar ordered 4 planes.

The move comes just a couple of weeks after Qatar signed deals with an estimated $1.5 billion value, acquiring 2 C-17 strategic transport aircraft, and 18 AW139 light/medium utility helicopters. The Persian Gulf sheikhdom doesn’t have a real military transport fleet at the moment, just a VIP flight of business and passenger jets. With these 3 contracts, Qatar has now modernized its aged utility helicopter fleet, and acquired longer-range military transports to back that up. See subsequent announcement on Oct 7/08.

July 25/08: Iraq request. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Iraq’s official request for 6 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, which will supplement the 3 refurbished C-130E’s that currently form Iraq’s medium transport fleet.

The estimated cost is $1.5 billion, and the prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX and Rolls-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN. Going forward, up to 10 U.S. Government and 10 contractor representatives will participate in 2-week long annual technical and program management reviews. Lockheed Martin and Rolls Royce aren’t the only contractors for this request, however, which also includes defensive equipment from Alliant Techsystems and BAE Systems. The detailed request includes:

  • 6 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft identical to the USAF baseline standard
  • 28 Rolls Royce AE 2100D3 engines, (24 installed, 4 spare)
  • 8 of ATK’s AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning Systems (6 installed, 2 spare)
  • 8 of BAE’s AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems (6 installed, 2 spare)

Plus a stock of spare and repair parts, configuration updates, integration studies, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, technical services, personnel training and training equipment, foreign liaison office support, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics personnel services, construction, and other related elements of logistics support.

DSCA request: Iraq C-130J-30 (6)

July 17/08: Industrial. It was touch-and-go for a while, but the C-130J’s future now looks much more assured. Ross Reynolds, vice president of C-130 Programs for Lockheed Martin, announces that the company has notched 221 C-130J orders, with a current backlog of 58 aircraft. Flight International’s article adds that:

“Having dropped plans to upgrade its ‘Legacy Herks’ under Boeing’s troubled avionics modernization programme (AMP) the USAF has instead opted for new aircraft, based on a common airframe derived from the US Marine Corps’ KC-130J. The new requirement initially calls for 115 aircraft; initially comprising 78 HC-130Js for Air Combat Command and 37 MC-130Js for AFSOC. In anticipation of the huge new USAF requirement, Lockheed Martin says that it is ready to ramp up production to 24 aircraft per year from the current 12.”

July 15/08: Sub-contractors. Lockheed Martin holds a briefing at the Farnborough International Airshow 2008 concerning its new HC-130J and MC-130J configurations. In addition, Lockheed Martin discussed 3 new technologies that will become part of all future C-130Js: (1) a Global Digital Map Unit built by Israel’s Elbit Systems; (2) a TacView Portable Mission Display for mission planning and in-flight replanning, built by Canada’s CMC, who recently finished a delivery to US AFSOC for its AC-130H/U gunships; and CMC’s InegriFlight commercial GPS Landing System Sensor Unit to give the planes an Instrument Flight Rules and civil-certified Global Navigational Satellite System. CMC Electronics | Flight International re: TacView.

June 13/08: +6 SOCOM. The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Marietta GA by $470 million, as an unfinalized contract to buy 6 HC/MC-130J special operations aircraft. The aircraft will be bought in FY 2009, and this contract includes associated long lead material and non-recurring aircraft production efforts using FY 2008 advance procurement funding. At this time $75 million has been committed by the USAF/AFMC, Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8625-06-C-6456 P00037).

The new variant will add several features to the baseline KC-130J, including Block 6.5 flight-control software, an extended service life wing, an enhanced cargo handling system, a boom refueling receptacle, and electro-optical/infrared camera, a combat systems station and armor.

This move effectively abandons an earlier option of holding a competition to replace existing HC/MC-130s. The USAF is authorized to replace the 68 oldest HC/MC-130N/Ps, including some that entered service in 1964. Whether it chooses to replace its entire inventory with C-130J variants remains an open question at this point; a future competition is not impossible. See also USAF release | Flight International.

May 30/08: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $9.7 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002) for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J, which includes the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and R391 propeller.

Work will be performed at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC and is expected to be completed in November 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD is managing the contract.

May 28/08: HC/MC-130J. Lockheed Martin unveils its privately-developed HC/MC-130J at the ILA exhibition in Berlin. It can be refueled in flight, ad can also mount the KC-130J’s refueling pods to act as a tanker itself. Advanced imaging and radar systems for low-level night flights and battlefield surveillance, modern electronics including the addition of a dual-display combat systems operator station, and a wing with longer service life round out the enhancements.

This tailored common core special operations variant is intended to the HC-130N/P King Bird CSAR/tanker, MC-130E/H Combat Talon special forces transports, and MC-130P Combat Shadow special forces transports/tankers. Lockheed also hopes that this hopes new common core airframe will form the basis of a future gunship to replace existing AC-130s; see the Additional Readings section, however, for questions about the design’s appropriateness to the future Special Operations environment.

SOCOM has issued an official acquisition decision memorandum for 68 aircraft has now been issued to replace the older MC-130E, MC-130P and HC-130P aircraft, with an overall program target of 115 aircraft and an initial operational capability (IOC) date of 2012. In the absence of orders, Lockheed Martin has used private funds in order to ensure timely development, though India’s recent billion-dollar order of 6-12 MC-130J type aircraft has helped ease the risk. Lockheed Martin is also keenly aware that the larger Airbus A400M’s biggest disadvantage is the fact that deliveries are expected to begin in 2011, with a substantial order backlog of about 180 aircraft. By accelerating its own efforts, they place their future competitor at maximum disadvantage for the prestigious US SOCOM contract, which can then be levered into niche-role contracts with other countries looking to boost their special forces and search-and-rescue capabilities. Flight International.

HC/MC-130J design unveiled

May 9/08: Support. GE Aviation Systems LLC of Sterling, VA received a firm fixed price contract for $9.4 million to establish organizational level propeller repair capability for the C-130J aircraft at 8 different bases. At this time all funds have been committed. Robbins AFB, GA issued the contract (FA8504-080C-0002).

April 7/08: SAR. The USA decides to buy more C-130Js, and that means higher overall program costs which must be note in the Pentagon’s Selected Acquisition Reports release:

“Program costs increased $3,958.2 million (+49.0 percent) from $8,071.1 million to $12,029.3 million, due primarily to a quantity increase of 52 aircraft from 82 to 134 aircraft (+$2,937.8 million) and associated estimating and schedule allocations

  • (+$399.6 million). There were additional increases in initial spares (+$85.7 million) and other support costs (+$546.9 million) associated with the higher aircraft quantity. These increases were partially offset by decreases from the acceleration of the procurement buy profile (-$18.1 million) and withholds for higher Air Force priorities and programming changes (-$12.6 million).

…Quantity changes are estimated based on the original SAR baseline cost-quantity relationship. Cost changes since the original baseline are separately categorized as schedule, engineering, or estimating “allocations.” The total impact of a quantity change is the identified “quantity” change plus all associated “allocations.”

SAR – more C-130Js

April 2/08: Lockheed Martin announces delivery of a 6th C-130J Super Hercules to 41st Airlift Squadron, 463rd Airlift Group, at Little Rock Air Force Base, AR. The 41st, also known as the “Black Cats,” is the first active-duty C-130J combat squadron in the Air Force.

March 18/08: +2 KC-130J. A $133.2 million “undefinitized contract action” (UCA) for 2 FY 2009 KC-130J aircraft and the associated long lead materials and parts. At this time $30 million has been obligated. Kirtland AFB in NM issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456 P00033).

March 11/08: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $6.5 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002) for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J, which includes the AE2100D3 turboprop engine and R391 propeller.

Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, and is expected to be complete in May 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

Feb 29/08: USCG. Lockheed Martin delivers the first “missionized” HC-130J long-range surveillance maritime patrol aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard for maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and homeland security missions. Mission equipment includes installation of a belly-mounted surface search radar, a nose-mounted electro-optical infrared sensor, a flight deck mission operator station and a mission integrated communication system. The mission system installed on the HC-130J is derived from the same software series developed for the mission system pallet onboard the HC-144A (EADS-CASA CN-235) maritime patrol aircraft concurrently in testing.

Lockheed Martin is working within the Deepwater acquisition framework to deliver 3 fully-equipped HC-130Js under a under a fixed-price contract, and is on schedule to complete the aircraft In March 2008. A contract modification is expected to begin work on a 4th aircraft, which would give the Coast Guard an inventory of 6 HC-130Js.

USCG 1st missionized HC-130J LRSM

Feb 1/08: Support. A firm fixed price contract for $103.1 million for services that include logistics support, program management support, engineering services, repairs, spares and technical data in support of systems that are unique to the C-130J. This modification exercises option 1 of the contract, covering years 3-5. At this time, $12.5 million has been committed.

Parts that are shared with the rest of the C-130 Hercules fleet tend to be bought through pre-existing maintenance programs – partly because this is easiest, and partly because more aggregation improves the military’s bargaining position. The 330th ACSG/GFKA at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8504-06-D-0001, PO 0006).

Jan 30/07: India order. The USA and India reportedly sign a Letter of Agreement for 6 C-130J-30 transports, plus additional communications equipment, spares, etc. (q.v. May 25/07 request).

There’s an additional option for 6 more planes in this contract, which the Indian government can buy at the same agreed-upon price.

India: 6 C-130J-30

Jan 16/08: Canada order. Canada signs a USD $1.4 billion contract for 17 C-130J aircraft, as replacements for about 23 aging CC-130 Hercules aircraft.

A 20-year maintenance deal with Lockheed Martin is also in the works, and will be finalized at a future date; the entire program is estimated to be worth about C$ 4.9 billion (currently $4.8 billion).

Canada: 17 C-130J-30

Nov 30/07: Engines. Rolls Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN receives an $11.1 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-03-D-0002). It exercises an option for logistics support, technical engineering support services, and spare engines and associated parts for the US Marine Corps’ KC-130J aerial tankers/ transports, which are powered by Rolls Royce’s AE2100D3 turboprop engine and the R391 propeller.

Work will be performed in Cherry Point, NC, and is expected to be completed in May 2008. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD.

Oct 25/07: USA multi-year deal offer. The Hill reports that Lockheed Martin has offered the US military a 5-year, $6+ billion deal for 120 C-130J, KC-130J, and C-130J-S (short) aircraft. What are the deal’s parameters? Why now? Short answer: a rival’s delays make a lock-in possible that would guarantee the aircraft’s future.

Oct 12/07: Britain. The UK Parliament’s Defence Committee examines Britain’s airlift capacity in light of current usage, A400M schedule slippages, and future needs. Key C-130J related excerpts from the document’s Q&A and government responses include:

“We share the Committee’s concerns regarding the medium and longer term consequences of the current high levels of use of the C-17 and C-130 fleets. We wish to reassure the Committee that we already monitor very closely the impact that flying rates have upon the expected life of our aircraft. We constantly monitor the fatigue that our aircraft are subject to in order to reassess our ability to maintain military capability in the future and enable early action to be taken where necessary. In the long term, the MoD is taking account of the reduced life-expectancy of its aircraft as a result of increased flying hours… The Department agrees with the Committee that some aircraft are incurring additional maintenance and repair activity as a result of the conditions in which they are employed. For example, the use of the C-130 Hercules onto natural surfaces rather than paved runways results in some unavoidable damage to the under-belly surface of the aircraft… . While the replacement of [earlier version] C-130K with 25 A400M will, overall, result in a one-for-one replacement, the increased payload and range of A400M roughly doubles the relative airlift capability offered by C-130K.”

See the full report: “14th Special Report. Strategic Lift: Government Response to the Committee’s Eleventh Report of Session 2006-07; HC 1025” [PDF]

Oct 10/07: Italy support deal. Lockheed Martin, Alenia Aeronautica and Avio SPA have signed a EUR 97 million ($137.5 million) agreement to provide Long Term Support (LTS) for the Italian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules fleet. This Raggruppamento Temporaneo d’Impresa (RTI) is led by Alenia Aeronautica, and will provide joint support of the Italian C-130J/J-30 fleet of 22 aircraft for a period of 3 years.

Lockheed Martin’s portion of the contract is about $47 million; its responsibilities include integrated logistics support management, avionics/mechanical line replaceable unit repair service, on-site resident support , field service support, supply chain management, engineering support and technical publications updates.

Italy support

Oct 9/07: Delivery. Lockheed Martin announces that it has recently delivered the first KC-130J Tanker to US forces in Japan. Aerial Refueling and Transport Squadron 152 (VMGR-152), Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, took delivery of its first KC-130J on Sept 30/07, representing the 27th KC-130J to be delivered to the USMC.

The USMC Air Expeditionary Force has had 6 KC-130Js in theater since February 2005, which have flown 8,854 sorties totaling 17,398 flight hours. August 2007 set a deployment one month record with 318 sorties, 621.9 flying hours, just over 6 million pounds of fuel offloaded, and 127,014 pounds of cargo carried.

Oct 3/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems of Marietta, GA received a contract modification for $6.9 million, incorporating Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) 06-0700076R1 entitled, “Block 6.0 Installations and Production Non-Recurring.” This ECP will retrofit and install Block 6.0 on all currently fielded US Air Force and US Air Force Reserve C-130J, EC-130J, and WC-130J aircraft. A separate ECP is currently in work at the 657th AESS for production incorporation of Block 6.0, which will enable C-130J aircraft to be produced in the Block 6.0 configuration. At this time all funds have been obligated. For more information please call (937) 255-4599. USAF/AFMC Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base OH (FA8625-06-C-6456, P00014).

FY 2007

US contract restructured; US JCA competition loss; Canada win; India request; Norway request. Deliveries: Denmark’s 4th & last.

C-130J-30
(click to view full)

Aug 3/07: +5. Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems in Marietta, GA received a firm-fixed-price contract modification for $322 million. This contract modification is an unfinalized contract for 5 more C-130J aircraft under the US Congress’ FY 2007 Global War on Terrorism supplemental funding. At this time, $161 million has been obligated. Work will be complete in December 2010 (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00021). Note that this figure has not yet been added to the budgetary totals above.

Aug 3/07: Lockheed Martin announces delivery of a 3rd “C 130J Super Hercules” to the 41st Airlift Squadron “Black Cats” at Little Rock Air Force Base, AK. The Black Cats are the first active-duty C-130J combat squadron in the Air Force, and one of the most highly decorated airlift squadrons in U.S. military history.

This was a minor tidbit, but the release also quoted Lt. Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition at the Pentagon. He accepted the new C-130J on behalf of the “Black Cats” and said that: “As our aging intra-theater airlift and tanker fleets need replacing, we anticipate that the C-130J will be a competitive contender for those missions.”

Interesting. Note the use of the word “contender.”

July 11/07: Denmark. Lockheed Martin announces delivery of the 4th C 130J Super Hercules to the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF), completing the current order. Denmark’s first C-130J was delivered in March 200,4 and began operational service only one month after arriving at the RDAF’s 721 Squadron in Aalborg, Denmark.

RDAF C-130Js are being deployed and used in missions around the world and have already accumulated nearly 5,000 flight hours. One RDAF C-130J operating in Kuwait over the past six months has flown 250 missions, transported 1,600 passengers and moved 500,000 pounds of cargo. RDAF C 130Js were also deployed in support of the tsunami humanitarian relief effort in Southeast Asia and to support the United Nations in Africa. In addition to operating in the hot, harsh conditions of both Southwest and Southeast Asia, RDAF C-130Js have successfully performed in extremely cold conditions as well. They fly to “Station North” in Greenland, the Danish Navy’s most remote base located only 580 miles from the North Pole.

Denmark – all 4 delivered

June 28/07: Support. Lockheed Martin Simulator, Training and Support in Orlando, FL received a firm-fixed-price contract modification for $7.65 million for C-130J Training, Block 6.0 (USAF) and Block 6.5 (USMC) upgrades. This work will be complete by September 2009. To date, total funds have been obligated. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8621-06-C-6300/P00009).

June 18/07: +1 KC-130J. A firm-fixed price contract modification not to exceed $64.2 million, for 1 additional KC-130J aircraft for the United States Marine Corps. The aircraft is being added to those awarded under contract FA8625-06-C-6456 P00008, on Dec 8/06 – see below. To date $32.1 million has been obligated (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00015).

This additional aircraft is being funded entirely by dollar savings realized by the USMC as a result of the conversion of the C-130J Multi-Year Procurement (MYP) contract from FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) Part 12 to FAR Part 15. This total of 5 aircraft will now be specified under one single proposal, and work will be complete by March 2010.

May 25/07: India. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress [PDF] of India’s request for 6 C-130J Aircraft in Special Forces configuration, as well as associated equipment and services. The planes are destined for India’s special forces, and the total value if all options are exercised could be as high as $1.059 billion.

See full DID coverage of India’s buy.

DSCA request: India C-130J (6)

April 18/07: Norway. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress [PDF] of Norway’s request for 4 stretched C-130J-30 aircraft, as well as associated equipment and services. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX will supply the aircraft, and will be responsible for procuring and integrating the defensive systems. Rolls-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis, IN will supply the engines. The total contract values, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $520 million. DSCA adds that:

“Norway intends to use the C-130J aircraft for intra-theater support for its troops involved in worldwide operations. Additionally, the aircraft will be used for humanitarian relief operations in various locations to include the Sudan, the Middle East, and Afghanistan.”

The purchase encountered some political controversy, but American bureaucrats made extra efforts to expedite key approvals and move the sale forward. In the end, a deal was completed.

DSCA request: Norway C-130J-30 (4)

Jan 31/07: Support. A $33.6 million firm-fixed-price with time & material and cost reimbursement contract modification. This contract modification will exercise period 2 options to purchase the following items: program and management data for 1-year, technical and engineering data for 1-year, engineering drawing for 1-year, logistics support data for 1-year, technical manual contract requirements data for 1-year, initial C-130J aircraft peculiar spares for 9 aircraft, reliability and maintainability program for 1-year, field service representative support for 1-year, ground maintenance station admin. support for 1-year. At this time, total funds have been obligated, and work will be complete January 2008. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456).

Dec 20/06: Support. A $37.5 million modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-04-D-0001) to exercise an option for logistics and technical engineering support and spares for the U.S. Marine Corps’ KC-130J aircraft and other Government C-130J aircraft. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, N.C. (85%); Miramar, CA (10%); and Okinawa, Japan (5%), and is expected to be complete in December 2007. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD issued the contract.

Dec 8/06: +3 Js, +2 KC-130J. A $256.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to purchase 3 C-130J-30 transports and 1 KC-130J aerial tanker, as authorized and funded by the FY 2006 Global War on Terror (GWOT) supplemental authorization. This modification is an undefinitized contraction action (UCA) that will obligate 50% ($128.1 million) of the $256.2 million not-to exceed amount. These aircraft, slated for delivery in 2010, were authorized and funded by the FY06 Global War on Terror supplemental authorization. This contract brings the total number of C-130Js ordered to date to 186 (FA8625-06-C-6456/P00008).

A June 2007 modification brought the FY 2006 supplemental value to $320.4 million, for 3 C-130Js and 2 KC-130Js. See above. These figures have not yet been added to the budgetary figures above, pending question to the US military.

Nov 22/06: Canada. Ottawa Citizen – Lockheed wins $4.9B contract. The story contends that DND representatives did not seriously examine Airbus’ bid, and gives these details:

“The Conservative government has quietly named Lockheed Martin’s C-130J aircraft as the winner of a $4.9-billion bid to replace the military’s aging Hercules transport planes… The Canadian government will spend $3.2 billion to buy 17 of the aircraft and another $1.7 billion for a 20-year service contract for the planes. Lockheed, as the prime contractor, will be responsible for the maintenance contract as well. The contract for the planes is expected to be signed by the summer of 2007. The first aircraft will be required to be delivered three years after that.”

DID has a detailed, in-depth spotlight article covering Canada’s tactical airlift competition, its requirements, the proposed alternatives, and ongoing developments: “Canada’s CC-130s to Fail In 3 Years — $4B RFP for Replacements (updated)

Nov 21/06: No JCA joy. Lockheed Martin’s JCA protest is not successful. The reason their “shortened C-130J” was disqualified from the finals?

Their bid wouldn’t have provided jam-resistant GPS instrumentation until 2012, and its incorporation required the USAF to sign on to the existing upgrade contract for the C-130J fleet (FA8625-04-D-6425). The RFP, on the other hand, wanted the planes delivered with those systems installed. The other competitors complied, and even a clarification request to Lockheed didn’t wake them up. The GAO seemed none too happy with Lockheed Martin’s protest, either, stopping just sort of calling its arguments dishonest.

Nov 3/06: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL received a $17.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for C-130J training, FY 2007 contractor logistic support, aircrew, training system support Center and FY 2007 change management. At this time, $17.25 million have been obligated, and work will be complete September 2007. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8621-06-C-6300).

Oct 25/06: US C-130J contract converted. The multi-year procurement contract for the C-130J Hercules is converted from a commercial item Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 12 to a FAR Part 15 military contract, with increased contractor overhead for costing data etc.

Read “C-130J Acquisition Program Restructured” for full coverage.

US restructuring

FY 2006 and earlier

24-year British support deal; Multinational upgrade; Cancellation threat in USA; Inspector General report says cancellation fee estimates wildly overstated; USMC’s KC-130Js operational; USAF accepts 1st C-130J; Delivery #100.

UK C-130 C5
(click to view full)

Oct 16/06: International block upgrades. Lockheed Martin announces a $110 million upgrade contract to bring the C-130J Super Hercules transports flown by Australia, Britain, Italy and Denmark to an agreed standard. See “C-130J Reaches USAF IOC, Adds $110M for Multinational Upgrades” for full coverage.

International upgrades agreement

Aug 14/06: JCA GAO protest. Lockheed Martin files a protest with the GAO and urges a freeze on the Joint Cargo Aircraft program until its complaint is resolved, following the exclusion of its shortened-fuselage C-130J from the JCA competition.

August 2/06: JCA loss. C-130J, CN-235 eliminated. The US Army informs Lockheed that its shortened C-130J does not qualify for the JCA, and also eliminates the EADS/Raytheon CN-235.

July 18/06: Support. A $10.5 million firm-fixed-price, time and material, and cost-reimbursement contract for production and installation of stepped frequency microwave radiometer modification kits for 10, WC-130J. This work will be complete August 2007. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456)

June 23/06: IG Report. The Washington Post reports on a Pentagon inspector general report, which claims that the purported $1.78 billion cancellation costs may have been overstated by up to $1.1 billion. According to the report, the estimate Rumsfeld was given was “incomplete and did not provide reliable information for making an informed decision,” leaving decision-makers incapable of rationally deciding the cost-effectiveness of continuing or terminating the contract.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld had bowed to strong Congressional pressure when he decided not to terminate the C-130J program as he and the Pentagon had originally proposed. At the time, the cited reason was cancellation costs.

June 21/06: Support. The USAF issues a $112 million firm-fixed-price with time & material and cost reimbursement contract for:

  • C-130J Peculiar Spares (Initial) Existing Bases: (8 kits)
  • C-130J MATS Peculiar Spares: (1 Lot)
  • C-130J Readiness Spares Packages Air Force (Little Rock): (1 Lot)
  • C-130J Readiness Spares package ANG (Rhode Island): (1 Lot)
  • WC-130J High Priority Mission Spares Kits USAFR Keesler AFBG: (1 Lot)
  • EC-130J Quick Engine Retrofit Kit – FY06 (1 each).

At this time, $33.1 million has been obligated. Solicitations and negotiations were complete March 2006, and work will be complete January 2007. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8625-06-C-6456)

June 7/06: JCA bid. Lockheed Martin announces that they have proposed their in-production short-fuselage variant of the combat tested C-130J for the Joint Cargo Aircraft (JCA) program. JCA requirements called for an aircraft capable of short-field performance, able to transport a payload of 12,000 pounds, and designed to accommodate new technology such as defensive systems and state-of-the-art avionics.

Lockheed had been partnered with Alenia Aeronautica on the C-27J Spartan/”Baby Herc,” but that went awry. In the end, the shortened C-130J would be disqualified from the competition, which the C-27J won.

US JCA loss

June 2/06: Britain support deal. The UK MoD announces a GBP 1.52 billion contract ($2.86 billion at conversion) to Marshall Aerospace in order to support its fleet of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft over the next 24 years. As prime contractor, Marshall Aerospace will work in partnership with the UK Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO), the Royal Air Force, Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce to deliver the Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS) programme. The HIOS programme will provide guaranteed levels of aircraft availability to a fleet that includes both older C3/C1 models (C-130K stretched and normal) and C4/C5 models (C-130J-30 and C-130J). See full DID coverage.

British support

May 24/06: Training. Lockheed Martin Simulator, Training and Support in Kennesaw, GA received a $32.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for C-130J Training Device Fuselage Trainer #2, Loadmaster Part Task Trainer, Aircraft Interface Monitor, Visual Awareness Recognition Screen, Weapon System Trainer Local Networking, Training System Support Career (5-months), Contractor Logistics Support (5-months), aircrew training (5-months) Instructor Operation Stration course, ISO Computer Base Trainer, Premium Training Time, and U. S. Marine Corps proposal prep. At this time, $20.2 million has been obligated. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8621-06-C-6300).

April 17/06: Engines. Lockheed Martin announces that the Rolls-Royce AE2100D3 engine powering the C-130J Super Hercules transport fleet has reached the 1,000,000 flight hour milestone. The engine also powers Alenia’s C-27J, but Lockheed’s figure is derived from 250,000 flight hours for the worldwide C-130J fleet (4 engines per C-130J). The “common core” AE engine line is manufactured in Indianapolis, IN.

As of this date, a total of 182 C-130Js are on order, and 136 have been delivered to the U.S., Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard, USMC, Coast Guard, the Royal Australian Air Force, Britain’s Royal Air Force, the Royal Danish Air Force, and the Italian Air Force.

1 million engine flight hours

Feb 1/06: Support. A $164 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price award-fee, cost-plus fixed-fee, time-and-materials, and cost-reimbursement contract for sustaining services including logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data in support of systems peculiar to the C-130J family.

At this time, $13.5 million has been obligated. Solicitations began August 2005, negotiations were complete in January 2006, and work will be completed by 2 years of sustainment service performance. The Headquarters Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8504-06-D-0001).

Feb 1/06: Engines. Rolls-Royce Corp. in Indianapolis, IN received a $72.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for sustaining services in support of the C-130J propulsion system which includes the AE 2100D3 engine and Dowty’s R-391 propeller system. The contract includes logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data. At this time, $18.9 million has been obligated. The Headquarters Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8504-06-C-0004).

FY 2005 and earlier (incomplete)

KC-130J refueling CH-53E

April 29/04: The U.S. Marine Corps announces that the commander of Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E) has “recommended full fleet introduction of the Lockheed Martin KC-130J [aerial tanker] for operational use.”

April 16/04: US Acceptance. The U.S. Air Force formally accepts its first Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules.

USAF acceptance

Aug 6/03: Delivery #100. Lockheed Martin announces the delivery of the 100th C-130J Super Hercules airlifter. The customer is the Italian Force’s 46th Air Brigade based in Pisa, Italy.

#100

Additional Readings & Sources

News & Related Developments

  • Deutsche Welle (Nov 6/07) – Report: Half of Germany’s Military Planes are in Shambles. Germany isn’t alone with this problem, and: “…corrosion and wear and tear have turned over half of Germany’s [C-160] Transall planes into decrepit machinery. The sources apparently said that it was becoming more difficult to locate spare parts for the planes, some of which are more than 40 years old… Germany had originally planned to replace the remaining Transall planes with Airbus’ new A400M model by 2014, but that schedule may have to be revised due to recently announced delays in delivery.”

  • Defense News (Oct 29/07) – Airplanes on Life Support. Moseley, Wynne Plead: Let USAF Pull the Plug [dead link]. They’re talking about aircraft that can’t fly but must be kept per Congressional directives, which includes a number of C-130E Hercules and KC-135E Stratotankers. “One C-130E Hercules from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is so old and in such bad shape it cannot safely fly. Yet U.S. Air Force maintainers must tow it around the tarmac every so often to make sure its tires don’t go flat, and crank up the engines every month to make sure they still run… More than 20 percent of the service’s C-130Es are grounded or have significant flight restrictions…”

  • Aviation Week’s Defense Technology International (Jun 13/07) – A400M Could Dominate Strategic Lift [link now broken]. Also covers the C-17 program, and C-5 AMP/RERP upgrades. “The trend in airlift demand is going to place a premium on aircraft that carry more than a C-130. The goal of carrying Future Combat Systems vehicles on the C-130 has been abandoned. Even the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles are so heavy that a C-130 will carry only one of them. And plans call for the Army to get bigger. If there is an airlift crisis in 2015-20, you read it first here.”

  • DID (April 4/07) – Keeping the C-130s Flying: Center Wing Box Replacements. On February 14, 2005, the US Air Force announced that they were grounding nearly 100 C-130E models because of severe fatigue in their wings, including a dozen that had been flying missions in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. By November 2006, the USAF had kept 47 aircraft under flying restrictions, plus another 30 completely grounded because of the cracks. Other aircraft are expected to wear out as they fly, however, and the replacement program doesn’t expect to get ahead of the “grounding-restriction curve” until 2012.

  • National Defense Magazine (February 2000) – Industry Titans Vying for Early Lead in Cargo Aircraft Markets.

Competitors

Special Forces

  • Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments: Robert Martinage, Senior Fellow – Stealthy Mobility & Support: Aircraft for US Special Operations Forces. [PDF] Feb 22/07 Presentation at CSIS – Future of SOF Aviation Project. Note payload requirements of only 20,000-30,000 pounds, less than the C-130.

  • StrategyPage (Aug 22/09) – Fly Hard, Pay Later. “…adding $4 billion worth of new aircraft… over the next five years. The 1st Special Operations Wing… 37 new C-130J… converting 17 of the aircraft to AC-130 gunships, to replace the 25 currently available… The 1st SOW flew 3,200 combat sorties last year, each of these averaging about four hours over hostile territory. There were also 4,200 training sorties, which mainly served to provide 3,200 new air crew for 1st SOW aircraft.”

  • Military Aerospace Technology (March 16/05) – Next Generation Gunships. Includes significant details re: Lockheed Martin’s MACK concept, which may have a significant influence on future SOCOM aircraft.

  • Jane’s (Feb 7/03) – Concepts vie to win US special ops aircraft race. But the designs, including Lockheed’s MACK concept, are also aimed at the medium transport market.

Categories: News

LM Taps BAE to Modernize HUD for F-22s | Oshkosh Gets $200M to Provide FMTVs to Israel | British-Japanese JNAAM Tech Feasibility Study to be Complete by Year End

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 23:58
Americas

  • US Navy fleet pilots have expressed concerns over the safety of catapult launching the F-35C from aircraft carriers. Recent sea testing of the naval variant of the Joint Strike Fighter exposed an issue of excessive vertical oscillations, or a bouncing effect, during takeoff with the aid of a steam-driven catapult. However the program’s manager, Lt. Christopher Bogdan, downplayed the concerns stating that the oscillations only occur at very light gross takeoff weights and no F-35C going into combat would be taking off at such a light weight. “At medium weights and heavy weights you don’t see this problem at all,” Bogdan was quoted as saying.

  • BAE Systems has been selected by Lockheed Martin to modernize the head-up display (HUD) for USAF F-22s. The existing HUD will be replaced with an all-digital version, based on BAE’s Digital Light Engine (DLE) technology to produce a form, fit, and function HUD that will fit seamlessly into the F-22’s existing HUD space. Work includes the replacement of the current conventional cathode ray tube image source on the current HUD with a digital version that offers increased reliability, eliminates high-maintenance and obsolete items.

Middle East North Africa

  • Israel’s Defense Ministry has contracted Oshkosh Defense to provide 200 FMTV tactical trucks. Valued at $200 million, the deal comes after vigorous field testing by Israel of six trucks to ensure the firm’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) meets Israeli requirements. It’s expected that this order will be added too, as Tel Aviv begins the replacement of the nearly 60-year old tactical trucks currently used by its logistics branch.

Europe

  • Rolls Royce has announced that they have reached a number of settlements with authorities in the UK, US and Brazil, following evidence of bribery and corruption involving company intermediaries on a number of defense deals. The total cost of the settlements is believed to be approximately $809 million, with the UK’s Serious Fraud Office set to earn the bulk of the funds, a national record, at nearly $500 million. Other payments to the US Dept. of Justice and Brazil’s Ministerio Publico Federal are set to receive $170 million and $25.58 million respectively. In the first year, Rolls is expected to hand over about $352.2 million to authorities.

  • Eurofighter will provide a five-year support deal for four NATO countries operating the Typhoon fighter. Two contracts were signed between NETMA, the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Organization on behalf of core Eurofighter nations, and Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH on behalf of aircraft makers Airbus Defense and Space, BAE Systems and Leonardo. The deals cover the sustainment of engineering capabilities and program management, and for logistics, repairs, and the provision of spare parts for the Eurofighter fleet.

Asia Pacific

  • An inquest into the third launch failure of India’s Nirbhay cruise missile has found that the missile’s wings failed to deploy properly during its flight. Following take-off, the wings became stuck at 60 degrees position for about 1.5 seconds, causing the missile to roll rapidly and overwhelming its Inertial Navigation System (INS). Engineers then needed to abandon the test as the missile had veered off its flight path.

  • Taiwan’s military has laid out a timeline for their indigenous advanced jet trainer program, with the aircraft slated to make its flying debut in June 2020. State-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) is currently on a hiring spree, looking to recruit additional engineers in order to get blueprints completed by the middle of this year. Taipei expects to have a working prototype rolled out by September 2019 and into production by 2021. AIDC has also begun work on the Republic of China Air Force’s F-16V upgrade program. Under the Phoenix Rising Project, the team will upgrade Taiwan’s F-16A/B fleet by 2023.

  • A British-Japanese technical feasibility study for the Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) is expected to be completed by this year. Preliminary research into the missile has already found that if both countries were to continue with the project’s development, it potentially could be the world’s top air-to-air missile on the market. The JNAAM is an attempt by London and Tokyo to merge the AESA missile seeker from Japan’s AAM4B missile on the MBDA Meteor body.

Today’s Video

Iranian air-defense shoots at rogue quadcopter in Tehran:

Categories: News

FMTV 2010-2017: Pyrrhic Victories? Oshkosh Wins The Re-Compete

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 23:55

FMTV Family
(click to view full)

The 14 variants in the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) form the core of the USA’s new state-of-the-art medium military transport truck fleet. Which in turn forms the core of the “mature logistics capability” seen in the Iraqi theater and elsewhere. FMTV trucks are all automatic transmission, and range from 2.5-ton cargo and van models to 5-ton cargo, tractor, van, wrecker, tanker, specialty, and dump-truck models in various 4×4 and 6×6 configurations. Some models also have attached trailers that increase their carrying capacity. Even so, the use of common engines, transmissions, drivelines, power trains, tires, cabs, etc. create over 80% parts commonality between FMTV models. Where possible, commercial components are used for added savings.

There have been 3 main phases of the FMTV program, including the last “SO23” open competition in 2003. All told, more than 50,000 FMTV trucks in various models have been delivered to the US Army. A bridging order to BAE continued production in Sealy, TX from 2008 through 2010, but the 4th phase re-compete saw a new firm begin FMTV production – alongside heavy truck production for the Army (FHTV) and Marines (LVSR), and medium trucks for the US Marine Corps (MTVR).

FMTV Program & Production

FMTV 8×8 ILHS
(click to view full)

Under the new contract, Oshkosh Corp. has been awarded a competitive, 5-year requirements contract to build up to 12,415 trucks and 10,926 trailers, and provide associated support and engineering services. The total estimated contract value at award was $3.023 billion.

BAE Systems subsidiary Stewart & Stevenson won the initial FMTV competition to begin producing these trucks, and has retained the manufacturing contract through previous rebuy competitions, a merger with Armor Holdings, and Armor Holding’s absorption into BAE. The current FMTV rebuy program is a 5-year requirements contract award for up to 23,000 vehicles and trailers, as well as support services and engineering. The addition of support services is significant, and can amount to a notable portion of the contract’s full value over time.

Subsequent reports indicate that for this re-buy program, BAE Systems submitted a bid 20% lower than the current FMTV price, despite a supply chain for FMTV that is 60% directed source (i.e. sub-contractors and parts specified by the government). Oshkosh’s bid was reportedly 33% below the current FMTV price.

In addition to their role as the backbone of the US Army’s truck fleet, FMTV trucks serve as the base for key weapons systems like the future MEADS air-defense system and the new HIMARS air-portable multiple rocket launchers, and as the base for some blast-resistant vehicles like BAE’s Caiman. These designs are excluded from the FMTV re-buy.

Even without these specialty variants, FMTV production has ramped up sharply over the last few years. Initial rates of production were approximately 2,400 trucks per year, but that rate has now accelerated to 7,200 (about 32/day) and was expected to reach over 8,000 per year (about 42/day) at BAE’s plant in Sealy, TX during FY 2009.

Heavy use in theater and casualties of chance or battle have contributed somewhat to this production ramp-up, but other factors also play a major role. One is the desire to grow the US Army by over 60,000 soldiers. The importance of logistics means that more soldiers will need more trucks, especially as the regular army focuses on assuming more of the sustainment role that has traditionally been assigned to the National Guard and Reserves. Meanwhile, those military reserve forces are driving 30 and even 40 year old trucks that are reaching the end of any useful life cycle, and must be replaced quickly.

These factors mean that the FMTV’s production pace is unlikely to abate much, creating high hurdles for Oshkosh to meet. Fortunately, intellectual property rights are not an issue, as the government owns the blueprints. On the other hand, even “build-to-print” contracts usually end up accommodating contractor-specific systems and improvements. FMTV design had been frozen at the A1P2 version prior to this recompete, in order to ensure a level playing field, but a successful award opens the door to a new development and enhancement schedule. That was part of initial and ongoing discussions with the US Army, as Oshkosh prepared to ramp up its own FMTV production. So far, the transition is going well.

Budgets and production orders under this new contract include:

  • FY 2010: $1.438 billion ($5.5M RDT&E, $1.344 billion procurement for 8,637).
  • FY 2011 request: $1.438 billion ($3.7M RDT&E, $1.435 billion procurement for 4,652).
  • FY 2012 request: $ 448 million ($4.0M RDT&E, $ 432.9M procurement for 2,390, $11.1M supplemental funding for 32 more to make 2,442).

Contracts and Key Events

Oshkosh FMTV
(click to view full)

The current FMTV rebuy program is a 5-year firm-fixed-price requirements contract award that was originally intended for up to 23,000 vehicles and trailers, as well as support services and engineering. It has now surpassed those totals. Unless otherwise noted, US Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren, MI, manages the contracts, and Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI is the contractor. Bids for the original contract were solicited on the World Wide Web, with 3 bids received.

FY 2015-2017

January 18/17: Israel’s Defense Ministry has contracted Oshkosh Defense to provide 200 FMTV tactical trucks. Valued at $200 million, the deal comes after vigorous field testing by Israel of six trucks to ensure the firm’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) meets Israeli requirements. It’s expected that this order will be added too, as Tel Aviv begins the replacement of the nearly 60-year old tactical trucks currently used by its logistics branch.

September 24/15: Oshkosh Defense has been handed a $47 million modification to add an additional 184 medium tactical vehicles to a $4.7 billion Foreign Military Sales order in 2009, with the new vehicles headed for Iraq. The vehicles are scheduled for delivery by February 2017.

FY 2012

April 13/12: A $60.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for FMTVs. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/14 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

April 2/12: A $294.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for FMTV support services. Oshkosh, on the other hand, says the contract will buy “more than 2,500” FMTV trucks and trailers for the U.S. Army, and adds that the US Army has now ordered “more than 29,000” FMTV trucks and trailers from them. From a program standpoint, that would be on top of previous orders to Armor Holdings and its eventual buyer, BAE Systems.

Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/14 (W56HAV-09-D-0159). See also Oshkosh release.

March 30/12: The Pentagon’s Selected Acquisitions Report ending Dec 31/11 includes FMTV, and isn’t good news for Oshkosh:

“Program costs decreased $1,965.7 million (-10.5%) from $18,731.4 million to $16,765.7 million, due primarily to a quantity decrease of 7,463 trucks from 87,839 to 80,376 trucks (-$1,266.1 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations

  • (-$504.1 million). The quantity decrease also lowered estimates for non-recurring engineering, specifically, program management, non-recurring testing, and in-house and contractor engineering costs (-$135.2 million). There were additional decreases for unit cost savings from Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) definitization (-$146.8 million). These decreases were partially offset by the application of revised escalation indices (+$80.4 million).”

Feb 23/12: Oshkosh Defense unveils its “FMTV Enhanced Protection & Mobility Demonstrator” (EPMD) at AUSA Winter. The prototype vehicle utilizes the same Oshkosh TAK-4 independent suspension system that equips USMC trucks, and which is retrofitting many Army MRAPs. That change will improve mobility, while a custom-fitted Oshkosh Underbody Improvement Kit (UIK) improves protection against land mines.

These changes are important on a business level, because Oshkosh was depending on sales of upgrades and improved versions, in order to offset its unprofitable base bid (vid. Jan 9/12). Now the question becomes whether the US Army will bite.

Feb 3/12: Proxy battle win. Oshkosh’s 8-K/A filing says that all 13 of the corporation’s nominated Board members were elected, and all 6 of the Icahn Group’s nominees were defeated.

Icahn came close to getting a seat on the Board for his group, and that 13th seat had to wait for the full count, but overall, it’s a pretty stinging rebuff. The company nominee with the fewest share votes was Harvey N. Medvin, at 40,619,097; 5 of his 12 colleagues received over 79 million share votes. The Icahn nominee with the most share votes was Samuel Merksamer, at 39,016,262; 3 of his 5 colleagues received less than 15.5 million share votes, and those 3 were the only nominees to have more “withheld” votes than affirmative votes.

Jan 17/12: A $17.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to buy FMTV air conditioning install kits. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of Oct 31/13 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

Jan 17/12: Oshkosh touts endorsements of its Board of Directors slate from independent proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis & Co. (Glass Lewis) and Egan-Jones Proxy Services (Egan-Jones). Voting is Jan 27/12.

Jan 9/12: Proxy battle – I choose you, Pikachu! The proxy skirmish with Icahn turns into a war – and the FMTV contract is a prominent feature. Icahn’s SEC DFAN14A materials express concern about the coming FHTV re-bid, and identify Oshkosh’s FMTV win strategy as 1 of 2 devastating strategic mistakes (the 2006 JLG acquisition being the other) that have consumed management’s attention and driven down profitability, even as other business segments have floundered and need focus:

“We believe that the FMTV represents the single largest problem with the future of this company… We believe this unprofitable contract represents management’s unrealistic attitude and poor planning, as well as the board’s lack of oversight on a product that represents over half of segment revenue.”

Oshkosh management’s filing points to the JLG acquisition as key to its M-ATV MRAP win, cites growing market share in defense, and asks for shareholders to wait for its markets to pick up. It directly attacks Icahn’s Board candidates as, in effect, a bunch of dependent puppets with little relevant experience in its key segments of defense or construction, and poor records with other companies. Management adds that Mr. Icahn has tried to circumvent Wisconsin’s business combination statute for shareholder protection, alleges that he had offered no substantive ideas to Oshkosh management when asked (though his DFAN14A has clear positions), and states that he refused to discuss his analysis behind the Navistar merger recommendation. In its 8-K filing, however, Oshkosh management make a concession, by pledging to “report profit on its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles contract for the first quarter of fiscal 2012.”

The facts of the matter do make it appear that the Army played its FMTV hand well, and Oshkosh chose a strategy that failed at every point. As BAE surmised at the time, given the value of Army-specified sub-contracts, Oshkosh’s bid could not be profitable, and has not been. Worse, the Army chose not to be interested in enhancements, which would have restored some profit for Oshkosh; they also front-loaded FMTV purchases, before price-escalation clauses in the contract could kick in. Though this acquisition approach drove down short-term costs, in the long term, it could actually backfire on the Army by destroying 2 key suppliers. With BAE’s Sealy, TX truck plant largely emptied of work and staff, an analysis from the Lexington Institute sounds a cautionary note for the US Army, and wonders if its procurement victory will prove as pyrrhic as Oshkosh’s:

“[Oshkosh] finds itself in this predicament because it made some ill-timed acquisitions at the top of the sub-prime real estate boom (most notable lift-maker JLG), and then sought to compensate for its error by bidding very aggressively on Army truck contracts… workers would not be the only victims of the [proposed Navistar merger]… [A commercial suppliers strategy] ignores the loss of control implied for the Army customer. When you are by far the biggest source of demand for a company’s products, then you can pretty much dictate the terms of the relationship. When you are only one of many customers, you have less influence… The fact that submerging Oshkosh into the Navistar culture will give the Army fewer competitive options in the future is fine with [Icahn]; that’s how you get pricing power.”

It all comes to a head on Jan 27/12. See: Oshkosh 8-K | Oshkosh management’s SEC DEFA14A filing (see esp. pp. 38-44) | Icahn Group DFAN14A arguments | The Street | Reuters | Lexington Institute analysis.

Jan 5/12: A $27.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for more FMTVs. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of June 30/13. The original bid was solicited through the Internet, with 3 bids received by US Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

Jan 5/12: A $7.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to support FMTVs. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of Oct 13/13. The original bid was solicited through the Internet, with 3 bids received by US Army Contracting Command in Warren, MI (W58HZV-09-D-0159).

Dec 6/11: Navistar/Oshkosh merger? Billionaire Carl Icahn owns 10% of Navistar, and 9.51% of Oshkosh, so his comments that the 2 companies should merge draws a lot of attention. He tells CNBC:

“I definitely think it would be a good merger. I think there would be a lot of synergy. I own stock in both and I think shareholders of both companies would benefit.”

Both Boards of Directors are maneuvering defensively around Icahn. Navistar agreed to put its Board up for election each year, but agreed not to propose his own slate of directors at the annual meeting. Things are a bit more open at Oshkosh, where Icahn is proposing Board slates, and has been increasingly critical of existing management.

Nov 10/11: A $19.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 129 FMTVs; 11 armor B-Kits; 20 FMTVs; and 20 FMTV “High Mobility Artillery Rocket System B-Kits; with install for United Arab Emirates.” Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of June 30/13 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

The wording above is somewhat unclear, but Oshkosh has now confirmed that the UAE order is just 20 trailers and armoring B-kits. The UAE has an active HIMARS program, which began with their September 2006 DSCA request. As a Feb 3/09 announcement from BAE suggested, the UAE had already bought its FMTV chassis.

FY 2011

Sept 29/11: A $30 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 452 FMTV family trucks, and 86 up-armoring B-kits. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of June 30/13 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

According to DID’s records, based on announced contracts, this brings the total number of FMTV trucks ordered under this new contract to 23,665, plus 2,806 trailers, and 127 up-armoring B-kits, at a cost of about $3.69 billion.

Aug 1/11: A $904.2 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to procure 6,963 FMTV truck variants. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of June 30/13 (W56HZV-09-D-0159). See also Oshkosh release.

Aug 1/11: James Hasik’s new research service offers a timely memorandum, asking how much money Oshkosh is losing on its FMTV contract: “Just how much money is Oshkosh losing on the FMTV contract? And should the customer care?.”

That has long been suspected, as over 60% of the FMTV truck’s cost is fixed-price, mandatory “directed source” items from subcontractors, and Oshkosh’s bid was reportedly 33% below the SO23 contract’s FMTV price. Using information from past orders, such as those listed here, he gets average current contract costs of $181,000 per truck and $71,000 per trailer, which seems to match up with order totals so far. Further estimates involving relative truck production rates, relative value, and announced margin rates for the defense division:

“…give us estimates of -21% as the FMTV margin in Q2 2011, -15% as the FMVT [sic] margin in Q3 2011… with some slightly different assumptions, I got margins of -10% and -6%.1 As the FMTV contract will account for at least $150 million of Oshkosh Defense’s business over the next five years, taking losses can’t be shrugged off… as Charlie Szews has taken personal control at Defense, the problem has clearly been recognized. And indeed, if the overall margin is improving with increasing volume, then they’re not losing money on every truck. It’s not as though the value of the bill of material exceeds the sale price. There’s a positive contribution margin, so there’s hope that things might work out… Today, we have the beginnings of ex post measures – actual, if inferred, performance on the contract. Losing 15 percent on a $295 million gig means that you’re spending $347 million to get that 295; in short, that’s a $52 million quarterly loss. Yet quite apart from the commercial business, Defense is still grossing about a billion dollars quarterly, and the bonanza of the M-ATV work is almost at an end. So that bid on the FMTV contract, which now seems to have been hazardous, should still not prove fatal. Oshkosh may yet turn it around, but even if it doesn’t, only Oshkosh’s shareholders will suffer.”

While Hasik’s concern is focused on whether the contract would endanger Oshkosh as a company, there’s also an industrial base issue, wherein a supplier bids below cost, in order to drive a competitor out of business and secure a monopoly or near monopoly position with respect to American production facilities. That’s precisely the situation in the Boeing/Airbus tanker competition, which will also cost taxpayers above and beyond the bid price. It’s likely that as the defense business contracts under spending cuts, we’ll see more of this behavior. It isn’t clear that the US DoD has thought about this issue, and determined the best guidelines for responding.

July 25/11: A $30.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 185 FMTV trucks and 1 armor B-kit. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of April 3/13 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

June 14/11: A $7 million firm-fixed-price contract for 44 FMTVs. The contract runs until March 31/12 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

April 20/11: A $71.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 417 FMTVs of different types. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of March 31/12 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

April 15/11: The Pentagon’s Selected Acquisitions Report ending Dec 30/10 includes FMTV program changes – but they cost adjustments are downward:

“Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) – Program costs decreased $1,895.2 million (-9.2 percent) from $20,626.6 million to $18,731.4 million, due primarily to reductions in costs resulting from the award of a new competitive re-buy contract (-$2,308.6 million), acceleration of the procurement buy profile (-$328.9 million), and a change in the model mix (-$230.4 million). There are additional decreases for fielding and non-recurring costs (-$236.7 million) and other support (-$149.1 million) due to early completion of the program. These decreases are partially offset by a quantity increase of 4,654 trucks from 83,185 to 87,839 trucks (+$786.5 million) and associated schedule, engineering, and estimating allocations

  • (+$588.8 million).”

  • Note: Quantity changes are estimated based on the original SAR baseline cost-quantity relationship. Cost changes since the original baseline are separately categorized as schedule, engineering, or estimating “allocations.” The total impact of a quantity change is the identified “quantity” change plus all associated “allocations.”

Feb 28/11: A $25.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for 315 FMTV medium trucks, 3 B-Kits, and program support. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of March 31/12 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

According to DID’s records, based on announced contracts, this brings the total number of FMTV trucks ordered under this new contract to 15,604.

Feb 14/11: The Pentagon issues its FY 2012 budget request, even as the new 112th Congress is forced to debate a FY 2011 budget, in order to repair the failure of the 111th Congress to pass one. The FY 2010-2011 requests were around $1.4 billion, but FY 2012’s request drops sharpy to $448 million for a total of 2,442 more FMTV trucks).

Dec 3/10: A $413.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1,800 family of medium tactical vehicles for the US Army National Guard. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI with an estimated completion date of March 12/13 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

Dec 3/10: A $100.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1,800 family of medium tactical vehicles for the US Army National Guard. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI with an estimated completion date of March 12/13 (W56HZV-09-D-0159). DID is investigating the discrepancy in these figures.

Nov 19/10: As final deliveries from BAE Systems continue, and initial deliveries from Oshkosh begin, the U.S. Army is busy testing the new FMTV trucks at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, and Yuma Proving Ground, AZ. Lt. Col. Shane Fullmer, the Army’s product manager for medium tactical vehicles:

“Testing is going very well. The process involves 20,000 miles of reliability and durability testing – plus performance testing which is everything from [performance on] slopes to speed, endurance and payload capability… Given what we’ve seen to date, we are in good shape to easily meet our reliability requirements.”

The trucks are also subject to live fire blast testing, and performance testing including fording, hill grade/ payload tests, pull capability for tractors, etc. Testing is expected to conclude in the spring of 2011. US Army.

Nov 19/10: A $797.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for 4,773 FMTV trucks – though the Oshkosh release says that 590 trailers are part of that total, meaning truck orders are just 4,183. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of March 31/12. Oshkosh is more exact: deliveries are scheduled to begin in September 2011, and finish in August 2012. (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

Based on announced contracts listed in this article, the current rebuy program has issued $2.1 billion in contracts so far, to buy 13,239 trucks, 1,156 trailers, and 37 armoring b-Kits.

FY 2010

Sept 10/10: A $260.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for the production of 2,060 FMTVs. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI with an estimated completion date of March 31/12. (W56HZV-09-D-0159). Oshkosh release

Sept 3/10: A $20.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 122 FMTV vehicles by March 31/12, with work to be performed at Oshkosh, WI (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

Aug 16/10: A $201.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1,288 FMTV trucks. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of March 31/12 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

July 2/10: A $105.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 621 FMTV trucks, and 43 trailers. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of March 31/12 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

July 2/10: A $30.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for 167 FMTV trucks, 37 armor b-kits, and 119 trailers. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of March 31/12 (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

May 27/10: Oshkosh Defense ships its first FMTV trucks and trailers to the U.S. Army, including a Long-Term Armor Strategy (LTAS)-compliant cab. The 2 trucks represent 2 different FMTV variants and their trailers, and were shipped ahead of schedule. The original timeline had Oshkosh Defense beginning to deliver full production units in October 2010. Oshkosh Defense.

May 10/10: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI receives a $410.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 2,230 FMTV family trucks, and 404 trailers, for deliveries scheduled between March and December 2011. To date, Oshkosh Corporation has received orders valued at more than $690 million under the new FMTV contract, and the company will begin supplying initial trucks to the Army this month for performance and durability testing. Production deliveries will begin in October 2010, and the contract’s formal completion date is March 31/12. (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

As part of its efforts, Oshkosh Corporation has also broken ground on a new 150,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art electrocoat (E-coat) facility in Oshkosh, WI, to support the FMTV program, and possibly other programs. The E-coat facility will help ensure corrosion protection, one of the FMTV fleet’s key attributes in order to meet its demanding time-of-service requirements; competitor BAE Systems had an operational E-coat facility of its own in Sealy, TX, but that may now be closed. Start-up of Oshkosh’s facility will begin in late summer 2010, and the firm is also moving into a new building in Warren, MI for FMTV System Technical Support (STS) work. The firm expects to hire up to 190 new employees. See also Oshkosh Defense release.

April 27/10: The Oshkosh award may end up complicating life for the M142 HIMARS rocket launcher program, fielded by the US Army and Marines, and by several foreign militaries. The Army has 2 more years of buying HIMARS, but there’s a 14-month lag from contract award to delivery. The Army planned to procure its last 44 BAE chassis for the HIMARS system in FY 2011 under its bridging contract, but BAE is expected to discontinue FMTV production during the period of time it would take to build the chassis.

Col. Dave Rice, program manager for precision fires, rocket and missile systems, added that BAE’s Increased Crew Protection (ICP) cab for the HIMARS is a proprietary design. The Army will “have to see if the cab changes are militarily significant,” and then decide what to do. Gannett’s Army Times.

April 23/10: A bnet columnist criticizes Michigan for awarding Oshkosh a tax break, in order to do what it had to do anyway:

“As part of the contract, Oshkosh Defense agreed to establish a technical center in Michigan that will eventually employ up to 200 people. The office will be located on the site of the closed Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant. The Army office that manages vehicle acquisition is located in the area, so it makes sense for Oshkosh to have people nearby.

And there’s the rub. The state gave Oshkosh a $6.4 million tax credit to help build the facility. This is part of a “renaissance zone” program to revitalize older, existing industrial sites. Oshkosh won’t pay taxes until 2011 at the earliest and then it might well be at a reduced rate.

The question is: Does Oshkosh need the help? The company would have needed an office, anyway, to manage both the MRAP-ATV and the FMTV contracts. So it appears that Michigan is essentially paying some of Oshkosh’s costs. Considering that the state is running a $1 billion budget deficit (after $1 billion in spending cuts), it’s hard to justify giving Oshkosh tax breaks to do something it was already planning to do.”

New / Old kid in town

Feb 12/10: Oshkosh keeps the award. US Department of Defense:

“The Department of the Army announced today that it has re-evaluated the contract award decision for its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) originally made on Aug. 26, 2009. This change was based on Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recommendations. Accordingly, Oshkosh Corp. has been awarded a competitive, five-year requirements contract for production of up to 12,415 trucks, 10,926 trailers, and associated support and engineering services. The total estimated contract value at award was $3.023 billion… From Dec. 21, 2009, to Jan. 22, 2010, the Army re-evaluated the proposals in accordance with the GAO’s recommendation. Subsequently, there was an Office of the Secretary of Defense peer review affirming the Army’s reevaluation process.”

Oshkosh celebrated the award in a corporate release, while BAE Systems was forced to notify its investors:

“…the Group will include in its 2009 accounts an impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets amounting to [GBP] 592 million relating to the Armor Holdings Inc. transaction and specifically the FMTV product line.”

The news is a major blow to BAE Systems’ $4.53 billion acquisition of Armor Holdings. With its core FMTV business about to end, MRAP production finished, and the M-ATV competition lost to Oshkosh, much now rides on the JLTV competition. At the same time, BAE Systems’ UK facilities recently announced potential job losses in its submarine business, and a minor trimming of its Nimrod-related workforce.

Dec 14/09: Congress’ Government Accountability Office issues its decision, recommending that the Army reevaluate the offerors’ capability evaluation factor, and make a new selection decision. GAO managing associate general Michael Golden said that:

“Our review of the record led us to conclude that the Army’s evaluation was flawed with regard to the evaluation of Oshkosh’s proposal under the capability evaluation factor, and the evaluation of Navistar’s past performance… We also denied a number of Navistar’s and BAE’s challenges to the award to Oshkosh, including challenges to the evaluation of Oshkosh’s price.”

By statute, the Army now has 60 days to inform the GAO of its response to the GAO’s recommendations. BAE Systems welcomes the decision, while looking forward “to reviewing the full GAO report and its recommendations so we can fully consider the implications for our business and our options…” Oshkosh Corporation Chairman and CEO Robert G. Bohn said in their corporate release that challenges to the evaluation of the Oshkosh Corporation price had been denied, adding that:

“It is important to realize that today’s decision did not recommend proposal revisions nor did it recommend termination of our contract… We believe that when these narrow issues are reconsidered, the Army’s decision to award Oshkosh Corporation the FMTV contract will be maintained.”

See: Redacted GAO decision [PDF] | Navistar release | Oshkosh release | The Hill.

Nov 19/09: Oshkosh discusses its efforts to secure tax breaks from the city of Oshkosh, as it plans to expand its manufacturing facilities by adding a new 150,000-square-foot electrocoat (E-coat) painting facility for FMTV production. The company plans to break ground on the new E-coat facility in December 2009, with start up beginning late summer 2010. Oshkosh | The Northwestern.

The financing package would have the city provide up to $5 million in tax incremental financing (TIF), while the state would provide $35 million in tax credits and other assistance for the plant. The TIF district is pending approval by the Oshkosh Common Council. BAE Systems promptly weighs in, of course:

“BAE Systems has two electrostatic E-Coat stations at our Sealy, Texas facility, one for large parts and one for small parts. As outlined on p. 41 of the redacted second supplemental protest document, the Army’s FMTV re-buy solicitation provided that: “An offeror that currently has existing facilities that can be utilized, or modified to build FMTV vehicles may be determined to be less risky than an offeror that has to acquire facilities to produce vehicles on the contract.” E-Coat is a requirement to build FMTV and is at the heart of its corrosion protection. Parts must be completely immersed in electrophoretic paint emulsion, at which point an electrical charge is run through both and then the parts are drained entirely.

As we read of our competitor seeking taxpayer assistance to build a new E-coat facility – in a very short time frame – to meet the requirements of the FMTV contract, we find it totally inconsistent with the source selection criteria to believe that BAE Systems, with two E-coat facilities in current operation, is considered equal in risk with a company that doesn’t have this essential capability and is looking for the taxpayers to pay for it.”

Nov 18/09: BAE Systems holds a teleconference to discuss their protest, and the recent GAO hearings. A GAO decision is expected by Dec 14/09, which is the 100th day, in conformance with GAO rules.

One clarification up front is that FMTV variants used as part of other weapons system, such as HIMARS rocket launchers, SLAMRAAM air defense systems, MEADS air defense systems, and the FMTV Low-Velocity Airdrop version used by airborne forces, were all removed from the re-buy competition in February 2009. Program managers for those systems will apparently make those decisions, but BAE does have some unique intellectual property in those vehicles’ current designs. If lack of production orders causes BAE to shutter their Sealy, TX facility, the firm would have to begin production of those variants elsewhere at added cost; alternatively, any competitor selected instead would have to replicate and test the vehicles’ mission-specific design features, either at its own expense or at the government’s. The derivative Caiman MRAP was never part of the FMTV re-buy, and remains BAE’s intellectual property.

In response to questions from DID regarding the applicability of Oshkosh’s rapidly fielded and produced M-ATV MRAP as a risk-evaluation precedent, BAE representatives made several points. The core of those points was that M-ATV was an internally-held design, whereas FMTV is a government-held TDP (technical documentation), which does not include all of the know-how needed to build the vehicle, and has a much longer and more involved process for changes. In conjunction with a production schedule that resembles M-ATV’s aggressiveness, and the production of only 1 FMTV prototype from Oshkosh to date, BAE believes this represents added risk.

BAE Systems also believes there’s a question around the FMTV A1 LTAS-compliant (Long Term Armoring Strategy) cab design, which is currently BAE’s design. Competitors must re-design that cab, and replicate and test the A1P2 cab’s level of protection, which is just being fielded now. An Aug 13/09 Oshkosh release says that Oshkosh has done this design work at its own expense, but the release does not mention testing; BAE’s protest includes their observation that a design which requires testing and verification adds production and design risk.

Finally, with respect to reports from sources like the Lexington Institute (vid. Nov 4/09 entry), BAE representatives confirmed that Oshkosh’s $3 billion total evaluated price bid underbid the current FMTV price in the neighborhood of 30%, but add that BAE’s re-buy bid price was lower, too. The government, “for whatever reason,” published Oshkosh’s contract bid on their web site, down to variant level pricing. BAE systems knows the trucks very well, and fully 60% of the trucks’ value is directed source, which means the winning contractor must use those suppliers. BAE representatives do not believe that Oshkosh’s prices are realistic, and display similar skepticism regarding some of the elements of Oshkosh’s insourcing claims.

Oshkosh Defense was contacted regarding BAE claims, but chose not to respond.

Nov 18/09: The Greater Houston Partnership business advocacy umbrella organization releases the results of their study, which claims that the region would lose 3,400 direct jobs and 6,766 indirect jobs if Oshkosh retains the contract, with other effect spreading beyond to the state of Texas. The Partnership is joining other Sealy FMTV Task Force members in calling on the Army to put the contract out for a re-bid – in effect, a do-over. PR Newswire release.

Nov 17/09: BAE Systems releases a redacted version of its protest to the public, following agreement from the GAO and even Oshkosh. Its core allegation is that the buy was not best value, but became a solely price-based competition that disregarded risk factors. The protest also cites other past GAO cases that it believes to be analogous. Redacted FMTV Protest [PDF, 6.5 MB].

Nov 9-10/09: The GAO holds hearings regarding the FMTV protest. GAO hearings usually held when there are conflicting factual issues, and the dispute cannot be resolved merely from submissions. This is longer than usual for such hearings, but reports indicate that an array of Army witnesses were called.

Nov 4/09: Loren Thompson of The Lexington Institute predicts that the GAO will overturn the Army’s decision:

“Let’s revisit what happened in that competition, and ask whether a protest seems warranted…[The Army] made the award after concluding that incumbent BAE Systems and Oshkosh were essentially equal in all non-cost selection criteria, but that Oshkosh offered a more attractive price… On price, the Army accepted a bid from Oshkosh that is 30% below the price BAE Systems is currently charging for the vehicle – even though Oshkosh, with no direct experience in manufacturing the product, must turn out a vehicle with the same performance specifications and features, using many of the same suppliers. When challengers to an established producer offer such huge price reductions to win a contract, it is standard procedure to conduct a rigorous analysis of how realistic the challenger’s price is. Yet there is little evidence the Army made any such effort… leveling of non-cost factors… allowed… a “best value” award solely on the basis of price. But unlike BAE, Oshkosh did not have all production facilities or tooling in place; its workforce was not experienced in building FMTV trucks; it did not have established relationships with all suppliers; and it did not have a validated design for the required armored cab in the vehicle. So to say the rivals represented equivalent risk is simply not believable – especially given the very aggressive price targets Oshkosh’s bid required it to meet. GAO will see this award for what it was, and act accordingly.”

See: Issue Brief | Subsequent elaboration.

Oct 16/09: BAE Systems files another supplemental protest to the GAO:

“…after finding additional concerns with the source selection process during the U.S. Army’s Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) rebuy competition… BAE Systems is increasingly convinced the service’s source selection evaluation was flawed and that the Army did not follow its own stated objective to conduct a best-value FMTV competition based on a clear-cut set of criteria… BAE Systems is requesting that a redacted version of the supplemental protest be made available publicly. In order for release of a redacted supplemental protest, all parties involved in the matter must agree to its release.”

FY 2009

Sept 11/09: BAE Systems files a supplemental protest.

Sept 4/09: Both BAE Systems and Navistar Defense file GAO protests (file# 401865.2, 401865.1) regarding the FMTV award to Oshkosh. BAE:

“BAE Systems has filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), asking the agency to review the decision by the U.S. Army to award a contract to a competitor for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) rebuy program. After a detailed analysis of the information provided by the Army, before and during the formal competition debrief, the Company believes that the Army did not properly evaluate the proposals, consistent with the Government’s stated requirements, and the Army failed accurately to assess the various risks associated with the different proposals.”

The GAO protests will put the FMTV re-buy contract on hold until a decision is rendered. A decision is expected by Dec 14/09.

Aug 26/09: Oshkosh wins the FMTV production re-compete, and an initial $280.9 million order for 2,568 trucks and trailers, plus OY 01 data, additional care and storage, component first article test, first production vehicle inspection test, production verification test, live test family medium tactical vehicles winch, armor B-kits, and federal retail tax. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with initial test vehicle deliveries are planned for mid-2010, followed by production vehicle deliveries later in that year. With an estimated completion date of April 30/10 for this order. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 3 bids received by TACOM LCMC Warren, AMSCC-TAC-ATB in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0159).

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is quoted as saying that the total contract could be worth up to $2.6 billion and create 2,000 production jobs in the state. That’s definitely conservative, with other analysts placing the value closer to $4.5 billion, plus maintenance. Through the state’s Enterprise Zone program, Wisconsin will provide up to $35 million in tax credits over the next 12 years to support the project. In response to the win, Oshkosh CEO Robert Bohn reportedly said that “We’ve been known for a long, long time as a manufacturer that delivers on time and I think that helped us.” While it certainly didn’t hurt, BAE Systems had its own strong delivery record, including the top ranking among MRAP vehicle suppliers. It is very likely that the key differentiators lay elsewhere; tellingly, Oshkosh would not comment on pricing.

Over the past 17 years, Armor Holdings/BAE Systems has delivered more than 56,000 FMTV trucks and trailers, which have maintained a 94% average operational readiness rate in both Iraq and Afghanistan. BAE’s financial planning assumed FMTV-related sales and maintenance activities of about $2 billion in each of 2009 and 2010, dropping to less than $1 billion per year from 2011 onward. BAE announced that it “will continue to fulfill these commitments and consider its options as it carefully reviews the Army’s latest decision.” Translation: a protest is possible. Its absence would be surprising in the current climate, given the contract’s potential value.

FMTV bridge buys and maintenance efforts will continue using BAE Systems on Sealy, TX over 2009 and 2010, per the existing bridge-buy contract and partnership with Red River Army Depot. During this period, Oshkosh will make preparations, discuss final design details with the US Army, and ramp up production.

The long-term earnings hit, and implicit questions regarding the current value of its $4.5 billion Armor Holdings acquisition in 2007, sent BAE’s stock sliding. With MRAP production ended, MRAP-ATV going to Oshkosh, and its FMTV mainstay removed, BAE Systems’ American land vehicle strategy has taken a series of body blows that make the future JLTV competition even more important to the firm. Oshkosh stock has gone in a different direction, in the wake of a sole-source award to continue producing the US Army’s FHTV heavy trucks, its status as the ongoing manufacturer of the US Marines’ medium (MTVR) and heavy (LVSR) truck fleets, and a recent multi-billion win in the blast-resistant M-ATV competition that will also make them a contender for the larger JLTV Hummer replacement buy. See: Oshkosh Defense | BAE Systems | Milwaukee Business Journal | Bloomberg | UK’s Financial Times | Reuters.

May 27/09: BAE Systems submits its bid for the FMTV re-compete. Their corporate release touts over 17 years of experience, during which their 2,700 person facility in Sealy, TX has manufactured more than 53,000 FMTV trucks and trailers in 21 variants.

BAE is touting the strength of its workforce and its embedded knowledge that goes beyond the blueprints, and into production processes, efficiency, and proven flexibility. The delivery record for FMTV and its derivative Caimin MRAP vehicles has been excellent; indeed, Caimin was the #1 MRAP vehicle in its ratio of on-time to promised deliveries. Then, too, there is the specialized infrastructure like BAE’s Sealy e-coat facility, and privately developed off-blueprint additions like “miles to go on this tank” indicators and other enhancements.

May 27/09: Oshkosh submits its bid for the FMTV A1P2 re-buy contract. Their main competitor is a Sealy, TX incumbent with a formidable performance record of its own. In that situation, Oshkosh’s required priorities are twofold: (1) Avoid anything that might tip the scales against them, even slightly. That means driving perceived performance risk as close to zero as possible, and creating a net zero for political risks; and (2) produce a proposal that offers credible improvements in price and/or performance, against a very strong competitor.

In discussions with DID, the firm outlined the core of its case. Assuming a level playing field, the key criteria for this contract are price and past performance. Oshkosh believes they have a very credible, fact-based price derived from their own experiences building about 10,000 MTVR medium trucks for the Marines, and the fact that almost 90% of FMTV suppliers are already Oshkosh suppliers.

In terms of past performance risk, they pointed to the fact that their integrated production line has conducted simultaneous production of 10 models, totaling 29 variants – a record that matches well with the FMTV re-buy’s high mix/ low individual volume schedule. Oshkosh also touts its performance in the area of engineering and logistics support, which has become an integral aspect of the FMTV program. Their work with MTVR and the Army’s FHTV heavy truck family gives them a very wide field support network, and the firm cites its fast delivery and fielding of up-armored heavy trucks after the Army confirmed its LTAS armoring strategy. They’re building on that record with their FMTV related risk-reduction investments, which include an internally-financed design for an LTAS-compatible FMTV cab.

If Oshkosh wins, production would mostly take place on the firm’s existing campus in Oshkosh, WI, with some sub-contracting to current subcontractors. That kind of concentration generally improves price and efficiency numbers, but lowers political leverage. The other potential political strike is the “industry consolidation” card, which notes the risks of placing all medium and heavy truck production (Army’s FMTV & FHTV, USMC’s MTVR & LVSR) with one supplier and, for the most part, one campus. Oshkosh’s response is to cite the number and range of large firms involved in the MRAP and JLTV programs, and to state their belief that there has been a fundamental industry change over the past few years. Oshkosh Defense release.

Additional Readings

  • Global Security – FMTV

Categories: News

Taiwan’s Force Modernization: The American Side

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 23:48

Despite China’s ominous military buildup across the strait, key weapons sales of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, Patriot PAC-3 missiles, and diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan had been sabotaged by Taiwanese politics for years – in some cases, since 1997. The KMT party’s flip-flops and determined stalling tactics eventually created a crisis in US-Taiwan relations, which finally soured to the point that the USA refused a Taiwanese request for F-16C/D aircraft.

That seems to have brought things to a head. Most of the budget and political issues were eventually sorted out, and after a long delay, some major elements of Taiwan’s requested modernization program appear to be moving forward: P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, UH-60M helicopters, Patriot missile upgrades; and requests for AH-64D attack helicopters, E-2 Hawkeye AWACS planes, minehunting ships, and missiles for defense against aircraft, ships, and tanks. These are must-have capabilities when facing a Chinese government that has vowed to take the country by force, and which is building an extensive submarine fleet, a large array of ballistic missiles, an upgraded fighter fleet, and a number of amphibious-capable divisions. Chinese pressure continues to stall some of Taiwan’s most important upgrades, including diesel-electric submarines, and new American fighter jets. Meanwhile, other purchases from abroad continue.

Tracking the Programs: Patient Progress & Stalled Sales

Fortunately for Taiwan, there is movement beyond the stalled backwaters of F-16 and submarine sales. Can a combination of foreign weapon sales approvals and domestic efforts break Taiwan’s defense equipment logjam? Can the broader US-Taiwan defense relationship be saved, or is it eroding fatally?

Those are questions for the future. This Spotlight article will focus on the here-and-now instead, chronicling key developments and purchases as they arise.

Aerial Acquisitions

In the modern era, control of the air is the first requirement of effective defense. For an island country, control of the sea, or the ability to deny that control to enemies is equally strategic. Taiwan’s key modernization efforts in both areas remain troubled, which impairs the amount of real deterrence, and security, their military modernization can bring them.

ROCAF Mirage 2000-5
(click to view full)

The ultimate issue for Taiwan is one of numbers. In the air, quantity has a quality all its own. Taiwan expects to retire its F-5 and Mirage 2000v5 fighters by 2020. The ROCAF is moving to modernize its old F-16 fighters, but any fighter has a fixed airframe life, measured in flight hours. Modernization is a medium term solution, not a long term one, and does nothing to address the growing numeric imbalance across the strait. Even as US military studies suggest that the USAF and US Navy will find it more and more difficult to fly fighter reinforcements to Taiwan, and keep them in its airspace.

With 24 ROCAF F-16 fighters out of service for upgrades at any point, 16 in the USA for training at Luke AFB, and 30% of the remaining machines (32) unavailable for other maintenance, Taiwan’s fleet of 146 F-16s shrinks to about 74 F-16s in operational service. If equivalent rates hold true for the 71 locally built and upgraded F-CK-1C/Ds, that means about 50 operational Hsiung Ying fighters, for a total available fighter fleet of just 124 machines. Most of which will be 1980s level technology.

Consistent reports indicate that the USA has asked Taiwan to hold off on their request to add 66 new F-16s, in order to avoid a direct “no.” Reports suggest that a strong lobbying effort from China is dooming that effort, even as the PLAAF continues to add aircraft like the 4+ generation J-10, and equally advanced long-range SU-27 family fighters to its arsenal.

The Obama administration confirmed that perception in September 2011, when it opted to approve ROCAF F-16 fleet upgrades, rather than new F-16C/D Block 52 sales. They attempted to thread the needle by offering more advanced technology than the equipment in F-16 Block 52s, which have been sold to countries like China’s ally, Pakistan. The question is whether this is actually a worst-of-all-possible worlds outcome: showing weakness abroad on Taiwan, failing to extend the F-16 production line and American jobs at home, and offering cutting-edge technology that risks falling into the hands of Chinese intelligence.

The USA is also selling Taiwan the newest version of its attack helicopter, the AH-64E Apache Guardian. Its Longbow radar mast allows it to use radar guided, fire and forget missiles, and it also carries Stinger missiles for defense against enemy aircraft. Engine and communications upgrades, including the ability to control UAVs remotely, round out that package. The 30 Apaches would serve alongside Taiwan’s 60+ AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters, as a rapid reaction force able to counterattack beachheads and exploit the hilly island’s natural chokepoints.

Sea Control

At sea, the situation is simultaneously less overtly perilous, and less hopeful. China’s navy is certainly growing, but is not yet overwhelming. The problem is that without air superiority as cover, no Taiwanese surface navy can expect to survive, in order to maintain control of the seas around Taiwan. Britain faced the same equation in World War 2, and prevailed by winning in the air.

ROC Seadragon sub
(click to view full)

If that isn’t possible, a good submarine force is the classic military solution. Submarines are capable of either destroying efforts to cross the strait, or strangling Chinese trade as it moves through Southeast Asia’s key choke points. Modern missiles give them vastly longer offensive reach, and modern submarines are very difficult to find and target once they put to sea. For a nation like Taiwan, they’re the ultimate conventional deterrent against invasion.

Taiwan’s comprehensive failure to field this trump card stems even more directly from Chinese pressure. The USA approved a sale request in 2001, but they haven’t produced conventionally-powered subs for many decades, and don’t want to be the supplier. Without that option on tap, Chinese diplomacy has utterly strangled Taiwan’s efforts to find a party who is (a) able to make diesel-electric subs; and (b) is willing to sell them to Taiwan. The Republic of China currently relies on 2 submarines that are too old for anything but training missions, and 2 Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) class submarines. The Hai Lungs were ordered from the Dutch firm Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM) in 1981, as a derivative of their Zwaardvis (Swordfish) class. A follow-on order for 4 more submarines was blocked by the Dutch government in 1992 thanks to Chinese pressure, and RDM went out of business a few years later.

Since then, Taiwan has explored a number of alternatives to obtain diesel-electric submarines, without success. They are even reportedly considering building their own boats from foreign designs. Australia’s experience suggests that this course may be fraught with peril, and Taiwan has a number of technology gaps to address: ship design technology, torpedoes, sonar, propulsion systems, combat systems, and submarine periscope lenses. On the other hand, if the alternative is no submarines at all, and submarines are one of your most critical national defense needs, the perils of caution may outweigh the risks of inexperience. Taiwan seems determined to face the peril, and a report is expected by June 2014.

Land Defense

CM11 tank
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Land defense improvements currently center on portable missiles, mobility, and massed counterattack against amphibious or paradropped beach-heads. The missiles provide dispersed, hard-to-target defenses against enemy aircraft and armored vehicles. Helicopter mobility allows rapid response to enemy airdrops or pre-positioned guerrilla units. Massed counterattack means the heavy armor of tanks, which remain the most important and element for crushing enemy beach-heads.

Taiwan’s situation with respect to tanks isn’t very good. The Republic of China Army currently fields about 480 M60A3 tanks acquired in the 1990s, but the M60 first entered US service in 1960, and the A3 version entered US service in the late 1970s. They’re joined by 450 much older CM11s (modified M48H 105mm turrets with improved fire control, mated to M60 hulls), and 300 of the M-48 medium tanks whose base design dates back to the 1950s: 50 M48A3s, and 250 CM12s (modified CM11 turrets mated to M48A3 hulls).

Contracts & Key Events

Patriot Radar
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This article focuses on foreign imports, and the vast majority come from the USA. The US DSCA references to “the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States” are diplo-speak for “Taiwan” or “Republic of China”. DID uses the conventional term instead. Note that DSCA requests are not contracts; those are separate announcements, and sometimes years pass between the two events. Having said this, a DSCA request does open the door to contracts as permitted weapons exports through the Foreign Military Sales process, unless Congress moves to block the proposed sale within 30 days.

Note that upgrades to the ROCAF’s locally-designed and built F-CK-1 fighters are covered in a separate article, as an Indigenous Taiwanese program that sits outside this article’s scope.

2014 – 2017

FFG 7

January 18/17: Taiwan’s military has laid out a timeline for their indigenous advanced jet trainer program, with the aircraft slated to make its flying debut in June 2020. State-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) is currently on a hiring spree, looking to recruit additional engineers in order to get blueprints completed by the middle of this year. Taipei expects to have a working prototype rolled out by September 2019 and into production by 2021. AIDC has also begun work on the Republic of China Air Force’s F-16V upgrade program. Under the Phoenix Rising Project, the team will upgrade Taiwan’s F-16A/B fleet by 2023.

September 2/16: Sikorsky is to produce and deliver 24 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Taiwan. The $135 million sale will see the aircraft uniquely configured for the Taiwanese government with delivery by October 2018. This follows a recent $158 million contract modification to produce 14 more Black Hawks for the US Army.

April 20/16: Taiwan is currently embarking on a project to develop its own indigenous fighter engine. Work is being undertaken by the country’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) and is seen as part of the incoming Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) push to prioritize Taiwan’s defense industry. The engines are being developed for locally produced jets such as the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF) and AT-3 trainers. While about 90% of the IDF and AT-3 are produced in Taiwan, some key technologies such as its engine is built in cooperation with foreign companies before the plane is assembled domestically.

March 3/16: Taiwan’s new government is keen on developing their own indigenous jet trainer aircraft to replace its AT-3s. The military fears however, that the Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) lacks the skills necessary for the development, alongside Taiwan’s inability to manufacture its own engines. The military may instead prefer the acquisition of the Alenia Aermacchi M346, with the AIDC participating in a 20% workshare of the project.

July 21/15: Lockheed Martin and Alenia Aermacchi have both responded to a Request for Information for Taiwan’s advanced jet trainer, according to Taiwanese media [Chinese]. The US company is expected to offer the T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft, in conjunction with South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), whilst the Italian firm will likely push the M-346 AJT. Taiwan’s defense ministry is expected to make a decision regarding the purchase of new trainers to replace the current fleet of F-5E/F and AT-3 aircraft next year, with the winning aircraft design likely to be assembled in Taiwan by Aerospace Industrial Development Corp.

Dec 09/14: Frigates. Taiwan has a NT$5.5 billion ($176M) budget approved and ready to acquire 2 Perry-class frigates whose sale is well on its way to finally be approved by the US, after years of stalling (q.v. Sept 10/14). The US Senate approved S. 1683 on December 4, and since a similar bill (HR. 3470) had already been passed by the House in April, a reconciled law should be on the President’s desk soon.

China is not happy, but they’re making a lot of fuss for 2-4 weaponless ships that the US Navy gave up upgrading and Australia found tough to modernize.

Sources: Reuters: “Taiwan says to buy two U.S. frigates despite China anger” | Xinhua: “China firmly opposes US arms sale to Taiwan“.

P-3C arrives

Nov 3/14: Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives a $271.8 million firm-fixed-price modification to install 142 F-16S aircraft upgrade kits. The total cost is, of course, much larger, since the kits must also be bought – which is at least a $1.85 billion proposition (q.v. Oct 1/12). Work will be performed in Taiwan, and is expected to be complete by May 31/22.

This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. The USAF’s Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-12-C-6016, PO 0006).

F-16 upgrade installation

Oct 29/14: UH-60M. A Taiwanese Army official tells a legislative committee that UH-60Ms will begin to arrive soon, with the first 6 to arrive in mid-December 2014, and the rest of the 60 arriving in 6 more batches into 2018. Of the 60 UH-60Ms, 45 will be used by the Army, and the other 15 will be used for disaster relief by the Ministry of the Interior’s National Airborne Service Corps.

In other news, the 2 pilots who crashed their AH-64 onto a city roof are “still undergoing a series of flight tests before they can resume training missions.” Could be a while, guys. On the P-3 front, a flight simulation system has recently become operational in Taiwan to help train people for the sea control plane. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to take delivery of first batch of Black Hawks in December”.

UH-60 contract schedule

Oct 28/14: Minehunters. Italy’s Intermarine S.p.A. and Lockheed Martin win a contract to support local construction of 6 mine countermeasures vessels (q.v. Sept 5/12), which will be built at a brand-new Ching Fu Shipbuilding facility in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The ships are expected to be about 52m long and 700t.

Intermarine will build the 1st hull at its shipyard near La Spezia, Italy, but Ching Fu will finish it and build the remaining 5 ships. Lockheed Martin’s role is focused on the combat system. Sources: Intermarine SpA, “Mine Countermeasure Vessels” | Defense News, “New Spanish Frigate Detailed, Deal for Taiwan Minesweepers Announced”.

6 minehunters

Oct 23/14: Jet Trainers. Defense Minister Yen Ming says that Taiwan wants to buy advanced trainers. Right now, the progression out of basic flight training goes from T-34 turboprops, to the AT-3 jet trainer, to the supersonic F-5E/F as a Lead-In Fighter Trainer. The T-34s will remain for now, but the AT-3s and F-5E/Fs would be retired.

The announcement comes right after a dual-crash of AT-3 jet trainers during a routine aerobatic training mission in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan. Lt. Col. Chuang Pei-yuan was killed.

The question is which trainer will be available to Taiwan, given the likelihood of Chinese counter-pressure. The big 4 are Britain’s Hawks, Italy’s M-346 Master, Korea Aerospace/ Lockheed’s supersonic T-50 Golden Eagle family, and Russia’s Yak-130. Beyond, Czech firm Aero is releasing new L-159T and L-169 trainers, which can perform the same air policing and light attack roles as the Hawks, Yaks, and Golden Eagles; and Boeing & Saab are supposedly working on their own jet trainer offering. Since even Boeing & Lockheed have international partners, which of these countries will have the fortitude and willingness to offer them to Taiwan?

On the other hand, if Taiwan moves some of its indigenous F-CK-1 fighters into the F-5F’s LIFT role, their advanced AT-3 trainer replacement options would expand to include Brazil’s Super Tucano, Swiss Pilatus trainers, and Beechcraft’s T-6 family from the USA. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan set to purchase advanced trainers in 2017: defense minister”.

Oct 19/14: Submarines. The Taiwanese submarine Hai Hu (Sea Tiger) launches a pair of UGM-84 Harpoon missiles, demonstrating a successful upgrade that vastly increases the submarine’s reach to over 100 nautical miles. Taiwan now employs all 3 types of Harpoon missile, launched from its frigates, F-16s, and submarines. Sources: Agence France Presse, “Taiwan tests submarine-launched missiles: report”.

Subs: Harpoon capability

Oct 19/14: AH-64E. Taiwan receives the last 6 helicopters, completing delivery of the 30 it ordered under the TWD 59.31 billion ($1.95 billion) contract. It now has 29 available for service (q.v. April 25/14). Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan takes final delivery of Apache helicopters”.

A-64Es all delivered

Oct 14/14: PATRIOT. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $595.5 million foreign military sales contract modification, covering FY 2014 production for Kuwait, Taiwan, Qatar, and the UAE. They’re selling 152 PAC-3 cost reduction initiative missiles, 15 PAC-3 launcher modification kits, and the associated ground equipment, tooling, and initial spares. $543 million is committed immediately.

The PAC-3 CRI missile was used as the base for the PAC-3 MSE missile, but the MSE missile also added a number of new technologies, and changed the missile’s structure. In contrast, PAC-3 CRI missiles offer PAC-3 performance at a slightly lower cost.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, Lufkin, and El Paso, TX; Camden, AR; Chelmsford, MA; Ocala, FL; Huntsville, AL; and Anaheim, CA; and will continue until May 31/16. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-14-C-0034, PO 0008).

PAC-3 missiles: Kuwait, Qatar, Taiwan, UAE

Sept 10/14: Frigates. Taiwan won’t get its 2 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates (q.v. Aug 5/10, April 22/12, Nov 13/13) on schedule, because the US Senate can’t be bothered to authorize the sale. That will keep 2 aging Know Class frigates in continued service until 2016. The Chinese-language United Daily News reported Tuesday that the frigates were expected to be delivered in 2016, under a project budgeted at NTD 5.56 billion ($185.42 million) in total.

Note that the frigates being decommissioned by the USA had all major weapons removed long ago, making them essentially large Coast Guard cutters with sonar and torpedoes. Source: Taiwan’s Want China Times, “Delivery of US Perry-class frigates to Taiwan could be delayed”.

Sept 10/14: Submarines. US CNO Admiral Jonathan Greenert confirmed that he had a conversation with Taiwanese officials during a recent visit, covering the sale or provision of submarines to Taiwan. Neither he nor the Taiwanese would talk about the content of that conversation.

The best case scenario would involve the USA transferring a few key technologies like periscope lenses, torpedoes, and combat systems, albeit at technology levels that don’t surpass what they believe China to have. That way, stolen technologies wouldn’t matter. The worst case scenario is that the issue was discussed, and Greenert explained why no help is likely.

The event was held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and focused on the US’s Asia Pacific rebalancing strategy. Sources: Taiwan’s Want China Times, “US chief of naval operation discusses sub deal with Taiwan”.

Sept 2/14: P-3Cs. Weapons for Taiwan’s P-3Cs become an issue:

“The Chinese-language China Times yesterday cited a recent report by the Control Yuan’s National Audit Office as saying that…. 12 P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft from the US cost US$1.96 billion and are under the operational command of the Air Force 439 Composite Wing unit…. [but] the US disagreed with a plan to have the aircraft carry ordinances, such as mines and depth charges, made by Taiwanese manufacturers.”

Taiwan’s P-3s can carry Harpoon anti-ship missiles, but they really need modern torpedoes in order to engage enemy submarines successfully. Depth charges can be used against submarines, but their limit of 50m handicaps them. Meanwhile, mines would turn them into a potent blocking force if they can survive long enough over the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has American Mk-46 lightweight torpedoes available for use aboard its destroyers and frigates, but until the P-3s are ready and able to deploy their own torpedoes, CNA News quotes a ROCAF commander who says that submarine contracts from Taiwan’s P-3s would be passed on a nearby ship. If there is one.

Aug 30/14: Tien Kung. Lin Yu-fang of the parliament’s defense committee says that Taiwan plans to spend TWD 74.8 billion (about $2.5 billion) from 2015 – 2024, buying the locally-made Tien Kung 3 (Sky Bow 3) medium range air defense missile system to replace the aging Hawk batteries, and defend the island against aircraft and cruise missiles.

That will make the Tien Kung 3 Taiwan’s lower-tier air defense counterpart to its new PATRIOT missiles, but the country denies that the Tien Kung 3 will be used to equip its 10,500t, American-built Kee Lung (Kidd) Class destroyers. Those ships will continue to rely on Raytheon’s SM-2 missiles for protection. Sources: Defense News, “Taiwan to spend $2.5 billion on anti-missile systems” | Taiwan’s Want China Times, “Taiwan denies Tien Kung missiles to be deployed on destroyers”.

Aug 20/14: AH-64E. Deliveries are a bit delayed. Taiwan is set to take delivery of 6 more AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in late August, which would bring their fleet to 23. This batch was supposed to arrive in May, and the delay is reportedly due to shipping issues. The final batch is now expected in October. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan set to take August delivery of more Apache helicopters”.

Aug 20/14: F-16S: Lockheed Martin announces a successful Critical Design Review for integration of Northrop Grumman’s SABR radar in an F-16 (q.v. July 31/13). The SABR AESA radar will equip Taiwan’s F-16S upgrade, as well as Lockheed Martin’s global F-16V offering. Lockheed Martin is now describing Taiwan as the F-16V’s launch customer. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “F-16V Completes Major Capability Milestone”.

Aug 11-12/14: Fighters, incl. F-35B? Taiwan’s MND reaffirms its continued interest in F-16C/D or better fighters, while openly stating their goal to acquire F-35s at some point:

“Ministry of National Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said Taiwan’s Air Force is ideally looking for aircraft with short-take off and vertical-landing capabilities and acknowledged that “it is our goal to acquire F-35s.” He admitted that it would be nearly impossible to obtain the fighters in the short term, “but we will continue to make effort on this issue.”

That seems to point clearly to F-35Bs, which make excellent sense when facing an opponent with thousands of runway-damaging ballistic missiles. The MND also denied China Times reports that the Mirage 2000-5 fleet was had maintenance issues because the French weren’t cooperating, leading to cannibalization of existing fighters. The MND said the fighters were being well-maintained by the French – the question is how much credence to give that assertion. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to seek U.S. sales of more advanced fighter jets: official” and “F-16C/D jet fighters still a consideration: Defense Ministry”.

July 15/14: Crash investigation. The AH-64E crash (q.v. April 25/14) is ruled as pilot error:

“The investigation report shows that the primary causes of the accident were the combination factors of human errors and environment,” Maj. Gen. Huang Kuo-ming told reporters.

The environment refers to fast descending clouds, which disoriented the pilots while they were flying at a low altitude. Still, they should have checked the instruments to maintain adequate height. Taiwan has received 18 of their 30 helicopters, though they only have 17 now. Sources: Defense News, “Pilots Blamed for Taiwan Apache Crash”.

June 3/14: Submarines. ROC Ministry of National Defense (MND) Navy Command Headquarters has confirmed that Taiwan will try to replace part of the pressure hull on one of its existing Tench/ Guppy-II Class submarines. The boats were modernized to Guppy II standards in 1949, and transferred to Taiwan without torpedo systems in 1973, for use in anti-submarine training. Once in Taiwan, they were renamed SS-791 Hai Shih (ex-Cutlass) and SS-792 Hai Pao (ex-Tusk). Attempts to restore their torpedo firing capability reportedly failed, leaving them as surveillance and training vessels only.

The first problem is that they’re the world’s oldest serving submarines. While their core diving mechanism is simple and reliable, their continued safety under the compressing water pressure of a dive is a concern. MND has said that China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC) and the Ship and Ocean Industries Research and Development Center (SOIC) have been appointed to oversee replacement of SS-791 Hai Shih’s lower pressure hull, in an TWD 450 million (about $15 million) program that will take place at a Navy Maintenance Command dry dock. Some old piping may also be replaced.

SS-791’s problem is the entire pressure hull, and its external hull would still be 70 years old after the replacement. A mistake would kill the boat, and even success may not leave Taiwan with an operational training submarine. But perhaps that isn’t the point. This is a good initial step, if the goal is moving CSBC and SOIC toward the capabilities they need to build a design provided by the USA, or to lead a local project to reverse-engineer and build a new submarine. If an unsafe submarine is sacrificed in the process, that may be seen as an acceptable “last hurrah.” Sources: China Post, “Old Taiwanese submarine to get new pressure hull: MND” | Taipei Times 2007, “Feature: World’s longest-serving sub feted” | San Francisco Maritime National Park Association, “Museum documents an operating US, WW II built submarine in Taiwan”.

Crash

April 25/14: Crash. During a training exercise, a Taiwanese AH-64E crash-lands on the roof of a low-rise residential building in Taoyuan county. Guys, that’s not what we were supposed to be training today.

The Helicopter is a complete wreck, but the pilots suffer only minor injuries, and no residents are hurt. Sources: The Daily Mail, “How did they get out alive? Lucky escape for pilots of Apache attack helicopter after it crashes into a housing block in Taiwan” | South China Morning Post, “Two Taiwan pilots injured as Apache chopper crashes into building”.

AH-64E crash

April 10-14/14: Frigates. The US House of Representatives passes HR.3470, a bill authorizing the sale of 4 decommissioned US frigates to Taiwan. It also officially reaffirms US support for the Taiwan Relations Act, which has lately found itself honored mostly in the breach. The bill was passed by voice vote, so there are no exact totals. The next step is consideration by the US Senate, which requires cooperation from Senate Foreign Relations committee chair Bob Menendez [D-NJ].

Success would bypass the State Department’s DSCA and make the USS Taylor [FFG-50], USS Gary [FFG-51], USS Carr [FFG-52], and USS Elrod [FFG-55] available to Taiwan, though Defense Minister Yen Ming has said that Taiwan would only buy 2. Taiwan would also have to add weapons back if they want anti-aircraft or anti-ship capabilities. The frigates have some residual value as anti-submarine platform without that, but Chinese control of the air and prominent use of missile attack craft would give them very short lifespans unless these capabilities are restored in some way. Taiwan was happy for the gesture, while China followed with predictable staged theatrics. Sources: GovTrack on HR 3470 | The Diplomat, “US House Approves Frigate Sale to Taiwan” | Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan planning to buy two warships from U.S.: defense minister” | Reuters, “China angered by latest U.S. arms sale plan for Taiwan” | Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs [in Chinese].

April 5/14: F-16. A CNA report says that the ROCAF will begin the process of upgrading its F-16 fleet in the second half of 2016, after the initial jets that are in the USA for compatibility testing etc. are finished. They don’t have an end date for the conversions yet. Sources: Taiwan’s Want China Times, “Taiwan air force to start upgrading F-16s from 2016”.

April 4/14: Submarines. So, good news?

“Minister of National Defense Yen Ming told a legislative committee that the United States “is willing to help us build the submarines together.”

The question is, what does that actually mean? the US hasn’t disavowed helping Taiwan acquire submarines over the past 8 years, they just haven’t done anything. Sources: Kyodo News International, “Washington agrees to help Taiwan build attack submarines”.

Feb 5/14: P-3s. Despite problems with the flight control systems in some recent deliveries (q.v. Jan 2/14), the ROCAF says that their overall delivery timetable will not be delayed, and could even be ahead of schedule. Sources: FOCUS Taiwan, “U.S. delivery of P-3C aircraft to Taiwan on schedule: military”.

Jan 27/14: F-16s. There are rumors that the USAF will remove the The Combat Avionics Programmed Extension Suite (CAPES) program from the 2015 budget request, in favor of a general F-16 service-life extension program (SLEP). We’ll know more in early March 2014. Taiwan was already complaining about having to pay most of the integration costs for the new configuration, but a USAF pullout would raise prices again. With the economy going soft, that could become a problem.

One option would be to make a troublesome switch from riding the USAF’s coat-tails and adopt the South Korean model for a BAE-led upgrade, which will integrate a different set of avionics that includes Raytheon’s RACR AESA radar instead of Northrop Grumman’s SABR AESA. Unfortunately, South Korea is still in the study phase, so even the ROKAF couldn’t tell Taiwan what’s involved in a switch. Singapore has also formally requested upgrades to its F-16 fleet, but the RSAF doesn’t seem to have decided on their exact configuration either, and their use of Israeli technology in some areas could be hard to duplicate.

Unless NGC strongly believes that Singapore will pick their SABR radar over Raytheon’s RACR, they’re the contractor with the most to lose if Taiwan’s upgrade fails. Can they deploy enough lobbying resources to keep CAPES, and hence their confirmed foothold in F-16 radar replacement? Stay tuned. Sources: Defense News, “F-16 Upgrade Dropped From US Budget Proposal, Sources Say”.

Jan 22/14: AH-64E. The China Post reports:

“The Army Aviation Special Forces Command yesterday said the grounding of the Apaches is set to be lifted in mid-February following the six-day Chinese New Year holiday that runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, once they replace the main transmission boxes. So far, the command has received several batches of new main transmission boxes and has installed them in half of the 12 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.”

A subsequent report moves that date back a bit. The groundings will be lifted during the week of Feb 10/14. Sources: Taiwan’s China Post, “Army to lift grounding order on Apache helicopters after CNY” | “Grounding order for Apache helicopters to be lifted next week”.

Jan 21/14: Size cuts. Taiwan’s Defence Minister Yen Ming (KMT Party) proposes to cut Taiwan’s military by 20%+, from a current size of 215,000 to 170,000 – 190,000. There doesn’t seem to be a firm plan, only vague statements that cuts would take place across all 3 services, “in stages contingent upon the government’s budgets, the acquisition of new weapons and demographic changes.”

The news report touts it as “the latest sign of warming ties with former rival China”, which would cast this as a foolish move. Before jumping on that, however, we’d refer readers to the demographic reference. There has been a small widening at the very bottom of Taiwan’s population pyramid lately, but the proportion of children aged 0-14 has dropped from a 1990 census of 26.9% to 15.65% in 2010. If you’re trying to recruit a military, that matters. As StrategyPage recently noted:

“Some Taiwanese politicians, desperate to find volunteers for the military have proposed that the descendants of Chinese soldiers who fled to northern Burma and Thailand after the communists won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, be granted Taiwanese citizenship if they join the Taiwanese Army…. Taiwan, like many other nations during the last two decades, is finding that moving from conscription to an all-volunteer military is not easy. For two years now the military has been only able to recruit 30 percent of the soldiers it needs to be all-volunteer by 2014.”

This issue isn’t specific to American equipment, of course, but it will affect those buys. Recruitment shortfalls usually indicate that the high-end of the recruiting pool is suffering the most – exactly the people who will be needed to operate and maintain advanced new equipment. Sources: Channel NewsAsia, “Taiwan to slash armed forces by up to 20 percent” | StrategyPage, “Attrition: Taiwan Wants To Recruit From The Lost Army”.

Jan 2/14: P-3Cs. Taiwan’s 2nd P-3C sea control aircraft arrived on Dec 12/13, but 2 more were still hung up in Guam by a malfunction in the flight control system. P-3C #3 received a fix and arrived on Dec 17/13, but #4 is still waiting in Guam as of this date.

Why the delay? No P-3C supply facility at the military base in Guam, and U.S. personnel on Christmas vacation. At least Taiwan isn’t paying for the repairs; since that’s true, we can also expect corrective action within the refurbishment process. The rest of the 2013 – 2015 delivery schedule remains intact (q.v. Oct 31/13), but Taiwan’s 40 year old fleet of 11 twin-engine S-2T Trackers won’t formally retire until 2017. Focus Taiwan, “Malfunction delays U.S. delivery of P-3C aircraft to Taiwan”.

Jan 2/13: AH-64Es. A 2nd batch of 6 attack helicopters arrives, but none of the new helicopters are cleared for flight yet. Taiwan has checked its own AH-64Es and found no obvious problems, but they’re still waiting for the US Army report that will clarify why the US AH-64E’s main transmission failed in December. Training will take place in simulators until then.

AH-64Es #13-18 will arrive in March 2014, #19-24 will arrive in May 2014, and #25-30 will arrive in July 2014. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to receive six more Apache choppers Thursday”.

2013

Long-range radar ready; National programs to develop a new fighter and a submarine gain traction; The real American problem with submarines for Taiwan.

AH-64E
click for video

Dec 17/13: AH-64Es. Taiwan’s Army is notified of a main transmission failure in a US Army AH-64E attack helicopter. They respond by grounding all 6 Apache helicopters, pending a full investigation by the U.S. into the cause of the malfunction. Sources: Defense News, “Taiwan Grounds New US-Made Apache Helos Over Malfunction Fears” | Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan to receive six more Apache choppers Thursday”

AH-64Es grounded

Dec 17/13: BMD Radar. Raytheon IDS in Sudbury, MA, has been awarded a $6.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, cost-reimbursement contract modification to create a testing environment related to the Taiwan Surveillance Radar program. The TSR is a huge, fixed radar installation based on an improved version of the PAVE PAWS system, used to track ballistic missiles thousands of kilometers away. Taiwan reportedly shares its data with the USA.

The technical term for this contract is “follow-on support string upgrade engineering change proposal.” In English, they’ll create a controlled site-like testing environment in the USA to test modifications, and perform system troubleshooting. You certainly don’t want to use the main radar for that. Work will be performed in Sudbury, MA and is expected to be complete by Nov 8/17. The USAF Life Cycle Management Center/HBNA at Hanscom AFB, MA manages the contract (FA8730-13-C-0003, PO 0005). The same contract was also posted on Dec 13/13.

Dec 9/13: Submarines. Taiwan’s United Daily News reports that defense minister Yen Ming and Navy Command Headquarters chief Adm. Chen Yung-kang are strong supporters of a made-in-Taiwan submarine program. Partisan wrangling over the USA’s request for a NT$ 10 billion “contract design fee” (about $340 million) is generally seen as the key obstacle to progress on the 2001 sale approval, but the report also cites:

“…the U.S. Navy’s reluctance to build diesel-electric submarines at a U.S. shipyard because it fears that Congress would ask it to buy the conventional submarines to save money if an American shipyard had the capability to build such a ship.”

Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry association is scheduled to come up with a comprehensive assessment report by June 2014, and the military is reportedly doing its own due diligence in parallel. This won’t be easy. Taiwan would need to update its ship design technology, and would neither either considerable help or external sources for torpedoes, sonar, propulsion systems, combat systems, and submarine periscope lenses. Sources: FOCUS Taiwan, “Talk of the Day — Taiwan thinking of building its own submarines”.

Nov 13/13: On the list. Submarines remain high on Taiwan’s agenda, but they aren’t the only items. The ROCN will replace 2 of its FF-1052 Knox Class anti-submarine frigates in 2014, using 2 refurbished FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates. The rest may be replaced with local catamaran corvettes that have more of a surface warfare bent. The ROCN also seem to like the new minehunters, as they reportedly want to build some local MCM ships based loosely on their 2 new Ospreys. That’s a smart decision, and feasible for smaller shipyards.

Taiwan’s Marines reportedly want to buy another 48 AAV-7 amphibious personnel carriers, bringing their total fleet to 102 and allowing them to retire their ancient LVTP-5A1s.

The Air Force would like precision strike weapons, but if they’re thinking in terms of JDAM-type weapons, that won’t help them get inside Chinese air defenses. They’ll probably need to use their own weapons for that, and JDAMs are approved for export but the Air Force has delayed the purchase until 2014 or later. The ROCAF plans to go outside the USA entirely for its new jet trainer, but replacements for the AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chung have been canceled before. The last AT-3 was delivered in 1990, but South Korea’s T-50 family is reportedly quite tempting. China has been antagonizing South Korea lately, and a TA-50 sale would also provide Taiwan with a local interceptor and light attack jet. Sources: Defense News, “Taiwan Still Hungry for More US Arms”.

Nov 4/13: AH-64. Taiwan’s first 6 AH-64E attack helicopters have been re-assembled in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Harbor, after arriving by ship. Four were flown to the Aviation and Special Forces Command in Tainan’s Guiren Township for initial flight testing, and the other 2 will arrive as part of the official ceremony on Nov 7/13. The US reportedly asked Taiwan’s military authorities not to reveal the AH-64E’s cockpit layout or configuration in its public display. If only it were that easy (q.v. Oct 28/13).

The helicopters will become operational in April 2014, with Guiren Air Force Base in Tainan serving as a training and basing focal point. More than 60 Taiwanese pilots and maintenance personnel returned to Taiwan in August 2013, after completed 20 months of training in the USA that will let them act as instructors. Still, there were limits, which echoed circumstances surrounding the delivery of Taiwan’s AH-1W Cobras over a decade ago:

“While Taiwanese pilots and maintenance personnel managed to get a full understanding of the aircraft software and hardware, the pilots were unable to obtain training in certain special flight skills. The Taiwanese trainees were asked to leave the classroom or training site whenever the American instructors were giving lectures on certain critical courses or special flight maneuvers, the officials said.”

They’ll have to figure those out on their own. A 2nd batch of Apache helicopters is scheduled for delivery in late December 2013, and 3 more batches of 6 will complete deliveries by the end of 2014. Sources: Focus Taiwan, “Taiwan takes delivery of first Apache choppers” | Focus Taiwan, “Talk of the Day — AH-64E Apache choppers debut in Taiwan” | Flight International, “Taiwan receives first batch of AH-64E Apaches” | Focus Taiwan, “Apache choppers to bolster Taiwan’s combat capability: expert”.

AH-64Es arrive

Oct 31/13: P-3Cs. President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday touted the P-3’s capabilities, during an official ceremony at Pingtung Air Base. The delivery schedule is supposed to fly in planes #2-4 by the end of 2013, planes #5-9 in 2014, and #10-12 in 2015, when the full P-3 squadron will be commissioned. Taiwan’s aged S-2Ts are scheduled to be decommissioned by 2017. Sources: Taipei Times, “President hails P-3C patrol aircraft”.

Oct 26/13: Espionage. Taiwan’s MND announces that a Major and 12 other officers are under investigation for selling details concerning Taiwan’s upgraded E-2C 2000 (aka. E-2K) AEW&C air surveillance planes. The last 2 planes only arrived in Taiwan on March 8/13.

E-2Ks aren’t the most modern version, but they are the most widespread type in the US Navy, so compromising their radar system or battle management system is a problem for the US Navy, as well as for Taiwan. National Party Rep. Ting Shou-chung acknowledged to Voice of America that this kind of leak could make the USA more reluctant to share advanced technology with Taiwan, but basically, it’s too late to fix the damage. Poor security has been a problem in Taiwan for some time now (q.v. Additional Readings). Even so, recent years have seen authorization and delivery of the USA’s most modern attack helicopters (AH-64E) and air defense missiles (PATRIOT PAC-3), a large ballistic missile defense radar, and some of America’s most modern AESA fighter radar technology for Taiwan’s F-16s. More significant technologies aren’t likely to be available to Taiwan anyway, the USA can’t take back what’s already given, and it’s more than unlikely that the USA would derail existing contracts. Sources: MND announcement [in Chinese] | Epoch Times, “Taiwanese Major Sells Military Secrets to China”.

Espionage: Hawkeye 2000 compromised

Sept 23/13: P-3Cs. Taiwan will be receiving its first P-3Cs at Pingtung AB within the next day or two, depending on Typhoon Usagi’s progress and course. Four of the 12 planes are expected by the end of 2013.

Subsequent reports indicate that the plane arrived on Sept 25/13. Sources: Taipei Times, “P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to arrive in Taiwan”.

Aug 8/13: AH-64E. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $92.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, as part of Taiwan’s AH-64E buy and associated support. The Pentagon says that this brings the cumulative total face value of this contract to $716.7 million. The original DSCA request, including 30 helicopters, weapons and 6 years of support, had a maximum of $2.532 billion (q.v. Oct 3/08).

FY 2009 procurement funds are being used, which was the year Taiwan placed the order. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as Taiwan’s agent (W58RGZ-09-C-0147, PO 0025).

SABR AESA
click for video

July 31/13: F-16s. Raytheon’s RACR AESA may have won the South Korean F-16 upgrade contract, but refits for Taiwan and the US military will use Northrop Grumman’s SABR instead. It will also become the standard radar for Lockheed Martin’s “F-16V” new-build/ upgrade offering, replacing Northrop Grumman’s own APG-80 AESA used in the F-16E/F.

The Taiwanese deal still needs a firm radar contract, but this is a 10-figure combined opportunity. It’s a huge win for Northrop Grumman, whose AESA radars also equip USAF F-22A (APG-77) and global F-35 family (APG-81) fighters. Northrop Grumman.

SABR AESA radar picked

July 28/13: Submarines. US Under Secretary of Defense James Miller responds to Rep. Robert Andrews’ [D-NJ] letter by repeating what we already know. Taiwan’s government approved full funding for an American study re: diesel submarine design and feasibility in 2008, but the State Department and Pentagon still haven’t agreed to conduct one.

He adds, disingenuously, that “Taiwan has not submitted any requests for technical assistance or export licensing support pertaining to a submarine program.” First, the State Department’s DSCA would have to allow such a request to go forward to the Pentagon. Second, export licensing support and technical assistance would have their parameters defined by a feasibility study. Taipei Times.

May 14/13: Support. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Hurst, TX receives a maximum $85.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, foreign military sales (FMS) contract for engineering and technical support services to Iraq and Taiwan. Orders will be placed as required.

Iraq operates Bell IA-407s, and also has a handful of UH-1N twin-Hueys. Taiwan’s heliborne strike force currently relies on OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scouts and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, and a dwindling stock of aging single-engine UH-1H Hueys remains the backbone of their utility helicopter fleet. It’s reasonable to assume that most of these funds will be spent in Taiwan.

The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-13-D-0131).

April 25/13: PATRIOT PAC-3. Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang says that Taiwan has already deployed a PATRIOT PAC-3 battery in the north, which is ahead of the expected 2014 date. He adds that Taiwan will deploy the next 3 PAC-3 batteries in the south. Focus Taiwan.

April 24/13: AH-64. A $19.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, as part of Taiwan’s order for AH-64E helicopters and related support. The Pentagon says that this order brings the total cumulative face value of this contract to $624.4 million, of the maximum $2.532 billion noted in the October 2008 DSCA request. DID is having a hard time squaring that with known announcements.

Oddly, the Pentagon’s notice cites FY 2009 procurement contract funds as the source; presumably, they’re referencing Taiwan’s original order funding. The US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL acts as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W58RGZ-09-C-0147, PO 0022).

April 9/13: Keep an eye out. It didn’t take long for Taiwan’s long range mountaintop radar in Hsinchu County to come in handy. The Americans have reportedly asked the ROCAF to strengthen radar sweeps toward Northeast Asia for possible missile launches, and relay surveillance information. The Hsinchu radar is in the BMEWS class, with the ability to detect and track ballistic missiles from a range of up to 5,000 km. China Post.

UH-60M OFT
(click to view full)

April 8/13: UH-60M. L-3 Link Simulation & Training announces a contract for 2 Taiwan Army UH-60M Operational Flight Trainers (OFTs). The contract is the result of a letter of agreement between the U.S. and the Taiwan Army, and is the 1st export of their UH-60M OFT. The 1st trainer will be operational at Shinshou Training Facility in Q4 2014, and the 2nd will follow in Q1 2015. A companion contract provides for 1 year of support, with a 1-year extension option. The US Army’s Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) will manage the purchase as Taiwan’s agent.

The OFTs are mostly similar to those used in the US Army’s Flight School XXI program. A 6-degree of freedom electric motion system is coupled with a supplemental motion system that simulates helicopter vibration. High-fidelity software is designed to accurately simulate each platform’s engine, electrical, hydraulic, navigation and communications systems, and even aircraft survivability equipment. It’s even compatible with night vision goggles. The big difference will be a Taiwan geo-database, for faithful reproduction of flights over their home terrain.

April 5/13: As the US DSCA submits South Korea’s request for stealth-enhanced F-15SE Strike Eagles and F-35A stealth fighters, US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers points to that process as a clear example of the political weakness in Washington. “The threats the [South] Korean air force face are the same as those of Taiwan’s air force,” and the argument that China could easily ground Taiwan’s F-16s by staging a massive missile attack on air bases applies equally to North and South Korea. Taipei Times | Read “Korea’s F-X Multi-Role Fighter Buys: Phases 2 & 3” for full coverage of South Korea’s fighter modernization.

March 13/13: Beyond F-16s. Citing a newly released quadrennial defense review, Taiwan’s media say that the ROCAF wants to step beyond their upgraded F-CK-1s, and develop a new fighter with features like lower radar cross-section, long-range, and aerial refueling receiver, as well as the ability to launch missiles against land targets or ships.

Taiwan’s military currently estimates that the fighter and small submarine development programs will cost about NT$500 billion (about $16.9 billion). Which means they’ll be lucky to keep the real total below $20 billion. Senior officials are also careful to add that they haven’t given up on getting more F-16s, which could squeeze development budgets for something new.

On the other hand, Liberty Times quotes KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang statements that “For our national survival, we need to build up our defense capability under our own steam,” as a result of the USA’s increasing reluctance to assist Taiwan. Focus Taiwan.

March 13/13: Submarines. Taipei’s MND responds to reports that Taiwan has given up on buying new submarines abroad, by confirming that they’re “reviewing the relevant plans and budgets” for a 4-year local development project that was brought to the TWD 7 billion (about $236 million) National Defence Industrial Development Foundation in late 2012.

The ROCN actually foresees a budget closer to TWD 10 billion (about $340 million) to fund design, equipment acquisition, building industrial capability, and testing for a 1,000t – 2,000t submarine. Even that figure seems awfully low for a country that hasn’t built submarines before, and probably won’t be able to use an existing design as a base. Asia One.

March 8/13: E-2 AWACS. The last 2 upgraded Hawkeye 2000s arrive at Kaohsiung International Airport Station in southern Taiwan for follow-up tests and inspections (q.v. Nov 8/11 entry). This completes Taiwan’s E-2T Hawkeye upgrades, and restores its militarily critical AWACS fleet to full strength. Focus Taiwan.

All E-2 upgrades delivered

Feb 19/13: P-3s. StandardAero-San Antonio Inc. in San Antonio, TX receives a $10.6 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification, exercising an option for the overhaul of 16 T56-A-14 propulsion systems for the Government of Taiwan under the Foreign Military Sales Program.

That model of the T56 is unique to the P-3 family, and that number of engines would equip 4 refurbished P-3s. Or serve as fleet spares, which is more likely.

Work will be performed in San Antonio, TX and is expected to be complete in February 2014. All funds are committed immediately, and the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract on behalf of its FMS client (N00019-09-D-0014).

Feb 8/13: P-3s. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $9.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to incorporate engineering change proposals (ECPs) in Taiwan’s 12 P-3 aircraft. Upgrades will improve both Harpoon Block II compatibility, and improved radar and signals emission location.

Specifically, the ECP implements the Complimentary Navigation Message, which updates RINU-G and Control Display Unit software with a message set that helps the radar/GPS guided Harpoon Block 2 Missile with precision targeting. They’ll also replace the standard AN/ALR-95 Electronic Support Measures system with the more advanced AN/ALR-97. The final modification upgrades technical publications to reflect the “Mode-T” software instead of the “Mode “4” software.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (31%); Jacksonville, FL (18%); Van Nuys, CA (16%); Aberdeen, MD (14%); Cedar Rapids, IA (13%); McKinney, TX (3%); Marietta, GA (3%); and Woodland Hills, CA (2%), and is expected to be complete in February 2014. All Foreign Military Sales contract funds are committed immediately, and will be managed by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ on behalf of their ROC client (N00019-09-C-0031).

Feb 1/13: Long-Range Radar. Agence France Presse reports that Taiwan’s US-made long-range early warning radar is now deployed near the northern county of Hsinchu, on its mountaintop perch. The NT$40.9 billion (about $1.35 billion at 2013 conversions) project loks similar to existing Pave Paws stations, and reportedly has a 5,000 km range. The added warning time for ballistic missile attacks is just minutes, but it matters a bit more when minutes were all you had before. The ability to add a bigger picture view on top of the short range PATRIOT radars is very important for national command and control.

As a bonus, the radar’s ability to see into Chinese airspace, and even to monitor North Korean launches, makes it an equally valuable asset to the USA. If Taiwan decides to share that data, which is a reasonable assumption, it becomes a more valuable ally. AFP.

SRP long-range radar deployed

2012

F-16 upgrade program begins; A domestic submarine program?; Budget for 4 frigates in 2013?; Stinger missiles; Harpoons prepped.

F-16V
click for video

Oct 24/12: Planes? No tanks. Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu tells a legislative hearing that the cost of Taiwan’s F-16 upgrades is the reason for delays to tank purchases and self-propelled artillery upgrades. He adds that before requesting the 70-ton M1s, they would have to conduct a compatibility evaluation on the country’s infrastructure, such as roads, highways and bridges.

It’s certainly possible for large purchases to squeeze out less important items, within a defense budget. Then again, it’s also pretty common for a party that doesn’t really want to implement stronger defenses to use this sort of thing as an excuse to avoid doing what needs to be done. The KMT’s recent record makes it hard to tell which interpretation is the truth. Focus Taiwan.

Oct 1/12: F-16s. Lockheed Martin announces a contract valued at up to $1.85 billion to begin upgrading 145 ROCAF F-16A/B Block 20 fighters to the “F-16S” (not T?) configuration, including an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, embedded global positioning, electronic warfare upgrades, and other avionics improvements. Note Lockheed’s use of the word “begin”; the complete upgrade is very likely to cost more than $1.85 billion.

The F-16S upgrades will follow the Sept 21/11 DSCA request, which Lockheed Martin has firmed up into a global offering. The firm’s proposed F-16V was announced at Singapore’s airshow in February 2012.

Contract: F-16 upgrade

Sept 5/12: Minehunters. The ROCN plans to spend TWD $35.9 billion ($1.2 billion) to buy 6 domestically built minehunting ships over a 12-year period, but that budget has yet to obtain final legislative approval:

“Although information on the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) mine warfare capabilities remains sketchy, naval analysts, including James Bussert of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia, believe each of the three PLAN fleets comprises one squadron of mine layers. The US Navy estimates the PLAN uses as many as 30 types of mines (including submarine-launched) and has an inventory of between 50,000 and 100,000…. Taiwan has strategic oil reserves of approximately 1.45 million kiloliters of crude, which would last the nation for about 30 days. Besides disrupting shipments of crude and natural gas, which could bring Taiwan to a standstill, the mining of Taiwanese harbors and waterways would severely undermine the confidence of global cargo fleets and thereby cause serious damage to Taiwan’s economy.”

The question is whether they will build their own design to accompany the new Osprey Class (q.v. Aug 2-10/12), or a foreign design. Sources: Taipei Times, “Taiwan plans to build six minehunting Navy ships”.

Aug 28/12: PATRIOT. The Taipei Times reports that new PATRIOT PAC-3 defense sites will begin construction in September 2012 around Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung cities. A private contractor will handle the NT$ 61.4 million (about $2 million) contract, but the move has a significance that’s out of proportion to its size.

The PAC-3 systems would join Taiwan’s 3 upgraded PAC-2/ Config-3 units, currently deployed around the capital city of Taipei in Wanli, Nangang, and Sindian. The 4 new PAC-3 batteries from the October 2008 notification are reportedly being considered for a number of sites, including Greater Taichung’s Dadu Mountain, Greater Kaohsiung’s Jenwu District, Greater Tainan’s Hutoupi, protection for Taiwan’s E-2 2000 Hawkeye early-warning planes at Pingtung’s airport, and possibly the small airport terminal at Chiayi. About 386 missiles have been ordered so far, and the full PAC-3 systems are scheduled to arrive in 2014-2015. Another 2 PAC-3 batteries would follow under the 2010 DSCA request, as part of a future purchase phase.

Aug 2-10/12: Minehunters. Taiwan’s 2 Osprey Class minehunting ships arrive after their 2-year refurbishment and training period in the USA, and are inducted into the ROCN in welcoming ceremony at the Zuoying naval base, in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

Taiwan’s fleet of minehunters now numbers 10 ships, but these are by far the newest and most capable. Designed in the 1990s instead of the 1950s, Osprey Class ships are equipped with an array of mine-hunting devices including Raytheon AN/SQQ-32 sonar, remotely-operated AN/SLQ-48 Mine Neutralizing Vehicles (MNV), video sensors, remotely-controlled mine detonators, cable cutters, and a pair of .50 caliber machineguns. The minehunters have a cruising speed of 10 knots, and mission endurance of 15 days. China Post | Taiwan Today | Defense Update.

2 Minehunters arrive

Aug 3/12: P-3s. The good news is, a Taiwanese P-3C Orion aircraft recently completed its 1st functional trial flight in late July 2012, and Taiwan should begin receiving its new P-3C sea control aircraft in 2013. The bad news is, the military’s plan to build a hangar at an air base in Pingtung County in southern Taiwan has gone nowhere.

The ROCAF says that the new planes could be placed in C-130H hangars, but that isn’t a long-term solution. The problem appears to be lack of jurisdictional clarity between the ROCAF and Navy over who will control the planes, and hence who will issue the RFP. Focus Taiwan.

July 24/12: Tanks. The Taipei Times reports that Taiwan is looking to join countries like Morocco, and try to obtain refurbished M1 Abrams tanks. The tanks used in Iraq and Afghanistan need major maintenance overhauls, and one option for the Army would be to sell the tanks to allies, and let them pay for the RESET costs.

“Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General David Lo… told local media yesterday that efforts to acquire used battle tanks from the US were currently under evaluation… Deputy Minister of National Defense Chao Shih-chang… [said] the Army was seeking to procure 200 tanks to bolster its forces, adding that the great bulk would be deployed in Hukou Township… [with] the 584th Armored Brigade… Taiwan’s efforts to procure the 70-tonne main battle tank go back to the early 2000s, when it requested M1-A2s from the US, a request that Washington turned down.”

July 13-22/12: Upgrade MoU signed. Reports indicate that the US and Taiwan have signed the $3.7 billion MoU to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16s, with upgrades occurring at a rate of 24 fighters out of service at a time, beginning in 2016 and continuing to 2028. The actual Letter of Acceptance (contract) is expected to be finalized within a couple of months, but it has a number of reported twists and conditions that are puzzling.

One of the oddest is that Taiwan will have no say in which radar (Northrop Grumman SABR or Raytheon RACR) is picked in 2013-2014, and then installed. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin’s recent agreement with state-run AIDC appears to have shut BAE out of the picture, without the opportunity to compete or be evaluated.

Another odds proviso is that Taiwan won’t recover it’s engineering costs to integrate the new AESA radars, if the US Air National Guard adopts the same radar and methods to retrofit its own F-16s. Taiwanese sources told Defense News that the MoU allows “some” reimbursement if other F-16 customers adopt the same retrofit. The most likely near-term customers are Korea and Singapore. AIDC [in Chinese] | Defense News | Defense Update | Reuters India (abridged) | Reuters, via Aviation Week.

July 11/12: LMCO-AIDC MoU. At the 2012 Farnborough Air Show, Taiwan’s AIDC and Lockheed Martin sign a memorandum of understanding to expand their strategic relationship, and jointly explore opportunities for the Taiwan F-16 A/B Retrofit Program.

The MOU defines potential collaboration on F-16 retrofit modifications, F-16 component parts manufacture and other potential offset projects. Its practical effect is to shut BAE Systems out of any competition (vid. March 14/12 entry). Lockheed Martin | Reuters.

F-16 upgrade MoU

June 25/12: F-16s. Reports from Taiwan indicate that the Ministry of National Defense is giving the USA’s May 2012 draft Letter of Acceptance for F-16 modernization some hard thought, as it screens the items and prices in the USA’s rumored $3.8 billion response. A decision is expected by the end of July.

The United Evening News reports that the $600 million cost for the AESA radars in particular has created unease among “senior government officials,” who are reportedly asking for other options. There’s certainly precedent for installing previous-generation APG-68v9 radars in early-model F-16s instead, as is being done for Pakistan. It would be a major improvement on Taiwan’s current radars, and equal other F-16C/D Block 52 fleets around the world, but would remain a generation behind AESA performance. Both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman are touting their RACR/SABR next-generation radars as drop-in refits for older F-16s, but Taiwan is being told that additional system engineering work would be required. The Pentagon has reportedly promised to remit some of those custom design costs, if other countries choose to add AESA radar systems to their F-16A/Bs in the future. The China Post | Focus Taiwan | Agence France-Presse.

May 29/12: AH-64 helicopters. Boeing in Mesa, AZ received a $97.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification “of an existing contract to procure Block III Apache AH-64D attack helicopters in support of Foreign Military Sales.” Which means Taiwan. Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 30/17. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-09-C-0147).

This brings total ROC Apache Block III contracts to $683.8 million so far, of the maximum $2.532 billion noted in the October 2008 DSCA request. This current total includes equipment like fire control radars and air-launched Stinger missiles, which were part of that request.

May 17/12: Minesweepers. Taiwan’s CNA reports that the former USS Oriole and USS Falcon Osprey Class coastal minehunting ships are scheduled for delivery to Taiwan in July after being refitted and reactivated. They are due to be commissioned into service in October 2012.

May 17/12: F-16s. The US House of Representatives approves Rep. Kay Granger’s [R-TX-12] amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310), which requires the Obama administration to approve the sale of 66 new F-16s to Taiwan. It’s 1 of 19 amendments that passes on a voice vote, before the House passes HR 4310.

Granger’s amendment is companion legislation to her House Bill (H.R. 2992) that “Directs the President to carry out the sale of no fewer than 66 F-16C/D multirole fighter aircraft to Taiwan”, and to Sens. Cornyn and Menendez’ Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act of 2011 (S.1539). Unless the Senate also passes a similar amendment to the 2013 budget, however, it won’t matter. Neither HR 2992 nor S 1539 has passed individually, and the final 2013 defense budget needs to pass both the House and the Senate with the same text. The wording is also somewhat questionable, as the President isn’t really the decider, and can always offer the excuse that the State Department never forwarded a request. Which is true – the State Department is blocking that request. Forcing approval of that request, either by State’s DSCA or via legislation removing this request from DSCA’s hands, might have been a better tactic. Rep. Granger | The Hill.

May 6/12: UH-60Ms. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT received a $43.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for engineering services, to convert 4 more UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters “to the specific unique configuration for Taiwan.” In other words, to finish the 4 helicopters bought on June 30/11. This brings the total cost of those 4 helicopters to $91.8 million, or $23 million per machine so far.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Oct 31/14. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by Taiwan’s FMS agent, the US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

4 UH-60Ms

May 2/12: Link-16. Data Link Solutions in Cedar Rapids, IA receives a $9.4 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to Taiwan of MIDS-LVT terminals, as a Foreign Military Sale transaction.

Work will be performed in Wayne, NJ (50%), and Cedar Rapids, IA (50%), and is expected to be complete by Dec 31/14. This contract was competitively procured via FBO.gov and the SPAWAR E-commerce website, with 2 offers received. The competition was real, as Taiwan has shifted its buys back and forth over time. US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, CA manages the contract, on behalf of its FMS client (N00039-10-D-0031).

April 27/12: F-16s. Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] has lifted his hold on the confirmation of former Obama aide Mark W. Lippert, as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs. It comes after Obama’s Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, Robert L. Nabors II, sends a letter that promises to consider sales of new F-16s to Taiwan. Careful reading shows that this is all it promises, and Obama’s former aide will play a large role in any decisions. Unless there’s another reason to believe in a policy about-face, therefore, it’s unreasonable to expect any change, despite this language:

“We understand your desire to see Taiwan’s air force modernized with the addition of new F-16C/Ds… especially given the pending retirement of F-5s… [The new ASD] would use the position as the U.S. Chair of the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Review Talks and the interagency Monterey Talks to oversee the development of a combined review of Taiwan’s long-term defense strategy and resourcing plan, to include on Taiwan’s air and missile defense needs… We recognize that China has 2,300 operational combat aircraft, while our democratic partner Taiwan has only 490… The Assistant Secretary, in consultation with the inter-agency and the Congress, will play a lead role as the Administration decides on a near-term course of action on how to address Taiwan’s fighter gap, including through the sale to Taiwan of an undetermined number of new U .S.-made fighter aircraft.”

April 22/12: More frigates? Media reports say that Taiwan may look to increase its fleet of FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates from the current set of 8. The defence ministry has reportedly briefed President Ma Ying-jeou, and is said to be ready to include a budget for 4 more in 2013.

These frigates are generally sold for very little money, except the cost of refurbishment. Taiwan’s FFG-7 frigates are fully armed, and include the original pop-up launcher for SM-1 air defense and Harpoon ship attack missiles. The US Navy has removed missiles from its own frigates, however, so adding them back would be part of the refurbishment contract, if Taiwan wants that. Bangkok Post. See also Aug 5/10, Jan 10/10.

March 20/12: Cracked AMRAAMs. The Taipei Times reports that the ROCAF currently has 120 AIM-120C-5 and 218 AIM-120C-7s in inventory, with deliveries that began in 2004. Unfortunately, some of them were experiencing cracking in their pyroceramic radome nose cones. American investigators concluded that Taiwan’s high humidity, plus the pressure created by supersonic flight, were the problem. The ROCAF will respond by improving storage and rotation cycles.

The Taipei Times does note that Taiwan’s radar-guided MBDA MICA and locally-built Tien Chien II missiles aren’t having this problem, despite being exposed to the same conditions.

March 14/12: F-16s. Lockheed Martin and BAE are both pushing to perform Taiwan’s F-16 upgrades, as part of a wider competition in this area between the 2 firms. BAE’s recent wins in providing fire-control and advanced ethernet capabilities for 270 US ANG F-16s, and upgrades for some Turkish F-16s, sends notice that Lockheed can expect competition in Taiwan, South Korea (up to $1.6 billion for 134 KF-16s), and Singapore (70 F-16C/Ds).

Taiwan will be a challenge for BAE, because its armed forces and government have a long-standing relationship with Lockheed Martin that they may be loath to jeopardize. Defense Update.

March 13/12: Thai Submarines. Thailand has dropped plans to buy 4 second-hand German U206A submarines, and let their option rights expire on Feb 29/12. Reports say that Thai Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat refused to approve the deal, after several reviews of the navy’s submarine purchase plans.

The tiny 550t submarines are especially well-suited for shallow, constricted waters and near-coast operations. They’re old, but they’d fit Taiwan’s needs extremely well, offering a bridge buy whose layout and plans would also help teach Taiwanese designers. Or, the stealthy, shallow-water U206s may find another global buyer who values their unique specialties, and has a near-term need. Colombia has already bought 2 of the 6 submarines available. Europe Online.

Feb 27/12: Submarines. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense officially denies a magazine report saying that Taiwan was going to buy Greece’s U214 Papanikolis Class submarines, since Greece couldn’t pay.

The Hong Kong-based Chinese-language magazine, Asian Week (probably “Yazhou Zhoukan”), added that HDW officials has visited Taiwan in October 2011, and been told that a deal was possible for under $800 million each, plus 10-20 years guaranteed support, and US approval. The report added that HDW had officially informed the US about the proposal. Taipei Times.

UGM-84 Harpoon
(click to view full)

Feb 22/12: Harpoons for subs. Modernizations will allow Taiwan’s navy to arm its 2 submarines with UGM-84 Harpoon missiles, beginning in 2013. The move will greatly increase their submarines’ reach, allowing attacks from up to 70 miles away. That makes it much harder for enemies to protect themselves against a submarine attack, by widening the required search field.

Taiwan already equips its F-16s and some navy ships with other variants of this missile, but a submarine’s stealth adds a new level of difficulty for Taiwan’s enemies. Local reports indicate that integration will involve the addition of a stand-alone fire-control system for the missiles, to avoid the added time and expense of full integration. It will also require either changes to the torpedo tube mechanisms, or conversion/addition of a dedicated torpedo tube. For tactical reasons, it’s much better to have all torpedo tubes missile-capable, as this allows fast salvos of multiple missiles. Since firing a missile announces the submarine’s presence and location rather loudly, attacks on well-defended naval groups (like, say, an invasion force) will be much more effective as a missile swarm, rather than using the classic kung-fu movie approach where the attackers conveniently fight the defender one at a time. If, indeed, the submarine lives long enough to keep launching more attacks. See also July 29/10 entry. Taipei Times | 9abc | India’s Zee News.

Sub modernization

Feb 21/12: Submarines. The Taipei Times reports confirmations from the ROC Navy that it will begin a domestic submarine program in 2013, with “assistance from one or a number of foreign countries”, in order to create a small 1,000t – 1,500t design. The goal is reportedly to deliver a prototype within 3-4 years, and the ROCN would reportedly seek budgets for the program within 2 months.

Semi-native sub program?

Feb 13/12: PATRIOT. The USA’s FY 2013 budget documents include information about Taiwan’s PATRIOT PAC-3 missile orders. Looking through past years as well, one sees 386 PAC-3 missiles ordered from FY 2010-2013: 96 in FY 2010, 96 in FY 2011, 154 in FY 2012, and 40 missiles for FY 2013.

Feb 7/12: Minesweepers. An article about the Iranian mine threat to the Strait of Hormuz notes that the former US Navy Osprey Class minehunting ships Oriole and Falcon have been authorized for sale to Taiwan (vid. Jan 29/10 entry), but are still being refurbished in Texas.

Jan 5/12: Stingers. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AA receives a $7.8 million firm-fixed-price contract, to buy FIM-92H Block 1 Stinger missiles for Taiwan. The designation FIM-92H refers to FIM-92D missiles, which have been upgraded to the current FIM-92 RMP Block I standard. They can be used with air-to-air launchers on helicopters, or they can equip troops on the ground.

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/16. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by Taiwan’s contract agents at US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-C-0520).

2011

$5.3b F-16 upgrade program; Taiwan is a security risk for secrets; Political dogfight over F-16s in USA; Taiwan to try building submarines itself?; Major PATRIOT missile buy; AH-64D Block III attack helicopter buys; Upgraded E-2 surveillance planes returning; 1st 4 UH-60M helis ordered; Plans for new torpedoes.

ROCAF F-16A Block 20
fires AGM-65 Maverick
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Dec 30/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Andover, MA receives a $34.3 million firm-fixed-price contract, providing initial funding for 3 Taiwanese Patriot fire units and training equipment. DID is investigating possible connections to the Dec 16/11 announcement.

Work will be performed in several locations within Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, Italy, Greece, and Canada, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2016. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, incl. services as Taiwan’s agent (W31P4Q-12-C-0069).

Dec 30/11: PATRIOT. Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $606 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for FY 2012 PATRIOT requirements – which includes missiles, launchers, and ground support for Taiwan. Within the PATRIOT system, Lockheed Martin produces the PAC-3 missile, the missile canister 4-packs, a fire solution computer, and the Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES).

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Camden, AR; Lufkin, TX; Chelmsford, MA and Ocala, FL, with an estimated completion date of July 30/15. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W31P4Q-12-C-0002).

Dec 30/11: AH-64D. Longbow Limited Liability Corp. in Orlando, FL receives an announced $64.3 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, but Longbow LLC pegs its actual value at $181 million, with options to extend performance past 2015, to 2017.

It’s said to include 15 Longbow Block III Fire Control Radar assemblies for Taiwan’s AH-64Ds, marking the Block III version’s 1st export order.

For the US Army, the order includes 14 Block III Radar Electronics Units, which are smaller then their predecessors, and offer lower weight, maintenance and power requirements. The Army is also buying 14 Unmanned Aerial System Tactical Common Data Link Assembly (UTA) systems and spares, which provide a 2-way, high-bandwidth data link that lets the helicopter crew control nearby UAV flight paths, sensors and lasers at long ranges, while receiving high-quality imagery from the UAVs on the helicopters’ own displays.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, including its work as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W58RGZ-10-C-0005). Lockheed Martin | Northrop Grumman.

Dec 30/11: AH-64D. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $13.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to fund FIM-92H Block-1 Stinger missiles and their air-to-air launchers for Taiwan. China’s near-certain air superiority in the event of a conflict makes aerial combat weapons for Taiwan’s attack helicopters a smart move. Their maneuverability and near-earth flight profile would make them a very difficult foe for many fast jets.

Taiwan’s DSCA request was for up to 173 missiles, which will be used on its AH-64 helicopters (q.v. Oct 3/08 entry). A $45.4 million contract has already ordered 171 of the missiles, plus ancillary equipment that included 24 of 35 requested Stinger Captive Flight Trainers with live guidance systems, but no rocket motors (q.v. June 25/09).

Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/16. One bid was solicited, with one bid received. US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages the contract, as Taiwan’s FMS agent (W31P4Q-09-C-0520).

Dec 27/11: E-2s. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives a $6.9 million delivery order modification exercising an option for sustainment, engineering and technical services, and travel in support of ROCAF E-2Cs.

Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (70%), and Pingtung Air Force Base, Taiwan (30%), and is expected to be completed in January 2013. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract on behalf of its FMS client.

Dec 19/11: E-2s. Taiwan gets 2 of its E-2Ts back as Hawkeye 2000s. The arrival of the 2 planes in Kaohsiung city brings their fleet size back to 4, with 2 more still in the USA for upgrades. Taiwan News.

Dec 16/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon announces a $685.7 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract from Taiwan for additional PATRIOT fire units, featuring current electronics, an improved man-machine interface, and claims of lower life-cycle costs. The firm adds that this award is in addition to the 2009 contract for new systems, and the 2008 contracts to upgrade Taiwan’s existing systems. Work under this contract will be performed at Raytheon’s Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; El Paso, TX; and Huntsville, AL.

When queried, the firm clarified that this order will be built from the ground up as PATRIOT PAC-3, and that “fire unit” means the complete system, including radars, generators, antenna, ECS command module, and missile launchers. Taiwan is already beginning to build experience with the equipment, as Raytheon recently delivered the first upgraded Configuration-3 radar system, 10 months ahead of the original requested program plan. See also Taipei Times.

Major PATRIOT contract

Dec 15/11: Submarines. More reports that Taiwan is moving toward its own submarine program, per the Sept 19/11 entry below. The story adds one expert’s recommendation that the money and time might be spent on fast-attack missile boats like the Chinese Type 022. Which would be a good recommendation, if standard combat scenarios weren’t assuming PLAAF control of the air over the Formosa Straits.

The Taipei Times also reports that Taiwan turned down a proposed 2003 deal to buy up to 8 Sauro Class boats from Italy as they were decommissioned. The Fincantieri submarines had entered service between 1980 and 1992, which means they would have had limited remaining service life, and Taiwan decided that it was better not to buy them. Unfortunately, no deal for new submarines turned up.

Dec 7/11: AH-64 helicopters. Boeing in Mesa, AZ received a $141.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for “services in support of 30 Apache AH-64D attack helicopters for Taiwan.” See also the June 10/11 and Oct 8/10 entries for that order.

Work will be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of Dec 30/17. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL, who is acting as Taiwan’s agent (W58RGZ-09-C-0147).

Dec 7/11: BMD Radar. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Sudbury, MA receives a $42.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract for the Surveillance Radar Program. Specifically, this system includes a UHF phased array radar integrated with Taiwan-furnished Identification Friend-or-Foe beacons; 2 Missile Warning Centers; and communications and interface architecture and protocols to specific nodes within Taiwan’s military communications infrastructure, consistent with US restrictions

The SRP is a Foreign Military Sales Program managed by the USAF Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, MA, to provide Taiwan with the elements of a missile and air defense capability. Work will be performed in Sudbury, MA, and is expected to be complete by Nov 9/12 (FA8722-05-C-0001, PO 0062).

Dec 7/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon in Andover, MA received a $12.7 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-reimbursable contract. The award will modify an existing contract for technical services in support of Taiwan’s PATRIOT air defense missile system.

Work will be performed in El Paso, TX, and Taipei, Taiwan, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/15. by the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL, who is acting as Taiwan’s agent (W31P4Q-11-C-0317).

Nov 8/11: E-2s. Taiwan ships its 3rd and 4th E-2T Hawkeyes to the USA for upgrades to Hawkeye 2000 configuration (vid. Oct 3/08 entry). The move leaves Taiwan without any operational E-2Ts, as the first 2 planes aren’t expected to return from their upgrades until the end of 2011.

In their absence, the ROCAF does have 2 newer E-2C+ Hawkeye 2000s to rely on, but the move remains a calculated risk. Taiwan News.

Oct 5/11: PATRIOT. Raytheon IDS in Andover, MA receives a $20.4 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, to provide PATRIOT technical assistance services to Taiwan. Work will be performed in El Paso, TX; Taipei, Taiwan, and Andover, MA; with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W31P4Q-11-C-0317).

Nov 18/11: F-16 dogfight. Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] sends a letter to President Obama, that also clarifies Taiwan’s current position re: the F-16s:

“Shortly after your Administration announced the F-16 A/B upgrade package, I wrote to President Ma to ask him for clarification on Taiwan’s military requirement for new F-16C/Ds. On Oct. 14, I received an unequivocal response, stating that Taiwan needs both the upgraded F-16A/Bs and the new F-16C/Ds to fulfill its “self-defense needs in qualitative and quantitative terms.” The sale of new F-16C/Ds to Taiwan also has the backing of 47 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and 181 Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives who this past year have sent letters of support to your Administration. In your recent speech to the Australian Parliament, you stated that “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.” I applaud this rhetoric, but it will ring hollow unless it is followed by meaningful action…”

Nov 14/11: A day after the New York Times publishes an editorial urging President Obama to sell out Taiwan, Rep. Ed Royce [R-CA-40] tells a Formosa Foundation group in Los Angeles that Congress is not contemplating abandonment. That may seem like harsh language, but the New York Times op-ed reads:

“President Obama… should enter into closed-door negotiations with Chinese leaders to write off the $1.14 trillion of American debt currently held by China in exchange for a deal to end American military assistance and arms sales to Taiwan and terminate the current United States-Taiwan defense arrangement by 2015.”

“Sell out” is a perfectly appropriate description. New York Times | Taipei Times.

Pakistani F-16D-52
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Sept 21/11: F-16 Block… 59s? The US DSCA issues up to $5.95 billion in ROCAF F-16 related upgrade and support requests, over 3 separate notifications. The procedure for Foreign Military Sale mode requests is that if Congress doesn’t block the sale within 30 days, negotiations and contracts can commence. The US military is technically the buyer and contract manager, but they do so on behalf of their FMS client. The exact DSCA requests include:

Pilot Training: Many foreign militaries train their combat pilots in the USA, taking advantage of America’s larger swathes of open airspace for training, and of training alongside combat-proven American pilots. Taiwan already trains its F-16 pilots at Luke AFB near Glendale, AZ, and a buy request worth up to $500 million would continue funding this program over the long term.

The training provides a “capstone” course that takes experienced pilots and significantly improves their tactical proficiency. Funding would cover flight training, supply and maintenance support, spare and repair parts, support equipment, program management, publications, documentation, personnel training and training equipment, fuel and fueling services, and other related program requirements.

L-3 Communications Corporation in Greenville, TX would be the lead contractor for this service, but there would be about 90 U.S. contractors providing various forms of aircraft maintenance and logistics support at Luke AFB. US DSCA [PDF].

Spare Parts: This Foreign Military Sales Order II program (FMSO II) request would provide funds for blanket spare parts orders, under the Cooperative Logistics Supply Agreement (CLSSA), to support Taiwan’s F-16A/B Falcon, F-5E/F Tiger II, and F-CK IDF Ching Kuo fighters, and C-130H Hercules transport aircraft. The estimated cost is up to $52 million.

Procurement of these items will be from many contractors providing similar items to the U.S. forces, and implementation of this sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives. US DSCA [PDF].

RACR retrofit
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F-16 Fleet Retrofit: This request [PDF] would retrofit up to 145 F-16A/B Block 20 fighters. The technologies involved in some aspects of this retrofit are something of a surprise, as they go beyond the new F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft Taiwan was said to be looking for – a type that was recently sold to China’s ally Pakistan. These retrofits are more advanced than that, rising to a technology level that would be ahead of any F-16 the USAF flies, and similar to (but not the same as) the UAE’s unique F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons.

The estimated cost is up to $5.3 billion. The most advanced gear includes:

  • 176 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars. The only F-16s currently flying with AESA radars are the UAE’s F-16E/Fs, which carry Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-80. Northrop Grumman (SABR) and Raytheon (RACR) are both offering AESA radars that retrofit into the same nose space as the original F-16 radars, while offering 2x-3x performance improvements over even the Block 52’s AN/APG-68v9 radar. Despite their retrofit target market, a sale would hand over some of America’s most advanced fighter radar technologies, derived from platforms like the Navy Super Hornets’ APG-79 (RACR) and the F-35’s APG-81 (SABR).

  • 176 Electronic Warfare Management systems, incl. possible upgrades to 82 ALQ-184 Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) pods to incorporate Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) technology; and/or 176 of Terma’s AN/ALQ-213 EWMS; or ITT’s new AN/ALQ-211v9 AIDEWS(Airborne Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite) pods with DRFM; or Northrop Grumman’s AN/ALQ-131 pods with DRFM. DFRM is a major step-change in EW effectiveness. It can do more things at once, do them faster, and is easier to modify with new programming. F-16 sales to Pakistan pointedly specified solutions without DFRM.

  • HAVE GLASS II application. This is a special coating that reduces the plane’s radar reflectivity. Recent F-16 sales to Pakistan did not include this technology.

Other performance improvements would involve:

  • Engineering and design study on replacing existing F100-PW-220 engines with F100-PW-229 IPE engines, designed for longer life and improved performance.

  • 128 Night Vision Goggles

  • 176 Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation Systems

  • Upgrade of 158 BAE APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe Combined Interrogator Transponders. These are the “bird slicers” just ahead of the cockpit.

To improve the plane’s offensive performance, especially in ground strike mode, Taiwan wants the following ancillary equipment and weapons:

  • 128 of VSI’s Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems. These Helmet Mounted Displays track the pilot’s head movements, and make a huge difference when using “high off boresight” missiles like the AIM-9X, which has a wide sighting cone.

  • 40 Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder short range air-to-air missiles. By comparison, recent F-16 Block 52 sales to Pakistan pointedly specified previous-generation AIM-9M missiles.
  • 56 AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles, with no motor or warhead
  • 5 AIM-9X Telemetry kits, with a working motor, but telemetry instead of a warhead
  • 153 LAU-129 Launchers with missile interface, which can fire AIM-9X Sidewinder or medium range AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles

  • 16 GBU-31v1 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) GPS-guidance kits for existing 2,000 pound bombs.
  • 80 GBU-38 JDAM kits for existing 500 pound bombs.

  • 64 CBU-105 Sensor Fused Weapons with Wind-Corrected Munition Dispensers (WCMD). These are GPS-guided cluster bombs, whose tuna-can shaped submunitions spin out to hunt and destroy enemy vehicles and tanks over a wide area.

  • 112 Dual Mode/ Global Positioning System Laser-Guided Bombs, either Raytheon’s Enhanced Paveway, or Boeing’s Laser JDAM.
  • 16 x 2,000 pound: GBU-10 Enhanced Paveway II or GBU-56 Laser JDAM
  • 16 x 2,000 pound: GBU-24 Enhanced Paveway IIIs, with longer glide range and “bunker buster” penetrator warheads
  • 80 x 500 pound: GBU-12 Enhanced Paveway II or GBU-54 Laser JDAM

  • 86 tactical data link terminals; especially useful for ground support strikes

  • Upgrade 28 of Lockheed Martin’s electro-optical infrared targeting Sharpshooter pods.

  • Buy another 26 of Lockheed Martin’s AN/AAQ-33 Sniper or Northrop Grumman’s AN/AAQ-28 LITENING targeting & surveillance pods. The most current SE variants of these pods offer major advances in performance; the question is whether Taiwan would get those.

Also included in the buy request: More 20mm ammunition, alternate mission equipment, update of Modular Mission Computers, new cockpit multifunction displays, communication equipment, Joint Mission Planning Systems, maintenance, construction, repair and return, aircraft tanker support, aircraft ferry services, aircraft and ground support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support.

F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX would be the prime contractor, but additional contracts could include:

  • BAE Advance Systems Greenland, NY
  • Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in St Louis, MO
  • Goodrich ISR Systems in Danbury, CT
  • ITT Defense Electronics and Services in McLean, VA
  • ITT Integrated Structures in North Amityville, NY
  • ITT Night Vision in Roanoke, VA
  • L3 Communications in Arlington, TX
  • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX
  • Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training, and Support in Fort Worth, TX
  • Marvin Engineering Company in Inglewood, CA
  • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX
  • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD
  • Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT
  • Raytheon Company in Goleta, CA
  • Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems in El Segundo, CA
  • Raytheon Missile System in Tucson, AZ
  • Symetrics Industries in Melbourne, FL
  • Terma in Denmark

Taiwanese sources state that these buys would be paid for over a period of 10-12 years, once contracts are negotiated. Implementation of this sale will require at least 5 contractor representatives for engineering and technical support, over the first 2 years of the program. Another 2 trips per year will be required for U.S. Government personnel and contractor representatives for the duration of the program, for program and technical support. See also: Focus Taiwan | Bloomberg | Reuters.

Sept 21/11: Reactions Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] is among those who remain unimpressed by the upgrade offer. He has added a Senate rider that incorporates the language of his “Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act” (vid. Sept 12/11), as an amendment to H.R. 2832, the House Trade Adjustment Assistance bill that’s now making its way through Senate concurrence. The core of his disagreement is that upgrades don’t meet Taiwan’s request, and confirm Chinese influence on weapon sales that violates of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. This also seems to be the widespread perception in Taiwan, though the KMT is defending the deal as expected.

Upgrades also won’t keep the F-16 production line rolling in Cornyn’s state past mid-2013, whereas a 66-plane order would add several years of continuation for about 2,000 jobs.

Cornyn’s amendment fails in the Senate. On the other hand, Rep. Kay Granger, [R-TX-12, which is Fort Worth] has introduced an S.1539 companion bill in the Republican-controlled House. If it passes there, it could find itself back in the Senate as a stand-alone bill. See also Focus Taiwan re: Taiwanese politics | Sen. Cornyn statement | Rep. Granger statement | Rep. Duncan Hunter [R-CA] op-ed | US-Taiwan Business Council [PDF] | Associated Press | Breitbart Big Peace op-ed re: security issues | Houston Chronicle | Miami Herald | Fort Worth Telegram Sky Talk re: House bill | WSJ Washington Wire || Special addition: FP magazine offers Taiwanese YouTube editorial animation videos.

DSCA: F-16 upgrade request

GR9 in Afghanistan w.
Sniper, Paveways
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Sept 19/11: Fighter Plan B – Go VTOL/STOVL! The Washington Times reports that a U.S. Defense Department study has concluded Taiwan’s best response to the threat of massive Chinese missile strikes against its airfields, is by buying short-takeoff and vertical-landing jets such as the V/STOL(Vertical/ Short Take Off and Landing) AV-8B Harrier II, or the new F-35B Lightning II STOVL(Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing capability) model. Read “Plan B: A V/STOVL Fighter for Taiwan?” for the full analysis and report.

Sept 19/11: Submarines. Focus Taiwan reports that Taiwan is considering building its own diesel-electric attack submarines:

“The military has commissioned a local shipbuilder to contact a non-U.S. country capable of building submarines for cooperation in building conventional submarines… sources said the Naval Shipbuilding Development Center has been very busy studying the blueprint of the country’s two… submarines… Moreover, naval authorities are preparing to send personnel abroad to study production technology or negotiate technology transfers for building pressure-resistant hulls, the most difficult part in submarine production, the sources said. Initially, the military may start from building small submarines weighing in the hundreds of deadweight tonnages.”

Maybe they can get a real deal from Germany for its 500t U-206As?

Sept 14/11: F-16 dogfight. Foreign Policy magazine reports that Sen. John Cornyn will not stall Senate confirmation of Ashton Carter as the Deputy Secretary of Defense. That kerfuffle had nothing to do with the Taiwanese sale; instead it involves assurances of Carter’s full support for the F-35 program, which faces strong budget pressures, and is assembled in Fort worth, TX.

Sept 12/11: F-16 dogfight. Amid rumors that the Obama administration will refuse Taiwan’s F-16 request, Sens. John Cornyn [R-TX] and Robert Menendez [D-NJ], introduce S.1539, The Taiwan Airpower Modernization Act of 2011. It would remove the decision from the administration’s hands, and force the USA to approve the sale of 66 new F-16s to Taiwan. This would not force a sale itself, of course, since Taiwan must choose to buy. But it would remove all approval road blocks.

The bill’s co-sponsors include Sens. Richard Blumenthal [D-CT] and Joe Lieberman [I-CT], Sens. Tom Coburn and James Inhofe [both R-OK], and Jon Kyl [R-AZ]. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, who must then approve it for submission to the Senate. GovTrack for S.1539 | Bloomberg | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Texas Insider.

Aug 30/11: Security Sieve. The Wall St. Journal publishes Taiwan is Losing the Spying Game, by Taipei Times deputy news chief and Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent J. Michael Cole. Key excerpt:

“…another factor may be at work: the penetration of almost every sector of Taiwanese society by Chinese intelligence. For the U.S. government and defense manufacturers, any arms sale to Taiwan carries the risk that sensitive military technology will end up in Beijing… Anyone who has followed developments in Taiwan over the years knows how deeply Chinese forces have infiltrated Taiwan’s military, especially its senior officers… Taiwan’s reputation has not been helped by a string of embarrassing cases involving members of the armed forces or civilians who spied for China… Even more damaging are the instances when culprits got away with a light sentence… Whether warranted or not, Taiwan is increasingly perceived as leaking secrets like a sieve.”

Taiwanese leaks

August 17/11: F-16 dogfight. According to the Taipei Times, President Ma Ying-jeou said the island was still seeking to acquire F-16C/Ds while the Ministry of National Defense denied having been notified by Washington officials of a refusal to proceed with the sale. The US State Department is saying no decision has been made yet. Vice President Joe Biden was in China until yesterday but this issue was not on the agenda, according to the Washington Times.

August 14/11: F-16 dogfight. No sale? That’s what Republic of China MND officials say that a US DoD delegation told them at the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition. This would confirm reports from June 2011, though the decision remains to be officially confirmed by US sources – something expected to happen by October 1st. In an interview with Defense News, deputy defense minister Andrew Yang said just last week:

“If we don’t get the F-16C/Ds to replace our vintage fighters, then we lose our leverage and immediately face the challenge of fulfilling our responsibility of preserving peace and stability in the region. [..] Otherwise, the U.S. has to send its own military to replace our daily patrols in the region.”

Instead, retrofits on older F-16A/Bs are being offered, reportedly including ASEA radars, targeting pods and other upgrades. After all, even the USAF is considering upgrading its F-16 fleet to guarantee a smooth bridge until it has enough F-35s. Whether all, or only some, of the 146 jets would be upgraded appears to still be up in the air. AviationWeek | DefenseNews | Taipei Times.

July 14/11: F-16 dogfight. The US State Department is trying to convince Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] to lift his hold on the nomination of Bill Burns as deputy secretary of state. Cornyn is demanding that the administration (and the State Department, who handles formal sales requests) clarify its policy on Taiwan arms sales first. Foreign Policy magazine.

June 30/11: UH-60s. A $48.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 4 “green” (basic) Black Hawk helicopters and government-furnished equipment to contractor-furnished equipment in support of Foreign Military Sales to Taiwan. Work will be performed in Startford, CT, with an estimated completion date of May 30/13. One bid was solicited, with one bid received (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

A series of queries that ended up with the US Army have confirmed that these are UH-60Ms, and are just the basic airframes plus installation. That still leaves key items like engines (which will be installed, but are bought separately), defensive systems, training, and spares to be handled by other contracts, and leaves the prospect of modifications by the receiving country for that country to address. This is also the pattern used by Sweden’s recent CSAR/MEDEVAC buy. Note that there is a larger Taiwanese UH-60M request outstanding (vid. Jan 29/10 entry).

June 27/11: F-16 dogfight. Defense News reports that Taiwan’s June 24 petition to submit a letter of request (LoR) for new F-16 fighter jets was blocked by the U.S. State Department, under orders from the U.S. National Security Council.

Current US laws require Taiwan’s defense needs to be the sole criterion for judging military sales requests. This request could be worth more than $8.5 billion, and would extend the F-16 production line for several more years beyond its current planned closure, in 2013.

June 14/11: The Taipei Times reports that:

“A senior military official who requested anonymity said the Ministry of National Defense had been forced to return NT$1 billion (US$34 million) allotted for military equipment purchases to the national treasury because Washington was stalling on a decision to sell the submarine plans and F-16C/D aircraft long requested by Taipei… starting next year, it would only allocate the “lowest operational necessity” costs for the potential purchase of the submarine plans and F-16C/Ds, the official said, adding that the funding would very likely be lowered to about US$10 million and become symbolic funding rather than actual funding. This does not mean that the Republic of China government has grown pessimistic about or is no longer interested in acquiring the F-16C/Ds and submarine plans from the US, the official said…”

June 10/11: AH-64s? Reports surface that Taiwan has signed a contract for 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III attack helicopters under its Sky Eagle program, making it the type’s 1st export customer.

Per earlier contracts & requests, Taiwanese AH-64s will include Hellfire Longbow fire-and-forget light strike missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles among its weapon options. In exercises, helicopters have proven to be very challenging opponents for fixed-wing aircraft, and the growing aerial imbalance over the China Strait makes some form of aerial engagement capability a necessity for any Taiwanese attack helicopter. The Dec 3/08 DSCA entry set a maximum estimated price of $2.532 billion for 30 helicopters, all associated equipment and initial support, and requested stocks of Stinger and Hellfire Longbow missiles.

US Army AH-64 project manager Col. Shane Openshaw is quoted as the source for the news, and says that Taiwan’s helicopters will be delivered from 2012-2013. The contract signing is consistent with April 2011 reports, and this will be treated as the full contract signing – but see also April 12/11, Oct 8/10, July 26/10, April 12/10, June 25/09, and Oct 3/08 entries, plus Flight International | Rotorhub | Asian Skies blog.

AH-64E attack helicopter order

May 26/11: F-16s 45 American Senators (out of 100) write to President Obama, supporting Taiwan’s request to buy 66 F-16C/D Block 50/52 fighters, in order to help keep pace with China’s buildup. Its authors include Senate Taiwan Caucus heads Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and James Inhofe (R-OK), as well as Senate China Working Group leaders Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Expressed concerns include both the imbalance created by China’s buildup of advanced fighters, and the economic benefits of the F-16 production line. The President is expected to ignore the letter, however, and the US State Department continues to stall the necessary approvals for the request to go forward. Full text [PDF] | Foreign Policy magazine | Flight International.

May 24/11: Harpoons for subs. US FBO.gov discusses the ongoing effort to arm Taiwan’s 2 submarines with Harpoon missiles:

“The Naval Air Systems Command, Precision Strike Weapons – PMA-201, intends to award a sole source contract to The Boeing Company, St. Louis, MO, for the acquisition of Encapsulated (ENCAP) Harpoon Certification Training Vehicle (EHCTV) Servicing Site and Weapons Station (WS) Support Equipment (SE) in support of the Taiwan Navy ENCAP Harpoon program. It is anticipated that a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) delivery order against Blanket Ordering Agreement N00019-11-G-0001 will be issued. This acquisition is being pursued on a sole source basis under the statutory 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), as implemented by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 6.302-1, only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. It is anticipated that a Firm-Fixed Price type contract will be issued. THIS NOTICE IS NOT A REQUEST FOR COMPETITIVE PROPOSALS.”

May 23/11: Submarines. Taiwan’s government denies that it has backed off of its program to buy 8 diesel-electric submarines, amidst reports that the program has been scaled down to 4 boats. The USA agreed to the 8-boat sale in 2001.

Nevertheless, the main problem remains, no matter how many are ordered. Despite policy papers from think-tanks like the neo-conservative AEI, The USA doesn’t produce diesel-electric submarines, and the countries who do make them have been too intimidated by Chinese threats of trade retaliation to supply them. Asia Times believes the rumors may be a political ploy by the Ma KMT government, which sees its support slipping before the 2012 elections and knows that defense is a weak issue. Floating the rumor and then responding looks like action, though it changes nothing. Iran’s Press TV | Asia Times.

May 16/11: Torpedoes. Taiwan’s military reportedly plans to budget $860 million to purchase new Mk54 and Mk48 torpedoes over the a 10-year period.

$300 million will reportedly be used to buy 600 Mk54 lightweight torpedoes, replacing existing Mk46s. They’re designed to launch for ships, and from aircraft like Taiwan’s incoming P-3C Orion sea control planes.

Another $160 million will be spent on the purchase of 40 Mk48s, replacing the existing German-made SUT heavyweight torpedoes Taiwan acquired with its 2 Hai Lung II (Zvaardis) Class subs built by the Netherlands. Another $400 million would cover 100 Mk48s, if Taiwan finds a way to source and purchase the 8 diesel-electric submarines it wants. See also July 20/10 entry, Focus Taiwan.

May 10/11: Defense committee member Rep. Lin Yu-fang [Nationalist Party] is quoted as saying that Taiwan intends to push back the due date for buying Patriot missiles from 2014 to 2017, and postpone buying Black Hawk helicopters from 2016 to 2019-2020. He says that those monies will be spent instead on the transition and recruitment costs associated with scrapping conscription, and fielding an all-volunteer force by 2015.

Defense Ministry spokesman Luo Shou-he cited the reason as production delays by U.S. defense contractors, but the contractors don’t seem to think so. Agence France Presse, via My Sinchew | AP, via Washington Post.

April 12/11: Defense News reports that representatives from the U.S. government and Boeing will arrive in Taipei in May 2011, to wrap up the AH-64 Block III Foreign Military Sale deal. Author Wendell Minnick.

March 23/11: P-3 MPA. CAE announces a series of military contracts in more than 10 countries valued at approximately C$ 100 million, including a contract to build P-3C training devices for the Taiwan Navy. They’ll design and manufacture a P-3C Level D operational flight trainer (OFT) as well as a P-3C operational tactics trainer (OTT) for the P-3’s sensor operators. Both training devices will be delivered to Taiwan in 2014.

Feb 17/11: AMRAAM missiles. Focus Taiwan covers a ROCAF report on the May 2010 AMRAAM International Users’ Conference, in which the USAF’s 649th Armament Systems Squadron raised the issue of “Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS).” In English, that means people who manufacture some parts of the missile are either going out of business or ceasing production. The 649th ARSS said component shortages could begin as soon as 2012, and recommends that countries revise their AMRAAM support contracts to include maintenance and warranty clauses.

The longer term hope is to issue contracts for Raytheon to develop replacement components, as part of a joint logistics support plan extending to around 2030. Taiwan will join some other AMRAAM users in raising the issue of humidity, which makes it harder to store and maintain the missiles, and could accelerate their spares problem.

Jan 6/11: P-3C. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors Tactical Systems in Eagan, MN receives a $47.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for the initial outfitting of 12 Taiwanese P-3Cs with new avionics components.

Work will be performed in Eagan, MN, and is expected to be complete in December 2012. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract, on behalf of its foreign Military Sales customer (N00019-09-C-0031).

2010

USA’s non-public Direct Commercial Sales process now open to Taiwan; Major $6+ billion FMS request for 60 helicopters, 2 minehunting ships, sub-launched missiles & PATRIOT air defense upgrades; AH-64 helicopter buy; Sub-launched Harpoon missile buy; ATACMS ballistic missile buy; Up to 20 “Search & Rescue” helis; E-2C early-warning aircraft upgrades; We could use some new tanks; Military balance keeps tilting against Taiwan.

ATACMS from M270

Dec 30/10: E-2C. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives a $6.6 million delivery order modification, exercising an option for engineering, technical and sustaining services in support of Taiwan Air Force E-2C aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales program.

Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (75%), and at the Pingtung Air Force Base, Taiwan (25%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract on behalf of its Foreign Military Sale customer (N00421-05-G-0001).

Dec 26/10: P-3C. The China times in Taipei reports that Taiwan will receive its first P-3C Orion sea control aircraft in 2011. They end up being about 2 years ahead of themselves. Agence France Presse.

Dec 23/10: E-2 Hawkeyes. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives an $11.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to convert 2 E-2T aircraft into E-2C Hawkeye 2000 aircraft. These efforts will also support the transition to an anticipated performance based spares & maintenance solution for the aircraft.

Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY, and is expected to be complete in September 2012. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract on Taiwan’s behalf (N00019-10-G-0004).

Dec 23/10: Missiles. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Grand Prairie, TX receives a $916.2 million firm-fixed-price contract, with some cost-plus-fixed-fee contract line item numbers. They’ll provide 226 ATACMS missiles; 24 launcher modification kits; ground support equipment; contractor field support; and initial spares in Foreign Military Sales to United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan.

This order is probably deliberately ambiguous. ATACMS missiles are used with tracked M270 MLRS (2 pods) and FMTV medium truck-mounted M142 HIMARS (one pod) systems, with the ATACMS missile replacing all 6 of a pod’s 227mm rockets. In exchange, it offers a GPS-guided strike range of around 150 miles – which could technically cross the Taiwan Strait at its narrowest points, but in practice would be limited to the very useful ability to hit any target in Taiwan from a central firing location.

Taiwan doesn’t operate the HIMARS systems the UAE has purchased, or the MLRS. On the other hand, its 57 Thunderbolt 2000 systems mounted on HEMTT heavy trucks do carry rocket pod options that include 2 sets of 6 227mm rockets each, which indicates potential ATACMS compatibility. The UAE’s latest DSCA request included 100 ATACMS missiles and 60 training rockets, but a 2006 request could cover another 200 missiles. This leaves Taiwan’s actual ATACMS order ambiguous, pending more direct clarification.

Work will be performed in Grand Prairie, TX; Lufkin, TX; Ocala, FL; Camden, AR; and Chelmsford, MA, with an estimated completion date of Nov 30/13. One bid was solicited with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command, AMCOM in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-11-C-0001).

DSCA: ATACMS missiles

Oct 8/10: AH-64 order. Boeing in Mesa, AZ receives a $141.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for 31 AH-64D Apache helicopters and 2 fixed-site Longbow crew trainers, matching “the Taiwan AH-64D aircraft configuration.” Work is to be performed in Mesa, AZ, with an estimated completion date of July 30/15. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the US Army’s AMCOM Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-09-G-0147).

This is just the initial contract. The amount is enough to get work started, but won’t even come close to paying for 31 helicopters. See April 12/10, and also Oct 3/08, which identified the helicopters as AH-64D Block IIIs. Past experience, and the specifics of this Pentagon announcement, strongly imply that Taiwan’s AH-64D Block IIIs may not be the same as other nations who order the type.

Sept 13/10: Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas & Grand Prairie, TX received a $7.8 million firm-fixed-fee and cost-plus-fixed fee contract for PAC-3 FY 2010 subset efforts to include the following: United States enhanced launcher electronics system kit cables; Taiwan control interface circuit card assembly redesign; Taiwan power and control circuit card assembly redesign; Taiwan missile test set; Taiwan portable four-pack test set; Taiwan seeker digital processor parts; United Arab Emirates (UAE) portable 4-pack test set; UAE guidance processor unit redesign – tooling and test equipment.

The estimated completion date is Oct 31/12, with work to be performed at Dallas, TX (95.74%), Camden, AZ (0.25%), and Ocala, FL (4.01%). One bid was solicited and one bid received (W31P4Q-10-C-0002).

Sept 6/10: BMD progress. Taiwan expects its initial missile defence shield to be ready in 2011, including 6 batteries of Patriot PAC-3 missiles, a “long-range early warning radar system,” and an integrated command and control system that also incorporates its own “Tien Kung” missiles. The China Times places the overall cost at about T$ 300 billion (currently about $9.39 billion), with about T$ 150 billion going toward the Patriot systems and T$ 40 billion to the long-range radar. Agence France Presse.

Aug 12/10: DCS OKed. The U.S. Department of State confirms that it will allow U.S. companies to make a number of defense sales to Taiwan as Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), instead of as Foreign Military Sale (FMS) packages. Items expected under $100 million or so in expected DCS deals include support for Taiwan’s air defense radar system, and an improved radar for its F-CK Ching-kuo fighters.

For Taiwan, DCS sales have 2 big advantages over FMS transactions. One is that they don’t have to pay middleman fees to the US military units who must oversee and manage the entire process. If the item in question can be competitively sourced and is well-understood, that can lower costs. The other, bigger advantage is that they don’t require the same level of public notification and political approval, which gives them a lower political profile. See the “Additional Readings” section below, for more on the differences between DCS and FMS sales. Taiwan’s CNA | CNA follow-up.

FMS, or DCS

Aug 5/10: Frigates. Reports surface that America will sell Taiwan 2 more refurbished FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Class Perry frigates for $40 million. On the other hand, “The Ministry of National Defense declined to comment on the report and a spokeswoman at the American Institute in Taiwan said she was not aware of it.”

The ROC Navy already operates 8 similar FFG-7 derivative Cheng Kung Class frigates, alongside its 6 high end Kang Ding Class Lafayette derivatives. AFP via Taipei Times | Pakistan’s The News International

July 29/10: Harpoon order. A $66 million firm-fixed-price contract for:

  • 32 Lot 85 Harpoon missile bodies (HMB) for the government of Taiwan
  • 4 Harpoon canister grade “B” missiles for the government of Canada
  • Associated spares and support.
  • Harpoon missile spares for the governments of Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Japan, the United Kingdom, Israel, Pakistan, Turkey and Singapore, to include containers;
  • Plus Block II guidance section upgrade kits; wire bundle assemblies; and guidance control units.

  • GM-84 Harpoon missile body consists of the Guidance Section, Warhead Section, Sustainer (propulsion) Section, and the Control Section. The Harpoon missile body, along with an appropriate air, canister (ship) or other launch kit (to include wings, fins, booster if applicable for UGM-84s), makes up a Harpoon AUR. This contract combines purchases for the governments of Taiwan ($43.8M; 66.4%), Canada ($10.1M; 15.3%), Portugal ($7.6M; 11.5%), the Netherlands ($3.2M; 4.8%), Japan ($514,864; 0.8%), the United Kingdom ($263,986; 0.4%), Israel ($194,635; 0.3%), Pakistan ($169,360; 0.3%), Turkey ($31,643; 0.1%), and Singapore ($2,584; 0.1%) under the Foreign Military Sales program.

Work will be performed in St. Charles, MO (55.3%); McKinney, TX (10.7%); Toledo, OH (6.2%); Huntsville, AL (4.5%); Lititz, PA (3.7%); Middletown, CT (2.7%); Grove, OK (2.3%); Galena, KS (1.6%); Minneapolis, MN (1.5%); Motherwell, UK (1.2%); Elkton, MD (1.1%); Kirkwood, MO (1%); Anniston, AL (0.8%); Clearwater, FL (0.7%); McAlester, OK (0.6%); Melbourne, FL (0.6%); and various locations in and outside the contiguous U.S. (5.5%). Work is expected to be complete in June 2011. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-10-C-0053).

Harpoon missiles

July 26/10: Hellfire missiles. The Longbow, LLC joint venture in Orlando, FL received a $39.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for engineering services supporting the Hellfire and Hellfire Longbow missiles. Work is to be performed in Orlando, FL (50%); Baltimore, MD (25%); United Arab Emirates (10%); and Taiwan (15%), and will run to Sept 30/12. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, AMSAM-AC-TM-H in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-10-C-0256).

The Hellfire Longbow missile is a fire-and-forget version of the Hellfire anti-armor missile. Unlike the semi-active laser guided Hellfires, Hellfire Longbow missiles rely on millimeter-wave guidance, and work in conjunction with the mushroom-shaped Longbow radar mast that’s mounted on top of the AH-64D attack helicopter’s rotor. Taiwan became a Hellfire missile customer in 2005, but doesn’t operate the Longbow variant yet.

July 20/10: Radars. Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Sudbury, MA receives a $29.2 million contract modification for the surveillance radar program, which aims to provide Taiwan with elements of its missile and air defense system. This is a foreign military sales program managed by the 850th ELSG/PK at Hanscom Air Force Base, MA, and $8,324,987 has been committed (FA8722-05-C-0001, P00073).

July 20/10: Taiwan’s Liberty Times reports that Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou ordered the country’s defense ministry to draft a draw up a shopping list of weapons Taiwan needs. It reportedly includes MK-54 lightweight torpedoes to replace aging Mk-46s, “dozens” of M1A2 tanks, and amphibious landing vehicles. Taiwan’s current tank corps is headlined by a set of about 480 M60A3 Patton tanks, which are 1960s-1970s technology, and a larger set of M48 variants, whose design dates from the early 1950s. UPI.

July 19/10: Tilting balance. A report sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense, and published in Taiwan’s naval studies journal, estimates that China will increase the number of short- and medium-range missiles pointed at the island to 1,960 by the end of 2010. That would rise from the last current count of 1,300-1,400. The report estimates that these missiles would have the ability to destroy 90% of Taiwan’s infrastructure. AP | Reuters | RTT News | Taiwan News.

This day also marks the start of an annual computerized wargame by Taiwan’s military, simulating an invasion by China. During the 5-day drill, Chinese forces attack from Guangzhou and Nanjing, while Taiwanese forces test counter-attack strategies. eTaiwan News | Agence France Presse.

June 23/10: E-2s. Taiwan News reports that upgrades are beginning for Taiwan’s E-2T fleet of early warning aircraft. The ROCAF retains 2 E-2Ts and 2 newer E-2C+ Hawkeye 2000s, but it sent 2 “folded and wrapped” E-2Ts by truck from Kaohsiung’s Hsiaokang Airport to the city’s port under heavy escort, for loading onto a Taiwanese freighter and shipment to the USA.

Upgrades are being done in batches of 2, and are expected to finish up in 2012, at a total cost of NT$ 5.6 billion (currently about $175 million). See also July 21/09, Oct 3/08.

E-2 upgrades

June 1/10: Patriot. Raytheon Co. in Andover, MA receives a $21.3 million firm-fixed-price contract, covering spares for Taiwan’s PATRIOT Config-3 upgrade, and for Kuwait’s Patriot radar upgrade.

Work will be performed in Andover, MA, with an estimated completion date of June 30/13. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0002).

April 30/10: Patriot. BAE Systems in Sealy, TX received a $5.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 8 of its M1086A1P2 and 9 of its M1A096A1P2 Patriot vehicles with Patriot kits installed for the country of Taiwan, as well as 7 M1088A1P2 FMTV tractor-trucks, for a total of 24 vehicles purchased with this modification. Work is to be performed in Sealy, TX, with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/10. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the TACOM Contracting Center in Warren, MI (W56HZV-08-C-0460).

Taiwan appears to have chosen FMTV medium trucks, as opposed to the Oshkosh HEMTT heavy trucks used by the US Army. While Oshkosh will own the next FMTV medium truck contract as well, BAE Systems retains the rights to key variants, and are currently the only production source for FMTV vehicles.

Chinese Type 022
(click to view full)

April 12/10: Corvette. Taiwan unveils a proposed design for a 1,000 tonne “carrier killer corvette,” as some media sources describe it. The catamaran design looks a lot like China’s current Type 022 catamarans, but would be armed with Taiwanese Hsiungfeng III ship-to-ship missiles. At this point, the project itself is not a firm decision, and could be built locally (most likely) or become a foreign tender.

While fast attack craft with advanced ship-killing missiles are always dangerous to carriers, they are also very dangerous to amphibious assault groups in an invasion scenario. Other potential uses could include coastal patrol, and even acting as a naval “cavalry screen” against China’s Type 022s, in order to buy space for American naval forces. See: Naval OSINT (with picture) | Defense News | Manichi Daily News, Japan | Singapore Straits-Times | UPI.

April 12/10: AH-64s. Defense News reports that a contract for 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters is expected to be signed in May 2010, for arrival in Taiwan between the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. Focus Taiwan.

March 16/10: Tilting Balance. The U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission holds a public hearing on “Taiwan-China: Recent Economic, Political, and Military Developments across the Strait, and Implications for the United States.” Much of the debate surrounds Taiwan’s remaining request for F-16s, either implicitly or explicitly. Mark Stokes, of Project 2049, lays out a framework for thinking about these issues in his testimony:

“Aerospace power will become an increasingly powerful instrument of PRC coercion… Aerospace power likely will dominate any conflict in the Taiwan Strait and could shape its ultimate outcome… The cross-Strait security situation often is viewed within the context of a military balance. However, PLA capabilities should be judged against specific political objectives in a given scenario and assessed in light of Taiwan’s vulnerabilities, as well as assumptions upon which U.S. decisions… are made… An amphibious invasion is the least likely yet most dangerous scenario… Coercive strategies could include a demonstrations of force as seen in the 1995/1996 missile exercises, 1999 flights in the Taiwan, or in the future a blockade intended to pressure decision makers in Taiwan to assent to Chinese demands, strategic paralysis involving attacks against the islands critical infrastructure, limited missile strikes, flights around the island, just to name a few.

A coercive campaign could be geared toward inflicting sufficient pain or instilling fear in order to coerce Taiwan’s leadership to agree to negotiations on Beijing’s terms, a timetable for unification, immediate political integration, or other political goals. Military coercion succeeds when the adversary gives in while it still has the power to resist and is different from brute force, an action that involves annihilation and total destruction.”

See also RAND’s testimony regarding the overall military balance, and the challenge of Chinese missile salvos aimed at RoCAF air bases. Hearings page | Taipei Times | WIRED Danger Room.

Feb 25/10: Javelin missiles. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Orlando, FL received a $21 million firm-fixed-price contract for FY 2009-2011 hardware production of Javelin anti-tank missile systems to Taiwan.

Javelin is a joint venture between Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Work is to be performed in Tucson, AZ (50%, Raytheon), and Orlando, FL (50%, LM), with an estimated completion date of Jan 17/11. One bid was solicited with one bid received by Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Command, CCAM-TM-H in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-09-C-0376). See also Oct 3/08 entry.

More Javelin missiles

Feb 22/10: Tilting balance. The Associated Press receives a US Defense Intelligence Agency report (DIA-02-1001-028) that supposedly says Taiwan’s air force is not ready to withstand an attack from China. While the Taiwanese have 400 combat aircraft to serve in various roles, “far fewer of these are operationally capable.” The F-5 fleet is near the end of its combat life, and its F-16A/B Block 20s need upgrades. Its Mirage 2000v5s are the most advanced in the fleet, but they are so expensive to maintain, and have had such chronic difficulties with the aircraft’s turbine fan blades, that Taiwan is considering retiring them.

That’s significant for Taiwan’s F-16 request, because under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, decisions on Taiwan’s weapon requests must be “based solely” on judgments concerning Taiwan’s defense needs, without other political considerations. AP | Defense News | Reuters

Feb 11/10: War by other means. Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Kuan Bi-ling alleges, and the Fisheries Agency confirms, that Chinese pressure on Indonesia has led to a government-recommended boycott of fishing vessels made in Taiwan. The economic impact is estimated at NT$ 100 million per year. The move is not a military move, but it does have some military implications. It’s both a protectionist strike in favor of China’s growing shipbuilding sector, and a way of weakening Taiwan’s breadth of expertise in that area. Taiwan News.

Feb 3/10: EC225 helicopter order. Taiwan is spending $112 million for 3 of Eurocopters’s EC225 Super Puma MkII+ helicopters in search and rescue (SAR) configuration, with an option for up to 17 more machines.

The order is carefully calculated, and the ROC government says the helicopters are for civilian use. The choice of helicopter is also careful, as China’s own Ministry of Communications already operates 2 EC225s for SAR duties, as does Japan’s Coast Guard to the east. On the other hand, EC225s could be converted to medium military helicopters quite quickly – a point that has been brought up before over Eurocopter’s EC175/ Z-15 and Z-9 joint ventures in China. France uses the military EC725 for SEA and Special Forces duties, and Mexico and Brazil have also ordered it. To this point, China has been silent concerning this order. Taiwan News | Defense News | DNA India | The Guardian, UK | Reuters.

EC225s

Jan 31/10: F-16 dogfight. eTaiwan News quotes Premier Wu Den-yih, who says that Taiwan and the U.S. are still discussing F-16s and diesel-electric submarines:

“The premier also told reporters that the government would calculate if the cost of the package announced by the U.S. was not too high. The weapons had to come at a reasonable price for a useful quality level, he said. Wu said discussions on the F-16 jets were most likely to bear fruit, while the price tag for the submarines was “scary.” …Opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said yesterday that Taiwan’s success in achieving the arms purchase was the result of hard work by the previous DPP administration.”

Link 16 Display
(click to see situation)

Jan 29/10: DSCA – One from category A, one from category B… The US DSCA announces up to $6.45 billion in official requests to recapitalize Taiwan’s battlefield helicopter fleet with 60 UH-60Ms, complete the upgrade of its Patriot missile system to PAC-3 status with missiles and command facilities, add Link-16 capability to key assets, purchase 2 Osprey Class minehunter ships, and buy 12 Harpoon Block II test missiles.

In response, the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, released a statement condemning the move. There are reports that China will cut off military-to-military cooperation with the US, boycott Obama’s planned nuclear summit in April 2010, and even levy trade sanctions. As media like the UK’s Financial Times point out, however, growing protectionist sentiment in the USA makes trade sanctions against American firms an extremely risky move for the Chinese. China Post | Radio Taiwan International | Taiwan News | Taiwan Today | AllGov | The Australian | BBC News | UK’s Financial Times re: China’s risks | New York Times | Reuters | Times of India | Wall Street Journal | Voice of America | China Daily | China’s Xinhua | China’s Xinhua re: sanctions. See also Taiwan News: “The shadow over Taiwan’s arms procurement.”

UH-60M Black Hawks. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request for up to 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to replace its aged UH-1H Huey fleet, at an estimated cost is $3.1 billion. The principal contractors will be United Technologies’ subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT (UH-60M), and General Electric Aircraft Engines in Lynn, MA. The DSCA adds that:

“The purchaser has requested offsets; however, at this time they are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractors.”

Specific equipment sought includes:

  • 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters
  • 120 T-700-GE-701D engines installed
  • 18 spare T-700-GE-701D engines
  • 69 AN/APR-39Av2 Radar Warning Receivers
  • 69 AN/ALQ-144Av1 Infrared Countermeasure Sets
  • 69 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems
  • 69 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets
  • 120 GAU-19/A .50 cal Machine Gun Systems
  • 310 AN/AVS-9 Aviator Night Vision Goggles.
  • Associated .50 cal ammunition, pyrotechnics, cartridges and propellant actuated devices, to equip the guns and countermeasures systems.
  • Plus “other explosives including devices,” Po-Sheng Communication/Data Link Systems, ammunition, spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, and other support.

Taiwan doesn’t operate Black Hawks yet, but its Navy operates S-70C Seahawk helicopters, so it has some experience with the general type. Implementation of this proposed sale may require the assignment of 2 contractor representatives for a period of up to 2 years.

DSCA: UH-60M request

MIDS-LVT/ Link 16: The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request to buy 35 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVT-1), 25 MIDS On Ships Terminals, plus spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, training personnel training and training equipment, repair and return, software and hardware updates, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor engineering and support services. The estimated cost is $340 million.

This may seem like an afterthought, but it’s actually a critical contract. MIDS-LVT terminals are a standardized way of embedding “Link 16” datalinks into ships, aircraft, and land systems. By transmitting encrypted information to each other and filtering out duplications, Link 16 allows participating platforms to see the same tactical picture – what one sees, all can see. This dramatically improves awareness amidst the inevitable “fog of war” , and can help to minimize friendly fire incidents. LVT-1 terminals are used in aircraft, as well as ground units like Patriot missile systems. They include both Tactical Air Navigation System, and voice capabilities.

The prime contractor will be selected through a competitive procurement conducted by the U.S. Government, involving ViaSat and the BAE Systems/ Rockwell Collins joint venture Data Link Solutions. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in training, program management, and technical reviews.

DSCA: Link-16 datalinks

Osprey Class minehunters The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request to buy 2 Osprey Class coastal mine-hunting ships, including refurbishment and upgrade, overhaul of their AN/SQQ-32 sonars, transportation, support and test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is $105 million.

The USA’s 12 Osprey Class mine-hunters were built from 1993-1999 out of fiberglass-reinforced plastics, in order to minimize their magnetic signature. These 804t/ 57m vessels locate mines using the high definition SQQ-32 sonar, then neutralize them using a remotely controlled UUV(Unmanned Underwater Vehicle). Despite continued threats in critical global areas like the Strait of Hormuz, and adequate performance, the Osprey Class was taken out of US Navy service in 2006-2007. Taiwan would join Egypt (2), Greece (2), Lithuania (2), and Turkey (2) as customers for these second-hand vessels. Approval for the transfer of Oriole [MHC-55] and Falcon [MHC-59] was authorized back in the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-229), but the US State Department had dithered over the request (q.v. Nov 18/09 entry).

For this contract, a U.S. Prime contractor for the refurbishment will be chosen after a competitive source selection. Implementation of this sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government personnel or contractor representatives.

DSCA: Minehunters request

Harpoon Block II missiles. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request for 12 “Harpoon Block II Telemetry” missiles. The DSCA release cites 10 “RTM-84L” and 2 “ATM-84L” missiles, which have telemetry payloads for missile tests, instead of the warheads found on standard RGM-84 (ship-launched) and AGM-84 (air-launched) variants. In addition to the missiles, Taiwan would receive containers; training devices; spare and repair parts; supply/technical support; support equipment; personnel training and training equipment; technical data and publications; and U.S. Government and contractor support.

The estimated cost is $37 million, the prime contractor will be Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, Missouri, and implementation of this sale will not require any additional U.S. Government personnel or contractor representatives.

The Harpoon Block II could be militarily significant, because its GPS guidance and improved clutter resolution allow it to attack land targets, as well as ships. See also the Oct 3/08 entry, requesting submarine-launched Block II missiles. Taiwan is building its own “HF-2E Hsiung Feng” land attack cruise missiles with much longer ranges, however, so the Block II’s land-attack capability would not be a new military development in the region.

DSCA: Harpoon missile request

Patriot Missiles & C2. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Taiwan’s official request to complete its Patriot upgrade plans, adding PAC-3 missiles and additional command equipment.

  • 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
  • 26 M902 Launching Stations
  • 3 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
  • 1 AN/MSQ-133 Information and Coordination Center
  • 1 Tactical Command Station
  • 3 AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Stations
  • 3 Communication Relay Groups
  • 5 Antenna Mast Groups
  • 1 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP)
  • Plus battery and battalion maintenance equipment, prime movers, generators, electrical power units, trailers, communication equipment
  • Also personnel training and equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, Quality Assurance Team support services, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

The estimated cost is $2.81 billion, and the principal contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA, and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX. “The recipient, which already has PAC-3 missiles in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles… Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives.” See also Dec 23/09, Oct 16/09, Jan 26/09, and Oct 3/08 entries.

DSCA: PATRIOT missile request

Jan 14/10: E-2s. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, N.Y., received a $6 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to provide engineering, technical and sustaining services in support of Taiwan’s 6 E-2T/E-2C+ Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft. Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (75%), and at Pingtung Air Force Base, Taiwan (25%), and is expected to be complete in January 2011. The Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages this contract (N00421-05-G-0001).

Jan 14/10: P-3C planes, shipped by land. Since the P-3 production line isn’t active any more, all 12 of the mothballed P-3s slated for Taiwan had to come from stored US Navy aircraft at AMARG’s “boneyard” near Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ. The problem is that all 12 were labeled “non-flyable” due to structural fatigue, which made the 2,000 mile trip to Lockheed Martin’s refurbishment and re-winging facility in Greenville, SC, a bit of a challenge.

After considering and rejecting rail transport due to offloading and re-loading risks, the AMARG team decided to use a flatbed truck. That’s an unusual method, but it worked. Their approach has stirred interest from other P-3 operators, and even US federal government agencies. Read “Delivering Your Plane, By Truck” for more.

Jan 10/10: Frigates? Reports surface that Taiwan plans to buy 8 FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class frigates from the USA, then outfit them with more advanced systems. Australia has already laid down a blueprint for that kind of modernization, adding SM-2 Standard and RIM-162 ESSM anti-aircraft missiles to their FFG-7 Adelaide Class frigates at great expense. But reports in the Taipei-based China Times speak of refitting the frigates with an AEGIS combat and radar system. That would break new technical ground, and may prove difficult to add, given the FFG-7 ships’ limited “growth space.” Agence France Presse | Information Dissemination.

Jan 3/10: The Washington Post adds fuel to speculation that approval of additional equipment sales for Taiwan – but not F-16s – is imminent:

“The Obama administration is expected to approve the sale of several billion dollars in Black Hawk helicopters and anti-missile batteries to Taiwan early this year, possibly accompanied by a plan gauging design and manufacturing capacity for diesel-powered submarines for the island…”

Taiwanese Patriot batteries already exist, of course, and their expansion contract is a done deal as of late December 2009. The next step is exporting the PAC-3 missiles themselves. Washignton Post | Radio Taiwan.

2009

Major order for new PATRIOT missile ground systems; P-3 sea control planes ordered; Taiwan buys Stinger air-air missiles for its coming AH-64 attack helicopters.

Patriot system
(click for explanation)

Dec 23/09: Patriot SAM. Raytheon announces Foreign Military Sales contract awards totaling $1.1 billion to fund new production of Patriot Air and Missile Defense System for Taiwan. The awards include ground-system hardware through an initial contract valued at $965.6 million, and an initial spares contract valued at $134.4 million.

See the Oct 3/08 DSCA release; this is the contract for the radars, ground stations, and other ancillary equipment besides the missiles themselves. The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL manages this contract for new-production Patriot fire units, which will include new advances in technology, improved man-machine interfaces, and (hopefully) reduced life-cycle costs over earlier generations.

Major PATRIOT contract

Dec 10-13/09: UH-60s yes, U214s maybe? Reports surface that Taiwan will not get its F-16s approved, but will get its purchase of UH-60s approved. The reports add that a 3-way sale would let Taiwan buy U214 submarines from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ HDW subsidiary. Radio Taiwan International | Taiwan Today.

Nov 18/09: F-16 dogfight. Rep. Ileana Ross Lehtinen [R-FL] introduces co-sponsored bill H.R. 4102. The bill cites key provisions of the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act that are not being followed, including the stipulation that weapon requests be “based solely” on judgments concerning Taiwan’s defense needs, without other political considerations. It also cites Taiwan’s expressed desire for F-16 C/D fighters, and the lack of any arms transfer notifications to Congress for Taiwan during calendar year 2009 – despite Taiwan’s expressed desire for F-16s, H-60 Blackhawk helicopters, diesel submarine design, and additional Patriot PAC-3 systems. Nor have the Osprey class minehunter coastal ships Oriole [MHC-55] and Falcon [MHC-59] been transferred, even though Congress authorized the sale of these ships in the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-229).

The bill is essentially a Congressional freedom of information request, requiring reports 90 days after enactment and at least annually thereafter, so that Congress is aware of any discussions conducted between any executive branch agency and the Government of Taiwan during the covered period; and any potential transfer of defense articles or defense services to the Government of Taiwan. This would prevent unelected agencies from using their refusal to present requests to Congress as a way to keep such sales off of the political agenda.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; if it is not killed by that committee, it would proceed to a floor vote. See Taiwan Today | Bill tracking via GovTrack.

Oct 16/09: Patriot SAM. Raytheon in Andover, MA receives a $77.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for Taiwan’s Patriot hardware upgrade program. Work is to be performed in Andover, MA (8%), and Burlington, MA (15%), with an estimated completion date of June 30/15. One bid was solicited with one bid received (W31P4Q-09-G-0001).

See also the Jan 26/09 and April 23/08 entries, below.

July 21/09: E-2s. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in Bethpage, NY receives an unfinalized $154.1 million contract to upgrade all 6 of Taiwan’s E-2 Hawkeye AWACS aircraft from Group II configuration to the more advanced Hawkeye 2000 (H2K) export configuration. See Oct 3/08 entries for more details.

Work will be performed in Bethpage, NY (40%); St. Augustine, FL (22%); Rolling Meadows, IL (6%); Dayton, OH (6%); Windsor Locks, CT (5%); Greenlawn, NY (4%); Mississauga, Canada (4%); Marlboro, MA (4%); and other various locations throughout the United States (9%); and is expected to be complete in June 2013. As Northrop Grumman is the E-2’s manufacturer, this contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-C-0040).

E-2C 2000 AWACS upgrade

June 30/09: F-16s. A Flight International article says that Taiwan may see progress regarding its F-16 orders:

“Taiwan’s plans to buy new Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters appear to be gaining some traction, with the outgoing de-facto US ambassador to the island saying that senior officials in Washington are likely to consider the issue shortly… Taiwan’s defence minister Chen Chao Min said this week that, contrary to media reports, Washington had not asked Taipei to choose between upgrades to its existing F-16A/Bs and new F-16C/Ds. Requests for mid-life upgrades for the F-16A/Bs and the new fighters are proceeding in tandem, he added.”

June 25/09: Stinger SAMs for AH-64s. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ receives a $45.4 million firm-fixed-price contract from Taiwan for 171 FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, 24 Captive Flight Trainers (CFT) with seekers but no rocket motors, 68 Air to Air Launchers (ATAL), 7 Launcher Circuit Evaluators, 2 Digital Launcher Test Sets (DLTS), 60 Coolant Reservoir Assemblies, 3 Launcher Emulators, one Lot of CFT Spares, one Lot of ATAL Spares, and one Lot of DLTS Spares.

The missiles will equip Taiwan’s 30 requested AH-64D Block III Apache attack helicopters; see also Oct 3/08 entries.

Work is to be performed in Tucson, AZ with an estimated completion date of July 31/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by the US Aviation & Missile Command Contracting Center at Redstone Arsenal, AlL (W31P4Q-09-C-0520).

March 16/09: Tilting balance. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry announces its defense review, including plan to cut its troop numbers by 60,000, and end the standard 12 months of compulsory military service within 5 years. This will leave the island with 215,000 troops.

The review adds that China currently has at least 1,300 ballistic missiles pointed at Taiwan, and has deployed advanced Russian-made SU-27 and SU-30 fighters near the island. Defense News.

March 16/09: F-16 dogfight. Taiwan News reports that the country intends to continue pursuing F-16 fighters. The country does not have a formal embassy in the USA, but the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) serves the same functions. TERCO spokesman Vance Chang responded to media requests by noting that the F-5E/F fighters that make up most of the country’s air force have been in service for more than 34 years.

“The planes now are obsolete and spare parts are difficult to obtain… [given China’s ongoing modernization] our air superiority capability is at a serious disadvantage.”

The U.S.-Taiwan Business Council represents about 100 companies, including Lockheed Martin. The organization’s president, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, adds that under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act, the USA “has an obligation to assist Taiwan to maintain a credible defense of its air space, which includes modern fighters.” This would explain a July 2008 US Navy PACOM evaluation that deemed the F-16s militarily unnecessary, a silly position on its face but explicable if one begins from the desired political result.

March 13/09: P-3 MPAs. Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors Tactical Systems in St. Paul, MN receives a $665.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of phased depot maintenance, structural service life extension, and avionics modification to refurbish and sell 12 P-3C maritime patrol aircraft to the government of Taiwan. This contract also provides for ground handling, support equipment and publications.

Work will be performed in St. Paul, MN (50%); Greensville, SC (27%) and Marietta, GA (23%), and is expected to be complete in August 2015. This contract was not competitively procured, and is managed by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-09-C-0031). See also the Sept 12/07 DSCA request.

P-3C MPAs

March 11/09: F-16 dogfight. Taiwan’s speaker is quoted as saying that the US has refused to sell Taiwan 66 more F-16s for about $5 billion, in order to augment and modernize the Republic of China’s fighter defense fleet. Wang Jin-pyng was quoted as saying that:

“The U.S. doesn’t want to give them to us… They wouldn’t name a price. It’s mainly because mainland China would oppose the sale.”

See: Taiwan News | Reuters | Washington Post.

Feb 23/09: P-3 MPAs. Defense News reports that Taiwan, the U.S. Navy and Lockheed Martin have finally settled issues over price and offset options, and are to soon sign a $1.3 billion contract to refurbish and supply 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Taiwan had traditionally been opposed to buying refurbished aircraft taken from AMARC in Arizona, but re-starting the P-3C production line was not a realistic option. Lockheed Martin has re-started a production line to re-wing existing P-3Cs, however, and countries like Norway, Canada, and even the US Navy have been taking advantage of that capability to extend the service lives of existing aircraft.

Delivery of the P-3s would end the career of Taiwan’s 37 ancient S-2T Trackers, which are reportedly down to just 3 operational aircraft, even as China’s own submarine fleet grows by leaps and bounds.

Jan 26/09: Patriot SAM. Raytheon announces a $154 million Foreign Military Sales contract to upgrade more of Taiwan’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems ground systems and radars from Configuration-2 to Config-3 standard, enhancing the ROC’s ability to deal with threats like China’s growing array of ballistic missiles pointed at the island.

Work under this contract will be performed by Raytheon IDS at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL; the Mission Capability and Verification Center at White Sands, NM, and by Raytheon Technical Services Company in El Paso, TX.

FY 2006 – 2008

$6+ billion request for PATRIOT missiles & systems, new AH-64 attack helicopters, E-2 early-warning aircraft upgrades, Javelin anti-tank missiles, submarine-launched Harpoon missiles, and aircraft spares; $1.96 billion request for 12 P-3C sea control aircraft; 2 new E-2 Hawkeye 2000 early warning planes commissioned.

Oct 3/08: DSCA Shopping Lists. It would appear that the financial crisis in the USA has a silver lining for Taiwan’s military, as a series of DSCA announcements worth $6.363 billion are issued to Congress’ extended session. All export requests are listed in DSCA releases as being “…consistent with United States law and policy as expressed in Public Law 96-8. The U.S. is committed to providing military assistance under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act.”

Purchase requests include:

Ar/Missile Defense – Patriot PAC-3 [see announcement, PDF]:

  • 330 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles
  • 24 Launching Stations
  • 4 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets
  • 2 Tactical Command Stations
  • 2 Information and Coordination Centrals
  • 12 Antenna Mast Groups
  • 6 Communication Replay Groups
  • 4 Engagement Control Stations
  • 282 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) (115 AN/VRC-88E, 96 AN/VRC-90E, 13 AN/VRC-91E, and 58 AN/VRC-92E) radios
  • 9 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP)
  • 50 Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems (MIDS, provides Link 16 data sharing)
  • Plus battery and battalion maintenance equipment, vehicles, generators, electrical power units, personnel training and equipment, trailers, communication equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications, supply support Quality Assurance Team support services, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics services, technical documentation, and other related elements of logistics support.

See also Nov 9/07 request re: upgrading its Patriot PAC-2 batteries to be PAC-3 compatible (Config-3). The estimated cost of this request is $3.1 billion, and the prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, TX. Taiwan has not previously purchased PAC-3 missiles, but they do use PAC-2s. They will require several U.S. Government representatives for 2-week intervals twice annually, to participate in program management and technical reviews.

DSCA: PATRIOT request

Hawkeye 2000 test aircraft
(click to view full)

Ar/Missile Defense – Hawkeye 2000 [see announcement, PDF]:

Taiwan already flies 2 E-2C+ Hawkeye 2000 and 4 E-2T Hawkeye aircraft for airborne early warning and control, and wants to upgrade the E-2Ts to the Hawkeye 2000 configuration used by the USA, France, Japan and others. The upgrade will include provisions for the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (Link 16 for a common battlespace picture), avionics, navigation and non-navigation upgrades, and aircraft electrical, mechanical, and survivability upgrades, all necessary hardware installations, support equipment, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

American Hawkeye 2000s also have Cooperative Engagement Capability, which allows them to provide shared battlespace pictures and targeting for properly equipped Patriot PAC-3 and PAC-2 missiles. If CEC is not included, the JTIDS/Link 16 can be used to share a battlespace picture and provide advance warning, but cannot be used for targeting.

The estimated cost is up to $250 million, and the prime contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, NY. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 6 contractor representatives to the recipient for a not to exceed a 5-year period.

Taiwan has requested industrial offsets with this order; they will be defined in negotiations with Northrop Grumman.

DSCA: E-2C 2000 AWACS upgrade request

Air Force – Aircraft Parts [see announcement, PDF]:

This blanket order would allow Taiwan to requisition follow-on spare parts as required to maintain its C-130H Hercules transports, F-5E/F Tiger II fighters, F-16A/B fighters, and F-CK IDF fighter aircraft. The requisitions can include communication equipment, radar, and other related elements of logistics support, as well as spares. The estimated cost is $334 million, and items will be ordered from appropriate contractors as needed.

Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government and contractor representatives to the recipient.

AH-64D w. Arrowhead
(click to view full)

Army – Apache Longbow attack helicopters and weapons [see announcement, PDF]. Taiwan currently flies AH-1W Cobras in this role, and an attack helicopter deal has been in the works since 2002. The AH-64D beat Bell’s AH-1Z Viper on the grounds that it was battle proven, while the AH-1Z remains developmental.

Taiwan is requesting 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow Block III attack helicopters, the helicopter’s most modern configuration which is just beginning to enter service in the USA. The helicopters will be equipped with 30 Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (MTADS/PNVS “Arrowhead”), 17 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars and AN/APR-48 Radar Frequency Interferometer (FCR/RFI), 69 T700-GE-701D Turbine Engines. Composite horizontal stabilators, crew and maintenance trainers, depot maintenance, all necessary support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, training and training equipment, and other forms of support are included in the base purchase.

The request also includes applicable weapons for these helicopters: 173 FIM-92F Stinger Block I Air-to-Air Missiles, 35 Stinger air-air missile Captive Flight Trainers with live guidance systems but no rocket motors, 1,000 AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire anti-armor missiles that can use the APG-78 and their own radar’s millimeter-wave guidance for “fire and forget” capability, and 66 M299 Hellfire missile launchers.

The estimated cost is $2.532 billion, and Taiwan has requested industrial offsets; these will be defined in direct negotiations with the contractor(s). Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 2 U.S. Government personnel for a period of 6 years to provide intensive coordination, monitoring, and technical assistance. In addition, 6 contractor representatives will be in country serving as Contractor Field Service Representatives for a period of 5 years, with the possibility of a 5-year extension. The principal contractors will be:

  • The Boeing Company in Mesa, AZ and St Louis, MO (AH-64)
  • General Electric in Lynn, MA (Engines)
  • Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL (Longbow Hellfires, M299, Arrowheads)
  • Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation in Baltimore, MD (Longbow Hellfires)
  • Raytheon Company in Tucson, AZ (Stinger missiles)
  • Inter-Coastal Electronics in Mesa, AZ
  • BAE Systems in Rockville, MD

DSCA: AH-64D request

Army – Javelin missiles [see announcement, PDF].

Taiwan wants to buy 182 more man-portable Javelin anti-armor missile rounds and 20 command launch units, plus 40 missile simulation rounds, trainers, rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, support equipment, spare and repair parts, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $47 million.

Raytheon/Lockheed-Martin’s JAVELIN Joint Venture in Orlando, FL will be the prime contractor. Implementation of this proposed sale will require a U.S. Government Quality Assurance Team consisting of 1 contractor and 2 U.S. Government representatives in country for 5 days to accomplish the initial deployment of the missiles. Taiwan won’t need more help than that, as they were one of the Javelin “fire and forget” missile’s early customers in 2002.

DSCA: Javelin missile request

UGM-84 Harpoon launch
(click to view full)

Navy – Harpoon missiles [see announcement, PDF].

Taiwan requests 32 UGM-84L Sub-Launched Harpoon Block II missiles for its 2 Seadragon Class submarines. Harpoon Block II includes GPS guidance that makes them easier to use near shore (for instance, against amphibious landing ships on final approach), and also gives the missiles some land attack capability out to their 150 mile range. Taiwan’s request adds 2 UTM-84L Harpoon Block II Exercise missiles, 2 Advanced Harpoon Weapons Control System (Version 2) for installation on the Seadragon Class, 36 Harpoon containers, 2 UTM-84XD Encapsulated Harpoon Certification and Training Vehicles, test equipment and services, spares and repair parts for support equipment, and other forms of support.

The estimated cost is $200 million, and the contractor is Boeing subsidiary McDonnell Douglas in St Louis, MO.

The US DSCA notes that “The recipient has previously purchased both air and surface launched HARPOON missiles and will be able to absorb and effectively utilize these submarine-launched missiles.” As such, no additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives will be required.

DSCA: Sub-launched Harpoon missiles request

Sept 29/08: Taiwan News reports that:

“The Pentagon was expected to notify the U.S. Congress of its intention to sell the arms to Taiwan by the end of its current session last Friday. Taiwan has expressed worries that if the U.S. missed the deadline, the Legislative Yuan would have to start the process of approving a budget for the arms package from the start… Congress had been extended to deal with the current financial crisis, and therefore the arms deal could still be approved.

The package includes Patriot missiles, Apache helicopters, diesel-powered submarines, anti-tank missiles, submarine-launched missiles and P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft, but not new F-16 fighter jets Taiwan was hoping to buy.

The U.S. State Department notified the Taiwanese media late on Friday that government departments were still reviewing the deal, and that once it was approved, Congress would be immediately notified.”

This did not sound like anything close to a sense of urgency, but events would prove otherwise. Pro-China elements in the US State Department are still blocking approval of Taiwan’s unofficial request for F-16C/D fighters.

April 23/08: Patriot SAM. Raytheon announces a $79 million Foreign Military Sales award from the U.S. Army to provide Taiwan with Patriot Configuration-3 radar upgrade kits and related engineering and technical services. This is part of a much larger order; see Nov 9/07 entry for more.

Work will be performed by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover, MA; the Warfighter Protection Center in Huntsville, AL; and the Mission Capability and Verification Center in White Sands, NM.

Nov 9/07: PATRIOT upgrade request. The US DSCA announces [PDF] “The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States” formal request to upgrade and refurbish their 3 existing PATRIOT fire units’ ground support equipment to the latest Army Configuration 3 under a $939 million contract. Raytheon Corporation in Andover, MA will be the prime contractor. Although the purchaser generally requires offsets, at this time, there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale and no additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives will be required.

Obviously, this effort is less helpful than acquiring new Patriot PAC-3 missiles to add to Taiwan’s defense. Instead, they are adding Patriot PAC-3 radar and communications enhancements to Taiwan’s existing Patriot batteries, turning them into a PAC-2 GEM+ type configuration in use by a number of US allies. The PAC-2 missile is larger than the PAC-3, and uses a fragmentation warhead instead of the PAC-3 missile’s “hit to kill” approach. Patriot’s widely-touted performance during the 1991 Desert Storm operation turned out to be significantly overstated, but when coupled with PAC-3 class radars et. al., it has demonstrated useful capabilities against incoming ballistic missiles. The specific sale includes:

  • 2 PATRIOT, MIM-104 (Patriot-As-A-Target)
  • Radar Enhancement Phase 3 (REP-3)
  • Classification, Discrimination and Identification Phase 3 (CDI-3)
  • Remote Launch Communication Enhancement Upgrade (RLCEU)
  • An Electric Power Plant.
  • 36 AN/VRC-88E SINCGARS EXP Vehicle Short Range Radio Systems
  • 32 AN/VRC-90E SINCGARS EXP Vehicle Long Range Radio Systems
  • 4 AN/VRC-91E SINCGARS EXP Long Range Radio Systems
  • 11 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS EXP Dual Range Radio Systems

It also includes non-MDE (Military Designated Equipment under US Arms transfer laws) items such as
all necessary modification kits, communication support equipment, tools and test equipment, integration and checkout, spares and repair parts, installation and training, publications and technical documents, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, other related elements of logistics and program support, and 4 telemetry kits for its live fire training.

DSCA: PATRIOT upgrade request

P-3 Orion, armed –
note Sidewinder
(click to view full)

Sept 12/07: P-3 MPAs. The US DSCA announces [PDF] the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States” official request for 12 ‘excess’ P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, with strong surveillance and anti-submarine capabilities. The estimated cost is $1.96 billion. DSCA adds that:

“This sale is consistent with United States law and policy as expressed in Public Law 96-8. The United States is committed to providing military assistance under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act. The recipient’s current patrol aircraft are reaching the end of their fatigue and operational service life. To maintain national security it is necessary that recipient replace these fixed-wing aircraft with an airborne operational capability for land-based maritime patrol and reconnaissance, including economic exclusion zone surveillance and protection, command and control, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. The recipient can absorb these additional aircraft into its inventory.”

Offset agreements associated with this proposed sale are expected, but they will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractors. Principal contractors include Lockheed Martin of Eagan, MN; Lockheed Martin Aircraft Center of Greenville, SC; Rockwell Collins of Cedar Rapids, IA; Raytheon Company of McKinney, TX, EDO (Condor Systems) of Morgan Hill, Ontario Canada; and L3 Wescam of Ontario, Canada. There may be up to 32 U.S. Government and contractor representatives with varying technical skills and disciplines who will be required, following the delivery of the aircraft, to provide support for 1 year after the last aircraft delivery. The exact request includes:

  • 12 ‘excess’ P-3C Orion aircraft with T-56 engines. It is likely that they will begin with ‘boneyard’ stored aircraft that need refurbishing to fly, and significant modifications to be viable for any significant period. Some parties like Norway, for instance, are making their P-3s viable by completely replacing their wings as part of their general overhaul.
  • Aircraft activation, aircraft life extension and avionics modification, transportation
  • 3 excess TP-3A aircraft (non-operational, to be used as airframe spares) with T-56 engines
  • 15 Data Link terminals
  • 19 MIDS-LVT Link 16 terminals
  • 2 MIDS On-Ship Terminals

Plus a mobile operation command center, Command Control Communications Computer Intelligence Surveillance, Reconnaissance, (C4ISR) network integration, training devices, medical services, support and test equipment, engineering technical services, supply support, operation and maintenance training, ground support C2 facilities, documentation, spare/repair parts, publications, documentation, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements.

DSCA: P-3C MPA request

April 16/06: President Chen Shui-bian presides over the commissioning of 2 E2C+ Hawkeye 2K planes recently purchased from the United States, and calls for an end to KMT blocking of his special military budget requests. The 2 new planes join 4 E-2Ts bought in 1995. China Post.

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections, comments, or information to contribute are encouraged to contact DID’s Founding Editor, Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

Background: Policy

Background: Equipment

News & Views

Categories: News

Raytheon to Adapt Coyotes for Quadcopter Suicide Missions | LM Working to Mitigate F-35 Costs, Increase Jobs | Leonardo to Develop Replacement for Italy’s A129

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 23:58
Americas

  • The USAF and Army have tasked Raytheon with adapting their Coyote UAV into a suicide drone to take out quadcopters. The program will see the UAV given features in order to operate as an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) asset, as well as being fitted with a counter unmanned air system (C-UAS) capability in order to defend itself against small quad-copter UAVs by using a kinetic payload. Completion of the C-UAS is expected by the end of the year. Coyotes currently form the backbone the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program.

  • Costs associated with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program could drop, according to Lockheed Martin’s CEO Marillyn Hewson. Hewson met with US President-elect Donald Trump for a second meeting last week, later telling reporters that her company is “close to a deal” to bring down the cost of the F-35 program. In addition to the fighter’s costs, Hewson committed the firm to increasing jobs at their Fort Worth, Texas, facility by 1,800.

  • Ethical conflicts at Pratt & Whitney have resulted in the ousting of the head of the company’s F135 engine program alongside nine other employees. The dismissals come after the completion of an internal audit which uncovered an ethics issue linked to a visit by South Korean military officials several years ago. During the trip, the Korean delegation paid a visit to the company’s West Palm Beach facility in Florida, and Pratt & Whitney paid for a rental van to fetch them there. While certainly not the most outrageous form of graft in the industry’s history, causing no violation of US export control or anti-bribery laws, the engine company deemed the move as a breach of their strict ethics laws, amounting to “inappropriate entertainment.”

Africa

  • An ex-USAF WC-130H Hercules aircraft has been offered to the government of Niger under the Pentagon’s Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. Currently collecting dust at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the plane was offered to Niger in November 2015, but this offer has yet to be accepted. The WC-130H was used in weather reconnaissance and aerial sampling, and has been modified to penetrate hurricanes and typhoons to collect meteorological data that make advanced warnings of such storms possible. In a separate EDA transfer, Washington is sending a C-130 wing set to Niger, although it is unknown if the set would be used on the offered WC-130H, or an older C-130H first delivered in Niger in 1979.

Europe

  • Leonardo will develop the replacement for the Italian Army’s A129 gunship, following the awarding of contracts by the Italian National Armaments Directorate of the Italian Defense Ministry. Under the contract, Leonardo will design and produce one prototype of the new exploration and escort helicopter (NEES) as well as three production examples. Rome could buy as many as 48 NEES as part of the replacement program. The company has also consolidated their UK operations under a single entity, Leonardo MW Ltd, comprised of AgustaWestland Ltd, Selex ES Ltd, Finmeccanica UK Ltd, and DRS Technologies UK Ltd.

  • The Slovakian government has received a number of offers to buy or lease fighter planes that will replace their aging MiG-29s. Those offered include Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen fighter, currently operated by neighboring Czech Republic. Last December, both governments signed a “Joint Sky” agreement, aimed at collaborating on joint airspace defense, and if Bratislava selects the Gripen, both countries could potentially share maintenance and pilot training.

  • EUROSAM has officially welcomed Italy’s participation in the development of their Aster 30 Block 1 NT program. A consortium led by MBDA and Thales, EUROSAM’s B1NT program is an effort supported by the French and Italian defense ministries to develop new technology for the Aster missile in addition to modernizing SAMP/T systems currently in service. Currently used to counter ballistic missile threats, improvements made to the Aster 30 Block 1 NT will allow operators to extend this capability to more complex threats and will also deal with the emerging threat of Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles.

Asia Pacific

  • Pakistan is hoping that a Donald Trump presidency may restart a plan to procure F-16 jets through a foreign military financial aid scheme. US Congress downed the plan last year following concerns by some lawmakers over Islamabad’s allegiances in regards to counter-terrorism operations in the region. It was decided that if Pakistan wanted the F-16s, they would have to pay for them out of their own pocket.

Today’s Video

Aster 30 Block 1 NT:

Categories: News

Billions to Upgrade and Up-arm Pakistan’s F-16s

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 23:57

PAF F-16A drops Mk.82s
(click to view full)

On June 28/06, the US DSCA notified Congress via a series of releases of its intention to provide Pakistan with a $5.1 billion Foreign Military Sales package to upgrade the F-16s that serve as the PAF’s top of the line fighters. Some of these items had been put on hold following the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan & Kashmir, but the request for 36 new F-16 Block 50/52s is now going ahead, along with new weapons, engine modifications, and upgrade kits for Pakistan’s older F-16 A/Bs. The buy went through, and was accompanied by the supply of 26 older F-16s from USAF surplus stocks. Then, a 2014 sale added 13 machines from from Jordan.

These items are detailed below, along with controversies the proposed sales have created, and some of the conditions attached to the sale by the US government….

The Sales: New and Upgraded F-16s

Item 1: 36 New F-16 Block 50/52s – up to $3 billion

PAF F-16D Block 52
(click to view full)

The Government of Pakistan has requested a possible sale of up to 36 F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft – a buy of 18 jets, with an option for another 18. The planes would be equipped with the APG-68(V)9 radars, which are the most modern F-16 radar except for the UAE’s F-16E/F Block 60 “Desert Falcons” and their AN/APG-80 AESA. The engine contract was less certain. Pakistan’s existing F-16s use the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, but the new planes involved a competition between Pratt & Whitney’s F100-PW-229 or General Electric’s F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines (IPEs).

The total value, if all options are exercised, was estimated as high as $3 billion, which is in line with Pentagon releases that eventually peg the negotiated cost of 12 F-16Cs, 6 F-16Ds, and ancillary equipment at $1.4 billion. Pratt & Whitney kept their customer, and supplied the new jets with their F100-PW-229 EEP engine, making them all F-16 Block 52s. The package for Pakistan’s new F-16s included:

  • 7 spare F100-PW-229 EEP or F110-GE-129 IPE engines (F100-PW-229 EEP selected)
  • 7 spare APG-68(V)9 radar sets
  • 36 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS)
  • 36 AN/ARC-238 SINCGARS radios with HAVE QUICK I/II
  • 36 Conformal Fuel Tanks (pairs) that fit along the aircraft’s sides to give them extra range
  • 36 Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals; see tactical uses of MIDS-LVT Link 16 systems
  • 36 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems
  • 36 APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe Systems
  • 36 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites: ALQ-211 AIDEW without Digital Radio Frequency Memory (picked); or AN/ALQ-184 Electronic Counter Measures pod without DRFM; or AN/ALQ-131 Electronic Counter Measures pod without DRFM; or AN/ALQ-187 Advanced Self-Protection Integrated Suites without DRFM; or AN/ALQ-178 Self-Protection Electronic Warfare Suites without DRFM.
  • 1 Unit Level Trainer
  • Associated support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, capability to employ a wide variety of munitions, spares and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications and technical documentation, CONUS-personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related requirements to ensure full program supportability.

The principal contractors under Pakistan’s “Peace Drive” buy will be:

  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Fort Worth, TX
  • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, Dallas, TX
  • BAE Advanced Systems Greenlawn, NY
  • Boeing Corporation Seattle, WA
  • Boeing Integrated Defense Systems: St Louis, MO; Long Beach, CA; San Diego, CA
  • Raytheon Company: Lexington, MA; Goleta, CA
  • Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ
  • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX
  • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD
  • United Technology Company subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT; or
  • General Electric Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, OH

There are no known offset agreements in connection with this proposed sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Pakistan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical review/support and program management of the aircraft. See DSCA release [PDF].

Item 2: Weapons for the New F-16s – $650 Million

To equip those new F-16s, the Government of Pakistan has requested a possible sale of:

  • 500 AIM-120C5 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM)
  • 12 AMRAAM training missiles – these have seeker warheads but lack engines
  • 200 AIM-9M-8/9 Sidewinder Short-Range Air-Air Missiles; they are the version before the fifth-generation AIM-9X.
  • 240 LAU-129/A Launchers – these support AMRAAM or Sidewinder missiles.
  • 500 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Guidance Kits: GBU-31/38 Guided Bomb Unit (GBU) kits
  • 1,600 Enhanced Paveway GBU-12 (500 lb.) and GBU-24s (2,000 lb.) with dual laser/GPS guidance
  • 800 MK-82 500 pound General Purpose (GP) and MK-84 2,000 pound GP bombs
  • 700 BLU-109 2,000 pound bunker-buster bombs with the FMU-143 Fuse
  • Associated support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, capability to employ a wide variety of munitions, spares and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications and technical documentation, CONUS-personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related requirements to ensure full program supportability will also be provided.

The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $650 million. The principal contractors will be:

  • BAE Advanced Systems in Greenlawn, NY
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX
  • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX
  • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX
  • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD

There are no known offset agreements in connection with this proposed sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Pakistan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical review/support, program management, and modification of the aircraft. See DSCA release [PDF format].

Item 3: F-16A/B Mid-Life Update Modification Kits – $1.3 billion

JHMCS

According to the US DSCA, Pakistan intends to purchase the Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) Program equipment “to enhance survivability, communications connectivity, and extend the useful life of its F-16A/B fighter aircraft. The modifications and upgrades in this proposed sale will permit Pakistan’s F-16A/B squadron to operate safely, and enhance Pakistan’s conventional deterrent capability. Pakistan’s air fleet can readily use these updates to enhance and extend the life of its aircraft.” The total value, if all options are exercised, is estimated as high as $1.3 billion, and subsequent Pentagon releases peg it at that figure.

The Government of Pakistan has requested a possible sale of 60 F-16A/B MLU and Falcon Star Structural Service Life Enhancement kits consisting of:

  • APG-68v9 with Synthetic Aperture Radar or the APG-66(V)2 radar, which is a much smaller improvement on earlier F-16s. The APG-68 with SAR is far better at air to ground work, and can be used to monitor ground activity.
  • Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS)
  • AN/APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe Systems
  • AN/ALE-47 Advanced Countermeasures Dispenser Systems
  • Have Quick I/II Radios
  • Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT)
  • SNIPER (formerly known as AN/AAQ-33 PANTERA) targeting pod capability
  • Reconnaissance pod capability
  • Advanced Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Units (used for training exercises)
  • MDE included in the MLU modification and structural upgrade kits
  • 21 ALQ-131 Block II Electronic Countermeasures Pods without the Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM); or ALQ-184 Electronic Countermeasures Pods without DRFM;
  • 60 ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management Systems;
  • 1 Unit Level Trainer; and
  • 10 APG-68v9 spare radar sets.
  • Radars, modems, receivers, installation, avionics, spare and repair parts, support equipment, CONUS-personnel training and training equipment, technical assistance, publications and technical documentation, system drawings, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, and other related logistics elements necessary for full program support.

The principal contractors will be:

  • BAE Advanced Systems in Greenlawn, NY
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX
  • Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX
  • Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX
  • Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD

Turkish Aerospace Industries isn’t mentioned here, but they ended up with a contract to perform the upgrades on 36 F-16A/B aircraft. They’ve been doing similar work for Turkey, and for other F-16 customers in the Middle East.

There are no known offset agreements in connection with this proposed sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Pakistan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives. See DSCA release [PDF].

InsideDefense.com makes the interesting observation that Pakistan doesn’t have 60 F-16s to upgrade. The clear implication is that the Pakistani government is interested in buying used F-16s and upgrading them, which proved to be the case. As part of the deal for new planes, in Sept 30/06 the USA also agreed to deliver 26 of the “Peace Gate III/IV” F-16A/B Block 15OCUs that had been ordered in 1988-1989, then embargoed when Pakistan tested nuclear weapons. After the embargo, the planes had been diverted for use as aggressor combat training aircraft by USAF and the US Navy.

Item 4: F-16A/B Engine Modifications & UP/STAR – $151 Million

F100 Engine Test

The third contract involves Engine Modifications and Falcon UP/STAR Structural Upgrades as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $151 million.

More specifically, the Government of Pakistan has requested engine improvements and structural modifications to its F-16 fleet, which includes a possible sale of:

  • 14 F100-PW-220E engines
  • 14 Falcon UP/STAR F-16 structural upgrade kits
  • De-modification and preparation of 26 aircraft
  • Support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, spares and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related requirements to support the program.

The principal contractors will be:

  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX
  • United Technology Company subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT.

There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale, but implementation of the engine modifications and UP/STAR repairs will require multiple trips to Pakistan involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical review/support, program management, and modification of the aircraft. See DSCA release [PDF].

Contracts & Key Events 2017

Pakistan looks to Trump presidency for change in FMS.

Jordanian F-16A/B ADFs
(click to view full)

January 17/17: Pakistan is hoping that a Donald Trump presidency may restart a plan to procure F-16 jets through a foreign military financial aid scheme. US Congress downed the plan last year following concerns by some lawmakers over Islamabad’s allegiances in regards to counter-terrorism operations in the region. It was decided that if Pakistan wanted the F-16s, they would have to pay for them out of their own pocket.

2012 – 2014

Pakistan buys 13 more F-16A/B Block 15s from Jordan; AIDEW ECM contracts finally finalized.

Sept 2/14: Delivery. Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. delivers the last 4 of 41 modernized Pakistan Air Force F-16s at a ceremony held at TAI’s facilities in Ankara, Turkey. TAI is well known for that kind of work, and the contract for avionics and structural modernization was signed in in 2009. Sources: TAI, “The Last Four TAI-Modernized F-16s Were Delivered To Pakistan Air Force”.

Modernization deliveries done

May 21/14: Inducted. All 13 F-16 fighters have been received from Jordan, and the PAF formally inducts them as 19th Squadron at Mushaf Air Base. Their F-16 fleet now stands at 79. Sources: Pakistan Tribune, “Jordanian F-16 Jets to Enhance Capability of PAF: COAS” | The News Tribe, “F-16 planes from Jordan included in PAF fleet”.

All RJAF F-16s delivered

April 29/14: Jordanian deliveries. The World Tribune:

“Pakistani sources said five aircraft arrived and were deployed by the Pakistan Air Force on April 27…. Diplomatic sources said… potential suppliers included Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. In his address, [PAF commander Marshal Tahir Rafique] Butt said… the fighters, [now] housed at the Air Force base in Sargodha, were in good condition.”

That base is about 150 miles due south of Islamabad, in the Punjab region. Sources: The World Tribune, “Jordan exports surplus F-16s to Pakistan” | The News International, “PAF can meet all challenges including that of Taliban: Air chief”.

Feb 19/14: +13 Jordanian. Pakistani media report that the government has inked a deal with Jordan for 12 used F-16As and 1 F-16B:

“With this, the strength of PAF F-16s will reach 76…. The deal… has been authenticated by the manufacturing company and the US government has also given its nod for the sale/purchase of the planes. Well-placed defence sources told The News here the other day that the purchased aircraft were in good condition…. have been modified into Air Defence Fighters (ADF) versions. The Ogden Air Logistics Centre performed structural upgrades to extend the aircraft life from the designed 4,000 to 8,000 hours flying time as part of the programme. They also modified the aircraft engine bay for the upgraded Pratt and Whitney F100-220E engine”

The RJAF does fly F-16 MLUs bought second-hand from Belgium and the Netherlands, but this set being sold is from the 33-plane Peace Falcon I/II purchases of F-16 ADFs in 1997 and 2003. The F-16 ADF variant is actually the F-16 Block 15OCU, which added the more reliable F100-PW-220 turbofan, structural strengthening, an enlarged HUD, and provisions for the radar-guided AIM-120 AMRAAM missile. F-16 ADFs retain the AN/APG-66 radar, which has been supplanted by APG-68 models in subsequent variants and in Pakistan’s upgraded fighters. ADFs have some precision ground attack capability using the AGM-65 Maverick missile, but would be well behind Pakistan’s 18 new Block 52s, or the PAF’s roughly 40 existing Block 15 fighters that were upgraded to a similar standard under the programs above.

Barring upgrades, the best use for F-16 ADFs is as interceptor and air superiority fighters. Recall, however, that the DSCA request for MLU & Falcon STAR kits had a maximum of 60 aircraft, and that these kits wouldn’t be needed for the new F-16C/D Block 52s. Pakistan could order 13 more upgrade kits for these aircraft, and still be within its allotted FMS total.

The deal leaves the Royal Jordanian Air Force with 43-46 front-line F-16AM/BM MLU Block 20 fighters, and 15-18 F-16A/B Block 15 ADFs, of 79 purchased. Not only do they make some money with this sale, they also cut down on the number of RJAF F-16 ADFs that will need expensive mid-life upgrades. At least 2 of the F-16 ADFs have been lost in accidents, and their 5th and most recent F-16 accident took place on Jan 29/14. Sources: Pakistan’s The News International, “PAF acquires F-16s from Jordan”.

13 F-16s from Jordan

April 3/12: EW. ITT Exelis announces that $54 million has finalized a contract to provide Pakistan with some of its AIDEWS electronic warfare pods (vid. March 19/08, June 26/08, July 5/11, and July 20/11 entries). The 2008 contract had been for $78.2 million, and the July 2011 contract added $49.1 million, creating a current total of $181.3 million, plus over $9 million to integrate them with their F-16s’ AN/ALQ-231 central electronic warfare systems.

The ALQ-211 based Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare System (AIDEWS) integrates digital radar warning receivers and advanced jamming countermeasures systems against radar-based threats, including modern surface-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems. It can be carried on a pod, as Pakistan is doing, or internally as the AN/ALQ-211v4.

Feb 6/12: New deliveries done. The PAF receives its 18th and final new F-16 Block 52, and its its first 2 Mid-Life Upgrade F-16s, at PAF Shahbaz airbase. The last new F-16 was an F-16D that had remained in the US for testing & trials. F-16.net.

F-16 MLUs begin arriving

2011

USA kills Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, whose leaders must have known his whereabouts – ties become very strained; Pakistan orders DB-110 reconnaissance pods; Training systems bought; Reports of J-10s and JF-17 fighters from China don’t materialize.

PAF F-16As
(click to view full)

July 30/11: J-10s. The PAF will be flying a squadron of Chinese J-10B fighters alongside its F-16s, as a gift from China. The official offer was reportedly presented to the Pakistan Army’s Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Waheed Arshad, during a week-long visit to Beijing.

The Chinese have also pledged 50 co-developed JF-17 Thunder fighters in recent months, but the J-10Bs are different because they offer total performance on par with, or even superior to, the PAF’s new F-16C/D Block 52 fighter standard.

Subsequent monitoring shows that 3 years later, the PAF has no J-10s. The 50 JF-17s don’t appear to have arrived from China, either. Pakistan Kakhuda Hafiz | Economic Times of India | Defense Update | DefenseWorld.

July 29/11: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $42.3 million firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for 10 additional Pakistan F-16 A/B Block 15 Aircraft Enhanced Modernization Program kits. The ASC/WWMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract on behalf of its foreign Military Sale client (FA8615-07-C-6032, PO 0038).

10 more F-16 upgrade kits

July 26/11: Fragile alliance. At the US House Foreign Affairs Committee’s hearings on “Reassessing American Grand Strategy in South Asia,” John J. Tkacik, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research’s Former Chief of China Analysis, submits “The Enemy of Hegemony is My Friend: Pakistan’s de facto ‘Alliance’ with China” [PDF]. Key excerpt:

“China has always been Pakistan’s most important strategic ally,2 and the intensity of Pakistan’s relationship with the United States has always been a subset of Pakistan’s all-consuming strategic calculus about India… For the United States to achieve a true strategic partnership with Pakistan, it must share Pakistan’s posture toward India. It follows, then, that subduing India also demands acquiescing in China’s ultimate hegemony in Asia. In reassessing America’s grand strategy in South Asia, the United States must first reassess its global “grand strategy.” If America can live with an Asia under Chinese hegemony, and with a crippled India, then America can have Pakistan’s enthusiastic partnership against the Taliban. Decisions like this are, as they say, above my pay grade.”

July 22/11: Training. L-3 Communications’ Link Simulation and Training division in Arlington, TX receives a $20.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1 aircrew training system (ATS) to support Pakistan air force F-16 pilot training. Work will be performed at Arlington, Texas, overseen by ASC/WNSK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, on behalf of their Pakistani FMS client. Both simulators, scheduled for delivery in 2013, will be installed and networked at the PAF’s Shahbaz Air Base.

The ATS consists of 2 upgraded F-16 ATS devices with an 18 panel “simusphere” for 360 degree viewing: a new F-16A Block 15/52 ATS; and a less flexible new F-16C Block 52 ATS. The contract also includes 21 months contractor logistics support (12 months on-site and 9 months on-call); common ATS Block 15 and Block 52 software load; high fidelity cockpit; 360 horizontal X250; version MMC 7000 hardware and software; geo-specific database of Pakistan with high resolution features; full simulation of the APG-68v9 radar with digital radar land mass simulation; full weapons simulation incl. Maverick missile, targeting pod, and JHMCS helmet mounted sights; threat environment A-G and spot jamming simulation; emergency procedures and malfunctions simulation; and an instructor-operator station to make pilots’ lives difficult in pre-planned ways. Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Pakistan’s The Nation.

July 20/11: EW. Georgia Tech Applied Research Corp. in Atlanta, GA received a $9.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee Foreign Military Sales contract to integrate ITT’s AN/ALQ-211v9 AIDEW pod and software into Pakistan’s existing AN/ALQ-213 [PDF] countermeasures set from Terma. The ALQ-213 CMS electronic warfare suite provides centralized control/resources management of the F-16s’ defensive suites, so the pod and CMS controller need to work together.

Work will be performed in Atlanta, GA, and is expected to be complete by July 2014. The ESG/PKS DTIC at Offutt AFB, NB, manages the contract on behalf of its FMS client (HC1047-05-D-4000).

July 19/11: The US GAO releases report #GAO-11-786R: “Pakistan Assistance: Relatively Little of the $3 Billion in Requested Assistance is Subject to State’s Certification of Pakistan’s Progress on Nonproliferation and Counterterrorism Issues“.

July 9/11: After the USA finds and kills Osama Bin Laden, Pakistan’s intelligence agency murders a journalist and expels American military trainers. In response, the USA delays and may cancel about $800 million in military aid and equipment, or about 40% of its annual total.

US officials say that the F-16s are unaffected. Instead, the blockage involves about $300 million to reimburse Pakistan for some of the costs of deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along the Afghan border, hundreds of millions of dollars in training assistance and military hardware like rifles, ammunition, body armor and bomb-disposal gear that were part of the expelled training effort, and items like radios, night-vision goggles and helicopter spare parts, where Pakistan has denied visas to the American personnel needed to operate the equipment. Less double-dealing with terrorists would reportedly free up this aid, but Pakistan’s response is that they’ll rely on China to make up the gap. ABC News | CBS News | NY Times.

July 5/11: EW. ITT Systems Corp. in Clifton, NJ receives a not to exceed $49.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for the ALQ-211v9 AIDEW Pod, which was picked as the electronic countermeasures choice for Pakistan’s new F-16C/D Block 52s, and is also on the list for its upgraded F-16s. This award fits the new fighter order, and includes 18 pods, 4 pod shells, 2 antenna coupler sets, 2 lab test benches, associated data, and systems software and support equipment.

Work will be performed at Clifton, N.J. This contract is a Foreign Military Sales requirement for Pakistan, managed by the WR-ALC/GRWKBat Robins Air Force Base, GA (FA8540-11-C-0012). See also June 26/08 entry.

May 1/11: Osama Bin Killed. Osama Bin Laden is killed in a US Navy SEAL raid, which happens without notifying Pakistan. As a result, Osama is actually present in Abbottabad when the SEALs arrive, living comfortably about a mile from Pakistan’s top military college.

Osama Bin Laden

March 1/11: Aviation Week reports that Pakistan is in negotiations with the U.S. to get more Lockheed Martin F-16s over and above the 63 currently in service (18 F-16C/D Block 52, 45 F-16A/B Blocck 15OCU that will be upgraded). No numbers have been specified, by Pakistani officials see it as part of a dual-track strategy that will also include more spending on domestic projects like the JF-17 Thunder, to improve Pakistan’s own manufacturing capacity.

At present, PAF Air Chief Marshall Rao Qamar Suleman says that 4 F-16A/Bs went to the USA for technical verification inspections and upgrade kit development, and the 1st 3 F-16A/Bs are now undergoing the upgrade at Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). All of Pakistan’s F-16s are expected to be upgraded by 2013-2014. At present, no systems exist that would bridge the F-16 and JF-17 fleets, but Air Chief Marshall Suleman says that Pakistan intends to eventually field a supplementary datalink, which would work alongside the Link 16 systems carried by the F-16s.

The comments come as the Pakistani military is also discussing a deal to buy Chinese submarines as a supplement to their French Agosta-class boats, as an intended prelude to joint submarine development. These plans are all being made against a backdrop of a serious domestic insurgency and widespread flooding damage, which have combined to create over 1 million internal refugees, and threaten the government’s medium term ability to maintain control of the country. Even as the state is very obviously fraying in other ways.

Jan 20/11: DB-110. Goodrich Corporation of Chelmsford, MA receives a $71.9 million contract for 5 DB-110 Pods, 2 datalink upgrades to existing pods, 2 fixed ground stations, 1 mobile ground station, and 4 ground station datalink receiver kits, plus initial spares, technical manuals, minimal initial engineering support for final in-country installation, integration, testing and a study for a potential fusion center. This supports Pakistani F-16 aircraft. At this time, $17.3 million has been committed by the ASC/WINK at Wright-Patterson Air Force, OH on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale client (FA8620-11-C-3006).

The DB-110 reconnaissance pod offers day and night capabilities, and has been ordered by a number of F-16 customers, including Egypt, Greece, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, and the UAE. DB-110s were not mentioned in the DSCA upgrade requests, but they are clearly part of that effort now. Reports indicate that installations began in June 2010; this is apparently a follow-on order. A Jan 12/11 US FedBizOpps solicitation for associated imagery analysis training is a useful reminder that buying the pods is not enough to field a useful capability. See also Aviation Week re: DB-110.

2010

F-16 MLU kits ordered; New F-16s all delivered; AMRAAM missiles begin delivery; Pakistani pilots receiving American training again.

F-16C-52 arrives
(click to view full)

Dec 13/10: Delivery. The last batch of 6 F-16 Block 52s arrive a bit early at Shahbaz AB, after a stop over at Lajes Field, Azores. This finishes the 18-plane order, though 1 of the planes remains behind in the USA for testing. F-16.NET, “Pakistan receives last batch of F-16 combat jets”.

New F-16 deliveries complete

Nov 20/10: Delivery. Another 6 new F-16 Block 52s land at the Shahbaz airbase near Jacobabad, in Pakistan’s Sindh province. That makes 12 so far, and another batch of 6 F-16 C/D Block 52s are expected to arrive in December 2010, to finish the initial 18-plane order. Pakistan’s DAWN | Associated Press of Pakistan | Daily Times | The Nation | Pak Tribune | IANS.

Oct 30/10: Delivery. Another 3 new F-16 Block 52 aircraft are handed over at an induction ceremony at Shahbaz Air Base near Jacobabad, Pakistan. This is the 2nd batch of new F-16s delivered, and all 18 fighter aircraft are expected to arrive by January 2012.

In addition to the delivery of these new aircraft, the U.S. is working with the PAF to update 45 F-16s from its existing fighter fleet through the U.S. Foreign Military Financing security assistance program. The first batch of updated F-16s is scheduled to arrive in Pakistan in early 2012. US CENTCOM.

July 27/10: Weapons. The Press Trust of India reports that the first AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles have arrived in Pakistan, and will equip the new F-16C/D block 52s. PTI.

June 24/10: The Pentagon announces that it will deliver the first 3 new F-16 Block 52s in Pakistan on June 26/10, with the other 15 arriving during 2010-2011. USAF Maj. Todd Robbins, the the office of the undersecretary of the Air Force for international affairs’ Pakistan country director, is quoted saying that Pakistan is paying $1.4 billion for the 18 new F-16 Block 52s. They’re also paying $1.3 billion for upgrades to its existing F-16 fleet, which are to begin delivery in 2012.

The new F-16s will add night, all-weather, and precision-attack capabilities, and Pakistani pilots have been training at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, including night-attack training. The PAF recently completed training for 4 instructors and 5 flight leads (q.v. May 5/10 entry). The US Embassy in Islamabad later cited June 27/10 as the day of the formal induction ceremony.

Beyond the F-16s, the USA has provided over $4 billion in assistance over the last 3 years. The USA and Pakistan are working to address the current deficit of trust, which has begun to repair itself since Pakistan’s government became more serious about fighting al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan. In March 2010, the United States and Pakistan held their first ministerial-level strategic dialogue in Washington, DC, co-chaired by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. High-level officials from both governments participated in the dialogue, including Secretary of Defense Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Follow-up meetings took place in Pakistan in early June 2010.

Deliveries, costs, and alliance concerns

June 14/10: A report in India’s Samay Live says that Pakistan will face strict monitoring of its new F-16s, and quotes United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake. Samay Live states that:

“Sources said the US Air Force personnel will arrive during the delivery of the F-16s and supervise not only the air base where they will be deployed but also the operations carried out by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Though the jets will be flown by PAF pilots, the logistics, management and control of the F-16s will be with the US personnel. The [18] Block 50/52 model F-16 jets equipped with latest missiles will arrive at the Shahbaz Airbase in Jacoabad in the last week of June…”

Readers are cautioned that this description may be an overstatement or misunderstanding of normal support and inspection provisions; without a firm statement from an identifiable individual, it’s hard to tell.

May 21/10: F-16 MLU. Lockheed Aeronautics in Fort Worth, TX receives a $325.5 million contract to develop, integrate and deliver 53 F-16 upgrade kits: 35 mid-life upgrade kits for Pakistani F-16A/B Block 15 aircraft, and 18 retrofit kits for Pakistani F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft.

At this time, $121.2 million has been committed by the 312th AESG/SYK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, who manages these efforts on Pakistan’s behalf (FA8615-07-C-6032).

53 F-16 upgrade kits

May 4/10: Training. Eight Pakistani F-16 A/B pilots graduate from training at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, flying US Air National Guard F-16 C/D Block 25s. They are the first Pakistani pilots to train in the United States since 1983. Their training involves 2 1/2 months reviewing military aviation terminology at the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base, TX; 7 months of flight training at Tucson International Airport, including a transition course, flight lead upgrade training, and instructor pilot certification; and 2 weeks of additional F-16 Block 52 instruction. The schedule was compressed, and the pilots flew 5 flights per week, instead of the usual 3.

Pakistani air force Wing Commander Ghazanfar Latif cited to the ability to run precision engagements and attack at night as key difference from the F-16 he’s been flying for the last 12 years, capabilities that can lower collateral damage. The flip side was cited by Squadron Leader Yasir Malik: the need to manage and prioritize all that additional information from the radar, datalinks, and other sensors, which was a key part of their training. Their instructors in this effort included USAF flight commander Maj. Windy Hendrick, and her compatriots in the 162nd Fighter Wing. USAF.

2008 – 2009

US handing over 14 used F-16s as part of the MLU program; 1st new PAF F-16 Block 52 unveiled; F100-PW-229 upgrade packages begin delivery.

F100-PW-229

Nov 16/09: Engines. Pratt & Whitney announces that they have delivered the first F100-PW-229 Engine Enhancement Package (EEP) engine to Pakistan, for installation in their F-16 aircraft. The engine program, which appears to be about upgrades, is valued at approximately $150 million, and is scheduled for delivery in 2009 and 2010.

The F100-PW-229 EEP is the latest evolution of the F100 engine family, with features designed to reduce scheduled engine maintenance by up to 30%, by extending the depot inspection interval from 4300 – 6000 TACs.

Oct 13/09: Unveiling. Lockheed Martin unveils the first of 18 new PAF F-16s in ceremonies at its Fort Worth, TX facility. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Chief of Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Quamar Suleman accepted the F-16D Block 52 aircraft on behalf of his nation, as the first delivery of the “Peace Drive I” order. It will be delivered to the US government for transfer in December 2009, with the remainder of the order following in 2010. See also Flight International, which has video.

July 29/08: Pakistan’s request to transfer 2/3 of its anti-terrorism aid to fund its F-16 program meets strong resistance from the US Congress.

June 28/08: Used F-16s. In a ceremony at Mushaf Air Base in Pakistan, Acting Commander of US Central Command, Lt. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, hands over 4 “excess defense article” F-16 fighters from the USAF to Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed. The US DSCA release says that:

“F-16s continue to hold a special place in the U.S. – Paki­stani security relationship. The four EDA aircraft are part of a larger package of 14 aircraft. With the most recent delivery, the USAF has transferred eight aircraft to Pakistan. Another four EDA F-16 aircraft are scheduled to arrive in Pakistan on 28 July 2008. The final two aircraft are part of the Pakistan Mid-Life Update program and will arrive in Pakistan in De­cember 2011. The entire F-16 program for Pakistan includes the purchase of eighteen F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft, MLU for 46 aircraft, and a munitions package that includes AM­RAAM, JDAM, and Enhanced Paveway guidance kits.”

MLU: 14 more US F-16s

June 26/08: EW. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF format] Pakistan’s official request for 21 AN/ALQ-211v9 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS) Pods, plus software support, repair and return, spare and repair parts, support equipment, technical assistance, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of program support. The estimated cost is $75 million.

The ALQ-211 based Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare System (AIDEWS) integrates digital radar warning receivers and advanced jamming countermeasures systems against radar-based threats, including modern surface-to-air and air-to-air weapon systems. It can be carried on a pod, as Pakistan is doing, or internally as the AN/ALQ-211v4. Pakistan intends to purchase the AIDEWS pods to enhance its existing F-16 fighter aircraft, and create fleet commonality with its new F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft. See also our March 19/08 entry; the original DSCA bulletin for mid-life upgrades had mentioned AN/ ALQ-131 or AN/ALQ-148 pods instead.

The principal contractor will be ITT Corporation of Clifton, NJ. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Pakistan involving U.S. Government and ITT representatives for technical reviews, support, and program management over a period of up to 15 years.

June 4/08: Delivery. The Associated Press of Pakistan reports that Pakistan has already received 2 refurbished F-16s, and is due to receive 4 more in June and another 4 in July, bringing the total to 10.

April 18/08: F-16s. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of Fort Worth, TX received a modified contract for $31.5 million, covering one-time engineering activity for aircraft production program changes for the Peace Drive I (Pakistan) program for foreign military sales F-16 Block 52M aircraft. At this time $15.75 million has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH issued the contract (FA8615-07-C-6031, P00005).

April 18/08: F-16s. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of Fort Worth, TX received a modified firm fixed price contract for $27 million, covering one-time engineering activity for developmental support equipment and country standard technical order for the Peace Drive I (Pakistan) Program for foreign military sales F-16 Block 52M aircraft. At this time $13.5 million has been obligated. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH issued the contract (FA8615-07-C-6031, P00004).

March 19/08: EW. ITT Avionics of Clifton, NJ received a modified firm fixed price contract for $78.2 million for Foreign Military Sales of the ALQ-211v4 Advanced Integrated Defense Electronics Warfare system to the country of Pakistan, for use on the F-16 aircraft being procured under separate acquisition by the F-16 program office. The contract also includes associated spares, support equipment, training, engineering services, and flight test support and data, and $39 million has been obligated so far. Robins AFB, GA issued the contracts (FA8523-07-C-0008-PZ0001).

The DefenseLINK announcement was wrong in several respects. It has been corrected above, and Robins AFB’s PA office offers further background, which connects it to the overlapping March 30/07 announcement:

“Contract FA8523-07-C-0008 was awarded in March 2007 to ITT in Clifton NJ. The obligated funds on the initial contract was $39 mil. The contract was modified in March 2008 to add the additional funds Of $39.2 mil and to definitize all outstanding contract requirements. This was not a new award, the contract was awarded in March 2007.”

2006 – 2007

Letter of Agreement and Orders for 18 F-16s, plus radars; Ancillary buys of AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, Enhanced Paveway III smart bomb kits, Sniper surveillance & targeting pods.

Sniper pod on F-16
(click to view full)

Dec 31/07: F-16s. Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of Fort Worth, TX received a firm-fixed-price contract modification for $498.2 million, covering Foreign Military Sales of 12 new F-16C Block 52 and 6 new 2-seat F-16D Block 52 new aircraft to Pakistan.

At this time, $497.6 million has been obligated. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8615-07-C-6031-P0002), which brings total spending on Pakistan’s new F-16s and required items to about $755 million, or about $42 million per fighter.

F-16s: first 18

Dec 14/07: Weapons. Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, AZ received a firm fixed price contract for $161.3 million, covering add-ons that turn various kinds of bombs into laser/GPS dual-guidance precision weapons.

This action provides 300 miscellaneous unit air foil groups, 300 miscellaneous armament unit enhanced computer control groups, 1,298 weapon guidance unit computer control groups, 1,300 stabilizing and retarding unit air foil groups, 600 global positioning system adapter kits, 1 lot enhanced Paveway III and test equipment spares, 1 lot enhanced Paveway II, 700 certain adapter groups, 6 readiness test set, 6 bomb tool kits, 3 lots of enhanced Paveway tool sets, 3 each common munitions bit/reprogramming equipment adapter kits, 1 each mission planning software, 1 lot DATA. This effort supports foreign military sales to Pakistan. At this time $75.7 million has been obligated. The 784th Combat Sustainment Group (AFMC) at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (FA8213-08-C-0028).

Enhanced Paveways use a combination of laser and GPS/INS guidance. The laser designator offers better accuracy, and is compatible with targeting pods like Pakistan’s forthcoming Sniper ATPs. GPS/INS benefits include the ability to function through fog, dust storms, clouds, smoke, or other obscurants, and can be employed in the absence of a laser designator as long as Global Positioning System coordinates are available for the target.

April 27/07: Sniper ATP. Pakistan orders 22 of Lockheed Martin’s AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods under a $54.6 million firm-fixed-price contract. Since Raytheon’s ATFLIR is only integrated with F/A-18s, and Northrop Grumman’s LITENING AT is a joint development with Israel’s RAFAEL, the choice is not surprising. Sniper pods have also been referred to as PANTERA pods in the past. See “Pakistan Joins List of Sniper ATP Customers” for more.

March 30/07: EW. ITT Avionics in Clifton, NJ received a $78 million firm-fixed-price and time and materials contract for “Foreign Military Sales of the AN/ALQ-173 (V) advanced integrated defense electronics warfare to the country of Pakistan.” Associated spares, support equipment, training, engineering services, flight test support and data are also being acquired. Solicitations began February 2007, negotiations were complete March 2007, and work will be complete January 2010. The Headquarters Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins Air Force Base, GA issued the contract (FA8523-07-C-0008).

Oddly enough, the AN/ALQ-173 was not among the many internal ECM alternatives listed in the official US DSCA announcements.

Dec 5/06: F-16s. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX received a $144 million firm-fixed-price and time and materials contract for 12 operational single place F-16C Block 52 aircraft and 6 operational two place F-16D Block 52+ aircraft.

This will begin readying materials to manufacture the aircraft, and $78.4 million has been obligated at this time. Aircraft purchases will be accomplished under the firm-fixed price portion of the contract, and work will be complete by November 2010. The Headquarters Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH issued the contract (FA8615-07-C-6031).

Nov 17/06: Weapons. Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ received a $269.6 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to purchase 500 AIM-120C5 AMRAAM missiles and rehost on behalf of Pakistan (100%). Work will be complete April 2011. The Headquarters Medium Range Missile System Group at Eglin Air Force Base, FL issued the contract (FA8675-05-C-0070/P00028).

F-16s: first 18

Nov 15/06: Radars. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Linthicum Heights, MD received half of a $99.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for “government furnished property for the Government of Pakistan” under the F-16 Block 50/52 new aircraft and modernization program. “The procurement of 54 AN/APG-68 (V)9 Radar Systems will be accomplished under the firm-fixed-price portion of the contract.” A Jan 10/07 Northrop Grumman release clarifies: this order is for 52 systems (18 new + 34 upgrade kits), with a 44 radar option to follow (18 new + 26 upgrade kits).

Oct 2/06: LoA. India Defence reports that Pakistan and USA have signed a letter of acceptance for these deals, following a Sept 30/06 ceremony in Rawalpindi were Pakistan’s military is headquartered. It said that the United States will supply 18 new F-16 aircraft, as well as an unspecified number of upgraded second-hand F-16s. Previous reports have said the number of second hand aircraft Pakistan was considering buying was 36, which would make for 18 of each.

India Defence adds that “Both sides had expected to wrap up the deal a month earlier, but negotiations dragged on because of strings Washington wanted attached.” The USA has clear concerns regarding technology transfer from the F-16s or associated weapons it sells to 3rd countries like China, which has close military ties with Pakistan. While the US was reluctant to discuss details, Assistant Secretary of State for political-military affairs John Hillen was more open with Congress on July 20/06.

In his testimony to the House of Representatives’ International Relations Committee, Hillen reportedly said that the United States was withholding unspecified technologies “that would usually go with an F-16,” including ones that would let it “be used in offensive ways to penetrate air space of another country that was highly defended”. It added that Pakistan’s F-16 fleet and its munitions would be segregated from aircraft supplied by other countries, so that unauthorized engineers could not get access to the U.S.-made planes, and that U.S. personnel would carry out inventories of the F-16s and their associated systems every 6 months. There had even been a proposal that F-16 flights outside Pakistani air space, including for exercises with other countries, would have to be approved by the U.S. government in advance. It is not clear whether this requirement ever got beyond the proposal stage.

As part of the deal, the USA also reportedly agreed to deliver 26 of the “Peace Gate III/IV” F-16A/B Block 15OCUs that had been ordered in 1988-1989, then embargoed when Pakistan tested nuclear weapons. The planes had been diverted for use as aggressor combat training aircraft by USAF and the US Navy. Source.

Letter of Agreement

July 20/06: Here’s the first concerned speech from an opposed Congressman: Eliot Engel [D-NY], citing Pakistan’s support for terrorism in India. Mr Engel is a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, and was one of the first Members of Congress to come out in favor of the proposed India-US nuclear energy deal. He’ll be making his views public at the July 20, 2006 House International Relations Committee hearing on the Pakistan sales – and that meeting will tell us if opposition to the deal has real traction.

Appendix A: Potential Controversies (July 2006)

ISAF, S. Afghanistan
(click to view full)

The DSCA has said that “Release of this system would not significantly reduce India’s quantitative or qualitative military advantage.” India disagrees, and military experts in Delhi will likely note that the same equipment (GPS, targeting pods, bunker-busters) that could potentially find uses against al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan’s “lawless frontier” could also be used in precision strikes on India’s military facilities in the event of war.

The DSCA counters that release of the F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft to Pakistan “will neither affect the regional balance of power nor introduce a new technology as this level of capability or higher already exists in other countries in the region.” India does operate more advanced SU-30MKI aircraft with R-77 “AMRAAMski” missiles, advanced avionics, et. al.; these are superior in range, armament, and maneuverability to Pakistan’s F-16s, and will remain so. Meanwhile, India’s $7-10 billion MRCA competition is certain to introduce 125-200 aircraft that are certain to be more advanced than the F-16 Block 50/52.

The US DSCA adds in its submission to Congress that “The modification of the engines and Falcon UP/STAR structural updates will provide capable F-16’s that can be used for close air support in ongoing operations contributing to the GWOT (Global War On Terror).” The DSCA also cites the June 2004 designation of Pakistan as a Major Non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization Ally in its submission. The British commander of NATO’s ISAF force in Southern Afghanistan sees Pakistan’s role in a rather different light, however; he recently noted that al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is still run out of Pakistan (specifically Quetta), with Pakistani knowledge and even support from Islamist elements in its security apparatus. Ah, the dynamics of counter-insurgency in tribal societies. Pakistan angrily denies this, of course.

India’s objections to this sale have been muted thus far, and phrased carefully to emphasize their effect on India-Pakistan ties rather than India-US ties. Meanwhile, President Bush’s personal diplomacy approach has fostered a strong relationship with Gen. Musharraf that is inclined to view such requests favorably as part of the USA’s 3-corner balancing act in the region. Barring unusual circumstances, therefore, it’s reasonable to expect this sale to go through with little more than a concerned speech or two in Congress.

December 2007 Update

The sale did go through with little more than concerned speeches in Congress, though there have been ongoing efforts to pressure the Pakistani government via threats of delayed or canceled weapon sales, due in large part to the security situation across the de facto line of government/ al-Qaeda control in western Pakistan.

The Benazir Bhutto assassination, and the strong likelihood that the Bhuttos’ PPP party will ascend to power following the coming Pakistani election, is also likely to remove some of the pressure the US Congress has been placing on Pakistan. In the short term, a delay in the elections could result in symbolic weapons sales delays until elections are held, while construction of the F-16s et. al. continues for delivery after that date anyway. Once those elections are held, a combination of sympathy and diplomatic imperatives are likely to mute further resistance to weapons sales in the US Congress.

It is less clear whether Asif Ali Zardari “Mr. 10%” Bhutto’s ascension to power will successfully address that country’s ongoing civil war – and what that would mean in a year or two, when the jets are due to be delivered.

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections or information to contribute are encouraged to contact editor Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

Background: The PAF & Its F-16s

Official Reports

News & Views

Tags: pakistanf-16, pakf-16

Categories: News

JSF’s F135 Engine Meeting Milestones

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 23:55

F135 Engine Test
(click to view full)

Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney have successfully performed the first start of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft test engine, using an integrated power package (IPP) that the functions traditionally performed by the auxiliary power system, emergency power system, and environmental control into a single system. The system was used to start a Pratt & Whitney F135 short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) engine at the company’s advanced test facility in West Palm Beach, FL. The IPP is a subsystem of the F-35 Power and Thermal Management System (PTMS).

The JSF program has targeted the successful IPP engine start as a major milestone since the beginning of the System Development and Demonstration phase of the program in 2001. The achievement paves the way for additional development testing in preparation for the F-35’s first flight in 2006, and comes about a month after the Pratt & Whitney F135 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program successfully completed the post test Critical Design Review (CDR) by the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Joint Program Office (JPO). The JPO review found that the F135 propulsion system has met all review objectives and is on track to deliver the first flight test engine later this year.

F-35 JSF

Unlike current-generation fighters, the F-35 will rely on “more-electric” systems to operate the aircraft that are tightly integrated to save weight, add reliability and improve packaging efficiency. Performing engine starts with the integrated systems demonstrates the maturity of their designs and reduces risk for first flight.

At the heart of the IPP is a small gas-turbine engine “turbomachine” that provides power to the engine-mounted starter/generator, bringing the engine to its threshold starting speed. The engine then increases to idle speed and the electrical system, which includes the engine-mounted starter/generator (ES/G), transitions from operating as a motor to operating as a generator. The IPP is also available for in-flight emergency power.

In 2001, Pratt & Whitney was awarded a 10-year $4.8 billion contract for System Development and Demonstration to develop the F135 propulsion system through flight clearance, flight test, and qualification for Low Rate Initial Production.

To date, the Pratt & Whitney led F135 propulsion team has delivered three Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL)/Carrier Variant (CV) configuration and four Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) configuration F135 engines to test for a total of seven engines delivered on or ahead of schedule. In December, the team will deliver the first flight test engine in preparation for Initial Flight Release in January 2006 and first flight in August 2006. Production deliveries of the F135 are scheduled to begin in early 2009.

F135 STOVL
(click to view full)

The F135 is an evolution of the highly successful F119 engine for the F/A-22 Raptor. Together the F135 and F119 engines will have logged more than one million flight hours in support of the F-35’s introduction to operational service in 2012.

The F135 will be competing with the GE/ Rolls-Royce F136 engine, designed to be completely interchangeable with the F135 in any JSF plane.

The F135 propulsion system team consists of Pratt & Whitney, the prime contractor with responsibility for the main engine and system integration; Rolls-Royce, supplying lift components for the STOVL F-35B; Honeywell International, supplying the integrated power package; and Hamilton Sundstrand, provider of the F135’s control system, engine start system, external accessories and gearbox.

Updates

January 17/17: Ethical conflicts at Pratt & Whitney have resulted in the ousting of the head of the company’s F135 engine program alongside nine other employees. The dismissals come after the completion of an internal audit which uncovered an ethics issue linked to a visit by South Korean military officials several years ago. During the trip, the Korean delegation paid a visit to the company’s West Palm Beach facility in Florida, and Pratt & Whitney paid for a rental van to fetch them there. While certainly not the most outrageous form of graft in the industry’s history, causing no violation of US export control or anti-bribery laws, the engine company deemed the move as a breach of their strict ethics laws, amounting to “inappropriate entertainment.”

May 3/16: Following 15 years of work, Pratt & Whitney announced that they are coming to the end of the development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter‘s F135 propulsion system. The F135 team is also about 85% of the way through correcting an engine fault inherent in 180 early-model units which caused one aircraft to catch fire on the runway at Eglin AFB, Florida in June 2014. Derived from the F119-100 turbofan that powers the F-22 Raptor, the F135 was selected for both Lockheed X-35 and Boeing X-32 JSF prototypes.

Additional Readings & Sources:

Categories: News

LM to Design New EW Pod for Navy’s MH-60s | Harris to Fit Moroccan F-16s with New EW Gear in $91M Deal | Warsaw Considers 96 More F-16 Fighters

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 23:58
Americas

  • Lockheed Martin will design a new Electronic Warfare (EW) pod for US Navy MH-60 helicopters. Known as the Advanced Off-board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system, the pod will relay the signals it picked up back to the ship’s existing SLQ-32 system without any input from the helicopter crew. Company officials said the new capability will allow the fleet to respond to threats beyond the horizon, however declined to comment on whether the technology would come with any offensive capacity.

  • Flight testing of the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile has been completed. A Raytheon announcement stated that the launches were conducted to demonstrate the missile’s ability to engage time-sensitive targets. The first test saw personnel onboard the USS Pinckney utilize the Launch Platform Mission Planning capability while during the second test, crew members fired the weapon for a longer duration, and also conducted a terminal dive maneuver to strike the intended target. The company said the performance confirms the Tomahawk’s ability to attack heavily defended targets.

  • The US Navy plans to test-fire Boeing’s AGM-84 Harpoon Block II+ER extended range anti-ship missile this year. Upgrades to the missile can fit inside the existing Block 1C airframe, providing for easier integration as well as a cheaper separation testing process. Navy F/A-18 and P-8A Increment III aircraft will be fitted with the missile, and will give the platforms a doubling in target range alongside a new warhead.

Middle East North Africa

  • Moroccan F-16s will be fitted with new EW gear thanks to a $91 million deal with Harris Corp. The company will provide a number of the AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) to the Royal Moroccan Air Force in an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract issued by the US Air Force’s Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. AIDEWS is the only combat-ready electronic warfare system available to allied countries flying F-16 aircraft.

Europe

  • Poland’s military modernization marches on as Warsaw is reported to be exploring the possibility of more F-16 fighters. A plan by the Defense Ministry looks to purchase 96 second-hand A/B models from the US, and have the overhaul and upgrade work carried out by local industry. At present, the Polish Air Force operates 48 F-16 C/D variants alongside soon to be phased out MiG-29 and Su-22 fighters.

Asia Pacific

  • Reports that the New Zealand government are in talks with Japan over a deal for maritime patrol and cargo aircraft have been downplayed by Wellington. A Defence Ministry spokesperson said that no offers had been made by Tokyo to sell Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and C-2 cargo planes to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, in a deal that would exceed $1 billion. The statement also reiterated that the ministry will not release a new competition to replace its existing fleet of six P-3 Orion, five C-130 Hercules, and two Boeing 757s this year.

  • The Chinese Air Force has taken delivery of its first four Su-35 fighters. Beijing has ordered 24 models in total following a negotiation process that has dragged on for several years. Chinese brass have commented that Moscow was eager to complete the deal due to concerns about the rolling out of the People’s Liberation Air Force’s new Chengdu J-20 fighter. The J-20 made its debut last year, although much of its capabilities have yet to be demonstrated publicly, and it is believed to have already entered low-rate production.

  • Early work on Tiger Mk III helicopter upgrades by the European defense procurement agency, the OCCAR, has commenced, although there is uncertainty over Australia’s participation in the project. Set up by Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, the OCCAR is in charge of the Tiger modernization program, and while Australia is not one of its members, it was hoped that Canberra, with a 22 Tiger fleet, would commit to the effort.  Canberra, however, has expressed frustration with the rotorcraft, even hinting that they may ditch the Tiger in the mid-2020s. France, Germany and Spain are currently heavily involved in the program’s definition phase, which includes avionics and weapons overhauls, including the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire and Rafael Spike, used by the Tiger’s European operators.

Today’s Video

US Army demonstrates 3-D printed drones:

Categories: News

MH-60R/S: The USA’s New Naval Workhorse Helicopters

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 23:57

USN Heli Plan
(click to view full)

The US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawks have always had a naval counterpart. SH-60B/F Seahawk/ LAMPS helicopters were outfitted with maritime radar, sonobuoys, and other specialized equipment that let them perform a wide variety of roles, from supply and transport, to anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and even surface attack with torpedoes or Kongsberg’s AGM-119 Penguin missiles. Like their land-based counterparts, however, the Seahawks are getting older. The Reagan defense build-up is receding into history, and its products are wearing out.

European countries chose to build new designs like the medium-heavy EH101 and the NH90 medium helicopter. They’re larger than the H-60s, make heavy use of corrosion-proof composites, and add new features like rear ramps. The USA, in contrast, decided to upgrade existing H-60 designs for the Army and Navy. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”) Seahawks. MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss will eventually replace all SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters currently in the US Navy’s inventory. Both programs are underway, and will be covered in this DID FOCUS Article.

The New Sikorsky Seahawks

Romeo, Armed: The MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter

MH-60R

Before this program began, MH- was the traditional designation for special forces aircraft, but the Navy has now adopted it to stand for “multi-mission.” Confusing nomenclature aside, the new MH-60R/S helicopters will be the backbone of the US Navy’s future helicopter force.

The ‘Romeo’ multi-mission Seahawks will erase a previous division of labor. The previous SH-60F traditionally handled the advanced dipping sonar, and performed utility and rescue tasks, while the SH-60B used its radar for wider anti-submarine sweeps, and was armed with a wider array of weapons beyond torpedoes and door guns. That division of labor is being erased by the MH-60R, which can handle all surface attack and anti-submarine roles by itself. Secondary missions that include directing naval surface fire support, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation and communications and data relay. At one time, it was informally known as the “Strikehawk.” The MH-60R will replace the faster and longer-range S-3 Viking sea control jet, as well as existing Seahawks.

The U.S. Navy had planned to convert all of its SH-60B/Fs to multi-mission H-60Rs (“R” for “remanufactured”). The new version would feature a multi-mode, long-range search radar that can automatically detect and track an increased number of surface vessels, low frequency dipping sonar that provides significantly increased range for detecting submarines, an advanced electro-optical surveillance and target designation turret, the addition of Hellfire anti-armor missile capabilities, an integrated self-defense suite, and a host of other improvements that include a new cabin, a service life extension for the tail, and new avionics including Link 16 datalink connectivity.

SH-60F over CG 55
(click to view full)

In 2001, the US Navy restructured the SH-60R program from a remanufacture of the existing U. S. Navy SH-60 fleet to a new procurement program that would remanufacture only 7 helicopters, and build the rest new. This would keep existing SH-60s available for duty, while supplying new-generation helicopters with longer wear lifespans.

Initial production MH-60Rs were delivered to U.S. Navy training squadron HSM-41, at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, CA. The first MH-60R operational squadron was the HSM-71 “Raptors,” also based at NAS North Island in San Diego, CA. The squadron stood up in October 2007, and made their first deployment in April 2009 as part of the USS John C. Stennis [CVN 74] aircraft carrier strike group.

Australia became the MH-60R’s 1st export customer in 2011, with an order for 24, but the RAN doesn’t have any serving helicopters yet. Formal requests have also been placed by Denmark (2010, for 10), Qatar (2012, for 10), and South Korea (2011, for 8). India and Saudi Arabia are other countries that have reportedly evaluated the MH-60R, but haven’t placed a formal export request.

Avionics & Sensors

Common cockpit
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Mission systems and integration are bought as a separate item, through a multi-year contract with Lockheed Martin Systems Integration of Owego, NY (see Aug 15/07 entry). They include:

Common cockpit: The new MH-60R common “glass” cockpit is based on display screens rather than dials, and will be shared with the MH-60S. This will allow pilots to switch from one aircraft type to another with greater ease and will reduce the logistic support infrastructure, resulting in lower cost of ownership. It integrates 4 Night Vision Device compatible 8×10 inch color active matrix liquid crystal displays, and provides the operators with: Dual integrated programmable keysets for data entry and mission management; Dual prime/backup flight management computers allowing redundancy for all flight critical operations; Audio management computer providing digital audio for flight communications and sensors; Dual embedded global positioning inertial navigation (EGI) system that includes all weather coupled hover operations.

In the MH-60R models and MH-60S Block 2A+ configurations, one of the flight management computers is replaced with a mission computer providing all flight related capabilities plus multiple sensor/weapon data fusion. The cockpit as a whole received Instrument Flight Conditions certification in September 2001, the first NAVAIR IMC certification issued to a glass cockpit.

MTS EO: Like the MH-60S, the “Romeos” feature an advanced multi-spectral electro-optical turret, but they use the more advanced Raytheon AN/AAS-52 MTS (Multi-spectral Targeting System) with a wider field of view.

Radar: Unlike their MH-60S counterparts, however, the MH-60Rs can be distinguished by the cylindrical naval radar profile on their undersides, characteristic of anti-submarine helicopters around the world. Telephonics’ AN/APS-147 (now APS-153) radar was designed to meet both blue water and shallow/coastal littoral performance requirements in all weather conditions. Its day and night maritime domain surveillance that includes small target detection even amidst wave clutter, thanks to Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) imaging that uses the motion of the contact to create a picture of the contact. The radar also includes an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) interrogator, which is readily upgradeable and fully integrated with the helicopter’s combat systems. The AN/APS-153 upgrade adds hardware and software to create an Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination System (APRDDS), which automatically discriminates between periscopes and other small surface objects.

Sonar: The MH-60Rs will also have full sonar capabilities via their Raytheon/Thales AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low-Frequency Sonar (ALFS) and on-board sonobuoys, a big change from the past when bulky electronics forced Sikorsky to split the radar and sonar roles between the SH-60B (radar) and SH-60F (sonar). HSM-71’s Cmdr. Michael K. Nortier has said that this fusion, plus other advances, enables his MH-60R squadron to provide 5x-10x better coverage of the strike group than previous helicopters, and ALFS itself is proving to be much more sensitive than previous systems.

Weapons & Upgrades

MH-60Rs fire Hellfire
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Weapons: Current MH-60R armament includes Mk.46 or Mk.54 lightweight torpedoes, AGM-114 Hellfire light strike missiles, DAGR or APKWS laser-guided 70mm rockets (in progress), and machine guns. The MH-60R cannot use the AGM-119 Penguin short-range anti-ship missiles that equipped earlier SH-60F/ S-70 machines.

Upgrades: Lot I-II production MH-60R helicopters were equipped with SysConfig 19.9 software, as well as all of the advanced equipment originally planned for the type. Part-way through Lot III (6 helicopters), after around 10 production helicopters, the software leaped ahead to SysConfig 46. Those helicopters added IMDS prognostics in key mechanical areas, along with updates to the ALE-47 countermeasures. These are MH-60R Block 1.

MH-60Rs were later built or upgraded to next-generation SysConfig 58 software, and add an array of new equipment. These “Block 2” [DID reference] helicopters will add the DoD-wide Joint Mission Planning System, improved internal wireless, satellite, and radio communications, and:

  • A Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS) with audible alerts like “roll left,” “pull up!” etc.

  • Link-16, for a common tactical picture shared with other ships and aircraft;

  • A “SAASM EGI” Embedded GPS Inertial Navigation System with better resistance to countermeasures;

  • Upgrades to the Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) system via Mode 5 IFF’s much improved algorithm, encryption, range, and civil compatibility. It also adds “lethal interrogation” as a must-respond last chance, and the ability to see individual aircraft even when they’re close together. The further addition of Mode S assigns a discrete ‘squawk’ which is unique to that aircraft. Together, they improve combat identification and enable unrestricted flight in civilian airspace.

Upgrades planned after 2010 include electronic surveillance capabilities (Copperfield 2 ELINT and Dragonfly COMINT), the AN/APS-153 maritime radar with a periscope detection mode, integration of conventional 70mm and APKWS-II laser-guided rockets into MH-60R and MH-60S Block 3s, and ongoing reliability improvements to the ALFS dipping sonar. Several of these are in progress.

Hawklink: The other component of note is a project called “Hawklink,” which aims to improve the helicopters’ Common Data Link. Why does Hawklink matter? In a word, bandwidth. MH-60R and SH-60B Seahawks currently send data across the C-band microwave frequency range. Using the Ku band and the high definition SAU 07000 Ship Air Upgrade interface will create point-to-point Internet-equivalent connectivity between the MH-60R and ships up to 100 nmi away, enabling both to publish and subscribe for information. That would allow a ship or strike group to request data from the helicopter’s sensors, including sonobuoy data or real-time video, while sending other messages and data to the helicopter.

The AN/ARQ-59 system is mounted on the helicopter. The AN/SRQ-4 is its shipboard counterpart, mounted on American cruisers, destroyers, frigates/ LCS, and carriers. Terminals can also be configured for interoperability with several generations of CDL surface terminals deployed by the US Army, US Air Force, and American allies.

MH-60R Lite. While the USA is looking for ongoing upgrades, some countries are more interested in downgrades. In 2011, reports surfaced of a planned “MH-60R Lite” variant, which would make the ALFS dipping sonar a removable option. That would improve its range, and increase cabin space from 3 people to 8, at the expense of limiting its anti-submarine capability without ALFS. Lockheed Martin was even contemplating a version that also removes the sonobuoy launcher and acoustic processors, leaving a helicopter with just surface attack, search and rescue, and utility helicopter capabilities. It would really be more of an MH-60S+, with an advanced maritime radar and other electronics improvements.

Denmark ended up buying that full downgrade in 2012. Their helicopters will be missing both ALFS and sonobuoys.

Blue Collar Sierra: The MH-60S

MH60S & CH-46E
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The MH-60S entered service in 2002 as a replacement for the US Navy’s Boeing CH-46D Sea Knight, flown mostly in utility roles that involve moving cargo between ships. There was a fair bit of discussion about renaming it the “MH-60S Knighthawk” in honor of its predecessor, a move that would also have distinguished it from the MH-60R Seahawk; indeed, several official Navy releases featured this nomenclature. Unfortunately, the Navy decided to add type confusion to the special forces nomenclature confusion by referring to both MH-60 helicopters as “Seahawks.”

With the addition of the MH-60S program, the U.S. Navy will become an all H-60 helicopter fleet. Its roles will encompass troop transport, search and rescue, and other standard roles. The ‘Sierras’ will also become the Navy’s primary mine countermeasures platform. The US Marines, in contrast, are scheduled to replace their CH-46Es with MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors. If the Navy continues to decline investment in 48 HV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft of its own for combat search and rescue, special warfare, and fleet logistics support duties, the MH-60S will formally add its already-emerging assignment as the primary naval helicopter for those roles.

The US Navy expects to buy 275 MH-60S helicopters:

  • 50 Block 1
  • 225 Block 3, with all Block 2s scheduled for retrofit

MH-60S: Block 1 to Block 3

AMCM Components
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Block 1. Initial MH-60S deliveries, with glass cockpits and data buses, but little specialized mission equipment. They appear to be destined for supply, utility, and training roles only, as they will be the only helicopters without Link 16’s common tactical picture capability at the program’s end.

Block 2. Structurally strengthened Block 2A and 2B helicopters added the “common console,” an auxiliary fuel tank, and the ability to carry the Airborne Mine Counter-Measures (AMCM) kit. Link 16 will be backfit into existing Block 2 aircraft after its introduction in Block 3B, allowing the automated transmission of a common tactical picture shared with other ships and aircraft. This will convert MH-60S Block 2As into Block 2Bs.

The US Navy plans to buy a total of 66 AMCM ancillary kits. These new MH-60S AMCM helicopters were supposed to have 5 mine-hunting systems available to them, but a combination of technical failures and MH-60S’ size/power limitations cut that to just 2: AMNS remotely piloted anti-mine torpedo delivery, and the ALMDS mine-detecting laser. This will give the MH-60S a limited ability to sweep for mines from any ship, and will end up being a step back from the much larger MH-53E Sea Dragon dedicated mine sweeping helicopters.

MH-60S Hellfire test
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Block 3A. These MH-60S add armament kits, including an AN/AAS-44C electro-optical turrets similar to those mounted on existing SH-60 and HH-60 Seahawks; integration for Hellfire anti-armor missiles (8) or DAGR laser-guided rockets (32); and .50 caliber (GAU-21/M3M) and 7.62 mm (M240B) machine guns. Other changes include IMDS(Integrated Mechanical Diagnostic System) prognostics for key mechanical areas, a Digital Map System, and kneeboard and floor armor. These helicopters will receive Link 16 backfit upgrades as well, after this capability is introduced in Block 3B.

Block 3B. The “final” MH-60S version, which will make up the vast majority of the fleet after all retrofits are done. These helicopters began production using SysConfig 58 core software and the upgrades described above for the MH-60R “Block 2”, plus the DALS Downed Aircrew Locator System. It receives signals from survival radios and can GPS-locate them, then send voice communications, or use quieter text messages.

The MH-60S continues to evolve. Some sub-systems like AMCM are evolving in parallel, and weapons capability continues to increase. The MH-60S will have the option of carrying 70mm laser-guided rockets after March 2014, and items like 20mm cannon are being trialed. Both changes are being driven by greater attention to the threat from small boats.

The MH-60R/S Program

MH-60R: ALFS & Hellfires
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With the Reagan defense build-up receding into history, the US Navy believed that technology advances offered the prospect of integrating greater capabilities into each machine, without having to spend much on R&D. Unlike new-design, new-materials projects like the EH101 and NH90 in Europe, or Sikorsky’s H-92 Superhawk (CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter) on order for Canada, the US Navy decided that enhancing the proven H-60 Seahawk design would be the most cost-effective recapitalization option. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”).

Each program is currently set within the 5-year MYP-8 multi-year procurement deal that runs from FY 2013-2017, and also includes US Army UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and foreign military sales.

Total MH-60R procurement costs are expected to be approximately $10.5 – 11.5 billion over the life of the program. The US Navy originally planned to field 254 MH-60R “Romeo” helicopters, but the final number will be somewhere between 249 – 278, with American production now set to end in mid-2016. After that, the MH-60R production line will depend on foreign orders, though the related H-60M Black Hawk production line will remain active for some time. The current end of production date is 2018.

Foreign orders to date include Australia (24) and Denmark (9 “MH-60R Lite”). Active formal requests have been submitted by Qatar (lost to NH90) and South Korea (lost to AW159).

Total MH-60S procurement costs will be approximately $6.8 billion over the life of the program. When fully deployed, the Navy will field 275 MH-60S “Sierra” helicopters in 23 squadrons – 16 Active, 3 test, 2 Reserve and 2 Training squadrons, with 40 aircraft in the training squadrons. There will also be MH-60S helicopters in each of 5 Search And Rescue stations around the USA.

MH-60S production is slated to end in 2015. Having said that, the MH-60S is even closer to the H-60M model, so its sister-line’s expected continuation past 2020 is likely to expand its sales window. Foreign orders to date include only Thailand (2 of 6 approved). Active formal requests have been submitted by Qatar (lost to NH90) and South Korea (2009: 8 MH-60S AMCM).

MH-60R/S Budgets

Budgeted program amounts for each helicopter type break down as follow. RDT&E stands for “Research, Development, Test, & Evaluation,” and “procurement” also includes long-lead time materials for subsequent years’ production:

MH-60R/S Contracts and Key Events

MH-60S w. AQS-20
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Editorial note: the MH-60 helicopters have a wide variety of ancillary equipment. The rule we use here at DID is that if it’s not an integral part of operating the helicopter, we cover it separately. Flight trainers and maintenance are an integral part of operating the helicopter, so they’re covered. A weapon or other switch-in item is not integral. The MH-60S’ AMCM mine countermeasures set is an example of switch-in optional gear – though modifying the helicopters to be able to accept the AMCM components is covered, because that aspect is integral. Likewise, the MH-60R has been sold without its ALFS dipping sonar. Note that for some integral items, like the MTS surveillance and targeting turrets, it isn’t always possible to connect every order with the MH-60.

Unless otherwise specified, all contracts are managed by US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD. The exception is new helicopters, which are now being bought under a multi-year joint contract managed by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) at Redstone Arsenal, AL.

MH-60S helicopters receive engines from GE and a common cockpit from Lockheed Martin, which are installed by Sikorsky. When an MH-60S leaves Sikorsky, it’s done. If the Navy wants to add modifications like AMCM gear later, that’s their business. For MH-60Rs, on the other hand, they leave Sikorsky without their common cockpit or any mission equipment. The US Navy flies them to Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY for full outfitting with their maritime radar, dipping sonar, sonobuoy launcher, cockpit, etc.

FY 2015 – 2017

FY 2015 buy.

MH-60S VERTREP
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January 13/17: Lockheed Martin will design a new Electronic Warfare (EW) pod for US Navy MH-60 helicopters. Known as the Advanced Off-board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) system, the pod will relay the signals it picked up back to the ship’s existing SLQ-32 system without any input from the helicopter crew. Company officials said the new capability will allow the fleet to respond to threats beyond the horizon, however declined to comment on whether the technology would come with any offensive capacity.

June 9/16: Denmark has received the first three of an eventual nine Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopters to be operated by the Royal Danish Air Force. Completion of the order is expected by mid-2018. The MH-60R acquisition will see the RDAF replace their aging Westland Lynx 90 fleet and aims to extend Copenhagen’s reach and capabilities.

April 18/16: The US Navy has awarded BAE Systems a $22 million contract to produce Archerfish mine neutralizers. Flown on board the MH-60S, Archerfish is a remotely-controlled underwater vehicle equipped with an explosive warhead to destroy sea mines. Deliveries of the systems are expected to begin in September 2017. The contract also includes further options which, if exercised by the DoD, could bring the total value to over $55.3 million.

December 29/15: In addition to the $130.6 million contract to provide AH-64 modernized day sensor assemblies to the government of Qatar, Lockheed Martin has been awarded over $227 million in additional contracts by the US Department of Defense to provide work to Saudi Arabia. The first, worth $117.2 million, is a modification of a previously existing fixed price contract for the manufacture and delivery of 10 MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems and Common Cockpits to Riyadh. The second is for non-recurring engineering to support the MH-60R aircraft. The contract, worth $110.2 million, is for the development, test and qualification of the MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems and Common Cockpits configuration for production. Both contracts will run until April and June 2016 respectively. The US State Department approved the sale of the multi-mission helicopters back in May 2015, in a deal worth $1.9 billion as part of a modernization of the Saudi navy’s eastern fleet.

December 9/15: The Pentagon has ordered 29 more MH-60R Seahawk helicopters in a deal worth $354 million. The contract was awarded to Lockheed subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft Corp on Monday. Work is to be completed by the end of 2017 and is “for funding for the Navy’s fifth program year” for the helicopters and to “fund associated program and logistics support”. Seahawks are expected to remain in Navy service until the 2030s. As of late, the US Navy has been discussing the future of Naval strategy and plans to increase its fleet size by 20% over the next five years.

July 27/15: Taiwan is expected to soon place an order for eight to ten Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, according to reports this weekend. The helicopters are thought to be destined for the country’s Navy, with a contract announcement expected later this year. The Taiwanese Navy currently operates the Sikorsky S-70C helicopter, with the new helicopters set to bolster the force’s anti-submarine warfare capability.

Nov 17/14: FY 2015 USA. The US military buys 102 helicopters for the Army and Navy for $1.302 billion, as its FY 2015 purchases.

Part of it is a $535.3 million order under the MYP-8 multi-year program for 29 MH-60R and 8 MH-60S helicopters, plus associated sustaining engineering, program management, systems engineering, provisioning, technical publications, other integrated logistics support. There’s also advance procurement funding for program years 4 and 5. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2015 Navy aircraft budgets. Work will be performed at Stratford, CT (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0202).

FY 2015: 29 MH-60R, 8 MH-60S

Nov 13/14: MH-60R #200. Lockheed Martin delivers the 200th fully-equipped MH-60R “Romeo” helicopter to the US Navy, which includes a patch signing with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven-Two (HSM-72). Sikorsky makes the base helicopter, but Lockheed MArtin outfits them and delivers them. The firm adds:

“The cornerstone of the U.S. Navy’s anti-surface and anti-submarine operations, MH-60R helicopters have flown more than 250,000 hours in operation with the Fleet, providing increased surveillance and situational awareness.”

Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Lockheed Martin Delivers The 200th Romeo Helicopter To The U.S. Navy”.

200th MH-60R

FY 2014

FY 2014 buy; APKWS rocket integration; MH-60R to end USN production a year early?

MH-60R w. ALFS
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Sept 30/14: Weapons. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives $6.9 million for integration of APKWS Digital Rocket Launcher capabilities into MH-60R and MH-60S avionics software. $2.6 million in FY 2014 Navy RDT&E budgets is committed immediately.

APKWS is a semi-active laser-guided 70mm rocket that’s being integrated into the US Navy; it will give equipped MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters 7 guided weapons per hardpoint, instead of 4 Hellfires. The rockets don’t pack the same punch as a Hellfire against larger naval targets or main battle tanks, but against small boat swarms and most targets ashore, there are no degrees of dead.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (95%), and Patuxent River, MD (5%), and is expected to be complete in July 2016. Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0019, DO 4007).

Sept 2/14: Upgrades. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training, Owego, NY, received $8.9 million for MH-60 Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS II) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast enhancements, including integration of the TAWS II software into the 2018 product line. These services are in support of the US Navy ($8.4 million / 95%) and the governments of Australia ($90,645 / 1%) and Denmark ($392,585 / 4%). $8.4 million is committed immediately,

Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete in October 2017. Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0019, DO 4001).

June 20/14: Denmark. A $115.7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to support the production and delivery of 9 Danish MH-60Rs. When previous announced contracts (q.v. June 26/13, Sept 23/13, Jan 6/14) are included, the total is now $223.8 million, out of a declared budget of $686 million (q.v. Nov 19/12).

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT (52%); West Palm Beach, FL (22%) and various locations outside (17%), and within (9%) the continental United States (9%). Work is expected to be complete in July 2018 (N00019-14-G-0004, DO 4019).

May 8/14: MH-60S AMCM. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT, receives a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for MH-60S Aircraft Mine Counter Measure Removable Mission Equipment B Kits. AMCM kits convert the helicopters into mine-countermeasures specialists that can accept specialized equipment.

All funds are committed, using US Navy FY 2012 & 2013 aircraft budgets; $4.3 million will expire on Sept 30/14. Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and is expected to be complete in April 2016. US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD, manages the contract (N00019-14-G-0004, DO 4007).

May 6/14: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $6.8 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order, for repairs to 11 MH-60R/S common cockpit items.

All funds are committed using US Navy FY 2014 working capital budgets. Work will be performed in Owego, NY (73%); Farmingdale, NY (21.25%); Middletown, CT (2.5%); and Grand Rapids, MI (3.25%); and is expected to be complete by Jan 30/16. This requirement was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 USC. 2304(c)(1) by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, DO 7027).

April 22/14: MYP-8. Lockheed Martin ups the pressure on the US Navy, by reminding everyone that they have a multi-year contract with termination fees. CFO Bruce Tanner says that work had already begun on cockpits, radars, and other equipment for the MH-60Rs. He recommends buying them and selling them to allies:

“That would probably be a better deal for the taxpayer than paying close to 100 percent and not getting anything for it…. The cost to terminate partially built helicopters is pretty significant relative to the cost to actually finish those helicopters.”

Sources: Reuters, “Lockheed says costly for Pentagon if it cancels MH-60 helicopters”.

April 17/12: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $7.3 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order for repairs to 12 items in the H-60R/S common cockpits.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 US Navy budgets. Work will be performed at Owego, NY (77%); Farmingdale, NY (9%); Phoenix, AZ (6%); Salt Lake City, UT (6%); Hershey, PA (2%), and is expected to be complete by Jan 12/16. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C 2304(c)(1), by the US Naval Supply Systems Command, Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, #7026).

April 15/14: MYP-8. The Pentagon is trying to find ways not to break their MYP-8 multi-year contract with Sikorsky, given the likely effects on the Army’s Black Hawk fleet. Defense News goes a step further, and reports that Sikorsky officials are saying that any cancelation of the Navy buy would cancel the entire contract, destroying multi-year procurement for the US Army. Sources: Defense News, “DoD Looking for Ways Not To Break MH-60R Helicopter Deal”.

April 9/14: Politics. Sikorsky director of maritime programs Tim Healy points out that the US Navy’s proposed cancellation of 29 helicopters within the current multi-year deal has consequences. One involves the likelihood of higher prices for US Army Blackhawks, which are still being purchased. The other is more basic:

“This is not a legal issue. This is a confidence issue…. If multiyear contracts are negotiated and then not followed through … industry is back to making year-to-year calculations and investments because you never know when the next year’s contract is going to be canceled.”

That would be the rational approach, but industry enters into these contracts in order to reduce the odds of program cutbacks and cancellation in an irrational political environment. In other words, the contracts are primarily political acts. Our take: cancellation will dent industry’s credence in these contracts, but won’t make much difference. Companies will still rush to sign them, until and unless they see a behavior pattern that destroys their belief in this strategy. Sources: Reuters, “U.S. Navy move to ‘break’ multiyear deal worries industry-Sikorsky”.

March 28/14: Weapons. US Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division has been working on a project to modify 19-tube rocket launchers for NAVAIR’s Direct and Time Sensitive Strike Weapons (PMA 242) program office. The new LAU-61G/A Digital configuration adds a launcher electronic assembly that will allow a mix of guided and unguided rockets, mixed rocket load-outs, on-command inventory, tube-usage count, and built-in system check testing. In other words, it starts to look like the missile launcher it’s becoming, instead of just an unguided rocket launcher.

The CNO Rapid Deployment Capability project is aimed at the MH-60S fleet, to help them defend carrier strike groups against fast-attack craft. The 16 Early Operational Capability versions that NSWC IHEODTD just delivered can only use APKWS laser-guided rockets (q.v. Dec 18/13), which will be used in a coming deployment with USS Carl Vinson [CVN 70] strike group. Sources: US Navy, “NSWC IHEODTD Supports Digital Rocket Launcher Early Operational Capability”.

March 27/14: Qatar. The Gulf Emirate orders 22 NH90s, at a reported purchase price of around QAR 8.9 billion (about $2.446 billion). The order covers 12 NH90-TTH utility helicopters, and 10 NH90-NFH naval helicopters, whose functions roughly correspond to the MH-60S and MH-60R, respectively. A June 28/12 DSCA request involved 10-18 MH-60Rs and 12 MH-60S machines (see also Sept 22/11), but Sikorsky lost the competition.

The helicopters will replace Qatar’s 12-13 old Westland Commando (Sea King) maritime utility and patrol helicopters, and at least some of its Lynx and/or Puma family helicopters. With this buy, Qatar joins their near neighbor Oman as an NH90 customer. No word yet re: their delivery schedule. Other Qatari buys in their $23 billion DIMDEX shopping spree included 24 attack helicopters, air defense and anti-tank missiles, fast attack boats, 2 A330 aerial refueling planes, and 3 E-737 AWACS aircraft. Sources: Al Defaiya, “Qatar Announces Big Defense Deals at DIMDEX 2014” | Arabian Aerospace, “Qatar in $23bn arms order including Apache and NH90 helicopters” | Reuters, “Qatar buys helicopters, missiles in $23 billion arms deals”.

Qatar loss

March 21/14: Raytheon Co. in McKinney, TX receives $17.7 million for modification to previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for 19 MH-60R/S MTS surveillance and targeting turrets.

All funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and is expected to be complete by March 2016. US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-12-G-JQ66, 0044-01).

March 4-11/14: FY15 Budget. The USAF and USN unveil their preliminary budget request briefings, but it takes another week to release detailed documents. FY 2015 orders are unaffected: 8 MH-60S will end production for the US Navy, and 29 MH-60R helicopters will be bought as planned. On the other hand, the planned FY 2016 close-out order for 29 MH-60R helicopters is gone.

The cut is linked to the planned removal of 1 carrier air wing (to 10) and cap in the number of LCS ships at 32. The problem is twofold. One, the air wing would have to be put back if the Navy does decide to fund USS George Washington’s mid-life RCOH in FY16. Two, the 20 subsequent LCS buys are supposed to be replaced by ships with frigate-like capabilities, and those ships will need ASW helicopters. Navy officials said that advance procurement funds for FY 2016 were still present in the FY 2015 budget, and the Navy could reverse course. They’re under a multi-year procurement deal, so unless there’s a resale of some kind that’s allowed within the terms, you’d have to think that the penalty fees for cancellations would be high. Sources: USN, PB15 Press Briefing [PDF] | Defense News, “US Navy Budget Plan: Major Questions Abound”.

March 4/14: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. Owego, NY receives $10.6 million for a firm-fixed-price delivery order, covering the repair of 13 items in support of the MH-60R’s radar and “Electronic Measurement System”.

All funds are committed immediately, using USN FY14 budgets. Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete by March 2015. The contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304 (c)(1), by the NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-09-D-021F, #7048).

Jan 9/14: FY 2014. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT receives a $549.9 million contract modification, funding the base airframes and some integration for 18 MH-60S and 19 MH-60R helicopters, plus advance procurement for years 4 & 5 of the multi-year deal; and associated sustaining engineering, program management, systems engineering, and other support.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, and will be complete by Dec 31/15 (W58RGZ-12-C-0008, PO 0126).

FY 2014: 18 MH-60S, 19 MH-60R

Jan 6/14: Denmark. Raytheon Co., McKinney, TX, is being awarded a $10.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 9 multi-spectral targeting systems for Royal Danish Navy MH-60R helicopters. All funds are committed immediately. When combined with previously announced orders (q.v. June 26/13, Sept 23/13), Denmark’s total now stands at $108.1 million for their 9 MH-60R Lite variants. The overall budget for their Foreign Military Sale case is about $686 million (q.v. Nov 19/12 entry).

Work will be performed in McKinney, TX, and is expected to be complete by December 2015. The MH-60R’s equipment is set, and the Danes didn’t want a change, so this wasn’t an open competition per US FAR 6.302-1. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN acts as Denmark’s agent (N00164-12-G-JQ66-0037).

Dec 18/13: Weapons. H-60 Program Manager Capt. James Glass discusses programs to upgrade the fleet with new weapons and systems.

The MH-60S naval utility helicopters are slated to integrate APKWS laser-guided 70mm rockets by March 2014, in an early version of the 19-tube LAU-61G/A digital launcher (q.v. March 28/14). The MH-60S is also about to begin test-firing the same M197 3-barrel 20mm gatling gun used on Cobra attack helicopters. Presumably, that will be a podded version. Laser guidance isn’t ideal against boat swarms, because it requires continuous guidance to each target. A 20mm gun would compensate by allowing a 2nd attack option that can be pursued independently.

The MH-60R’s new AN/APS-153 radar with automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination (ARPDD) will reach the fleet by January 2014. By March 2015, the MH-60Rs will add APKWS. The last set of MH-60R upgrades concern the ALFS dipping sonar, which is being engineered for more reliability. Sources, Military.com, “Navy Arms MH-60S Helicopter with Gatling Gun”.

Dec 12/13: HUMS. Simmonds Precision Products, DBA Goodrich Corp. Sensors and Integrated Systems in Vergennes, VT receives a $7.9 million firm-fixed-price option for 8 MH-60S integrated mechanical diagnostic systems (IMDS) production A1 kits, 27 IMDS integrated vehicle health, management units and data transfer units, 17 MH-60S IMDS retrofit kits, 19 MH-60R IMDS Troy kits, and 19 MH-60R IMDS production A1 kits. All funds are committed immediately from FY 2014 USN aircraft budgets.

Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be complete in December 2015. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2015).

Dec 3/13: Hawklink. L-3 Communications Systems – West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $22.9 million firm-fixed-price option for 4 AN/SRQ-4 (ship-based) and 31 AN/ARQ-59 (MH-60R) Common Data Link Hawklink radio terminal sets (see “Weapons & Upgrades” section, above). All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USN budgets.

Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA (6%); Exeter, NH (2%); plus 1% each in Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, ID; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Fort Worth, TX; and Toronto, Canada. The underlying contract runs until September 2017. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2024).

Nov 20/13: Exelis Inc. in Fort Wayne, IN receives a $7 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for up to 62 radar signal simulators. They’ll equip MH-60Rs for the US Navy (33) and Australia (27), and Brazil’s S-70Bs (2).

Work will be performed in Fort Wayne, IN, and the umbrella contract runs until November 2017. This contract was not competitively procured, per FAR 6.302-1. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, NJ manages the contract (N68335-14-D-0005).

Oct 1/13: MH-60S. FBO.gov:

“The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) DRAFT Request for Proposal (RFP) N00019-13-R-0039 for Crashworthy Troop Seat (CWTS) System for the MH-60S Platform is hereby cancelled, along with the accompanying site visit that was scheduled for the period of 08-11 October 2013.

The DRAFT RFP and site visit cancellations are a result of Navy funding limitations and the program being defunded.”

FY 2013

FY 2013 buy; Danish buy MH-60R Lite.

MH-60S: Rescue diver
(click to view full)

Sept 26/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $7.2 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for the repair of 12 Common Cockpit items for the MH-60 Seahawk family of Helicopters. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (97%) and Farmingdale, NY (3%), and is expected to be complete by April 30/15. The contract was sole-sourced in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1), by US NAVSUP Weapons System Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, 7023).

Sept 26/13: Support. Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY receives a $15 million firm-fixed-price contract delivery order against a previously awarded for the repair of 5 H-60 Seahawk helicopter components. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY, and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14. This contract was sole-sourced in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1). The contract was sole-sourced in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1), by US NAVSUP Weapons System Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-09-D-021, 7040).

Sept 23/13: Radar. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training, Owego, NY receives a $98.4 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for up to 50 radar kits, which will upgrade their APS-147 maritime radars into AN/APS-153(V)1s with automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination. $29.8 million in FY 2013 Navy aircraft procurement funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (93%) and Owego, NY (7%), and is expected to be complete in September 2016. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1a2 (N00019-13-D-4000).

Sept 23/13: Denmark. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Training in Owego, NY receives a $67.3 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for Danish modifications to their 9 MH-60Rs’ mission avionics and common cockpit. Work includes the integration of Danish-specific equipment, plus associated engineering and program support. Denmark is receiving MH-60R helicopters without ALFS dipping sonars or sonobuoys, and needs to use its own communications equipment, etc.

When combined with previous mission system and cockpit orders (q.v. June 26/13), Denmark’s total now stands at $97.6 million for their 9 helicopters. The overall budget for their Foreign Military Sale case is about $686 million (q.v. Nov 19/12 entry).

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (98%), Farmingdale, NY (1%), and various other locations in the United States (1%) and is expected to be completed in June 2018. FMS contract funds in the amount of $67,290,982 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-G-0005, #4085).

July 31/13: Support. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $39.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide help maintain software related to the MH-60R/S and SH-60B helicopters. They’ll update and maintain operational software, vendor software, maintenance-related software, and laboratory support software in support of flight test, technical and management work, and process support services. Just $814,024 is committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (85%); Patuxent River, MD (12%); Pascagoula, MS (1.5%); and Bath, ME (1.5%), and is expected to be complete in September 2015. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to “one responsible supplier” provisions in 10 USC 2304(c)(1). US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-13-D-0011).

July 12/13: Support. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $12.9 million delivery order for repair coverage of 25 items in the MH-60R/S common cockpit. $9.7 million is committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (33%); Salt Lake City, UT (46%); Farmingdale, NY (12.5%); Middletown, CT (7.5%); and Phoenix, AZ (1%), and all work will be complete by July 1/15. The contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) by US NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F, DO 7021).

June 26/13: Denmark. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training in Owego, NY receives a $30.3 million firm-fixed-price modification under an existing multi-year contract for 9 MH-60R Mission Avionics Systems and Common Cockpits. It’s part of Denmark’s 9-helicopter “MH-60R Lite” Foreign Military Sale (vid. Nov 19/12 entry), and all funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (71%); Farmingdale, NY (10%); Woodland Hills, CA (8%); Cedar Rapids, IA (3%); Ciudad Real, Spain (3%); Bennington, VT (2%); Lewisville, TX (1%); and various locations throughout the United States (2%), and is expected to be complete in April 2018. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-11-C-0020).

June 25/13: Hawklink. L-3 Communications, Communication Systems–West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $6.7 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for 5 Common Data Link Hawklink AN/SRQ-4 radio terminal sets, in support of US Navy MH-60R (4) and US Coast Guard (1) helicopters. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 Coast Guard and FY 2013 US Navy funds.

Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, Utah (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA (6%); Exeter, NH (2%); and Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, ID; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; and Toronto, Canada (1% each), and is expected to be complete in May 2015. $1.3 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2024).

Jan 16/13: Korea. The MH-60R loses the MH-X finals to AgustaWestland’s AW159 Wildcat, with AW159 deliveries planned from 2015-2016. South Korea’s DAPA spokesperson Baek Yun-hyung:

“The Wildcat was deemed superior in three of four fields: cost, operational suitability, and contractual arrangements…. The overall consensus is that the Wildcat is the better option…. In joint operations the US model is superior but both models meet our performance requirements.”

South Korea loss

Dec 28/12: Hawklink. L-3 Communications Communication Systems West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $16.9 million firm-fixed-price contract modification for Common Data Link Hawklink systems, incl. 31 AN/ARQ-59 radio terminal sets for the MH-60R.

Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA(6%); Exeter, NH (2%); and Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, Idaho; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; and Toronto, Canada (1% each), and is expected to be complete in March 2016. All contract funds are committed immediately (N00019-12-C-2024).

Dec 18/12: MTS. Raytheon in McKinney, TX receives an $18.4 million firm-fixed-price order against a previously issued Basic Ordering Agreement for 19 multi-spectral targeting systems for the MH-60R/S helicopter.

Work will be performed in McKinney, TX and is expected to be complete by December 2014. This non-commercial contract was procured and solicited on a sole source basis in accordance with the statutory authority of 10 USC 2304c1. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN (N00164-12-G-JQ66, 0026).

Dec 11/12: FY 2013. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a $563.8 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, which funds the Navy’s 2nd Program Year of the MYP-8 multi-year program. Sikorsky tells us that Year 2 buys 18 MH-60S Production Lot 15 helicopters for delivery in 2013-2014, and 19 MH-60R Production Lot 11 Helicopters for delivery in 2014. The contract also covers sustaining engineering, and the usual set of advance materials for the next production lots.

Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Sept 30/16. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

FY 2013: 18 MH-60S, 19 MH-60R

Dec 6/12: GPS sonobuoys. US FBO.gov:

“The Naval Air Systems Command intends to negotiate a sole source order under a Basic Ordering Agreement with Lockheed-Martin Mission and Sensor Systems (LM MS2). It is anticipated that this contract action will be a Cost Plus Fixed Fee order to implement reception and processing capability of GPS-enabled sonobuoys into the MH-60R. This effort includes updates to the operator display and other software changes, and laboratory checkout through simulation.”

Nov 21/12: Denmark. Denmark’s Forsvarsministeriet announces that it has picked the MH-60R for a 9-helicopter buy, to replace their existing fleet of 7 AgustaWestland Lynx 90B machines. The DKR 4 billion (about $686 million) choice must next be approved by the Finance Ministry, and then passed in a budget by Parliament. That’s expected to happen, and it would be followed by deliveries from 2016 – 2018.

The US Foreign Military Sale request is already issued (vid. Dec 2/10 entry) for up to 12 machines, so the path to a deal is clear. A cost per helicopter of $76.2 million is high, but small helicopter buys of a new type also incur costs for training, spares, and support for a negotiated period. To date, announced contracts total $223.8 billion:

  • $115.7 million – June 20/14, production
  • $10.5 million – Jan 6/14, 9 MTS surveillance & targeting turrets
  • $67.3 million – Sept 23/13, mission system & cockpit modifications
  • $30.3 million – June 26/13, 9 mission systems and common cockpits

Denmark had been widely reported as a potential customer for a stripped-down MH-60R with reduced capabilities (vid. Nov 4/11 entry), and Sikorsky has since confirmed to DID that the Danish helicopters will remove most anti-submarine equipment. Danish MH-60Rs will be missing their sonobuoy launchers and ALFS FLASH dipping sonar, while retaining their naval radar and light surface strike capability. This will increase their available internal cabin space for transport missions. Danish Forsvarsministeriet [in Danish] | Sikorsky | Flight International.

Denmark: 9 MH-60R Lite

FY 2012

MH-60R w. ALFS
(click to view full)

Sept 11/12: Hawklink. L-3 Communications – Communication Systems – West in Salt Lake City, UT receives a $27.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for the manufacture, test, delivery and support of the Common Data Link Hawklink system, including 7 AN/SRQ-4 Ku-band Radio Terminal Sets for ship small surface combatants, and 29 AN/ARQ-58 RTSs for MH-60R helicopters.

Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT (60%); Atlanta, GA (14%); Mountain View, CA (6%); Exeter, NH (2%); and Phoenix, AZ; El Cajon, CA; Oxnard, CA; Salinas, CA; Sunnyvale, CA; Boise, ID; Derby, KS; Littleton, MA; Stow, MA; Minnetonka, MN; Skokie, IL; Dover, NH; Bohemia, NY; York Haven, PA; Providence, RI; Cedar Park, TX; Ft. Worth, TX; Toronto, Canada (1%) each and is expected to be complete in September 2015. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals, with 1 offer received by US NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-12-C-2024). See also L-3 Communications.

July 11/12: MYP-8. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, CT receives a firm-fixed-price umbrella contract to buy and provide initial support for up to 916 UH/HH/MH-60 Helicopters for the US Army and US Navy, with Foreign Military Sales options. The Pentagon announces the initial total as $2.828 billion, which probably allocated funds for initial helicopter.

Sikorsky puts the base contract’s total value at $8.5 billion. Sikorsky also breaks up the MYP-8 contract into an $8.5 billion base for 653 helicopters, plus options for up to 263 more that could push the contract as high as $11.7 billion, including Foreign Military Sales.

Those totals compare to $7.4 billion for 537 helicopters in MYP-7, plus 263 additional options that Sikorsky said could push the contract to $11.6 billion for 800 helicopters. Orders ended up falling well short of that total, but the options were there. Read “Sikorsky’s $8.5-11.7B “Multi-Year 8” H-60 Helicopter Contract” for full coverage.

MYP-VIII Multi-Year Framework

June 28/12: Qatar. The US DSCA announces [PDF] a Foreign Military Sale request from the Government of Qatar to buy up to 28 modern Seahawk family helicopters, to replace the QEAF’s aging fleet of H-3 “Westland Commando” Sea Kings, and likely its remaining handful of Westland Lynx helicopters as well. If contracts are signed, they could be worth up to $2.5 billion. This appears to be an expansion of the Sept 22/11 DSCA request (q.v.).

Qatar wants 10 MH-60R base configuration helicopters, optimized for anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship attacks, and maritime patrol. They also want 12 MH-60S Seahawk utility helicopters equipped with the Armed Helicopter Modification Kit, which will let them carry laser-guided Hellfire missiles and guided 70mm rockets. That would make them dangerous opponents for smaller ships, especially the armed go-fast boats favored by Iran. They would also be useful against land targets, alongside the kingdom’s lighter SA342G Gazelles. An extra option would increase the armed MH-60S buy to 18 if it’s exercised. Qatar will also need 48 T-700 GE 401C Engines (44 installed, 4 spare, could grow to 61 with options).

The prime contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT (helicopters), Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY (MH-60R mission systems and MH-60S kits), and General Electric in Lynn, MA (engines). Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 15 contractor representatives to Qatar on an intermittent basis over the life of the case to support delivery of the MH-60R and MH-60S helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization.

Qatar request

June 28/12: IMDS/HUMS. Simmonds Precision Products (United Technologies’ Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems) in Vergennes, VT receives a $9.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for 120 various Integrated Mechanical Diagnostic System kits in support of The US Navy and Australia’s MH-60R/S helicopters. As their name implies, these embedded sensors are used to detect mechanical problems in critical areas of the helicopter, allowing maintenance to shift from a regular schedule regardless of need, to a “condition-based” response to problems while they’re still small.

The US Navy gets 11 retrofit kits and one Delta retrofit kit, 18 integrated vehicle health management units and data transfer units, and 18 production kits. The numbers suggest that they’re slated for a US Navy MH-60S buy.

Australia receives 24 Troy kits, 24 integrated vehicle health management units and data transfer units, and 24 production kits for its 24 MH-60Rs.

Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be complete in March 2014. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. US NAVAIR manages the contract (N00019-12-C-2015).

May 16/12: South Korea’s MH-X. The US DSCA announces [PDF] the Republic of Korea’s official request for 8 MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Mission Helicopters, but the estimated cost of up to $1.0 billion indicates a very large long-term service & support package built into this request, which could comprise a majority of the deal’s cost.

The request includes 8 MH-60Rs, 18 T-700 GE 401C Engines (16 installed and 2 spares), spare engine containers, communication equipment, unspecified “electronic warfare systems,” support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and “other related elements” of US government and contractor support. If a contract is signed, the prime contractors would be Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, CT (MH-60R); Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY (sensors and mission systems); and General Electric in Lynn, MA (engines). Implementation would require “multiple trips to Korea involving U.S. Government or contractor representatives on a temporary basis” for program and technical support, and management oversight.

South Korea has an MH-X program for its next-generation naval helicopter, with competitors expected to include AgustaWestland’s AW159 Lynx Wildcat, NH Industries’ NH90-NFH, and a naval version of the Eurocopter/KAI Surion, with co-operation from Elbit Systems. This MH-60R request follows a July 2009 (vid.) DSCA request for 8 MH-60S helicopters. The sinking of ROKS Cheonan by a North Korean submarine would certainly justify improving the ROKN’s anti-submarine capabilities, but the MH-60S’ ability to carry mine-detection gear is likely to be equally valuable. An MH-X decision is expected in October 2012. See also Defense Update.

South Korea request

May 9/12: Lite Danish? Sikorsky Aircraft and Terma announce a broadened Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It extends the existing February 2010 MoU to include composites and electrical component manufacturing, as well as the possible use of Terma’s survivability equipment on widely-bought platforms like the UH-60 Black Hawk. This cooperation is conditioned on an MH-60R order from the Danish government. The Danes seem to be more interested in an MH-60R Lite version, though, as the release adds that:

“…the aircraft can be upgraded to provide anti-submarine warfare if one day required by Danish Defense.”

April 27/12: APS-153. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors (MS2) in Owego, NY receives a $13.8 million firm-fixed-price delivery order, funding ongoing efforts to design, develop, and produce new Automatic Radar Periscope Detection and Discrimination (ARPDD) configured AN/APS-153V retrofit kits for the MH-60R. This order funds the validation and verification effort, all integrated logistic support elements, and the technical directives required to retrofit MH-60R aircraft. Kit quantities include 8 A-kits; 4 SEED B-kits; 2 STD B-kits; 2 Val/Ver A-kits; and 5 Antenna Array B-kits.

Work will be performed in Farmingdale, NY (70%); Owego, NY (29%); and various locations throughout the United States (1%); and is expected to be complete in April 2015 (N00019-09-G-0005).

April 19/12: Support. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Owego, NY receives a $61.4 million basic ordering agreement to repair/overhaul 182 various weapons replacement assemblies and shop replaceable assemblies used in support of the MH-60R/S common cockpit; the MH-60R’s ESM receiver processor that notices and backtracks electronic emissions like radar; and the MH-60S OAMCM mine warfare helicopter.

Work is expected to be completed by April 19/15. Only one company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement, and one offer was received in response to the solicitation, but a number of firms will be doing the work. Work will be performed at:

  • General Electric in Grand Rapids, MI (5%)
  • Hamilton Sundstrand in Phoenix, AZ (1%)
  • Kaman in Middletown, CT (1%)
  • Lockheed Martin in Owego, NY (33%)
  • Northrop Grumman in Salt Lake City, UT (41%)
  • Telephonics in Farmingdale, NY (12%)
  • Ultra Flightline in Victor, NY (2%)
  • US Navy FRC-SW in San Diego, CA (5%)

The contract is managed by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-12-G-010F).

April 20/12: Australia. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $126.5 million modification to Australia’s previous advance acquisition contract, which turns its preliminary order for 24 MH-60R mission systems and common cockpits into a finalized firm-fixed-price contract. This brings all contracts related to these sub-systems up to $315.1 million, or $13.13 million per helicopter. Read “MH-60R Wins Australia’s Maritime Helicopter Competition” for full coverage.

April 5/12: Common cockpits. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $1.05 billion contract modification, finalizing the MH-60R/ MH-60S’ 2012-2016 mission avionics system/ common cockpit advance acquisition contract to a firm-fixed-price, multiyear contract. These mission avionics systems and common cockpits will equip 162 MH-60Rs in production lots 10-14, and the last 62 MH-60S helicopters in production lots 14-17, with integrated logistic support provided alongside. A number of buys had already occurred under this contract for MH-60R Lots 10-11, and MH-60S Lots 14-15.

Work will be performed in Owego, NY (58%); Farmingdale, NY (25%); Woodland Hills, CA (4%); Ciudad Real, Spain (3%); East Syracuse, NY (2%); Victor, NY (2%); Everett, WA (1%); Stratford, CT (1%); St. Charles, MO (1%); Lewisville, Texas (1%); Bennington, VT (1%); and other locations inside the United States (1%). Work is expected to be completed in June 2018. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-11-C-0020). See also Lockheed Martin.

March 15/12: Radios. Rockwell Collins, Inc. in Cedar Rapids, IA received a $6.5 million firm-fixed-price contract modification, exercising an option to provide AN/ARC-210V electronic radio and ancillary equipment: 48 RT-1990C/ARC receiver-transmitters for the MH-60R, and 28 RT-1990C/ARC receiver-transmitters for MH-60S.

Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, IA, and is expected to be complete in September 2013. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-C-0069).

March 13/12: Australia. Sikorsky in Stratford, CT received a $27.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for the “advanced procurement funding services in support of the Royal Australia Navy MH-60R program.” Work will be performed in Stratford, CT, with an estimated completion date of Dec 13/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W58RGZ-08-C-0003).

Dec 29/11: Australia. Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors in Owego, NY receives a $103.5 million