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Canadian F-35 Controversy Continues

The fall out from the controversial decision by the Canadian government to commit to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter without conducting a competition continues. The execution of the contract with Lockheed Martin (LMT) and the U.S. has been placed on hold as a new group outside the traditional defense procurement organization re-examines the contracting process.

The latest fall out from the Auditor report released earlier this year is that the Government underestimated the total cost of the program by $10 billion. Rather then then fixed costs being in the $15 billion range they are actually close to $25 billion. This is because ten years of operational costs (training, personnel, fuel, etc) were not included in the original estimate.

With the current issues it is not inconceivable that Canada could re-start their procurement process. This may lead to a new competition for the contract to replace the current CF-18 fighters that could include multiple competitors like the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and American aircraft like Boeing’s (BA) F/A-18.

The loss of 65 aircraft to the F-35 program is a small part of its over 2,000 planned deliveries but the loss of Canada’s participation would be a blow to the whole concept of the program with its shared development, production and operational cost. If Canada reconsiders then other nations who have hinted they could might follow. This could include Japan and the Netherlands both of whom have questions about the cost increases and schedule delays facing the program as a whole.

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US Sea Trials Aid UK Navy — Astute Returns to the U.K.

Special to Defense Procurement News from Imogen Reed.

UK Royal Navy Submarine HMS Astute returned to British shores earlier this month after a period of US Sea Trials – the most successful to date since it was launched in 1997. HMS Astute is the most powerful and advanced submarine that the UK has ever sent to sea and the first in its series of “Next Generation” machines. For almost five months she has been employed in extensive trials in North America which included trialling and firing her main weaponry for the very first time.

Brief History of HMS Astute

Astute was built at BAE’s Submarine facility in Northern England’s most famous shipbuilding town Barrow-In-Furness eleven years ago and finally launched after a delay of almost forty three months in 2007. The delay was caused in part by budgeting difficulties and issues concerning transferring funds to BAE Systems. She left her home of Barrow for good in 2009 and was finally sent to her new home port of Faslane the same year. She was given her HMS prefix in a ceremony that was presided over by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

A Unique Submarine

It is a submarine that will never need refuelling because it is powered by a nuclear reactor and its sonar can track ships that are as far away as 3,000 miles (or 4,380km). Similarly, her missiles have a target range of around 1,200 miles (or 1,930km). In a new technological breakthrough Astute has been built in such a way that it can be reprogrammed in mid flight to shoot missiles in another direction. Additional features on Astute are a digital optical mast system – this will replace the conventional and traditional periscope. It will offer low light and infrared capabilities. It is hoped that this will help the submarine to quickly capture and analyse data which can then be shared with other vessels.

The US Sea Trials

In February 2010 she underwent her first series of sea trials and dives, but it wasn’t until late last year that she began her stay with the US Navy’s Atlantic Undersea and Test Evaluation Centre which is situated in the Bahamas. This test situation was used to trial the submarine’s capability of firing Spearfish torpedoes as well as Tomahawk Missiles. Astute’s first Tomahawks were fired on 15th November 2011 into the US Navy’s Gulf Of Mexico range. All in all, four Tomahawks were fired in the direction of the Eglin Air Force Base – mainly to test for accuracy. Six Spearfish Torpedoes were also fired. These were the first salvo firings of a UK Submarine for more than 15 years. Earlier in February 2012, Astute came face to face with the USS Mexico in the Atlantic Undersea and Test Evaluation Centre for a series of staged war games in which the Heads of both the UK and US Navy met, in what was an historic and unprecedented occasion. Over the course of this tenure with the US she sailed some 16,400 miles (or 26,400km). The US Naval base in King’s Bay, Georgia was also visited and UK Naval Officers were impressed with what they saw. Astute is still very much in her trial period but it is hoped that this experiment and the help proffered by the US Navy will have strengthened and fortified its capabilities.

When it is officially commissioned it is hoped that it will undertake missions including anti-submarine and anti-ship missions, intelligence gathering and supporting land forces. Astute has, for now, returned to its base in Faslane for maintenance. It is hoped that later on during 2012 it will undertake more sea trials.

US Navy Official’s Impressed With Capabilities

Altogether she spent 77 days at sea and was inspected by 18 stars worth of US and UK Naval authority including America’s Chief Of Naval Operations ADM Jonathan Greenert, who has been in post since September last year. US Naval Officers were apparently “blown away” by the capabilities and strengths shown by Astute and felt that the Submarine had got tremendous capability and could only improve with time and more testing. The success of this test mission has not only strengthened the UK’s Naval Capabilities, but it has also shown the bond between the US and UK and their ability to work together in the name of defence if needed is stronger than ever.

Photo from U.S. Navy Imagery’s Flickr Photostream.

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Aviation Week to Feature Indepth Article on KC-46A and Acquisition Process

Aviation Week is announcing that they have a feature article on Boeing’s (BA) new tanker and the process to acquire it. It features a interview with Shay Assad, Director of Defense Procurement, Acquisition Policy and Strategic Sourcing.

The article will be in the 11 April edition and on their website.

And the Winner is Boeing!

The U.S. Defense Department and Air Force announced that Boeing (BA) has been selected to provide the new KC-X aerial tanker. The design submitted by EADS NA (EADS:P) was not chosen.

The new KC-46A will be based on Boeing’s 767 airliner design.

The Secretary of the Air Force, Mr. Michael Donley, stated that the decision was based on “mission effectiveness in wartime and life cycle costs as embodied in fuel efficiency and military construction costs”. This might be a hint that the larger KC-30 aircraft from EADS might have required more investment in new and bigger facilities then the smaller 767 tanker.

The contract has been very political with states that stand to gain thousands of jobs from the program using their Senators and Representatives to push for the respective bidders.

EADS does have the right to protest the decision as Boeing did in 2008 when the contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman (NOC) and EADS. They will have to wait until their debrief by the Air Force before making any decision about that.

Even an unsuccessful protest may delay the start of the program for several weeks and the Air Force plans on receiving the first 18 aircraft in 2017. The new KC-46A will replace Cold War era KC-135R tankers some of which have been flying for fifty years.

Cross posted at Defense Procurement News.

Defense Procurement Newsletter Launched

January 4, 2011 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Defense Procurement News is now sending out a weekly newsletter by email. If you are interested in subscribing please use the sign up button to the left.

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US Defense Acquisition Becomes Intelligent with FAR Online by Affinitext

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Affinitext releases DFARS on FAR Online, a new service which is transforming the way businesses understand and comply with US Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Defense procurement requirements

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Israel Possibly Completing F-35 Buy Soon

The head of the United States’ Defense Department Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) made a presentation yesterday at Farnborough about potential future government-to-government sales by the U.S. Admiral Wieringa revealed that one of the deals near closing is the sale of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to Israel. This if it does happen will be the first foriegn military sale of that aircraft. All of the current planned users such as Canada which announced its deal this week are partners in the development and production of the advanced fighter and strike aircraft.

Israel has always considered the aircraft but has had issues with the U.S. about its ability to modify the aircraft. They have a history of adding their own equipment to foriegn designed hardware and the JSF would not be an exception. The discussion with the United States that must be close to resolution if the sale is imminent was how much of the flight and control software Israel could change. They wanted the ability to affect it significantly while the U.S. was trying to keep it proprietary and protected.

The sale of nineteen aircraft would be worth around $3 billion in total. The contract would also be seen as a good endorsement of the struggling program which has seen major cost growth and schedule delays over the last few years. The U.S. has invested a great deal in the program which will replace F/A-18, F-16 and A/V-8 aircraft in the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Allied use. If the program is completed to current plans it will be the largest defense procurement program ever with over 4,000 aircraft at a cost of $300 billion.

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Sparton Corporation Awarded $1.8 Million Foreign Sonobuoy Subcontract

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sparton Corporation (NYSE: SPA) today announced that its joint venture, Sonobuoy TechSystems, has been awarded a contract by the Norwegian Defense Procurement Division to manufacture the AN/SSQ-62E DICASS sonobuoy. The approximate value of the contract is $1.8 million. The sonobuoys will be manufactured at Sparton’s De Leon Springs, Florida facility for a December 2010 delivery. Sparton President & CEO, Cary Wood commented, “We are pleased to have been sele

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Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, July 15, 2010

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, July 15, 2010
July 14, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.

A National Capital Region Flyover of Arlington National Cemetery occurs at 9:53 a.m. EDT with one C-17.

Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy Shay Assad testifies at a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee on contracting and procurement policies at 10 a.m. EDT in room 608, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Acting Director, Office of Small Business Programs Linda B. Oliver testifies at a hearing of the House Committee on Small Business on service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses at 10 a.m. EDT in room 2360, Rayburn House Office Building.

Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mills, commanding general for Regional Command Southwest, will brief the media live from Afghanistan at 11 a.m. EDT, in the DoD Briefing Room, Pentagon 2E973, to provide an update on current operations.

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Defense Procurement News Post on WTO Report

Here is an article I wrote at our sister site, Defense Procurement News, about the WTO subsidies report and the KC-X contract.

Boeing Plans for New Presidential Helicopter Have a Role in KC-X

Here is a post I wrote at Defense Procurement News about Boeing’s (BA) decision to use the Augusta Westland 101 as the base aircraft for their new Presidential transport helicopter bid. It makes them look a little hypocritical on the whole EADS (EADS:P) role in KC-X.

The Road To Hell In Defense Procurement Reform Is Paved With Good Intentions

May 1, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: BNET, Syndicated Industry News 

Congress continues to make attempts to try and “reform” defense acquisition with the goal of doing things cheaper. Part of this…

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The Road To Hell In Defense Procurement Reform Is Paved With Good Intentions

April 30, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: BNET, Syndicated Industry News 

Congress continues to make attempts to try and “reform” defense acquisition with the goal of doing things cheaper. Part of this latest bill rest on the assumption that the U.S. is under budgetary…

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Today in the Department of Defense, Monday, April 19, 2010

Today in the Department of Defense, Monday, April 19, 2010
April 16, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.

Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy Shay Assad; principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army, Acquisition Logistics and Technology Lt. Gen. William Phillips and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Procurement Edward Harrington testify at a hearing of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan at 9:30 a.m. EDT in room 106, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Commander, Joint Task Force Haiti Lt. Gen. Ken Keen will conduct a press briefing on the status of U. S. military operations in Haiti at 10 a.m. EDT, in the DoD Briefing Room, 2E973. Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only. Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification. Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

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Defense Procurement News Mugs Available

March 13, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Defense Procurement News Mug Just a reminder that Defense Procurement News mugs are available at our Defense Procurement News Store. Buy one today!

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KC-X Tanker Proposal News

To our loyal readers we are not ignoring the KC-X tanker RFP on Defense Procurement News but we have established a separate site, KC-X Tanker News, to cover that issue.

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Lockheed Martin Awarded $49.5 Million TADS/PNVS AND M-TADS/PNVS Support Contract

February 16, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Lockheed Martin, Syndicated Industry News 
Lockheed Martin Awarded $49.5 Million TADS/PNVS AND M-TADS/PNVS Support Contract
February 16, 2010 2:42:00 PM

ORLANDO, FL, February 16th, 2010 -- AgustaWestland has awarded Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] a $49.5 million sustainment and support contract for the Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor (TADS/PNVS) and Modernized TADS/PNVS (M-TADS/PNVS) systems on the U.K. Apache AH Mk-1 aircraft.

The contract provides complete post-production services, including spare parts, in-country repair and technical services, as well as integrated logistics, engineering and depot repair support. The effort is part of the overall Integrated Operational Support (IOS) solution for the U.K. Apache fleet provided by AgustaWestland to the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD). Support under the contract will continue through March 2014.

"This support contract will provide the necessary services to maintain the M-TADS/PNVS system in support of U.K. Apache operational needs," said Tom Eldredge, Apache Fire Control International programs director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Our team is in position and is providing a cost-effective support solution that meets the needs of the Soldiers."

For AgustaWestland, the support arrangement is a strategy for TADS/PNVS and M-TADS/PNVS product support that helps enable their overall IOS objective of an integrated performance package designed to optimize system readiness. The AgustaWestland IOS contract enables faster and more efficient technical solutions because the contractor assumes responsibility for total performance of a weapon system.

"The Apache is proving itself as one of the great success stories of defense procurement," said Graham Cole, managing director at AgustaWestland. "The M-TADS/PNVS is making a very real operational difference in theater."

The support contract will support both the legacy TADS/PNVS and Modernized TADS/PNVS through the end of the upgrade and integration process. Support activities will be performed in the U.K. and Orlando, FL.

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Kindle Subscription Available

January 19, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

If you are one of our readers with a Kindle a subscription to Defense Procurement News is available. The Amazon page may be found here.

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Happy Holidays From Defense Procurement News

December 24, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Editorial 

Christmas 095

Wishing Everyone a Safe and Happy Holidays.

Thank You for a Great Year.

You Defense Procurement News Staff.

Photo taken at Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, December, 2008 by DPN Staff.

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Special Defense Procurement News Page On The KC-X Tanker Contest

As part of Defense Procurement News we have set up a special site to gather information and discussions about the new U.S. Air Force KC-X aerial tanker contest. KC-X Tanker News may be found here. We will try to have all that we can find on EADS, Boeing and Northrop Grumman’s efforts to win this major contract.

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IDGA To Hold Defense Acquisition 2009

IDGA will hold Defense Acquisition 2009

The volume of changes within defense procurement and acquisition has been noticeable. New administration members, changing military strategies and shifting jobs within the sector have all contributed to a sense of uncertainty within this field. Defense Acquisition will address many of these uncertainties by focusing on: Policy Updates, Acquisition Forecasts Across the Services, Critical Chem/Bio Updates, Updates to the DAI Initiative and much more.

Download the completed brochure

Featured Speakers Include:

– Colonel Scot Miller, USA, Principal Deputy, Acquisition & Logistics Center, U.S. Special Operations Command
– David Van Buren, Acting Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Air Force
– Jaymie Durnan, Deputy Director, Joint Advanced Concepts, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (OUSD AT&L)
– Katrina Wahl, Director of Acquisition, Missile Defense Agency

Download the brochure to find out the rest!

IDGA looks forward to seeing you at this much anticipated event!

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Defense Procurement News Now Contributing To A New Site

250al2The writers at Defense Procurement News will soon be contributing to a new site about the aerospace industry. Aeroleaders 2.0 is oriented towards the leaders of companies involved in this market. It is a place “for the future leaders of the Aerospace and Defense Industry to discuss the most pressing issues of the industry. We also welcome existing leaders as coaches to the industry.” We are very excited about being offered the chance to participate in this site where it is hoped we can make some contributions to the future of this important business.

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Australia Reportedly To Buy F-35

Two days after the roll out of their first F/A-18 aircraft necessary to provide an interim air capability until the nation moves out on its fifth generation buy of either the F-35 JSF or the F-22 Raptor the Government announced that they would invest in the F-35. While the F-22 was attractive due to its longer range and greater payload up to seventy F-35 aircraft will be purchased.

Australia plans to now review their defense procurement plans every four years and readjust as necessary. Australia has been a partner in the F-35 development effort but recently had looked at buying the F-22. This would require an act of Congress as current law bans the sale of the modern aircraft. Japan and Israel have also inquired about the availability of the F-22. With the Obama Administration planning on ending procurement of the F-22 foriegn sales are now attractive to Congress as a way to keep production going.

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Special Offer for Defense Procurement News Readers — Four Free Issues of Business Week

June 22, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: Business Line, IT, logistics 

Now available to Defense Procurement News readers is an offer to try 4 Issues of BusinessWeek – Risk Free! Subscribe to BusinessWeek for a fraction of the cover price!

PLUS, Receive a Free Gift just for trying BusinessWeek – their valuable digital playbook: Power Plays. Learn firsthand how some of the most influential leaders in business reached the top of their game!

If you are more interested in this offer details may be found here.

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Army Moves To Build New Generators

Due to grounding issues generators provided by KBR led to the accidental deaths of several soldiers in Iraq as they went to take showers. The generators were powering hot water systems. The Army went ahead and designed new systems that are larger and have more sophisticated circuitry to prevent these issues. By centralizing power generation more fuel is saved as well as less individual generators are used.

Fidelity Technologies of Pennsylvania has begun to ramp up to produce these generators. The initial contract is for about $24 million and will produce over three thousand of the generators. In order to meet this new order the company is actually hiring personnel.

This shows that as programs end others start. Different priorities allow companies to move into niches that may not have existed before. This allows new business lines to develop and grow. Unfortunately the boom-or-bust nature of U.S. defense procurement can make this difficult for sustained growth or stability.

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