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Increased operational capabilities for Eurofighter Typhoon — Press Release

  • Cassidian has successfully finalized Phase 1 Enhancements tests
  • Deploying multiple weapons with attack constraints simultaneously in all weather easier than ever

Manching, 28 October 2013 – Cassidian, the defence division of EADS, has successfully finalized its flight testing of the Eurofighter Typhoon Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) programme. After an intensive test programme of this First Batch of Enhancements on Instrumented Production Aircraft 4 and 7, this enhancement is confirmed to deliver a robust simultaneous multi-/swing-role capability to the Nations’ Air Forces. It will be ready for the customers by the end of 2013.Swing role IPA7 flying over Manching_C_J_Gietl.

The testing took place at Cassidian´s Military Air Systems Centers in Manching/Germany and Getafe/Spain, in cooperation with BAE Systems and Alenia Aermacchi. “The Phase 1 Enhancements will provide a significant leap in Eurofighter’s operational capabilities. Deploying multiple weapons with attack constraints simultaneously in all weather has never been easier”, said Chris Worning, Cassidians Eurofighter Project pilot.

P1E implements full Air-to-Surface capability on Eurofighter Typhoon – including Laser Designator Pod -, full smart bomb integration, modern secure Identification Friend or Foe (Mode 5), improved Radios and Direct Voice Input, Air-to-Surface Helmet Mounted Sight System, improved Air-to-Air capabilities including digital integration of Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles and updated MIDS (Multifunctional Information Distribution System) Datalink functionalities for enhanced interoperability with Coalition Forces.

The Enhancements cover the design, development, qualification and clearance of the first major upgrade after the Main Development Contract. It is a major milestone in the development of Eurofighter Typhoon giving seamless air-to-ground integration to the weapon system and forming the baseline for further enhancements such as AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar and Meteor missile.

Photo Caption

IPA7 flying over Cassidian´s Military Air Systems Center in Manching with Laser Designator Pod, two Supersonic Fuel Tanks, two IRIS-T Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles, four AMRAAM Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles as well as four Paveway IV bombs loaded.” – Credit: Josef Gietl, Cassidian

About CASSIDIAN (www.cassidian.com)

Cassidian, the defence division of EADS, is a worldwide leader in defence and security solutions. The company delivers advanced defence systems along the whole action chain from sensors through command & control systems to combat aircraft and unmanned air systems. In the area of security, Cassidian provides customers worldwide with border surveillance systems, cyber security solutions and secure communications. In 2012, Cassidian – with around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of € 5.7 billion.

About Eurofighter Typhoon (www.eurofighter.com)

Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced new generation multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft currently available on the world market. Seven nations (Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman) have already ordered the Eurofighter Typhoon. With 719 aircraft under contract and 571 on order, Eurofighter Typhoon is currently the largest military procurement programme in Europe. Its high technology strengthens the position of European aerospace industry in the international market. The programme secures more than 100,000 jobs in over 400 companies. Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH manages the programme on behalf of the Eurofighter Partner Companies Alenia Aermacchi/Finmeccanica, BAE Systems and Cassidian in Germany and Spain, which are the most important aviation and aerospace companies in Europe with a turnover of about 126 billion euro (2012).

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South Korea Kicks off Bidding for US$7.3 Billion Fighter Jet Tender

June 21, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: South Korea, Syndicated Industry News 

The choice will be between Boeing's F-15 Silent Eagle, Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II and the EADS Eurofighter Typhoon. F-35 Photo: Lockheed MartinSouth Korea started the bidding process Tuesday to pick a contractor to provide 60 advanced fighter jets for US$7.3 billion, the Defense Acquisition Program and Administration (DAPA) said. Seoul faces a tough decision in selecting either the...

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F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Foreign Intrigues Continue

The F-35 “Lightning II” Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will be used not only by the U.S. military to replace its aging F-16, A/V-8, F/A-18 and A-10 aircraft but also by many other NATO countries and allies. It is being purchased as a F-16 replacement by many of these and like the successful F-16 program will have manufacturing and parts co-share agreements with different international partners.

The delays and cost increases to the program have been well documented and these have caused some early planned users to question the financial sense of continuing the program. Many of these countries, though, have already contributed through development funds as well as already had their aerospace contractors sign contracts and agreements with Lockheed Martin (LMT) to produce parts for the aircraft which continues in its Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP).

Canada, the Netherlands and Australia have had and continue to have debates about their purchase of the advanced aircraft rather then existing systems like the F/A-18, Eurofighter, Rafael, SAAB Gripens and Russian alternatives. In Canada they are reviewing the whole cost analysis that had led to the decision to continue the purchase which could technically end it and look at other aircraft. That leads to editorials and articles like this one, “The Case for the Super Hornet As The RCAF’s New Fighter” from Canada or analysis in Australia such as this: “Politics first as white paper fails on big issues”.

At the same time the U.S. has been successful in adding Foreign Military Sales (FMS) of the aircraft most notably to Israel and Japan. There has also been interested expressed by other U.S. allies like the U.A.E.

The commitment of the foreign partners is somewhat critical to the whole program as a reduction in buy quantity will have a ripple effect on the whole program. Less purchased in total and annually will cause a cost increase for each aircraft and the whole program. The F-35 PEO, Lt Gen Bogdan, identified this risk in Congressional testimony in April. If somebody drops out the price the others pay will go up putting more pressure on their budgets and perhaps cause them to drop out too. This would then become a spiral causing issues for the U.S. and all of the other nations involved in the program.

Despite the issues with the aircraft over the last decade the U.S. remains committed to the program. Over 100 are on order and there is discussion to award a new 2 year production contract this summer for a further 60-70. Training is underway for both aircrew and maintainers of the U.S.A.F., Navy, Marines and allies. The big questions remain though about completing development, how many will be built, and who ultimately will operate the aircraft.

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Canada to Look at Other Aircraft for F-35 Mission

After considering the independent auditor’s report submitted to the Ministry of Public Works earlier this year the Conservative government of Canada announced yesterday that they would now look at other aircraft rather then the F-35 to meet the CF-18 replacement requirement. The major reason cited was the much higher estimate of the lifetime cost to procure and operate the advanced aircraft.

The new estimate is almost $46 billion over a projected 42 years. The estimate used to justify the sole source contract for the F-35 was $25 billion for 20 years of operations. The auditor also estimated that due to the cost increases in the F-35 that with the current available funding only 55 aircraft could be bought and not 65.

Canada will now establish a new group to look at aircraft. These could include Boeing (BA) F/A-18 fighters, Eurofighter Typhoons and Dassault Rafale aircraft. The loss of the Canadian buy while a small part of the total planned quantity of over 2,000 F-35 would be a blow to the program and Lockheed Martin (LMT).

The increases in unit cost of the aircraft along with the delays in schedule have caused other partners to reconsider. The Netherlands has also looked at the program’s cost growth over the years as a reason to reconsider. It would allow less aircraft to be purchased to replace their aging F-16 fighters. There is also a requirement to continue using the older aircraft longer then originally planned with associated costs.

Canada could in the end still choose the F-35 but the fact that they are conducting the review is a negative for the overall program.

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Canada’s F-35 Contracting Process Criticized

The Government of Canada’s Auditor General released a report this past week looking at how the country came to the decision to invest in Lockheed Martin’s (LMT) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The aircraft as with many other U.S. allies will be used to replace older American aircraft, in this case the CF-18 variant of Boeing’s (BA) F/A-18 fighter.

The report made clear that in the eyes of the Audit the government failed to provide legislators correct or sufficient cost and schedule information to support the decision. The decision made in the summer of 2010 will see Canada by up to 65 of the advance fighters. The estimated costs for acquisition will be about $10 billion and another $15-16 billion on maintenance and modernization.

The reports says that this cost estimate was not properly developed or reviewed and was not properly documented. Continued delays in the schedule for the aircraft which will be purchased in the thousands by the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, Norway, Holland and other countries have already led the U.S. to delay production and caused large price increases. These would also have the potential to affect the price Canada will pay.

The government defended itself by stating that no formal contract has yet to be entered into for the aircraft leaving open either outright cancellation or re-negotiation. The Canadian military like others could look to existing platforms like the F/A-18 Super Hornet or Europe’s Eurofighter and Dassault Rafale.

The F-35 has proved controversial and the current price and schedule issues are not going away anytime soon. Canada like other planned buyers may be reviewing their commitments and plans.

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India To Announce New Fighter In November

The Indian Government yesterday stated that it had completed their evaluation of the offset reports submitted by the two bidders for their new fighter program. This will allow Eurofighter and Dassault to submit their final offers with a goal of announcing the winner in November.

The two Western European companies were chosen from among a total of six offerors to go on in the contest after a series of evaluations earlier this year. Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA), MiG and SAAB had also proposed aircraft but their proposals were knocked out after a series of reviews and flight demonstrations.

Since Brazil’s contest for a similar combat aircraft has seemed to stall the Indian contract is one of the largest foreign sales available at about $10 billion and became very important as the U.S. and Europe plan to reduce their defense spending. With the U.S. focusing on the F-35 from Lockheed and countries like Great Britain, Germany and France ending their buys of the Eurofighter there has been little sales for other fighters. The Dassault Rafael and SAAB Gripen have not found another user other then the home nation as well which put pressure on them to try and keep their production line going.

The elimination of the two U.S. aircraft was also a surprise as India had been looking to that country for more equipment. This has included purchases of Boeing P-8I maritime patrol aircraft and C-17 transports. The choice not to have one of their fighters continue into the next round dealt a blow to the U.S. defense contractors hope of selling more to India.

When the decision is made it will mark the end to an over four year acquisition process with a hope that there will not be any corruption issues as has happened with so many Indian procurement programs in the past. The new fighter is a key component of the upgrading of the capabilities of India.

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Japan Reportedly Considering JSF for New Fighter

Currently there are two major fighter contests on-going as Brazil and India work to consider a new advanced fighter for their defense needs. Now it has been reported that Japan is interested in also starting a competition to add a later generation aircraft to its fleet of F-15J fighters. Sometime this month the country will want bids for 40 new aircraft.

In Brazil the discussion seems to be between the United States’ F/A-18 made by Boeing (BA) and the French company Dassault Rafael fighter. That contest continues to be delayed as Brazil faces some economic issues and re-thinks its commitment to spending so much money on defense items. One component of the contest that is key is the construction of manufacturing facilities in Brazil and the transfer of technology to help the South American country improve its aerospace industry.

In India the contest has reached a point where they downselected to only two bidders both European. After looking at proposals from Boeing, Lockheed Martin (LMT), MiG, Eurofighter and Dassault only the last two were chosen to proceed in the contest. The decision was a blow to the the American bidders as they had hoped this contract would offset potential reductions in U.S. defense spending.

Now the reports are that Japan will receive bids from Boeing, Lockheed and Eurofighter for their requirements. The Lockheed F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is considered the front runner despite its cost and the current schedule issues the program is facing. This is primarily due to its more stealthy qualities over the earlier generation fighters.

The F-35 is in development and low rate production for the U.S. military, the U.K., Netherlands, Canada and Australia. Other foreign partners include Norway and Israel. The addition of Japan to the program would not be a big leap although they expect that the jet they order in the next few months would be in service by 2016. JSF production should be ramping up to higher quantities by then but any major cuts to the U.S. defense budget may affect production rates and quantities. If the JSF cannot meet the Japanese schedule they may end up considering one of the other options.

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EADS Enters into Agreement with Wipro to Get Ready for Fighter Production

As India moves forward with its contest for a new fighter to be made by a Western producer the potential suppliers are angling to get ready for the contract to start. The contest started over two years ago for the advanced aircraft and bids were received from six different suppliers. These included the American companies Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT), Russia’s MiG, Sweden’s SAAB, the multi-national consortium Eurofighter and France’s Dassault.

Recently as part of the contract evaluation process the Indian selection authorities made a decision to eliminate all of the aircraft but the two from Western Europe.

As part of this contract as with most Indian defense deals there are significant offset requirements that must be met. Actually to spur bids from Western companies who previously had found it hard to participate in contests the Government reduced their requirements from traditionally very high ones. Offsets require the winner to spend some percentage of the total contract value in the awarding country. Often it can be by buying parts, or paying for assembly work, or in some other business line as long as it meets the total requirement. Boeing (BA) has begun to do this as part of their contract for six P-8I maritime patrol aircraft.

Even though no winner has yet to be announced for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) contract companies like EADS (EADS:P) who are part of the Eurofighter consortium that makes the Typhoon fighter have begun to position themselves if they do win. The company has announced a deal with Indian consortium Wipro to provide components to its subsidiary CESA.

Even if Eurofighter does not win the MMRCA contract this agreement will support EADS production of other aircraft and aerospace components if they want to use it. As with all of the large aviation contractors EADS is looking for expansion into Asia to be nearer emerging markets as well as perhaps to gain benefits of labor costs and available infrastructure.

As the decision on who will win this contract gets closer more of the companies involved in the production of the two contenders will be announcing deals like this. India’s policies require this investment and in the long run it only makes good business sense.

Photo from tony.evans Flickr photostream.

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India’s Order Extends Boeing’s C-17 Production

Boeing (BA) is facing the end of production for the C-17 strategic transport as the United States decided to not buy anymore of the aircraft despite its heavy use in supporting the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the last few years Congress had increased the total number of aircraft being bought for the U.S. Air Force despite its and the Defense Department requests to stop procurement.

The C-17 has seen sales to overseas customers with Australia, the United Kingdom and some Gulf States purchasing the system. Even so Boeing could see the end of production and had begun to shut down its production line in Long Beach, CA. This facility gained when McDonnell-Douglas merged with Boeing in the Nineties was destined to close when the C-17 was finished as Boeing had no other work for it.

The company and its workers received good news today as it was announced that India had agreed to sign a contract for ten of the aircraft. Not only is the deal worth over $4 billion it will keep the production line open for one more year. This buys even more time for Boeing to find other customers for the aircraft or even convince the U.S. to procure more.

India has in the last few years turned to Western defense contractors for different systems including buying the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing in two recent contracts. This is in a bid to upgrade their capabilities beyond what their domestic suppliers and the more traditional Russian and UK companies have been providing.

India currently has a new fighter in competition but recently down selected to just two offerings – France’s Rafael and Eurofighter’s Typhoon. The two American bidders along with MiG and SAAB did not make it through to the final round of the contest. Some saw this as a deliberate snub of America possibly related to policy towards Pakistan and the potentiality that if there was a conflict between India and its neighbor the U.S. might boycott of supplying either nation.

Boeing, though, may get a trifecta of contracts as India is still considering the AH-64 Apache as a contender for a new attack helicopter. The Defense Department has notified Congress of a potential $1.4 billion worth of helicopters, support and training.

India remains a market of great potential for the U.S. defense contractors as they face the possibility of cuts to the U.S. budget and the end of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan with all the potential for reduced revenue and earnings. So far deals with India have been few-and-far between but today’s contract announcement is a step in the right direction.

Photo from kingair42′s Flickr photostream.

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India Goes With Western Europe in Fighter Contest

The Indian government has taken a step further in their ongoing contest to choose a new fighter for their military by down selecting to only two of the six bidders for the advanced aircraft contract. In a surprising move the two selected to go on were France’s Dassault Rafael and the Eurofighter’s consortium’s Typhoon.

This meant that the U.S. defense contractor’s Boeing (BA) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) who were trying to win the deal were cut out of the final selection process. This decision was a disappointment to the U.S. government who have been hoping to expand sales to the growing Indian market.

Many companies have been looking to the Indian market to offset potential declines in the U.S. and European defense budgets. The Indian contract along with the now delayed Brazilian one are two of the largest available in the near term.

That does not mean India has not bought from America. They have purchased several P-8I maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing and are potentially buying the C-17 transport aircraft. The decision, though, to move out with an American fighter would have indicated a desire to broaden their market and given hope to the U.S. defense contractors.

Photo from Shandchem’s flickr photostream.

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Canada Considering Entering New Fighter Sweepstakes

Right now two of the biggest military aviation contracts out there are new fighters for Brazil and India. Both of these contracts have attracted bids from United States and European defense contractors. In Brazil the contest seems to be between the Boeing (BA) F/A-18 and the French Rafael. In India there have been offers from Boeing, Lockheed Martin (LMT), MiG of Russia, Rafael. Eurofighter and SAAB of Sweden. These contracts are interesting as all of these companies face declining markets at home due to budget difficulties and the decision by the U.S. and many of its Allies to focus on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) headed up by Lockheed.

Canada currently operates a force of older F/A-18 aircraft and is planning a potential buy of more modern aircraft worth about $9 billion (Canadian). Canada has put some money into the development of the JSF as have countries like Great Britain, the Netherlands, Australia and Japan but is not committed to buy the aircraft. They certainly could do that when the aircraft is ready in the 2015 – 2017 time frame or they could conduct a new competition. If they did this they would certainly draw a diverse group of suitors similar to what India has. The market for new fighters was supposed to stagnate as thousands of F-35 replace the F-16 aircraft of numerous U.S. Allies. Now with the delays and cost increases to that program some countries are having second thoughts.

A third major competition would be good for the industry and would allow some production lines like the SAAB Gripen to remain hot as the JSF program tries to get itself sorted out. If countries like Holland do decide to go a different path the market for current in production aircraft will increase greatly.

More fallout as the JSF program struggles with its cost and schedule may be expected as current customers re-think their commitments. This will increase the cost to the U.S. military while reducing Lockheed’s chances of making up some of their losses on the development piece of the contract. Canada if they choose to not buy the JSF may be the start of some bad news for the program and its prime contractor.

Photo from TMWolf flickr photostream.

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English Defense Industry Looking Bleak

It is true that the United States defense budget does dominate the world’s spending on arms and equipment but the U.K. has always had large spending plans as well. Now that the U.K. government of Gordon Brown is facing massive deficits due to social spending and attempts at stimulating their own economy since the global recession began twelve months or so ago defence spending may get a little tight. There has already been discussion of canceling some large programs as well as cutting back on general spending. Like in the U.S. ending these kind of programs will lead to more job losses on top of those already gone in the civilian economy.

That is why stories like this one about the U.S. military buying BAE Systems artillery pieces that will be made in the U.K. will become more common. When you are relying on foriegn sales to keep up jobs for six months at a time it is not a good sign. There are bigger programs at risk for the U.K. such as the Eurofighter or A400M transports. The government is scrambling to maintain the new aircraft carrier contract as the jobs at Scottish shipyards are key to that part of the nation’s economy.

There is no doubt that the U.S. will also see a fall in defense spending as the pressures of debt, health care reform and other priorities will limit the money available from the Obama Administration’s budget.

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Australian government now attacks F/A-18 buy

The Australian Defence Minister, Mr. Fitzgibbon, now has decided that the plan to buy F/A-18 and then JSF for the nation is a bad idea. Just a few days ago, here, he was applauding the F/A-18. He now states that the US aircraft were not necessarily the way to go to buy modern fighter aircraft. The options, though, were limited. Australia could have bought Russian, or the Eurofighter, or SAAB Viggens, I guess? But I don’t know if the cost would have been comparable. He continues to say that the country really wants F-22 aircraft, which is currently not allowable under US law, even though the US DoD have expressed some support for the idea.

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