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Boeing Awarded Large Maintenance Contract for ROK F-15

One of the reasons that the Indian, Brazil and U.A.E. new fighter contracts are being so hard fought among the various U.S. and European defense contractors is not only the size of the initial procurement but also because they offer long term requirements and revenue.

India has so far chosen the Rafale fighter from Dassault although there are reports that Eurofighter with the encouragement of the U.K. government is trying to offer a better price in the hope of winning that contract. Brazil is considering the Rafale and Boeing’s (BA) F/A-18 and the U.A.E. seemed committed to the French aircraft but at the Dubai airshow earlier this year seemed to have second thoughts.

South Korea chose to buy some F-15 fighters from Boeing (BA) last decade. This was a significant procurement for the company as the U.S. had stopped buying the aircraft concentrating on the F-22 and JSF. Now they have signed a contract for long term logistics support for the advanced fighters and strike aircraft. This is worth about $300 million and last five years.

Korea can be expected to use the aircraft for a few decades and Boeing along with its Korean partners should consistently receive contracts to support the systems. Often as the U.S. has demonstrated the long term support, modernization and modification of aircraft can easily cost more then the initial purchase price. Often this goes to the OEM so they have several years of revenue after production is complete. With overseas contracts the chances are even higher that this kind of work will be needed.

Modern combat aircraft are now having service lives measured in decades. The B-52 for example is approaching its 60th year of service. The U.S. F-15 over 30 and so on. Boeing can expect South Korea to pay a great deal of money for their support as time passes.

Photo from Bundeswehr-Fotos Wir.Dienen.Deutschland.’s flickr photostream.

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IDGA Long-Range Strike Summit

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The ability to conduct superior long-range strike operations has long given the US an important military advantage. But the DoD's long-range strike "family of systems" (land-based bombers, carrier-based strike aircraft, cruise missiles and supporting airborne EA platforms) is in critical need of an upgrade, amidst fears that the US is currently at risk of losing its ability to effectively penetrate anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) battle networks. In his January 2011 sp

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More Raytheon AESA Radars for Boeing’s F/A-18 Aircraft

The U.S. and other nations are investing in fitting new Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars to their fighter and attack aircraft. AESA radars use fixed arrays and move the beams electronically rather then the traditional radar that moves up-and-down and side-to-side to scan the sky. Similar to the large phased arrays fitted to ships like the U.S. Navy’s AEGIS cruisers and destroyers AESA radars offer significant advantages over the older, mechanical designs.

Raytheon (RTN) is making the AN/APG-79 radar that is being installed on Boeing (BA) produced F/A-18 and EA-18 aircraft in use by the Navy, Marine Corps and other nations across the world. To support this production Boeing awarded Raytheon a contract for 42 radars. This buy will support the second year of Boeing’s current multi-year contract to produce the aircraft.

One of the major advantages the AESA offers over older systems is that due to the lack of moving parts it is much more reliable. This provides better capability at lower cost over the lifetime of the system. Both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman (NOC) are developing AESA systems to fit onto aircraft like the F-16 which equips not only the U.S. Air Force but also many allied nations. Both companies have displayed their independently developed systems for this market.

Raytheon has begun retrofitting their APG-63 AESA to F-15 fighters and F-15E strike aircraft for the Air Force. THe APG-79 is also being put on existing F/A-18′s as well as supporting new production.

Both Boeing and Raytheon have gained from delays in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. This led the Navy to order four more years of F/A-18 production to help fill the gap caused by the later then planned entry into service of the F-35 for them and the Marines. This extra order has provided revenue and earnings for the companies. Lockheed Martin (LMT) is the lead contractor for the JSF and Northrop makes that aircraft’s AESA radar.

Photo from frielp’s Flickr photostream.

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More Reports of Bad News for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)

There are now reports that yet another review of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) schedule and cost is going to show more bad news for the advanced fighter and strike aircraft. The briefing to the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is based on data gather from the current test program.

The program is facing further schedule delays and cost increases as their have arisen issues with the software and some of the aircraft’s engineering. This is not surprising as the whole point of the test and development phase is to find these kind of things and allow them to be fixed before sustained production of the aircraft begins.

Unfortunately these issues may add another five billion dollars and two to three years of development to the program. This will be on top of the restructuring of the program that has already happened over the last two years which increased the development time and increased the total program cost by billions. Criticism of the JSF has increased over that time as well as it becomes more expensive and is taking longer to complete and go into production. Congress threatened to not fund the 2011 production buy in total but ended up reducing it by half.

The United Kingdom as part of its Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) is looking at reducing their commitment to the F-35 and perhaps abandoning the Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) version that is also being procured for the U.S. Marine Corps. Norway and Holland have also discussed delaying the introduction of the aircraft — a delay they may have no choice but to accept now.

The JSF is a very complicated program. These further delays and cost growth will put pressure on the current Defense Department struggling to control spending and make it more efficient. If quantities are reduced or the VTOL version abandoned it will have a significant effect on the remaining parts. The delays in service also increases the length of the “fighter gap” meaning more money will be needed to keep the older aircraft flying or cause customers to look for other solutions.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) the company leading the program will see its bottom line affected even more. They have already lost fee due to the schedule problems and the new fixed price contract structure will mean that delays and cost growth may also impact revenues and earnings.

Further slips to the program are not what the Defense Department and Lockheed need.

Photo from WestendRaider’s flickr photostream.

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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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Cobham Awarded US$32 Million US Navy Contract for Low Band Transmitters — Press Release

LANSDALE, Pennsylvania – Cobham has been awarded a US$32 million contract modification from the US Navy to provide 37 additional AN/ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitters (LBT) under Lot 2 of the program’s Full Rate Production (FRP) phase.

Work under this contract will be performed by Cobham Sensor Systems in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Lot 2 deliveries are scheduled to begin in March 2011 and continue through November 2011.

This award, a modification to the existing Lansdale FRP Lot 1 contract, brings the total number of LBTs ordered by the Navy to 157, reflecting US$217 million in total Lansdale contracts. The FRP Lot 1 contract for 51 systems was announced by Cobham in April 2009 with a value of US$72M. The Navy intends to buy a total of 292 LBTs. To date, 46 systems have been delivered.

LBT is designed to protect strike aircraft, ships, and ground troops by disrupting enemy radar and communications. It is flown on US Navy and Marine Corps EA-6B aircraft, and is currently heavily used in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The US Navy also intends to use LBT on its newest Airborne Electronic Attack aircraft, the EA-18G Growler.

Steve Schaefer, Vice President of Cobham Sensor Systems, said:

“The Low Band Transmitter has been extremely effective and reliable with over 35,000 hours of total service since initial fielding. By replacing several legacy transmitters with one highly reliable system, Cobham has provided the Navy with increased capability to protect the deployed men and women operating in harm’s way.”

About Cobham:

Cobham’s products and services have been at the heart of sophisticated military and civil systems for more than 70 years, keeping people safe, improving communications and enhancing the capability of land, sea, air and space platforms. The Company has four divisions employing more than 12,000 people on five continents, with customers and partners in over 100 countries and annual revenue of more than £1.4 billion / US$ 2.1 billion.

Cobham Sensor Systems designs and manufactures all classes of active and passive microwave components, assemblies and subsystems, composites and radomes for the aerospace and defense industries, and is the leading supplier of many microwave products.

Contacts:

Greg Caires
Julian Wais
Media Relations Investor Relations

+1 703 414 5319
+44 (0) 1202 857998

[email protected]
[email protected]

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Cobham Contract for Electronic Warfare Transmitters Increased to $72m by US Navy – Press Release

cobhamCobham plc (‘Cobham’) has received a contract modification from the US Navy to produce 51 ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitters (LBT) and provide spare parts for US$72 million. This contract, initially valued at US$37 million, was previously announced by the company in October 2008.

LBT is designed to protect strike aircraft, ships, and ground troops by disrupting enemy radar and communications signals. Employed aboard US Navy and Marine Corps EA-6B aircraft, LBT currently supports Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. LBT will also be used by the Navy’s newest Airborne Electronic Attack platform, the EA-18G Growler.

LBT is manufactured at the Cobham Sensor Systems facility in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. To date, 120 LBTs worth approximately US$185 million have been ordered, with 40 already fielded.

US Navy Captain Steve Kochman, manager of the EA-6B program office (PMA-234) said, “To Navy and Marine Corps aircrew, LBT is the ‘weapon of choice’ for Global War on Terrorism combat operations. LBT has proven exceptionally reliable and mission effective with over 30,000 operating hours in just over two years since introduction. This latest contract, that includes GWOT Supplemental funds, will accelerate deployment of additional transmitters that will make US forces more capable and reduce reliance on legacy equipment.”

ENQUIRIES

Greg Caires, Vice President – Media Relations +1 703 414 5319

Susan Ellis, Senior Communications Adviser +44(0)7836 522722

Julian Wais, Director of Investor Relations +44 (0)1202 857998

Notes

1. Cobham’s products and services have been at the heart of sophisticated military and civil systems for more than 70 years, keeping people safe, improving communications and enhancing the capability of land, sea, air and space platforms. The Company has four divisions employing more than 12,500 people on five continents, with customers and partners in over 100 countries and annual revenues of more than £1bn.

2. Cobham Defence Systems Division designs and manufactures critical technology for network centric and intelligence operations, enabling information to be moved around and managed on the digital battlefield.

The Division specialises in RF and microwave front ends for radar, communication and electronic warfare systems, providing components, integrated assemblies and subsystems for military aircraft, ground vehicles, missiles, naval vessels, space launch vehicles and satellites.

A comprehensive range of scientific, systems engineering and technical assistance services are provided to the intelligence and missile defence market, including training, testing and evaluation services for US tactical systems, including supportability analysis and training for Unmanned Aircraft Systems programmes.

The Division is also the world leader in advanced tactical military vehicle intercom systems and soldier and ground vehicle situation awareness products and supplies niche, high technology products for the commercial aerospace and civilian markets, including air traffic control and weather radars.

Greg Alan Caires, APR
Vice President, Media Relations
Cobham Corporate North America
2121 Crystal Drive, Suite 625
Arlington, VA 22202

703.414.5319 office
703.663.0274 mobile
703.414.5305 fax

[email protected]

Photo Courtesy of Cobham plc

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