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Pentagon reaches agreement to purchase 43 F-35s under LRIP 8 at 3.6% lower cost

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Army Buys More CROWS from Kongsberg

The U.S. Department of Defense was faced with an intense IED and mine threat in Iraq and Afghanistan. They attempted to defeat this threat and protect troops through a multi-pronged approach. Part of this was increasing the armor of basic vehicles such as HUMVEE and trucks. Another was to introduce the growing Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) fleet.

Another way of maximizing protection for soldiers in vehicles was to introduce remotely operated turrets and weapons. Key to this effort was the Norwegian company Kongsberg. Kongsberg makes the major components of the Crew Remote Operated Weapon System (CROWS).

The CROW is a turret that may be attached to a variety of vehicles and hold different types of standard U.S. support weapons such as the .50 caliber machine gun or 40 mm grenade launcher. The operator is able to sit low inside the vehicle and use different sensors to detect targets and aim the weapons. This means that they do not need to expose themselves outside the vehicle leaving them vulnerable to snipers, small arms or blast weapons.

The U.S. has invested millions in the system and just awarded the company a further contract extension to continue manufacturing. The value of that contract is about $120 million. The company had won a contract in 2006 worth over a billion.

Even though the company is based outside the U.S. they like so many other European defense contractors have invested in U.S. facilities either through building a plant or acquiring a U.S. company. Kongsberg manufacturing facility is located in Johnstown, PA. The company also markets the system world wide and because the U.S. uses it on their General Dynamics (GD) Stryker vehicle based on a Canadian system Kongsberg also has a presence in that nation.

Photo from Colonel Killgore’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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Kongsberg Continues Sales to U.S. Defense Market

Kongsberg is a Norwegian defense contractor that sells products across the world. One of the their most successful systems has been components of the U.S. military’s CROWS system. The Crew Remotely Operated Weapon System allows a turret or other weapon mount to be operated from within a vehicle so the gunner does not need to expose themselves. As part of the U.S. reaction to the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat in Iraq and Afghanistan the CROWS was installed on HUMVEES, Strykers and other U.S. crew transport vehicles.

Kongsberg has executed several sub-contracts with companies that provide parts or assemble armored vehicles for the U.S. Kongsberg has done so well with this that they have a factory in Pennsylvania for building the components. In 2009 the company received almost a billion dollars worth of contracts as part of the multi-billion CROWS program.

Now they have been awarded more work. This contract is worth about $18.5 million. The sub-contract is with General Dynamics (GD) and supports installation on US. Army Stryker vehicles. GD makes the Stryker and it is based on a system they have made for years for Canada’s military.

The world’s defense spending is large and the ability to have a niche product like this has done very well for Kongsberg.

Photo from The U.S. Army’s Flickr Photostream.

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Fourth C-130J Heads Home To Norway

Fourth C-130J Heads Home To Norway
July 1, 2010

MARIETTA, Ga., - Norway's fourth C-130J leaves the Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] facility in Marietta. Norway placed a contract in November 2007 for four C-130J Super Hercules through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The first was delivered in November 2008. The new fleet enables Norway to meet its national airlift mission requirements and missions in support of international organizations like the U.N. and NATO.

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Raytheon Partners with NAMMO for Second Source of AMRAAM Motors

April 28, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Norway, Raytheon, Syndicated Industry News 
Raytheon Partners with NAMMO for Second Source of AMRAAM Motors
April 28, 2010

Additional source assures AMRAAM supply for US and allies

TUCSON, Ariz., -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and the Norwegian defense company NAMMO have begun qualifying an alternative rocket motor for the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile. The new motor will be interchangeable with the AMRAAM propulsion system and will maintain the same performance as the current rocket engine.

"A second source of rocket motors ensures Raytheon will meet its commitment to the U.S. and international warfighter by providing a continual supply of AMRAAMs," said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems product line. "Our partnership with NAMMO leverages Raytheon's decades of experience teaming with European companies to build and deliver capable, reliable systems. This partnership is another example of close collaboration among allied nations, and it adds value to numerous industries and AMRAAM customers."

The U.S. Air Force, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, Innovation Norway, Raytheon and NAMMO Raufoss AS will share financing for non-recurring costs associated with the qualification program.

"NAMMO has a rich history of producing rocket motors for air-to-air missiles and has delivered more than 40,000 rocket motors for the Sidewinder program alone," said Ola Skrivervik, NAMMO's senior vice president of business development. "The AMRAAM qualification program is progressing rapidly and with great success. NAMMO is proud to be part of the AMRAAM team because the excellent working relationship brings value to AMRAAM customers and the U.S. and European Economic Area industrial bases."

Procured by 36 countries, the combat-proven AMRAAM has more than 1.8 million captive-carry hours and more than 2,900 live firings. AMRAAM is integrated on the F-16, F-15, F/A-18, F-22, Typhoon, Gripen, Tornado, Harrier, F-4 and Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. It is also the baseline missile for the U.S. Army's Surface-Launched AMRAAM and the NATO-approved Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System.

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BAE Systems Wins Scandanavian Artillery Contract

Not that it really makes up for not winning the latest British armored vehicle contract which went to a team led by General Dynamics (GD) but BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) did win a contract to provide artillery to Sweden and Norway. The contract is worth over $250 million and is for a total of forty-eight of the Archer systems for the two countries.

Many European and overseas countries are putting money into upgrading all aspects of their military. The most important upgrade program right now is the F-35 which will replace F-16 aircraft in many NATO countries.

A contract like this while not huge will keep BAE Systems jobs and help the production line stay hot. This means that if Britain or another country wants the Archer it will be able to do so at lower prices then if the line went down due to lack of sales. BAE Systems has had a rough time of late with the loss of the U.S. Army truck, FMTV, contract to Oshkosh and the fines it must pay to settle bribery charges related to a large Saudi Arabian contract. Diverse product lines like this will help weather the down period.

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3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, with support elements from the Dutch forces and the United States Marine Corps, carry out an amphibious landing on the peninsular of Trondenes, Harstad, Norway

February 24, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Norway, Syndicated Industry News 
3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, with support elements from the Dutch forces and the United States Marine Corps, carry out an amphibious landing on the peninsular of Trondenes, Harstad, Norway
February 24, 2010

3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, with support elements from the Dutch forces and the United States Marine Corps, have carried out an amphibious landing on the peninsular of Trondenes, Harstad, Norway, as part of their cold weather warfare training. The landings began from HMS Albion and RFA Mounts Bay, with a small contingent of Royal Marines coming ashore in offshore raiding craft. They were then followed by landing craft vehicle personnel which carried the main body of seventy troops from Zulu Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines (pictured). During the landings the Marines had overhead support from the Lynx helicopters of 847 Naval Air Squadron, the Sea King helicopters of 845 Naval Air Squadron, and the Commando Helicopter Force Royal Marines. Also, during the landings, the guns of 7 (Sphinx) Commando Battery Royal Artillery were brought ashore by air and sea in the larger landing craft utility.

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Kongsberg To Build More CROWS

The U.S. Department of Defense added to a contract previously won by Kongsberg of Norway for Crew Remote Operated Weapon Stations (CROWS). The value of this addition is over $800 million. The add to the existing contract will purchase a further 3,849 CROWS bringing the total to over 10,000.

The contract will be done over five years at Kongsberg Pennsylvania facility. CROWS allows weapons to be operated by a gunner sitting in the vehicle rather then up in the turret. This provides maximum protection to them in combat. CROWS are installed on HUMVEES as well as MRAP vehicles and are used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Kongsberg Wins Further U.S. CROWS Work

The Norwegian company Kongsberg was awarded another contract to support the U.S. military’s remotely operated weapon system and turrets. Kongsberg has been a prime contributor to the Crew Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) since its inception. The CROWS allows a gunner to operate a turret or weapon remotely so that they may remain under maximum armor protection.

This latest $188 million contract follows on to several previous ones. The total CROWS program is worth over two billion dollars and involves several different companies. Konsberg makes the Protector Remote Weapon Stations (RWS). These hold the weapon and train and elevate it. This is combined with sensors and controls to make up the full CROWS installation.

CROWS has been used successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan for several years and is installed on HUMVEES and MRAP type vehicles. Previously gunners would have to expose themselves in order to aim and fire their weapons. This system maximizes their protection.

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Build A Niche And They Will Come — Kongsberg Wins Another Contract

The U.S. military as part of their various defenses against IEDs and mines has invested heavily in the last several years in remote weapon stations for their HUMVEE and MRAP vehicles. These are turrets where the gunner actually uses various electronic means to operate the weapon from inside the vehicle. This allows them to be behind the most armor and less exposed.

Kongsberg, a Norwegian company, has made key parts for the U.S. Crew Remotely Operated Weapon Systems (CROWS) since its inception. Yesterday they received another contract worth over $20 million for more of their part. In the last two years the Army has purchased almost 4,000 of the CROWS.

The only issue with work like this in defense contracting is that at some point it may end. The Army may buy all the vehicles with CROWS that it needs; or the threat may change requiring a different concept or system. It also may be that the CROWS will be used on more systems requiring more to be produced. Finally somebody else may come up with a better design. For now though Kongsberg continues to do well off of this idea.

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Latest JSF Order Placed

The United States government acting for itself and its Allies awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for the next procurement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The $2.1 billion contract option restructured an existing advanced procurement contract into a Cost Plus Incentive Fee (CPIF). It was the third option to an existing Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract.

As part of this option seventeen aircraft were ordered for delivery by the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2012. Seven of the JSF will be for the U.S. Air Force and seven for the U.S. Marine Corps. One was purchased for Norway and two for Britain as part of the several JSF international partners.

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Air Force Buys C-130J Engine Support From Rolls-Royce

The United States Air Force awarded an eighty million dollar contract to Rolls-Royce to provide spare engines and parts for the C-130J transport fleet. The C-130J is the most recent version of the venerable Hercules transport. This contract will provide support for the Air Force, Marines, Norway and India’s aircraft. Under this contract twenty-seven spare engines and other parts will be provided over the next three years.

Rolls-Royce also makes the engine for the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor used by the Air Force and Marines. This completed its first combat deployment to Iraq last year where all reports show it performed adequately. The U.S. military and overseas customers are committed to purchasing more C-130J aircraft which will mean more engine sales and support for the British company.

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JSF Selected by Norway for New Fighter

The Fort Worth Star and Telegram reports that Norway has selected the F-35 aircraft over the Swedish Gripen. The new aircraft will replace the F-16 fleet currently operated by the Scandinavian country. Norway had always been leaning towards the F-35 due to its integration in NATO; but Sweden had made an unsolicited offer for the Gripen that was considered a very good deal.

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Norweigian Left Supports JSF

Aftenposten writes that the far left party, Socialist Left Party, will not stop the procurement of the JSF fighter by the government. Norway is considering the JSF to replace its F-16 fleet, although Sweden has also made an unsolicited offer with the Gripen aircraft. The decision as to which aircraft will be purchased will be made by the end of the year. There was some concern that the Socialist Left would not support buying the US aircraft, preferring the Gripen. They accept though that with Norway being part of NATO it may influence the decision.

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US Army continues CROWS production

Kongsberg received further work under the general CROWS contract. The Crew Remotely Operated Weapon System provides a way for soldiers to work sensors and weapons while staying under armor. Kongsberg makes parts of the overall system and this is a continuation of earlier contracts. The overall CROWS contract is worth over $1 B, and this contract has a value of over $200 M.

See The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.com for more.

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Marines order more rockets and their launchers

Talley Inc, owned now by the Norwegian company Nammo, won a contract from the USMC to develop a launcher for 83mm rockets. The current system has been in use since 1984. The ammunition, currently produced by Talley, will remain the same, but a new system for firing the rockets from a Marine’s shoulder will be developed. The contract is for an initial buy of 146 launchers and 900 rounds of ammunition. Talley has produced over 40,000 rounds of this type. Nammo purchased the company last year as a way in to the US defense market.

See The Arizona Republic business site, here, for more on this contract.

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CROWS contract spreads to Maine

In another example of the international integration of the US Defense Budget a Maine company received a sub-contract from Kongsberg Defense of Norway to fabricate parts for the Crew Remote Operating Weapon System (CROWS). Kongsberg had recently won a contract in the Spring to build a part of the system. Now because of this contract the company in Maine is able to expand and hire a few more workers. The overall effect of the several hundred billion the US spends each year on defense is vast, affecting companies from Maine to Iraq and Afghanistan.

For more see the article on WCSH6′s website.

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JSF spreads the wealth

Lockheed Martin awarded a Norwegian company, Kongsberg, a contract to make parts for the F-35 JSF. See an article here. In an unrelated matter Norway is looking at buying either JSF or Swedish Gripen aircraft to replace their F-16 fleet. Kongsberg will get the contract worth up to $1 B or more even if Norway does not buy the JSF.

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Konsberg wins CROWS contract

The US Army awarded Konsberg a contract to provide Crew Remotely Operated Weapon System (CROWS) II turrets. See an article here. Konsberg is a Norwegian company that is involved in the oil industry, commercial shipping and defense. There website is here. The contract is worth $117 M and will provide weapon mounts that fit within the CROWS turret. The CROWS is mounted on US Army vehicles and allows the gunner to stay inside it and operate whatever weapon is installed – usually machine guns or automatic grenade launchers.

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Norway receives bid for new fighter

Lockheed Martin and SAAB submitted bids for Norway’s new fighter. See the article here. Either the F-35 JSF or the Gripen will replace the existing force of F-16 aircraft. It will be one of the largest contracts Norway has awarded due to the expense of the aircraft. A decision will not be made until the end of the calendar year.

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Norwegian military cleared in investigation

January 31, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: crime, Norway, Siemens 

In a switch three Norwegian naval officers were cleared of taking kickbacks from Siemens related to contract awards. The three had gone on a golf outing to Spain, I guess all senior sailors are alike no matter what the country, that Siemens paid for. They were exonerated of not knowing who paid for it. Siemens did win some contracts from the Norwegian government at the time. See this article for more.

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