The expected costs to produce and sustain the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in service are “simply unacceptable in this fiscal environment,” according to senior Pentagon officials. Air Force acquisition executive David Van Buren and F-35 Joint Program Office chief Vice Admiral David Venlet told a U.S.
Defense » Military Aircraft
News and issues relating to the defense aerospace business, with emphasis on current/in-use, in-development and prospective programs for manned military aircraft and unmanned combat aircraft vehicles (UCAVs).
Speaking at Dassault’s annual press conference yesterday, CEO Charles Edelstenne clarified that BAE Systems would be the prime contractor for a joint medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aircraft program under the recently announced memorandum of understanding between the two companies. The MoU follows last November’s Anglo-French inter-governmental agreement.
Jordan is to modify two of its Airbus Military CN-235 utility transports to a gunship configuration. A contract has been awarded to ATK for the work, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Jordan’s King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau. The work will be split between ATK’s U.S. facilities and those of KADDB in Jordan.
On the first day of the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the UAE announced that it is to upgrade 23 Black Hawk helicopters to an armed UH-60M standard. Worth over $270 million, the contract was placed with Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, with the work to be performed mainly by AMMROC, a joint venture between ADAT and Sikorsky. The U.S. company also received a $17.6 million contract for UH-60 training.
In a significant move, the U.S. government has cleared an unarmed version of the Predator UAV for wider export, including to the Middle East. Until now, the Predator and Reaper series has been exported only to the UK and Italy, and offered to a few other U.S. allies. Long-endurance UAVs are included in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR), a voluntary 34-nation agreement.
Held in Abu Dhabi, the IDEX defense exhibition is traditionally the platform for the United Arab Emirates to announce major deals. But apart from a possible buy of Predator UAVs and an H-60 upgrade (see separate stories), there was nothing on the UAE’s big-ticket items at last week’s event. Even the much-anticipated deal for the THAAD high-altitude air defense system has not been finalized.
Boeing has won the KC-X competition and been awarded a $3.5 billion contract for Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) of the 767 NextGen Tanker, including four aircraft. Follow-on contracts to procure 175 production aircraft in 18 lots will be worth at least $30 billion. The new tanker will be designated KC-46A and the first 18 are planned to be in service by 2017.
Boeing has won the KC-X competition and been awarded a $3.5 billion contract for engineering and manufacturing development of the 767 NextGen Tanker, including four aircraft. Follow-on contracts to procure 175 production aircraft in 18 lots will be worth at least $30 billion. The new tanker will be designated KC-46A and the first 18 are planned to be in service by 2017.
Airbus and Boeing officials are expecting a call from the Pentagon at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time this afternoon to inform them which company has won the $35 billion contract for the new U.S. Air Force KC-X tanker. The Pentagon will then make a public announcement about the award at 5:10 p.m. EST, Airbus and Boeing spokespeople told AIN.
When it comes to defense coverage, AIN naturally focuses on airborne systems and platforms, including some very high-tech stuff, of course. But my visit to the Defence Geospatial Intelligence Conference and Exhibitionin London last month was a reminder that what happens on the ground is equally, if not more, important.