The U.S. Department of Defense's undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics on May 14 certified to Congress that the proposed third Super Hornet/Growler multiyear procurement (MYP) met statutory requirements, including substantial savings. With this certification in place, the contract should proceed to cover the purchase of 124 aircraft over Fiscal Year 2010 through 2013.
Wayne, Pa.-based Triumph Group today announced a deal to acquire Vought Aircraft Industries from The Carlyle Group for cash and stock consideration of $1.44 billion, including the retirement of Vought debt. Following the closing, expected to occur in July, Carlyle will own some 31 percent of the outstanding stock of Triumph. The purchase consideration to Vought shareholders includes some 7.5 million shares and $525 million in cash.
The average unit production cost (APUC) for the F-35 is now predicted to be as high as $112 million in current dollars, according to a Pentagon review of the program conducted later last year, which led to a restructuring of the program. The APUC estimate does not amortize the cost of system design and development (SDD). That cost has now risen by $3.2 billion, to $53.2 billion.
For many years the U.S. Air Force has operated a fleet of surplus Phantom IIs as QF-4s in the full-scale aerial target role (FSAT). Under projected usage rates, that fleet will be consumed within the next few years. Now, the Air Force has taken the first step to providing a replacement. Not surprisingly, the type chosen is the Lockheed Martin F-16, the older variants of which are entering the boneyard in some numbers.
Dassault has reduced the scope of the part-time working arrangement it implemented in September last year in four factories in France. Some 1,400 employees are affected in two factories now, with little impact on their salaries. Company management expects to give the workers their next update in July.
Brazil’s purchase of 36 new fighters has pitted the air force’s preference for the Saab Gripen, backed by a 10-month technical report, against a presidential preference for the Dassault Rafale as part of a “strategic alliance” with France. Second in the air force’s ranking was the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet. According to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, France reduced the cost of the Rafale package from $12.2 billion to $8.2 billion.
Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are going head-to-head with active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar programs to update F-16 fighters and other fighters around the world. Northrop Grumman announced yesterday that it now has U.S. State Department licenses to talk to a number of export customers at DSP-5 level, a status that Raytheon announced for its proposals in November.
If Lockheed Martin is to be believed, there’s not much wrong with the F-35 program. In a briefing here yesterday, vice president F-35 business development Steve O’Bryan stuck doggedly to the company mantra that development is moving right along, with plenty of accomplishments despite the slow pace of flight testing.
Confirmation of the serious problems in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development came yesterday when U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates dramatically fired the Marine general running the program. Maj. Gen. David Heinz, the program executive officer, took the blame for the delays and cost increases that have mounted in recent months. Gates also withheld $614 million in performance fees from prime contractor Lockheed Martin.