Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Chinese Jumbos Cleared For Takeoff

Chinese Jumbos Cleared For Takeoff (NSI News Source Info) November 4, 2008: China has set a timetable for its large aircraft plan, and the first homemade jumbo jet will take to the skies by no later than the start of the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (2015-20), a senior official said on Monday. This is the first time a timetable for the trunk liner project has been made public, since the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd was set up in May. The company is in charge of the large plane's assembly, marketing and after-sales service with an initial investment of 19 billion yuan ($2.8 billion).
Two Kiran Mik II aircraft from the Indian Air Force SKAT fly near a Chinese-made J-10 fighter jet during a rehearsal one day before the opening of the 7th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong, November 3. 2008. About 600 exhibitors with more than 60 aircraft, representing 35 countries and regions, have registered to take part in the show. [Agencies]
Miao Wei, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Forum 2008 yesterday that China-made jumbo jets will be on the market between 2015 and 2020. "We will finish the concept design and research on key technologies before 2010, and have the first plane roll off the production line before 2014," he said. Even though the domestic passenger transport volume has been dropping recently amid the global economic slowdown, Miao said he had confidence in China's vast demand for new planes. "In the next 10 years, China will need at least 1,000 new planes," he said. The corporation is currently studying a feasibility plan for the large plane, Jin Zhuanglong, its general manager said on Monday. Some sub-projects have begun, and the large airplane's technology scheme and suppliers will be decided soon, he said. The corporation, which is also responsible for marketing the homemade regional jet ARJ21, will sign its first overseas order, worth about $750 million, with General Electric Co, at the seventh China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition, which opens today. GE's leasing unit will sign a contract for 25 ARJ21-700s, which raises the company's backlog to 208, Chen Jin, general manager for marketing and sales, said. Miao said the ARJ21-700 will enter service next year, while work on a 100-seat version, a business-jet model and a freighter will start next year. China has also received 136 orders for the MA 60, a propeller-driven commuter plane, Miao said. Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group Co, the maker of the plane, has already delivered 34, he said. "The next few years will be an important period for China's aviation industry," he said. The ministry will draft a mid-and-long-term plan for the aviation industry soon in order to coordinate the development of large planes, regional jets and helicopters, he said. Lunar ambitions Models of a soft-lander and a rover for the second phase of China's lunar exploration program will be displayed at the air show for the first time. Designed and made by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CAST), the soft-lander, weighing 3,800 kg on top of the launch vehicle, is likely to be launched in 2013, a corporation source said on Monday. The government has given the nod to the second phase of the lunar program to explore the surface of the moon, the corporation said.

Boeing Rolls Out 1st F-15SG to Singapore

Boeing Rolls Out 1st F-15SG to Singapore (NSI News Source Info) ST. LOUIS - November 4, 2008: The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today rolled out the first F-15SG jet fighter to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). The F-15SG is a variant of the highly capable, combat-proven F-15E.
The F-15SG is a variant of the highly capable, combat-proven F-15E (Photo Credit: Boeing photo)
"The rollout of F-15SG1, on schedule, demonstrates that we're off to a great start as the RSAF builds to a procurement of 24 F-15SG aircraft," said Mark Bass, Boeing F-15 Program vice president. "The F-15SG has significant capabilities that will allow the RSAF to expand into new missions with new capabilities and to operate in the sophisticated Singapore defense environment for decades to come." The capabilities of the F-15SG are a blend of speed, power and agility -- a combination that makes the aircraft the ultimate multirole fighter, versatile in all missions. "The F-15SG for Singapore moves the RSAF into the next generation of fighter aircraft capability," said Dan Korte, Boeing vice president and general manager for Global Strike Systems. "We are proud that the F-15 Eagle's proven legacy and Boeing's expertise in multirole fighter aircraft continue in the capable hands of the RSAF." The F-15SG's integrated sensor suite, which includes an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and a third-generation SNIPER targeting pod, will provide the RSAF with long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. F-15SG1 successfully completed its first flight from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis on Sept. 16. The aircraft now will undergo a one-year flight test program to confirm aircraft performance. Flight testing will take place at Boeing facilities in St. Louis and in Palmdale, Calif. F-15SG production deliveries will begin in the second quarter of 2009. The final aircraft in this procurement will be delivered to the RSAF in 2012. More than 1,500 F-15 aircraft have been delivered and are in service with the U.S. Air Force, Republic of Korea Air Force, Israeli Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force. RSAF Rolls Out First F-15SG Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (Source: Singapore Ministry of Defence; issued November 4, 2008) The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) rolled out its first F-15SG multi-role fighter aircraft at a ceremony on 3 Nov at St. Louis, Missouri, United States. The F-15SG roll-out marks yet another significant milestone in the transformation of the RSAF into a 3rd Generation Air Force. Equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and a sophisticated integrated sensor suite, the F-15SG is the most advanced variant of the F-15 aircraft built to date. With its ability to carry a large payload of weapons and fuel to give it increased firepower and combat endurance, the F-15SG will provide the 3rd Generation SAF with enhanced air defence and air superiority capabilities. The RSAF has acquired a total of 24 F-15SG aircraft. The first batch of F-15SG aircraft will be delivered to the RSAF's detachment at the Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, United States, next year. Chief of Air Force, Major-General Ng Chee Khern, officiated at the F-15SG roll-out ceremony, which was attended by Singapore and US representatives of the respective air forces and defence establishments.

Iran To Buy 50 An-148 Airliners From Ukraine

Iran To Buy 50 An-148 Airliners From Ukraine (NSI News Source Info) KIEV - November 4, 2008: Iran will buy 50 An-148 medium-haul airliners from Ukraine, Kiev's Unian news agency reported on Friday. Iran's HESA company and four Ukrainian companies - the aircraft maker Antonov, the Kiev-based Aviant aircraft plant, the Motor Sich engine making plant, and the Kharkov production association - signed a letter of intent on Friday. The two countries have yet to sign an intergovernmental agreement before the deal can move ahead. In its basic modification, the An-148 is designed to carry 70-90 passengers up to 5,000 kilometers. It costs an estimated $20 million to build, less than Sukhoi's Superjet 100 (around $28 million).

USA Defense Budget Needs New U.S. President & Congress Immediate Attention

USA Defense Budget Needs New U.S. President & Congress Immdiate Attention (NSI News Source Info) Washington - November 4, 2008: As the next U.S. president and Congress wield necessary axes on out-of-control defense spending, there are a number of surprisingly successful and promising programs they should spare.
The V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, military tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. It is designed to perform missions like a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft. The V-22 was developed by Bell Helicopter, which manufactures it in partnership with Boeing Helicopters. The initial operators are the United States Marine Corps and Air Force. The FAA classifies the Osprey as a model of powered lift aircraft.
First, there is that notorious ugly duckling turned beautiful swan, the much criticized V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. Time magazine made it the cover story for everything that was wrong with the U.S. defense establishment a few months ago -- a classic reason to defend it, even if there were no other. But, in fact, Time was plain wrong. After a long and problem-plagued development, the Osprey has proved of great use in Iraq, especially to medevac out critically injured Marines. Second, and on a much larger scale, the next administration and Congress should take care to keep open the production lines and component producing factories for the thankless old Abrams Main Battle Tank. Only the Russian T-90 MBT, which is produced in smaller numbers, can come close to rivaling it. But following the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow offered by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Future Combat Systems visions, the Pentagon is planning to replace the Abrams with a far lighter and less heavily armored tank that would be no match for the T-90. Given the universal reality that research and development programs on U.S. weapons systems always vastly exceed their costs and schedules, the Pentagon and the Army should stick with the Abrams. There is broad consensus about the tested value of ballistic missile defense systems against intermediate-range ballistic missiles. But the next Congress should not totally pull the plug on now out-of-fashion development of next-generation anti-ballistic systems either. The Kinetic Energy Interceptor shows great promise. Boeing's Airborne Laser has been making impressive progress in its prototype phase. The amount of seed money needed to maintain development and testing of both those programs is extremely low by Pentagon standards, and the potential payoff from them, even if years down the road, is enormously high. Plenty of sacred chickens in the U.S. armed forces inventory deserve to be axed. These programs do not. The wonderful old Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt/Warthog has been a tank-busting marvel in both Gulf wars. It is due to be replaced by the vastly more expensive tactical ground support variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Aircraft. But far too few of the F-35s are going to be built anyway. And the F-35 is going to be a lemon in the tactical ground support/close air support role. As Winslow Wheeler and Elise Szabo of the Center for Defense Information have written for UPI, the F-35 is too large, too fast and too lightly armored to be effective as a close tactical support aircraft for ground forces. Nor does it carry any weapon comparable to the A-10's GAU-98 heavy cannon to pulverize ground targets. It therefore would make far more sense to reopen A-10 production lines and take the close ground support role away from the F-35, allowing its CTOL (conventional takeoff and landing), STOVL (short takeoff and vertical landing) and Navy carrier variants to focus on their air superiority and regular fighter-bomber roles. It would be a bargain to keep the old A-10s flying as well as manufacturing more of them. Plane for plane, the A-10 is vastly cheaper than the F-35. Recent estimates put the cost of building 299 F-35s at an astronomical $300 billion, or more than $8.3 billion per plane. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates showed cost-effective and tactically wise judgment in effectively scrapping the ambitious DDG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer program and sticking with the Navy's long-established, highly effective DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers. There are no cheap or easy answers for all too many of the procurement decisions and strategic dilemmas that will face the next U.S. secretary of defense. But where the next SecDef inherits programs and weapons systems that aren't broken, there is no reason for him to try to fix them.

Airbus’ A400M Delays Creating Contract Controversies

Airbus’ A400M Delays Creating Contract Controversies (NSI News Source Info) November 4, 2008: Airbus’ A400M is a EUR 20 billion program that aimed to repeat Airbus’ civilian successes in the military market. A series of smart design decisions were made around capacity (35 tons, large enough for survivable armored vehicles), extensive use of modern materials, multi-role capability as a refueling tanker, and a multinational industrial program; all of which leave the aircraft well positioned to take overall market share from Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules.
Airbus’ A400M
If the USA’s C-17 is allowed to go out of production, the A400M would also have a strong position in the strategic transport market, with only Russian IL-76 and AN-124 aircraft as competition. To date, orders have been placed by Germany (60), France (50), Spain (27), Britain (25), Turkey (10), South Africa (8), Belgium (7), Malaysia (4), Chile (3, to finalize), and Luxembourg (1). In the immediate term, however, the firm’s biggest issue is timing. In November 2007, “Airbus A400M Program Delayed 6-12 Months” covered ongoing issues with Airbus’ new military transport aircraft. Without no flying aircraft and a backlog of almost 200 planes, Airbus has already lost potential opportunities in Norway, Canada, and India; even as Lockheed Martin uses that time to solidify the MC/HC-130J variant’s position as a Special Operations aircraft. June 26/08 saw the first A400M aircraft rolled out at the final assembly line in Seville, Spain, but aircraft weight growth is being reported as a critical issue, testbed issues are slowing engine certification, and first flight has now been moved back again again from summer 2008 to early 2009. The key milestone remains the beginning of deliveries, which has escalated into a significant contractual issue at Airbus. In September 2008, EADS CEO Louis Gallois has reportedly sent a letter to the governments of 7 countries who have ordered the A400M, asking them to waive the contract’s built-in penalties for late delivery. Or face a freeze in production from Airbus.

SAP Modular Vehicle....Sweden

SAP Modular Vehicle....Sweden (NSI News Source Info) November 4, 2008: Having cancelled development of the SAP modular vehicle, Sweden has now launched off-the-shelf procurement of an Armoured Wheeled Vehicle.
Sweden RFQ Armoured Wheeled Vehicle 2014 – Main Document
This Request for Quotation (RFQ) has been issued by Försvarets materielverk - FMV (the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration). FMV is the responsible authority for acquisition of equipment for the Swedish Armed Forces. The Swedish Armed Forces have a requirement for new armoured wheeled vehicles to be used as Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and role carriers. The new vehicles will replace a number of vehicle families currently in use; among these are PBV302, MT-LB, BV206(S) and PASI XA-180/202/203. The operational requirement is primarily vehicles to the Swedish Armed Forces medium weight battalions. The current period for the programme is for initial operational capability with a battalion-sized unit in the beginning of 2014 and the estimated number of units is between 100 and 150 vehicles in different variants. The above mentioned current families of armoured vehicles are not only used in medium weight battalions. They are also used for combat support and combat service support roles in heavy units where CV90 and MBT Leopard 2 are the main armoured fighting vehicles. Hence, the eventual requirement of vehicles could be higher. In order to establish a refined understanding of the market situation regarding armoured wheeled vehicles FMV launched a Request for Information mid June 2008. The answers have been analysed and evaluated during September and mid-October a decision was taken to immediately start the acquisition process. This Request for Quotation (RFQ) is the start of the acquisition process and the goal is to have a contract signed during the first half of 2009. For this RFQ and for any Contracts concluded within the framework of this RFQ Swedish law applies. This RFQ concerns procurement executed in accordance with the rules applicable to the Simplified procedure. This procurement procedure permits negotiation with one or more Tenderers. The tender may, however, be accepted without any preceding negotiation. Besides FMV, the Swedish Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Swedish Armed Forces and other relevant authorities under the MoD may be involved in the process. Basic Contract
The following positions shall be included in the basic contract:
-- Vehicle variants and numbers in accordance with the table below (the numbers are preliminary):
APC: 74
APC/Company Command & Control: 10
Ambulance: 18
Command & Control: 4
Repair: 7
Option 1
Option 1 comprises additional vehicles up to an additional mechanised infantry battalion (in accordance with table below).
APC: 74
APC/Company Command & Control: 10
Ambulance: 18
Command & control: 4
Repair: 7
Option 2
Option 2 shall enable the Swedish Armed Forces to use the AWV System for one additional continuous operational mission outside Sweden. This additional operation shall be possible with units up to company’s size. This means that option 2 together with basic contract permits operations with battalion+company or company+company. Option 2 shall include deliveries of necessary parts of the Support System (Supply support, support and test equipment, training and technical publications). Option 2 shall however not include any vehicles or any spares.
Option 3
Option 3 shall comprise spares enough to perform the implementation of the AWV System (time period 2011- 2011-2013) and to perform a 6 months peace keeping mission with a mechanised infantry battalion first six months of 2014.
Requirement for Industrial Participation Industrial Participation/offset agreements are mandatory in all foreign acquisitions of defence material that involve contract values, including options, of SEK 100 million or more, excluding VAT. FMV requires an Industrial Participation/offset obligation corresponding to 100% of the value of the Main Contract in accordance with Annex 4. The obligation shall cover the original contract sum for the acquisition plus any exercised options or later additional orders related to the Main Contract. The Tenderer shall therefore, as a separate part of the quotation, put forth a detailed tender regarding Industrial Participation, hence forth IP, in line with the directions stated in the enclosed RFQ for IP and Contract Draft for IP as well as in line with the enclosed Guidelines for establishing and implementing industrial participation in connection with procurement of weapon systems and defence-related items from foreign suppliers. The Tenderer shall in its tender state that it will commit to 100% IP in accordance with the IP requirements. Due to the short time for tender the complete IP Plan with description of individual IP transactions does not have to be completed at time for tender but shall be submitted to FMV no longer than two months after closing date for tender. A binding Industrial Participation contract shall be entered into before the acquisition contract is concluded.
Response to RFQ
The response to this RFQ shall follow the instructions below and must be received by FMV on 30 November 2008 at 1200 midnight of the closing date at the latest. A tender received after the closing date for tenders will not be evaluated. The tender must be valid at least until 30 June 2009 but in consideration to governmental decisions the Tenderer must be prepared to prolong the validity until 31 December 2009.

France: Navy Test New L-Cat Landing Craft

France: Navy Test New L-Cat Landing Craft (NSI News Source Info) November 4, 2008: The French Navy is set to begin an evaluation of a novel variable-draught landing craft known as the L-Cat, to assess its suitability as a potential future expeditionary watercraft. Constructions Industrielles de la Méditerranée (CNIM) has funded the construction of the full-scale L-Cat demonstrator by the Gemelin shipyard in La Rochelle on France's Atlantic coast. The design is intended to meet emergent operational requirements for a fast ship-to-shore connector, combining the attributes of a deep-draught vessel and a landing craft to offer high speed, excellent manoeuvrability and increased payload. The L-Cat concept achieves this by offering the flexibility to raise or lower a pontoon deck so as to enable operation in any one of three modes. In transit, the L-Cat is a catamaran - the pontoon deck is raised between the two hulls; in beaching mode the pontoon is lowered; and in dock mode the platform is totally or partially flooded. CNIM argues that while the L-Cat concept is itself innovative, the underpinning technologies are all low-risk: the hull adopts standard naval architecture ratios and aluminium alloy structures; the propulsion system uses standard diesel engines and waterjets; and the hydraulic lifting rams are based on proven technology.