Thursday, April 15, 2010
DTN News: Corrected Headline ~ Navy Christens Guided Missile Destroyer William P. Lawrence Source: U.S. Department of Defense April 15, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 15, 2010: The Navy will christen the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, William P. Lawrence, April 17, 2010, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. Designated DDG 110, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence, who served nearly six years as a prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam and later as superintendent of the Naval Academy. Lawrence was born Jan. 13, 1930, in Nashville, Tenn. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951. At the Naval Academy, he played three varsity sports and was president and brigade commander, in which capacity he helped establish the Brigade Honor concept. He graduated from the Naval Air Test Center as an honor graduate and in 1958 was the first naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound. During the Vietnam War, as commanding officer of Fighter Squadron 143, Lawrence earned the Silver Star for a strike against a heavily defended target in North Vietnam. He completed his mission, but was captured after his aircraft went down. He remained a POW from June 1967 until March 1973. He earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership to fellow POWs. Following promotion to rear admiral in 1974, he served as commander, Light Attack Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet; director, Aviation Programs Division on the staff of the chief of naval operations; assistant deputy chief of naval operations (air warfare); superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy; commander, U. S. Third Fleet in the Pacific; and chief of naval personnel, retiring in 1986. Ross Perot, Texas businessman and former presidential candidate, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Diane Lawrence, widow of the ship’s namesake and Vice Adm. Lawrence’s daughters, Laurie Lawrence, M.D., and Capt. Wendy Lawrence, USN (Ret.) will serve as sponsors of the ship. In accordance with Navy tradition, they will break a bottle of champagne across the ship’s bow and christen the ship. William P. Lawrence, the 60th Arleigh Burke class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. William P. Lawrence will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to supportmaritime warfare in keeping with “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” which postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests in an increasingly interconnected and uncertain world. Cmdr. Thomas R. Williams, II, is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton William P. Lawrence is being built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots. Additional information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4 .
DTN News: U.S. Department of Defense Contracts Dated April 15, 2010 Source: U.S. DoD issued April 15, 2010 (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 15, 2010: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Contracts issued April 15, 2010 are undermentioned;<> CONTRACTS NAVY ~The engineering-environmental Management, Inc., Englewood, Colo., is being awarded a maximum amount $50,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for marine species monitoring, evaluations, and/or assessments at various locations within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic and Pacific area of responsibility. The work to be performed provides for marine and biological resources monitoring and management services. Specific tasks may include literature review and data searches; aerial, shipboard, and/or underwater surveys; passive acoustic monitoring; assessments to determine acoustic and other impacts; behavioral studies; biopsy darting; tagging; analysis of data and technical assistance to ensure legal compliance; preparation of necessary reports; consultation package and/or permit applications; as well as management and coordination of complex projects. Work will be performed predominately in Fla. (15 percent); N.C. (15 percent); Calif. (15 percent); Hawaii (15 percent); Va. (10 percent); Wash. (10 percent); S.C. (5 percent); Texas (5 percent); Alaska (5 percent), as well as outside the continental U.S. locations such as the Mariana Islands (5 percent). The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of Apr. 2015. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with five proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N62470-10-D-3011). ~Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $42,088,896 fixed-price-incentive-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-07-G-0008) for non-recurring engineering to develop, qualify, test, and integrate an integrated avionics processor into the avionics system architecture for the Marine Corps MV-22 and the Air Force CV-22 (NRE only). The new IAP for the MV-22 will resolve obsolescence issues, add new network capabilities, increase data throughput for legacy 1553 network, and re-host mission computer capabilities that will significantly increase avionics system and operations readiness for the V-22 Program. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa. (70 percent) and Ft. Worth, Texas (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. ~L-3 Services, Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., is being awarded a $16,109,337 indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee, performance based contract (with provisions for firm fixed price orders) to provide Federal Enterprise Information Technology (IT) support services in support of federal agency customers including Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and other federal agencies. The required services are mainly for counter-terrorism related services. The products and services in this acquisition include program management, technical engineering support, integrated logistics support, configuration and data management support, direct customer support, and security engineering support for various Federal Enterprise IT systems and networks. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $85,539,822. Work will be performed in Charleston, S.C., (40 percent), Wash., D.C., (30 percent), San Diego (20 percent) and Norfolk, Va., (10 percent) and is expected to be completed by April 2011. If all options are exercised, work could continue until April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Commerce Business Daily’s Federal Business Opportunities website, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems e-Commerce Central website, with eight offers received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity (N65236-10-D-3810). ~General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems Inc., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $9,904,637 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-6206) for the procurement of the Multi Purpose Processor and Total Ship Monitoring System (TSMS) systems under the Acoustic Rapid Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) Insertion (ARCI) Program requirements for FY10. The Multi Purpose Processor is used within the ARCI Program to improve submarine acoustic processing capability on SSN 688/688I/Seawolf and Virginia Class Submarines. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va. (65 percent); Chantilly, Va. (25 percent); and Millersville, Md. (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity. ~Information Network Systems, Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J., is being awarded $9,673,254 for task order #0055 under previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9013). The scope of this effort is to provide analytical, acquisition, administrative, and logistics support for the program manager, optics and non-lethal systems (PM ONS), Infantry Weapons Systems (IWS), Marine Corps Systems Command. PM ONS develops, demonstrates, procures, fields, and provides life-cycle management support for electro-optical systems; optics tools and test equipment; and non-lethal and force protection (NL/FP) Systems to support USMC Operating Forces. This includes all day and night scopes, laser pointers, laser illuminators, thermal weapons sights, night vision enhancement devices, and NL/FP Systems. Work will be performed in Marine Corps Command organizations Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in June 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $7,656,042 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity. ~Tesoro Corporation, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded $7,421,107 for firm-fixed-price task order #0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-5027) for design and construction of a Special Operations Forces small arms range at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a small arms range associated support infrastructure and will also include administrative and training facilities. The task order also contains three unexercised options, which if exercised would increase the cumulative task order value to $8,719,558. Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Va., and is expected to be completed by July 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Eight proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity. ~Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $6,800,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2100) for planned and growth supplemental work for the accomplishment of the Fiscal Year 2008 Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) of USS Enterprise (CVN 65). EDSRAs are similar to overhauls in that they restore the ship, including all subsystems that affect combat capability and safety, to established performance standards. Additionally, an EDSRA provides an opportunity to perform hull inspections, recoating, and other maintenance related evolutions below the waterline that cannot be accomplished while the ship is waterborne. The EDSRA provides sufficient time to perform more extensive repairs and testing than are possible during an Extended Selected Restricted Availability. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by the end of April 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $6,800,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. AIR FORCE ~Science Applications International Corporation of McLean, Virginia was awarded a $22,000,000 contract which will provide for 19 replacement Deployable Tactical Air Navigation Systems in support of the Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems program office in Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. At this time, $7.7 million has been obligated. 747 ACSG/PKB, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma is the contracting activity. (FA8102-10-D-0001) DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ~American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Ala. is being awarded a maximum $20,815,122 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for combat utility uniform. Other locations of performance are in Alabama. Using service is Marine Corps. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The original proposal was Web solicited with ten responses. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is April 18, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-06-D-0331). ~Propper International, Inc., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico is being awarded a maximum $13,827,589 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for combat utility uniform. Other locations of performance are in Puerto Rico. Using service is Marine Corps. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The original proposal was Web solicited with ten responses. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is April 18, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SP0100-06-D-0332). ~Source for Native American Products, L.L.C., Princeton, Maine is being awarded a maximum $11,250,000 firm fixed price, total set aside, sole source contract for soft shell, cold weather, universal camouflage pattern jackets. Other location of performance is Ft. Kent, Maine. Using service is Army. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is August 31, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-10-D-1055). ARMY ~Kingfisher Systems, Alexandria, Va., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $15,805,284 firm-fixed-price contract for civilian contractor Intelligence Analysts Support Services in order to augment military staff for intelligence support within United States Forces-Afghanistan. Work is to be performed in Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2012. Eighteen bids solicited with seven bids received. Rock Island Contracting Center, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (GS-10F-0188T). ~CoppreTop Ledcor JV, Beaufort, N.C., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $15,734,700 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of an Army Reserve Center in Raleigh, N.C. Work is to be performed in Raleigh, N.C., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 9, 2012. Bids were solicited via FedBizOps electronic synopsis with thirteen bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District Office, CELRLCT-M, Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-10-C-0046). ~Bosco Construction, Inc., Centennial, Colo., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $13,413,797 firm-fixed-price contract for the Scout/Reconnaissance Qualification Process Range PN 72172, Urban Assault Course PN 72173 and Convoy Live Fire Range PN 72177 located at Fort Carson, Colo. Work is to be performed in Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eleven bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-10-C-0016). ~AveroVironment Incorp., Simi Valley, Calif., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $12,294,916 firm-fixed-price contract. This effort de-obligates excess funds and exercises a priced option for 216 Army digital link retrofit kits. Work is to be performed in Simi Valley, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 19, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command/CCAM-AR-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGX-05-C-0338). ~Bosco Construction, Inc., Centennial, Colo., was awarded on Apr. 13, 2010 a $10,435,366 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of A Qualification Training Modified Record Fire, and Multipurpose Machine Gun Ranges, PN 71693, 72170, and 72171. Work is to be performed in Fort Carson, Colo., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with fourteen bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Neb., is the contracting activity (W9128F-10-C-0017). ~Butcher & Baecker Construction Co., Inc., Rochester Hills, Mich., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $6,630,360 firm-fixed-price contract to construct Red Horse Beddown facility, Mansfield Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio. Work is to be performed in Mansfield, Ohio, with an estimated completion date of May 30, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with fifteen bids received. National Guard Bureau, USPFO for Ohio, Columbus, Ohio is the contracting activity (W91364-10-C-0001). ~Arkel International, LLC., Baton Rouge, La., was awarded on Apr. 12, 2010 a $6,417,984 firm-fixed-price contract to provide 16 pre-engineered buildings to include electrical power, and force protection barriers to Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The building will be utilized ads living quarters for service members aboard Camp Leatherneck. Work is to be performed in Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Aug. 5, 2010. Ten bids were solicited with three bids received. Kandahar Air Field Regional Contracting Center, Afghanistan, is the contracting activity (W5K9GH-10-C-0099).
DTN News: Colombia To Buy 9 Sikorsky Helicopters Source: DTN News / Reuters (NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON - April 15, 2010: The Colombian government plans to expand its military aircraft fleet with the purchase of nine Black Hawk helicopters from Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, Reuters reports. Officials said Colombia aimed to hand over an acceptance letter to Sikorsky in the coming months confirming its intentions. The helicopters would be paid for through a new wealth tax recently approved by the Colombian Congress, they said. Four of the helicopters would go to the Colombian police, four to the Army and the remaining helicopter would go to the Air Force, they said. The helicopters would be added to Colombia's existing fleet of Black Hawks, which have proven valuable in the country's long-running battles against drugs and FARC rebels.
DTN News: New Iran Drones Can Spy And Strike Source: DTN News / UPI (NSI News Source Info) TEHRAN, Iran - April 15, 2010: A senior Iranian military official warned that Tehran's newly produced unmanned aerial vehicles were capable of both striking hostile targets and gathering intelligence. "We have made good advances and production is going on at suitable rate," ground forces commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan told a news conference. He said an unspecified number of the Iran-made drones would be displayed along with a fleet of new weapons, military equipment, jet fighters and advanced combat helicopters Sunday during the country's Army Day. "The planes," Pourdastan said of the new drones, "would be used for operations as well as surveillance, which means that they can send us online footage from faraway distances and can also be armed for striking at targets." He didn't elaborate but Iran's designs have already raised a critical eyebrow in Washington. U.S. Secretary of State Robert Gates, specifically, warned last month that the new drones could "create difficulty" for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, expressing fear, also, that the aircraft could fall into the hands of terrorists. Tehran launched an arms development program 30 years ago, in the wake of a U.S. weapons embargo. As of 1992, it has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and fighter aircraft. Iranian officials have long argued that the country's military and arms programs were intended for "defensive purposes" and "should not be perceived as a threat to any other country," the state-run Fars news agency reported. Even so, news of the drones' strike and intelligence-gathering capacities, came a month after Israel rolled out a fleet of pilotless planes capable of flying within Iran's reach. Israeli military officials have declined to disclose the size of the fleet or whether it was purposely designed for use against Iran. The Israeli drone launch, however, came at a precarious moment, viewed also as a message for Tehran. Israel worries about Iran because of Tehran's controversial nuclear program, missiles and repeated threats against the Jewish state. Officials in Israel have suggested that it could launch pre-emptive strikes against Iranian nuclear sites if it is shown that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. Iran has long spurned the allegation claiming its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes. The Islamic Republic is shielded by a sophisticated ground-to-air missile system. The government recently accused the U.S. administration of trying to scupper a S-300 missile defense deal with Russia for fear that Iran may reverse engineer the system.
DTN News: U.K. Could Divert RAF Typhoons To Oman Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info) LONDON, U.K. - April 15, 2010: London could yet order at least a handful of Tranche 3B Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, if a deal to sell the aircraft to Oman is in place by early 2011. Oman and the U.K. have been discussing Typhoon purchases for more than two years. Industry officials suggest that if the timescale for Oman’s delivery aspirations are to be met, the fighters will likely be drawn from Tranche 2 aircraft now in production for the Royal Air Force. Were Typhoons to be diverted to Oman—officials say an order would probably be for 12 aircraft and potentially include an option for a further 12—they could be replaced by the U.K.’s “order” for Tranche 3B aircraft. Securing a Tranche 3 deal among the four partner nations, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., proved a prolonged and difficult process. The agreement was eventually reached at only by splitting the Tranche 3 production run into two blocks. Tranche 3A covered just under half of the originally planned production run. The remainder was to be discussed at a later date, with a notional commitment required during 2011. Of the 40 U.K. aircraft ordered as part of Tranche 3A, 24 were actually replacement airframes for RAF aircraft re-allocated to the Royal Saudi Air Force under a U.K.-Saudi Arabia government-to-government defense agreement. The Saudis presently have 72 Typhoons on order, and a substantial follow-on buy is anticipated. At the time of the Tranche 3A deal, in July 2009, British government officials suggested that the U.K. had met its obligations under the original agreement because of the level of investment required in the program. The ministry argued that the 16 new aircraft, coupled with the 24 Saudi replacement aircraft, meant the U.K. had reached the financial ceiling as identified by the original production memorandum of understanding. London also considered unilaterally withdrawing from Tranche 3, but this would have incurred penalties in the region of £2 billion ($3.1 billion). Quentin Davies, the minister for defense equipment and support, at the time indicated the government had no plans for additional aircraft as part of a Tranche 3B order. His statement caused confusion among some defense officials, perhaps given the ongoing discussions with Oman. More recently, Davies has indicated that a further procurement remains possible. “I do not exclude the possibility of purchasing more Typhoon fighters in future at all, but equally I am not prepared to commit to that,” Davies told Parliament last month. “I would not want to decide on whether to order further Typhoon aircraft until we have the results of the Strategic Defense Review.” The U.K. will hold a national election May 6, and a defense review will be undertaken irrespective of which of the main political parties is returned to power. The Royal Air Force of Oman presently operates the Jaguar and Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 50 as its front-line combat aircraft. Two squadrons of Jaguars are fielded along with a unit of F-16s. The British prime minister’s office indicated at the beginning of April that a Typhoon deal with Oman was progressing well, although no detail of the discussions was provided. U.S. industry officials have also indicated recently that Oman may be considering acquiring another squadron of F-16s. Any deal would be government-to-government using Washington’s Foreign Military Sales mechanism. It is unclear whether the additional squadron of F-16s is being considered alongside the Typhoons, or as an alternative to at least some of the Eurofighter aircraft. Neither BAE Systems, the U.K. industry lead on the Typhoon, nor Lockheed Martin were willing to comment on any possible discussions with regard to Oman. London’s effort to offset part of its Tranche 3 commitment with the first 24 aircraft of the Saudi Arabian order met with opposition initially from the other three Eurofighter partner nations. In the interest of securing a deal, however, this approach was accommodated. Whether a similar strategy in the Tranche 3B aircraft negotiations will be a cause of friction between London and its Typhoon partners remains to be seen.
DTN News: Malaysia Aims To Upgrade Air Force With New Fighters, AEW Aircraft Source: DTN News / Int'l Media (NSI News Source Info)KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - April 15, 2010: Malaysia's air force suffers from too many aircraft types and aircraft that fail to keep up with recent purchases by its neighbours. But government and air force officials are working to upgrade the air force's capability, despite cuts to this year's defence budget. Requests for information for fighter aircraft and airborne early warning platforms were issued in mid-March, even though Kuala Lumpur cut the 2010 defence budget by 17% to 9.1 billion ringgit ($2.7 billion) to cut its overall deficit. Before this cut, Malaysia's defence budget had risen in 2007 (8%), 2008 (20%) and 2009 (4%), with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute saying that the country, for 2005-09, had the biggest increase in defence spending of any South-East Asian nation. The requests for information have been issued now because Malaysia is formulating its 10th five-year national plan that outlines key national projects for 2011-15. There is, however, a strong possibility that Malaysia's larger defence procurements will be made off-budget. Earlier purchases of Airbus Military A400Ms and Sukhoi Su-30s, for example, were never part of the annual defence budgets. Even though Malaysia has issued a formal RFI, some suppliers are sceptical. This is the third time Malaysia it has done so for fighters and AEW aircraft. But this time, the Malaysians seem to be a bit more serious, says one industry source. "This is the third time they are asking for information. If they don't go through with it this time, we are not likely to entertain them in the future," adds the source. Malaysia has tended to buy military equipment from Russia and Europe. This is partly because the country's prime minister for nearly 23 years was Mahathir Mohamad, a staunch critic of US foreign policy. But Mahathir left politics in 2003, and the current prime minister, Najib Razak, is seen to be much more open to the USA. His government, for example, has been trying to reach a free trade agreement with the Americans. President Barack Obama has also been making a concerted effort to engage Malaysia and other Muslim nations. But despite the USA's overtures, the Europeans and Russians may continue their strong track record. Russia in particular has close political ties. Najib's father Abdul Razak was Malaysia's prime minister in the 1970s, and during his time in office, Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2003 visited Malaysia and that year signed a deal to sell 18 Su-30MKM fighters. All of these have since been delivered. Najib was Malaysia's defence minister at the time and helped negotiate the Sukhoi deal. As for the current competition, Russia's defence export agency Rosoboronexport has always said publicly it will offer the Su-30. Malaysia is seeking enough fighters for one to two squadrons. If it is two squadrons, this would bring the total to 36-40 fighter aircraft. As well as the Su-30, other fighters Malaysia is considering include the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin F-16 and Saab Gripen. Malaysia already has eight F/A-18Ds, which puts Boeing in a strong position. It could be argued that Malaysia needs to phase out its older fighters, such as its Northrop F-5s, and simplify its fleet, with the costs involved in maintaining the aircraft also a major consideration. Malaysia's defence minister Ahmad Zahid publicly criticised the air force's RSK MiG-29s last year for being too expensive to maintain and vowed to retire them by the end of 2010. But following some political lobbying, the minister decided to delay phasing them out. Six MiG-29s have already been retired but Ahmad's decision means the other 10 aircraft will continue to be maintained, by Aerospace Technology System in Malaysia for several years. "The decision [to retain the MiG-29s] was based on the capability of the aircraft in executing the tasks given," says Ahmad. "We are aware that some of our equipment has dropped in value," he says, referring to the fact that if Malaysia tried to sell the aircraft, it would have to be at a deep discount. Malaysia has also issued an RFI for two AEW aircraft. An aircraft equipped with Saab Microwave Systems' Erieye radar and the Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye are likely to be the main contenders, with other possibilities including the Embraer ERJ-145 AEW aircraft. There is also the E-2D, but Northrop is unlikely to offer this as it is still in development and, when it enters service, it will be with the US Navy. Malaysia has been relying on Beechcraft King Air aircraft, one of which has been upgraded with Thales radar, with a second to be updated soon. But the King Air's capability pales in comparison to neighbouring Singapore's Israeli-modified Gulfstream G550s installed with airborne early warning and control systems from Elta Systems. Even though Malaysia has had several procurement false starts, it has concluded some major purchases in recent years. In 2006 it ordered eight Alenia Aermacchi MB-339CMs, the last of which was delivered in December 2009. These aircraft are used to train pilots destined for Malaysia's Sukhoi fleet. The MB-339CMs replaced 13 MB-339AMs, the last of which was retired in October 2009. Malaysia also ordered four A400Ms in 2005 and is now the only country outside Europe to order the military transport. The next acquisition likely this year is for military utility helicopters. Malaysia wants to replace its 20 Sikorsky S-61 Nuri helicopters, the first of which it received in 1968. Kuala Lumpur chose the Eurocopter EC725 in 2007 after also evaluating the AgustaWestland AW101, Mil Mi-17 and Sikorsky S-92. However, the deal was called off after criticism from opposition political parties. The opposition argued in parliament that Malaysia had overpaid for the helicopters and questioned the process by which the EC725 was selected, but Eurocopter remains the frontrunner for this procurement. The initial order is likely to be for 12 aircraft and follow-on purchases could increase this to 48. Maritime patrol aircraft are another possible procurement this year to replace the four Super King Airs the air force received in 1994. Malaysian air force officials have been negotiating with Indonesia's state-owned aircraft-maker Dirgantara Indonesia for the purchase of four Indonesian Aerospace CN-235s. Industry sources say the two sides hope to sign a letter of intent at Defence Services Asia in Kuala Lumpur on 19-22 April. The service has been considering other aircraft types for maritime patrol, such as Fokker 50s and the Alenia Aeronautica ATR 42MP. But the air force already operates CN-235 transports, so Indonesia's offering would provide commonality. Defence suppliers have good reason to be sceptical, especially given ongoing concerns about the availability of funds. The time, effort and money involved in pitching for such contracts can be considerable, says one defence supplier. "That money has to come from somewhere," he says
DTN News: Saab Lures Bulgaria To Buy Gripen Fighter Jets Source: DTN News (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - April 15, 2010: The Swedish company Saab has offered Bulgaria Gripen fighter jets at the price of second-hand US F-16 planes. Daniel Boestad, Director of Saab International for Bulgaria, has stated, as cited by Darik Radio, that the offer is favorable for Bulgaria because it saves money without compromising on quality. According to Boestad, the fighter aircraft offered by Gripen have a number of advantages compared to second-hand F-16 planes or the Russian MiG-29 planes that are currently employed by the Bulgarian Air Force such as the lower maintenance cost and smaller land teams needed for servicing them. The Swedish manager has pointed out that the purchase of second-hand fighter jets is very risky and expensive. “The fact that the exploitation period of the second-hand planes is almost over will mean that Bulgaria will have to launch a new procedure for purchasing fighter jets within several years,” said Boestad. The state finances and respectively the funding for the Bulgarian Army are in a rather deplorable condition so one of the options for buying new military equipment is the purchase of US fighter jets together with Romania. The Bulgarian government has made no final decision yet. However, the Head of Defense (formerly known as Head of the General Staff of the Army), General Simeon Simeonov recently stated that Bulgaria needs to buy multipurpose fighter jets, and that it needs to buy new ones rather than second-hand. *This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org