Newscast: March 15th, 2007

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F-35 JSF - GAO finds its price tag surged by12% cmpared to 2004 baselineGAO Recommends Limiting Annual Production of JSF

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends limiting the annual production quantities of JSF to no more than 24 aircraft per year until each variant’s basic flying qualities have been demonstrated in flight testing now scheduled in the 2010 time frame. DOD non-concurred, believing its current strategy provides a balance of technical risk, financial constraints.

The MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle taxis into Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Feb. 13 marking the first operational airframe of its kind to land here. This Reaper is the first of 18 aircraft scheduled for assignment with the 42nd Attack Squadron. (U.S Air Force photo/Senior Airman Larry E. Reid Jr.)
First Reaper Joins Unmanned Attack Squadron

The first MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft arrived at Creech Air Force Base, NV this week after completing flight tests in California. This is the first of 18 aircraft to be operated by the 42 attack squadron from this base. The squadron will soon transition under the 432nd Wing, the first wing totally dedicated to Predator and Reaper operations. General Atomics is currently producing five MQ-9s and, this week, received additional $43 million for the delivery of two more MQ-9 Reapers, two ground control stations plus mission equipment and support. These aircraft are scheduled for delivery by December 2008.

P&W Selected to Power Boeing KC-767 Advanced Tanker

Boeing selected The Pratt & Whitney PW4000- 94" engine to power the KC-767 Advanced Tanker that will compete in the U.S. Air Force's KC-X Tanker competition. If selected by the USAF, it will be first military application for the PW4000 engine family. According to Tom Farmer, president, military engine programs "The PW4000 engine has an exceptional track record with commercial customers operating globally and we are confident it will exceed Boeing and the United States Air Force's performance expectations." The PW4000 family of engines includes models with thrust ratings ranging from 52,000 pounds to 98,000 pounds, operating commercially on Boeing 747, 767 and MD-11 and the Airbus A300/310 series. To date more than 2,100 PW4000-94" engines have been delivered, logging more than 78 million flight hours. The PW4062A for the Boeing 767 delivers 62,000 pounds of thrust per engine. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

Indian AF Embarks on a $800 Million MiG-29 Upgrade

India and Russia have signed a us$800 million program to improve the air-combat capability of its MiG-29s. 78 of the aircraft currently deployed with the IAF will receive a new phased array radar and long range (beyond visual range) missiles. The IAF is also in the final stages of negotiating a 1.5-billion euro deal with French company Thales for upgrading 52 of its Mirage 2000H fighters to extend their service life by 25 years.

RAF Deploys Litening III Pods with Iraq based Tornado GR4

The RAF has fielded the newly acquired Litening III targeting pods in January 2007 with its Tornado GR4 strike aircraft operated in support of operations in Iraq (Operation Telic). Initial in-theatre feedback indicates that the results are of the highest quality. QinetiQ, in partnership with the RAF Joint Test & Evaluation Group, is the system integrator for the integration of the Litening III into the GR4. The company carried out an extensive five months series of rig, ground and eventual UK based flight trials at MOD Boscombe Down. The LITENING III is the latest generation of targeting and navigation pod that delivers laser spot detection and tracking, and long-range data and video downlink.


Raytheon's MRM-CE Hits a T-72 Through Non-Visual Engagement

Earlier this month Raytheon and the PM Maneuver Ammunition Systems at the US Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, conducted the first beyond-line-of-sight firing test of the shaped charge Mid-Range Munition (MRM-CE). The test demonstrated the unique capabilities of the dual- mode imaging infrared / digital semi-active laser seeker to home-in on a target using offset desigtantion procedure. During the test the MRM-CE hit a T-72 target at a range of 3.5 miles (5.2 km).

Milan ER Tested with Advanced Technology Firing Post

Last month MBDA carried out six test firings of the MILAN ER (Extended Response) missile. The tests were conducted at firing ranges between 2,000 to 3,000 meters against stationary and moving targets under realistic land combat conditions. Firings were performed using the ADT (ADvanced Technologies) firing post, recently qualified by the DGA. During the test firings, the missile's flying properties and performance of the guidance and control characteristics were also verified. The tests were conducted at the French Defense Armament Agency's test center (DGA) test center in Bourges in central France (ETBS).

Britain Orders More Cougars

Force Protection, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRPT) announced today a receipt of a contract modification to fund the delivery of additional 22 Cougar Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicles (Mastiff PPV) to the British Forces in Iraq. The order will bring the total number of vehicles produced for the British government to 108 at an approximate value of $70.1 million. Force Protection expects to deliver the vehicles by the end of June 2007. First deliveries of the Mastiff PPV ordered under the original contract occurred in November 2006.

US Army to Evaluate C-RAM Gun System

The US Army is seeking countermeasures to defeat incoming enemy rocket, artillery and mortar (RAM) attacks. As part of the Extended Area Protection & Survivability (EAPS) program the Army plans to evaluate gun-based countermeasures currently under development at Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK). The company received a $4.6 million contract from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), to develop and demonstrate a 50mm gun and ammunition system that will be fired from a derivative of the ATK's Bushmaster cannon. The projectile will employ course-correction techniques based on commands received via data-link.

Viper Strike to be Launched from AC-130 Spectre Gunships

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) will demonstrate the use of the Viper Strike munition as a stand-off precision guided weapon deployed from the AC-130 gunship. Viper Strike has been operated on Unmanned Vehicles, particularly the MQ5A Hunter. In March 2007 the company received a $7 million contract modification to fund this demonstration.

US Army Enhances, Standardize Patriot Units

The US Army intends to upgrade and streamline its Patriot fire units with configuration-3 capability, comprising an affordable missile guidance system which improves performance and overcome the existing system's obsolescence. This configuration will be integrated throughout the units deployed worldwide, as part of the "Pure Fleet" effort launched in 2006.
Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), the prime contractor for the Patriot system carry out the testing and preparation for the upgrade, introducing Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) configuration to existing Patriot battalions under a recently awarded $38.6 million Army contract.

EADS Installs Obstacle Warning in German Police Helicopters

EADS Defence & Security (DS) is fitting Eurocopter EC 135 helicopters deployed by the German federal police with the HELLAS (Helicopter Laser Radar) obstacle warning system. The first two of 16 rescue helicopters were handed over to the customer. The remaining helicopters will be delivered and equipped with the system within the next two years.


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