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News & Analysis: September 2008

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NP Aerospace Awarded £60 million contract for new Mastiff 2

The UK Ministry of Defense announced a £60million contract award to NP Aerospace, to deliver 170 new generation Mastiff 2 vehicles. The vehicles will be built by NP Aerospace, based on the Mastiff platform (Force Protection 6x6 Cougar). The new model will have improved axles and suspension to cope with the harsh Afghan terrain better and a new driver thermal imager. Improved protection for the crew includes improved armor and blast attenuating seats. The procurement of 170 Mastiffs and 150 Ridgback (Cougar 4x4) vehicles was announced by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in December 2007, as part of over £150 million spending on improving protection for British forces.

U.S. Army Orders 17 Shadow 200 UAV Systems

Last week the U.S. Army ordered 17 new Shadow 200 tactical UAV systems from Army Armaments Incorporated (AAI), under a US$242 million firm/fixed price contract. The systems will be delivered within 18 months. Since late 2007 AAI is operating as part of the Textron Systems group. The current order has been the largest UAV order the group received sofar. The company will also provide support the UAV system's tactical communications data link and airborne control equipment II health & usage monitoring systems, under an extension of a separate contract worth $6 million.

Canada to Spend $20 Million Upgrading the Aurora

Canada's fleet of CP-140 Aurora Maritime Surveillance Aircraft will be equipped with new sensors extending the aircraft overland surveillance capability. Funding of C$20 million allocated for the upgrade was announced last week by Peter Gordon MacKay, Canada's Minister of National Defence (DND). According to the DND, this project will deliver the mission systems required to improve the Aurora's ability to conduct primarily domestic sovereignty and security missions. Half of the allocated amount will be allocated for procurement of commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) components, procured through the US Navy Foreign Military Sale (FMS) and modified for use by the Canadian Forces. The remaining $10 million will cover systems engineering and integration to be provided by L-3 Communications under an existing 10-year Optimized Weapons System Support (OWSS) contract that the DND has with L-3 for the Aurora. The Canadian Air Force and Navy are currently defining their requirement for a future maritime patrol aircraft to replace the Aurora starting in 2020.

Spain is Buying 100 South African RG-31Mod5 Armored Vehicles

General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas has been awarded a 64.6 million Euro ($102 million) contract by the Spanish Government to supply RG-31 Mk5E mine protected vehicles for the Army. The contract calls for the delivery of 100 vehicles - 85 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), 10 Ambulances and 5 Command Post variants. Spain has options to buy 80 additional vehicles of this class, to be partly assembled in Spain. Each vehicle will be equipped with Remotely Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS). Spain previously opted for the Israeli Samson RCWS. To be delivered through 2009. The prime contractor for the program is General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas offering program management and support while BAE Systems Land Systems OMC of South Africa, acting as leading subcontractor, will supply the vehicles. General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (Ottawa) has a similar program with BAE Systems Land Systems OMC for this vehicle, offering these vehicles to the Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

U.S. Army Awards Boeing $4.3 Billion for CH-47F Helicopters

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has been awarded a five-year U.S. Army contract valued at $4.3 billion for 181 CH-47F Chinooks and 10 additional Chinooks under Fiscal Year 2008 supplemental funding. There are options in the award for an additional 24 aircraft over the course of the contract. According to Col. Newman Shufflebarger, Army project manager for Cargo Helicopters, The Army was able to reduce the lead time associated with a new-build aircraft by six months by multiyear award, enabling the contractor to enter long-term agreements for specialty metals, to include titanium, significantly reducing long-lead times for critical materials. Jack Dougherty, Boeing's vice president, Boeing H-47 Programs estimates the saving gained by the multi-year contract at $449 million. Boeing Rotorcraft Systems has delivered 48 CH-47F helicopters to the U.S. Army to date and has fully trained and equipped two units, with a third unit scheduled to stand up in August.