Category Archives: Defense

Air Force light air support contract now expected next week

An Air Force decision on who will be awarded a light air support contract is now expected sometime next week, Beechcraft spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said.

The company had expected a decision on Friday, but has been told there has been a slight delay.

The contract for 20 aircraft for the Afghan air force is expected to total about $350 million.

There are two bidders. Wichita-based Beechcraft Corp., formerly Hawker Beechcraft, has proposed its AT-6 attack aircraft, a version of its T-6 trainer, for the project. Sierra Nevada Corp., meanwhile, has partnered with Brazil-based Embraer to offer its Super Tucano.

The planes are to provide the Afghan National Army Air Corp. with a fixed-wing strike capability. They are to be delivered over five years.

The effort to secure a contract has taken nearly three years and has been fraught with delays and legal challenges.

Spirit AeroSystems to roll out first helicopter fuselage

Spirit AeroSystems is celebrating the rollout of the first Sikorsky CH-53K helicopter fuselage at a ceremony at its Wichita plant Thursday.

The helicopter will be be used by the U.S. Marine Corps. It will provide improved heavy lift capability, reduced operating costs and state-of-the-art interoperability, Spirit officials say.

“The CH-53K is designed to be a safe, survivable, and reliable weapon system in service,” the company said. It can operate day or night, in battlefield conditions and adverse weather.

It will be able to deliver heavy equipment, supplies and people.

GAO denies U.S. Aerospace’s tanker bid protest

The Government Accountability Office has denied U.S. Aerospace’s protest in how its bid for a U.S. Air Force tanker was handled.

U.S. Aerospace, based in Los Angeles, jointly bid on the tanker with Antonov Co., based in the Ukraine. The company said its bid was submitted and in the Air Force’s control before the deadline. The GAO found otherwise.

Boeing and EADS are in a contest for a $35 billion tanker contract.

“While we are disappointed with the outcome, we are pleased that the GAO determined that there is no evidence of any bias against working with international partners in bidding for U.S. military partners,”  U.S. Aerospace officials said.

U.S. search and rescue air power to take a blow?

The U.S. Air Force is gradually using up the arsenal it acquired during the end of the Cold War, notes Lexington Institute defense analyst Loren Thompson in a just-released brief.

The next blow to U.S. air power seems to be aimed at the Air Force’s search and rescue service, which leads efforts to retrieve downed pilots and other endangered personnel from being in harm’s way.

The Air Force is buying 112 Sikorsky helicopters despite the need for a larger one, and there’s been no decision on what will replacing existing HH-60G search and rescue helicopters, although it’s contemplating more H-60s, which are inferior to the HH-47, EH-101 and V-22 Osprey, Thompson says.

“Unless something changes, this looks like yet another mission area where the Air Force is losing altitude fast,” Thompson writes.