The Paris Air Show is now in full swing, and a number of our good friends in the blogosphere are featuring wall-to-wall coverage of all the news coming out of Le Bourget. Sadly, the PNDC budget doesn’t support such a fancy-pants excursion, so I’m relegated to reading about it like most of the rest of the world.
This interesting bit of news coming out of Paris caught my eye. While quite a bit of the news on this site refers to DoD issues, PNDC has a number of members (like Simplex Manufacturing and Columbia Helicopters) who are players in the airborne firefighting market. This relatively new plane from Russian aircraft manufacturer Beriev being shopped around Paris has been fighting fires in Europe, and is knocking on the door of the North American market. Looking at the huge fire currently burning in AZ, I think such a machine just might find a market.
Read the original story from msnbc.com here.
Army Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles
If you want to know where the Pentagon is dropping taxpayer dollars in vast quantities, look for big rolling objects. That’s the word from an analysis by Michael Fabey in AvWeek’s Aerospace Daily and Defense Report. Here’s an excerpt:
While the Pentagon lists tracked combat vehicles, wheeled combat vehicles and trucks as individual line items within the top 10 of the Defense Department expense list for 2010, the three categories together tally up to about $12.8 billion, which would put them at the top of the list — the same spot their combined total occupied a year ago, according to an Aerospace DAILY analysis of data provided by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.
Tracked combat, assault and tactical vehicles lead the ground expenses with about $5 billion in contracts and modifications, the analysis shows — good enough to place fourth in total individual-line Pentagon transactions.
Pending any decisions on force strength in Afghanistan, this looks to be an area where the Pentagon will be forced to spend dollars for quite a few years to come. Given the number of metals manufacturers in Portland and Seattle that supply the heavy vehicles market, it’s a fair bet that a chunk of the supply chain is located around these parts. Absent from the short list of big recipients is local favorite Daimler Trucks North America, which manufactures a number of large military trucks for Uncle Sam.
Kudos to Philip Ewing at DoD Buzz for catching the story. Read the full article here.
10 C-17s are heading to India
The budget situation in the United States looks pretty awful for the foreseeable future. Where the Department of Defense will land in the upcoming slew of red ink is still an open (and much debated) question, but nobody is placing bets on a boom in major defense programs any time soon.
That’s why the recent decision by the Indian government to order 10 C-17’s from Boeing is such a relief to companies up and down the West Coast and around the country. This win for Boeing guarantees that their Long Beach, CA based production line will be cranking out the Globemaster until 2014. The effects of this one order can be seen all over the Northwest, including companies like Portland based Precision Castparts Corp, who supplies parts for the cargo plane.
This new order from India highlights a trend of major exports of US defense products. W.J. Hennigan penned an excellent summary of the export market in today’s Los Angeles Times, and it’s definitely worth a read. While the future climate for the domestic US defense market could still best be described as lousy, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Perhaps the export market is just what the doctor ordered.
Update (6/17/11):As if on cue, Australia makes me look awfully smart.
Leupold Glass Carries the Day
Article Written by Gary Hanson
Once again, PNDC member company Leupold Tactical is making an important contribution to the war effort. The Leupold Mark 4 Extended Range/Tactical Riflescope is the main sight for the new Army “Game Changing” sniper rifle, the XM2010. Leupold Tactical, a PNDC member company, produces some of the best military and civilian optics in the world and prides itself on meeting the changing needs of today’s armed forces. The success of this user-focus is demonstrated by the pairing of the Mark 4 with the cutting-edge XM2010.
Sniper rifles have been crucial in many combat operations and have proven particularly effective in the mountains of Afghanistan. The XM2010, with its .300 Win Mag cartridge and Leupold Mark 4 scope gives new meaning to the sniper motto: “if you run, you will only die tired.”
Click here to read the full story at Defense media network.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates: Enjoying his last few weeks on the job
Well, the outgoing SECDEF is not exactly going quietly into that good night. Robert Gates’ farewell tour has spanned the globe, and his opinions on a wide range of issues have kicked up dust at just about every stop. The latest? That grand ‘ol punching bag known as Europe, which leads to my favorite headline of the week: “Gates to NATO: You Guys Suck“.
From DoD Buzz:
Have you ever imagined quitting your job and telling your old cretin of a boss exactly what you think of him? Of course — it’s the American dream. And Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is living it right now, having gone to the doorstep of one of the world’s most ossified, stultifying bureaucracies — NATO — and delivered this message: Get your act together.
Click here to read Philip Ewing’s full article. It’s a great piece.
The Next Generation Insitu Product: Integrator
Wired.com’s Danger Room has a great piece on the future of the Unmanned Systems business. Needless to say, if you’re somebody in the supply chain already, this makes you look pretty smart:
But based on current tech trends (everything always gets more expensive), anticipated (that is to say, flat) budgets and projected threats (China and terrorists, as usual), the military believes it can make do for the next three decades with air fleets roughly the same size as today’s — with just one big exception. The robot air force will double in just the next nine years.
Not bad if you’re in the business. If you’re not, well, you might want to reconsider. Check out the full piece here.
Another Pickup for Insitu (Photo Courtesy of Insitu)
In case you haven’t heard by now, PNDC member Insitu has racked up another win. This time they won a contract valued at more than $83M to support the currently fielded Scan Eagle systems, which are also built by Insitu. While this win isn’t necessarily a big surprise to observers, it is certainly a sign of the Navy’s continued confidence in Insitu to deliver high-quality services to the warfighters in the field. Congrats to everyone on Team Insitu for the win!