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.
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!
Late breaking news: The USAF has awarded the KC-X aerial refueling tanker contract to the Boeing Company. This is huge news for our friends at Boeing, and a win for the Puget Sound Region’s economy. I hope everyone takes a moment to celebrate, but it should be tempered. Nearly everyone expects a protest to be imminent, and we know from experience how poisoned this whole process has been to date. Stay tuned for more…
Depending on who you listen to, the agony that has been the Boeing/EADS tanker death match may be finally coming to some sort of conclusion. The Air Force is making noises that the decision may be made in the next week or two (if you believe the rumors that are coming out of the Air Force Association’s winter meetings this week). Of course, this means all sides are busy posturing ahead of the decision as to the prospects of protests, but that’s to be expected. I’m not even going to lay odds on any outcome, but you’re more than welcomed to in the comments box. In fact, I’ll mail a PNDC coin to anybody who correctly calls the winner of the competition in the comments section. Extra credit if you correctly predict a protest.
Read more specifics on this mess over at DoD Buzz.
From a Department of the Navy press release:
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. –The Department of the Navy announced today that Insitu, Inc. has been awarded a $43.7 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) of the Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System.
The STUAS contract award is the culmination of a competitive source selection process supported by personnel from Naval Air Systems Command, Marine Corps Systems Command and the Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical UAS program office (PMA-263) in Patuxent River.
“I’m looking forward to fielding the capabilities of STUAS to our forward deployed forces,” said Capt. JR Brown, PMA-263 Program Manager. “This critical system will greatly increase their intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in theater.”
Insitu will complete a two-year EMD effort to mature its UAS design to meet the STUAS performance-based specification requirements. They will provide land-based and ship-based assets and associated support to complete integrated test and prepare for production.
The contract includes priced options for an Early Operational Capability and Low Rate Initial Production systems and associated support.
STUAS will provide ISR support for Marine Corps land forces, Naval Special Warfare Command and Navy ships, according to Brown. The system will eventually replace the Navy and Marine Corps ISR services contract, under which current ISR missions are being conducted in Iraq, Afghanistan and during shipboard operations.
Wow…. that was out of left field. Congrats to Insitu and everybody invoved in their supply chain. This is big news for the Northwest!
What do you think... Dual Use Item?
For anyone who has dealt with an International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) headache, you may wish to avert your eyes. Seriously.
Apparently, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force decided to rip off the P-8 Poseidon before it’s even operational (think Soviet Space Shuttle) with this beautiful “new” surveillance aircraft, which is built on a… wait for it… Boeing 737-300 airframe! (Read the complete story here.)
Since the production line for the -300 series ended a long time ago, there isn’t likely anything that can be done about it from an enforcement standpoint, but still. How bad does this look? (Hint: Pretty Bad.) No wonder the Chinese looked at picking up the Hummer badge from GM last year. The People’s Liberation Army must have been shopping for a new ride.
Big props to Stephen Trimble over at The DEW Line for picking this up.
General James Cartwright: He's not pulling any punches
A fine selection of choice news bits for your Friday amusement:
Have a lovely Northwest Weekend!