The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) raided the homes of a number of U.S.-based BAE executives in connection with allegations about corruption at BAE Systems. The DoJ also temporarily detained outgoing BAE Systems chief executive Mike Turner and a senior colleague, when they arrived at Houston Airport from the UK.
AIN Defense Perspective
The U.S. Navy’s choice of Northrop Grumman to provide the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) platform, using a new version of the Global Hawk UAV designated RQ-4N, has prompted a protest from competitor Lockheed Martin. According to Lockheed Martin, its bid was less than Northrop Grumman’s $1.1 billion proposal. Lockheed bid the Mariner UAV based on the Predator B, in cooperation with General Atomics.
The first Airbus A400M airlifter is set to be rolled out from the final assembly line at Seville, Spain, in June, but it won’t make its first flight until at least September. The program is now running more than six months late due to developmental delays with the large TP400 turboprop engines. The first flight of a TP400 on a C-130 testbed at Marshall Aerospace’s Cambridge, UK airfield has been delayed again until next month.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy reached some significant–though little noticed–defense arrangements when they met in London late last month. The two countries agreed to seek a single joint contract for the in-service support of the Airbus A400M airlifters that both have ordered. If achieved, this will be the first such arrangement ever concluded.
The Lockheed Martin/U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighter will be crossing the Atlantic for the first time in July, heading for the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in the UK. The aircraft will display three times at this show, but only on the opening Monday of the Farnborough Air Show that follows later that month. It will then return to the U.S.
Within the span of a month, Saab is rolling out two new developments with export potential. On March 27, the first Saab 2000 twin-turboprop airliner to be modified with the Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system made its public debut. Later this month, Saab’s upgraded Gripen fighter will emerge.
The intense debate over the U.S. Air Force’s choice of a new tanker continues. Boeing claimed that the KC-767 was found to be “more survivable” than the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) in the USAF evaluation. Northrop Grumman launched a new Web site to refute various allegations about its A330MRTT bid and ask why Boeing did not raise concerns about the selection process earlier.
The Boeing joint direct attack munition (JDAM) is being released to Saudi Arabia, which could acquire as many of 900 of these tail kits that add “smart” GPS guidance to “dumb” bombs. The weapons are intended for the Royal Saudi Air Force fleet of F-15S Strike Eagles. Israel objected to the sale.
The future of the U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy airlifter fleet has finally been settled, after years of debate about its unreliability and the cost of fixes. All 111 aircraft will benefit from the avionics modernization program (AMP), which replaces obsolete navigation, communication and cockpit instrumentation and provides a digital architecture backbone.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will cost much more than currently predicted, and the expected cost per flight hour already exceeds that of the F-16, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).