Defense contractors flocked to Bangalore for the Aero India show this week, even as the Indian government confirmed that the years of plenty might be over. Defense minister A.K. Anthony confirmed that his spending would be cut in the fiscal year that starts in April, although not on “operational preparedness.”
Sales of U.S. military aircraft will fall by 2.4 percent this year to $58.2 billion, the lowest level since 2006, according to a preliminary estimate of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). Sales are expected to decline by another 10 percent in next year as budget cuts force the Pentagon to reduce procurement spending, the association said in its year-end review and forecast, released earlier this month.
Managers and R&D specialists from the aerospace, defense and security (ADS) sector met in London last week to explore emerging adjacent markets, such as energy, environment and climate; food and water security; and natural disaster protection and response. Sponsored by EADS, Finmeccanica, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Saab, the event was the third in a series organized by British consultantcy Dynamixx, in association with IHS.
Lockheed Martin, the largest U.S. government contractor with $46 billion in annual sales, appointed its first female chief executive on November 9 after CEO-in-waiting Christopher Kubasik resigned over a “close personal relationship with a subordinate employee,” the company announced. The Bethesda, Md.-based company named Marillyn Hewson, 58, to take over as president and CEO on January 1, succeeding outgoing CEO Robert Stevens.
Lockheed Martin has revealed details of its new Ku-band imaging and ground moving target indicator (GMTI) radar, describing it as a next-generation system for small air vehicle applications, manned or unmanned. Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Systems and Global Solutions (IS&GS) division has named it Asars-3, reflecting the company’s heritage as developer of the first advanced synthetic aperture radar system for the SR-71 Blackbird. Asars-2 was another X-band system, developed for the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft by Raytheon.
The director of Lockheed Martin’s En-route Automation Modernization (Eram) program has said the system’s deployment across the U.S.is on schedule and on budget since the FAA recalculated, or “re-baselined,” its cost and schedule in June last year.
Flight-testing of the Lockheed Martin F-35 is ahead of the 2012 plan, and software development is making up lost ground, now standing at two months behind schedule. Steve O’Bryan, Lockheed Martin’s v-p for F-35 program integration and business development, told a meeting in London sponsored by The Air League that the F-35B STOVL version that the UK will buy is 40 percent ahead on flights and test points. Of the nine million lines of software code in the aircraft, 87 percent is now in flight test, with another 6 percent in laboratory tests.
BAE Systems, not Lockheed Martin, will upgrade the avionics of some 130 Korean air force F-16C/Ds. A spokesman for Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in Seoul that his agency will request the BAE package as a U.S. foreign military sale (FMS).
The UK formally accepted the first F-35 Lightning II for an international customer on July 19. “Having taken decisions on the final designs of our new aircraft carriers and balanced the MoD’s budget we can now proceed confidently to regenerating our carrier strike capability with these cutting-edge stealth combat aircraft,” said British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond.
Lockheed Martin executives contend that a new Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) that will provide long-term maintenance support for the F-35 Lightning II is evolving in line with the fighter. The ALIS was cited among F-35 program risks in a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.