Armed forces in Europe are bracing themselves for severe cutbacks as governments tackle budget deficit problems. The scale of the cuts is evident in a couple of proposals made public last week. Germany’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has tabled a plan that saves €9.3 billion ($11.7 billion) in the long term, with current fleets and acquisition programs hit hard.
Northrop’s venerable T-38 Talon supersonic trainer entered service with the U.S. Air Force in March 1961 and has provided the advanced portion of the service’s training syllabus ever since. Over 1,100 were delivered and more than 450 remain in service.
Boeing and Eurocopter have agreed to cooperate on a future transport helicopter (FTH) and at the ILA Berlin Air Show both companies displayed a tandem-rotor concept that resembles an enlarged CH-47 Chinook. The fuselage would be 66 feet long and 12 feet wide, enabling the internal carriage of armored vehicles. Both France and Germany have requirements for a next-generation heavy-lift helicopter, and a NATO staff target is being developed.
Eurocopter was eyeing new German military requirements at the ILA Berlin Air Show earlier this month, even as it defended its delivery performance on the German Army’s Tiger attack helicopter program. The company displayed a Forward Air Medical Evacuation (medevac) configuration of the NH-90, and its concept for the Marinehubschrauber 90-Neue Generation (MH90-NG), that would replace the German Navy’s Sea King and Lynx fleets.
Lockheed Martin on May 27 announced the award of a $245 million contract covering the supply through Foreign Military Sales of three KC-130J Hercules tankers for the Kuwait Air Force (KAF). The first aircraft is scheduled for delivery in late 2013, with final delivery early in 2014. Congress was notified in July 2009 of a potential sale of up to eight C-130Js to Kuwait. The sale is being managed through the Navy program office.
At the SOFEX special forces exhibition held at Amman in May, Jordan signed a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase the Boeing AH-6i light attack/reconnaissance helicopter, a modernized version of the tried and trusted Little Bird helicopter. Boeing has been showing off its demonstrator throughout the Middle and Far East since the type's first flight on September 16 and airshow debut at Dubai in November last year.
The U.S. Department of Defense's undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics on May 14 certified to Congress that the proposed third Super Hornet/Growler multiyear procurement (MYP) met statutory requirements, including substantial savings. With this certification in place, the contract should proceed to cover the purchase of 124 aircraft over Fiscal Year 2010 through 2013.
Eurocopter is beefing up Shape, the reorganization plan it unveiled last October. Reacting to sluggish demand, the company has increased spending on research and development, closed one site, redefined executive responsibilities and planned job cuts.
Attempts by India to fast-track the procurement process for its 126-aircraft Medium Multi-role Combat Aircraft requirement have come unstuck as the evaluation process has taken far longer than initially expected.
Last month the U.S. Navy completed Phase One testing of a U.S. Marine Corps HC-130J Hercules outfitted with the Harvest Hawk system, which gives the tanker/transports weapons capability. Following initial tests at Patuxent River, Maryland, the HC-130J departed for further tests at China Lake in California, in preparation for an initial deployment to Afghanistan in the summer.