Saturday, 20 July 2024
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UK defence procurement

Ship 1 - HMS Daring was declared in service with the Royal Navy in July 2010.

Ship 2 - HMS Dauntless was Commissioned into the Royal Navy in June 2010. Sea Viper was fired from HMS Dauntless on 29th September in the first firing of the missile from a Type 45 platfrom.

Ship 3 - Diamond was accepted off contract at Portsmouth Naval Base in September 2010.

Ship 4 - Dragon will shortly commence her first set of sea trials.

Ship 5 - Defender was launched in October 2009 and is currently being fitted out in Glasgow.

Ship 6 - Duncan was launched on 9th October 2010 and was 60% complete on launch. The ship is named after Admiral Lord Viscount Adam Duncan who defeated the Dutch in the Battle of Camperdown on 11th October 1797.


Articles taken from Flight International magazine.

1st October: F-35 grounded to fix new software problem
Lockheed Martin has grounded the F-35 to fix a newly-discovered software problem that can cause a fuel boost pump to shut down in flight.

The manufacturer announced the grounding order only a few hours after releasing a statement saying the F-35 was restricted from operating above 10,000ft (3,050m) because of the same problem.

7th October: F-35s resume flight operations, but problems persist
A software glitch grounded the Lockheed Martin F-35 test fleet for at least four days and the short take-off and vertical landing mode remains barred due to an unresolved mechanical problem.

Lockheed lifted a grounding order on 5 October after installing a software fix that prevents a BAE Systems-supplied fuel boost pump system from potentially failing in flight. The grounding order was announced on 1 October, but F-35s had not flown since 28 September.

The F-35B STOVL fleet has been cleared to resume conventional flights, and Lockheed officials expect the type to resume tests shortly.

7th October: New Dutch government to retain JSF commitment
The Netherlands' new coalition government is expected to maintain the nation's commitment to the test phase of Lockheed Martin's F-35 programme, although a decision on whether the type will replace its Lockheed F-16s will not be made for several more years.

8th October: Israel signs $2.75bn agreement for 20 F-35s
The letter of offer and acceptance for the supply of 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters to the Israeli air force was signed in New York on 7 October.

8th October: Lockheed gets funds for UK F-35 landing modification
Lockheed Martin has received a $13 million contract to incorporate a shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL) capability with the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B, with the work to be performed on behalf of the UK.

14th October: Israel's F-35 engine selection in dispute between rival manufacturers
An announced engine selection for Israel's first batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters has sparked a new dispute between both rival manufacturers.

Pratt & Whitney says the company has received a verbal commitment by Israel to buy the F135 engine to power the first batch of 20 F-35s ordered under a $2.75 billion agreement signed last week.

The General Electric/Rolls-Royce team developing the F136 alternate engine claims the selection process remains ongoing. "We fully anticipate we will have an opportunity to compete with the F136" in Israel, GE says.

19th October: P&W details success with F135 engine STOVL tests
Pratt & Whitney has completed a key test in the process to clear the initial service release for the short take-off and vertical landing version of the F135 engine powering the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.


Articles taken from Flight International magazine:

1st September: IAI to build wings for Lockheed's F-35
Israel Aerospace Industries will receive a multi-year contract from Lockheed Martin to manufacture up to 900 wing pairs for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter under a new industrial co-operation agreement.

The expected pact will follow the signature of a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) by Israel to purchase 20 F-35s for its air force.

1st September: F-35B delays lead to rephased flight-test schedule
The F-35 programme is likely to have a reshuffled flight-test schedule again as Lockheed Martin continues to struggle with the reliability of the short take-off and vertical landing variant.

It is not immediately clear if the possible "rephasing" of the flight-test schedule would result in a new overall delay for any of the three F-35 variants.

2nd September: L-3 division pushes for more F-35 work in Canada
L-3 MAS is lobbying the Canadian government to negotiate a greater role on the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme.

Concerned about the level of industrial participation on the Joint Strike Fighter, company president Sylvain Bédard pressed the case during a visit on 1 September by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to L-3's factory in Mirabel, Quebec.

8th September: DoD official shows fresh optimism on F-35 cost
A senior Department of Defense official says Lockheed Martin is now on track to reduce the cost of each F-35 by as much as 6.25%, only four months after the programme confirmed a major cost breach.

The remarks by Frank Kendall, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, represent a massive turnaround by the DoD's leadership since reporting a Nunn-McCurdy cost overrun in June and restructuring the programme last February.

Instead, Kendall, addressing the Common Defense (ComDef) 2010 conference on 8 September, cited the F-35 as a key example of what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates means about making the defence industry produce more with less.

17th September: MBDA reveals clipped-fin Meteor for F-35
MBDA has revealed a slightly modified Meteor that would allow four of the beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles to be stored inside the Lockheed Martin F-35.

A miniature Meteor mock-up featuring four clipped fins appeared for the first time in the company's display at the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington DC.

The missile's total fin area is reduced by roughly 20% compared with the original design, says Rob Thornley, MBDA sales and business development executive. The new shape allows the Meteors to squeeze into the space designed to house four Raytheon AIM-120C7 AMRAAMs.

17th September: Israeli cabinet approves $2.75b JSF deal
The Israeli cabinet has formally approved the purchase of 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the nation's air force. The value of the deal will be around $2.75 billion.

The decision was made after a series of talks between US and Israeli officials. These focused on issues including the extent to which Israel will be allowed to instal its own electronic warfare equipment, and the level of industrial involvement that its defence industry will be granted in return for the order.

Sources suggest that the value of immediate offsets linked to the buy will total over $2 billion.

23rd September: Lockheed, US government strike deal on next F-35 order
The US government has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin on the structure of a fixed-price contract worth more than $5 billion for up to 32 more F-35s.

The agreement is necessary before the Department of Defense signs a contract for the fourth lot of low-rate initial production, which orders F-35s projected for delivery after 2012.

The agreement ends a negotiating process that was extended by about four months to satisfy demands by the DoD for a fixed-price contract.

Lockheed previously delivered the Joint Strike Fighter under a "cost-plus" structure, allowing the contractor to be reimbursed for cost overruns.

28th September: F-35 alternate engine damaged after high-speed anomaly
General Electric/Rolls-Royce is investigating manufacturing and assembly data on a single F136 engine after it was damaged during a checkout test on 23 September.

The alternate engine for the Lockheed Martin F-35 was shut down "in a controlled manner" after an unknown anomaly at near maximum fan speed on the test stand damaged the front fan and compressor area, the company says.

29th September: Norway defers some F-35 orders by two years
Norway has pushed back orders for 16 of 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters by two years to 2018, but reaffirmed its commitment as a "serious and credible partner" in the programme.

The Norwegian defence ministry announced on 25 September that it will buy four F-35s in 2016 to serve as trainers, but that the remaining aircraft planned for purchase in 2016 and 2017 will be postponed until 2018.

Oslo originally planned to order as many as 48 F-35s over the five-year period from 2016 to 2020.


Diesel generators have now been installed on the first of the new aircraft carriers. Both ships will have two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines and four diesel generator sets. The generators – provided by Converteam – provide a total power of 109 megawatts. The latest edition of Desider indicates that power will be generated to distribute electricity throughout the vessel powering anything from the propulsion system to crew members' laptops.

Another £33 million worth of contracts have also been recently awarded. These include:

- An £18 million contract for storage facilities to Wincanton.
- A £15 million contract for Balfour Beatty Engineering Services for the installation of cables on modules being constructed at Govan before final integration at Rosyth.
- A £44,000 contract for Edmundson Electrical to provide component parts used to pack and make airtight cables running throughout the vessels
- A £137,000 contract to Jetway Associates to supply hose baskets, which form part of the ships' fire fighting equipment.

According the Aircraft Carrier Alliance around £1.25 billion worth of contracts have been placed throughout the UK, which in turn are supporting thousands of jobs in almost every region.

Regional involvement in the development of the carriers was further enhanced as the final shipyard in the programme started its part of the construction work. Birkenhead-based Cammell Laird will build tow sections of the ships' flight deck. The work is worth over £44 million pounds and will keep a workforce of 1,200 busy until 2012. Upon completion the flight decks will be the size of three football pitches.

Commencing construction was especially significant for Cammell Laird as it marked the return of shipbuilding to the yard after a 17 year hiatus. Yet the company is by no means a stranger to carrier construction, having provided three throughout its illustrious 182 year history.

The Birkenhead shipyard joins five others – Govan and Rosyth in Scotland, Portsmouth, Devon and Newcastle in England – in the massive construction project. Work currently supports around 10,000 jobs at the shipyards and throughout the supply chain.

Despite the increase in debate over the cost of the aircraft carriers in the run-up to the publishing of the Strategic Defence and Security Review work continues unabated.


By Nigel Green

The controversial issue of British companies supplying the Israeli armed forces during the Gaza conflict has been raised in Parliament.

More than 1,000 people have now been killed since the Israelis invaded the Palestinian enclave in December.

The possible use of British technology in the conflict has been discussed at a meeting of the Committee on Arms Export Controls.

Read more...  

By Christopher Bean, Research Associate, U K Defence Forum

Previous attempts to mitigate financial risk

Defence PFI/PPP and prime contractorships were introduced into the UK almost concurrently between 1990 and 1992 respectively. Why were they being introduced? The answer is not as simple as just finance and the ability to provide long term structures (which incidentally introduced new risks), but primarily to try and remove the risk that had been borne by government and its departments of state which had proved themselves inadequate to the task of procuring complex technical

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The Secretary of State for Defence (Rt Hon John Hutton) said today: We have decided to procure three instrumented test aircraft and associated support equipment to enable UK participation in the joint Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Air System alongside the US Services, and to continue our contributions to the

Production Sustainment and Follow-on Development (PSFD) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

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By Nigel Green, Reasearch Associate, UK Defence Forum

Hundreds of jobs could be created on Tyneside if the Government stopped wasting time over a multi-billion pound defence contract, say campaigners. The claim has been made by industry experts connected to a massive programme to provide armoured vehicles for soldiers in Afghanistan.

The Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) was recently described as "an incredible farce" by one North East business leader. But now a consultant connected to a French company has told how Tyneside could be a key production base if they won the order for 3,000 vehicles. Although he declined to specify the site, it is understood the BAe Systems factory at Scotswood, in Newcastle, could be used. The order would be a major boost to the region's economy but FRES has been hit by a series of delays.

Read more...  

By Christopher Bean, Research Associate, U K Defence Forum

The first thing to seek out when reviewing the performance of any government department is to explore how it has sought out the nature of the complexity.

To mix both prose and metaphors a rose is a rose is a rose, calling it by any other name even though it might smell as sweet cannot disguise the reality that when all is said and done a thing is what it is. What matters is not what something is called but what it is. Examination of the MOD's performance in its biggest military equipment projects is the same as examining its

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Articles taken from Flight International magazine

First F-35 completes flight test program
The first F-35, known as AA-1, conducted its 91st and final flight on December 17th - three years and two days after it first took to the skies. Test pilot Jeff Knowles flew the aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base, California, to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, where it will undergo live-fire testing. During its flight test program, AA-1 was flown by six pilots, including US Air Force and Marine Corps pilots. The aircraft was the first F-35 to break the sound barrier, flying at Mach 1.1 with a full internal weapons load of more than 5,000 pounds.

Read more...  

Articles taken from Flight International magazine

Lockheed Martin unveils Navy's first stealth fighter

On July 28th, Lockheed Martin rolled out the first F-35C, the third and final variant of the Lightning II, designed for the U.S Navy's large-carrier fleet. Adm. Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations for the U.S Navy, expressed his enthusiasm for the F-35, saying the plane "will top anything that comes its way". the F-35C, designed to replace the F/A-18, will bring 5th generation fighter capabilities like advanced stealth to the Navy for the first time.

Read more...  

Articles taken from Flight International magazine

F-35B in-flight STOVL operations begin

The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter engaged its STOVL propulsion system in flight for the first time January 7th near Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, and again on January 9th. The aircraft slowed to 150 knots, entering semi-jet borne flight with both the propulsion system and the wings providing lift. Pilot Graham Tomlinson of BAE Systems reported that the aircraft flew smoothly during STOVL-system engagement. The aircraft is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney F135 engine driving a Rolls-Royce LiftFan®.

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By Alex Dorrian, Chief Executive, Thales UK and President of the Society of British Aerospace Companies

At the September/October political party conferences the defence industry was represented at all the Defence Matters fringe meetings, on which Defence Viewpoints commented at the time. The industry "party line" was put over by a number of spokesmen, most senior of whom was Alex Dorian. This was the essence of the industry case)

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Below is the executive summary taken from the Haddon-Cave review into the broader issues surrounding the loss of the RAF Nimrod MR2 Aircraft XV230 in Afghanistan in 2006

A full version of the report can be found here

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Offset – the compulsory inward investment imposed on foreign defence suppliers by a purchasing government – is tolerated as a feature of the market rather than embraced. Tolerance of offset has become increasingly important over the last ten years. Since 1999, 22 countries have introduced formal offset legislation or policies. The scope of offset obligations is also increasing in terms of both the quota required by the buyer and the range of contractors obligated. This helps to explain why the European Commission (EC) and the US Department of Commerce (DoC) view offset as legally and commercially problematic.

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US House of Represntatives Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton today released the following statement on the Department of Defense's update of the Joint Strike Fighter/F-35 competitive engine cost-benefit analysis:

"Yesterday, I was finally provided with a copy of the 'business case' upon which Secretary Gates based his decision to oppose the development of the competitive engine for the F-35. While the committee is still reviewing the analysis, it appears that the Department's approach focuses on near-term costs to the exclusion of what the committee sees as the long-term benefits of this program. The costs of the second engine in the next few years must be balanced against the fact that life-cycle costs of having two engines are comparable to having only one. The Department's analysis does not consider the risk that a single engine would present not only to our fighter force, but to our national security, given that the F-35 will account for 95 percent of our nation's fighter fleet. With this program, as with all others, we cannot use near-sighted vision when long-term security is at stake. I look forward to continuing the dialogue on this program with my colleagues and the Department of Defense. But I remain unconvinced that terminating the alternate engine program makes sense."


The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has  recently announced the next steps on a number of projects. These announcements build on the package of adjustments to the Defence Programme announced to the House on 15th December 2009. The projects include:

An interim Partnering Agreement with MBDA (UK) Ltd to take forward the Government's strategy for the UK's Complex Weapons sector as originally set out in the Defence Industrial Strategy.  The Agreement builds on the successful Team Complex Weapons Assessment Phase that commenced in July 2008.  The MoD has placed a contract valued at £330 million to demonstrate and manufacture both the Fire Shadow Loitering Munition which will be able to be used in operations by the British Army in Afghanistan and, using a development of the current Brimstone anti-armour weapon, the second element of the Selective Precision Effects at Range (SPEAR) programme for use by the RAF on Harrier GR7 and Tornado GR4 including on current operations.  The contract also includes further work on the Future Local Area Air Defence System and on future components of the SPEAR programme.

Read more...  

By Andrew Mok

The latest round of cost increases and delays for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme brings further ill tidings for the UK's replacement for the carrier-based Harrier: the F-35B. Last week, a report from the Pentagon to the Congress officially declared a critical "Nunn-McCurdy breach," which means that the average unit costs have grown more than 50% since 2002. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates told the Congress on March 30 that despite previous "overly rosy" cost estimates, he was confident the latest set of cost increases will also be the final ones. In the UK, the Chief of Defence Materiel, General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue, told the Commons Defence Committee that after 2015, F-35 deliveries "will come off quickly" in line with the completion of the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers. These assurances, however, seem very optimistic as well because of a high risk of further delays and cost overruns. Along with uncertainty about when the fighter will actually become operational, the rising costs mean the UK's MoD may wind up with less carrier-based fighters than originally planned. Or perhaps it may wind up with a different plane than the F-35B. And that could be quite a wise decision.

Read more...  

Despite the UK Civil Service being "in purdah" for the period of the General Election, the MoD is still awarding contracts. Their nature and processes also cast a light on defence procurement, which is usually characterised as huge contracts, cut throat competition and advanced technology which may or may not come through as advertised.

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Northrop Grumman begins centre fuselage for first international F-35
Northrop Grumman Corporation has started the centre fuselage for the first international F-35 Lightning II, and F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant for the United Kingdom. The centre fuselage is one of the core structures around which the F-35 aircraft is built. The assembly process began at the company's Palmdale, California, manufacturing centre with the loading of an all-composite air inlet duct into special tooling structure.

Lockheed Martin flies optimised conventional F-35
On Nov. 14th, the first optimised conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35 made its inaugural flight, the fourth F-35 to begin flight operations. Piloted by Lockheed Martin test pilot David "Doc" Nelson, the Lockheed Martin F-35A, called AF-1, climbed to 20,000 feet, performed 360-degree rolls and flew at angles of attack up to 20 degrees during the 89-minute flight. AF-1 features a production-representative structure and was built on the same assembly line as the 31 Low-Rate Initial Production aircraft now in assembly.

F-35B flies to Maryland test site, supported by Automated Sustainment System
The first Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter, BF-1, arrived November 15th at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, where its first hovers and vertical landings will be conducted. The F-35 Autonomics Logistics Information System (ALIS), the aircraft's computerised maintenance management system is currently monitoring BF-1 from its sustainment operations centre in Fort Worth, Texas. BF-1 is the first test aircraft to be supported solely by the fleet's Autonomic Logistics Global Sustainment (ALGS) System. ALGS was developed in parallel with the F-35 and is a key driver of the financial affordability equation of the F-35 compared to the legacy aircraft it is replacing.

Based on paid-for updates in Flight International magazine.


Latest from the Ministry of Defence

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