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Classified facility to be constructed in Israel

Jane's Defense News - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 02:00
A new secret facility with hardened shelters is to be constructed in Israel under a USD64.6 million contract that the US Department of Defence (DoD) awarded to the New Jersey-based company Conti Federal Services Inc on 18 October. The contract announcement gave no further details other than to say
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Collaboration on weaponised C295W gathers pace

Jane's Defense News - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 02:00
Spanish company Expal announced on 18 October that it had signed an agreement with Airbus Defence and Space that will see the company provide engineering support for munitions to be mounted on an Airbus C295W. Expal said that they would be providing support "for the integration of standard
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Euronaval 2016: French Navy's new frigate design unveiled

Jane's Defense News - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 02:00
The concept design for the new Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire (FTI) for the French Navy was unveiled by the French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on 18 October. The minister was joined at the Euronaval exhibition in Paris by Laurent Collet-Billon, head of France's defence
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Euronaval 2016: Indonesian Sea and Coast Guard orders Scanter 6000 radars

Jane's Defense News - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 02:00
Key Points The five KPLP patrol boats receiving Scanter 6000 are KN Trisula , KN Kalimasadha , KN Kalawai , KN Chundamani , and KN Gandiwa Scanter 6000 system is being integrated with the Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine Vision Master ARPA display system Danish systems and sensors house Terma has
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Euronaval 2016: Lockheed Martin continues to develop COMBATSS-21 for USN's future frigate

Jane's Defense News - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 02:00
Key Points Lockheed Martin is continuing to develop its COMBATSS-21 CMS The system's lineage to the Aegis programme allows it to draw on established Aegis capability as well as any new developments incorporated US systems and sensors house Lockheed Martin is continuing development of its
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Euronaval 2016: NATO must think differently about risks today, says alliance maritime commander

Jane's Defense News - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 02:00
Key Points NATO faces new range of conceptual and geographic threats Alliance member states must think differently about how to address such threats NATO faces a new range of threats today, in both geographic and conceptual contexts, and needs to learn to think differently in terms of how to
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Hanwha Group restructures defence activities following acquisitions

Jane's Defense News - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 02:00
South Korea's Hanwha group, which has made several high-profile defence acquisitions over the past year or so, has announced a restructure to optimise industrial efficiencies. The Seoul-headquartered corporation said in a filing to the Korean Exchange on 17 October that the reorganisation is
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LM Gets $743M for 9th Batch F-35 | Germany’s MEADS Cost Almost Double $4.5B Euros Proposed | Japan to Consider Aegis or THAAD in Defense Upgrade

Defense Industry Daily - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 01:58
Americas

  • MQ-8C Fire Scout UAVs will be supplied with Leonardo’s 2-panel Osprey AESA radar following the dismissal of a protest by rival bidderTelephonics. Five radars will be delivered to the US Naval Air Systems Command in the first financial quarter of 2017 and will be used for integration, test and evaluation on-board the Bell Helicopter 407-derived MQ-8C, and the USN holds an option to buy a larger quantity for operational use. The radar will provide only 260-degree field of view and will come equipped with air-to-air targeting mode.

  • Contracts have been awarded to Lockheed Martin for the provision of the ninth batch F-35 Joint Strike Fighter totalling $743 million. The DoD allocation comes as negotiations for Lots 9 & 10 continue. One contract sets not-to-exceed prices for up to $385 million on a range of services for the US military’s F-35 customers, including redesign and development of components with diminishing manufacturing and material services while another $333 million is being allotted to set not-to-exceed prices for one F-35A and one F-35B on behalf of a non-US participant in the program. Another $25.4 million of the award comes from the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme to pay for “country unique requirements.”

Middle East & North Africa

  • Just over two years after the Islamic State rolled into the city of Mosul, Iraqi security and Kurdish Peshmerga forces have begun maneuvers to reclaim the city. The long awaited assault has stoked fears of a humanitarian crisis, creating more refugees from the one million civilians estimated to be still living in the city. Backed by US air power, Iraqi forces advancing on multiple fronts still remain some distance from Mosul and are expected to eventually take up positions on the edge of the city and lay siege before breaching its boundaries and directly engaging die-hard jihadists.

Europe

  • Prototypes of a new variant of the Pantsyr mobile air defense system are currently being assembled with production slated to commence in 2018. Designated as Pantsyr-SM, the updated model will boost its detection range from 40 km to 75 km while the engagement range is expected to be doubled as well to 40 km. A navalized version, the Pantsyr-M, will be fielded on the warship Admiral Nakhimov next year. The naval variant features a quad-directional static radar array, and will use both the same missiles as the land-based Pantsyr-S1/Pantsyr-SM and the future Hermes-K missile for use against small surface targets and small aircraft like helicopters.

  • A proposal submitted by MBDA and Lockheed Martin to provide the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) to Germany will cost nearly double the $4.5 billion originally estimated. Several sources have backed up the claims made by Reuters, but little reason has been given as to why the costing has jumped so suddenly. Berlin is expected to request that MBDA provide an additional detailed breakdown of the cost of the major items in the proposal while some officials have already raised the possibility of going back to negotiate with Raytheon about a new version of the current Patriot missile defense system.

  • Poland has shaken off criticisms from both Airbus and the French government by inviting the firm, alongside Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky and Italian firm Leonardo-Finmeccanica, to talks in relation to buying army helicopters worth about $254 million. The invitations come just a week after Warsaw cancelled a preliminary $3.4 billion deal with Airbus to buy 50 Caracal multi-role helicopters and the talks are being undertaken to fill an “urgent operational need declared by the armed forces of the Republic of Poland.” By declaring such an urgent need, the ministry can hold talks with a chosen contractor without the need to announce a new tender.

Asia Pacific

  • Aegis or THAAD? With the expectation that Tokyo will request additional money to fund missile defense upgrades to repel North Korean ballistic missiles, a study will be funded on whether to buy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system or Aegis Ashore. It’s believed that money will also be provided to improve their existing PAC-3 air defense system as well. However, any purchases or modernizations will take time to implement as North Korea continues with its escalation of missile tests.

Today’s Video

The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) conducting its first airborne trap on a F/A-18E Super Hornet:

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Leonardo to equip US Navy’s unmanned helicopter with Osprey AESA radar

Naval Technology - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 01:00
Leonardo-Finmeccanica has been contracted to deliver its Osprey AESA radar for the US Navy’s newly-upgraded unmanned helicopter, the MQ-8C Fire Scout.
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Astra Microwave Products-Microwave Sub-Systems for the Defence Industry

Naval Technology - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 01:00
Astra Microwave Products designs, develops, and manufactures microwave sub-systems for the defence, space, telecommunication and meteorology sectors.
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

SIGMA 10514 PKR Guided-Missile Frigates

Naval Technology - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 01:00
Two SIGMA 10514 PKR (Perusak Kawal Rudal) guided-missile frigates are being built by PT PAL Indonesia (Persero), in collaboration with Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS), for the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL).
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BAE Systems to sustain and support US Navy’s air traffic control and landing systems

Naval Technology - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 01:00
The US Navy has contracted BAE Systems to support and sustain its air traffic control and landing systems.
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Rolls-Royce secures contract for US Navy’s new fleet replenishment ships

Naval Technology - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 01:00
Rolls-Royce has been contracted to supply diesel generators, propellers and shaft lines for the US Navy’s new John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler ships.
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

TENMAT Ownership and Manufacture of RAILKO and RAILKO Marine

Naval Technology - Wed, 19/10/2016 - 01:00
TENMAT commercial director Julian Greenhalgh comments on the company's ownership and manufacture of RAILKO products.
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

100MW Kathu Solar Project in Northern Cape of South Africa Begins Construction

Naval Technology - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 18:40
An ENGIE-led consortium with partners, SENER and ACCIONA, held a ground-breaking ceremony for their Kathu Solar Park in the town of Kathu, Northern Cape Province, brought together local officials, guests and the project's South African partners.
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Jorge Domecq at Euronaval: “More cooperation needed to develop the next generation naval platforms”

EDA News - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 17:13

EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq today (18 October) visited the Euronaval exhibition in Paris where he had a range of bilateral meetings with industry leaders. He also participated in a panel discussion organized by GICAN (Groupement des Industries de Construction et Activités Navales) on the “The future of naval warfare: high-end operations”.

In his panel intervention, Mr Domecq called for more cooperation between Member States on European programs and the development of the next generation of platforms.
“The current scattered approach is ultimately putting at risk the very survival of our naval industry (…) European navies operate 20 different types of frigate, four different types of aircraft carrier, and multiple types of support ships and MCM Vessels. This situation is no longer affordable”, he said.

“There is no need to develop a ‘one size fits all’ solution. But we do need a full, frank, fair and mutual analysis of common gaps, common requirements and respective investments made at national and multinational level by Member States, including on high-end capabilities”, the EDA Chief said.

He called on Member States that face similar regional or procurement challenges to agree on common platforms with an open architecture approach for subsystems. “And I would like to encourage industrial stakeholders not to be afraid about competition nor about possible European consolidation”, he stated.

 

EDA tools available

Tools developed within EDA like the Collaborative Database are unique instruments to identify the business case for cooperative capability developments.

45 collaborative opportunities for naval platforms have already been identified such as ‘surface combatants’, ‘submarines’, ‘maritime patrol vessels’ or ‘auxiliary ships for logistics support’ but also specific naval assets such as ‘maritime patrol aircraft’ and ‘naval helicopters’ or capabilities like ‘naval radars’, ‘sonars’, ‘naval air and missile defence’ and ‘ship protection’.

In particular, the capability of replenishment at sea and logistic support are essential. Many of the Member States share a common need for improved endurance at sea. “Applying a model like the European Air Transport Command (ETAC) can be of interest”, Mr Domecq said.

 

Increased R&T needed

Mr Domecq also said that European naval forces have probably never been confronted with security challenges as big as today, ranging from territorial protection to dealing with refugee crises and combatting criminal trafficking networks in the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea.

He recalled that the recent EU Global Strategy explicitly highlights the importance of maritime security which will also be part of the upcoming revision of the Capability Development Plan (CDP) for which the EDA will seek a mandate by Defence Ministers in November.

Regarding the CDP revision, Mr Domecq insisted on the need to ensure strong interaction between the naval industry and research and technologies (R&T) community. “These efforts have to lead to an increased R&T commitment, either on an intergovernmental level through the European Defence Agency or on the basis of the future Preparatory Action and the European Defence Research Programme (EDRP). It’s paramount that we push ahead with innovation on disruptive technologies”, the EDA Chief Executive said.

 

More information:
Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Registration for 3rd meeting of Energy Consultation Forum is now open

EDA News - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 10:13

The EDA is now inviting participants to the third conference of the Consultation Forum for Sustainable Energy in the Defence and Security Sector (CF SEDSS) which will take place from 22-24 November in Rome (Italy).

Building on the progress made during the previous conferences, experts from national administrations, industry and academia are encouraged to continue to work in three parallel working groups: (1) Energy Management, (2) Energy Efficiency focusing on buildings, and (3) Renewable Energy.

The Conference will take place in the Hotel Roma Aurelia Antica, Rome.

Registration is open until 06 November 2016. After which, registration will be permitted for conference attendance, but accommodation at the conference facility may not be available.

For more information and registration, please click here.

 

Background

 

 

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Sikorsky Hits Big Milestone in Black Hawk Deliveries | Russia-India Agreement May Bring S-400 to India | Bell Heli Teaming with Fuji Heavy Ind on Japan’s AH-X Program

Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 01:58
Americas

  • Radar signal management technology made by a Taiwanese company will be used in Lockheed Martin’s latest MIM-104F (PAC-3) air defense missile system upgrade. Developed by the state-owned National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the technology is also found in the indigenous Sky Bow III air defense system. So far, it has made $25.3 million in international orders.

  • Sikorsky has just delivered its 1000th H-60M Black Hawk helicopter to the US Army in a ceremony that saw the deliveries of the 792nd UH-60M and the 208th HH-60M. A Lockheed Martin subsidiary, the company delivered the first UH-60M to the service in 2007 and the first HH-60M Medevac helicopter in 2008. The “Mike” model helicopters represent the Army’s third standard baseline H-60 Black Hawk aircraft version in the program’s 38-year production history.

Middle East & North Africa

  • US-made radar systems have been cleared for sale to the government of Kuwait by the US State Department. Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon will compete for the $194 million contract which will see the winner provide six short-range radars and a long-range radar system with primary and secondary surveillance radar arrays, upgrades to existing systems, friend-or-foe identification and related support. The radar systems provide situational awareness for security forces in Kuwait to detect and interdict fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft along the country’s borders.

Africa

  • South African company Ultimate Unmanned has launched its new Viper 1000C UAV with aims to market the drone across Africa and the Middle East. Based on the Stemme motor glider, the company plans to lease the Viper for a variety of missions including surveillance, border patrol, anti-piracy, pipeline monitoring, counter-terrorism, mapping, anti-smuggling, and wildlife monitoring. Ultimate Unmanned said the aircraft can be used for both civilian and military missions but the company is planning a dedicated Viper 1000M military version and is also studying rotary wing UAVs.

Europe

  • Thales’ new-generation TALIOS laser targeting pod has successfully completed a more than two-hour first flight on a Rafale fighter. Development of the pod has been carried out as part of a major development program for French Air Force and Navy Rafales. The company reported remarkable performances in pointing and telemetry from the pod with the system collecting high-quality images taken using the “day” channel. Adjustment and performance measurement tests with the pod and fighter will continue throughout 2017.

Asia Pacific

  • An agreement between the leaders of Russia and India has paved the way for negotiations to bring the S-400 Triumph air-defense system to India. The state-run manufacturer of the system ROSTEC stated contracts could be prepared and signed by early 2017 with delivery of the system to commence in 2020. With the S-400 system currently being rolled out across Russia as well as being spotted in Syria, the agreement with New Delhi points to a willingness by Moscow to deepen strategic ties with one of its biggest buyers.

  • Bell Helicopters is keen to sell its AH-1Z attack helicopter as a solution to Japan’s AH-X program. As part of preparations the company has teamed with engineers from Fuji Heavy Industries on modification work to the helicopter aimed at improving transmission performance. If selected, between 60-70 of the Bell 412EPI-based helicopters would be produced locally in Fuji with the first slated to deliver in 2022. Civilian variants would also be produced in Fuji in an effort to help the production line attain scale.

  • An undisclosed number of Taurus KEPD 350K cruise missiles were formally handed over to the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) last week. The German-made munitions have been integrated for use on Korean F-15K fighters and are an enhanced version of the Taurus KEPD 350 fielded by Germany and Spain on their Panavia Tornado, Boeing EF-18 Hornet, and Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft respectively. The Korean missiles are also equipped with new Rockwell Collins GPS receivers that come with a Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) to prevent jamming.

Today’s Video

Taiwan’s MQ-9 clone:

Categories: Defence`s Feeds

Snakes and Rotors: The H-1 Helicopter Program

Defense Industry Daily - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 01:48
UH-1Y and AH-1Z
by Neville Dawson

The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required.

Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continued on into production and deployment.

DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades involved in each model, program developments and annual budgets, the full timeline of contracts and key program developments, and related research sources.

The H-1 Helicopters TopOwl
(click to view full)

For pilots, both H-1 helicopters will incorporate a newly designed “Integrated Avionics System” cockpit designed by Northrop Grumman, including dual mission computers, GPS navigation, moving map displays, and other modern aids. Pilot workload will be improved further by using Thales’ TopOwl helmet-mounted display systems (HMDS), to offer flight and targeting data no matter where the pilot looks.

FLIR Systems’ BRITE Star NTIS will handle targeting and surveillance on the UH-1Y Venom. The UH-1Y is currently slated to use only machine guns and 70mm rockets, but a March 2012 decision has added laser-guided APKWS rockets to its arsenal.

The AH-1Z Viper will use the more advanced Lockheed Martin/ Wescam/ Kollsman AN/AAQ-30, which is fully integrated into the AH-1Z fire control system and TopOwl HMD. It provides range and optical line-of-sight data for all weapons, even AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. TSS features a large-aperture, 3rd-generation staring mid-wave FLIR derived from Lockheed’s fighter-borne Sniper targeting pod; a 640 x 512 day/night TV with automatic video tracker and continuous zoom from high magnification to wide field of view; a laser spot tracker; an on-gimbal inertial measurement unit (IMU) for accurate line-of-sight pointing and geolocation of targets; coupled with a Kollsman laser designator/rangefinder with an eyesafe mode. The AAQ-30’s wide Field-of-View (FoV) optics also provide a secondary navigation capability when light levels are low, and night vision goggles are ineffective. All of this is packed into a stabilized L-3 Wescam turret.

Overall, the AH-1Z Viper will have a wider array of weapons to choose from, and it will become the Navy’s initial platform for the dual-mode radar/laser guided JAGM missile if the weapon makes it into production.

Neither helicopter uses extensive armoring for protection, as is the case with the AH-64 Apache, for instance. Instead, efforts like infrared-reducing paint and exhausts, design for low profiles, and some protection to key systems like energy-absorbing landing gear, self-sealing fuel systems and a fuel vapor inerting system are used. Troops riding in the UH-1Y will especially appreciate the energy attenuating seats that reduce the effects of G-forces in the event of a crash, or hard landing; in the UH-1N, they just had to sit on the floor and receive the full shock. Both helicopters will also rely on a common set of advanced defensive systems:

  • ATK’s AN/AAR-47 missile approach warning system – will become JATAS
  • BAE’s AN/ALQ-144 infrared (IR) jammer and AN/ALE-47 decoy dispensing system, serves as central ECM hub
  • Northrop Grumman’s AN/APR-39A(V)2 radar warning receiver
  • UT Goodrich’s AN/AVR-2A laser warning receiver
  • A Directed InfraRed CounterMeasures (DIRCM) system of some kind may be added to the AH-1Z in particular

UH-1Y & AH-1Z: Performance Issues AH-1Z, testing
(click to view full)

Some issues do remain with the helicopters. One is that the 2 engines provide almost 3,660 shp, but the aircraft’s transmission is flat-rated for 2,350 shp. That doesn’t matter as much at altitude or in very hot weather, or above 180 knots airspeed where drag becomes the limiting factor, so it was deemed acceptable.

For the AH-1Z, potential issues include a lack of robust armor – a characteristic it shares with earlier AH-1 models, but not with the Army’s heavily armored AH-64 gunship. The exception is the flight controls and some engine sections, which can withstand cannon fire up to 23mm. This is more of a design choice than a manufacturing flaw, but it does affect the helicopter’s usage.

A second AH-1Z design issue involves communications. Statements by H-1 upgrade program manager USMC Col. Harry Hewson seem to indicate that the older AH-1Ws will initially be more advanced in this area. The AH-1Zs will have secure voice communications only, while the upgraded AH-1W includes the tactical video data link (TVDL) that can broadcast sensor data to a ground controller with a ROVER system, or receive video from other helicopters or Marine aircraft with LITENING pods. As of 2014, a full-motion video project is in the works for the AH-1Z, but hasn’t been fielded yet.

On the manufacturing side, as of December 2010, several rotor components were falling far short of the original 10,000 hour reliability goal. Unfortunately, efforts to redesign the rotor head’s cuff and yoke weren’t going to provide enough improvement to justify the costs. NAVAIR says that current efforts involve improved tooling design and manufacturing processes for the existing design.

The H-1 Upgrade Program UH-1N, Iraq
(click to view full)

It seemed fairly straightforward: update a pair of old USMC standbys in the UH-1N and AH-1W, creating a transport (UH-1Y Venom) and attack helicopter (AH-1Z Viper) backbone with maximum commonality, and minimum risk.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

The H-1 program is designed to resolve existing safety issues in both aircraft, reduce life-cycle costs, significantly enhance combat capability, and achieve 85% commonality between the 2 versions. Bell Helicopter believes this commonality can save up to $3 billion in operating and support costs over a 30-year lifespan, and the stated goal is airframes that will last through 10,000 flight hours of service life. Common components include the tail boom, engines, drive train, rotor blade, software controls, avionics, and displays.

Many of these helicopters will be remanufactured from the Marines’ old UH-1N Hueys and its AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters. Major modifications include a new 4-blade rotor system with semi-automatic blade fold, new composite main and four-bladed tail rotor, upgraded drive system and landing gear, and pylon structural modifications. The AH-1Z attach helicopter will also have 2,500 pounds of fuel instead of 1,900 (AH-1W), to extend strike range to over 170 miles. GE’s T700-401C engine will power both helicopters, giving them improved maneuverability, speed and range, and payload when compared to their UH-1N and AH-1W predecessors. The UH-1Y is touted as having 50% better range, a faster maximum speed, and 25% greater payload than its UH-1N predecessor. The AH-1Z is touted as almost doubling effective strike range over the AH-1W, or doubling weapons load carried to the same ranges. Maintainability is also being addressed, using embedded diagnostics that can provide warning of maintenance needs or impending faults.

H-1 Upgrade: Force Size & Structure Shifts AH-1W, hard left
(click to view full)

The H-1 program has required substantial changes to both cost and schedule 4 times now, while addressing numerous technical issues. The UH-1Y/ AH-1Z upgrades program was originally structured as a remanufacturing effort, converting 180 AH-1W Super Cobras to AH-1Z Vipers, and 100 UH-1N Hueys to UH-1Y Venoms.

It didn’t stay that way.

The initial changes were prompted by 2 factors: effort and time.

The idea of remanufacturing the helicopters didn’t look so great once the true scope and expense of the work involved became clear. Worse, it involved taking each UH-1N Huey out of service for 2 whole years, in the face of ongoing demand from the front lines.

The program tried putting new UH-1Y nose sections into production earlier, and establishing a rotating pool of government-furnished equipment so a UH-1N doesn’t have to be taken out of service until a corresponding UH-1Y Venom is delivered. After the 1st 10 UH-1Y remanufactures, however, the rest were switched to new-build machines.

The next big change was the USMC’s Program Objective Memorandum for 2010, which raised the future fleet to 123 UH-1Ys and 226 AH-1Zs (58 new-build + 168 remanufactured), as part of a plan to grow the Marines by about 20,000 troops. Under this plan, the 58 new-build AH-1Zs would be delivered first, in order to maintain overall fleet availability by keeping existing AH-1Ws in service. Once the overall fleet had grown, AH-1Ws could be taken from the front lines and shifted into the remanufacturing program.

Subsequent shifts have pared back the number of AH-1Zs, and drastically reducing the number of remanufactured AH-1Zs, while increasing the number of UH-1Y Venoms. The legacy model is a USMC squadron of 18 AH-1Ws and 9 UH-1Ns, but the future will involve 15 AH-1Zs and 12 UH-1Ys in each squadron.

So, why the extra Venoms?

The UH-1Y’s extra power proved to be extremely useful in hot and high-altitude conditions, and the planned addition of guided 70mm rockets like APKWS and LOGIR would give them an attack punch comparable to previous AH-1 Cobras. The UH-1Y’s performance in Afghanistan using APKWS guided 70mm rockets has only reinforced these opinions.

The other question is, why did remanufactured AH-1Ws decline so sharply?

Heavy wartime use has increased the wear on existing AH-1Ws, which created a shortage of flyable attack helicopters, and made remanufacturing them more expensive. By FY 2013, cost estimates for new AH-1Z cabins offered an option that was now cheaper over the machines’ service life, while avoiding a critical USMC shortage by leaving AH-1Ws in the fleet.

H-1 Program: Budgets & Industrial Partners

Note that these years do not always correspond fully to Production Lot orders, though they can be used as a general guide. Since American supplemental funding bills are typically passed closer to mid-year, and not in conjunction with the baseline defense spending bills, aircraft appropriated under OCO/supplemental funding as war replacements are sometimes bought with the following year’s contract.

For instance, in 2009, the 11 baseline UH-1Ys, 5 baseline AH-1Zs, and 4 supplemental UH-1Ys were bought as Lot 6 (20 helicopters); but the program office didn’t have priced options for additional AH-1Zs negotiated for Lot 6. That’s why FY 2009’s 4 supplemental AH-1Zs were bought as part of Production Lot 7.

In FY 2010, those 4 Lot 7 supplemental AH-1Zs were added to FY 2010’s 18 UH-1Ys, 5 AH-1Zs, and 2 OCO funded new-build AH-1Zs, growing Lot 7 to 29 helicopters. The “29” total adds the 4 machines from FY 2009, but also omits the FY 2010 supplemental bill’s 1 UH-1Y and 1 AH-1Z. They’re part of Lot 8, because their bill’s timing prevented them from being added to Lot 7. And so it goes…

H-1 Upgrade Program industrial partners include:

Program Problems UH-1Y & AH-1W,
in Afghanistan
(click to view full)

The original idea of remanufacturing existing helicopters, and adding some new performance enhancements, seemed like a low-risk program. Events have a vote, however, and the actual program has been much more challenging than expected.

In May 2005, the Navy warned Bell that the H-1 program was in serious jeopardy. The Texas-based company was described as failing to meet Navy needs, and the memo reserved the option of killing the program. It demanded “fundamental changes” in Bell Helicopter’s management processes as well as its production processes. Recertification in Earned Value Management, used to track program performance, was high on the list of “to-dos.”

Ultimately, changes were made – including some executive changes at the highest levels of Bell Helicopter Textron.

A May 31/06 Defense Acquisition Board process made the decision to proceed with the program. The UH-1Y and AH-1Z began Phase II of their Operational Evaluation (OpEval) in February 2008, and a full rate production decision was expected in August 2008.

After the management and process issues were sorted out, the UH-1Y did very well. Its Initial Operational Capability (IOC) came a month early, in August 2008, and it received a full production go-ahead in September 2008.

The AH-1Z has fared less well, thanks in part to issues surrounding the AAQ-30 surveillance and targeting system, and the TopOwl helmet-mounted display. Other issues included rocket gas ingestion by the engines, and problems with mission software. IOC for the AH-1Z was pushed back from FY 2008 to FY 2011, but the program is moving toward completion.

Contracts and Key Events

Unless otherwise noted, all contracts are issued by US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in Patuxent River, MD to Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX.

FY 2015 – 2016

October 18/16: Bell Helicopters is keen to sell its AH-1Z attack helicopter as a solution to Japan’s AH-X program. As part of preparations the company has teamed with engineers from Fuji Heavy Industries on modification work to the helicopter aimed at improving transmission performance. If selected, between 60-70 of the Bell 412EPI-based helicopters would be produced locally in Fuji with the first slated to deliver in 2022. Civilian variants would also be produced in Fuji in an effort to help the production line attain scale.

April 22/16: Protests have arisen by some US lawmakers against the USAF’s UH-1N Huey helicopter replacement program. The helicopters, which protect US supplies of inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), are to be replaced via a sole-source contract due to a new urgency felt by air force brass in fielding the capability favoring Sikorsky’s UH-60 Black Hawk. This in turn has caused a group in Congress to rail back who now want a fair and open competition for the Huey’s replacement.

March 15/16: The US Navy has awarded Bell Helicopters a $461 million contract to supply the force with 12 Lot 13 UH-1Y and 16 Lot 13 AH-1Z helicopters. The contract includes the provision of 16 auxiliary fuel kits. Completion of the sale is expected by February 2019 as part of the Navy’s H-1 upgrade program. Bell Helicopters has also signed a teaming agreement with BAE Systems Australia to offer the AH-1Z as a potential replacement for the Australian Army’s Tiger fleet.

August 19/15: The H-1 helicopter fleet of both the Navy and Pakistan will receive a boost through a $85.5 million contract to develop weapons systems for the aircraft as part of its system configuration set (SCS). The SCS intends to create prototypes for emerging operational requirements, with the majority of this contract covering acquisitions for the US Navy, with the contract set to run to 2020.

FY 2014

UH-1Y from LHD 4
(click to view full)

Sept 5/14: A $41.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 3 UH-1Y flight training devices (aka. simulators), 1 AH-1Z flight training device, aircraft and/or trainer driven revisions, aircraft common operational equipment, provisioned device spares, associated technical data required for operational and maintenance support, and 3 months of initial operation evaluation period for each flight training device. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 Navy reserve and FY 2014 aircraft budgets.

Work will be performed at Broken Arrow, OK (46%); Fort Worth, TX (33%); St. Louis, MO (15%); and Austin, TX (6%), and is expected to be complete in June 2018. The contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302.1 by the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61340-14-C-1000).

Aug 4/14: UH-1Ns. The USMC plans to retire the last of its 205 UH-1N Huey helicopters in September 2015. Of that total, 10 were upgraded to UH-1Ys. Another 5 upgraded HH-1Ns will continue to serve at MCAS Yuma, AZ, but they will retire in 2015. Sources: Navy League Seapower, “Marine Corps to Retire UH-1N Helicopters in September; HH-1Ns in 2015”.

June 20/14: Support. A $44.7 million modification, finalizing a previously awarded contract to a cost-plus-fixed-fee price contract to repair various parts for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z Upgrade Helicopters. FY 2014 US Navy budgets will be drawn on as needed.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX, and work is expected to be complete by January 2017. No funds will be obligated at the time of award and contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was a non-competitive requirement in accordance with 10 USC. 2304 (c)(1), managed by NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-14-D-015N).

May 29/14: Sub-contractors. Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronics Co. in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $25 million delivery order for 119 H-1 upgrade tech refresh mission computers. Those have been broken out into a separate purchase by the US Navy, as a way to improve costs. $10.9 million in US Navy FY 2013 – 2014 aircraft budgets is committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (79%); Salt Lake City, UT (13%); and Baltimore, MD (8%); it is expected to be complete in October 2017 (N00019-11-G-0016, DO 0002).

May 16/14: Lot 11. A $337.8 million contract modification finalizes the Lot 11 order for 12 new UH-1Ys and 12 new AH-1Zs, creating a fixed-price-incentive contract for the helicopters and a firm-fixed-price contract for the auxiliary fuel kits. See also May 28/13, which brings the total announced award to $388.4 million – but note that this contract adjusts the previous ratio from 15 UH-1Ys and 10 AH0-1Zs.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 & 2014 US Navy aircraft budgets, which makes sense. The final FY 2014 budget has cut buys to a base of 11 UH-1Ys and 10 AH-1Zs, and recall that annual contracts also tend to include supplemental funding purchases from the previous fiscal year. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be completed in June 2017 (N00019-13-C-0023).

Lot 11 order

April 7/14: HMD. Thales Defense & Security Inc. in Clarksburg, MD received a $38.5 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for Optimized Top Owl (OTO) Helmet Mounted Sight and Display (HMSD) Sustainment Capability services. They’re replicating the facility, labor, materials, parts, test and tooling equipment from Bordeaux, France to the United States.

$1.8 million in FY 2014 Navy budgets is committed immediately. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, MD, and is expected to be complete in April 2019. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by NAWCAD in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-14-D-0014).

March 28/14: Lot 12. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Hurst, TX receives a $59.7 million contract modification, buying long-lead items for Lot 12’s 15 new-build UH-1Ys and 11 new-build AH-1Zs.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 Navy aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2015 (N00019-13-C-0023).

March 28/14: Support. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Hurst, TX receives exercises an $11.4 million firm-fixed-price contract option for H-1 upgrade program systems engineering and program management support.

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2014 USN aircraft budgets. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2014 (N00019-12-C-0009).

March 4-11/14: Budgets. The US military slowly files its budget documents, detailing planned spending from FY 2014 – 2019. The numbers are featured in the charts above, and the detailed documents add this:

“FY 2015 Airframe cost increases account for prime contractor’s new Business System Modernization (BSM) accounting structure and increased internal research and development investment, Pension Protection Act pension harmonization and higher medical forecasts, and continued effects of large business base decline. Due to airframe cost increases and USMC priorities, the program… added one year of production. Compared to President’s Budget 2014, unit cost growth is a result of deferred aircraft to FY 2020…. electronics previously harvested from UH-1N and AH-1W aircraft at no-cost were procured new, at cost, for all future lots beginning in FY 2013…: CD-45/ALE-47(V) Chaff/Flare Programmer, ICS Boxes, MT-6711 TACAN Mount, RT-1798 TACAN Receiver, APR39 System, CP-1975/AAR-47(V)2 Central Processor, SU-211/AAR-47(V)2 Optical Sensor, AS-2728 Antennas AT-741B/A Antennas, EGIs, CV-20 Digital Converters. GFE Electronics increase in FY 2014 due to Mission Computer being provided as GFE instead of CFE.

All new engines are factored into the budget formulation for FY 2014 through the FYDP. The program prefers to procure new T-700-401C engines for higher maintainability and reliability, increased time on wing, and ultimately lower life-cycle costs. Refurbished T-700-401C engines are procured as budget constraints warrant and the H-60 B/F sundown schedule permits. An additional determining factor for refurb engine procurement is the repair (refurb) contract ceiling for H-1 with General Electric Engine Services (GEES), currently at sixteen engines per year. Due to funding constraints as a result of sequestration, program reductions, and airframe costs, 16 UH-1Y refurbished engines were procured in FY 2013.”

Jan 28/14: DOT&E Testing Report. The Pentagon releases the FY 2013 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The H-1 upgrade program is included, and as of July 2013, Bell Helicopter has delivered 79/160 UH-1Ys and 32/189 AH-1Zs.

The big issue with the H-1s is software, and to a lesser extent support. The SCS 6.0 software has a critical flaw: if it detects a failure in any electronic warfare component, whether real or a “false positive”, the helicopter loses the entire EW display for all threat detection systems. That cost 2 of 23 missions during testing. This problem was detected during developmental testing, but DOT&E blandly says that “the operational implications of this loss of electronic warfare situational awareness were not apparent until operational testing.” Really?

They’re testing SCS 7.0, which hopes to correct this problem, and DOT&E concludes that “H-1 Upgrades units remain survivable against small arms and automatic weapons fire (up to 12.7 mm) and legacy Man-Portable Air Defense Systems.”

Meanwhile, they note that the test helicopters had problems with readiness rates because of long waits for repair parts. Tail and rotor systems were an especial problem, in part because operational units quite properly have priority. What they don’t say is whether the level of problems encountered are an indicator of larger issues.

Jan 22/14: Support. A $13.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order for repair/overhaul work on 5 high priority UH-1Y/AH-1Z items.

$6.7 million in FY 2014 USN funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX, and the contract runs until January 2017. US Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support in Philadelphia, PA manages the contract (N00383-14-D-015N, DO 0001).

Dec 19/13: Avionics. Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronic in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $10.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for low rate initial production of 45 improved (“technical refresh”) AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters mission computers, which are now being bought direct (q.v. Dec 29/11 entry).

All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2012 USN aircraft procurement budgets, and will expire of Sept 30/14. Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA, and is expected to be complete in October 2015. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, CA (N68936-14-C-0020).

Dec 17/13: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $34 million firm-fixed-price contract for the AH-1Z’s AN/AAQ-30(A) Target Sight Systems (TSS) and data. Based on past contracts, that’s about 12.

$31.2 million is committed immediately, using USN FY 2013 and 2014 aircraft procurement budgets. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (80%), and Ocala, FL (20%), and is expected to be complete by May 2016. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.SC 2304(c)(1), as set forth in FAR 6.302-1(b)(1)(ii). The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-14-C-JQ65).

FY 2013

Orders; Loss in South Korea; Losing helicopters at program’s end? AH-1Z, fully armed
(click to view full)

Sept 27/13: Training. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc., Hurst, TX receives a $23.1 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to perform baseline configuration upgrades for 1 AH-1Z Full Flight Simulator, 1 UH-1Y Full Flight Simulator, and 1 UH-1Y Flight Training Device. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Broken Arrow, OK (49%); Fort Worth, TX (35%) and St. Louis, MO (16%), and the larger contract runs until March 2017. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, FL manages this contract (N61340-12-C-0030).

Aug 27/13: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL received a $34 million firm-fixed-price contract for the AH-1Z’s AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight Systems (TSS). All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (80%), and Ocala, FL (20%), and is expected to complete by November 2015. The US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-13-D-JQ43).

Aug 26/13: Sensors. FLIR Systems Inc. in Wilsonville, OR receives a 5-year sole-source $136.6 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for BRITE Star Block II Systems (UH-1Y and MQ-8C), BRITE Star II’s class I engineering change proposal, plus BRITE Star I upgrades, cables, technical data, depot repairs, and engineering services. $4.2 million is committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Wilsonville, OR, and is expected to be complete by August 2018. The work was sole-sourced on the basis of FAR 6.302-1, “only one responsible source…” provision. The Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-13-D-JQ08).

July 15/13: Support. A $17.9 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to add US Navy depot level maintenance infrastructure. Bell Helicopter will develop, test, and deliver 1 H-1 main rotor gearbox test stand, and 1 H-1 tail rotor/intermediate gearbox test stand. The contract includes logistics support, maintenance efforts, follow-on support, and associated data. This is unsexy, but experience in countries like Pakistan demonstrates that unless this infrastructure is in place and in use, helicopters will remain in place and not in use.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX using FY 2011 procurement funds, and is expected to be complete in March 2017. All funds expire at the end of FY 2013, on Sept 30/13. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ (N68335-13-C-0302).

June 18/13: Lot 10. A $38.8 million option order for 2 more new-build AH-1Z Vipers in Lot 10, whose main order was Dec 12/12. All funds are committed immediately, using FY 2013 procurement budgets. This brings that lot’s totals to 15 UH-1Ys and 12 AH-1Zs, with 1 AH-1Z option remaining.

Note that this doesn’t provide the full cost of 2 Vipers, and the USN places average flyaway costs for Lot 10 H-1 machines at over $26 million each. The difference will be made up via previous long-lead buys, and/or additional awards. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2013 (N00019-12-C-0009).

June 18/13: Weapons. US NAVAIR touts the work of their PMA-242’s Crew Served Weapons Integration team, who redesigned the UH-1Y’s weapon mount to improve maximum elevation. That’s useful if you’re on or near the ground, being fired on from hills. In effect, the UH-1Y door gunner’s field of fire is now on par with the UH-1N in terms of overall range, azimuth and elevation.

Testing began in May 2013, and will continue at Pax River, MD for another 6 months or so. The USMC expects to deploy the new mounts to Afghanistan by the end of 2013. US NAVAIR.

May 28/13: Lot 11. Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $50.6 million advance acquisition contract modification for long-lead parts and components required for 25 Production Lot 11 helicopters: 15 UH-1Ys and 10 AH-1Zs, all new-build. All funds are committed immediately.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2014 (N00019-13-C-0023).

April 17/13: South Korea loss. South Korea announces that the AH-64E Apache Guardian has beaten the AH-1Z Viper and T-129 ATAK helicopters for a 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion), 36-machine order. The attack helicopter decision had been due in October 2012, but was put on hold until after the elections. The ROK hopes to have the helicopters between 2016 and 2018.

The AH-1Z would have represented continuity with the existing AH-1S fleet, and a DSCA export request was already approved (vid. Sept 25/12). The Italo-Turkish T-129 would have been a reciprocal deal with a major arms export customer. A DAPA official is quoted as saying that the AH-64E’s superior target acquisition capability, power, and weapons load gave it the edge, and so South Korea will begin the acquisition process. The weapons load issue is debatable, but the Apache is certainly much more heavily armored than its counterparts, and its combination of modernized optics and MMW radar or UAV control does give it an edge in target acquisition. Korea Herald | Reuters.

Loss in South Korea

April 10/13: FY 2014 Budget. The President releases a proposed budget at last, the latest in modern memory. The Senate and House were already working on budgets in his absence, but the Pentagon’s submission is actually important to proceedings going forward. See ongoing DID coverage.

The H-1 program is cut slightly from 26 total helicopters to 25 this year, as part of a longer-term set of slight reductions that will stretch out the program. FY 2014 drops from 26 – 25, FY 2015 drops from 27 – 26, FY 2016 drops from 31 – 27, and FY 2017 drops from 30 – 28. An order of 30 helicopters in FY 2018 leaves just 30 more to close out the program.

The key will be where reductions are focused. The AH-1Z is behind due to delays, so these and other cuts at the end of the program will force the Marines to decide whether they want fewer attack helicopters in the future force, as they contemplate adjustments to the production split. Especially if future budget pressures cut these planned numbers again. The alternative is to stretch production into later years, but that will raise total costs because the fixed costs come due for more years of work.

April 1/13: Lot 11 long-lead. A $13 million advance acquisition contract to provide long-lead parts and components required for Production Lot 11’s 15 UH-1Ys and 10 AH-1Zs. All are new-build helicopters – Lot 9 held the last remanufactured helicopters.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2014. All funds are committed immediately, using the FY 2013 Aircraft Procurement, Navy budget line. This contract was not competitively procured, pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-13-C-0023).

Jan 16/13: Milestone. Bell Helicopter delivers the 100th H-1 upgrade helicopter to the US Marine Corps.

Bell Helicopter has since confirmed that it was a UH-1Y. Bell Helicopter | Fort Worth Star-Telegram Sky Talk.

#100

Jan 17/13: DOT&E testing. The Pentagon releases the FY 2012 Annual Report from its Office of the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E). The H-1 program is only included in passing, but it’s an interesting reference:

“The U.S. Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate led a project to manufacture complex, curved ceramic armor for placement at strategic locations on aircraft, improving survivability with minimal weight impact. These installations protect flight-critical aircraft components that when damaged would lead to catastrophic aircraft loss. Due to their complexity, these structurally integrated panels required development of several cutting-edge material and processing technologies. Two implementations were demonstrated: the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior engine bay door and the AH-1Z Cobra helicopter flight control linkage bell-crank.”

Dec 27/12: Lot 10. A $418.9 million contract related to the FY 2012 order: 15 UH-1Y helicopters and 10 AH-1Zs. All helicopters will be new-build, and there are options for another 3 AH-1Zs. Two of those options were exercised on June 18/13, to make 12 AH-1Zs ordered.

The actual wording is “for the procurement of long lead parts and components required for the manufacture of…”, but NAVAIR has confirmed that this is the main Lot 10 order, covering FY 2013 helicopters for the most part. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%) and is expected to be complete in March 2016. All contract funds are committed immediately (N00019-12-C-0009).

Lot 10 order

Dec 20/12: Support. A $15.3 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee advance acquisition contract modification. Bell Helicopter will provide H-1 Upgrade Program systems engineering and program management services.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX and is expected to be complete in December 2013. All contract funds are committed immediately (N00019-12-C-0009).

Dec 20/12: Support. A $12.3 million to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to support of the H-1 Upgrade effort. Work will include logistics management support, technical material for maintenance planning, design interface, supply/material support; support of support equipment/technical data, distribution and inventory management/packaging; handling, storage and transportation; logistics management information; supportability analysis and technical manuals.

All contract funds are committed immediately. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2013 (N00019-11-C-0023).

Nov 20/12: HUMS. Simmonds Precision Products Inc. (dba Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems in Vergennes, VT) receives a $6.9 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract, exercising an option for 28 integrated AH-1Z/UH-1Y mechanical diagnostic and health usage monitoring system kits.

This would appear to cover FY 2013 production: 13 AH-1Zs and 15 UH-1Ys. HUMS systems are undervalued by causal observers, but they pay for themselves very, very quickly via more cost-effective maintenance and higher in-service rates.

Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be complete in May 2014. All contract funds are committed. US Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-12-F-4003).

Nov 6/12: Mission Computers. Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronics Co., Inc. in Woodland Hills, CA receives a $9.3 million firm-fixed-price modification for 54 GEN II mission computers and trays, per the new buying arrangements (vid. Dec 29/11 entry). They’ll be used in Production Lot 10, which is mostly FY 2013 buys.

Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, UT, and is expected to be complete in January 2015. US Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-11-G-0016).

Oct 16/12: Lot 9. A $391.4 million firm-fixed-price contract modification. As we saw on July 25/11, the Pentagon’s turgid language involving “definitization… to provide long lead parts” means that it’s the main Production Lot 9 (mostly FY 2012) buy, which is added to the previous contracts for long lead time components. US NAVAIR places the total Lot 9 contract at $447.8 million, plus any separately bought “government furnished equipment” like the T700 engines, mission computers (vid. Dec 29/11 entry), weapons and mounts, defensive systems, etc. Those “extras” add up.

The contract covers 15 new UH-1Ys (all new) and 10 AH-1Zs (3 remanufactured, 7 new). According to NAVAIR, Lot 9 will be the final production lot that will include remanufactured AH-1Z aircraft.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be completed in July 2015 (N00019-11-C-0023).

Lot 9 order

FY 2012

Orders; AH-1Z competes in South Korea; AH-1Z maiden operational deployment; AH-1W swap to Turkey; UH-1Ys using precision rockets. UH-1Y & AH-1Z
(click to view full)

Sept 25/12: South Korea. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] South Korea’s request to buy up to 36 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support. The cost would be up to $2.6 billion, but this isn’t a contract. It doesn’t even mean that the AH-1Z is the ROK’s choice. South Korea is conducting a competition to replace its attack helicopters, and the DSCA request will make sure that everything the ROK wants is available if the AH-1Z is picked.

They appear to have picked the AH-1Z as the American contender, even though the AH-64D Apache Block III’s fuselage is made locally by KAI. That still leaves 2 more strong contenders. EADS Eurocopter is already producing Surion medium helicopters under a Korean Joint Venture, and is offering their EC665 Tiger attack helicopter. It’s in service with France, Germany, Spain, and Australia. The other contender is AgustaWestland/TAI’s T129, which is now a joint Italian/Turkish venture. Turkey is South Korea’s biggest defense export customer by far, and a loss could ruffle some important feathers. As for the AH-1Z, the DSCA request includes:

  • 36 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters
  • 84 T-700-GE-401C Engines (72 installed and 12 spares)
  • Integrated missile launchers
  • 288 AGM-114K3 Hellfire laser-guided strike missiles
  • 72 AIM-9M-8 Sidewinder air-air missiles. The missile’s range and performance are superior to weapons carried on other helicopters.
  • AN/AAQ-30 Target Sighting Systems (TSS)
  • APX-123 Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) Mode-4
  • Electronic warfare systems: AN/ALQ-136 Radar Frequency Jammers, AN/AAR-47 Missile Warning System, AN/ALQ-144 Infrared Jammer, AN/ALE-47 Chaff and Flare Decoy Dispenser
  • Communication and support equipment, spare engine containers, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, and other US government and contractor support.

The prime contractors will be Bell-Textron Corporation in Amarillo, TX (helicopter), and General Electric in Lynn, MA (engines), though many of the ancillary items will come from firms like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, BAE, et. al. Implementation will require multiple trips to Korea involving U.S. Government or contractor representatives on a temporary basis for program and technical support, and management oversight.

South Korea request

Sept 25/12: Training. A $44.7 million firm-fixed-price contract to buy 2 UH-1Y Flight Training Devices (simulators) for the US Marine Corps. In addition, this contract provides for the baseline configuration upgrade to create an AH-1Z FTD from the previous AH-1W simulator.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (46%); Broken Arrow, OK (32.4%); St. Louis, MO (16.2%); and Austin, TX (5.4%), and is expected to be complete in March 2015. $19.8 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304c1 by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61340-12-C-0030).

April 3/12: Buy direct. US NAVAIR has made a slight acquisition shift, and is now ordering mission computers for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z directly from Northrop Grumman, instead of through prime contractor Bell Helicopter. Under the initial $8.9 million contract, Northrop Grumman will provide Gen II mission computers to the U.S. Marine Corps Light Attack Helicopter Program (PMA-276) directly, reducing the item’s price.

The dual mission computers are the heart of Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Avionics System (IAS) that powers the helicopters’ glass cockpits. Northrop Grumman.

Mission computers direct

March 2012: Laser-guided rockets. The APKWS laser-guided 70mm rocket is cleared for fielding by Marine Corps HQ, and shipped to Afghanistan. The rockets will initially be deployed in existing rocket launchers on USMC AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, and UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters. It will be the UH-1Ys first precision-guided weapon, dramatically increasing its firepower.

BAE cites cite over 100 APKWS firings since 2007, with a 94% success rate, and an average distance from the center of laser spot to the impact point of less than one meter. US NAVAIR | BAE Systems.

Feb 13/12: FY 2013 request. The Pentagon releases its budget. FY 2013 would see it spend up to $851.5 million to buy 15 new-build UH-1Ys, and 13 AH-1Zs (4 remanufactured, 8 new, 1 new combat loss replacement). Over the longer term, the H-1 Upgrades program also escapes budget cuts.

Feb 13/12: A $56.75 million advance acquisition contract to provide long lead parts and components required for the manufacture of H-1 upgrade Lot 10 UH-1Y (15) and AH-1Z (13) helicopters. As noted above, correspondences aren’t exact, but these are mostly FY 2013 helicopters.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%), and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2013. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (N00019-12-C-0009).

Dec 28/11: A $20.4 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, exercising an option for H-1 upgrade program logistics management support; distribution and inventory management/packaging, handling, storage & transportation; logistics management information; technical material for maintenance planning; design interface; supply/material support; technical data, support of support equipment; technical data; supportability analysis; technical manuals and logistics/technical liaison support.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (96%) and Afghanistan (4%) and is expected to be complete in December 2012 (N00019-10-C-0035).

Dec 27/11: Northrop Grumman Guidance and Electronics Co., Inc. in Woodland Hills, CA received an $8.9 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for 52 GEN II mission computers, which will be used in H-1 upgrade production Lot 9 (mostly FY 2012). Work will be performed in Woodland, CA, and is expected to be complete in January 2014 (N00019-11-G-0016).

Dec 13/11: Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX received a $13.9 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification for systems engineering and program management work related to AH-1Z and UH-1Y production aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and will run to December 2012 (N00019-11-C-0023).

Dec 8/11: An $85.2 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for design, development, studies, and implementation of upgrades to existing H-1 software and ancillary hardware, and/or improved functionality and electronics obsolescence management. Since the H-1 upgrades are designed to use the same cockpit electronics, investments in upgrades can benefit the whole fleet. As noted above, Northrop Grumman in the main sub-contractor for all cockpit systems.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (70%); Hurst, TX (25%); and China Lake, CA (5%), and will run to December 2014. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304c1. The US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, CA manages this contract (N68936-12-D-0003).

Dec 5/11: Lockheed Martin announces a pair of AN/AAQ-30 TSS spares and AH-1Z program support contracts from the US Naval Surface Warfare Center. Their release distinguishes these $30.6 million in support contracts for the AH-1Z’s surveillance and targeting turrets, from the TSS production contracts in March 2008, June 2010, and September 2011.

Nov 14/11: When USS Makin Island sailed on her maiden deployment, she sailed with the 1st operational deployment of AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters. The 4 AH-1s and 3 UH-1Ys function as a detachment of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 (HMLA-367). NGC put out the release, to tout the common “Integrated Avionics System” cockpits that equip both helicopters.

AH-1Z deployment

Oct 31/11: Turkish swap. With Turkey’s fleet of serviceable AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters dwindling, demands from the Army for helicopters to use against the Marxist Kurdish PKK in Turkey and Iraq, and no arrival of even its emergency configuration T129 attack helicopters before mid-2012, Turkey launches an official request [PDF] for 3 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters from US Marine Corps stocks. They’ll also get 7 T700-GE-401 engines (6 installed/ 1 spare), plus inspections and modifications, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, and U.S. Government and contractor support.

The estimated cost is $111 million, and all sale proceeds will be reprogrammed into the USMC’s H-1 helicopter upgrade program. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of approximately 5 contractor representatives to Turkey for a period of up to 90 days, for differences training between U.S. and Turkish AH-1Ws helicopters.

FY 2011

Orders; AH-1Z achieves IOC, bull Full Operational Capability not until 2020; AH-1Z approved for Full-Rate Production; AH-1Z export strategy. UH-1Y, Afghanistan
(click to view full)

Sept 27/11: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $16.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for 6 spare AN/AAQ-30 surveillance and targeting turrets for the AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (90%), Ocala, FL (10%), and is expected to be complete by December 2014. This contract was not competitively procured by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN (N00164-11-G-JQ97).

Sept 22/11: Rotor redesign. A $10 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order to develop the H-1 cuff and yoke redesign, but not mass-produce it yet. These important parts of the rotor were falling well short of their expected service life, and this delivery order will include initiating the design-build-buy activities; part/drawing release; support analysis for detailed design, preparation, execution, and follow up for preliminary design review; process development for yoke full-scale process and drive system center; complete tooling conceptual designs and initiate tooling preliminary design; structural qualification; and flight test plans requirements.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in May 2013 (N00019-11-G-0003). See also March 2/11 entry.

Aug 30/11: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $50 million firm-fixed-price contract for 18 of the AH-1Z’s AN/AAQ-30 target sight systems (TSS). The DefenseLINK release identifies them as being specifically for the AH-1Z program; they are also found on armed C-130s operated by the USMC and US SOCOM.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (90%) and Ocala, FL (10%), and is expected to be complete by August 2014. The contract was not competitively procured, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304c1 and FAR 6.203-1b-1-ii. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-11-C-JQ77).

Aug 25/11: Innovation. USMC Sgt. Zachary Lucas gets a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and a $5,000 check for inventing the “Lucas Seat” that’s now standard issue on UH-1Ys.

The helicopter’s 3 seats in the center were getting in the way of employing the door guns and tending the packs, so Lucas designed a 2-man bed seat while serving in Afghanistan, in 2009. It passed through some iterations on its way to becoming a Corps-wide issue, and the current configuration allows for a 3-man bench seat or a single seat.

Lucas’ peers are currently developing a hold-down map rack to install in the center area between pilots and the crew, making it easier for the crew to read them while the helicopter is in flight. Pentagon DVIDS.

The Lucas Seat

July 25/11: A $550 million firm-fixed-price modification that lists itself as being “for long lead materials and components associated with” the manufacture and delivery of 35 helicopters: 19 UH-1Y Lot 8 new-build, 8 AH-1Z remanufactured, and 6 AH-1Z Lot 8 new-build helicopters.

In reality, this modification is the “production definitization” of the Lot 8 Advance Acquisition Contract. In English: It’s the main Lot 8/ FY 2011 contract. Now, why couldn’t they just say that? See Feb 5/10 entry for the accompanying partial long lead-time items contract, of $50.4 million. That makes $600.4 million so far for 35 helicopters, not including items like key electronics, sensors, etc. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%), and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in February 2014 (N00019-10-C-0015).

FY 2011 order

June 6/11: FY 2012 lead-in. A $7.2 million contract modification to buy Lot 9 long-lead items for the USMC’s H-1 Upgrades Program. Per notes above, Lot 9 mostly involves FY 2012 purchases. See also March 14/11.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%), and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2012 (N00019-11-C-0023).

March 16/11: Sub-contractors. Simmonds Precision Products, Inc., dba Goodrich Corp. in Vergennes, VT receives a $7.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for 30 integrated mechanical diagnostic and health usage monitoring system (IMD/HUMS) units for FY 2011 “Lot 8 production upgrade aircraft”: 19 UH-1Ys and 8 AH-1Zs). Work will be performed in Vergennes, VT, and is expected to be completed in November 2012. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-11-F-4002).

IMD/HUMS contracts aren’t very big by themselves, but their long term impact on a fleet’s readiness and operating costs is quite significant. They shift maintenance away from programmed formulas toward less expensive at-need practices, and are instrumental in tracing faults and spurring useful upgrades. As data accumulates, HUMS can even be used to make proactive predictions.

March 14/11: FY 2012 lead-in. A $48.4 million advance acquisition contract to provide long lead parts and components required for 26 Lot 9 (FY 2012) UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters for the Marine Corps: 15 UH-1Y build new aircraft; 4 AH-1Z remanufactured aircraft; and 7 AH-1Z new-build aircraft. That’s not quite in sync with the stated FY 2012 budget request (18 new UH-1Y, 2 AH-1Z remanufactured, 5 AH-1Z new-build incl. 1 supplemental), but as noted above, supplemental/OCO helicopters can end up under contract in the next year.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%), and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in September 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/11. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-11-C-0023).

March 9/11: US NAVAIR announces that the AH-1Z Cobra achieved Initial Operating Capability ahead of [the new] schedule in February 2011, and will deploy to Afghanistan later in 2011.

U.S. Marine Corps Light and Attack Helicopters program manager, Col. Harry Hewson, reiterates the current program target of 131 remanufactured AH-1Zs from existing AH-1W helicopters, and 58 new AH-1Zs. Full operational capability, defined as when all AH-1Z maintenance and repair support, test equipment, and spares are in place to support active component force primary aircraft authorization, isn’t expected until 2020.

AH-1Z IOC, but FOC will be late

March 2/11: Rotor redesign. A $12.6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee order to support the AH-1Z and UH-1Y’s cuff and yoke redesign. The reason for this contract is that several rotor components are falling far short of the original 10,000 hour reliability goal. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in June 2013 (N00019-11-G-0003).

Feb 15/11: Engines. General Electric Engine Services, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH receives a $13.8 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract modification to repair 15 T700-GE-401 engines and 36 T700-GE-401C engines for the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters. The -401C engines equip all UH-1Ys and new-build AH-1Zs, and may eventually be retrofitted to the remanufactured AH-1Zs; see Sept 15/09 entry for more details.

Work will be performed in Winfield, KS, and is expected to be completed in February 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $4,349,904 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, n Sept 30/11 (N00421-09-D-0008).

Jan 14/11: Exports? Aviation Week says the AH-1Z is slated to deploy to Afghanistan in November 2011, and adds some insight on the export front:

“[Vice president of military business development at Bell, Richard] Linhart says Bell intends to underbid the current Apache model and Eurocopter Tiger HAD, which is being fielded in France and Spain. However, with the near-term focus on adding volume to the USMC fleet, production slots are not likely to emerge for foreign customers until 2012 at the earliest.”

There have been unconfirmed rumors, not reported by Aviation Week or other publications, that the AH-1Z was offered to Iraq, which held out for AH-64D Apaches but was refused.

Dec 30/10: Support. A $22 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to exercise an option for logistics products and services in support of H-1 helicopter upgrade program. Services include logistics management support, technical material for maintenance planning, design interface, supply/material support, technical data, distribution and inventory management/packaging, handling, storage and transportation, logistics management information, supportability analysis, technical manuals, and logistics support/technical liaison support.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (96%), and Afghanistan (4%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011 (N00019-10-C-0035).

Dec 28/10: Infrastructure. A $13.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification, exercising an option for system engineering, and program management overseeing H-1 helicopters upgrade program production. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2011 (N00019-10-C-0035).

Nov 28/10: The AH-1Z is approved for full rate production, as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Dr. Ashton B. Carter issues a milestone III acquisition decision memorandum.

NAVAIR’s release reiterates that: “A total of 189 new and remanufactured AH-1Z helicopters are anticipated, with deliveries expected to be complete by the end of 2021.”

AH-1Z FRP

FY 2010

Orders; AH-1Z passes testing; GAO program review cites woes, progress; Manufacturing expansion. AH-1Z: Hellfire test
(click to view full)

Sept 24/10: AH-1Z OpEval. The US Navy’s Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force, notifies NAVAIR’s H-1 Upgrades program office that the AH-1Z was found to be “operationally effective and suitable” during Operational Evaluation, and have been recommended for fleet introduction. Operational effectiveness means it can perform its missions. Operational suitability refers to the platform’s reliability and the service’s ability to support it.

That designation clears an important delay for the program, and NAVAIR adds that:

“A total of 189 new and remanufactured AH-1Z helicopters are anticipated, with deliveries expected to be complete by the end of 2021… The evaluation report noted that the AH-1Z fire control and additional weapons delivery modes allowed for improved weapons delivery accuracy, reduced pilot workload, and enhanced employment flexibility compared with the AH-1W. The H-1 Upgrade Program offers 84 percent “identicality” of parts shared between the AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters.”

AH-1Z passed OpEval

Sept 13/10: Sub-contractors. L-3 Platform Integration Crestview Aerospace in Crestview, FL announces [PDF] a follow-on contract from Bell Helicopter Textron to produce another 38 UH-1Y cabin assemblies between 2010 – 2013.

Under the preceding contract, L-3 Crestview Aerospace has delivered 35 cabin assemblies to Bell, with 5 remaining under contract.

June 16/10: Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX is being awarded a $546 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for Production Lot 7 UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters for the US Marine Corps: 18 new UH-1Ys, 9 remanufactured AH-1Zs; and 2 new AH-1Zs.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%), and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in July 2013. This competition was decided long since, so the contract was not competitively procured (N00019-10-C-0035).

FY 2010 order

April 20/10: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $44.4 million firm-fixed-price supply contract for 18 AN/AAQ-30 thermal sight system (TSS) and associated data, for use on AH-1Z helicopters. Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (90%), and Ocala, FL (10%), and is expected to be completed by October 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, IN manages the contract (N00164-10-C-JQ84). Lockheed Martin release

This is a follow-on order to the initial 16 system order placed March 28/08. The first production system was delivered on June 30/08, and see also the Sept 28/09 long-lead contract. Delivery of all systems contracted under Lot 6 and 7 low-rate initial production will be complete in 2011. Lockheed Martin’s TSS has had integration problems with Thales’ TopOwl helmet-mounted sight, but the Marines are hoping that their fixes will prevail during 2010 Operational Evaluations. If OpEval goes well, a contract for full-rate production of 226 total units is expected in fall 2010.

March 30/10: GAO Report. The US GAO audit office delivers its 8th annual “Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs report. Overall, the H-1 upgrade program has risen in both costs and quantity since the October 1996 baseline. As of December 2008, program R&D had risen from the $680.2 million baseline to almost $1.84 billion (170% growth), while total program cost has risen from $3.54 billion to about $11.52 billion. Part of that involves an original target of 284 helicopters jumping to 353 (+24.3%), but part of it involves issues that pushed procurement costs up by 239.2%, to $9.69 billion, and have delayed the program. GAO summarizes:

“In December 2008, the Navy reported a unit cost increase of 19 percent over the program’s then current baseline, breaching the significant cost growth threshold. Program officials stated this breach was due to growth in the cost of material, labor, government furnished equipment, and nonrecurring engineering. This breach followed four previous major restructuring efforts. The program’s new acquisition program baseline delays completion of operational testing for the AH-1Z by 28 months from March 2008 to July 2010 and establishes a new full-rate production decision review for the AH-1Z, which is planned for October 2010. The revised baseline also accounts for an almost 25 percent increase in planned procurement quantities from 280 to 349 aircraft (123 UH-1Ys and 226 AH-1Zs) to support the Marine Corps’ growth plans.”

In terms of program progress, the UH-1Y is already in full-rate production and operating on the front lines, and is demonstrating “3x normal operating rates” versus older Hueys, along with better ability to cope with the performance-draining effects of hot and/or high altitude conditions. AH-1Z risk reduction testing is complete, and the AH-1Z Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) begins in spring 2010. The Navy says that “[p]reviously noted deficiencies with Target Sight System, rocket gas ingestion, helmet mounted sight system, and mission software have been corrected and will be formally assessed” in that OpEval.

Overall, “supplier base issues” have slowed production, and advance funding for long-lead items is expected to help resolve prior supply issues. At present, the GAO is concerned that Bell Helicopter has yet to demonstrate the 28 helicopters per year pace called for in the FY 2010 budget, and revised program baseline. On the other hand, 52 UH-1Y and 21 AH-1Z aircraft were on contract as of December 2009, with LRIP phase deliveries happening in accordance with the production ramp-up plan, and the last 13 helicopter deliveries coming ahead of schedule.

Feb 5/10: FY 2011 lead-in. An undefinitized advance acquisition contract with an estimated value of $50.4 million for long lead materials and components associated with the manufacture and delivery of 18 Lot 8 UH-1Y build new aircraft, 8 Lot 8 AH-1Z remanufactured aircraft, and 1 Lot 8 AH-1Z build new aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in January 2014 (N00019-10-C-0015).

Dec 11/09: Support. A not-to-exceed ceiling-price $14.8 million contract for repair coverage for 8 “items required to support the H-1 aircraft.” Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2010. This contract was a sole source, with manufacturer Bell Helicopter deemed the “sole source responsible and responsive offeror.” The Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, PA manages the contract.

Oct 23/09: Industrial. A ceremony in Amarillo, TX marks breaks ground for a new 137,000 square foot H-1 Hangar at Bell’s Military Aircraft Assembly and Delivery Center. The hangar is slated to be complete in October 2010, and will be capable of housing up to 10 UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters at a time as the H-1 program’s annual production numbers grow.

Amarillo is also home for the final assembly of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, following its selection 11 years ago by Bell. Since then, public/ private partnerships between the city, Amarillo College, the Amarillo Economic Development Center and Bell have worked to provide both the infrastructure required, and a trained and capable workforce. Bell’s delivery goals for 2010 are 28 V-22 and 20 H-1 aircraft.Textron release.

FY 2009

Orders; 1st production AAQ-30 TSS delivered; Problem parts; Program change to more rebuilds. AN/AAQ-30 TSS
(click to view full)

Sept 28/09: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, FL is being awarded a $11.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for long lead time components for 8 of the AH-1Z’s target sight systems (TSS). Long lead material includes the gimbal assembly and laser designator, and the advance orders are used to reduce TSS production delivery time.

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL, and is expected to be complete by May 2011. Since the AN/AAQ-30 TSS has already been selected, this contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane IN (N00164-09-C-JQ82).

Sept 15/09: Engines. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX received a $35.8 million cost-plus fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to provide Phase 2 non-recurring engineering for the AH-1Z new-build helicopter airframe, and to develop an engineering change proposal related for incorporating the T700-401C engine.

The -401C engine is present in all new-build AH-1Zs, but at present it is not inserted into remanufactured helicopters, which use refurbished T700-401 engines from the existing AH-1Ws. At some point in the future, as funding allows, NAVAIR says that the Marines also plan to retrofit any remanufactured AH-1Zs that still have older engines with T700-401Cs. This ECP paves the way for that future change as well.

Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, TX (50%) and Amarillo, TX (50%), and is expected to be complete in April 2013. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year (N00019-06-G-0001).

Aug 3/09: Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX received a $6.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement to provide 3D modeling in support of the AH-1Z new-build new program, including associated technical data for the Marine Corps.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in February 2010. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/09 (N00019-05-G-0001).

June 30/09: Sensors. Lockheed Martin delivers its first AAQ-30 Target Sight System (TSS) production unit, at a ceremony held at its Orlando, FL, facility. USMC Col. Harry Hewson of PMA-276 is present. Production of the 16 systems ordered under the March 28/08 contract will take place at Lockheed Martin’s facilities in Ocala and Orlando, FL, and will be complete in 2010. Lockheed Martin release.

June 25/09: The US Senate Armed Services Committee issues Report 111-035. An excerpt concerns the UH-1Y/AH-1Z program:

“Fiscal year 2010 would be the first year of buying new AH-1Zs. Operational testing for the UH-1Y has been completed, which resulted in a positive Milestone B decision in September 2008. Operational testing for the AH-1Z has been delayed, mainly due to issues surrounding the targeting sight system. The program office now predicts that operational testing for the AH-1Z configuration will not be completed until late in fiscal year 2010. Also since last year, the Secretary of the Navy notified Congress that the Service Acquisition Executive had determined the program had breached the significant cost growth threshold of 15 percent, compared to the baseline average procurement unit cost.

The committee recommends a decrease of $282.9 million to keep the UH-1Y/AH-1Z program at the same level of effort as fiscal year 2009.”

In the end, it makes no difference. Section 211 of the S.1390 budget bill, which passes in the Senate on July 23/09, restores this funding.

June 15/09: Bad parts. Aviation Week reports that

“[USMC Lt. Gen. George J.] Trautman is also monitoring problems with recently delivered UH-1N and AH-1Z aircraft delivered to the Navy/Marine Corps from Bell. Bad parts from a subvendor caused problems with the transmission in these aircraft. Fixes are underway, and by mid-July, these helicopters will be back in service, he says.

The USMC is also planning to deploy the new Hueys to the Afghan theater later this year. Operational testing of the AH-1Z is expected to finish next year, Trautman says.”

April 22/09: Testing. The US Air Force discusses cooperative efforts with the Marine Corps to figure out exactly how to load the UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z Viper into the C-5 Galaxy transport:

“…the Marines have been working with Air Force representatives for three months to find the best method of transporting their helicopters to the fight. According to John Buchanan, 60th APS cargo operations manager, they tried to use a C-17 Globemaster III first but found they had to strip too many parts off the helicopter. So the next logical step was to test the C-5 capability.”

These helicopters’ 4-bladed rotor doesn’t fully fold, which makes even the C-5 has been a challenge. At one point in the loading process, clearance for the UH-1Y helicopter is down to 3 inches.

April 7/09: Support. A not-to-exceed $14.6 million modification to a previously awarded cost plus fixed fee contract (N00019-06-C-0086) for H-1 Upgrade logistics products and services, including: logistic management support, technical material for maintenance planning, design interface, supply /material support, support of support equipment, technical data, distribution and inventory management/packaging, handling, storage & transportation, configuration management, supportability analysis, aircraft acceptance discrepancies, and contractor logistics support/technical liaison.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in May 2010.

April 6/09: Industrial. A $9.25 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to buy production rate tooling for the H-1 program. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (70%) and Amarillo, TX (30%), and is expected to be complete in December 2011. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-09-C-0023).

March 26/09: A $288.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for the FY 2009 (Lot 6) buy of 11 UH-1Y and 5 AH-1Z helicopters and associated technical data for the U.S. Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in October 2011. This contract was not competitively procured (N00019-09-C-0023). Bell Helicopter’s release adds:

“Bell is now on contract to produce a total of 65 upgraded H-1 aircraft for the Marines: 17 AH-1Z attack aircraft and 48 UH-1Y utility aircraft. So far, the company has delivered 23 upgraded H-1 helicopters: six AH-1Zs and 17 UH-1Ys.”

FY 2009 order

Jan 13/09: Sub-contractors. A Northrop Grumman release touts the role of its Integrated Avionics System (IAS), and the company’s efforts in preparing the UH-1Y Huey helicopters for initial deployment early in 2009 with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Dec 18/08: Support. A $10.5 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-06-G-0001). It covers Systems Engineering and Program Management (SE/PM) for Lot 6 production under the H-1 Upgrade program.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX (79%); Amarillo, TX (15%); and New Bern, NC (6%), and is expected to be complete in December 2009.

Nov 12/08: Support. A $12.8 million modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-06-C-0086) to prepare, validate and deliver revisions to organizational, intermediate and depot level technical manuals in digital format. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in May 2010. All funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Oct 27/08: More rebuilt AH-1Zs. Inside Defense reports that:

“The H-1 helicopter program has nearly cut in half the number of Marine Corps AH-1Z attack helicopters it plans to build from scratch in order to avoid a breach of the Nunn-McCurdy Act, which requires that the Pentagon notify Congress when a program exceeds certain cost thresholds, the program office acknowledged last week…”

Oct 7-16/08: The new Bell UH-1Y is tested as part of the Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) integration exercise, flying from USS Boxer [LHD 4]. US Navy.

FY 2008

Orders; Marines want a larger program; UH-1Y reaches IOC; Why AH-1Z slipped. UH-1Y on LHD 4
(click to view full)

Sept 30/08: A $210.2 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract . NAVAIR is exercising its contract option to make the FY 2008 purchase of 11 UH-1Y scout/utility helicopters, and 4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX (60%) and Amarillo, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in January 2011 (N00019-06-C-0086).

FY 2008 order

Sept 29/08: FLIR systems receives a contract from the US Navy and Marines for 116 AN/AAQ-22E Brite Star II surveillance and targeting turrets, 25 upgrades from AAQ-22D to AAQ-22E status, and non-warranty repair and support for their BRITE STAR turret stocks. Purchases for the UH-1Y are included within this order.

Aug 22/08: More H-1s. Flight International reports that September 2008 will see the US Navy propose adding 69 aircraft to the Bell Helicopter H-1 upgrade program, despite a recent setback during an operational evaluation of the AH-1Z. Expanding from 280 to 349 helicopters (226 AH-1Zs and 123 UH-1Ys) would parallel the overall expansion of the US Marine Corps to 202,000 personnel. NAVAIR’s proposal will look to increase existing yearly orders, as well as adding to the back-end of the production schedule.

The combined proposal to restructure the program, again, will be presented for final approval on Sept 17/10 to John Young, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

Aug 18/08: The US DoD releases its latest Selected Acquisition Reports, and the H-1 program is included. The source of the AH-1Z program’s delays becomes a bit clearer:

“This SAR was submitted to report schedule delays of six months or more since the prior report. Specifically, the Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) Phase I Complete (AH-1Z) slipped two years from May 2008 to May 2010 due to unresolved Critical Operational Issues related to the AH-1Z weapons employment. There were no cost changes reported.”

SAR – delays explained

Aug 15/08: Lt. Gen. George Trautman declares that the UH-1Y has reached the official “Initial Operational Capability” milestone, in a ceremony at Marine Corps Headquarters in Quantico, VA. This helicopter’s IOC was supposed to come in September 2008; it appears to be a bit early. NAVAIR release.

The 6 pilots, 6 crew chiefs, and 3 UH-1Ys of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron HMLAT-303 have been training with the aircraft for over a year, They have now reported to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit in preparation for deployment, which is scheduled for January 2009 aboard the USS Boxer [LHD 4].

UH-1Y IOC

Aug 11/08: Inside Defense reports that:

“Bell Helicopter-Textron is expecting a delay in deliveries of UH-1Y utility helicopters due to a slippage in deliveries of cabins by a subcontractor, a company spokesman told Inside the Navy.”

Aug 1/08: Support. A $12.6 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0086) for H-1 Upgrade logistics products and services. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be complete in May 2009.

This modification includes logistic management support, technical material for maintenance planning, design interface, supply /material support, support of support equipment, technical data, distribution and inventory management/packaging, handling, storage & transportation, configuration management, supportability analysis, aircraft acceptance discrepancies, and contractor logistics support/technical liaison.

Aug 1/08: Support. A $6.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0086) for non-recurring engineering necessary to build, install and test of the combining Gearbox Test Stand in support of the H-1 Upgrades Aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in June 2011.

July 11/08: Rotor redesign. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX received a $9.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-06-G-0001) for the H-1 program. The delivery order covers one-time engineering services to improve the new main rotor gearbox’s ability to “run dry”, i.e. without lubrication. This makes the aircraft more likely to survive if, for example, enemy gunfire severs key connections and leaves the main rotor gearbox without its usual lubrication.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in December 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $5.6 million will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

April 22/08: More H-1s? Military.com reports that the initiative to expand the Corps by about 20,000 Marines may also grow the H-1 program from 100 UH-1Ys to 123, and 180 AH-1Zs to 226. The USMC has submitted their 2010 Program Objective Memorandum, which forecasts the service’s budget request for 2010, but that submission has not been approved yet by DoD officials.

The additional helicopters would also avert a potential shortage of AH-1 attack helicopters, by ordering the new-build helicopters first. This would enable the Marines to withdraw existing AH-1W Super Cobras from service for the 2-year overhaul program, without affecting the number of available machines.

March 28/08: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL receives a $50 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for 16 AN/AAQ-30 Thermal Sight Systems (TSS) for the USMC’s AH-1Z Viper helicopter. Major subcontractors include L3 Communications/Wescam of Ontario Canada (turret assembly) and Elbit subsidiary Kollsman, Inc. of Merrimack, NH (Common Laser Designator Range Finder).

Work will be performed in Orlando, FL (86%); Ocala, FL (9%); and Santa Barbara, CA (5%), and is expected to be complete by October 2010. Bids were solicited via the Federal Business Opportunities and Navy Electronic Commerce Online websites, and 1 offer was received by the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN (N00164-08-C-JQ24).

Feb 22/08: More H-1s? A Bell Helicopter release claims that:

“While the current contract calls 100 Yankees and 180 Zulus, the Marines have indicated a desire to increase the number of aircraft they will purchase in their total force plan.”

Feb 12/08: Phase II OpEval. The UH-1Y and AH-1Z begin Phase II of their Operational Evaluation (OpEval). A full rate production decision is expected in August 2008. Source.

Feb 11/08: A not-to-exceed $19.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement for 2 non-recurring engineering (NRE) efforts associated with the manufacture of a minimum of 40 build new AH-1Z aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in November 2009.

The first portion of the NRE effort includes tool design and loft for producing the tool proof cabin and other tool proof parts, and initiates manufacturing engineering and production planning. The second NRE effort will be issued to integrate and qualify the T700-401C engine for use in the new-build AH-1Z aircraft (N00019-06-G-0001).

Jan 3/08: FY 2008 lead-in. A $60 million not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for long-lead, time-critical parts in support of the Fiscal Year 2008 Lot V procurement of 11 UH-1Y Venom utility and 4 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.

Work will be performed in Hurst, Texas (80%) and Amarillo, Texas (20%), and is expected to be complete in July 2010 (N00019-06-C-0086).

Oct 1/07: Training. Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Hurst, TX received awarded a $16.7 million fixed-price-incentive fee modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract for an AH-1Z Full Flight Simulator (FFS).

Work will be performed in Broken Arrow, OK (75%) and Hurst, TX (25%) and is expected to be complete in January 2010. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL issued the contract (N00019-06-C-0086).

FY 2007

Orders. UH-1Y, armed
(click to view larger)

Sept 26/07: Spares. Bell Helicopter Textron in Hurst, TX received $5.6 million for ceiling priced order #GB4A under a previously awarded contract for spare components for the H-1 aircraft. Work will be performed in Hurst, Texas is expected to be complete December 2009. One company was solicited for this non-competitive requirement by the Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, PA (W58RGZ-06-G-0003).

Sept 21/07: Spares. A $32.1 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0086) for procurement of initial spares in support of the fiscal year 2007 Lot IV aircraft – 9 UH-1Y and 2 AH-1Z aircraft (see July 27/07). Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in April 2010.

July 27/07: A $162.3 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive fee contract (N00019-06-C-0086), exercising an option for the FY 2007 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot IV procurement of 9 “Venom” UH-1Ys and 2 “Viper” AH-1Z aircraft.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX (80%) and Amarillo, TX (20%), and is expected to be complete in October 2009.

FY 2007 order

July 6/07: Training. A $12.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0086) for the procurement of phases II and III of the Composite Maintenance Trainers (CMTs) effort, to include 2 UH-1Y trainers and 2 AH-1Z trainers. The CMTs will be based at Camp Pendleton, CA, and will be used to train personnel on the repair and maintenance of the H-1 Upgrades Aircraft. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX and is expected to be complete in August 2012.

Jan 30/07: Support. An $11.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-06-C-0086), exercising an option for systems engineering and program management support for the UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft for Calendar Year 2007. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX (80%) and Amarillo, TX (20%), and is expected to be complete in December 2007.

FY 2005 – 2006

Orders. UH-1Y ropedown
(click to view full)

Aug 11/06: Spares. A $31.7 million ceiling priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for the FY 2006 lot III procurement of initial spare parts in support of the UH-1Y aircraft.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX and is expected to be completed in December 2008 (N00019-06-C-0086).

July 20/06: Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. in Fort Worth, TX received a $137.4 million firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive fee contract for the fiscal year 2006 low rate initial production (LRIP) lot III procurement of 7 UH-1Y aircraft, 1 UH-1Y full flight simulator, and 4 composite maintenance trainers (Phase I) under the H-1 upgrade program.

Work will be performed in Hurst, TX (80%), and Amarillo, TX (20%), and is expected to be complete in September 2008. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-06-C-0086).

FY 2006 order

May 2006: AH-1Z OpEval I. The AH-1Z, equipped with an AAQ-30 surveillance and targeting system, enters Operational Evaluation. Source.

Jan 31/06: Support. A $7.1 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0001), exercising an option for the logistics support, initial spares, build-to-print package, initial operational test and evaluation period, and helmet support for FY 2006 Flight Test Devices for the AH-1Z and UH-1Y Program.

Work will be performed in Camp Pendleton, CA (76%); Tulsa, OK (13%); and Fort Worth, TX (11%), and is expected to be complete in January 2007.

June 3/05: Spares. A $17.6 million not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0001) for initial spare parts in support of FY 2005 Lot II UH-1Y and AH-1Z aircraft. Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX and is expected to be complete in September 2007.

May 26/05: An estimated $7.7 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0001) for the procurement of the non-recurring effort required to replace the remanufactured UH-1N or HH-1N structural parts with new structural parts used to manufacture a UH-1Y helicopter. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete in December 2006.

April 4/05: A $104.2 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0001) for the H-1 upgrade program. The funds exercise an option for FY 2005 low rate initial production lot II procurement of 3 AH-1Z and 4 UH-1Y aircraft.

Work on this particular contract will be performed in Amarillo, TX and is expected to be complete in December 2007.

FY 2005 order

Feb 23/05: IAS. A $165.4 million cost-plus-award-fee contract for the development of Integrated Avionics Suite (IAS) software upgrades in support of the H-1 helicopter upgrade program. In addition, this contract provides for incorporation of the software upgrades into existing AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters and UH-1N transport helicopters, to convert them to AH-1Zs and UH-1Ys, respectively.

Work will be performed in Woodland Hills, CA (70%); Hurst, TX (25%), and China Lake, CA (5%), and is expected to be complete in February 2010.

IAS development

Dec 29/04: Avionics. A $35.3 million ceiling-priced modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract for the development of the Generation II Mission Computer for the AH-1Z and UH-1Y aircraft under the H-1 Upgrade Program. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in September 2010 (N00019-04-C-0001).

Dec 8/04: Support. A $23.6 million modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00019-04-C-0001) for the FY 2005 procurement of acquisition logistics support for Lot I and II Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) AH-1Z and UH-1Y aircraft. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX and is expected to be completed in October 2007.

FY 1999 – 2004

Orders; AH-1Z Prototype rollout; Lockheed Martin’s TSS surveillance and targeting system picked for AH-1Z. N.B. incomplete. H-1s on LHD 5
(click to view full)

July 20/04: SDD. A $15.9 million estimated value modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award/incentive fee contract (N00019-96-C-0128) for the non-recurring development of a turned exhaust system for the AH-1Z helicopter. The turned exhaust system deflects exhaust gasses up into the rotor blades for dispersal, minimizing the helicopter’s infrared signature to enemy missiles etc.

Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX (53%) and Fort Worth, TX (47%), and is expected to be complete in March 2006. The Naval Air Systems Command issued the contract.

April 2/04: Spares. A $14.25 million delivery order under previously awarded basic ordering agreement (DAAH23-02-G-0008) for various spare items to support the low rate initial production (LRIP) for the H-1 upgrades program. Work will be performed in Hurst, TX and is expected to be complete by December 2006. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (Order GB1C).

March 22/04: Support. A $13.1 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0001) for the FY 2004 procurement of acquisition logistics support for Lot I and II Low Rate Initial Production AH-1Z and UH-1Y aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX and is expected to be complete in October 2007.

March 5/04: Training. A $45.5 million modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0001) for the design, development, manufacture, and installation of 1 AH-1Z and 1 UH-1Y flight training device. Work will be performed in Arrow, OK (60%), and Fort Worth, TX (40%), and is expected to be complete in November 2006.

Dec 29/03: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in Fort Worth, TX received a $183.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for the low rate initial production of 3 Super Cobra helicopters (AH-1Z) and 6 Huey helicopters (UH-1Y).

Work will be performed in Amarillo, TX (53%), and Fort Worth, TX (47%), and is expected to be complete in January 2007. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-04-C-0001).

FY 2004 order

Aug 15/01: Sensors. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control delivers its first Hawkeye eXtended Range (XR) Target Sight System (TSS) to Bell Helicopter during a brief ceremony in Orlando, FL. Lockheed Martin’s release adds that the Hawkeye TSS will be installed on an AH-1Z Cobra helicopter in early 2002. The first flight test of the TSS on an AH-1Z took place in August 2002.

Nov 20/2000: The rollout ceremony for the AH-1Z is held at Bell Helicopter Plant 6 in Arlington, TX. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control conducts public flight demonstrations of its Hawkeye Target Sight System (TSS, would become AAQ-30) at the Lockheed Martin release:

“Prospective customers from Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Greece, and Slovenia were given an opportunity for in-flight “hands-on” operation of the system that Lockheed Martin had installed on a Bell Model 222 helicopter. A real-time video downlink was also displayed.”

AH-1Z rollout

July 1998: Sensors. Bell Helicopter awards Lockheed Martin a $7.8 million Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract for the [AAQ-30] TSS targeting and surveillance system. This would be followed by additional contracts covering Engineering Change Proposals. Lockheed Martin reportedly fabricates the whole nose section of the AH-1Z. Source.

Additional Readings & Sources

Thanks to Neville Dawson for the lead photograph, which is used with permission.

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Australia contracts Boeing for P-8A Poseidon aircraft

Naval Technology - Tue, 18/10/2016 - 01:00
The Australian Department of Defence has signed a contract with Boeing Defence Australia to support the country's next generation of maritime patrol and response aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon.
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