29 May 14. Potential Future requirement for MBT Life Extension. The UK MoD has released a prior information notice for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project. The MOD Armoured Vehicles Programme (AVP) has a possible future requirement to deliver a Category A Challenger 2
Life Extension Project (CR2 LEP). The MBTs provide precision direct fire manoeuvre capability across a broad spectrum of operations. The main intention of the upgrade is to extend the service life of the Challenger 2 MBT by 10 years from 2025 to 2035. To this end, the MOD AVP is conducting a Market Survey to inform the CR2 LEP Procurement Strategy and Initial Gate Business Case. There has been a lot of speculation on what the UK would choose to do as part of the LEP, and much of that decision possibly depends on the size of the Challenger fleet after 2015 as the decision depends on cost. The latest budget cuts revealed a possible 40 per cent reduction in the fleet. Initially, the UK considered replacing the existing rifled main gun with a smoothbore, preferably the German L55. However, this has faced problems with ammunition stowage. Another option would be to replace the whole turret with either that of the Leopard 2 A6 or M1 Abrams. Both of these options may present the UK with problems related to systems compatibility.
Response deadline: 23 June 2014
Scheduled start date of award procedures: 1 December 2015
Reference Number: GO-2014521-DCB-5685613
Issuing Authority: Ministry of Defence, Land Equipment (Source: MPI – Hawk Information)
20 May 14.
US Bomber Countdown Has Started. The Air Force is within weeks of issuing a final request for proposals for the new Long-Range Strike Bomber and expects to choose a single contractor to build the airplane “nominally in about a year,” service acquisition executive William LaPlante told Air Force Magazine in an interview. A draft RFP has been out for some time, and while there are “still some iterations going on” between USAF and its contractors over what the final RFP will say, “hopefully that will wrap up soon,” LaPlante said. The downselect in Spring of 2015 will narrow the field of competitors to just one contractor or team, he said. The competition phase has not been limited to “paper studies,” he allowed, but includes flying demonstrators or better. “We will have variants of technical articles … if you want to call them ‘prototypes,’” he said, and this fact, though previously undisclosed, should be no surprise because the programme is “relying on relatively mature technologies,” LaPlante explained. Some of these flying demonstrators are the product of “internal resources that industry has already; some of it is stuff that we have funded through various programmes over the years.” The product will therefore be “a combination of government (and) … internal investment” from the contractors. A team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin has said it is pursuing the LRS-B contract, and Northrop Grumman is also expected to be in the running.
MPI Comment – The Air Force intends to start fielding the platforms in the mid-2020s and a total of 80 – 100 bombers would be procured. Technical details of the bomber programme has been shrouded in mystery. The cost of the procurement was estimated to be USD550m per plane but it is not clear if this includes research and development costs, which would drive up the price further. (Source: MPI – Hawk Information/Air Force Magazine)
04 Jun 14. US Navy seeks guided deck-gun shell. The Navy wants to arm its cruisers and destroyers with shells-turned-missiles that would bring naval gunnery and the 5-inch deck gun into the age of the smart bomb. The to-be-developed 5-inch shell should have twice the range of current shells used against land targets, ships and fast boats, according to a May 9 request for information. A spokesman for Naval Sea Systems Command stressed this was an opening salvo to see what’s possible — not the start of a procurement process for such a shell. “The