26 Feb 15. P-8 News: Indian Options, Australian Production. A Boeing official said negotiations are underway with India to convert options to buy four P-8I Neptune maritime intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft into firm orders. India ordered eight P-8Is in 2009; six have been delivered. “We’re currently talking with them about executing those four options,” said James Detwiler, Boeing’s P-8 business development director for maritime systems, at the Australian International Airshow. “We understand there is an interest to get that done sooner rather than later.” Detwiler also said that manufacture of long-lead items for the first of eight P-8As for the Royal Australian Air Force was underway to support an early-2017 delivery. Australia holds options to buy four more P-8As, which will be considered as part of the forthcoming Defence White Paper process and in conjunction with up to seven Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft. The transition from the current Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orion has begun; RAAF personnel are training with the US Navy at NAS Jacksonville in Florida. “Seven aircrew arrived there in January this year, they have commenced their training and they will stay and become P-8 instructors with the US Navy,” said RAAF Group Captain Roger McCutcheon, who directs the Australian P-8 transition office. “Three technicians will arrive in Jacksonville in mid-year to do the same thing and become instructors on the maintenance side of things and then tactical operations centre personnel will begin their training towards the end of this year.” The acquisition of the eight P-8As will cost the Australian taxpayer about $4bn (US$2.15bn), including infrastructure and facilities upgrades. The existing AP-3Cs are expected to be retired around 2019. (Source: Defense News)
26 Feb 15. Poland seeks VIP transport aircraft. The Polish military is planning to buy two small aircraft for VIP transportation in 2015. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has accepted a proposal to purchase two used long-range business jets for the Polish Air Force. They are due to be able to transport 12-14 passengers and to conduct transatlantic travel with crew and a minimum of eight passengers. Minimum range has been set at 5,000 km at full payload. The aircraft will be based at 1st Airlift Base (1 BLT) in Warsaw, and will be serviced by Polish military personnel.
This is the third attempt by Poland to acquire business jets for VIP transportation. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
23 Feb 15. Australia announces acquisition strategy for future submarine programme. The Australian Government has announced the acquisition strategy for the future submarine programme, providing further details of the competitive evaluation process for a new submarine fleet. According to the government, it is the largest defence procurement programme in the country and represents an investment of $50bn. This new submarine fleet is expected to fill a capability gap in the mid-2020s, when the Collins-class submarine is scheduled to retire from service. The government’s key strategic requirements for future submarines include range and endurance similar to the Collins-class, as well as superior sensor performance and stealth characteristics. According to reports, combat system integration, design assurance and land-based testing will be performed in Australia. At least 500 high-skilled jobs will be created, with the majority of these based in South Australia. The Australian Department of Defence will seek proposals from potential partners for works, including pre-concept designs, options for design and build overseas, and/or a hybrid approach, a rough order of magnitude (ROM) costs and schedule for each option, as well as positions on key commercial issues. France, Germany and Japan are expected to be invited to participate in the competitive evaluation process, which is expected last for ten months. (Source