15 Mar 16. Lockheed funding F-16 fighter supply chain until more orders come in. Lockheed Martin Corp is using its own funding to keep the supply chain for F-16 fighter jets running until it receives additional orders beyond the Iraqi F-16 jets it is currently building, a top company official said Tuesday.
Orlando Carvalho, who heads Lockheed’s Aeronautics division, told Reuters the cost of keeping the F-16 supply chain ready for further orders was “manageable,” but gave no further details.
The U.S. government has approved the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, but funding for the aircraft and a timetable for a possible deal remain unclear.
Carvalho deferred questions about the Pakistan sale to the U.S. government, which is overseeing the deal.
Bahrain, Colombia, Indonesia have also expressed interest in F-16 fighter jet orders, Carvalho said.
He said the U.S. government was also in discussions with India about a possible sale of F-16s to India. (Source: Reuters)
15 Mar 16. Lockheed says U.S. bomber win appears based solely on cost. Northrop Grumman Corp’s bid to build a new U.S. bomber appears to have won the multibillion-dollar competition solely on the basis of cost, said a top executive with Lockheed Martin Corp, whose team led by Boeing Co lost the bidding.
Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Bruce Tanner told Reuters that he did not know the price of Northrop’s winning bomber, and he knew his comments would come across as “sour grapes.”
But he said the competition ultimately had “boiled down to cost” and he did not believe that choosing the lowest-cost bid was the best approach for a bomber that is supposed to last for over 50 years.
Tanner said the Air Force also had not recognized bomber capabilities offered by the Boeing-Lockheed team that exceeded the minimum requirements.
“It doesn’t seem like that’s going to convey into a platform that has upgrade capability for the next 50 years, like we think our offering did,” Tanner said.
Northrop Grumman and the Air Force have released few financial details about the contract.
Northrop Grumman won the contract to design and build 100 new long-range bombers for the Air Force in October. It began work on the program in February after federal auditors ruled against a protest filed by Boeing and Lockheed.
Boeing and Lockheed later said they would skip further legal action against the Air Force award, which analysts said may be worth $80bn to Northrop over time.
Despite having prevailed in the federal protest, Air Force officials are now facing tough questions by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain about the “cost plus incentive fee” contract structure they chose for the development phase of the new bomber.
McCain has threatened to block the program as structured, arguing that the government could become liable for cost overruns if the program runs into trouble, as many weapons projects do.
He is trying to convince the Air Force to opt for a more rigid “fixed price” type contract, but Air Force officials say it could cost a significant amount to redo the contract. (Source: Reuters)
14 Mar 16. Defence Council Endorses Project for New Jets for Bulgarian Air Force. Bulgaria’s Defence Council has approved the investment project for acquiring new fighter jets for the country’s Air Force, public broadcaster BNR reported on Monday. The decision was taken by the consultative body within the Defence Ministry last week, according to BNR. Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev told parliament’s Defence Committee on Thursday that the project would be submitted to the government for approval in the following days. Nenchev said earlier that BGN 80 M had been earmarked in the 2016 budget as the first instalment in the procurement of a new-multipurpose combat aircraft and the manufacturers of Eurofighter, Gripen and F-16 jets had been contacted. The Bulgarian Air Force could have its ageing Soviet-made combat aircraft replaced by new multi-purpose warplanes i