01 Oct 20. Meta Aerospace has revealed that it is the buyer of four former Republic of Singapore Air Force KC-135R Stratotankers, which it says will provide private aerial refueling services to the U.S. military. This makes it only the second commercial firm to acquire boom-equipped tankers.
FlightGlobal was first to confirm that the United Kingdom-headquartered defense contractor, which also has an office in Washington, D.C., had acquired the quartet of ex-Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) KC-135Rs, that the service retired last year. The first of these aircraft, which now carries the U.S. civil registration code N573MA, is now at March Air Reserve Base, an Air Force Reserve base in California, after having left Singapore earlier this week. The company said that it expects the other three aircraft to touch down in the United States by the end of November. (Source: Google/https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone)
30 Sep 20. Lockheed, Pentagon agree on $70.6m settlement over F-35 parts problems. Lockheed Martin will invest nearly $71m to correct an ongoing problem with spare parts for the F-35 fighter plane, an agreement the Pentagon states.
The agreement, announced on Tuesday, will be formalized within two weeks, a Defense Contract Management Agency spokesman said.
The deal refers to over 15,000 F-35 spare parts delivered to the U.S. military without “electric equipment logs,” which permit the parts to the identified and absorbed into logistics systems.
Incorrect or unavailable information delays the uploading of data, and the dispute centered on at least $183m in Defense Department expenses owing to the problem. The parts in question were rejected for installation only because of the lack of tracking data — no flaws in safety or manufacturing were inferred, officials said.
The action was initiated after the Pentagon’s inspector general discovered the problem in a 2019 audit, and recommended that the Defense Department should seek $303m in refunds.
Instead of a direct payment from Lockheed, the defense contractor will “compensate the government with Lockheed Martin investments” to ensure that future spare parts are delivered with accurate EELs, company spokesman Brett Ashworth said.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee was critical of Lockheed during a July hearing, but on Wednesday, committee members Rep. Carolyn Mahoney, D-N.Y., and Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., applauded the resolution of the dispute.
“We applaud the Department of Defense for its efforts to hold Lockheed Martin accountable for failing to meet its F-35contract requirements,” Mahoney and Lynch said in a joint statement.
“While we believe Lockheed should have reimbursed American taxpayers for a greater share of the funds DOD spent to address the inefficiencies uncovered by our committee’s investigation, this is a step in the right direction. We look forward to seeing the final signed agreement that codifies Lockheed Martin’s commitment to improving the F-35 program,” they said in the joint statement. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/UPI)
01 Oct 20. Marshall wins historic US Marine Corps contract. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (MADG) has won a ten-year multi-million dollar contract with the US Marine Corps to provide depot-level maintenance to its 66-strong fleet of KC-130J tanker aircraft deployed worldwide. The contract, one of the biggest in the company’s history, enables MADG to perform scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in support of Naval Air Systems Command’s Tactical Airlift Program Office (PMA-207). The Multiple Award Contract (MAC) was issued by Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka after a rigorous international competition that included extensive pre-solicitation audits and demonstration of past performance.
MADG Chief Executive, Gary Moynehan, comments: “This really is fantastic news that represents a very significant step forward in our strategy to grow our share of business in North America. This win builds on more than 50 years of service to the Royal Air Force which has, and continues to be, the bedrock of our Military Aerospace business. I am very proud that the US Marine Corps is prepared to place its trust in a privately-owned British company to undertake this important work.
“We are already working closely with the US Government and the US Department of the Navy through NAVAIR. We initially won the support contract in 2019 for three Kuwaiti KC-130Js purchased through the US Government’s Foreign Military Sales process and, more recently, supported the entry into service of the iconic ‘Fat Albert’ replacement for the Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron.
“Our ability to secure this framework contract with the US Navy is a further strengthening of our relationship with this important customer, the world’s second largest operator of C-130 aircraft, validating MADG’s position as one of the most capable, experienced and competitive C-130 support organisations in the world. We thank both NAVSUP and the Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific for the trust they have shown in our aircraft support capabilities.
“MADG is one of just two suppliers to have been awarded a framework contract and as such it has huge potential for the long-term future of our business. Whilst the volume of work we secure will ultimately be dependent on our ongoing performance I am very confident that we will begin to demonstrate our ability to deliver a world-class, cost effective service when the first aircraft arrives Cambridge later this year.”
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadrons provide an important aerial refuelling service to support Fleet Marine Force air operations, as well as assault air transport of personnel, equipment and supplies.
As CAPT Matthew Brickhaus, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Director of Contracting explains: “This innovative contracting strategy led by our team will enhance global commercial repair capacity and redundancy for the naval aviation enterprise. Simply put, there is now more than one overseas commercial contractor ready to service the depot repair needs of the C-130 fleet.”
Fleet Readiness Center Western Pacific Commanding Officer, CDR Randy Berti comments: “Our mission is to provide safe, mission-ready aircraft to our U.S. Navy and Marine Corps customers. Teaming up with Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group will help us to accomplish our mission and accelerate naval aviation readiness with world-class execution.”
MADG supports the C-130 platform for 17 Government operators including the UK Royal Air Force under the award-winning Hercules Integrated Operational Support (HIOS) contract.
29 Sep 20. Here’s what Lockheed will have to do to make up for F-35 spare parts problems. The Defense Department and Lockheed Martin reached a handshake agreement that will require the defense giant to invest about $70.6m to fix an ongoing problem with F-35 spare parts, one that resulted in increased government labor costs, the department announced Sept. 29.
For the past few months, Lockheed and the Defense Contracts Management Agency have been locked in a dispute over more than 15,000 F-35 spare parts sent to the U.S. military with incorrect or incomplete “electronic equipment logs” or EELs, which allow the parts to be absorbed into the F-35′s logistics system and installed on the jet.
Lockheed and the Defense Contracts Management Agency expect a final agreement to be formalized sometime within the next two weeks or so, said DCMA spokesman Matthew Montgomery, who confirmed the $70.588m deal to Defense News.
The use of EELs — which allow the government to track the usage and lifespan of major F-35 parts — is unique to the joint strike fighter program and is meant to help inform smarter, more cost-effective maintenance and buying practices.
But when parts are delivered with inaccurate EEL information, it can take hours for military maintainers and Lockheed support personnel to track down the correct data that will allow a part to be uploaded into the system and installed in the aircraft.
Instead of paying back the government directly for the added costs associated with the EELs, Lockheed will “compensate the government with Lockheed Martin investments” that will ultimately ensure spare parts are delivered with accurate electronic logs, said Lockheed spokesman Brett Ashworth.
“We appreciate the partnership with the Defense Contract Management Agency and the F-35 Joint Program Office, and we remain focused on ensuring the warfighter has the support they need to employ the F-35′s game changing capabilities,” he said.
The final sum of the agreement is less than half of the $183m sum that DCMA initially projected that the government had spent to correct wrong or incorrect EELs since 2015. It was not immediately clear why DCMA had agreed to a compensation deal worth so much less than the department’s estimated costs.
During a July hearing, lawmakers from the House Oversight and Reform Committee chastised Lockheed for its failure to deliver parts ready to fly.
“That’s $183m that the American taxpayers were forced to pay because Lockheed Martin failed to meet the requirements of its contract,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the committee’s chairwoman.
But Greg Ulmer, Lockheed’s vice president for the F-35 program, said then that the company should not take all of the blame for the spare parts problems.
“It’s not all associated with Lockheed Martin performance. There are many aspects associated with [parts that are] not ready for issue,” he said.(Source: Defense News)
28 Sep 20. EATC marks first decade of operations. The European Air Transport Command (EATC) has marked its first 10 years of operations, with a ceremony held at its headquarters in the Netherlands on 24 September.
The event at Eindhoven Air Base was held to mark a decade of shared air transport (AT), air-to-air refuelling (AAR), and aeromedical evacuation (medevac) services between its member nations. It was attended in person by senior political, military, and industry dignitaries, including the Dutch Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld, and the outgoing Commander of the EATC French Air Force Major General Laurent Marboeuf, while representatives from the seven participating nations contributed remotely due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The EATC was established on 1 September 2010 between France, Germany, and the Benelux countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, with Spain and Italy joining in 2014. (Source: Jane’s)
25 Sep 20. Bulgaria receives first two Su-25s upgraded and overhauled by Belarus. The Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) took delivery of its first pair of Su-25 close air support aircraft that were overhauled and upgraded by and received a life extension from the 558 ARZ company in Belarus. The aircraft, one single and one twin seater, were airlifted in a disassembled state to Bezmer airbase in south-eastern Bulgaria on 21-22 September, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in a press release on 23 September. The remaining six aircraft – one twin and five single seaters – are slated for delivery until the end of February 2021.
The Bulgarian MoD signed the BGN82.5m (USD49.2m) contract with 558 ARZ, covering eight aircraft, in December 2018.
After the overhaul, the Su-25s are certified for a total service life of 40 years, with a life extension of 800 flight hours and 10 years of operation. The overhaul of the aircraft’s R-95Sh turbojet engines will provide a service life of 500 hours. These life extension figures will allow the BuAF to continue operating the Su-25 until 2027-28, with an option for another 10-year extension of the aircraft’s service life to 50 years, which would require another airframe and engine overhaul. (Source: Jane’s)