27 Mar 15. Alenia in talks with new T-X Prime. Alenia Aermacchi is in talks with an unnamed US company to become the prime contractor for the T-100 trainer, a day after General Dynamics Information Systems & Technology withdrew itself from that role. General Dynamics, meanwhile, is denying that the decision to remove itself as the prime contractor for the trainer was tied to the final requirements for the program released by the Air Force a week ago. In a March 27 email, Alenia spokesman Stefano Somma told Defense News that there are ongoing discussions to find a prime to replace GD, but declined to name the potential new partner.
“Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi is in [talks] with a new major US prime contractor and it is fully committed to the North America market,” spokesman Stefano Somma said in a statement. “For the moment I can’t say who is the new partner.”
The T-100, based on Alenia’s M-346, is an offering for the Air Force’s T-X advanced trainer replacement program. The winner of the competition will produce 350 jets to replace the aging T-38 fleet.
The contest has been hotly contested, with four other teams competing for the contract. Company CEO Giuseppe Giordo was ousted yesterday as part of a larger cleaning out of parent company Finmeccanica.
Just who that next prime for the T-100 could be is unclear. There is no real clear answer, said Byron Callan of Capital Alpha Partners. Of the potential companies who would have the infrastructure, capabilities and desire to be in that market, he said, only one stands out.
“L-3 theoretically has the facilities,” he said, noting that Alenia and L-3 worked together on the C-27 program. “They would be the only one I can think that would conceivably make sense. There’s no one else who jumps off the page.”
However, Callan noted that L-3’s simulation arm is a major partner on Northrop’s clean-sheet offering, and the company may not want to create internal competition. Alenia is in the midst of a major leadership turnover. (Source: Defense News)
27 Mar 15. The U.S. Defense Department on Friday said it will be “demanding but fair” in negotiations with Lockheed Martin Corp for the next two batches of F-35 fighter jets, one of the Pentagon’s largest-ever sole-source contracts.
“There’s not going to be a lot of mystery in terms of what our expectations are. We intend to be a demanding but fair customer,” Shay Assad, the Pentagon’s director of defense pricing, told Reuters in an interview.
“It’s a big deal. It’s one of the largest sole-source negotiations in the history of the department,” he said.
Analysts estimate the two orders, which are being negotiated at one time, could be worth over $15bn. Lockheed, the Pentagon’s No. 1 supplier, and U.S. government officials have already begun early discussions about the ninth and 10th low-rate production contracts for a combined 150 jets, Orlando Carvalho, who heads Lockheed’s aeronautics division, told Reuters on Friday. He said the company hopes to conclude the contract negotiations by the end of the year. Assad said the department would give its negotiating team all the support it needed to conduct the contract talks, and was focused on ensuring early and open communications with Lockheed to get the data it needs to assess its contract proposal. The department in November awarded Lockheed a contract valued at $4.7 billion for an eighth batch of F-35 fighter jets, a 43-jet deal that lowered the average price per jet by 3.5 percent from the last contract. The government signed a separate contract valued at $1.05bn for an eighth batch of engines built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, to power the jets. Lockheed and its key subcontractors, Northrop Grumman Corp and BAE Systems Plc, as well as Pratt, are all investing in various measures aimed at simplifying production of the jets and reducing the cost to build and operate them. (Source: Reuters)
26 Mar 15. US Army still has need for a manned scout helicopte