Archive | July, 2007


Iran fires back

In case you’re curious what Iran has to say about the multi-billion dollar arms package going to US allies in the Gulf region, which is presumably with the intent to offset reports of new Iranian deals with Russia, here’s the Iranian News Agency today: Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Tuesday that the US plan […]

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The (new and improved!) Top 10 of Big D

Last week’s “Top 10″ list suffers from one major flaw. It tracked the money flowing from the seven largest defense companies into the re-election accounts of each lawmaker during the first six months of 2007, but it didn’t include the additional money flowing into the “leadership PACs”. These are the PAC funds that allow one […]

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2007: Year of Boeing?

I’m going to go out on the limb and say that I believe in five months the US military aircraft industry will have to look back on 2007 as the “Year of Boeing”. I’m betting that Boeing is on the verge of scoring an incredible string of contract victories, while solidifying its current product line-up […]

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Newsflash: JSF magically gets cheaper!

Try to follow the logic: 1: The Department of Defense submits a budget request in February, requesting to buy 12 JSFs — 6 CTOL and 6 STOVL — for $2.65 billion. (See page 26 here.) 2: The House Appropriations Committee passes its version of the defense budget on July 25. The lawmakers approve the Pentagon’s […]

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Big “D’s” Top 10: Reyes still leads, but Courtney catches up

The seven largest US defense companies have contributed nearly $3 million to congressional election campaigns through the first six months on 2007, according to my own analysis. I am making my spreadsheet available for others to download. Please crunch the numbers as you see fit, and let me know if you come up with any […]

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Iran to unveil ‘new’ fighter

Iran says here that it will soon unveil — and fly — its first domestically manufactured fighter jet. (Source: Iran Defense Forum) This is presumably a reference to a new version of the Northrop F-5F, potentially modified with the Russian RD-33 engine, Iranian radar and avionics, shoulder-mounted air intakes and — most bizarrely — a […]

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New fad: fishing for counter-insurgency aircraft partners

Why is Northrop Grumman a prime contractor for a fishing boat company (see here)? The answer is: because they’re not stupid. “Need some air cover?” (Source: DOD) Irregular warfare is a growth market, and converting fishing boats into riverine patrol veseels could soon be a booming business with the US Navy, which is standing up […]

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Newsflash: Boeing wins contract; nobody protests

Once upon a time (read: 2006), defense contractors didn’t file legal challenges against their biggest customer on contract decisions even if they KNEW there was wrongdoing involved. (Lockheed Martin’s loss of the original Small Diameter Bomb competition in 2003 comes to mind.) But all that changed after GAO upheld the first CSAR-X protest last January. […]

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Spotted: Raytheon’s Anti-Northrop Grumman Radar (RANGR)

A nice person from Raytheon handed me a brochure this morning on the company’s AESA fighter radars. I usually file such documents straight into the wastebasket, but this one got my attention. You can look it up here. On page 2, you’ll find a silhouette of an F-16 with a radar pictured in the nose […]

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UCAS-D: Mulling the news angles

What should be the news angle if the US Navy awards the UCAS-D contract to either Boeing or Northrop Grumman later this week, which as Defense News reports is a very large possiblity? I’ve got four options: a) Assume Northrop Grumman wins. Bill Sweetman at Ares points out that Boeing has got nothing else in […]

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