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The “Top 10″ of Big Defense

Ever wonder who US defense industry lobbyists like to spend their hard-earned PAC money on? Well, now you can find out. I’ve spent the last few hours researching PAC spending so far this year by the seven largest US defense companies (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raytheon, L-3 Communications and BAE Systems), which […]

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KC-X Flashback at 787 Roll-out

On the shuttle bus to the pre-rollout media reception for the 787 in Everett, Washington, on Saturday night, myself and a busload of mostly foreign aerospace journalists were suddenly transported back to the bad old days of Darleen Druyun, KC-767 tanker leases and John McCain. There, before our eyes, stood the forlorn shape of the […]

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JCA puzzler #4

Raytheon says it is protesting losing the Joint Cargo Aircraft contract for three reasons: a) the joint program office rated performance equally between the two competitors b) Raytheon’s C-295 procurement price tag beat L-3′s C-27J acquisition cost by 15% c) and lifecycle costs were not factored into the joint program office’s evaluation B and C […]

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Is Doonesbury in Lockheed’s pocket?

Is the comic strip Doonesbury really just a front for anti-Chinook propaganda? Could Lockheed Martin or Sikorsky have planted a punch line in Saturday’s comic strip that just happens to be rhetorical landmine in the ongoing controversy over the selection of the HH-47 for the CSAR-X contract? The answer is: Of course not! But the […]

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Intercepts

Today, you can: 1. Spend a year telling contractors that you want to develop a sophisticated data link to integrate on the air mobility fleet, then abruptly reverse course and signal that you’d rather buy an off the shelf antenna, but thanks for everybody’s time. 2. Develop a new unmanned aerial vehicle designed by InSitu […]

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Target Spotting: US Navy

The US Navy is seeking to develop a new target vehicle described as “supersonic” and “multi-stage”. You can read the solicitation here. I have not been previoulsy aware of a specific need in the navy for such a target. It’s possible that this is part of the navy’s Threat D program, which seeks to do […]

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JCA: Just Confusing Aircraft

The plot continues to thicken on the mystery of the Joint Cargo Aircraft contract. As I reported in Flight International magazine this week, I have received three different official estimates for cost and aircraft quantity, The joint programme office says the contract will cost $2 billion to buy 78 aircraft. L-3 Communications, the selected prime […]

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The Rhino and Me

The official reason for my 1-hour joy ride in a US Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet on June 20 at the Paris air show is quite sensible. I am after all a serious journalist and non-pilot who writes regularly about the aircraft. The real-world exposure, compliments of Boeing’s generous invitation, would add a valuable perspective to […]

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The $2.04 Billion Mystery of JCA

DOD’s contract announcement for the Joint Cargo Aircraft says that the L-3 Communications team will be paid an “estimated” $2.04 billion to deliver “up to” 78 C-27Js. That is not very clear, nor very accurate, and the facts that I discovered yesterday raise some serious questions about the US Air Force’s real level of interest […]

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Not to Brag, BUT …

The US Army has thankfully upheld my professional reputation, such as it is, by selecting the C-27J for a $2 billion contract awarded earlier this evening. I risked public embarassment and several free beers to the Raytheon/EADS North America PR team by sticking my neck out last week and predicting that the L-3/Alenia/Boeing/etc product would […]

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