The Australian Department of Defence is planning a downselect in June or July in its Project Air 5409 bomb improvement programme competition. Tenders for the potentially A$75 million ($59.4 million) requirement closed on 15 February, with bids submitted by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
Boeing is offering its GBU-32/35/38-series Joint Direct Attack Munition with an option for a production version of a folding wing kit in development by Boeing Australia subsidiary Hawker de Havilland and Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
Lockheed is bidding the GBU-16 Paveway II integrated with its Longshot folding wing kit, with a proposal for Australia to participate in the development of a Longshot design for use with 907kg (2,000lb) bombs.
Raytheon is promoting its dual-mode Enhanced Paveway II and is offering to provide new-build weapons, upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force's current Paveway IIs or a combination of the two. The selected type will equip Australia's Boeing F-18A/B Hornets, which are entering their 20th year in air force service.
CRAIG HOYLE & PETER LA FRANCHI / AVALON
Source: Flight International