The Swedes who build the Gripen fighter are known for being practical, producing advanced fighters that are relatively cheap (at least compared to almost everyone else). At the Paris Air Show the Gripen folks, SaaB Group. very deliberately floated an interesting idea. Since the Gripen uses fly-by-wire technology and advanced avionics which virtually eliminate the need… Keep reading →
PARIS AIR SHOW: If you think times are tough in the United States defense world, consider that three of Europe’s biggest defense companies, where defense budgets have been on a downward trajectory for a decade, have issued a plea for help building a European medium altitude drone. In a press release sent out simulatenously in… Keep reading →
As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →
America’s defense industry is deep in economic pessimism but the rest of the world isn’t defined by sequestration and the Afghan drawdown, and that will be very clear at next week’s Paris Air Show. This year’s show will probably be defined by commercial aviation, especially the twin aisle jet market. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner will return… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Reports that the Army has finally figured out whether the Hamlet of aircraft programs, Armed Aerial Scout, should be or not be are greatly exaggerated. Army aviation acquisition officials have looked at what birds in hand industry can offer to replace the service’s aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters and have decided they’d prefer to go after a bird in the bush. They’re still trying to decide, though, whether they can actually afford one.
The Army has been struggling for more than 20 years to come up with an aircraft to replace the Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. OH-58, which first went into service in 1969 and has been upgraded several times. Rumors were reported last week that a decision had been made to buy a new Armed Aerial Scout after a Pentagon meeting. At that session, Army aviation officials briefed the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, Heidi Shyu, on the results of flight demonstrations of helicopters manufacturers could offer for the armed scout role. They also presented options and a recommendation, but no decisions were reached. Keep reading →
CORRECTED Oct. 19, 2012, 9:30 a.m. to clarify imprecise information provided during the EADS press briefing.
WASHINGTON: The U.S. arm of European aerospace and defense giant EADS urged the Army on Thursday to buy new armed scout helicopters instead of upgrading its aging OH-58D Kiowa Warriors — and challenged competitors to top the performance two potential EADS entries recorded in recent flight demonstrations. Keep reading →
[Corrected at 4:50 pm to fix misquotation; see note below] With today’s spectacular but not unanticipated collapse of the mega-merger between Airbus parent company EADS and British armsmaker BAE, what’s next? The conventional wisdom is that BAE, the smaller of the two firms, is now vulnerable. But top analysts tell Breaking Defense that, in many ways, the reaction against the deal by both the German government and the stock market is a bigger rebuff for EADS.
Here’s the conventional wisdom in a capsule: “There will almost certainly be greater pressure on BAE Systems than EADS to reveal a plan B strategy as soon as possible,” wrote IHS Jane’s analyst Guy Anderson in a widely distributed email. “[T]he company has put itself firmly out on the field in terms of merger discussions….Investors are unlikely to be satisfied with business as usual.” Keep reading →
Paris and Berlin are in a bind as British-based BAE and Franco-German giant EADs, the parent company of Airbus, seek approval to merge into the world’s largest aerospace company.
If the French and German governments accept the companies’ current merger terms, their ability to influence the new tri-national behemoth will be sharply diminished and they will possess less power to protect their citizens’ job. If they demand greater influence, however, they may scupper the deal altogether, because both investors and the US government are leery of Franco-German meddling. Keep reading →
Today’s surprise announcement that UK-based arms-maker BAE and Airbus parent EADS are exploring a merger — sort of, maybe, if their respective boards approve an extremely complex deal that creates a so-called “dual-listed” entity in which each partner still issues its own separate stock — sent shockwaves throughout Europe and through the commercial aviation industry worldwide, but its impact on the US defense market is likely to be limited.
“Assuming a deal is completed, we do not see it as an immediate game changer for the U.S. defense sector,” wrote Capital Alpha analysts Bryon Callan and Russell Taylor in an analysis released this afternoon. Keep reading →