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 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 →
MANASSAS, Va: Buzzing a runway in 200-knot low-level passes and steep, nose-up climbs, Eurocopter’s silver X3 hybrid helicopter looked like something out of a James Bond movie as it performed for the media in late July. The X3 (pronounced “X-cubed”) stopped off at Manassas Regional Airport as part of a U.S. tour that ended last Thursday at the Pentagon, where Eurocopter hopes to sell several types of helicopters based on its sleek new technology demonstrator.
“I see a bright future inside the military,” said Steve Mundt, vice president for business development for Eurocopter parent EADS North America and a retired brigadier general who once ran the Army’s aviation branch. Keep reading →
The proposed sale of bankrupt Hawker Beechcraft to a Chinese company will create no security problems for the US military, pledged Hawker chairman Bill Boisture in an exclusive interview with Breaking Defense. Keep reading →