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  • Will other firms withdraw from fighter jet competition leaving F-35 last plane standing?

    September 25, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Will other firms withdraw from fighter jet competition leaving F-35 last plane standing?

    By DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Shortly before he retired, Pat Finn, the Department of National Defence's procurement chief, told this newspaper there was always a risk that some companies would drop out of the future fighter jet competition but that extra efforts had been made to ensure the process was fair. “We're not getting all kinds of signals that (companies are) losing interest” in bidding, Finn said in an interview July 23. On Aug. 30, the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence and Airbus Defence and Space informed the Canadian government of their decision to withdraw from Canada's future fighter competition. Airbus had been offering Canada the Eurofighter. At the time the Canadian Press news service reported the Eurofighter withdrawal was a surprise. It wasn't. For the last nine months the various competing firms, Boeing, Airbus and Saab have been sounding the alarm about how the fighter jet process is structured and their worry that it is stacked in favour of the Lockheed Martin F-35. The RCAF, which originally selected the F-35 as the CF-18 replacement before that selection was put on hold by the previous Conservative government because of cost and technical issues, came up with the new requirements. Industry representatives say these requirements highlight the strengths of the F-35 such as stealth and a first strike capability. The primary role of the new fighter jets is to protect North America, or so government officials have said. Lockheed Martin's industry rivals question how stealth and a first strike capability fit into that role. Representatives from Lockheed Martin's competitors have also made overtures to federal officials about their concerns about the procurement process but say they received little response. In early July Reuters news service reported that both Airbus and Boeing were considering dropping out. Airbus followed through on its concerns and as noted decided it wasn't worth competing because of how the process was designed. Last year the European firm Dassault informed the Canadian government it would not be competing in the competition. It had been planning to offer Canada the Rafale fighter jet. There were two key changes in the $19 billion procurement that caused Airbus to leave. One was the decision to change the industrial benefits needed for the program. Airbus was willing to outline and guarantee specific industrial benefits for Canada. That was the way previous defence procurements had worked. But that has been changed because of concerns the U.S. government raised for Lockheed Martin. U.S. officials had warned that the F-35 development agreement Canada signed years ago prohibits partners from imposing requirements for industrial benefits. Although Canada is a partner in the development of the aircraft that does not stipulate it is required to buy the F-35. But under the F-35 agreement, partner nations such as Canada are prohibited from demanding domestic companies receive specific work on the fighter jet. Instead, Canadian firms compete and if they are good enough they receive contracts. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned more than $1.3 billion in contracts to build F-35 parts. But there are no guarantees. The other problem that Airbus and Rafale faced was linked to the requirement that bidders need to show how their aircraft will integrate into the U.S.-Canada system to defend North America. Airbus would have been required to show how it planned to integrate the Eurofighter Typhoon into the U.S.-Canadian system without knowing the system's full technical details, the Canadian Press news service pointed out. Saab, which is offering Canada the Gripen fighter, could be facing the same problem. Boeing, which is considering offering the Super Hornet, would not have such a problem as its aircraft is being flown by the U.S. military. It is still unclear, however, whether Boeing or Saab will even continue in the competition. Bids must be submitted by the spring of 2020 but there is a growing sense among the defence industry that the F-35 will ultimately be selected as the new aircraft for the RCAF.

  • Opinion: After Major Mergers, What’s Next For Defense Market?

    September 25, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Opinion: After Major Mergers, What’s Next For Defense Market?

    By Byron Callan This year has shaped up as a record one in terms of the volume of major defense transactions so far announced. Considering deals of $100 million or more in announced value where defense is the primary factor, the 2019 total exceeds $61 billion. Of course, the largest single example is the Raytheon-United Technologies Corp. (UTC) merger. There are reasons to expect heightened activity in 2019 and 2020. Some reasons are known and others can be assessed, but one that does not appear to be affecting market expectations is the Raytheon-UTC deal. Since it was announced on June 9, the companies' share prices have declined from the June 7, close: Raytheon's by 4% and UTC's by 5.7%. The S&P 500 has been flat. However, share prices of peers have risen—General Dynamics is up 5.4%, L3Harris Technologies has increased 6.2%, Lockheed Martin and Leidos have climbed 7% and Northrop Grumman is up 14.4%. These price moves may be attributable to safe-haven seeking by investors who were spooked by global economic concerns and trade wars, but the budget deal reached by Congress also was a factor, as were July earnings reports. The price reactions, however, do not suggest that investors are particularly concerned about the impact of the competitive strength of the Raytheon-UTC union and its ability to take market share away from peers. Nor do they suggest that the deal will trigger a rush by defense-focused companies to merge with commercial ones. Were the latter to be the case, the price reactions may have been similar to Raytheon and United Technologies'. There have been other known developments that raise the question of what is next. Kaman Corp. sold its industrial distribution business for $700 million and will seek to redeploy that capital into engineering products businesses, some of which could involve defense. L3Harris signaled in June that it is undertaking a portfolio cleanup after the completion of the merger, and so there should be divestitures from that company. Textron announced in August that it was reviewing “strategic alternatives” for Kautex, which makes blow-molded fuel systems and other parts primarily for the automotive industry. Presuming that it leads to a sale of that business, Textron will have cash, some of which might be spent on defense. There are general factors as well that could spawn sector merger and acquisition activity in 2019-20. One of the biggest is the potential uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the 2020 U.S. elections. Buyers and sellers have to weigh a number of variables. If the current administration is reelected and control of Congress remains split at least through 2022, then it may be safe to assume that the status quo will continue. One variable within the status quo is how contractor portfolios could be affected by the ongoing efforts of the Pentagon to better align its programs with the National Defense Strategy. Like the Army's “night court” process, this may yet spawn a reassessment of specific programs and their future growth outlook. But if the status quo does not prevail, defense contractors could face a wall of uncertainties in 2020 and may choose to act before rather than after these uncertainties are clarified. First, they will have to assess which Democratic candidate could win the primary cycle and then the nomination. If it is a centrist candidate, the Defense Department spending outlook might not change all that much, although exports to some countries might be curtailed and there could be changes in some Pentagon budget priorities, particularly for nuclear forces modernization. A more progressive-leaning candidate might raise the risk of a more subdued defense budget outlook, particularly if fiscal resources are instead directed toward health care, infrastructure, student debt and other nondefense priorities. Second, there will have to be an assessment of whether a Democratic win of the White House could also flip control of the Senate to the Democrats. If there is a Democrat in the White House but a Republican majority in the Senate, the Senate could still check budgets or policies that may be detrimental to defense. It might also block efforts to roll back changes to tax laws made in 2017. A third variable to be assessed is the attitude of a new administration toward defense mergers and acquisitions, contractor financing and risk. A more progressive administration could look very differently at the structure and financial status of contractors. All these variables will lead to different analyses of current and future value in defense. Is it a good time to hunker down and wait to see what happens or to act in the time that remains in 2019-20 before investors and creditors draw their own conclusions? These uncertainties alone suggest that some will act in anticipation of a change rather than just wait and see.

  • Want to Win Government Business? Don’t be too ‘Commercial-Centric’

    September 24, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Want to Win Government Business? Don’t be too ‘Commercial-Centric’

    Governments may be open for business, but that doesn't mean doing business with a government is necessarily easy. Government procurement is complex - this is not by happenstance. The rules on public procurement stem from a number of sources including law (trade agreements, the common law and legislation) and policy. It can be a painful and costly learning curve for companies that want to sell goods and services to the country's largest buyers if they don't understand the rules. Government decision-makers are answerable to a very wide range of stakeholders, including the Canadian voters who put them in office and the Canadian taxpayers who fund their operations. In a public procurement, it's not just about getting the best deal – it is also about meeting the broader public interest and achieving long-term policy objectives. The Goal is to Promote Fairness Competition is the rule in public procurement because it offers a fair, open and transparent environment, and meets the public objective that all potential suppliers get a fair kick at the can to sell to government. This is important when you consider that, for example, the Department of National Defence is the largest Canadian purchaser of goods and services from the Canadian defence industry. Canada has implemented several trade agreements in the past few years, including the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) (which replaced the Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)). Understanding how these agreements impact procurement is even more important for suppliers and their federal, provincial and territorial government customers, as well as for the municipal, academic, school and hospital (MASH) sector which may now be subject to trade agreements for the first time or subject to additional or new rules brought about by these new trade agreements. Prepare your RFP Response Team for a Long Haul Businesses must understand the processes that come into play in public procurements, such as the need to resource their RFP response team for a long period of time or the impact of failing to meet mandatory RFP requirements (disqualification from the procurement process). Learning to manage the length of time it takes to progress through a procurement cycle, and to navigate the processes, is a big challenge. In business, relationships matter, but developing a good working relationship with key decision makers in government departments or agencies can be difficult since government tends to have greater workforce mobility and people change in and out of roles frequently. Further, dealing with government means complying with lobbying law and conflict of interest rules. In many jurisdictions, discussions about procurement requirements outside of public solicitation processes is considered lobbying, as it is attempting to sell products or services to the government. Conflict of interest rules may also preclude certain people from doing business with government officials. Approaching public procurement with a "commercial-centric" view often leads to frustration. The federal government does understand "how business works," but there are still many aspects of a public procurement that are not (and cannot be) commercially focused, including those related to complying with applicable trade agreements, protecting the public interest, and serving policy objectives such as regional development and economic diversification. Companies participating in a public sector procurement process face unique compliance requirements that don't come into play with a typical private commercial transaction. Expect Heightened Security Requirements With the increasing attention being paid to cybersecurity and data protection, companies will find they are now subject to more stringent security requirements, including an increased requirement for product functionality and security control disclosure in advance of their products or services being accepted by government buyers. This level of disclosure can extend through to greater access to the underlying technology used so that the customer itself can test for, and understand, cyber-threat vulnerabilities. Whether this is your first foray into the world of government procurement – and you need to understand the rules of public procurement so that you can properly understand the RFP documents and the plethora of government policies – or you have a broader interest focused on influencing government policy and direction as it relates to your business or your industry, knowing how to best position your organization to take advantage of both possible routes is critical to a successful government procurement business. Waiting until you have lost a bid is too late to effect a change for your organization's benefit. Be Proactive with the Right Advice Regardless of your focus, knowing how the system works and how to best advocate for your interests is a crucial and part of any successful business plan. Working with a legal team that has knowledge and experience in all of these areas and can assist with strategic planning and approach from start to finish is critical to success.

  • Defense Firms Angle for Eastern Europe

    September 24, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Defense Firms Angle for Eastern Europe

    By Dominik Kimla and Hamilton Cook Posted September 19, 2019 In White Papers One of the more dissonant aspects of NATO field exercises is, three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the continued presence of Warsaw Pact weapons and equipment: Soviet-made T-series tanks, MiG fighters, Mi-17 helicopters, BM-21 rocket artillery, and more. Like their western counterparts on the continent, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) states have repeatedly delayed needed recapitalization as defense needs gave way to domestic imperatives. But times – and threat assessments – are changing. By our analysis, cumulative CEE defense spending will be nearly $200 billion over the next five years, growing by nearly five percent per year. More than a quarter of that total, some $53 billion, will be spent on defense hardware procurement. This represents a rare opportunity for Western defense firms – European and American – to seize a first-mover advantage. However, US companies must find new ways to credibly differentiate themselves from European competitors that may offer more financial and industrial incentives (and fewer regulatory hassles) in the long run. Currently, US companies are well positioned for success as more aggressive US government advocacy has led to recent CEE customer wins for Black Hawk helicopters (Latvia, Poland, Slovakia), F-16 fighters (Bulgaria, Slovakia), HIMARS (Poland, Romania), JLTV (Lithuania), and Patriot AMD systems (Poland, Romania). The US effort to steer CEE weapons-buying decisions picked up further momentum last year with the State Department-led European Recapitalization Incentive Program (ERIP), which provided $190 million in financing assistance to five Balkan countries (along with Slovakia) to replace ex-Soviet and Yugoslav-made equipment. Even as ERIP expands, American companies will still have plenty of obstacles ahead. Historically, the limited new weapons procurement in most CEE countries included minimal offset or local industrialization requirements. Going forward, reporting suggests that CEE countries, even as small as Croatia or Slovenia, will demand some form of local industrial participation and technology cooperation to develop their indigenous capabilities. This puts American firms at a disadvantage given the US government's still-stringent technology transfer regime. Western European companies will differentiate themselves by proposing generous technology and work-sharing transfers, integrating local defense companies into their supply chains, and setting up a pan-European Defense Industrial Base. The European Defense Fund (EDF) will fuel this by providing up to €13 billion over the next eight years to cultivate and secure these local ties. By financing collaborative R&D projects, prototype development, and disruptive, higher-risk defense innovation, the EDF will entrench Western European companies in CEE defense establishments over the medium to long term. Yet, from the perspective of vulnerable members on NATO's eastern flank, only the US has the political power and defense capabilities to counter Russian meddling and aggression. Given the ambivalence of Western European powers about confronting Russia, and the appearance of oft-fluctuating US commitment to NATO, CEE nations may see buying American not only as a means to get best-in-class (but more costly) weapons, but also as a binding mechanism to enhance US political and military commitment. This dynamic was most vividly illustrated with Poland as it announced its intention to pursue the F-35, a platform historically out of Poland's “price range.” The purchase was also one of three major cornerstones for ensuring US investment in Polish security. The others were Poland's procurement of Patriot AMD systems and its agreement to – and its offer to fund – enduring US basing in-country. However, Poland will still expect significant local industrial benefit as part of any arms transaction, as defense acquisitions continue to be as much a political and (parochial) economic exercise as a military one. European firms have not stood idly by while the US competitors have targeted the region though, and they have gained their own CEE foothold. They have found success by targeting countries like Hungary, who recently purchased helicopters from Airbus along with tanks and howitzers from KMW. While this is smaller than recent US sales, Western European contractors have an advantage: time. Every programmatic delay buys more time for the EDF to mature, extend its tendrils into every Western European foothold in the region, and bring the promise of increased industrial participation. Thus, absent a dramatic softening of the US tech transfer regime, American contractors will need to push for more creative ways to provide credible differentiation from Western European competitors. First, they can take advantage of the upcoming eastern shift of US operations in the region and establish logistics and maintenance centers that are able to serve both a country's new equipment and US forces in region, in a model similar to the F-35's maintenance depots in Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom. This expands NATO's operational support footprint into the region and grants CEE countries access to a much larger sustainment enterprise. Second, American firms should push for more aggressive releases of Excess Defense Articles. While older, this equipment still represents a substantial increase in military capability that many CEE countries otherwise could not afford. This has been seen in Croatia, where 16 retired OH-58 Kiowa Warriors are providing the country with new capabilities it could not afford (and now cannot afford to replace) and a pair of UH-60Ms donated to the Croatia Special Forces have introduced the platform to the Croatian military ahead of an eventual Mi-8/17 replacement program. These introductions induct CEE customers to US-style CONOPS and equipping standards that increase switching-costs to European competitors. Finally, American contractors should extol the wider advantages of buying into the US defense enterprise. The opportunity to tap into the extensive US training enterprise during and after the acquisition process would be a boon to CEE nations overhauling their militaries. While this has most recently been highlighted by international F-35 customers conducting their initial training at Luke Air Force Base amid the expansive Western US training range infrastructure, it is an opportunity that can be granted to non-Air Force customers, particularly given the establishment of a new Combat Training Center in Drawsko Pomorskie, Poland. Meanwhile, the Foreign Military Sales process grants international contractors access to DoD buying power, not only for the acquisition itself, but also for the all-critical procurement of spare parts and weapons reloads decades down the line. As they pursue long-overdue military modernization CEE countries will have to balance competing economic, political, and security imperatives. While going with US defense prime contractors provides top-tier capability and stronger ties with the only NATO member that can credibly deter Russian military adventurism, Western European firms will offer the lure of technology sharing and a more lucrative package for local industry. How CEE nations strike that balance will shape the military-political alignment of Europe's eastern flank for the next generation.

  • First test flight for Boeing MQ-25

    September 24, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval

    First test flight for Boeing MQ-25

    Boeing and the U.S. Navy on September 19 completed the first test flight of the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueler. Designated as T1, the MQ-25 test asset completed an autonomous two-hour flight under the direction of Boeing test pilots operating from a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Ill., where the test program is based. The aircraft completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff and then flew a pre-determined route to validate the aircraft's basic flight functions and operations with the ground control station. “Seeing MQ-25 in the sky is a testament to our Boeing and Navy team working the technology, systems and processes that are helping get MQ-25 to the carrier,” said Boeing MQ-25 program director Dave Bujold. “This aircraft and its flight test program ensures we're delivering the MQ-25 to the carrier fleet with the safety, reliability and capability the U.S. Navy needs to conduct its vital mission.” The Boeing-owned test asset is a predecessor to the engineering development model (EDM) aircraft and is being used for what the company describes as early learning and discovery to meet the goals of the U.S. Navy's accelerated acquisition program. Boeing will produce four EDM MQ-25 air vehicles for the U.S. Navy under an US$805 million ($1.1 billion) contract awarded in August 2018. Boeing receives $805M MQ-25 contract Boeing explains the MQ-25 will provide the Navy with a much-needed carrier-based unmanned aerial refueling capability, which will allow for better use of the combat strike fighters currently performing the tanking role. It will also extend the range of the carrier air wing. “Today's flight is an exciting and significant milestone for our program and the Navy,” said the Navy's Unmanned Carrier Aviation (PMA-268) Program Manager Capt. Chad Reed. “The flight of this test asset two years before our first MQ-25 arrives represents the first big step in a series of early learning opportunities that are helping us progress toward delivery of a game-changing capability for the carrier air wing and strike group commanders.” The Navy expects the first four MQ-25s to reach operational capability on carrier decks in 2024. After this contract is complete, covering the design and production of the four MQ-25 airframes for testing, the Navy plans to buy 72 more vehicles with a total program cost of about US$13 billion ($17 billion). Héroux-Devtek to supply landing gear for Boeing MQ-25 Stingray In April 2019, Héroux-Devtek Inc. of Longueuil, Québec, was awarded a contract by Boeing to supply the complete landing gear system for the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling program. T1 received its experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA in September, verifying that the air vehicle meets the agency's requirements for safe flight.

  • Guns from Iroquois-class destroyers up for sale

    September 24, 2019 | Local, Naval

    Guns from Iroquois-class destroyers up for sale

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN The Canadian government is looking for buyers for the OTO Melara 76mm guns removed from the Royal Canadian Navy's Iroquois-class destroyers. All Iroquois-class ships have been decommissioned, and systems that were strictly associated with that class, have been declared surplus, according to the Department of National Defence. The five 76mm gun systems and associated spare parts from these ships were declared surplus in 2015 and 2016 and are moving through the disposal process, noted DND spokesman Andrew McKelvey. But the DND has decided not to provide the guns to museums. Instead they are being sold. Two of the guns were sold last year to the French Defence Ministry for undisclosed amount. The sale of the other guns is being coordinated by Public Services and Procurement Canada. The guns are up for sale to Canadian allies or approved buyers within the defence industry.

  • Kongsberg has signed CROWS contract worth MUSD 42

    September 24, 2019 | International, Land

    Kongsberg has signed CROWS contract worth MUSD 42

    September 23, 2019 - Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS (KONGSBERG) has signed a new contract for new remote weapon stations (RWS) to the American CROWS-program, worth MUSD 42. With this contract the total order income during the quarter from the CROWS-program amounts to MUSD 131. These orders are related to CROWS framework agreement, which was announced 14 September 2018 with a total scope up to MUSD 498.

  • U.S. Department of the Navy Awards Perspecta $657 Million Extension to Continue Providing IT Services on its Next Generation Enterprise Services (NGEN) Contract

    September 24, 2019 | International, Naval

    U.S. Department of the Navy Awards Perspecta $657 Million Extension to Continue Providing IT Services on its Next Generation Enterprise Services (NGEN) Contract

    Chantilly, Va. - September 23, 2019 - Perspecta Inc. (NYSE: PRSP), a leading U.S. government services provider, today announced that it was awarded a $657 million extension of its NGEN contract with the U.S. Department of the Navy for continued delivery IT services. The extension provides the continued delivery of IT services for an additional four months beyond the current NGEN extension, from June 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020, with three one-month options available. Under NGEN, Perspecta operates the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), the world's largest intranet, with approximately 400,000 seats representing 700,000 Navy and Marine Corps uniformed and civilian users, largely within the continental United States. As originally awarded, the NGEN contract would have expired on June 26, 2018, with the current extension slated to expire on May 31, 2020. “Through NGEN, the Navy has long established itself as a technology leader among government agencies,” said Mac Curtis, president and chief executive officer, Perspecta. “We are proud of the innovative partnership we've built with them and look forward to putting bold new ideas to work in preparation for the next phase of the program.” About Perspecta Inc. At Perspecta (NYSE: PRSP), we question, we seek and we solve. Perspecta brings a diverse set of capabilities to our U.S. government customers in defense, intelligence, civilian, health care and state and local markets. Our 270+ issued, licensed and pending patents are more than just pieces of paper, they tell the story of our innovation. With offerings in mission services, digital transformation and enterprise operations, our team of 14,000 engineers, analysts, investigators and architects work tirelessly to not only execute the mission, but build and support the backbone that enables it. Perspecta was formed to take on big challenges. We are an engine for growth and success and we enable our customers to build a better nation. For more information about Perspecta, visit # # # This press release may contain- forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Perspecta and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Perspecta undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Although Perspecta believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve a variety of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. Contact: Lorraine M. Corcoran Vice President, Corporate Communications 571.313.6054 office 301.529.9429 mobile M. Stuart Davis Vice President, Investor Relations 703.547.0300 office 571.424.6262 mobile

  • U.S. Air Force Faces Next-Generation Engine Funding Crisis

    September 24, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    U.S. Air Force Faces Next-Generation Engine Funding Crisis

    Adaptive engine technology faces its first major funding crisis as a 13-year-long, $4 billion investment by the U.S. Defense Department approaches a key milestone. Senate appropriators have threatened to reduce the fiscal 2020 budget for the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) by nearly one-third. The $270 million cut would be “pretty devastating,” says David Tweedie, general manager of GE's advanced combat engine program.

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