“The more a weapon costs, the farther you will have to send it away to be repaired.” – Unattributed.
On 20 January 2021, the day President Biden took office, the United States had recently confirmed a variety of high profile arms sales to both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One of the first policy decisions subsequent to his inauguration Biden instigated a pause on such arms sales while they were re-evaluated.
Arms sales to these two Gulf states have been under the spotlight for some time now, due to the ongoing war in Yemen and the humanitarian disaster that has resulted. Although complex, in one way it has been a high level proxy war that has seen the KSA and the UAE (with the support of the US) back the Yemeni government against Houthi rebels who have been supported by Iran. However, the war has been ongoing since 2015 with no end yet in site.
Recent contracts announced by the US Department of Defense on 10 November 2020 included an agreement to sell up to 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to the UAE at a cost of $10.4 billion, as well as up to 18 General Atomics MQ-9B unmanned aerial vehicles with associated equipment which would allow them to be armed for a further $2.97 billion.
Other recent State Department contracts include the 4 January 2021 announcement of Boeing’s $21 million award for the conversion of the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S Eagle into the advanced F-15SA aircraft, equipped with a variety of leading systems APG-63V3 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars as well as the ability to carry a wide range of weapons systems including GBU-39 SDBs (Small Diameter Bombs) on external hard-points. Prior to this on 29 December 2020, the Trump Administration had approved a $290 million FMS sale to the KSA of up to 3,000 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) bombs.
On 15 January Lockheed Martin Space received a $254 million award under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the maintenance and sustainment for two Terminal High Altitude Area Defence batteries. On 29 January Lockheed Martin also won a contract to supply F-16 mission planning software for a variety of countries including the UAE.
The question of arms sales to Gulf countries is now a difficult one for a Democratic President. While bringing a halt to the war in Yemen and the humanitarian crisis is a stated goal, the US is also committed to helping the Sunni Arabic nations (including KSA and the UAE) stand up to Iran. Indeed President Biden intends to maintain the economic sanctions on Iran that his predecessor instigated, until Iran complies with the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached between Iran, the US, China, France, Germany, Russia and the UK. This of course is the deal that President Trump walked away from in 2018.
Iran remains a concern for any US Administration and even though a pause in arms sales was announced by the new administration, it is unlikely to result in the arms ‘tap’ being turned off when the KSA can point to the attacks such as those conducted by UAVs against its oil production facilities on 14 September 2019 at Abqaiq and Khurais.
There is also the economic consideration. The value of extensive and ongoing sales of arms to countries that, even during the pandemic, can still afford to buy the latest military equipment from US manufacturers and their industrial supply base cannot be ignored.
In terms of the larger strategic picture, the Gulf countries will need to be assured that the US remains loyal, particularly in light of the recent and much vaunted Abraham Accords.
MERGING COMMANDS – EUROPE AND AFRICA; AND VISAS FOR TROOPS
“The merger of two commands presents opportunities: it align activities of operations and investments with allies, especially new southern allies, and helps us think hemispherically,” stated General Christopher G. Cavoli during a virtual report presented through the Association of the United States Army on Wednesday 3 February 2021.
Gen. Cavoli assumed command of the consolidated US Army Europe and Africa on 1 October, 2020. He had previously been the sole commander of US Army Europe since January 2018, held a command in Afghanistan, as well as service as the director for Russia on the Joint Staff; deputy executive assistant for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and director of the chief of staff of the Army’s Coordination Group.
One of the main benefits of the united command means “we can now employ US Europe assets into Africa to meet those threats as opposed to never having assets there before,” he said.
Among the recent challenges that both of the Commands face is disinformation. One of the growing requirements he said, is “responding to disinformation and promulgating our own truth. Europe has a lot of challenges with disinformation – and now Africa too.” he said that it was important to tell the truth and attribute stories to true sources.”
Gen Cavoli observed that both Russia and now China are competing for influence. “China has been on a buying spree – eager to buy and control ports, airports, and infrastructure,” which are not only important to its economic prosperity but also have significant “import to the military.”
This is another example of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative/strategy. Where economic investment goes, coercion can also follow to allow military facilities to be placed in nations that accrue substantial dept.
In terms of Defended 2020, the US-led exercise which aimed to test NATO allies’ ability to support a large-scale movement of forces across the Atlantic and mainland Europe, it began well but had the brakes applied as COVID-19 took hold across Europe. “We had seven of nine vessels unloaded; we had 10,000 soldiers moved over (from the US) and 13,000 pieces of equipment with onward movement already underway before it was halted.”
With new allies now in the NATO camp, understanding the geography and infrastructure of some new companies was an initial challenge. In Soviet times, transport links had been specifically designed to allow Soviet military build up to occur towards NATO countries, now the requirement had been reversed. “We exercise across diverse infrastructure so we can look at deficiencies and then recommend improvements,” stated Gen Cavoli.
One seemingly small but as it turned out vital element of bringing troops into Europe and moving them across borders was the issue of visas. There had not been a standard ‘Schengen’ type form to allow soldiers to do this quickly as military mobility requires. “We are now automating a standard form to be implemented across Europe. Poland had a 15 day notice for non emergency cross border movement of troops; that is now down to five days,” he said.
EXTENSION TO START AGREED – WITH CAUTION
On 3 February President Biden announced that the US Government would extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with the Russian Federation for a further five years, to 4 February 2026. The limits of the New START Treaty originally agreed ten years ago on 5 February 2011 include the following:
– 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments;
– 1,550 nuclear warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments (each such heavy bomber is counted as one warhead toward this limit);
– 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers, and heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments.
Anthony J Blinken, the new Secretary of State stated that Extending the New START Treaty “ensures we have verifiable limits on Russian ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers until 5 February, 2026.” Monitoring and verification are both essential for mutual compliance, he said. This includes “data exchanges and onsite inspections that allow US inspectors to have eyes on Russian nuclear forces and facilities” [and vice versa]. He added that the US had “assessed the Russian Federation to be in compliance with its New START Treaty obligations every year since the treaty entered into force in 2011.”
While behind the US position, a statement release by NATO headquarters included a cautionary addition: “NATO remains clear-eyed about the challenges Russia poses. We will work in close consultation to address Russia’s aggressive actions, which constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security.”
US MAJOR ARMS SALES (Defence Security Cooperation Agency – DSCA).
5 February, 2021 – NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA).
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCIA) of UHF SATCOM Radio Systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of $65 million.
5 February, 2021 – Chile.
The State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Chile of Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IIIA Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $85 million.
US GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS
Highlighting a selection of $100 million+ government awarded contracts awarded between 25 January – 5 February 2021 and Foreign Military Sales contracts.
Sikorsky Aircraft is awarded a $478 million modification contract which exercises options for the procurement of five Lot Three low rate initial production Presidential Helicopters Replacement Program (VH-92A) aircraft, and associated interim contractor support, two cabin interior reconfiguration kits, support equipment, initial spares, and system parts replenishment. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
US Foods has received a maximum $114 million IDIQ contract for full-line food distribution. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The contracting agency is the Defense Logistics Agency.
US AIR FORCE
(Highest award of the day). Scientific Research has been awarded a $95 million IDIQ contract for Full Spectrum Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Operational Non-Appropriated Funds Support (FUSIONS). This contract will deliver a key decisional advantage to the 16th Air Force/Component Commander and Joint Force Air Component Commander by delivering timely and relevant intelligence data/products to the war fighter. The FUSIONS contract will enable critical support functions in all major work centers of the operations center and will further enable the 16th Air Force/Component Commander to exercise both command and control authorities as well as service cryptologic element roles. Acquisition Management and Integration Center is the contracting activity.
L3Harris Technologies has received a $45 million IDIQ contract that provides engineering maintenance and repair support services for Advanced Self-Protection Jammer AN/ALQ-165, Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures AN/ALQ-214, and aircraft self-protection optimisation software in support of F/A-18 series aircraft for the Navy and Foreign Military Sales customers. The Naval Air Warfare Center is the contracting activity.
Northrop Grumman Systems is awarded a $329 million modification contract that exercises options for Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Increment One Block One (I1B1) dismounted systems, mounted systems, mounted auxiliary kits, operational level spares, depot level spares and engineering support services. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the government of Australia. The Naval Sea Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Dean Marine & Excavating; Geo. Gradel; Great Lakes Dock and Materials; The King Co; Luedtke Engineering; MCM Marine; Morrish-Wallace Construction, doing business as RYBA Marine Construction; and Roen Salvage, will compete for each order of the $130 million contract for dredging/construction services within the Great Lakes and Ohio River division. US Army Corps of Engineers is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
(Highest award of the day). ViaSat has been awarded a $50 million IDIQ contract for development on prototype space systems. The contractor will provide studies, design, manufacturing, integration, performance qualification, network space segment elements, launch, flight and demonstration of prototype space systems. This also includes the development, integration and demonstration with ground terminals in conjunction with the government ground segment to reduce risk and assess performance and functionality for future protected service. Air Force Research Laboratory is the contracting activity.
Raytheon Technologies, Pratt and Whitney, Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, is awarded a $290 million contract that provides material and support equipment for depot maintenance facilities, program administrative labor for non-recurring sustainment activities, mockup engines and modules for test cells, as well as supplies, services, and planning for depot activations in support of the F-35 Lightning II Program Lot 13 propulsion system for the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, non-Department of Defense (DOD) participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Ellume USA was awarded a $250 million contract to procure reliable home use testing without prescription requirements to meet the demand to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
(Highest award of the day). KBRwyle Technical Solutions received a $78 million modification contract for maintenance, supply, transportation and other logistics functions for the Army Prepositioned Stock-3 Charleston Afloat program. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Boeing was awarded a $20 million modification contract for long lead integrated logistics support, initial spares package and peculiar ground support equipment for the Royal Moroccan Air Force. Fiscal 2010 Foreign Military Sales (Morocco); and 2019 and 2020 aircraft procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $20 million, were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Oshkosh Defense has received a $15 million modification contract to exercise available options for Marine Corps procurement of vehicles and kits for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle family of vehicles. Fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales (Macedonia, Slovenia and Montenegro) and 2021 USMC procurement funds in the amount of $15 million were obligated at the time of the award. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $64 million supply contract for F-16 Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mission planning. This contract provides for the development, integration, test and delivery of the Joint Mission Planning System Unique Planning Component/Mission Planning Environment software updates. This contract involves FMS to Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan, Morocco, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia and Thailand. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
Martin-Baker Aircraft has been awarded an $8 million contract for the manufacture of 581 explosive cartridges kits and 1,116 each of different explosive cartridges used in the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat in F-35 aircraft for the Joint Strike Fighter program. The contract does not contain a provision for an option quantity. Funding sources include fiscal 2021 operation and maintenance (O&M) (International Partner Funding) funds (31 percent); fiscal 2021 O&M (Air Force) funds (22 percent); fiscal 2021 procurement (Air Force) funds (18 percent); fiscal 2021 procurement (Marine Corps) funds (eight percent); fiscal 2021 procurement (Navy) funds (5 percent); fiscal 2021 O&M (Marine Corps) funds (5 percent); fiscal 2021 O&M (Navy) funds (three percent); Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Japan funds (three percent); FMS Israel funds (three percent); FMS Belgium funds (one percent); and FMS Korea funds (one percent). Naval Supply Systems Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Gulfstream Aerospace has received a $612 million contract for C20/C37 engineering services support. The contractor will provide the engineering and data support on a recurring basis for all Gulfstream executive aircraft for the duration of the contract. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
US TRANSPORTATION COMMAND
Berry Aviation has been awarded a contract modification in the amount of $179 million that provides continued rotary and fixed-wing airlift support services, including passenger, cargo, casualty evacuation, personnel recovery, air drop and limited door-to-door services to US Africa Command. This modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $854 million, from $674 million. US Transportation Command is the contracting activity.
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Abel Unlimited ($160 million); Hilo Enterprises ($149 million); Odell International ($90 million); At Ease Sustainment $50 million); and Seaich Card & Souvenir ($35 million), have each been awarded an IDIQ contract for disposable surgical gowns. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency.
Eli Lilly was awarded a $625 million modification contract for 500,000 doses of LY-CoV555, a COVID-19 therapeutic drug treatment. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Bay Ship & Yacht; Colonna’s Shipyard; Conley Marine Services; Fairlead Boatworks; GMD Shipyard; Gulf Copper & Manufacturing; Lyon Shipyard; Mare Island Dry Dock; Metal Trades; Murtech; Platypus Marine; Swiftships; Vigor Marine; and Yank Marine Services, will compete for each order of the $235 million contract for the purpose of performing on-condition cyclic maintenance, modifications, modernisations and repairs, requiring the use of a dry dock as well as sustainment maintenance, modernisation efforts on the Army Watercraft Fleet of vessels. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Swiftships; Heavy Engineering Industries and Shipbuilding; Japan Marine United; Orient Shipyard; Sumitomo Heavy Industries; Sunjin Entech; and Yokohama Engineering Works will compete for each order of the $180 million contract for the follow-on efforts for the Watercraft Inspection Branch and Army Watercraft Systems Product Directorate to combine its shipyard efforts to efficiently execute modifications, modernisations and on-condition cyclic maintenance efforts for its existing fleet of vessels. US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
Colonna’s Shipyard; Conley Marine Services; Continental Tide Defense Systems; Epsilon Systems Solutions; Guam Industrial Services; Heavy Engineering Industries & Shipbuilding; HII Fleet Support Group; L3 Unidyne; Lyon Shipyard; Metal Trades; QED Systems; Sumitomo Heavy Industries; Sunjin Entech; and Yokohama Engineering Works, will compete for each order of the $155, million contract for unprogrammed maintenance, emergency repair, modification and modernisation efforts that do not require the use of a dry dock. US Army Contracting Command, Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the contracting activity.
CH2M Hill is awarded a maximum value $480 million IDIQ contract for comprehensive long-term environmental action services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic area of responsibility (AOR). The work to be performed provides for architectural and engineering services to provide program management and technical environmental services in support of the Department of the Navy’s Environmental Restoration Program, Munitions Response Program and other similar programs at any Navy and Marine Corps activity in the AOR covered by NAVFAC Atlantic. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $49 million modification against previously issued basic ordering agreement that adds scope for the production and delivery of 19 AN/AAQ-30A Target Sight Systems; 14 for the government of Bahrain and five for the government of the Czech Republic. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $7 million will be obligated at the time of award. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Bell Boeing Joint Project Office has been awarded a $25 million modification against previously issued basic ordering agreement that adds scope for the production and delivery of nine right aft sponson fuel tank kits in support of V-22 Production Aircraft 9-17 for the government of Japan. Additionally, this modification provides development and updates to existing technical data as well as services in support of aircraft deliveries and aircrew pilot and crew chief training for the government of Japan. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $25 million will be obligated at time of award. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin has received an $11 million IDIQ contract that provides engineering and logistics services in support of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program to monitor and manage fatigue and obsolescence issues and operational and/or technical problems arising from P-3 fleet usage for the Navy, Foreign Military Sales customers and other U.S. government agencies. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division is the contracting activity.
Boeing Distribution is awarded an $8 million modification contract that adds scope for the production and delivery of two P-8A engine build up kits and associated mating to core engine; one for the government of New Zealand and one for the government of Australia. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $8 million will be obligated at time of award. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics has been awarded a $129 million IDIQ contract for C-5 contractor logistic support services. This contract involves supply chain management, repair and technical support services. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
US TRANSPORTATION COMMAND
American Airlines; Air Transportation International; Atlas Air; Delta Air Lines; FedEx; Hawaiian Airlines; National Air Cargo; Polar Air Cargo Worldwide; United Parcel Service; USA Jet Airlines; and Western Global Airlines, have been awarded Option Year 3 modifications IDIQ contracts to compete at the task order level for an option year estimated amount of $34 million. This modification provides international commercial scheduled air cargo transportation services. Services encompass time-definite, door-to-door pick-up and delivery, transportation, in-transit visibility, government-approved third party payment system participation, and expedited customs processing and clearance of less than full planeloads for the movement of regular and recurring hazardous, refrigerated/cold chain (perishable), life and death, narcotics, and other regular recurring cargo shipments. US Transportation Command is the contracting activity.
(Highest award of the day). BAE Systems Information and Electronic Systems is awarded an $81 million modification contract which exercises an option to procure 1,512 radio frequency countermeasures for Lot 12 of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in support of non-U.S. Department of Defense participants, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers and for the Navy. The Naval Systems Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Collins Aerospace has been awarded an estimated $27 million contract for KC-135 Aero-I satellite communications replacement. This contract provides to identify, develop, integrate and test a commercial off the shelf Iridium Satellite Communication system to replace the current C/KC-135 International Marine/Maritime Satellite system. This contract involves optional Foreign Military Sales to Turkey and France. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is the contracting activity.
AITC-Five Domains JV has received a $19 million contract to provide train, advise, assist and mentor services for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fiscal 2021 Foreign Military Sales (Saudi Arabia) funds in the amount of $19 million were obligated at the time of the award. The US Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.
US AIR FORCE
Chugach Range and Facilities Services JV has been awarded a $112 million contract for Ascension Island Mission Services. This contract provides for radar tracking, space surveillance tracking, telemetry, timing and sequencing, communications, airfield operations, operations, maintenance and engineering support for facilities, systems, equipment, utilities and base operating support responsibilities. The 45th Contracting Squadron is the contracting activity.
EVENTS STILL CONFIRMED
No further updates.
No further updates.
Armada International / Asian Military Review