Lockheed Martin Losing F-16 Servicing Work to BAE

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Lockheed Martin, the maker of F-16 fighter jets are losing some parts of the $3 Billion servicing work to BAE.

Last year, BAE won over Lockheed to refurbish the 130 units of F-16 owned by South Korea. It was the first the Pentagon’s biggest contractor lost such bid. BAE is looking at possibilities of taking on more F-16 repair and upgrade work to boost its international sales. “We’re looking at potentially where to take this next,” David Herr, president of BAE’s support solutions business said. “It’s a big opportunity for us.” Aside from South Korea, BAE had also talked with other nation the possibility of other F-16 work.

According to defense analyst Kevin Brancato; due to the military budget cuts, defense companies are now shifting their focus on servicing and improvement contracts. This means that Lockheed have to defend its turf from its rivals that may soon include Boeing. Lockheed Martin are busy with the development of the controversial F-35, the most expensive Pentagon’s development program in history.

Ellen Buhr, a company spokesperson said that Boeing is interested in international F-16 upgrades. Boeing had experienced working with the F-16 through its work on converting the jet planes into drones used for military target practice.

In total, there 2,271 units of F-16 owned by other nations.

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News Source: www.bloomberg.com

Iraqi official: Baghdad buys 18 F-16s

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Iraq has signed a contract to buy 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 warplanes to bolster its air force, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday.

The value of the F-16 deal was not immediately known, but a senior U.S. military official said recently the offer on the table for the Iraqi government was valued at “roughly $3 billion.”Lockheed said in a statement it looked forward to a partnership with Baghdad and was “pleased with the confidence Iraq places in our products.” It declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, referring questions to the Iraqi and U.S. governments.

“The F-16 contract was signed … and a part of the contract cost was sent to the bank account of the company,” said Maliki’s media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi.

Iraq has long sought F-16 combat jet for its rebuilt air force. The government delayed a planned purchase of F-16s in February to divert a $900 million down payment to its national food ration program to help quell street protests.

Maliki said on July 30 Iraq would buy 36 F-16s, double the number it had originally planned, to shore up its weak air defenses. The OPEC producer has found itself flush with cash this year, reaping windfall profits as world oil prices have remained above budget projections.

Iraq is relying on the U.S. military for air support as it rebuilds its forces and battles a stubborn Islamist insurgency. Washington and Baghdad are discussing whether to keep some U.S. troops or military trainers in Iraq beyond the year-end deadline for U.S. departure.

Source: Reuters

Possible F-16 Sale to Iraq Highlights Progress

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Iraq’s potential purchase of 18 U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft is an encouraging development that benefits both nations, the senior U.S. Air Force component commander in Iraq told Pentagon reporters today.

“I do not have any word yet that a letter of offer and acceptance is signed, but as you probably know, we did have a senior member of the Iraqi government visit Washington,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Russell J. Handy, commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq, and director, Air Component Coordination Element-Iraq.

Handy said the Iraqis could potentially buy more F-16 aircraft if, and when, they sign a letter of offer and acceptance.

“They are seeking to buy a larger number of F-16s than they had originally — up to 36,” he said.

Handy lauded U.S. military efforts in Iraq as troops conduct stability and transitioning operations.

“The airmen I have the privilege of leading in Iraq through this challenge have a very important role in the transition,” he said. “We continue to perform all the roles and missions we’ve done for a number of years.”

Handy said these missions include over watch of American forces with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance assets; close air support; air mobility; aerial port operations; personnel recovery; and air base management — all while re-posturing U.S. forces.

The senior U.S. Air Force commander in Iraq also praised airmen for their performance as advisors to Iraqi air force personnel.

“Our Air Force personnel have helped the Iraqi air force and the Iraqi Army Aviation Command progress to where they are now and have much to be proud of,” Handy said. “These advisors have been very successful — extraordinarily so if you think about it in the last five years.”

Iraqi air force and Iraqi Army Aviation Command ranks “have grown tenfold,” Handy said, noting American airmen have had an advisory role in those Iraqi units.

“As the Iraqis are moving forward and we’re transitioning, we are handing more and more of those functions completely over to the Iraqis,” Handy said. “Those proud, young Iraqi airmen I spoke of give us great hope.”

Source: ASDNews

USAF Secretary discussed F-16 deal in Iraq

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U.S. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley was in Iraq on Tuesday for a visit and talks on purchase of F-16 fighter jets with defence minister Saadun al-Dulaimi.

Mohammed al-Askari, Iraqi defence ministry spokesman, told state television that Donley’s “visit was intended to speed up the implementation of agreements and mechanisms for using F-16 combat planes, and observation aircraft and air defence systems.”

Air force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Pat Ryder confirmed the news.

“This is part of a trip to meet with airmen and officials in various locations” that also include stops in Afghanistan, Australia, Singapore and the US Pacific island territory of Guam,” Ryder said.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on July 30 that he had revived talks to purchase 36 US F-16 fighter jets, rather than the originally mooted 18. Maliki said he had signed documents relaunching talks to purchase F-16s from the United States, a deal that had been close to agreement earlier this year but was put off due to widespread protests railing against poor basic services.

The original deal had involved the acquisition of 18 F-16s, but Maliki said the new contract would lead to the purchase of 36.

“The new contract will be larger than what we agreed earlier, to provide security for Iraq,” he said.

Source: Google

Aerial demonstration return to USAF base in Germany

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The USAF West Coast F-16 demo team will join a Belgian OV-10 and a L-39 to perform aerobatics display at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany this weekend.

The aerial demonstration — with maneuvers more complex than a flyby — is the first to be performed before the public on a U.S. military base in Germany since a 1988 air show crash at Ramstein Air Base, where 67 spectators were killed and more than 500 others injured, U.S. Air Forces in Europe officials said.

Since that disaster, military air shows of the type held at Ramstein have been banned in Germany. Highly restricted air demonstrations are approved for open houses only after review of detailed plans, and German rules and restrictions must be adhered to.

Therefore, the flying portion of the Spangdahlem open house will be on a much, much smaller scale than the Ramstein shows, once a huge draw on the European flying circuit with aerobatic teams from all over Europe.

“We carefully selected things that we knew were safe maneuvers and have been practiced over and over again,” said Lt. Col. Steve Horton, 52nd Operations Support Squadron commander at Spangdahlem.

At Spangdahlem’s last open house in 2008, an F-16 and A-10 assigned to Spangdahlem’s 52nd Fighter Wing did “fly-bys” but no aerial maneuvers like those planned for this weekend, according to Spangdahlem officials. Approved maneuvers include a Cuban 8, Double Immelman, Aileron Roll, and High-G turns.

This time, the base invited an F-16 from Air Combat Command’s West Coast “Viper West” team at Hill Air Force Base, Utah; an OV-10B Bronco from Belgium; and an L-39, a former German military aircraft, to perform.

Coordination was worked through many channels, including USAFE headquarters, U.S. Air Combat Command and the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, according to USAFE officials. Approval was granted by the German Air Staff, said USAFE spokesman Mike Kucharek.

“We recognize the sensitivities of the survivors,” Kucharek said. “This is a far different type of event than an air show, because we’re essentially going to be flying basic aircraft maneuvers.”

Source: Stars and Stripes

Taiwan’s President: F-16C/D and F-16A/B upgrade are complementary needs

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Speaking to Washington Post on Thursday, Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou said the island’s request for new F-16C/Ds and upgrading its F-16A/Bs are both complementary and not mutually conflicting.

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday pressed his case for continued American weapons sales to the island, including advanced U.S.-made fighter jets, saying Taiwan needs to negotiate with China from a position of strength. Ma, in an interview, said Taiwan needed both new F-16C/D fighter jets to modernize its fleet, and also upgrades to its existing F-16A/B class fighters, which are aging and in need of replacement parts.

“Our objective in improving cross-strait relations is to seek peace and prosperity. However, the Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign state; we must have our national defense. While we negotiate with the mainland, we hope to carry out such talks with sufficient self-defense capabilities and not negotiate out of fear. This is an extremely important principle,” says Ma.

“Therefore, we must purchase the necessary defensive weapons from overseas that cannot be manufactured here in Taiwan to replace outdated ones. This is essential for our national survival and development,” he added.

Ma says however that the request for F-16s do not to say that they cannot maintain a military capability necessary for Taiwan’s security.

President Ma said they have sought to acquire F-16/C/D fighter jets from the United States for quite a few years. But America keeps telling them it is under assessment, but no decision has been forthcoming.

As for the other part, some of the equipment on the F-16A/B jet fighters owned by our Air Force is gradually aging and needs to be updated. Thus, Taiwan considers these two needs to be complementary and not mutually conflicting.

The President hopes that, through these two strenuous efforts, Taiwan’s Air Force can maintain a certain defensive and fighting capability.

- The Washington Post