27 January 2023
by Michael Fabey
General Dynamics says the Columbia-class lead submarine is running ahead of contract schedule. (US Navy)
Amid government oversight concerns about lead-ship construction delays of the new Columbia-class strategic ballistic missile submarines, the programme is actually running ahead of contract schedule, according to Phebe Novakovic, chairman and chief executive officer of General Dynamics, whose submarine-building Electric Boat (EB) unit is building the boats.
“We're about 30% done on the first ship and we are ahead of the contract schedule,” Novakovic said on 25 January during an earnings call with financial analysts.
Two US shipbuilders – Electric Boat and HII's Newport News Shipbuilding – design and build the nuclear submarines. Electric Boat is the prime contractor for design and construction of the Columbia class, with Newport News serving as its major subcontractor.
The navy plans to acquire 12 Columbia-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines for about USD132 billion, while shipbuilders also build the Virginia-class boats.
“After more than a year of full-scale construction on the lead Columbia submarine, the shipbuilders are facing delays because of challenges with design, materials, and quality,” the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its report
27 March 2023
by Marc Selinger
Bombardier has provided its Global 6000 business jet for Saab's GlobalEye airborne early warning and control aircraft. (Saab)
Bombardier expects to triple its defence revenue to more than USD1 billion in the second half of the decade, according to the Canadian aircraft manufacturer.
“Geopolitical tensions and international security concerns have accelerated demand” for Bombardier's defence products, the company wrote in a 23 March investor day presentation. The revenue boost will come from aircraft deliveries, aircraft modifications, and engineering services, said Paul Sislian, Bombardier's executive vice-president of aftermarket services and strategy.
“We are actively answering several proposals and tenders,” Sislian said at the investor event. “We must remind ourselves that defence programmes are long to operationalise, and the procurement, design, and modification cycles can last many years. As such, we are preparing our company and infrastructure to enhance our participation in this segment for the long run.”
These preparations include recruiting more engineers, technicians, and salespeople, and moving into a new 750,000 sq ft (69,677 m 2 ) final assembly plant in Mississauga, Ontario, a Bombardier spokesperson told Janes on 24 March.
23 March 2023
by Marc Selinger
A Boeing KC-46A tanker touches down during a visit to Japan. (US Air Force)
Boeing expects to take another earnings charge on its long-troubled KC-46A Pegasus tanker because of a “supplier quality issue” with the centre fuel tank, according to an official at the US aerospace manufacturer.
The amount will be far smaller than the KC-46A's third quarter 2022 charge of USD1.2 billion, which Boeing blamed on labour and parts shortages, Boeing's chief financial officer, Brian West, said on 22 March at the Bank of America Global Industrials Conference. Asked whether the new charge would be USD1 billion, West replied, “Not billion, not even half of that.”
The KC-46A is a variant of the 767 commercial aircraft, which is also affected by the tank issue. West said Boeing has identified a fix for the problem and is working to implement it on planes that are in production and in service.
“We will deliver airplanes as we complete rework, and we are not changing our overall delivery plans for the year,” a Boeing spokesperson said in a statement. “Our engineering analysis to date shows that the issue is not an immediate safety-of-flight concern.”
22 March 2023
by Meredith Roaten
After months of deliberations, top US Army officials have decided that sending the M1A1 Abrams tank to Ukraine is faster than sending the M1A2 as originally planned. (US Marine Corps)
The Pentagon announced on 21 March that the 31 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) promised to Ukraine will not be M1A2 model as initially planned.
In order to get platforms to Ukraine faster, the US will pull 31 M1A1 tanks from US Army stocks and spruce them up for battle, said Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder on 21 March. The variant change will “significantly expedite delivery timelines” and will ensure that the tanks will arrive by “the fall timeframe”.
The funding for the assistance to Kyiv will come from Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which will enable the Pentagon to pay General Dynamics to modify the M1 tank hulls.
Scott Taylor, director of US business development at General Dynamics Land Systems, told Janes that the tanks will be refurbished according to the US Army's 10-20 mission capable standards.
Amid government oversight concerns about lead-ship construction delays of the new Columbia-class str...
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