The Weekly Wire for Your Situational Awareness 11/6/2019
On October 31, the Finnish government sent out a revised Request for Quotation for the HX fighter program. The revised tender from each of the bidders, due January 31, 2020, will provide more detailed information on the fighter aircraft each firm is pitching.
Current contenders include Lockheed Martin’s F-35, Boeing’s Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale, Saab’s Gripen E, and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Finland is looking to acquire 64 fighters and has capped the HX fighter program at $11 billion. Finland anticipates an award date by 2021 with the HX program taking 10-15 years to complete.
Finland currently operates a fleet of F-18 Hornets, which it plans to retire between 2025 and 2030.
On November 5, the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) awarded Hanwha Systems a 46 billion won ($39.8 million) contract for the development of the Ballistic Operations Control Center.
The Center will be tasked with processing ballistic missile tracking information, threat assessment, command and control of engagements, and support of attacks. Prototype development will last to 2022. This is the latest in a series of C4ISR contracts awarded to Hanwha Systems.
Previous contracts include an 80 billion won ($69.2 million) contract for the upgrade of the military intelligence management system (MIMS), a 60 billion won ($51.9 million) contract to develop a system to collect and integrate imagery from disparate surveillance assets, and a 32.9 billion won ($29 million) contract to produce the Command Control and Alert (C2A) forward air defense command and control system.
UK Secretary of State for Defense, Ben Wallace, announced on November 5 that the UK Ministry of Defence signed a £2.8 billion ($3.6 billion) contract for more than 500 Boxer armored vehicles. The first vehicles are expected to enter service beginning 2023.
Some production activity will likely be performed by RBSL, a joint venture between BAE Systems and Rheinmetall. Initial units will be built in Germany, but production will increasingly move to the UK beginning in 2024, as about 60 percent of the industrial content has been pledged to local UK companies.
This is similar to the arrangement made with Australia when it chose the Boxer for its replacement of the ASLAV, with initial units coming from Germany, and about 50 percent of the content being sourced locally.
The UK was one of the partner nations developing the Boxer, along with Germany and the Netherlands. The UK left the program in 2003 due to changing requirements and increasing weight.
On October 31, Dassault Aviation offered Colombia the opportunity to purchase 12 Rafale fighter aircraft. Colombia is currently planning to replace its aging fighter aircraft, and was reportedly going to choose from among the Gripen, the F-16 Block 70, and the Eurofighter Typhoon – prior to Dassault’s offer.
However, there are concerns about each of those programs – mostly related financing and availability of spare parts. The Rafale offer was reportedly given with an assurance of financing and an amount of technology transfer.
Despite the Rafale offer, the F-16 remains a serious contender within the competition and it is unclear to what extent the French offer may sway the Colombian government away from its historical ties to the US.