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   Technology StocksCPI Aerostructures (CVU)- Take a Look (was CPI)


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From: leigh aulper8/4/2008 5:25:25 PM
   of 213
 
C-5 Modernized
By Jeffrey P. Rhodes
Photos by Jane Khodos and Darin Russell

This year is shaping up as a critical one for the C-5 Galaxy strategic transport modernization program. One major milestone occurred in late March with the U.S. Department of Defense approving the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) to enter low-rate initial production. In August, a second significant RERP event, Air Force operational test and evaluation, is set to begin.

The Galaxy modernization effort is divided into two parts. The first, the ongoing Avionics Modernization Program, or AMP, is now more than 30 percent complete. AMP provides a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and a digital backbone to support second phase, the more comprehensive RERP upgrades. AMP kit installations have now been completed on 40 C-5Bs on two separate modification lines, one at Dover AFB, Del., and one at Travis AFB, Calif. AMP reached initial operational capability with the Air Force in February 2007. As of June 2008, aircraft returned to the fleet have logged more than 30,600 flight hours with the new avionics, many of those hours flown in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.






A combined Lockheed Martin and U.S. Air Force team recently completed airfield performance testing at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., with one of the three C-5M test aircraft. Air-to-air refueling tests of the Super Galaxy began in late spring.
The 439th Airlift Wing at Westover ARB, Massachusetts, received its first AMP aircraft, a C-5B, this past February, marking the first Air Force Reserve Command unit to receive the upgraded transports. All previously AMP-modified aircraft had been redelivered to Dover and Travis, completing their fleets. The first non-flight test C-5A is scheduled for induction into the production AMP mod line this September.

The entire 111-aircraft C-5 fleet is expected to receive the AMP modifications by early 2014. The current plan calls for 13 aircraft to be AMPed this year. Twelve aircraft will be delivered in 2009 and from 2011 to 2013. The peak year of the program will be 2010, with 14 aircraft to receive the modifications. The final two aircraft will be returned to service in early 2014.

The next units to receive the AMP aircraft will be from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command. The 105th AW at Stewart ANGB, N.Y. is currently scheduled to receive upgraded aircraft in 2010-2011, while the 164th AW at Memphis International Airport, Tennessee, will take delivery of upgraded Galaxys in 2011-2012. The 445th AW at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, will receive aircraft in 2012, and the 167th AW at Martinsburg, W. Va., will accept AMP transports in 2012-2013.

The 433rd AW, the Air Force's C-5 schoolhouse at Lackland AFB, Texas, will get some modified aircraft in 2009-2010. However, because of the need to have aircraft with both types of avionics to train on until the entire fleet has been AMPed, this Reserve unit in San Antonio will receive the final four aircraft to undergo the AMP mod in 2013-2014.

Later this year, BCC07, a major AMP software upgrade, will be delivered to the fleet. This software will provide improved reliability and additional capability and also correct minor shortfalls discovered through operational use in the Integrated Caution, Warning, and Advisory System; the on-board diagnostic, flight management system; and the Malfunction Detection Analysis and Recording, or MADAR, system.

The U.S. government awarded an initial $127.4 million contract on April 18 for the first production C-5M Super Galaxy, which is what the aircraft are called after undergoing both the AMP and RERP modifications. This award provides for materials and fabrication of subassemblies for the first production RERP aircraft, plus Lot 2 long-lead items for an additional three aircraft, and for initial spares.

RERP is the second phase of the C-5 modernization effort. It includes seventy enhancements or replacements of major components and subsystems, such as auxiliary power units, flap and slat tracks, structural modifications, and improved cargo bay lighting. The major RERP upgrade is the installation of GE Aircraft Engines CF6-80C2 commercial engines. These 60,000-pound thrust engines are de-rated to 50,000 pounds thrust to enhance reliability.

The RERP enhancements are designed to significantly increase fleet availability, improve reliability, maintainability, operational performance, and allowable cabin loads. The program is expected to dramatically reduce total ownership cost as well fuel consumption.

There are three C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft in the comprehensive flight and ground test program taking place at various sites, including the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta, Ga., and the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif. Often two or three test sorties take place per day. Some of the testing at Edwards included airfield testing at extreme wartime gross takeoff weights of 840,000 pounds.

The two former C-5Bs and one former C-5A have accumulated more than 950 flight hours through May 2008. Aerial refueling qualification began in June and RERP developmental flight testing is expected to be completed in August. Air Force mission qualification for aircrews and maintainers should start in the first quarter of 2009. The Air Force C-5M operational test and evaluation, or OT&E, is scheduled to begin in August 2009. OT&E is expected to conclude in the first quarter of 2010.

Earlier this year, the Air Force made the decision to limit the existing RERP program to fifty-two aircraft. In addition to the three C-5M test aircraft, which will be brought up to operational standards, the remaining 47 C-5Bs and the two C-5Cs will go through the RERP modifications.

The first production RERP aircraft is expected to be inducted into the modification line in June 2009. That aircraft is expected to be redelivered to the Air Force in 2010. Low-rate production will continue through 2013, with three aircraft delivered in 2011, five in 2012, and seven in 2013. Eleven C 5Ms will be delivered per year from 2014 to 2016.

lmaeronautics.com

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From: leigh aulper8/12/2008 8:59:27 AM
   of 213
 
CPI Aerostructures Announces 2008 Second Quarter Results; Management Affirms 2008 Guidance and Provides Long-Term Outlook for 2009 Through 2011
Tuesday August 12, 8:45 am ET
Year-to-Date Contracts Total $39 Million, Up 143% From Same Period In 2007

EDGEWOOD, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CPI Aerostructures, Inc. (“CPI Aero®”) (AMEX: CVU - News) today announced results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2008.
Second Quarter 2008 vs. 2007

Revenue increased 22% to $9,128,406 from $7,490,669;
Gross margin was 22% compared to 29%;
Pre-tax income was $552,812, compared to $926,448; and,
Net income was $369,812, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared to $575,448, or $0.10 per diluted share.
First Half 2008 vs. 2007

Revenue increased 31% to $16,919,160 from $12,962,637;
Gross margin was 23% as compared to 27%;
Pre-tax income was $1,189,776 compared to $1,361,637; and,
Net income was $789,776 or $0.13 per diluted share, compared to $843,637 or $0.14 per diluted share.
Edward J. Fred, CPI Aero’s President & CEO, stated, “As expected, our gross margin for the second quarter and first half of 2008 reflects the commencement of various long-term programs that tend to be less profitable in the early stages. This is because of significant costs in both labor and materials as we perform planning and engineering necessary to build the initial units for customer approval before we proceed with large scale production. As we transition into the production phase, we benefit from purchasing and labor economies, which should be increasingly evident in the years to come due to the operating leverage that comes with volume.”

Mr. Fred continued, “We also want to point out that included in selling, general and administrative expense (“SG&A”) for the first and second quarters of 2008 was approximately $160,000 and $300,000, respectively, of non-cash share based compensation. This compensation is predominantly comprised of board of directors’ fees, which are required to be expensed immediately upon issuance of stock options. These fees will not recur in the second half of the year, therefore SG&A will be significantly lower than in the first half of the year.”

He noted, “We remain confident in our ability to achieve 2008 revenue of $35 million, a 25% increase over 2007, and net income of approximately $2.6 million, a year-over-year increase of 37%.”

Discussing new awards, Mr. Fred noted, “Total year-to-date awards amounted to $39 million, compared to $16 million for the same period last year, a 143% increase. Of this year’s amount, $34.7 million represents subcontract awards ($30.8 million military subcontract awards and $3.9 million commercial subcontract awards) from major aerospace companies, compared to $11.6 million of subcontract awards for the same period of 2007. Year-to-date contract awards have already surpassed 2007 total awards of $37.7 million. This is a testament to the excellent quality and timeliness of the assemblies that we have already provided to our customers who have awarded us with several significant new contracts and follow-on orders.”

He continued, “Importantly, the size and duration of these contracts as well as the stature of the companies that awarded them give us confidence in CPI Aero’s long-term growth prospects.” Among the major recent awards:

A long-term requirements contract of approximately $70 million from The Boeing Company to provide assemblies for 242 enhanced wings for the A-10 “Thunderbolt” attack jet. The initial orders under this contract were for $13.2 million.
An initial order of $7.9 million as part of a $98 million agreement by a leading global aerospace and defense company to provide structural kits for an in-production aircraft. The 8-year agreement has the potential to generate up to $150 million in revenue to CPI Aero over the life of the program.
A long-term multi-million dollar contract from Spirit AeroSystems for major aerostructure assemblies for the Gulfstream G650 aircraft for which CPI will build fixed leading edge assemblies. This contract should be a very significant revenue generator for us in the years to come.
Mr. Fred noted, “There are also a number of Sikorsky programs that represent repeat business like the Hover Infra Red Reduction System (HIRRS) module assemblies, for use on the UH-60 BLACK HAWK helicopter as well as programs that have extremely large requirements and therefore offer follow-on order potential such as the awards for the S-92® helicopter.”

Mr. Fred continued, “Even with the large contract awards announced recently, we still had approximately $231 million in formalized bids outstanding as of July 31, 2008, and we continue to make bids on contracts on a weekly basis.”

CPI Aero Provides Longer-Term Outlook

Mr. Fred continued, “It is important that I point out the distinction, and explain the long-term impact these aforementioned programs will have on CPI Aero’s future. Unlike the C-5 TOP contract that the Company was awarded back in 2004, these contracts are not IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity) awards. For some of these programs, the U.S. Government (in the case of the A-10 and the in-production aircraft) has established a requirement for continued production, or a complete modification of certain structure, and has a funding and delivery plan in place. These programs should be viewed as being extremely similar to the Company’s T-38 program, which has been funded consistently since 2001, and is our most successful program to date. The only real difference is that we are supplying structural parts to major defense companies instead of directly to the Department of Defense. It is anticipated that these programs will be fully funded as outlined by the USG.

“While the Spirit program differs slightly in that it is a new production aircraft being produced by Gulfstream, one has to look at the initial interest in this plane. Never in the history of the executive/corporate jet industry has the public expressed this type of enthusiasm for an executive jet. Over 500 initial orders have been received, which gives us confidence that this too will become a very successful program for CPI Aero.

“Lastly, our relationship with Sikorsky grows stronger every day, and we look forward to a very fruitful future for both companies. Sikorsky is one of the most highly respected helicopter manufacturers in the world, and it is an honor that CPI Aero’s abilities are being recognized through increased contract awards and the confidence that Sikorsky has shown in us.

“Because of these factors, we have greater visibility into our customers’ delivery schedules, and as a result, our revenue and profits going forward. Understanding that forecasts may change due to adjustments in customer requirements, based on the most current long-term information we have available, CPI Aero projects 2009 revenue to be in the range of $42 million to $45 million, with resulting net income in the range of $3.9 million to $4.3 million. Additionally, CPI Aero projects that, using 2008 as the baseline, and for the three-year period ending in 2011, we will achieve a compounded annual growth rate for revenue in the range of 30% to 35%, with a resulting compounded annual growth rate for net income in the range of 50% to 60%.”

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From: leigh aulper8/15/2008 7:23:28 AM
   of 213
 
CPI Aerostructures: Good Things Come in Small Packages
by: Robert Blumenthal posted on: August 15, 2008 | about stocks: CVU
I have been following micro cap defense contractor VSE Corporation (VSEC) closely and continue to be impressed with its growth trajectory. Here is some general background based on the results from its second quarter, and my most recent thoughts on its valuation can be found here. I have recently come across another promising defense contractor, CPI Aerostructures (CVU). By any standard, this is a small company. Its market cap is only $42M (which makes it small even compared to VSE whose market cap is $192M), but it seems poised to emulate the success which VSE currently enjoys.

CPI Aero produces structural aircraft parts for the U.S. Air Force, other branches of the armed forces, and leading defense contractors. It supplies such programs as the C-5A cargo jet, the T-38 Talon jet, the A-10 Thunderbolt attack jet, the E-3 Sentry AWACS jet, the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, the Gulfstream G650, and others.

The stock trades on the American Stock Exchange with 5.97M shares outstanding and a float of 3.53M shares. This is a thinly traded stock with an average daily volume of just over 7,700 shares. Insiders hold a good chunk of shares and there is a nice level of institutional ownership. There are no analysts covering the stock. It is unusual for a company this far under the radar screen to hold conference calls, but this one does. The second quarter 2008 conference call is well worth a listen.

This company has made great strides in the last two years. Revenue in 2006 was $17.9M and grew to $28M in 2007. The first half of 2008 has produced revenue of $16.9M and the company is projecting 2008 revenue of $35M. This would represent an annualized growth rate of 40%. Net income (loss) in 2006 was ($1.3M) and grew to $1.9M in 2007. The first half of 2008 has produced net income of $0.8M and the company is projecting 2008 net income of $2.6M, a year-over-year increase of 37%.

In the recent earnings release, Edward J. Fred, President and CEO, supplied quite a bit of detail concerning recent contract awards and, based on these and on other long-term information currently available, he provided a long-term outlook for 2009 through 2011. He projects 2009 revenue to be in the range $42M-$45M with net income in the range $3.9M-$4.3M. Furthermore, using 2008 as the baseline, and for the three-year period ending in 2011, he projects an annualized growth rate for revenue in the range 30%-35% and an annualized growth rate for net income in the range 50%-60%.

The company has a market cap of $41.8M corresponding to a stock price of 7.00. With a trailing-twelve-month EPS of .31, the TTM PE now stands at 22.6. In order to value the company, I will look at owner earnings [OE] which is defined as net income plus depreciation and amortization less capital expenditures and then use a DCF calculation to determine the growth expectation which is implied by the current price.

Based on the owner earnings for the first half of 2008 and on the company's projection for its 2008 net income, I estimate 2008 owner earnings as $2.5M. With $207K in cash and no long-term debt, the company has an enterprise value of $41.6M and therefore is trading at an EV/OE multiple of 16.6. A DCF calculation, using an 11% discount rate, a 5-year growth period, and no terminal growth shows that the current price is based on the assumption of 15% growth. Since the company seems well-poised to easily exceed that level of growth, the current price appears to be quite attractive.

Stock position: Long.

seekingalpha.com

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From: leigh aulper2/25/2009 9:08:39 PM
   of 213
 
UPDATE 3-Aerial tanker replacement is top priority-Pentagon
Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:18pm EST
* General says ability to move troops quickly is at risk * Problems with C-5 transport plans * Lawmaker urges split buy (Adds lawmaker comments)

By Andrea Shalal-Esa

WASHINGTON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - The U.S. general in charge of transportation needs for the U.S. military said on Wednesday that replacing the aging fleet of KC-135 aerial refueling tankers was his No. 1 modernization priority.

Any further delays in replacing this aircraft would add significant risk to the U.S. military's ability to move troops and firepower rapidly to a combat zone, U.S. Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, told a joint hearing of the seapower and air and land forces subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee.

The Pentagon last year canceled a contract with Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), teamed with Europe's EADS (EAD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), to begin building 179 replacement tankers -- a deal valued at $35 billion -- after government auditors upheld a protest filed by Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the sole holdover from President George W. Bush's cabinet, told Congress last month the Pentagon could restart the competition this spring, with a winner chosen in early 2010.

"My number one recapitalization priority is replacing the fleet of 415 Eisenhower-era KC-135s with a new platform to preserve a unique asymmetric advantage for our nation," McNabb said in written testimony prepared for the hearing.

He said it was imperative to move forward quickly with buying replacement aircraft that could refuel Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and coalition aircraft, particularly since some of the existing planes would be more than 80 years old by the time they were replaced.

"Further delays in replacing this aircraft will add significant risk to our ability to rapidly project combat power to support the nation and our allies," he said.

In addition to the important mission of refueling fighter jets and other aircraft, the new tankers could also play an important role in carrying cargo, he said.

"The ability to carry cargo and operate forward with defensive systems will be a game-changer when the aircraft is not needed as a tanker," McNabb told the committees.

McNabb's comments come at a time when the defense budget is under increasing pressure, and President Barack Obama has said he plans to cancel programs that are not performing well -- or are no longer needed.

Some analysts had speculated that the Pentagon could delay buying new tankers for some time to save money in the short run. McNabb's comments could be a sign that the Obama administration is committed to continuing to fund the program.

The administration is due to release an outline of its 2010 budget request on Thursday, but Pentagon officials have cautioned that they do not expect to release many details, if any, about specific programs or funding plans, until later.

McNabb said the Boeing C-17 transport plane had proven its worth, offering flexibility for key tactical requirements as well as its primary airlift role. But he sidestepped questions about the need for additional C-17s, saying that would depend on the outcome of a new Pentagon mobility study, as well as the cost of upgrading the larger C-5 transport planes.

He said low departure reliability and mission capable rates continued to plague the fleet of Lockheed C-5 transport planes, and modernization of all C-5s with avionics upgrades was essential. New engines and other reliability enhancements for the B and C models of the C-5 were needed to increase aircraft availability, reduce fuel consumption and improve performance.

Grappling with massive cost overruns in a C-5 re-engining and modernization program, the Pentagon last year decided to modernize only 52 of the C-5s, instead of all 111. The remaining 59 are now due to receive only an avionics upgrade.

McNabb said he would work to modernize the C-5 fleet while "closely managing the costs." Any decrease in the cost of the C-5 modernizations would give the military additional options, he said.

He also praised the performance of the Lockheed C-130 transport plane, but said the military needed the freedom to fully retire aging planes as new ones came on board.

He said congressional requirements that required long-term storage of the old planes were costly and prevented resale to other countries. It also hampered the military's ability to use the old planes for spare parts, he said.

Representative John Murtha, who heads the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on defense, continued to press for splitting the tanker contracts between Northrop and Boeing, despite opposition by Gates.

He said failure to split the deal, with the cheapest bid to get some 65 percent of the work, would result in another protest "that's going to bring it to a dead halt again."

"I'm going to convince Gates by getting all this information together and convincing him that it's cost effective. He doesn't think I can afford it," Murtha told Reuters. (Additional reporting by Richard Cowan) (Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa, editing by Matthew Lewis, Tim Dobbyn and Bernard Orr)

reuters.com

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To: leigh aulper who wrote (187)2/27/2009 10:37:56 PM
From: leigh aulper
   of 213
 

Lockheed Martin Delivers Third C-5M Super Galaxy to United States Air Force




MARIETTA, Ga., Feb. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today delivered the third fully modernized C-5M Super Galaxy to the U.S. Air Force. Following a small send-off at the company's Marietta facility, the C-5M flew to Dover AFB, Del.

"This delivery is yet another success in the C-5 modernization program," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin C-5 program vice president. "I'm confident the Air Force will be as impressed with the improved performance, reliability and capability of the Super Galaxy as we were during flight test."

This was the second C-5M to be delivered to Dover this month, and was the third and final aircraft delivered during the System Design and Development phase of the program. The C-5M program will enter production this summer. Induction of the first aircraft is planned for August.

The C-5M Super Galaxy climbs higher and faster than its legacy counterparts while carrying more cargo over longer distances. It also requires less tanker support and is projected to have a much higher mission availability rate due to increased reliability. Current Air Force plans call for Lockheed Martin to deliver 52 fully modernized C-5Ms by 2016.

The C-5M is the product of a two-phase modernization effort. The first, the ongoing Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), provides a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with modern avionics and flight instruments that meet future Communication, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management requirements. AMP kit installations have now been completed on more than 40 C-5Bs. Lockheed Martin is under contract to perform AMP modifications on 111 C-5 aircraft.

The Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (RERP) is the second phase of the C-5 modernization effort. It includes 70 enhancements or replacements of major components and subsystems, including the installation of GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines. Modernization of the C-5 pays for itself through savings in operation and sustainment costs.

The C-5 has been the backbone of strategic airlift in every engagement since it entered service. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying 100 percent of certified air-transportable cargo, with a dedicated passenger compartment enabling commanders to have troops and their equipment arrive in an area of operation simultaneously. The C-5 can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems. With more than 70 percent of its structural service life remaining, the C-5M Super Galaxy will be a force multiplier through 2040.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.



SOURCE Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company

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From: leigh aulper3/12/2009 9:01:03 AM
   of 213
 
Northrop Grumman-Navy Team Exceeds Expectations During Mine-Clearing Weapon Test
BETHPAGE, N.Y., March 11, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A laser-imaging, helicopter-borne gun system designed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) for the U.S. Navy to destroy mines at sea exceeded expectations the first time it fired at underwater targets. The Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS) is one of four airborne mine countermeasures systems in early production or development by the company.

During testing, the system hung from a 50-story tower that simulated RAMICS on an airborne helicopter. The system's mission was to locate and fire eight rounds at a submerged target. The statistical expectation was one hit only. Seven of eight shots hit the target within a tightly grouped pattern.

"Shooting a submerged mine from altitude on a moving platform is an incredible algorithmic and hydrodynamic challenge. RAMICS' test performance was a major accomplishment that proves it can hit submerged mines from tactically significant distances, and do it all with better than expected accuracy," said Bob Klein, vice president of Maritime and Tactical Systems for Northrop Grumman. "We're getting closer to the goal of getting the sailor out of the minefield."

The RAMICS gun is a 30mm MK44 Bushmaster II cannon manufactured by ATK Armament Systems, Clearfield, Utah. It fires a supercavitating round. Unlike typical projectiles that markedly slow when they hit water, a supercavitating round has a unique configuration that allows it to maintain its velocity when it enters the water. Thus, it maintains its direction and kinetic energy to destroy a mine by impact.

The test took place at the Lake Glendora test range within the Navy Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind.

RAMICS is designed to get target data from another Northrop Grumman mine countermeasures product: the Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS). That system is now in low-rate initial production. Northrop Grumman is also developing the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system for the Marine Corps and Airborne Surveillance, Target Acquisition & Minefield Detection System (ASTAMIDS) for the Army.

"The goal with all our products is to find mines quickly, locate them accurately, and, at sea with RAMICS, destroy them without endangering divers so that our forces can have assured access to their targets and assured success in their missions," Klein said.

The RAMICS customer team is led by the Naval Sea Systems Command, PMS-495 (Littoral and Mine Warfare), and the Naval Surface Warfare Centers at Panama City, Fla., and Crane, Ind. The Northrop Grumman RAMICS industrial team includes Kaman Aerospace Electro-Optics Development Center, Tucson, Ariz.; DRS Sensors and Targeting Systems, Cypress, Calif.; CPI Aerostructures, Edgewood, N.Y. and Meggit Western Design, Irvine, Calif.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

CONTACT: John A. Vosilla
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems
(516) 575-5119
John.Vosilla@ngc.com


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From: leigh aulper3/13/2009 2:18:09 PM
   of 213
 
AIR FORCE LOOKING TO REPLACE WINGS ON ALL A-10 WARTHOG ATTACK JETS

_______________________________________________

Date: March 13, 2009

The Air Force is looking to replace the wings on all of its 356 A-10 Warthogs despite current plans that call for modernizing only two-thirds of the fleet, according to a senior service official.

This comes as the service has been working to repair cracks on many of the attack jets’ wings. The issue forced the Air Force to ground more than 100 jets -- many of which are still unable to fly -- since the cracks were discovered last year.

The Air Force has budgeted more than $1 billion to buy 242 new wings for the oldest A-10s. Jets with thin-skin wings only would receive the upgrade. However, the service would like to garner additional funding to replace the wings on the remaining Warthogs, which have also been subject to cracking.

“For the total fleet of aircraft, there are still a few that are unfunded, but that can be worked as we go through funding cycles in the next couple of years to get the full fleet funded,” Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Donald Hoffman said during a Feb. 27 meeting with a handful of reporters at an Air Force Association-sponsored conference in Orlando, FL.

The Air Force selected Boeing to replace the wings on all of its thin-skinned A-10s in June 2007. The contract runs into the next decade.

For now, the Air Force is rapidly working to repair the cracks in many of its Warthogs, which have been relied upon heavily for close air support of ground troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I think we can fix the crack that exists right now with confidence and let the normal cost of the wing replacement take place,” Hoffman said. “We’ll continue to monitor the fix that we put in.”

As the Air Force’s fleet of legacy fighters continues to grow, many aircraft have experienced structural issues that have subsequently led to grounding and flight restrictions.

The service grounded all of its F-15s in 2007 after a jet broke in half during a training mission. An investigation into the crash revealed major issues with the fighter’s longeron support beams. Some jets still remain grounded due to the issue.

In January 2008, Hoffman -- who at the time was serving as the service’s No. 2 acquisition official -- said Air Force lawyers were considering potential legal action against the Eagle’s original equipment manufacturer, McDonnell Douglas, which is now part of Boeing. But that course of actions has been abandoned, the four-star said last month.

“We do not see any financial relief through those processes,” he said last month when asked if the repair costs would be covered by Boeing.

“It’s like [if] you take your 10-year-old car back to the dealer,” Hoffman said. “Maybe it no kidding was a manufacturing defect, it wasn’t built to spec. But after you operate your car for 10 years, you don’t have much of an argument there.”

The Air Force’s other fourth-generation fighter -- the F-16 -- has experienced bulkhead cracks. In addition, the service’s HH-60 combat search-and-rescue helicopters have among the lowest mission-capable rates of any aircraft in the service’s inventory, Hoffman said.

“As a fleet, they had the lowest,” he said of the helicopters’ reliability rates.

At the same time, the Air Force has ordered inspections of its entire C-130 Hercules cargo hauler fleet after discovering a potential issue with wing bolts, according to service officials.

Each aircraft must undergo a two- to four-hour inspection before returning to flight, an Air Force Special Operations Command official told Inside the Air Force last week. The command operates specially configured Hercs that are used to insert troops into combat zones and refuel helicopters.

The mandatory inspections include newer Lockheed Martin C-130J aircraft in addition to the legacy C-130s, which make up the bulk of the Air Force’s inventory. The oldest Air Force Hercules aircraft entered service in the early 1960s. The newer J-models entered the fleet in the late 1990s.

C-130s are the backbone of intratheater airlift and are used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan to transport troops and cargo.

“Despite the size of the fleet, inspections are proceeding rapidly, and while this is a significant effort for our maintainers we currently don’t expect any major disruptions to essential airlift operations,” Vicki Stein, an Air Force spokeswoman, wrote in a March 6 e-mail. -- Marcus Weisgerber

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From: leigh aulper4/17/2009 12:50:59 PM
   of 213
 
REPORT: RETIRING AIR FORCE C-5s TO BUY MORE C-17s NOT COST-EFFECTIVE

_______________________________________________

Date: April 17, 2009

The Air Force will not save any money if it retires some of its oldest Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy cargo haulers and replaces them with newer Boeing C-17 airlifters, a congressionally mandated reported has concluded.

The Institute for Defense Analyses study also found that, under certain parameters, it would be more cost-effective to use the L-3 Communications-Alenia C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft over the Lockheed C-130J for intratheater airlift operations, according to the “Proper Mix of Fixed-Wing Airlift Assets.”

Lawmakers requested the in-depth study of the Air Force’s mobility fleet in the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Authorization Act. The study’s findings were delivered to lawmakers on Capitol Hill last month. Inside the Air Force reviewed an unclassified summary of the report this week. The analysis comes just months before the Air Force completes its major Mobility Capability and Requirements Study-2016.

The new IDA report considered a variety of different modifications to the Air Force’s mobility fleet. The study looked at the effects of installing new engines on C-5A aircraft (the current plan calls for re-engining only newer C-5Bs), purchasing more C-17s, the tradeoffs among various tactical lift forces (C-130s, C-27s, and C-17s), using commercial airlift for military purposes in peacetime and wartime and utilizing tankers for cargo transport.

The Air Force’s current mobility program of record consists of 205 C-17s, 59 C-5As, 52 C-5Ms, 269 C-130Hs and 120 C-130Js. The service also intends to buy at least 24 C-27s.

The C-5 is the Air Force’s largest strategic airlifter, followed by the C-17. The quad-turbo prop C-130 is the service’s primary tactical airlifter. The service intends to use the twin-prop C-27s for special operations and light-airlift missions.

All of the service’s airlifters -- with the exception of the C-130E -- are structurally sound until the 2030s, according to the report. C-17s and C-5s have structural service lives beyond 2040.

The fleet “is adequate in meeting the benchmark requirements identified in the [2005 Mobility Capability Study] for moderate acceptable risk,” the report states. “Three different computer models used in the study produced somewhat different results for deliveries. The most pessimistic results matched MCS benchmark results, and with other models, lower force levels than programmed also met the MCS benchmark level.”

The study considered 36 alternative mixes and sizes and compared them both in cost and effectiveness with the program of record. The study identified several “relatively inexpensive ways” of generating higher capability from the existing force without buying more planes.

Purchasing “additional C-17s were not needed to meet the MCS moderate-acceptable-risk delivery rates used as a benchmark by the analyses conducted here,” the report states.

The IDA findings come at a critical juncture following Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ announcement last week that his FY-10 budget proposal recommends ending C-17 production at 205 aircraft. That figure has been debated over the last few years with some Air Force generals contending that the service could use more Globemaster IIIs. The Pentagon has attempted to end C-17 production several times over the past few years, but Congress ended up inserting money for additional aircraft during its review of several Pentagon spending requests.

IDA concluded that it would be highly expensive to restart the C-17 line once production is stopped.

“We also found that retiring C-5As to release funds to buy and operate more C-17s is not cost-effective,” the study concluded.

In 2007, Air Mobility Command officials floated a “30-30 proposal” -- which called for the unrestricted retirement of 30 C-5As and replacing them with 30 C-17s acquired through a multiyear contract.

“A small amount of additional capability could be achieved if all C-5s are converted through Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) to C-5Ms,” the report states. “This alternative is at comparable life-cycle cost to that of the [program of record]; near-term acquisition costs are almost repaid over time in later years by reduced operating and support costs.”

Since the Air Force determines its airlift and other force requirements based on wartime demands, some models used in the study found the retirement of some of the oldest C-5As could help free up cash.

“If the appropriate acquisition planning scenarios are not [major combat operations] but are high tempo non-MCO operations such as in Iraq and Afghanistan today, we find that some C-5As could be retired to save [operating and support] costs with no loss in capability for those missions,” the report states.

“Moreover, a more cost-effective fleet than the [program of record] is one that, in addition to having fewer C-5As, uses the smaller C-27Js instead of the larger C-130Js. These observations are driven by the need for numerous geographically separated, but small loads during non-MCO operations, as currently anticipated in DOD planning scenarios,” it adds.

Researchers looked at a number of ways to increase productivity of the Air Force’s current fleet of mobility aircraft. The service could achieve 2 percent to 4 percent more productivity by flying C-5s at “wartime planning levels” meaning they could carry more fuel or cargo, depending on the mission.

Using the Civil Reserve Air Fleet to transport oversized cargo could free up C-5 and C-17 strategic airlifters that could then carry larger items thus increasing productivity by 10 percent. Utilizing host-nation aircraft adds another 4 percent to 5 percent and using tankers not tasked with aerial refueling missions could add another 4 percent.

“Use of these capabilities could also allow for a smaller strategic fleet that still meets MCS benchmark delivery requirements,” the report notes.

In the meantime, the Air Force’s Mobility Capability and Requirements Study-2016 will recommend new investment decisions for mobility aircraft. Using wargaming parameters, the study will determine the best mix and use of mobility aircraft during combat. The study’s preliminary findings are due this spring, and a final report is expected by the end of the year. -- Marcus Weisgerber

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From: leigh aulper5/3/2009 11:03:27 AM
   of 213
 
Lockheed Martin Delivers 50th C-5 AMP Aircraft






MARIETTA, Ga., April 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) recently delivered the 50th C-5 Galaxy strategic airlifter upgraded with Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) improvements. AMP is the first part of the two-phase C-5 modernization program. The aircraft, delivered to Air Force Reserve Command's 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland AFB, Texas, is now equipped with a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with modern avionics and flight instruments.

"This delivery brings the Air Force one step closer to realizing the full capability of an upgraded and more efficient C-5 fleet," said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin C-5 program vice president. "We're currently running two very successful AMP production lines. This effort, along with the upcoming second phase of the C-5 modernization program, will ensure the Air Force has a C-5 fleet that will be highly effective for the next 40 years."

The AMP installations are taking place at Dover AFB, Del., and at Travis AFB, Calif. The fleet-wide AMP modifications are scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2014. A total of 111 C-5s are scheduled to be modified with AMP upgrades.

The AMP upgrades replace the analog cockpit instruments and systems in the C-5 with digital displays and equipment. This modernization phase also provides the necessary communications and navigational avionics to comply with Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) requirements, the new set of international standards for aircraft movement and reduced separation in flight.

The second phase of the C-5 modernization effort is the Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program (RERP). RERP includes 70 enhancements or replacements of major components and subsystems, including the installation of GE CF6-80C2 commercial engines. Fifty-two of the 111 airplanes receiving the AMP upgrades are currently scheduled to receive the RERP upgrades. When one of the giant transport aircraft receives both the AMP and RERP modifications, it receives the C-5M Super Galaxy designation. Three aircraft (two former B-models and one former A-model) were used as the C-5M test fleet. All three of the C-5M aircraft have been delivered back to the U.S. Air Force.

The C-5 has been the backbone of strategic airlift in every military and humanitarian engagement since it entered service. It is the only aircraft capable of carrying 100 percent of certified military air-transportable cargo with a dedicated passenger compartment enabling commanders to have troops and their equipment arrive simultaneously in an area of operation. The C-5 can carry twice the cargo of other strategic airlift systems, and the C-5M Super Galaxy will be a force multiplier through 2040. Modernization of the C-5 pays for itself through savings in operation and sustainment costs.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2008 sales of $42.7 billion.


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From: leigh aulper5/19/2009 6:10:00 AM
   of 213
 
New C-17s Not Needed, DOD Analysis Shows

May 18, 2009


By Amy Butler


Early indications from the Pentagon’s Mobility Capabilities Requirements Study suggest no need for additional strategic airlift beyond the funded procurements of re-engined C-5s and 205 C-17s already planned, says U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.

The 2005 Mobility Capabilities Study had suggested a requirement of roughly 300 strategic airlifters, and Schwartz says he sees “no major shift in the demand signal.” The 2005 study, however, was discredited in much of Washington as a budget-driven formality under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and a new study has been eagerly awaited.

The new study is now under way, although official results are not expected until the fall. Unlike previous reviews, this study will take into account the requirements associated with increases in Army and Marine Corps end-strength, as well as the new U.S. Africa Command.

Even if more strategic airlift is ultimately needed, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley says an independent study presents several options before considering a buy of additional C-17s, the only aircraft made at Boeing’s Long Beach, Calif., plant.

These include leasing additional Civil Reserve Air Fleet capacity, as well as re-engining all 111 C-5s. Now, the C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) calls for modifying only 49 C-5Bs, two C-5Cs and one A model for test purposes.

Boeing’s C-17 program has survived in recent years on congressional earmarks and international orders. The USAF also has nonetheless wished to retire its worst C-5s.

Meanwhile, the first C-5 of the 46 to be inducted into the M-model upgrade production line is slated to arrive at Lockheed Martin’s Marietta, Ga., facility in August with delivery following a year later.

This single C-5 will make up the low-rate-initial-production phase of the C-5M RERP upgrade program. The M upgrade includes a new propulsion system as well as improvements to several bad actors on the aircraft, including hydraulics and landing gear, says Lorraine Martin, vice president of the C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program for prime contractor Lockheed Martin.

Three C-5s were modified with the M upgrade during the development phase of the program; two were C-5Bs and one was a C-5A.

Operational test and evaluation for the C-5M is slated to begin in September, lasting at least three months. The C-5M includes the General Electric CF6-80C2 engine, which Martin says provides 22 percent more thrust per aircraft. The C-5M can climb to 31,000-feet altitude in 19 minutes carrying 120,000 pounds of cargo compared to the C-5A/B’s 33 minutes to climb to 24,000 feet, Martin says.

Aside from the performance, Lockheed Martin is making some predictions related to the cost of the program. Reduced maintenance of the newer propulsion systems and replacement of the bad parts on the C-5 will “save” $9 billion over the life of the aircraft in the cost of operations and sustainment, Martin says. This is after the $6 billion cost to procure and install the kits, she says.

It is unknown whether shutting down the F-22 line in Marietta, Ga., where the C-5 work is handled by Lockheed, will impact the cost of the RERP effort.

The operational test and evaluation is expected to begin in September and last up to four months.

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