B737 Business JetBusiness Jet B737
A $9 billion dollar transaction on the line will see a militarised 737 jet from Boeing Renton go up against the Gulfstream G550 and Bombardier Global 6000 high-end business jet for a dedicated order to be placed this autumn. JSTARS aircraft in question will be equipped with state-of-the-art defence radars and computer analysers.
JSTARS' present flotilla is now actively engaged in strike action against the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. A JSTARS profit would hopefully lead the Air Force to select the 737 to substitute more than 100 different models of specialised aeroplanes - agreements that are far more profitable than the sheer number of 737s they have.
More and more business aircraft that are higher, quicker and farther away than aircraft are being used by specialized aviation around the globe. While Boeing officially questioned this issue this past months, the U.S. Armed Forces first opted for the Gulfstream for a discrete, electronically blocking aircraft call called Compass Call. Inside a meeting room in the former Boeing Space Center in Kent, now a beehive of various defence programmes, a journalist put on a VR sight to take a look at a model of the 737 JSTARS candidate of the jetbuilder.
The JSTARS system means Common Surveillance Target Attack Radar System. It is a common air force and army system that revolves around a solid long-range surveillance system that tracks what happens on the battlefield. Within the virtually airborne system, 10 station operator panels at the back of the plane were monitoring large computer displays, analysing radars and interacting with US armed services.
Behind the wards were large metallic cupboards housing the computer server and other devices. Smith then showed a Boeing gimmick that was supposed to amaze the Air Force why greatness is important. Gulfstream Jet is recommended by a squad headed by defence company Northrop Grumman and L3 Technologies, a premier supplier of defence electronic components.
Boeing's protests against the contractual dispute focus on L3's strong relationship with Gulfstream, and Boeing's decision to select Boeing as the leading system supplier under the Compass Call agreement will be based on the company's strong commitment to the Gulfstream alliance. With the G550, effective in Australia, Israel and Singapore, and other specialty markets in Japan and Germany, assembled the G550's communications, monitoring and recon missionsystems.
Nordrop is the main subcontractor of the JSTARS-network. Launched in 1991 during the first Iraq conflict, these fighter planes are all 707 aircraft in conversion - today with an avarage of 48 years and ready to be replaced by something more effective. Northrop' VP of Monitoring and Target Alan Metzger said in an interviewer that while the Air Force needed a 707 jet to accommodate all of its gear when the initial JSTARS order was placed in 1985, a smaller business jet is appropriate today as the JSTARS system has been fully miniaturised.
"`I don't know why you need a 135-person plane to transport about 10 air force commanders,` said Metzger. When Northrop purchased a G550 and equipped it with the latest JSTARS missions gear, they not only wanted to show that the jet was big enough and fulfilled all the demands, but also that it had plenty of room for manoeuvre for further expansion.
According to him, the decisive benefit of the business jet solutions is their power. JSTARS' third candidate to launch the Bombardier Business Jet is a group headed by defence tycoon Lockheed Martin, who is working with Raytheon, an electronic and missile system integration company. Raytheon offers separate against Northrop to supply the high-tech radars for the JSTARS aircraft, and all three participants are willing to bid the radars system that will win.
Bombardier's Global 6000 is bigger than the G550, both longer and with a broader cab, but still about half the size of the smallest 737. For its E-11 specialist jet, the U.S. Air Force is using a Global 6000, an aerial hub for providing combat area communication. The Bombardier jet has also received a number of orders from overseas militaries, said Stephane Villeneuve, Bombardier's VP of General Aviation.
It is the British base for the Sentinel surveillance fleets, AWACS planes for the United Arab Emirates, secret service planes for India and naval air patrols for Israel. "Internationally, folks are going to a business jet for all the jobs we describe here," said Villeneuve. Boeing hopes to expand its range of airliners for the armed forces by substituting all U.S. Air Force specialty aircrafts with 737-based ones.
- Cobra Ball, a flotilla of three planes that are collecting information about the launch of balistic missiles. - Rivet Joint, a 17-person air force that gathers and analyzes digital signal information from various types of warfare. - Constant Phoenix, a two-aircraft squadron that gathers airborne information from atomic testing. Gulfstream and Bombardier jet engines each fetch slightly more than 60 million dollars at listed price, around 20 million dollars less than the Boeing 737 offered.
However, one of Boeing's main reasons is that the Air Force will be saving with a 737 aircraft portfolio because of the much lower operating and servicing cost. Boeing claims that more than 9,000 of its Boeing Model 0737s are in use worldwide, with parts available anywhere in the globe within 24hrs, and with enormous dependability that minimises outages.
Quoting US Department of Defense figures showing that the TCO of a 737 used for the transfer of top quality tactical brasses is about half that of a G550-based air force jet used for the same purposes, he said, "The US Department of Defense has published a number of reports that show that the TCO of a 737 used for the transfer of top tactical brasses is about half that of a G550-based air force jet used for the same purposes. Boeing's JSTARS programme head of distribution and merchandising Rod Meranda claims that the Air Force assumes less risks when it is part of Boeing.
Neither the G550 nor the Global 6000, for example, have ever been equipped with in-flight refuelling - a JSTARS request. On the other hand, Boeing has already fueled its 737-person Poseidon anti-submarine jet P-8 Poseidon aircraft during the mission. Air Force intends to balance the costs, risks and benefits of the three proposed measures and select the JSTARS substitute by the end of the year.
Should Boeing gain, the necessary naval modification to the aircraft cell would probably be made during completion on the Renton line - perhaps even on the same devoted naval line that now produces the P-8s. It is not clear where Boeing would then be installing the missions gear, the radars and all the workstations.
Nevertheless, a victory for Boeing JSTARS would be significant for Renton and more than 17 planesworthy. This would indicate a high probability that further agreements for specialised aeroplanes will be concluded at a later date.