Global defense companies are planning to compete against Boeing for a multi-billion-dollar contract to provide the United Kingdom with submarine-hunting aircraft.
21st Sep 2015
LONDON, UK - Global defense companies are planning to compete against Boeing for a multi-billion-dollar contract to provide the United Kingdom with submarine-hunting aircraft.
The British government is looking for ways to close a military gap left by recent defence cuts and at a time of rising tensions with Russia, is struggling to maintain aerial hunts for submarines in the Atlantic.
The UK scrapped its Nimrod spy-plane program in 2010, just before multiple reports began to emerge that Russian subs were increasingly entering Finnish and Swedish waters.
Defence Minister Michael Fallon has said that a British government defense and security review due to conclude in November will likely state the need for a new maritime patrol aircraft.
Boeing, with its off-the-shelf P-8 Poseidon solution based on its best-selling 737 passenger jet, has been seen as the favourite for the contract, but rivals queued up at a major defense exhibition this week to press Britain to run a competition.
Britain has not yet said exactly what type of missions should be carried out, putting turboprops in the running with jets, for now.
"We very much hope for competition, but we need to know what the question is before we can provide the answer," said Paul Kahn, president of Airbus Group UK, on the sidelines of the DSEI exhibition in London.
Airbus may compete against Boeing with its C-295 military turbo-prop aircraft, while Lockheed Martin entered the fray this week with plans to upgrade the C-130J Hercules transport.
Italy's Finmeccanica L-3 of the United States, Sweden's Saab and Japan's Kawasaki are also potential contenders.