Hermes 900 UAV: The Hermes 900 UAV is likely to have its full operational capability (FOC) declared by the Israeli Air Force before the end of the month. Developed by Elbit Systems, it is expected that the number of Hermes 900s in use with the air force will be increased once FOC is awarded. It was first used in combat during Israel's 2014 Protective Edge operation in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, accumulating hundreds of flight hours throughout the campaign, flying in excess of 100 times with what the service described as an extremely high success rate. Switzerland and Brazil have also expressed interest in purchasing the UAV.
Trident-II D5 SLBM nuclear missiles: Lockheed Martin Space Systems has won a $21.9 million US Navy contract modification for support of the Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missile. Work will be split between Sunnyvale, Calif., Cape Canaveral, Fla. and other locations across the US with a completion date expected by Sept. 30 2017. The Trident II D5 is the submarine-launched ballistic missile deployed by both the US and British Royal Navy, and is the sole nuclear weapon system deployed by the UK.
Griffin: Raytheon has been granted a $103 million contract to supply its AGM-176 Griffin precision guided missile and associated support to the US Air Force. Work will be conducted in Tuscon, Ariz., and is expected to be finished by Dec. 31, 2018. Originally designed for MC-130 special operations gunships, the light attack missile comes in eitheraft-launch or forward firing variants for aircraft and can also be deployed from ground and naval units.
Rapid Fire | Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 05:00 UTC ()
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is one more weapons delivery accuracy (WDA) test away from having its initial operating capability (IOC) declared for its Block 3F software. The news comes after a surge by the F-35 Developmental Test team in early August, which saw multiple test events accomplished over the course of a number of days. Speaking on the surge, Torrey Given, a weapons integration engineer with the 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Base, said that the testing allowed the development team to “accomplish some complex air-to-air demonstrations with the (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile) in order to show the full capability of the aircraft.” Upon achieving its IOC, the aircraft will then move to operational test organizations so they can be combat proven.
Israel’s RADA Electronic Industries has been contracted by the US military to deliver its Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar systems. Valued at $8 million, the company stated that the radars will be used by a “key US military force” for air surveillance with “an emphasis on counter-UAS with the most advanced on-the-move capabilities,” adding that dozens of the system will be delivered this year for immediate fielding. More than 300 Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar systems have been delivered to various defense customers. It is an S-band, software-defined, pulse-Doppler, active electronically scanned array systems with beam forming capabilities and advanced signal processing.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems has won a $21.9 million US Navy contract modification for support of the Trident II D5 submarine launched ballistic missile. Work will be split between Sunnyvale, Calif., Cape Canaveral, Fla. and other locations across the US with a completion date expected by Sept. 30 2017. The Trident II D5 is the submarine-launched ballistic missile deployed by both the US and British Royal Navy, and is the sole nuclear weapon system deployed by the UK.
Middle East & Africa
The Hermes 900 UAV is likely to have its full operational capability (FOC) declared by the Israeli Air Force before the end of the month. Developed by Elbit Systems, it is expected that the number of Hermes 900s in use with the air force will be increased once FOC is awarded. The MALE UAV was first used in combat during Israel’s 2014 Protective Edge operation in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, accumulating hundreds of flight hours throughout the campaign, flying in excess of 100 times with what the service described as an extremely high success rate. Switzerland and Brazil have also expressed interest in purchasing the UAV.
Norwegian firm Nammo A/S has come to a landmark agreement with the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) to supply its newly developed artillery shells. Helsinki is the first international customer for Nammo’s 155 mm insensitive munitions, high explosive, extended range ammo (IM-HE-ER)—which has been under development since 2002 and partly funded by the state-owned Norwegian Defense Material Agency (NDMA)—which covers almost twice the distance of Nammo’s previous precision-strike artillery ammunition offerings. The ammo purchase forms part of a long-term project by Finland to reinforce the Army’s artillery capability and fire-power, which has already seen the February purchase of second-hand K9 Thunder 155 mm/52 caliber self-propelled artillery systems from South Korea. Training with the K9s will commence in 2019 following a modernization with Finnish sub-systems that include battle management, global positioning, communications and camouflage bolt-ons.
After 72 years, a lost World War 2-era heavy cruiser has been discovered 18,000 feet (5.5km) beneath the surface. The USS Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine torpedo on 30 July 1945 somewhere in the Philippine sea between Guam and Leyte, resulting in the deaths of 880 seamen—the largest loss of life at sea in the history of the US Navy. Notoriety of the the ship’s sinking intensified after news of the vessel’s final mission, completed just days before the Japanese attack—it carried parts for the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima as well as enriched uranium fuel for its nuclear reaction. Those supplies were delivered to an American base on Tinian island, in the final year of the war which launched the world’s first nuclear bombing. A spokesman for the survivors, 22 of whom are still alive, said each of them had “longed for the day when their ship would be found”.
Ten US Navy personnel remain missing after the guided missile destroyer USS John S McCain collided with a Liberian-flagged oil tanker off the coast of Singapore. The collision was first reported at 05:24 local time on Monday, east of the Strait of Singapore, as the US warship was planning to perform a routine port stop in Singapore. Authorities stated that the McCain sustained damage to her port side, while the tanker sustained damage to a tank near the front of the ship 7m (23ft) above the waterline, with no injuries to her crew. A US-led rescue operation with support from the Malaysian and Singaporean navies and coast guards is ongoing.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has fielded its first six Pilatus PC-21 basic trainers at its East Sale air base in Victoria. The Swiss-built turboprops are the first of an eventual 49 PC-21s that will be operated by the RAAF, replacing a 30-year old fleet of PC-9/As in the training of Australian pilots from 2019. A new basic training school will be equipped with 42 of the aircraft, along with seven simulators and related training equipment, four will be assigned to the RAAF’s 4 Sqn to support operational training needs, with the final three will be operated from its Pearce air base in Western Australia for research and development.
| The US Navy and Lockheed Martin have completed the first tactical configuration of a Long Range Anti-ship Missile (LRASM) from a B-1B Lancer bomber based out of Edwards Air Base. The free-flight launch was conducted over the Point Mugu Sea Range in California. A Lockheed statement announcing the success stated that the missile "navigated through all planned waypoints, transitioned to mid-course guidance and flew toward the moving maritime target using inputs from the onboard multimodal sensor. The missile then descended to low altitude for final approach to target area, positively identified and impacted the target." The LRASM is slated to start entering operational service with the B-1B by next year and the F/A-18 Super Hornet by 2019.
| Upgrades planned for the RIM-116C Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2B will include improved seeker and missile-to-missile link (MML) capability. Known as the RAM Block 2B Raid Engineering Change Proposal (ECP), the enhancements will increase the missile’s ability to deal with complex multi-missile raids—in effect allowing missiles to talk to each other. Raytheon's Block 2B upgrades have aimed to increase the use of kinematic and sensor upgrades, designed to expand the missile's engagement envelope, so as to defeat more manoeuvrable and higher-speed anti-ship cruise missiles.
| The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin's AN/APR-52 radar warning receiver Technical level 6 status after a round of successful testing by the US Air Force Integrated Demonstrations and Applications Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. News of the milestone comes over a year before the HH-60W combat rescue helicopter—which will use the receiver—makes its first flight. During the test, the receiver was evaluated in simulated threat environments. Sikorsky's HH-60W will replace the Air Force's aging HH-60G Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters.
| It is expected that Raytheon will be awarded a contract to turn a number of US Navy Tomahawks into anti-ship cruise missiles. The upgrade will take place when the service sends its Block IV Tomahawks back to Raytheon for mid-life recertification. A company executive said the multi-mode seeker for the anti-ship role will likely be a mix of passive and active sensors. The BlockIV recertification effort will start in 2019 with the first Marine Strike Tomahawk variants to enter the fleet in the early 2020s. More »
| Argentina has stopped negotiations over the possible purchase of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir fighters after earlier indications that Buenos Ares was close to agreeing to an order of between 12-14 aircraft. While the Kfir first entered operational service more than 40 years ago, IAI were offering the Argentine military upgraded Block 60 variants, which includes a GE Aviation J79 engine, Elta Systems' EL/M-2032 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and an open architecture avionics suite that allows customers to install its own systems. However, pricing of the Kfirs has been a sticking point in the negotiations, and news that Argentina has stopped talk may indicate that they may instead move ahead with an offer to purchase six second-hand Super Étendard carrier-borne fighters from France.
| An early operational capability MQ-4C Triton UAV is expected to be delivered to the US Navy next month, slightly later than its planned August delivery date. The news comes as Northrop commended taxi tests this week ahead of moving the aircraft to NAS Point Mugu, California, where it will conduct its first flight. The baseline Triton, also known as the integrated function capability 3 configuration, will come equipped with Northop’s multifunction active sensor (MFAS), a maritime patrol version of active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and Northrop will deliver two baseline Triton aircraft, B5 and B6, to NAS Point Mugu. After Triton reaches early operational capability in fiscal year 2018, Northrop has its eye on initial operational capability in 2021. The company also plan to add a signals intelligence capability, which will bring it on par with the navy’s manned EP-3 reconnaissance fleet.