Jul 25, 2012 10:15 UTC
Punching above its weight
The 656-ton Singaporean mini-corvette RSS Victory successfully fires a Barak-1 anti-aircraft missile during joint exercises with the USN in the South China Sea. It’s hardly the 1st time, and the inconvenient truth its that these ships are far better armed than the $550+ million, 3,000 ton “Littoral Combat Ships” the USA wants to deploy to Singapore.
- The International Crisis Group (ICG) nonprofit released a report [PDF] which concludes that conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea are at a deadlock. China’s actions are shaped by its own internal dynamics [PDF] and its neighbors are not passively watching:
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Jul 08, 2012 17:00 UTC
This is the end…
In July 2012, Boeing in Long Beach, CA received a $500 million contract for the orderly transfer of the manufacturing assets and data used to produce the C-17A Globemaster III heavy transport, once production ends. Work will be performed in Long Beach, CA by July 5/22. The ASC/WLMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract (FA8614-12-D-2049, Order 0001).
The USAF recently issued its final expected order for a 224th aircraft, as a replacement for a C-17 that crashed in July 2010. Beyond those buys, export orders to customers like India, and additional orders from Australia and Britain are extending the production line. At some point, that will end. When it does end, the line will close, but the US military wants to be able to restart C-17 production if it becomes necessary at some future date. Production restarts are always expensive, and there’s always a learning curve because it involves a lot of new people. Restarts become even more expensive, and much more difficult, if post-production contracts like this one aren’t issued when the line shuts down. The cost of such contracts makes them a step that isn’t taken lightly, but some programs are important enough to justify the insurance value.
Jul 04, 2012 11:06 UTC
Latest updates: New helicopters arrive; Crash in Afghanistan.
RAAF & US CH-47Ds
After decades as a largely unheralded workhorse, the distinctive, twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook medium-heavy lift helicopter has suddenly become the belle of the ball. Nations that have them are keeping them, and upgrading them. Boeing’s main customers in the US military plan to keep versions of the CH-47 in service past 2030. Nations that don’t have Chinooks, want them; but like a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Fat Boy, those who step up to buy one know that second hand models aren’t exactly plentiful – and if you want new, you’ll probably have to wait a bit.
Australia has ordered CH-47Fs, but in the mean time, the 6 CH-47Ds in 5th Aviation Regiment, C Squadron have received defensive upgrades, lost a helicopter in Afghanistan, and rose to 7 machines under a new deal.
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Jun 14, 2012 17:53 UTC
The USA and NATO have invested billions in their E-3 AWACS(Airborne early Warning And Control System) radar planes, whose rotating radar and on-board computers provide a complete aerial picture in a radius that encompasses hundreds of thousands of square miles. Their role as surveillance planes, command and control centers, and communications relays is invaluable – if you can fly them.
The aircraft are based on Boeing’s 707-320B jetliners, and deliveries began in 1977. Over the years, their radars and command centers have received improvements, but it’s getting harder to find parts for their pilot flight deck avionics, and international regulations for civil airspace are changing. The USAF’s 707-based KC-135 aerial tankers have had to change, in order to adapt. Now it’s the E-3s’ turn, and NATO’s pooled fleet has joined the program. Enter… the DRAGON.
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May 21, 2012 16:12 UTC
Tony Stark approves
In May 2012, Boeing in Huntsville, AL received an $83 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, for “engineering services in support of the Avenger weapon system.” Work will be performed in Huntsville, AL until March 31/15. One bid was solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army Contracting Command in Redstone Arsenal, AL (W31P4Q-12-C-0117).
Boeing informs DID that deliveries from their new-build production line ended in 2009, but existing systems still need support. The firm has continued to invest in the Avenger turret, however, privately developing and testing an Avenger Adaptive Force Protection System variant that can mix and match its weapons. Instead of being restricted to a .50 caliber machine gun and twin 4-packs of FIM-92 Stinger missiles, AFPS uses a 25mm cannon in the center, while its 2 stations can each mount a variety of packages: a Stinger 4-pack, twin AIM-9X Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles, an AGM-114 Hellfire ant-tank missile, a laser-guided 70mm rocket pod, or even a high-power laser module. Recent DSCA requests for the Avenger system have included Chile (2009), Oman (2011) and the UAE (2008), and the April 2012 US SIGIR report [PDF] indicates that Iraq intends to file a formal request soon.