Jul 31, 2012 16:14 UTC
Australia may be an NH90 customer, but they also fly quite a few Sikorsky helicopters. Their 35 S-70A-9 Black Hawks began service in 1986, and have been used domestically and in a number of international deployments. Their lack of full defensive systems has prevented deployment to dangerous conflict zones like Afghanistan, but recent upgrades have partly fixed this problem. The Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of 16 S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters contain features from the US Navy’s SH-60B and SH-60F Seahawks, and were delivered from 1988-1992. They will be replaced from 2016 onward by new MH-60R Seahawk helicopters.
Those fleets need maintenance, and Australia has signed a number of long-term contracts to that end. This article covers those contracts, from 2009 onward.
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Jul 29, 2012 17:37 UTC
Latest updates[?]: New channelizer explained; WGS-10 ordered.
The US military needs a bigger data firehose. In an era of streaming data from proliferating UAVs and other persistent surveillance platforms, and the need for control of those systems anywhere in the world, bandwidth is almost as important as fuel. Commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) can fill some of the gaps, but it’s expensive, and may not be available when needed. The Wideband Gapfiller SATCOM (now Wideband Global SATCOM) program began as a way to ease these problems in the near term, but went on to become one of the twin pillars of US military communications, alongside the hardened AEHF constellation. Both satellite types expanded their roles after the super-high bandwidth T-SAT program was canceled. instead, the USA is adding WGS and AEHF satellites in space, even as it makes both programs multi-national efforts here on earth.
WGS is a set of 13-kilowatt spacecraft based on Boeing’s model 702 commercial satellite. These satellites will handle a significant portion of the USA’s warfighting bandwidth requirements, supporting tactical C4ISR(command, control, communications, and computers; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance); battle management; and combat support needs. Upon its 2007 launch into geosynchronous orbit, WGS Flight 1 became the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest capacity communication satellite. WGS F4, launched in January 2012, offers further improvements, as do satellites from WGS F8. The constellation is set to grow to 10, including international participation.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article covering the WGS program’s specifications, budgets, travails, international partnerships, and contracts, with links to additional research materials.
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Jul 26, 2012 10:30 UTC
Spending above the waterline
The CBO(Congressional Budget Office) analyzed [PDF] the latest long-term shipbuilding plans of the US Navy and thinks that despite lowering the number of ships they intend to procure, the DoN is significantly underestimating how much their plan will cost. CBO’s estimate of $20 billion/year for new-ship construction is about 40% above the historical average funding, with peaks way above average in the 2023-2032 decade (even by the Navy’s own costing). CBO for instance challenges the Navy’s estimate that it will be able to buy the next-gen LCS under much better terms than the current generation, and likewise doesn’t buy that a successor to DDG-51 Flight III ships would deliver more technology for the same price.
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Jul 25, 2012 10:45 UTC
In late July, Canada’s RCMP(Royal Canadian Mounted Police, aka. “Mounties”) federal police force took delivery of 18 new Tactical Armoured Vehicles (TAVs), based on Navistar’s MXT-APC. Navistar’s MXTs are about twice as heavy as a Humvee, but would still be considered light by the standards of blast-resistant “MRAP/PPV” vehicles. The Canadian “TAVs” were bought under a $14 million contract, and will be used by Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) across Canada as their primary support vehicle. They’re designed for incidents including hostage takings, armed standoffs, barricaded persons and search and rescue operations, using a blueprint that came from Navistar Defence Canada Inc. in cooperation with RCMP engineers.
Britain is the MXT’s biggest customer, and their “Huskies” are deployed to Afghanistan. The RCMP is Navistar’s 1st MXT vehicle sale to police-type units, and a having such a high-profile international customer makes for a good start in that area. On the flip side of that transaction, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson might want to avoid phrases like “We’re proud to have acquired this impressive tool,” when referring to new cars. After 139 years, we suppose that every organization is entitled to a minor mid-life crisis. RCMP | Navistar.