May 31, 2016 00:53 UTC
- The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) intends to mount a laser weapon on an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, with feasibility tests to commence this summer. According to Col. John Vannoy, the Program Executive Officer Rotary Wing Programs, much of the information regarding the test “will be internal,” however the office envisions using the laser weapon to destroy vehicles or generators as opposed to sending in a missile that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. An expansion of the program could also see the weapon mounted on the MH-60 Black Hawk.
- A new sense of urgency has been injected into Canada’s CF-18 fighter replacement by Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan, saying that the issue “needs to be dealt with quickly.” Speaking at the CANSEC defence and military trade show in Ottawa last week, Sajjan didn’t forget to remind reporters that the issue was inherited from the previous government while seemingly forgetting that it was the current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau’s promise to ditch its participation in F-35 procurement in favor of a more affordable aircraft.
- Following close on the heals of the F-35’s delay in achieving initial operational capability (IOC), the KC-46A tanker will miss its scheduled Spring 2017 delivery to units. Instead, deliveries have been rescheduled for late summer or early fall of next year. The KC-46 tanker program was already on a tight trialing schedule as part of its Milestone C demonstration in June, but will now be pushed back until August.
Middle East North Africa
- The US State Department has cleared the potential Foreign Military Sale to the government of Kuwait for F/A-18 C/D services and support in a deal worth up to $420 million. Under the contract, 275 contractor representatives will travel to Kuwait for a period of three years to provide support including F/A-18 avionics software upgrades, engine component improvements, ground support equipment, engine and aircraft spares and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, Engineering Change Proposals (ECP), US Government and contractor programmatic, financial, and logistics support. The deal comes as Kuwait awaits approval for 24 newer F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets.
- Qatar is to receive $20 million in Javelin Guided Missiles and associated equipment, training, and support, after the sale was cleared by the US State Department on Thursday. Included in the sale are 50 Javelin Guided Missiles (Category I), and ten Command Launch Units (CLUs) with Integrated Day/Thermal Sight (Category III Sensitive) with Container. Also included are ten Javelin Missile Simulation Rounds, one Enhanced Basic Skills Trainer (EPBST), and 12 Non-Rechargeable Battery, Six Storage Battery Rechargeable, Battery Discharger, Battery Charger for #9, and ten Battery Coolant Units.
- F-16s under the control of the Royal Air Force of Oman are to receive follow-on support including support equipment, communications equipment, personnel training, spare and repair parts, publications, Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program (ECISAP), Contractor Engineer Technical Services (CETS), Technical Coordination Group (TCG), International Engine Management Program (IEMP), Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) calibration and technical orders. The sale is estimated to be worth up to $260 million.
- Lithuania and Poland look set to both procure a number of short and medium air-defense systems. Negotiations have commenced between the Lithuanian government, Norway’s Kongsberg Gruppen and Raytheon for their co-developed Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS), while Kongsberg has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) to offer the NASAMS for Poland’s Narew short-range air defense missile program. The modernizations come as both eastern European nations look to bolster their air defences as tensions over potential Russian incursions continue to grow.
- The Indonesian Air Force has received back an Su-30MK2 after undergoing large scale upgrades in Belarus. Purchased back in 2003, the IAF operate 16 of the aircraft but have been lacking in the latest weaponry and systems. The upgrades come as the government’s planned purchase of the latest Su-35 fighter remains surrounded in uncertainty with a purchase order intended to be finalized earlier this month still unsigned.
- US Navy test of two SM-3 Block 1B interceptors equipped with a modified third-stage rocket motor nozzle:
May 31, 2016 00:40 UTC
F-16s under the control of the Royal Air Force of Oman are to receive follow-on support
including support equipment, communications equipment, personnel training, spare and repair parts, publications, Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program (ECISAP), Contractor Engineer Technical Services (CETS), Technical Coordination Group (TCG), International Engine Management Program (IEMP), Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) calibration and technical orders. The sale is estimated to be worth up to $260 million.
RAFO F-16Cs w. CFTs
Oman is located on the eastern Arabian peninsula next to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and across from Persia. It remains a very strategic country, controlling the Strait of Hormuz’ western bank, and providing an overwatch position for both the entrance to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean near Africa. The Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman) currently flies F-16 Block 50 fighters, which complement the RAFO’s 18 Jaguar strike aircraft.
Sultan Qaboos’ air force was looking to replace its aging Jaguars, and made inquiries about buying 4+ generation fighters like Eurofighters or even JAS-39 Gripens for this purpose. A formal August 2010 export request for 18 more F-16s raised the possibility of a different approach, but it was actually a both-and strategy. After an F-16 contract was inked, BAE received an RFP for its Eurofighter, which also turned into a contract. With these buys, plus a handful of new jet trainers, the RAFO’s fighter modernization looks to be complete.
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Monday, May 30th is Memorial Day in the USA. DID honors those who have given all of their tomorrows in American military service, and will not be publishing. Readers are reminded that in America, the National Moment of Remembrance takes place at 3:00 pm.
A survey commissioned by The National WWII Museum in Washington had only 20% say they were very familiar with the day’s purpose, which is to honor those who have fallen in America’s wars. It’s the same purpose as Remembrance Day/ Armistice Day (Nov. 11th) in the British Commonwealth and elsewhere – but in America, November 11th is Veteran’s Day, honoring all who have served in the US military.
May 25, 2016 00:50 UTC
Huntington Ingalls has been awarded
a $152 million US Navy contact for advance planning for the construction of the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN 80). The third aircraft carrier in the Gerald R. Ford class was named in honor of the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Work to be carried out
includes engineering, design, planning, and procurement of long-lead-time material, and will be performed at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division through March 2018. Construction is to commence in 2018 and be delivered to the Navy in 2027.
USA’s Nimitz Class &
UK’s Invincible Class
Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.
Nimitz Class cutaway
As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.
DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.
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