USAF Looks to EELV to Boost Self-Reliance | LM Gets $769.5M Support Contract for F-35s | Australia Accessing Mil Sat Options
- The USAF has awarded over $161 million in contracts to develop homegrown rocket-booster engines as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The effort aims at ending reliance on Russian RD-180 engines for US space launches. Two contracts will see $115.3 go to Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop a prototype of its liquid oxygen/kerosene-fueled AR-1 booster engine while United Launch Alliance will receive $46.6 million for the purposes of developing prototypes of its Vulcan BE-4 booster stage engine, and its Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES), an upper-stage engine for the program.
- Combat-coded F-35sdropped their first live munitons in testing last week. Laser-guided bombs were used by the USAF’s 388th and 419th fighter wings at the Utah Test & Training Range. While Air Force F-35s have dropped weapons in test environments, this is the first time it’s been done on jets designed to deploy once the Air Force declares initial operational capability planned for between August and December.
- Boeing is to provide the US Navy with two addition P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft in a deal worth $276.2 million. Production and delivery is expected to be completed by February 2019. The February 29 contract follows the much larger order of 20 P-8A aircraft with 16 for the Navy and four going to Australia. It’s expected that the Navy will require 117 P-8As to take over operations as the P-3C Orion comes closer to the end of its operational life.
- Lockheed Martin received a $769.5 million modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee, fixed-price-incentive-firm contract to provide recurring logistics sustainment services support for all delivered F-35 jets for the USAF, USMC, Navy, non-Department of Defense participants, and foreign military sales customers. Support provided includes ground maintenance activities, action request resolution, depot activation activities, Automatic Logistics Information System operations and maintenance, reliability, maintainability and health management implementation support, supply chain management and activities to provide and support pilot and maintain initial training.
Middle East North Africa
- Iraqi fighter pilots will continue to be trained in Tucson, Arizona after the Air Force gave a one year extension of Iraq pilot training. The $32 million deal will see Lockheed Martin continue the training of F-16 pilots until the end of February 2017. Baghdad has build up its fleet of F-16s in recent years, with 18 bought in 2011 and a further 18 purchased in 2014. The first pilots arrived in Tucson back in November 2014.
- BAE Systems UK is to produce and export Archerfish Destructers and fiber optic spools to the US Navy. The contract for $22.17 million worth of equipment includes options that could increase the value up to $56.2 million. The Archerfish Destructors are a component of the AN/ASQ-235 airborne mine neutralization system operated on MH-60S helicopters and used by the Navy to destroy bottom, close tethered, and moored sea mines.
- Australia is exploring the option of sending its own military satellites into space. Up to $2.8 billion will be made available for enhanced satellite imagery capability and another $1.43 billion going towards space situational awareness systems and radars out to 2039. A US space surveillance telescope will be also be installed at a naval communications station in Western Australia. The move comes as Canberra outlines its future defensive procurement and spending plans in its recent whitepaper. The launching of their own military satellites into space would go toward monitoring military and naval movements in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Japan is to lease five TC-90 aircraft to the Philippines. Japanese law prohibits the government from giving away or transferring military equipment, so the maritime patrol aircraft will be leased albeit as cheaply as possible. The Philippine Navy will operate the TC-90s around the Spratly Islands and reefs found to the west of the Phililippine archipelago where they are currently involved in a dispute over ownership with China. However the planes are currently equipped with the most basic of radar, so are mostly limited to visual inspections for the time being.
- US military flexing its nuclear muscles lunching 3 test ICBMs on Feb 26 amid tensions with Russia and North Korea:
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