The US Air Force plans to integrate a new IRST system on its fleet of F-15C aircraft. Boeing will provide the Air Force with engineering, manufacturing, and development efforts of the F-15 Legion Pod. The contract has a value of $208.2 million and will run through November 2020. The Legion Pod is being developed in conjunction with Lockheed Martin. The pod features Lockheed’s IRST21 infrared sensor and advanced data processing capabilities. This multi-function sensor system has been designed to provide long-range detection and tracking of airborne threats in radar-denied environments. The common interface of the Legion pod allows it to be easily integrated onto any aircraft without affecting the aircraft’s operational flight programme. Work will bet performed at Boeing’s facilities on St. Louis, Missouri and Orlando, Florida.
The Navy is stocking up on spares for its Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. Raytheon is receiving a firm-fixed-price contract that provides for the provision of ESSM Block I life-of-type-buy and assembly-level spares at a cost of $25.1 million. The RIM-162 is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. The ESSM Block I is a semi-active radar homing missile that depends on reflected radiation from the ship’s radar to see its target. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside and outside the US, including Andover, Massachusetts; Hengelo OV, Netherlands and Richmond, Australia. Work is scheduled for completion by June 2021.
The US Army is modernizing its stockpiles of Javelin missiles. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin will conduct a holistic engineering development to modernise the Javelin Weapon System under this $14.3 million contract modification. The FGM-148 Javelin is a man-portable anti-tank missile used to destroy moving vehicles, fixed fortifications, troops in the open and low-flying helicopters. It can be used for direct fire or in a pop-up mode that allows it to hit tanks from above to take advantage of their thinner top armor. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona and is expected to be completed by September, 2020.
The US Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) has achieved a milestone in its Miniature Air-Launched Decoy X (MALD-X) development. MALD-X decoys are mini-cruise missiles, which are used to distract and deceive an enemy air defense system so that a real strike package can succeed and survive. The ‘stealth in reverse’ decoys fly long distances along pre-planned flight patterns, carrying radar reflectors that simulate the radar return of fighter or bomber aircraft. MALD-X enhances the modular nature of the mini cruise missile with the ability to accommodate different electronic warfare payloads that are more advanced than those found on its predecessors. A series of flight demonstrations were recently held at Naval Air Warfare Center Point Mugu, with additional tests to take place next year. Raytheon was awarded $34.8 million by the USAF to develop a new version in 2016.
Jane’s reports, that the Brazilian Navy’s newest ship is dropping anchor in Rio de Janeiro. The PHM Atlantico was bought from the UK Royal Navy earlier this year as part of Brazil’s ‘Obtaining Full Operational Capability’ program. The deal has an estimated value of $108.7 million. While sailing for the UK the ship had the name HMS Ocean. The ship has a 22.500 t displacement and offers pace for a crew of 255, an aircrew of 206, and 480 marines. The vessel’s primary role is as an amphibious support vessel. Secondary ship roles include training, a limited anti-submarine warfare role, humanitarian assistance, and acting as a base for anti-terrorist operations.
Middle East & Africa
Russian media reports that the east African nation of Burundi is considering purchasing the Pantsir-S1 air-defense system. The system is produced by Russia’s KBP and features a fire-control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles. It is designed to protect vital small-size and big military areas, industrial targets and land forces units and reinforced the air defense units responsible for the protection of troops and military installations against precision-guided air attack from low and extreme low altitudes. The Burundi National Defense Force has currently a variety of air-defense weapons in its inventory, ranging from SA-7B Grail MANPADS to M-1939 anti-aircraft guns.
Swedish defense manufacturer Saab confirms that Lithuania is upgrading its RBS-70 MANPADS. The company is being awarded with two contracts providing for the delivery of improved missiles and BORC night-capability sights. The two orders have a value of $10.9 million. The RBS 70 missile can be operated independently in stand-alone mode or can be configured with several firing units linked with a surveillance radar to form an anti-aircraft battery. Unlike competitors such as Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger, MBDA’s Mistral, the RBS-70 is an ‘unjammable’ laser beam-riding missile with no seeker head at the front. The BORC clip-on thermal sight allows the laser guidance beam from the day sight to pass without distortion to the missile for a jam proof accurate guidance. According to Saab, 19 nations have procured more than 1,600 RBS 70 systems, including more than 18,000 missiles.
The French Air Force is currently conducting a large-scale humanitarian relief mission in Asia. Operation Pegase, includes a fleet of three Rafale B fighter jets, an A310 transport plane and a C-135 refuelling tanker. Most recently the mission was joined by a A400M that flew 25 tons of aid from Jakarta to Lombok, the Indonesian island devastated by a series of powerful and deadly earthquakes. The airlifted ferried food supplies, two ambulances, building material, and NGO medical staff to the island just east of Bali. Operation Pegase, with its aircraft and about 100 flight crew members will now spend a couple of days in Vietnam.
Watch: RMAF’s A400Ms take off from Subang