Arleigh Burke gets more power | France orders one Barracuda Sub | ‘Doomsday’ plane needs more spares
- The Rotary and Mission Systems branch of Lockheed Martin is being tapped to provide services in support of the DDG-51 New Construction Ship program. The contract is valued at over $11 million and sees for the production of common Machinery Control Systems (MCS). The MCS provides control and monitoring capability of the ship’s auxiliary, damage control, electrical, and propulsion systems. As part of its electrical capability, MCS interfaces with the ship’s power generation and electrical distribution system. The US Navy’s DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are the backbone of America’s present and future fleet. With the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class order ended at 3 ships, the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class ships will become more important to the future Navy. The award brings the total cumulative face value to $194.3 million. Work will be mainly performed in Baltimore, Maryland and expected to be completed by May 2019.
- The Air Force is currently conducting flight tests at its Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The second phase of its light attack experiment take a closer look at Textron’s AT-6 and the A-29 Super Tucano manufactured by Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer. The flight tests will be conducted over the next three months and will take a closer look at associated logistics and some of the aircraft’s weapons integration capability, such as integrating precision guided weaponry. The pilots also hope to get a better understanding of how the Air Force can operate light attack aircraft in austere and high-paced combat environments. Officials hope that the acquisition of light attack aircraft will provide a cheaper alternative to more advanced fighter jets often tasked with low-end counterterrorism missions. Future steps are taken for establishing a common network architecture that will connect the aircraft to other US assets and with a wide array of US partners.
- The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded a $19.3 million contract modification to IAP Worldwide Services. The additional funding provides for spare parts, and spare inventory support of the E-6B Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) aircraft program. The US’s E-6B TACAMO, “survivable airborne communication system” airplanes support the Navy’s SSBN ballistic missile submarine force and overall strategic forces. With the advent of the new “Tactical Trident” their unique capabilities become even more useful. The E-6B version also has a secondary role as a “Looking Glass” Airborne National Command Post, and in recent years they have seen use as communications relay stations over the front lines of combat. The US Navy has a total fleet of 16 E-6B aircraft deployed from Tinker AFB in Oklahoma. Work will be performed at Air Force Bases in Oklahoma, Nebraska, California and Maryland, it is expected to be completed by November 2020.
Middle East & Africa
- Jane’s reports that the Royal Jordanian Air Force has shown its CH-4B armed UAV for the first time. The CH-4B is manufactured by China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The drone belongs to the family of ‘Cai Hong’ designated aircraft. The magazine Foreign Policy has called the drone, the “Kalashnikovs of the drone world”. Their cheap price and the US’s reluctance to sell armed UAV’s to their regional allies has made vehicles very popular with countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. They are currently deployed to operations in Yemen and in the fight against ISIS in Iraq. The CH-4B broadly resembles General Atomics MQ-1 Predator and can carry a variety of arms, including AR-1 and AR-2 missiles (the Chinese equivalent to the US AGM-114 Hellfire), as well as a range of small precision-guided bombs.
- The French government will buy a fifth Barracuda class nuclear attack submarine. A spokesperson for the Armed Forces Ministry confirmed in a statement that the Defense Minister Florence Parly made the decision on May 2nd. The draft multiyear budget that is set to run from 2019-2025 includes the funding for six Barracuda class submarines, delivery of which is scheduled for 2025. The Barracuda SSN program started in 2006 when France’s Defense Ministry awarded a contract for nuclear-propelled fast attack submarines to state-owned warship builder DCN and nuclear energy group Areva-TA. The Barracuda program will meet the French Navy’s operational mission needs by providing replacements for its 6 current Rubis Amethyste class nuclear attack submarines. The Barracuda’s are roughly the same size as the Royal Navy’s existing SSN Trafalgar Class boats, and twice the size of the current vessels. The program’s total value was initially set at then $11.13 billion but has since risen to over $12.32 billion.
- Reports suggest that Switzerland could achieve a breakthrough in the field of passive radar. The still-dormant radar technique has the potential to track stealthy aircraft. The research is part of the Swiss multibillion-dollar “Air 2030” program that seeks to upgrade the countries air defense system. Passive radar technology promises the advantage that it cannot be detected, meaning pilots entering a monitored area may be unaware they are being tracked. That could even be the case for pilots flying stealthy aircraft like the F-35. Swiss experiments with the technology go back to 2010, with field-tested demos held in 2015 and 2016. Many defense companies are believed to have passive radar developments in the works. Leonardo currently markets the AULOS Passive Covert Radar, and the German defense company Hensoldt recently unveiled its TwInvis system.
- Turkmenistan recently unveiled its Alenia’s M-346 Master advanced jet trainer and C-27J Spartan tactical airlifter. Alenia’s Aermacchi’s M-346 advanced jet trainer began life in 1993, as a collaboration with Russia. It was also something of a breakthrough for Alenia Aermacchi, confirming that the Finmeccanica subsidiary could design and manufacture advanced aircraft with full authority quadriplex fly-by-wire controls. The C-27J, also named “Baby Herc” due to its profile, engine, and avionics commonality with the C-130J Hercules, is produced in a partnership between Alenia, L-3 Communications and Boeing. Turkmenistan currently has a broad inventory of Soviet-era aircraft, but also boosts some Italian products such as the Selex Falco UAV and the Augusta AW-109 helicopter.
- US Navy orders more than 7.000 APKWS produced by BAE.
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