BAE, GDLS enter Army’s MPF vehicle competition | DSCA clears Phalanx conversion kits for Japan | Army scores successful intercept test of PAC-3 CRI
- BAE Systems has submitted its proposal to the US Army to develop and field the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle, the company has said. The vehicle is being developed for use by the Army Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) and will provide enhanced protections for ground combat units while delivering “overwhelming precision firepower” over multiple terrains and environmental conditions. BAE said the design offers significant improvements on the type-classified M8 Armored gun system and other previous development programs to create the fully integrated MPF system that is more lethal, mobile and boasts a longer life cycle, adding that their version of the vehicle is currently undergoing testing. A vehicle is expected to be submitted to the Army in April for further government testing before a winner is announced. Opposing BAE in the competition is General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), who in October 2016 unveiled a medium-weight tracked vehicle demonstrator, called the Griffin, which meshes elements of the turret and the 120 mm cannon from an M1A1/M1A2 Abrams main battle tank with the company’s Ajax Scout Specialist Vehicle. Jane’s adds that other bids may have come as well—SAIC with ST Kinetics and CMI Defence were understood to be interested in the project—however only BAE and GDLS’ entries have been confirmed in writing.
- Lockheed Martin have announced the successful intercept of two ballistic missile targets of PAC-3 Cost Reduction Initiative (CRI) interceptors during a recent US Army test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. The test marks the tenth and eleventh successful PAC-3 CRI FSP intercepts in six years. “PAC-3 continues to be successful against today’s evolving threats, and it remains the only combat proven Hit-to-Kill interceptor in the world,” said Jay Pitman, vice president of PAC-3 programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Today’s global security environment demands reliable solutions. We expect PAC-3 interceptors to continue serving as an essential element in integrated, layered defense systems.”
- InDyne received Monday, March 5 a $417.7 million US Air Force contract for services in support of the Solid State Phased Array Radar System. The agreement will see the firm provide services in support of the system, which provides continuous coverage and monitoring of potential missile threats, including space. Specifically, the DoD agreement says InDyne will provide for “all non-personal services, administrative, financial, and managerial resources necessary on a continuous 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week basis to support the five Solid State Phased Array Radar System installations and sites.” Work will take place at Beale Air Force Base, California, Cape Cod Air Force Station, Massachusetts, Clear AFB, Alaska, Royal Air Force Fylingdales, UK, and Thule Air Base, Greenland, with a scheduled completion time for April 2026.
Middle East & Africa
- Qatar and Jordan are the latest customers for the DB-110 reconnaissance pod with a US Department of Defense contract post welcoming the Gulf nations to the program. Valued at $51.2 million, the sale falls under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract awarded by the US Air Force on March 5 and expects to run until March 1, 2021. Work on the contract will be carried out by UTAS, a division of Goodrich, at Westford, Massachusetts. While host aircraft types for the pods’ new customers have not been disclosed, the Royal Jordanian Air Force operates F-16s while Qatar currently flies Dassault Mirage 2000-5s. However, Qatar but will be replacing these ageing Mirage’s over the coming years with a mix of Boeing F-15QAs, Dassault Rafales and Eurofighter Typhoons. The UTAS sensor has already been integrated with the F-15 platform.
- Iraq has taken delivery of two additional T-50IQ advanced trainers with the jets touching down at Martyr Mohammed Alaa airbase on Tuesday, March 6. The aircraft are being procured under a $1.1 billion contract signed in 2013 for 24 T-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets from South Korean aerospace firm KAI. Speaking on the deal, Iraqi Defense Ministry Tahseen al-Khafaji said that “additional T-50 jet fighters will arrive in batches soon in Baghdad as part of the deal,” adding that “a team of Iraqi pilots received training in South Korea and they are ready now to operate the T-50 jets.”
- Defense ministers from 25 European Union member states have signed a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PSC) pact on 17 collaborative defense projects that includes a European armored infantry fighting vehicle, underwater anti-mine sensors and a European medical command. Malta, Denmark and the UK were the only three current members to refrain from signing the accord, and gives a flavor of what future agreements the bloc may make with London soon to be left permanently out of the fold when it leaves the EU in 2019. The pact, however, delayed a decision on whether to let non-member states—ie. a future UK—join the projects. PSC’s strongest backers—France, Germany, Italy and Spain—hope that by achieving a long-held ambition to develop national defenses together, the EU will save money by putting an end to competing national industries. Spanish Defence Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal played down some US concerns that Europe might overlap with what the transatlantic alliance is doing. “There is no suggestion of duplication with NATO,” she said.
- The US State Department has cleared the potential sale of MK 15 Phalanx Close-in Weapon System (CIWS) conversion kits to the government of Japan, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification has said. Estimated to cost $45 million, the package includes 24 kits that will convert Tokyo’s Block IB Baseline 1 Phalanx systems to the upgraded Baseline 2 version, as well as support equipment, spare parts, publications, software and associated support, logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. Raytheon’s Tuscon Arizona facility will be the program’s lead contractor. MK 15 Phalanx CIWS provides navy’s with an inner layer point defense capability against anti-ship missiles (ASM), aircraft and littoral warfare threats that have penetrated other fleet defenses. Baseline two upgrades includes a better radar that improves detection performance, increase reliability, and reduce maintenance.
- Australia’s Ministry of Defence has selected the local BAE Systems outfit to upgrade its long-range high frequency radar network. The Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) protects Australia’s coastal approaches through a network of three remote radars in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and plays a “vital role in supporting the Australian Defence Force’s air and maritime operations, border surveillance, disaster relief and search and rescue operations,” a company press release said. Valued at $1 billion, the upgrade will see over 500 highly skilled technicians and engineers working for BAE Systems and in the firm’s supply chain, with work to be mainly based in the Edinburgh Defence precinct in South Australia, with remote site teams supporting the radars at Laverton (Western Australia), Longreach (Queensland) and Alice Springs (Northern Territory).
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