BAE tapped to work on nuclear attack weapon system | Cyber Command: preparing for war in the 5th domain | UK spends an extra $1.8b on equipment
HRL Laboratories is receiving additional funding to complete work on the military’s next generation of gallium nitride (GaN) transistors. The $9.1 million contract is awarded by DARPA and is expected to be completed by April 2020. The contract is part of DARPA’s Dynamic Range-enhanced Electronics and Materials (DREaM) program that seeks to develop transistors with much improved linearity and noise figure at reduced power consumption for use in electronic devices that manage the electromagnetic spectrum from radio communications to radar. The company develops ultra-linear GaN transistors working in mm-wave frequencies that enable transmission and reception without distortion across the spectrum. The transistors will enable secure ultra-wideband communications with higher data rates, while reducing their draw on the prime power source of their eventual platforms, such as ships or aircraft. Technologies developed under the DREaM program are currently installed on SEWIP and AMDR systems and will be featured on the DoD’s Space Fence and NGJs. Work will be performed at HRL’s facilities in Malibu, California and Huntington Beach, California.
The US Navy is modifying a contract signed with BAE Systems. An additional $9.5 million are being awarded for engineering and integration services on the Trident II, SSGN attack weapon system and strategic weapon surety. The Trident II (D5) strategic weapons system is installed on US Navy Ohio-class submarines and UK Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines. Each Vanguard class submarine has 16 missile tubes and ejects missiles by using high-pressure gas. The Ohio-class submarines can carry up to 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with multiple independently-targeted warheads. BAE is not just working on the current Ohio-class submarines, but is also working on the integration of the Trident II D5 SLBM into the future Columbia-class submarines, by leading weapon system interface coordination and configuration management. Work will be performed at multiple locations such as, Rockville, Maryland; Barrow, United Kingdom and New Paris, Ohio. The Navy has obligated more than $1 million from FY 2019 Navy research and development test and evaluation funds, in addition to more than $8.4 million in UK funds.
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to advance the Pentagon’s cyber war-fighting capabilities. The $54.6 million contract allows Northrop Grumman to operate as the systems coordinator to continue development, integration and sustainment of the US Cyber Command’s Unified Platform Program (UPP). The system is intended to support cyber defense, planning command-and-control and situational awareness operations. Pentagon officials say that the UPP is one of the largest most critical acquisition programs to date. The Unified Platform will serve as the Cyber Command’s engine room for global cyber operations by combining different cyberspace platforms that offer a quick and easy access to a complete range of cyber capabilities. Work will be performed in San Antonio, Texas, and is expected to be completed by October 31, 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Iraq’s T-50 fighter jet fleet continues to grow. The six new T-50IQs advanced trainers were handed over on October 28. This is the third batch of aircraft, that are being procured under a $1.1 billion deal signed in 2013 for 24 T-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets from South Korean aerospace firm KAI. Since then 18 aircraft have been added to Iraq’s fleet, with the first batch delivered in March 2017 and the second delivery earlier this year. The T-50IQ variant is based on the FA-50 lightweight fighter model that’s fully fitted for lightweight fighter and light attack roles, with a secondary role as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) if necessary. The plane is equipped RWR and NVIS systems, is compatible with JDAMs and LINK-16 and offers more F-16 like attack capabilities than the classic T-50.
The Spanish Navy’s AB-212 life extension program is nearing its end. SENER and Babcock, the companies tasked with overhauling the helicopters have recently delivered the sixth unit to the service. SENER is responsible for major design, integration and engineering works under the project, while Babcock conducts some of the design, installation, and land and flight testing procedure. The LEP adds another 15 years of lifetime to the helicopters that have been operational since 1974. The upgraded AB-212s are being fitted with new electrical components and their analog cockpit is being replaced with a fully digitalized system. Additionally the helicopters are equipped with new radar, GPS, night vision and self-defense systems. The seventh and last unit expected to be delivered by the end of 2018.
Defense News reports that Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) will spend an extra $1.8 billion on three strategic military programs. This includes cyber and anti-submarine warfare developments and the Dreadnought-class nuclear submarine build program. This decision follows a months long battle for extra cash between Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and Chancellor Philip Hammond. Jon Louth, a RUSI analyst, commented the decision with “It’s welcome, but comes nowhere near addressing the potential funding gap if you add up all the programs in the equipment plan. It does appear to be a significant increase in percentage terms, although the devil will be in the detail.” The MoD is currently trying to bridge a funding gap in its $228 billion 10-year equipment plan.
India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is being tapped to upgrade the country’s M-46 field guns. The $27.7 million contract covers the upgrade of 300 M-46s to a 155mm calibre. The upgrades to the Soviet-era weapons include the replacement of the barrel and breech block and addition of new sighting systems and a new hydraulic rammer to ease loading of shells. The Indian Army had initiated the upgrade of the Soviet-era guns in 2008 with the contract being awarded to the Israeli firm Soltam, now part of Elbit. Soltam’s contract was suspended midway after allegations that it had bribed officials. Later, the government had decided to throw open the contract for domestic companies. The state-run Ordnance Factories Board participated in the tender issued by the Indian Army, competing with two other private manufacturers.
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