Bell Boeing to update MV-22 Osprey | Elbit Systems supplies Combat Suites to Hellenic Coast Guard | Saab to deliver Virtual Simulators to Finland
The US Navy awarded Bell Boeing a $85.7 million contract modification to update the MV-22 Osprey aircraft. The joint venture of Boeing and Bell Helicopter will convert four MV-22s into a new configuration. The Osprey is a joint service multirole combat aircraft that combines the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop airplane. Bell Boeing will modify Block B MV-22 Osprey units into Block C vehicles and support a maintenance interval effort for one aircraft through the Common Configuration Readiness and Modernization program. Block C configurations provide mission enhancements and upgraded inherent features onboard the Osprey. The main difference between Block B and C is that it moves the aircraft from a combat-capable aircraft with upgrades to improve maintainability to an aircraft that can be used in multiple combat roles such as those assigned to special operations. In January, the Defense Logistics Agency awarded Bell Boeing a $143.8 million to engineer and provide logistics services to the Osprey. Work under the modification will take place in Pennsylvania and Texas and is scheduled to be finished in March 2021.
The US Air Force awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. a $23.7 million modification to install an Airborne Mission Networking (AbMN) Program on the MC-130J Commando II tankers. The Commando II is an improved variant of the C-130J aircraft and can be deployed for missions requiring clandestine, single ship, formation, low-level in-flight refueling for helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft of the US Special Operation Forces. The MC-130J features extended service life wings and additional elements to meet the requirements of special operations missions. Under the contract modification, Sierra Nevada provides additional hardware and labor necessary to support the AbMN program through flight test for the tankers used by Air Force Special Operations Command. Work will take place in Sparks, Nevada and is expected to be finished by November 16, 2021.
The US Air Force’s Valkyrie UAV demonstrator completed its first flight on March 5. The XQ-58A Valkyrie completed 76 minutes of flight time at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. The Air Force Research Laboratory and Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems developed the Valkyrie based on the „loyal wingman“ concept, which will have the drone accompany fighter aircraft in the future. The idea is, that the drone will fly next to a piloted vehicle that controls it. However, during the test flight, the drone flew on its own. The Valkyrie can carry a small payload of smart bombs, and has a range of just under 2,500 miles. This test flight was the first of five planned flights that will be carried out in two phases. The aircraft will be tested on system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense electronic company Elbit Systems won a deal to supply combat suites and perform systems integration for three new patrol vessels of the Hellenic Coast Guard, the National Coast Guard of Greece. Systems to be supplied are electro-optic payloads, radars, navigation systems, Warship Automatic Identification System (W-AIS) as well as Remote Control Weapon Stations (RCWS) with full integration into a Command and Control software. The contract will be performed over a two-year period with warranty and logistic support continuing for an additional five-year period.
Dassault Aviation’s Rafale F4 will include an upgraded version of a Thales/MBDA Rafale Fire-Control Radar Protection and Avoidance System (SPECTRA) self-protection suite, Jane’s reports. The SPECTRA provides long-range detection, identification and accurate localization of infrared, electromagnetic and laser threats. It incorporates radar warning, laser warning and missile warning receivers for threat detection and a phased array radar jammer as well as a decoy dispenser for threat countering. In March 2017 the French government authorized development of the F4 configuration. Last month the French government awarded Dassault a contract to develop the Rafale F4. The F4 standard is part of the ongoing process to continuously improve the Rafale in line with technological progress and operating experience feedback. The Dassault Rafale is a twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike as well as nuclear deterrence missions.
Saab won a potential $10.1 million contract with the Finnish Defense Forces to deliver virtual simulators of marksmanship and basic combat training. Initial deliveries will take place this year and the simulators are scheduled to be in full-scale use in 2020. Saab’s newly developed Ground Combat Indoor Trainer is a modular and scalable system that is able to be combined in several configurations to cover a variety of weapons. The contract contains models of the weapons used in Finland, computers with software that creates the virtual environment and provides the basis for analysis after the training. Saab will also be responsible for maintaining the systems.
The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force commissioned its second Asahi-class Guided Missile Destroyer last month. The new destroyer was christened JS Shiranui. The Asahi-Class is based on the Akizuki-class, but focuses on anti-submarine warfare. Its ships measure 151 meters in length and reach speeds of 30 knots. Armament includes Mark 41 vertical launch systems for self protection, 62-caliber naval guns, close-in weapon systems and two Mark 32 surface vessel torpedo tubes. The lead ship of the class, the JS Asahi, was laid down in 2015 and commissioned in March 2018. The Shiranui was launched in October 2017 and began sea trials in July 2018. The commissioning ceremony was held at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagasaki City.
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