Boeing gets $4B for Super Hornets | Qatar receives first Apache | UK Defense Firms collaborate on Tempest
The US Navy awarded Boeing a potential $4 billion contract modification for 78 F/A-18 Super Hornets. The F-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine, multirole fighter capable of carrying air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The deal provides for the full-rate production and delivery of 61 F/A-18E and 17 F/A-18F aircraft for fiscal years 2018 through 2021. The F/A-18E is the single-seat variant and the F/A-18F is the tandem-seat variant of the Super Hornet. According to reports Boeing will start converting Block II Super Hornets to Block III in the next ten years. The Block III update consists of structural and sensor upgrades. It also adds the ability to receive and transfer large amounts of sensor data with other Super Hornets and the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. A second-generation infrared search and track (IRST) radar will allow the aircraft to detect and track enemy aircraft without giving away its own position by using its radar. The Block III update also comes with a Rockwell Collins Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) radio and an advanced processor, which allows two or more F/A-18E/Fs to share IRST sensor data, giving a single fighter enough information to use for a targeting solution. Work under the contract modification will take place in the US and Canada and is scheduled to be completed in April 2024.
The Naval Air Systems Command contracted Northrop Grumman Systems with a $37.5 million modification in support of the E-6B Mercury aircraft. The deal includes procurement and delivery of seven MR-TCDL B-Kits, one Mission Avionics Systems Trainer B-Kit, and associated A- and B-Kit spares for the MR-TCDL upgrade. The Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link (MR-TCDL) provides real-time networking connectivity to warfighters and commanders by enabling extremely fast exchange of data via ground, airborne and satellite networks. The E-6B Mercury is a modified version of the E-6A Mercury, which is a command post and communications relay aircraft. The E-6B features battle staff positions and an airborne launch control system equipped with land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles. Last month, an E-6B was damaged while being moved out of a Hangar at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Work for the contract modification will take place in Utah, California, Boston, and Massachusetts and will likely be completed in October 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing handed over the first of 24 AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters to Qatar last week. Qatar initially requested the helos in 2012, with the contract being signed in 2016. The Apache is a twin-turboshaft attack helicopter that features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. The AH-64 was designed to perform in front-line environments, and to operate at night or day and during adverse weather conditions. Systems on the Apache include Target Acquisition and Designation System, Pilot Night Vision System, passive infrared countermeasures, GPS, and the IHADSS. The AH-64E is the latest version of the AH-64 and is also called the Apache Guardian. The gunship comes with new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities. Furthermore, the AH-64E helicopter can control a couple of UAVs. Weapons requested by Qatar in the original Foreign Military Sales notification included AGM-114R Hellfire laser-guided missiles, FIM-92H Stinger missiles with air-to-air launchers, and 70 mm Hydra air-to-surface rockets. The first Apache was handed over during a delivery ceremony at a Boeing plant in Arizona.
Two Bombardier Global 6000 business jets arrived in Turkey in order to be fitted with airborne stand-off jammers (Air SOJ). The Air SOJ is also known as the Remote Electronic Support/Electronic Attack Ability and has been initiated by the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) to develop electronic warfare special mission aircraft. It is developed by Turkish defense company Aselsan. The system will be designed to detect, identify, jam, and spoof enemy communication systems and radars so that they cannot be used against friendly platforms. The Global 6000 business jet is part of the Bombardier Global Express family, which are large cabin 11,100 km range jets. It entered service in 2012. Defense Industries Presidency Chairman Ismail Demir and representatives of Turkish Aerospace Industries, Aselsan, Air Forces Command and Bombardier, examined the aircraft at TAI facilities. Under an agreement signed in August 2018, the SSB contracted Aselsan to develop and deliver four Air SOJ systems to the Turkish Air Force Command between 2023 and 2027.
During an event launched by British Minister for Defense Procurement, Stuart Andrew, companies from all over the UK came together in the first opportunity for suppliers to engage with the Government and Team Tempest partners over the future of Combat Air System development in Great Britain. The Tempest is a proposed stealth fighter aircraft to be designed and manufactured in the UK. A consortium named „Team Tempest“, consisting of the UK Ministry of Defense, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA is developing the future fighter. The Tempest program aims to harness and develop UK capabilities that are critical for Next Generation Combat Air capability and to retain the UK’s position as a globally competitive leader through understanding of future concepts, technologies and capabilities. The recent event in Farnborough aimed for its participants to build connections and take part in a series of briefings outlining the capabilities and skills needed to shape the future of Combat Air System delivery in the UK
Japan is planning to extend the range of it ASM-3 air-launched anti-ship missile, Jane’s reports. The country wants to develop long-range air-to-surface cruise missiles to bolster defense capabilities. The ASM-3 is a supersonic anti-ship missile that was jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japanese Ministry of Defense to replace Japan’s 93 series of missiles. The missile is expected to be carried by Japan’s F-2 multirole fighters. However, a new advanced mission computer for the F-2 is yet to be made and the missile cannot yet be integrated with the aircraft. The Mitsubishi F-2 is a multirole fighter that entered service in 2008. On October 2018, it was reported, that Japan wants to replace its F-2 fighter with a indigenously made aircraft after rejecting proposals from Lockheed Martin, Boeing and BAE Systems. The domestic cruise missiles are also intended for use on the new fighters that will replace the F-2 after its retirement in 2030.
Watch: Japanese New Generation Concept, Advanced Stealth Fighter Aircraft