Boeing to produce 11th WGS Communication Space Vehicle | India launched 3rd Project 15B Destroyer | Elbit to deliver ATHOS 2052 to India
Boeing won a $605 million modification for the production of the Air Force’s 11th Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) Communication Space Vehicle. The DoD uses the WGS system to communicate with warfighters across the globe. Ten Ka-band and 8 X-band beam can be positioned anywhere in the field of view of each satellite. WGS combines unique commercial spacecraft capabilities that Boeing has developed, including phased array antennas and digital signal processing technology, into a powerful, flexible architecture. United Launch Alliance ULA is scheduled to launch the 11th satellite aboard a Delta IV rocket in November 2023. Since 2001, Boeing has been the prime contractor of the WGS, which was first launched in 2008. GS 4, which was launched off in 2012, was the first Block II series. WGS-10 was meant to be the last of the constellation. But in March 2018, Congress added $600 million for the procurement of WGS-11 and WGS-12. Boeing will perform work under the modification in El Segundo, California and expects completion by November 20, 2023.
The US Army contracted General Atomics with $99 million in support of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS. The deal provides performance based logistics support services for the Unmanned Aircraft System. The Gray Eagle UAS addresses the need for a long-endurance, armed, unmanned aircraft system that offers greater range, altitude and payload flexibility over earlier systems. US Army Special Operations Forces and Intelligence and Security Command have two Gray Eagle Extended Range (ER) systems, which include 12 unmanned aircraft, six Universal Ground Control Stations, nine Ground Data Terminals, three Mobile Ground Control Stations, one Satellite Ground Data Terminal, an automated takeoff and landing system, LMTVs, and other ground-support equipment operated and maintained by a company of 165 Soldiers. Work will take place in Poway, California and is scheduled to be completed on April 23, 2024.
Middle East & Africa
According to defensenews.com, Turkey’s homemade drones have the potential to boost local industry by raising export numbers. The combat proven Turkish drones don’t need foreign export licenses unlike other military platforms such as helicopters and tanks. The Turkish military has used unmanned systems in its fight against Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast and in counterinsurgency operations in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Currently the Turkish military operates 75 TB2 drones. The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-range, tactical UAV system. It was developed by Kale-Baykar, a joint venture of Baykar Makina and the Kale Group. The UAV operates as a platform for conducting reconnaissance and intelligence missions. In January, Baykar Makina, a privately owned Turkish drone maker, won a contract to sell a batch of 12 of its Bayraktar TB2 UAVs to the Ukraine. Back in November, two Turkish companies – Tusas Engine Industries and Turkish Aerospace Industries – announced they had made significant progress toward building indigenous engines that would power locally made drones and armored vehicles. This would further independency from foreign engine suppliers. In February, it was reported that Tusas Engine Industries produced the first national UAV engine PD-170.
General Dynamics won a $269.3 million contract modification from the US Navy in support of the UK Dreadnought fleet and the US Navy’s Columbia Class fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). The modification includes the manufacturing of 42 missile tubes as well as missile tube outfitting material. The Dreadnought Class submarines, the future replacement for the Vanguard Class, will like their predecessors carry the Trident II D-5 missiles. The upcoming Columbia Class of nuclear submarines will replace the UGM-133 Trident II-armed Ohio Class. Work will take place in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania and is expected to be finished by May 2028.
According to local reports, India’s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has launched the country’s third Project 15B guided-missile destroyer. Imphal, the third ship under Project 15B was launched on 20 April at MDL’s facilities in Mumbai. The Project 15B warships are also referred to as the Visakhapatnam Class. 15 ships are to be build under this class. The first Project 15B ship, Visakhapatnam, was launched in April 2015, while the second ship of the type, Mormugao , took to the water in September 2016. The warships are propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. They are 163 meters long and have a displacement of 7.300 tonnes.
Local media reported that Elbit Systems has won a tender to deliver its ATHOS (Autonomous Towed Howitzer Ordnance System) 2052 to the Indian Army, in a deal estimated at over $1 Billion. The bid by Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems and its Indian partner Bharat Forge has emerged as the winner in the Indian Army’s 155 mm, 52 calibre towed artillery gun competition. The price point at which the Elbit-Bharat Forge gun is being offered is even lower than the indigenously developed Dhanush 155 mm, 42 calibre gun, which is being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board. According to Elbit Systems, ATHOS is capable of a range of more than 40km and utilizes a self-propelling capability and automatic laying mode. It is integrated with fully-computerized systems, achieving automatic control, accurate navigation, and target acquisition. The company has yet to command on the outcome of the Indian Tender.
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