The Navy tapped Boeing with $93.6 million to supply eight Wideband Satellite Communication (SATCOM) kits for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The deal includes the manufacture as well as test, installation, integration and qualification of the kits. The Wideband Global SATCOM system or WGS is a high-capacity, high-speed SATCOM link that will augment and eventually replace Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and Global Broadcast Service (GBS) satellites as soon as all six satellites are up and ready for use. The new technology provides increased capabilities for C4ISR, battle management, and combat support information purposes by improving satellite bandwidth and communication. The Navy uses The Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft, which will be receiving the upgrades, for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and blockade purposes. The aircraft includes electronic support measures to detect, locate, analyze, and intercept sources of electromagnetic energy, such as combat vehicles, ships, or aircraft, to protect from potential threats. Adding WGS will improve the P-8A’s ability to detect electromagnetic sources because it can recognize foreign frequencies that other satellite communications systems cannot detect. Boeing will perform work in Washington, Maryland, and Missouri and is expecting completion in April 2024.
Sikorsky won a $9.5 million contract modification to upgrade the Mission Communications System of the VH-92A presidential helicopter. The modification is for the integration of the Mission Communications System Version 3.0 hardware changes. Sikorsky will perform work in Patuxent River, Maryland and is expecting completion in April 2020. The VH-92 is currently under development and is supposed to replace the Marine Corps’ Marine One US Presidential transport fleet. According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the VH-92A program will cost less than initially anticipated. The cost has declined from $5.18 billion to $4.95 billion since 2014. The Navy previously attempted to replace this aging fleet starting in 2002, selecting a variant of the AgustaWestland AW101 called the VH-71. However, the Navy terminated the contract in 2009 due to schedule delays, performance issues, and a doubling of cost estimates, from $6.5 billion to $13 billion. The VH-92A program has also seen some delays. Specifically, the Milestone C review to authorize low-rate initial production has been pushed back five months, from January to June 2019, and the initial operational test and evaluation start has been pushed back from October 2019 to March 2020. An initial operational capability decision is now anticipated in October 2020, three months later than originally expected.
Middle East & Africa
The Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose reportedly arrived in Bahrain to start a three-year mission. The Duke Class ship, that was commissioned in 1994 started its 47,000 mile journey six months ago from her home in Plymouth, sailing via the Pacific and Indian Ocean to reach the Gulf. The Montrose will conduct patrols related to drug trafficking in the Indian Ocean, support counter-terrorism and counter-smuggling operations, and work with Middle East and allied Navies to ensure the safety and security of the region. According to the ship’s Commanding Officer, this deployment „marks a significant milestone“ for the UK’s operations in the Middle East.
The Ukrainian 1L220UK counter-battery radar successfully completed field tests, the company UkrOboronProm announced. The Zaporizhia-based Iskra research center designed the indigenous counter-battery radar. The Ukranian Armed Forces conducted the tests. The new 1L220UK mobile weapon locating system is designed to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire to determine the point of origin for counterbattery fire. The tests, which took place at one of the ranges of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, allowed to confirm the technical specifications of the 1L220UK, which significantly exceeds the counter-battery radars, which are now in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 1L220UK is intended for reconnaissance positions of enemy artillery.
The US will temporarily deploy the THAAD anti-missile protection system in Romania this summer. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense will be used by NATO for its Ballistic Missile Defense systems while the international alliance’s existing Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System goes through several-week-long maintenance and updates. THAAD will support the ongoing Aegis Ashore Romania mission at Naval Support Facility Deveselu as part of the existing US and NATO BMD mission. Once in place, NATO’s Allied Air Command will assume operational control of THAAD for the duration of its mission. The scheduled update to Aegis Ashore Romania is part of regular updates taking place on all US Aegis systems. The THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium-, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach.
Indonesia signed a $1.02 billion contract with South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for three Type 209/1400 diesel-electric submarines. The vessels will be a follow-on to the country’s Nagapasa class. The submarine will accommodate 40 crewmembers and include eight launchers capable of shooting torpedoes, mines and missiles. For the first vessel under the new contract, which will be the fourth-in-class overall, two of the SSK’s six modules will be constructed by PT PAL in Surabaya, while DSME will build the remaining four in South Korea. The Indonesian-built modules will be shipped to Okpo for assembly. For the second submarine, PT PAL will construct four of the six modules in Surabaya, with DSME constructing the remaining two in Okpo. As with the first vessel, modules that have been constructed in Surabaya by PT PAL will be shipped to South Korea for final assembly. For the third vessel in the contract, PT PAL initially proposed to build the entire submarine.
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