Japan already produces F-15J Eagle aircraft under license from Boeing, and in 1987 they selected Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jet as the basis for a “local” design that would replace its 1970s era F-1s. The aim was to produce a less expensive fighter that would complement its F-15s, provide a bridge for key aerospace technology transfers, and give Japan’s aerospace industry experience with cutting-edge manufacturing and component technologies.
The F-2’s increased range is very useful to Japan, given their need to cover large land and maritime areas. Nevertheless, a combination of design decisions and meddling from Washington ensured that these fighters ended up costing almost as much as a twin-engine F-15J Eagle, without delivering the same performance. As a result, production ended early, and the 2011 tsunami made Japan’s fleet even smaller. The remaining fleet will continue to receive upgrades, in order to keep them combat capable for many years to come.
Latest updates[?]: The US Army Contracting Command is modifying a contract with Lockheed Martin. The company will receive an extra $79 million to cover further work on Apache night vision sensor systems, subcomponent production and technical services. Night vision is enabled by Lockheed's M-TADS/PNVS Arrowhead. Arrowhead is an electro-optical and fire control system that the Apache helicopter pilots use for combat targeting of their Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as flying in day, night, or bad weather missions. The Apache's night vision sensors work on the forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, which detects the infrared light released by heated objects. The FLIR sensor has three fields-of-view, a multi-target tracker, multiple-code laser spot tracking, and internal boresight. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each order. The contract is set to run through October 202
AH-64 & Arrowhead
For much of the post-WWII era, US helicopter pilots have been trained to fly “low and fast.” This was based on combat experience in Korea and Vietnam. In the urban environments of Iraq and Afghanistan, however, flying low and fast has made helicopters more vulnerable to a number of threats: terrain, wires/powerlines, rocket propelled grenades, small arms fire, and shoulder-fired missiles.
Enter the Arrowhead system. Arrowhead is an electro-optical and fire control system that AH-64 Apache helicopter pilots use for combat targeting of their Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as flying in day, night, or bad weather missions. The system also provides accurate targeting at high altitudes, a practice that also has its drawbacks. This free-to-view Spotlight article covers the Arrowhead’s characteristics, components, contacts, consequences, and contracts.
Latest updates[?]: Russia will commence a modernization program for the Su-34 in 2018 after it was announced that 16 more of the fighter-bombers will be delivered to Russia's air force later this year. Moscow also announced that they intend to swap out the Granit cruise missiles aboard the Project 949A Antey nuclear-powered cruise missile submarines with the latest Kalibr cruise missile. At present, Russia has eight operational Antey submarines with each possessing a displacement of 24,000 tonnes and armed with 24 Granit cruise missile launchers and six torpedo tubes.
SU-34: takeoff! (click to view larger)
Sukhoi’s SU-27 Flanker fighter has become one of Russia’s great export successes. It’s also a design success. Its basic airframe applied lessons from all of America’s “teen series fighters,” producing a 4+ generation aircraft that remains the yardstick by which other fighters are measured. What’s even more impressive is that the base design has been so flexible, allowing further refinements and modifications that include SU-30 and SU-35 upgrades, versions that add canard foreplanes (SU-30MKA/I/M), and even carrier-launched capability (SU-33).
Then there’s the SU-32/34 “Fullback.” It was envisaged as a Flanker family successor to the F-111 analogue SU-24 “Fencer,” which was very highly regarded in Chechnya as a battlefield support aircraft. Its closest western comparison is the F-15E Strike Eagle, but the Russian design has evolved since its initial drafts in 1986.
The Egyptian government wants to buy another 24 F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft, associated parts, weapons, and equipment to modernize its air force. The October 2009 request, made through the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to Congress, could be worth as much as $3.2 billion to Lockheed Martin and the other contractors involved. The formal request came a few months after the Obama administration conveyed its support for Egypt’s long-standing request to buy the Block 50/52 aircraft, but the request has been a long-standing source of controversy. Eventually, events in Egypt stalled the contract.
The Egyptian Air Force is the 4th largest F-16 operator in the world, mustering about 195 F-16s of 220 ordered. Their overall fighter fleet is a mix of high-end F-16s and Mirage 2000s, low-end Chinese F-7s (MiG-21 copy) bought from the Chinese, a few F-4 Phantom II jets, and upgraded but very aged Soviet MiG-21s and French Mirage 5s.
In March 2010 the Navy awarded an $83 million contract for e-CASS development, production and testing. The AN/USM-636(V) Consolidated Automated Support System (CASS) is the US Navy’s standard automatic test equipment family. It provides intermediate, depot and factory level support, both ashore and afloat, for testing all Navy electronics, from aircraft to ships and submarines.
CASS has been around since 1990, and it’s time for an upgrade. The Navy is planning to replace the existing 5 CASS mainframe systems with the next-generation electronic CASS (e-CASS) system. US Naval aviation currently uses 713 CASS stations for testing of aircraft electronics. CASS is also used at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and in 9 foreign countries. As of early 2012 events appear to proceed according to plan.
In January 2015, Lockheed delivered the first automated testing station to be installed on the U.S. Navy’s carriers.
F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft serve as the backbone of Poland’s air force. In February 2012, the USA’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] Poland’s official request for F-16 weapons, as well as a 5 year fleet support contract that includes associated equipment, parts, and training. They will be bought using the USA’s Foreign Military Sales process, and the requested items are expected to cost up to $447 million.
If a contract is negotiated after the 15-day FMS wait period for NATO members, the prime contractors are listed as Raytheon in Tucson, AZ and Waltham, MA; Boeing in St. Charles, MO; McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, OK; and United Technologies Corporation in Hartford, CT. Poland’s specific request includes:
Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) has recently disclosed the following Requests for Proposals (RFP), modifications and notifications:
The US Air Force releases a Statement of Work, Questions and Answers and additional documents in relation to the purchase and installation of a Lawful Intercept (LI) capability for the Government of Iraq (GOI). LI will provide the GOI with enhanced communications intelligence to support a range of security operations.
The US military is a military on the move. It also is a military on the computer and the network. Linking those two aspects together are notebook computers that can be taken on patrol as well as used on the flight line, at a command post, or in a field hospital.
But US military’s notebooks are not like everyday laptops. They are built to withstand the harsh conditions of Afghanistan or the demanding conditions of flight-line maintenance. They need to be rugged and able to withstand sand, water, wind, heat, cold, jarring impacts, and various chemicals and fluids.
This article examines the US military’s standards and criteria for rugged notebook computers, the environmental and work environments that the rugged computers must be able to endure, as well as assessments of how rugged computers respond in practice. But first, let’s examine what we mean by the term “rugged.”
Identification friend or foe (IFF) systems enable forces to recognize friendly aircraft, surface vessels, and submarines to avoid inadvertent firing on friendly forces. The technology, in use since World War II, has two main components: interrogators, which ask the questions, and transponders, which provide the responses.
BAE Systems supplies its AN/APX-117, AN/APX-118, and AN/APX-123 common digital transponders (CXP) for IFF systems, as well as associated equipment and components to the US Army, US Navy, US Coast Guard and a number of foreign countries. This article explains the products, and covers sales over a defined window from 2008-2010…
In June 2010, Michelin Aircraft Tire Corp. in Greenville, SC received a $101.1 million firm-fixed-price performance based logistics contract that supports 23 separate tire types aboard V-22 family tilt-rotors; H-60, H-46, and H-53 family helicopters; AV-8B Harrier II and F/A-18 family fighters; EA-6B Prowler jamming aircraft; P-3 Orion maritime patrol planes; and E-2/C-2 family cargo and AWACS planes.
The original contract was competitively awarded, with 11 firms originally solicited and 2 offers received by the US Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, PA (N00383-00-D-042G). The base contract was issued for $70.3 million and up to 163,581 tires in October 2000, and Option 1 was exercised for $92.9 million in July 2005. The June 2010 Option 2 award brings the announced total to $264.3 million, of a total value that was originally announced as $366.5 million maximum with all options exercised.
USN F/A-18C, Italian AV-8Bs
Work on Option 2 will be performed in Greenville, SC (100%), and the contract will run to January 2016. Funding is provided by the Defense Business Operating Fund and Navy Working Capital Funds, and will not expire before the end of the fiscal year. Most of this option is expected to support American needs, but this announcement also includes foreign military sales support for Australia (F/A-18, H-60, P-3); Egypt (E-2, H-60); Italy (AV-8B); Japan (E-2, H-46, H-60); Kuwait (F/A-18 C/D); Malaysia (F/A-18 C/D); New Zealand (P-3); Spain (AV-8B, H-60); and Taiwan (E-2, H-60, P-3 coming), who had participated in previous contracts at a 90/10 USA/FMS split. Previous announcements added H-3 Sea King helicopters, which are used by some of these countries, but this announcement does not. Previous contracts also covered F-14 Tomcat fighters, S-3 Viking sea control aircraft, and T-2 Buckeye trainers, all of which have joined the Sea King in withdrawal from US Navy service.