Latest updates[?]: Boeing won a §200 million modification, which procures critical long lead material and associated efforts in support of maintaining the full rate production timeline for the congressionally added F/A-18E/F aircraft. Work will be performed in El Segundo, California (68.9%); St Louis, Missouri (20.2%); Goleta, California (2.5%); East Aurora, New York (1.7%); Blossom, Texas (1.3%); Longueuil, Québec Canada (1.3%); Vandalia, Ohio (1.1%); and various locations within the continental U.S. (3%), and is expected to be completed in June 2025.
The US Navy flies the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighters, and has begun operating the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare & strike aircraft. Many of these buys have been managed out of common multi-year procurement (MYP) contracts, which aim to reduce overall costs by offering longer-term production commitments, so contractors can negotiate better deals with their suppliers.
The MYP-II contract ran from 2005-2009, and was not renewed because the Pentagon intended to focus on the F-35 fighter program. When it became clear that the F-35 program was going to be late, and had serious program and budgetary issues, pressure built to abandon year-by-year contracting, and negotiate another multi-year deal for the current Super Hornet family. That deal is now final. This entry covers the program as a whole, with a focus on 2010-2015 Super Hornet family purchases. It has been updated to include all announced contracts and events connected with MYP-III, including engines and other separate “government-furnished equipment” that figures prominently in the final price.
The world’s P-3 Orion fleets have served for a long time, and many are reaching the end of their lifespans. In the USA, and possibly beyond, the new P-8 Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft will take up the P-3’s role. While the P-8’s base 737-based airframe offers strong service & maintenance arguments in its favor, the airframe is expensive enough that the P-3s cannot be replaced on a 1:1 basis.
In order to extend the P-8 fleet’s reach, and provide additional capabilities, the Poseidon was expected to work with at least one companion UAV platform. This DID FOCUS Article explains the winning BAMS (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance) concept, the program’s key requirements, and its international angle. We’ll also cover ongoing contracts and key events related to the program, which chose Northrop Grumman’s navalized MQ-4C Triton Global Hawk variant.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon won a $23.2 million deal for the procurement of five APY-10 radar system weapon repairable assemblies (WRAs), for a total quantity of 43 WRAs in support of the P-8A aircraft. The delivery order does not include an option period. All work will be performed in McKinney, Texas. Delivery orders are expected to be completed by August 2024 with period of performance ending December 2026. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity.
Maritime surveillance and patrol is becoming more and more important, but the USA’s P-3 Orion turboprop fleet is falling apart. The P-7 Long Range Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Capable Aircraft program to create an improved P-3 began in 1988, but cost overruns, slow progress, and interest in opening the competition to commercial designs led to the P-7’s cancellation for default in 1990. The successor MMA program was begun in March 2000, and Boeing beat Lockheed’s “Orion 21” with a P-8 design based on their ubiquitous 737 passenger jet. US Navy squadrons finally began taking P-8A Poseidon deliveries in 2012, but the long delays haven’t done their existing P-3 fleet any favors.
Filling the P-3 Orion’s shoes is no easy task. What missions will the new P-8A Poseidon face? What do we know about the platform, the project team, and ongoing developments? Will the P-3’s wide global adoption give its successor a comparable level of export opportunities? Australia and India have already signed on, but has the larger market shifted in the interim?
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin Space won a $27.1 million modification to provide services and support for Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed systems support. The Trident II (D5) is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system developed for the United States Navy's Ohio-class submarines. Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. Work will take place in Utah and is expected to be finished by September 30, 2027.
Trident II D5 Test Launch
Nuclear tipped missiles were first deployed on board US submarines at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, to deter a Soviet first strike. The deterrence theorists argued that, unlike their land-based cousins, submarine-based nuclear weapons couldn’t be taken out by a surprise first strike, because the submarines were nearly impossible to locate and target. Which meant that Soviet leaders could not hope to destroy all of America’s nuclear weapons before they could be launched against Soviet territory. SLBM/FBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile/ Fleet Ballistic Missile) offered shorter ranges and less accuracy than their land-based ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) counterparts, but the advent of Trident C4 missiles began extending those ranges, and offering other improvements. The C4s were succeeded by larger Trident II D5 missiles, which added precision accuracy and more payload.
The year that the Trident II D5 ballistic missile was first deployed, 1990, saw the beginning of the end of the missile’s primary mission. Even as the Soviet Union began to implode, the D5’s performance improvements were making the Trident submarine force the new backbone of the USA’s nuclear deterrent – and of Britain’s as well. To ensure that this capability was maintained at peak readiness and safety, the US Navy undertook a program in 2002 to replace aging components of the Trident II D5 missile called the D5 Life Extension (LE) Program. This article covers D5 LE, as well as support and production contracts associated with the American and British Trident missile fleets.
Latest updates[?]: Rolls-Royce won a $21.5 million modification, which exercises an option for the production and delivery of eight AE1107C engines in support of the V-22 Osprey for the Navy. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed in November 2024. Fiscal 2023 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $21,473,824 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
In March 2008, the Bell Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received a $10.4 billion modification that converted the previous N00019-07-C-0001 advance acquisition contract to a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. The new contract rose to $10.92 billion, and was used to buy 143 MV-22 (for USMC) and 31 CV-22 (Air Force Special Operations) Osprey aircraft, plus associated manufacturing tooling to move the aircraft into full production. A follow-on MYP-II contract covered another 99 Ospreys (92 MV-22, 7 CV-22) for $6.524 billion. Totals: $17.444 billion for 235 MV-22s and 38 CV-22s, an average of $63.9 million each.
The V-22 tilt-rotor program has been beset by controversy throughout its 20-year development period. Despite these issues, and the emergence of competitive but more conventional compound helicopter technologies like Piasecki’s X-49 Speedhawk and Sikorsky’s X2, the V-22 program continues to move forward. This DID Spotlight article looks at the V-22’s multi-year purchase contract from 2008-12 and 2013-2017, plus associated contracts for key V-22 systems, program developments, and research sources.
Latest updates[?]: Rockwell Collins won a $10 million modification against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N0001919G0031). This modification provides non-recurring engineering for the development of hardware and software necessary to install Mission Computer Modernization into E-6B Block I aircraft. Work will be performed in Richardson, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2026.
The USA’s E-6 Mercury (aka. TACAMO, as in TAke Charge And Move Out) “survivable airborne communication system” airplanes support their Navy’s SSBN ballistic missile submarine force and overall strategic forces. With the advent of the new “Tactical Trident” converted Ohio Class special operations subs, their unique capabilities become even more useful. The E-6B version also has a secondary role as a “Looking Glass” Airborne National Command Post, and in recent years they have seen use as communications relay stations over the front lines of combat.
Delivery of the first production E-6 aircraft took place in August 1989, with delivery of the 16th and final airplane coming in May 1992. This is DID’s FOCUS Article concerning the E-6 system, which includes details concerning the capabilities and associated contracts. The latest contracts involve important fleet upgrades, as the Navy tries to drag the jet’s systems into the 21st century.
Latest updates[?]: Rolls Royce Marine North America won a $66.7 million deal in support of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the global engineering and technical support of the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) Freedom Variant MT30 gas turbine engines. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would not increase the cumulative value of this contract above $66,679,116. Work will be performed globally and will be defined in each delivery order. Fiscal 2023 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds, which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, will be used for the base year delivery orders. No funding will be obligated at time of award.
Trimaran LCS Design
(click to enlarge)
Exploit simplicity, numbers, the pace of technology development in electronics and robotics, and fast reconfiguration. That was the US Navy’s idea for the low-end backbone of its future surface combatant fleet. Inspired by successful experiments like Denmark’s Standard Flex ships, the US Navy’s $35+ billion “Littoral Combat Ship” program was intended to create a new generation of affordable surface combatants that could operate in dangerous shallow and near-shore environments, while remaining affordable and capable throughout their lifetimes.
It hasn’t worked that way. In practice, the Navy hasn’t been able to reconcile what they wanted with the capabilities needed to perform primary naval missions, or with what could be delivered for the sums available. The LCS program has changed its fundamental acquisition plan 4 times since 2005, and canceled contracts with both competing teams during this period, without escaping any of its fundamental issues. Now, the program looks set to end early. This public-access FOCUS article offer a wealth of research material, alongside looks at the LCS program’s designs, industry teams procurement plans, military controversies, budgets and contracts.
Latest updates[?]: The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Slovakia of M1278A1/A2 Heavy Gun Carriers Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTVs), and related equipment and services for an estimated cost of $250 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today. The JLTVs will replace Soviet-era personnel carriers and improve Slovakia's capability to meet current and future threats by providing increased mobility and enhanced protection for ground units.
Ultra APV demonstrator
In an age of non-linear warfare, where front lines are nebulous at best and non-existent at worst, one of the biggest casualties is… the concept of unprotected rear echelon vehicles, designed with the idea that they’d never see serious combat. That imperative is being driven home on 2 fronts. One front is operational. The other front is buying trends.
These trends, and their design imperatives, found their way into the USA’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program, which aims to replace many of the US military’s 120,000 or so Humvees. The US military’s goal is a 7-10 ton vehicle that’s lighter than its MRAPs and easier to transport aboard ship, while offering substantially better protection ad durability than existing up-armored Humvees. They’d also like a vehicle that can address front-line issues like power generation, in order to recharge all of the batteries troops require for electronic gadgets like night sights, GPS devices, etc.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. JLTV certainly qualifies, and recent budget planning endorsements have solidifed a future that was looking shaky. Now, can the Army’s program deliver?
Latest updates[?]: Germany announced its intent to buy 60 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from Boeing last year to replace its ageing CH-53 fleet. The package includes 140 engines including 20 spares, missile warning systems, radios, transponders, navigation systems, a suite of modifications and technical support, the Pentagon said.
CH-47Fs take off
DII FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record; this FOCUS Article covers the CH-47F/MH-47G Chinook helicopter programs, in the USA and abroad. These helicopters’ distinctive “flying banana” twin-rotor design stems from the brilliant work of aviation pioneer Frank Piasecki. It gives Chinooks the ability to adjust their positioning very precisely, while carrying a large airframe whose load capacity has made it the world’s most popular heavy-lift helicopter. The USA expects to be operating Chinooks in their heavy-lift role past 2030.
The CH-47F looks similar to earlier models, but offers a wide range of improvements in almost every aspect of design and performance. While the related HH-47’s $10-15 billion CSAR-X program win was terminated, delivery orders continue for CH-47Fs and for MH-47G Special Forces configuration helicopters. International orders or formal requests have also come in from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the UAE, with India and other countries expected to follow.
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin won a $180 million modification for the production of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Interceptors and associated one-shot devices to support the US government. The THAAD Interceptors and associated one-shot devices will be procured under fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract line items. THAAD is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase, which is the final stage of their flight before they hit their target. The system uses kinetic energy to destroy incoming missiles by colliding with them in mid-air. It consists of a radar unit, a launcher, and interceptor missiles that can be deployed anywhere in the world to provide protection against ballistic missile threats. The work will be performed in Dallas, Texas; Sunnyvale, California; Huntsville, Alabama; Camden, Arkansas; and Troy, Alabama, with an expected completion date of March 1, 2028.
THAAD: In flight
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon that acts as the upper tier of a basic 2-tiered defense against ballistic missiles. It’s designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets such as population centers and industrial resources as well as military forces, hence its previous “theater (of operations) high altitude area defense” designation.