Mar 27, 2020 04:54 UTC
According to Jane’s
, Saab has shifted the focus of its Gripen E/F testing away from basic flight trials towards the aircraft's tactical and sensor suites as the program ramps up ahead of the first upcoming deliveries to Sweden and Brazil. Speaking at Saab's annual Gripen Seminar
on March 26, the company's head of the programme, Eddy de la Motte, said that, with flight-characteristic tests having proceeded to plan, the focus is now on validating the aircraft's mission systems. The Gripen E/F
is fitted with the Selex ES-05 Raven active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the Selex ES 60 Skyward G-IRST. The company also announced
on March 26, that it has performed the first metal cut for the two-seater fighter aircraft Gripen F, marking an important milestone in the program. Gripen F is under development for the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and shares the same advanced design and features as Gripen E, but with seat, displays and controls for a second crew member.
South African JAS-39D
As a neutral country with a long history of providing for its own defense against all comers, Sweden also has a long tradition of building excellent high-performance fighters with a distinctive look. From the long-serving Saab-35 Draken (“Dragon,” 1955-2005) to the Mach 2, canard-winged Saab-37 Viggen (“Thunderbolt,” 1971-2005), Swedish fighters have stressed short-field launch from dispersed/improvised air fields, world-class performance, and leading-edge design. This record of consistent project success is nothing short of amazing, especially for a country whose population over this period has ranged from 7-9 million people.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article for background, news, and contract awards related to the JAS-39 Gripen (“Griffon”), a canard-winged successor to the Viggen and one of the world’s first 4+ generation fighters. Gripen remains the only lightweight 4+ generation fighter type in service, its performance and operational economics are both world-class, and it has become one of the most recognized fighter aircraft on the planet. Unfortunately for its builders, that recognition has come from its appearance in Saab and Volvo TV commercials, rather than from hoped-for levels of military export success. With its 4+ generation competitors clustered in the $60-120+ million range vs. the Gripen’s claimed $40-60 million, is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Sweden’s lightweight fighter? In 2013 a win in Brazil started to answer that question.
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Mar 25, 2020 04:58 UTC
The FlightSafety Services on a $25 million contract
for a multi-country KC-46
aircrew and maintenance simulator training. The contractor will provide KC-46 aircrew and maintenance training to support the U.S. government and Air Force Security Assistance Training international partners' mission objectives. The KC-46 is built as an empty 767 airframe in Everett, Wash., then transferred to the south end of Paine Field, called the Military Delivery Center. The jet's military systems, including the refueling and communications equipment, are installed there. The KC-46 Pegasus is a wide body, multi-role tanker that is capable of carrying a fuel capacity of 212,000 pounds. Work will take place at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Estimated completion will be in September 2026.
KC-135: Old as the hills…
DID’s FOCUS articles cover major weapons acquisition programs – and no program is more important to the USAF than its aerial tanker fleet renewal. In January 2007, the big question was whether there would be a competition for the USA’s KC-X proposal, covering 175 production aircraft and 4 test platforms. The total cost is now estimated at $52 billion, but America’s aerial tanker fleet demands new planes to replace its KC-135s, whose most recent new delivery was in 1965. Otherwise, unpredictable age or fatigue issues, like the ones that grounded its F-15A-D fighters in 2008, could ground its aerial tankers – and with them, a substantial slice of the USA’s total airpower.
KC-Y and KC-Z buys are supposed to follow in subsequent decades, in order to replace 530 (195 active; ANG 251; Reserve 84) active tankers, as well as the USAF’s 59 heavy KC-10 tankers that were delivered from 1979-1987. Then again, fiscal and demographic realities may mean that the 179 plane KC-X buy is “it” for the USAF. Either way, the KC-X stakes were huge for all concerned.
In the end, it was Team Boeing’s KC-767 NexGen/ KC-46A (767 derivative) vs. EADS North America’s KC-45A (Airbus KC-30/A330-200 derivative), both within the Pentagon and in the halls of Congress. The financial and employment stakes guaranteed a huge political fight no matter which side won. After Airbus won in 2008, that fight ended up sinking and restarting the entire program. Three years later, Boeing won the recompete. Now, they have to deliver their KC-46A.
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Mar 24, 2020 04:56 UTC
Oshkosh Defense LLC won a $17.4 million contract modification
to exercise an option covering priced man-hours, labor, material and fees on material for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)
system technical support JLTV retrofit efforts. Estimated completion date is December 30, 2020. The company also won a $16.8 million modification to exercise options for packaged kits for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle family of vehicles with an expected completion date of November 30, 2023. Oshkosh Defense is a global leader in the design, production and sustainment of best-in-class military vehicles and mobility systems. The company developed its JLTV for the US Army and Marine Corps, to replace the aging fleet of High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV/Humvee). Work will take place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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?
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Mar 20, 2020 04:56 UTC
According to Jane’s
, the Eurofighter
consortium has a strategy in place to ensure that work across its four national production lines continues amidst the worsening coronavirus crisis. The deliveries to the four partner nations of Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK are all recently completed. The pan-European consortium has now introduced plans to protect the delivery of its outstanding orders for Kuwait and Qatar. The program-of-record (PoR) for the Eurofighter partner nations of 160 aircraft for the UK, 143 for Germany, 96 for Italy, and 73 for Spain was concluded in January. The export orders of 15 aircraft for Austria, 12 for Oman, and 72 for Saudi Arabia, had already been delivered, leaving an outstanding backlog of 28 aircraft for Kuwait and 24 for Qatar. To satisfy these Kuwaiti and Qatari orders, all four national production lines will manufacture parts, with final assembly to take place at Caselle and Warton respectively. The delivery of these two orders, expected from late 2020 to 2023 for Kuwait and from 2022 to an unspecified date in the mid-2020s for Qatar, will conclude the 623-aircraft PoR for the partner nations and export customers.
The multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon has been described as the aerodynamic apotheosis of lessons learned from the twin engine “teen series” fighters that began with the F-14 and F-15, continued with the emergence of the F/A-18 Hornet, and extended through to the most recent F/A-18 Super Hornet variants. Aerodynamically, it’s a half generation ahead of all of these examples, and planned evolutions will place the Eurofighter near or beyond parity in electronic systems and weapons.
The 1998 production agreement among its 4 member countries involved 620 aircraft, built with progressively improved capabilities over 3 contract “tranches”. By the end of Tranche 2, however, welfare state programs and debt burdens had made it difficult to afford the 236 fighters remaining in the 4-nation Eurofighter agreement. A 2009 compromise was found in the EUR 9 billion “Tranche 3A” buy, and the program has renewed its efforts to secure serious export sales. Their success will affect the platform’s production line in the near term, and its modernization plans beyond that.
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Mar 19, 2020 04:58 UTC
The Haskell Co. won a $9.5 million contract
for the construction of the P680 CH-53K
cargo loading tower at the Marine Corps Air Station in New River, North Carolina. Work will provide a high-bay facility that will house an operations trainer to support CH-53K helicopter pilot and crew chief training program. Construction includes a deep pile foundation, grade beams and reinforced concrete slabs to provide the building's base while reinforced concrete masonry unit exterior walls and a standing seam metal roof provide the building enclosure. This facility will provide a covered, all-weather training environment for the ground operations aircrew trainer, a fuselage trainer device, pallet storage, retrieval and build-out packages associated with troop deployment and mobility. The facility includes high-bay roll-up doors and concrete drive aprons to accommodate moving the aircraft frame in and out of the building. Work will take place in New River, North Carolina. Estimated completion date is April 2022.
The U.S. Marines have a problem. They rely on their CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy lift helicopters to move troops, vehicles, and supplies off of their ships. But the helicopters are wearing out. Fast. The pace demanded by the Global War on Terror is relentless, and usage rates are 3 times normal. Attrition is taking its toll. Over the past few years, CH-53s have been recalled from “boneyard” storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, in order to maintain fleet numbers in the face of recent losses and forced retirements. Now, there are no flyable spares left.
Enter the Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, now known as the CH-53K. It aims to offer notable performance improvements over the CH-53E, in a similar airframe. The question is whether its service entry delay to 2018-2019 will come too late to offset a serious decline in Marine aviation.
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Mar 16, 2020 04:52 UTC
Marshall Advanced Composites signed an $11.6 million contract
with Lockheed Martin to manufacture and supply cockpit trim panels for its C-130J Super Hercules
airlifter for the next five years. “We are delighted to have received this five-year contract from Lockheed Martin. It really is testament to the hard work of the team and strength of our partnership with Lockheed Martin“, said Advanced Composites General Manager, Carl Morse. He continued: “We’ve been supplying the panels for over 20 years and have historically been on a series of relatively short term contracts, however our proven ability to drive cost out of the supply, outstanding on-time delivery record and appetite to innovate our processes has given our customer the confidence to make another long-term commitment. The panels are manufactured at Marshall’s composites facility in North Yorkshire from phenolic glass fibre sandwich panels with a Nomex honeycomb core, followed by finishing operations such as painting, electrical assembly and integration to provide Lockheed Martin with lineside kits of plug and play parts to their Marietta facility.
RAAF C-130J-30, flares
The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs?
C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS Article describes the C-130J, examines the bottleneck issue, covers global developments for the C-130J program, and looks at present and emerging competitors.
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Mar 13, 2020 04:58 UTC
Raytheon Missile won a $109.6 million contract modification
for MK 15 Close-In Weapon System upgrades and conversions, system overhauls and associated hardware. MK 15 Phalanx CIWS
provides ships of the US Navy with an inner layer point defense capability against anti-ship missiles, aircraft and littoral warfare threats that have penetrated other fleet defenses. Phalanx automatically detects, evaluates, tracks, engages and performs kill assessment against ASM and high speed aircraft threats. The current Phalanx variant adds the ability to counter asymmetric warfare threats through the addition of an integrated, stabilized, Electro Optic sensor. Work will take place Kentucky, Arizona, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Arizona, Missouri, Utah, Texas. Estimated completion will be by October 2023.
The radar-guided, rapid-firing MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS, pron. “see-whiz”) can fire between 3,000-4,500 20mm cannon rounds per minute, either autonomously or under manual command, as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles and other targets. Phalanx uses closed-loop spotting with advanced radar and computer technology to locate, identify and direct a stream of armor piercing projectiles toward the target. These capabilities have made the Phalanx CIWS a critical bolt-on sub-system for naval vessels around the world, and led to the C-RAM/Centurion, a land-based system designed to defend against incoming artillery and mortars.
This DID Spotlight article offers updated, in-depth coverage that describes ongoing deployment and research projects within the Phalanx family of weapons, the new land-based system’s new technologies and roles, and international contracts from FY 2005 onward. As of Feb 28/07, more than 895 Phalanx systems had been built and deployed in the navies of 22 nations.
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Mar 10, 2020 04:56 UTC
Leonardo has unveiled its weapon wing system
that is to equip UK AW159 Wildcat
HMA2 maritime helicopters during the Royal Navy's Carrier Strike Group 2021 (CSG21) deployment. The UK-arm of the Italian company displayed one of the first production wings during the UK Naval Engineering Science & Technology (UKNEST) engagement activity aboard the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales on March 2 as part of its week-long visit to Liverpool. The aluminium alloy and carbon fibre composite weapon wings enable a mix of weapons to be carried for a variety of force protection scenarios. This includes a full load of 20 Thales Martlet air-to-surface and up to four MBDA Sea Venom anti-ship missiles, or a mix of two Sea Venoms and 10 Martlets.
Future Lynx naval
In 2006, Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland received a GBP 1 billion (about $1.9 billion at 02/07 rates) contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 70 Future Lynx helicopters, and began a new chapter in a long-running success story. The Lynx is an extremely fast helicopter that entered service in the 1970s, and quickly carved out a niche for itself in the global land and naval markets. The base design has evolved into a number of upgrades and versions, which have been been widely exported around the world.
In Britain, Lynx helicopters are used in a number of British Army (AH7 & AH9) and Fleet Air Arm (Mk 8) roles: reconnaissance, attack, casualty evacuation & troop transport, ferrying supplies, anti-submarine operations, and even command post functions. The Future Lynx program reflects that, and British government and industry are both hoping that its versatility will help it keep or improve the Lynx family’s global market share. This is DID’s FOCUS Article for the AW159 Lynx Wildcat Program, describing its technical and industrial features, schedules, related contracts, and exports.
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Mar 05, 2020 04:56 UTC
Airbus Helicopters won a $122.7 million contract modification
for procurement of 15 UH-72
Aircraft. The UH-72A Lakota is a light utility helicopter specifically designed to meet the requirements of the US Army. Based on the EC 145 multirole helicopter, the UH-72A serves the army principally for logistics and support missions within the US. Work will take place in Columbus, Mississippi and estimated completion date is August 31, 2022. Army funds in the full amount were obligated at the time of the award.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This is DID’s FOCUS Article regarding the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program, covering the program and its objectives, the winning bid team and industrial arrangements, and contracts.
The US Army’s LUH program will finish as a 325 helicopter acquisition program that will be worth about $2.3 billion when all is said and done. It aimed to replace existing UH-1 Hueys and OH-58 Kiowa utility variants in non-combat roles, freeing up larger and more expensive UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for front-line duty. In June 2006, a variant of Eurocopter’s EC145 beat AgustaWestland’s AB139, Bell-Textron’s 412EP Twin Huey, and MD Helicopters’ 902 Explorer NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) design. The win marked EADS’ 1st serious military win in the American market, and their “UH-145” became the “UH-72A Lakota” at an official December 2006 naming ceremony.
Eurocopter has continued to field new mission kits and deliver helicopters from its Mississippi production line, while trying to build on their LUH breakthrough. A training helicopter win will keep the line going for a couple more years…
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Feb 21, 2020 04:58 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Sikorsky won a $470.8 million modification
, which exercises options to procure six low rate initial production lot II VH-92A
aircraft, interim contractor support and six cabin interior reconfiguration kits in support of the Presidential Helicopter Replacement Program. The VH-92 will replace the US Marine Corps VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters that transport the president, while operating under the name of Marine One. The VH-92 will replace the U.S. Marine Corps VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters that transport the president, while operating under the name of Marine One. The Navy awarded a $542 million order to Sikorsky last June for six Lot I VH-92A presidential helicopters. Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the first six VH-92A helicopters in 2021.
In January 2005, the U.S. Navy selected the US101 as the new “Marine One” baseline helicopter, for use by the President of the United States. The US101 is an American variant of AgustaWestland’s successful AW101 multi-mission medium helicopter; it beat out Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk, which is already in use as a government VIP transport in countries like South Korea.
That $1.7 billion victory was first endangered, and then destroyed, by ongoing changes from the White House staff. In 2008, the program’s ballooning costs and requirements got a temporary reprieve when US Navy agreed to proceed with the VH-71, despite a cost per aircraft equal or greater than the President’s Air Force One 747s. By June 2009, however, the VH-71 program had shot itself down.
Another round of competition is on the way, and back in 2009 the Pentagon said it was considering buying 2 different helicopters in the VXX follow-on program. Faced with an initial Analysis of Alternatives deemed too expensive, the OSD accepted the Navy’s revised approach in May 2012, setting things in motion for a new program of record.
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