Sep 21, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Navy is accelerating the LPD 17 Flight II development program. The service is awarding a $11.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to Huntington Ingalls (HII), allowing the company to speed up the development of the Flight II ship design. LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are currently entering service and will be used to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. Flight II is the next design step of the LPD 17s, these vessels have the same basic hull, but carry fewer Marines, hold less cargo, and remove costly elements. Flight II ships can be configured to serve as a Joint Control and Command Center, as a hospital ship or fulfil ballistic missile defense roles. Work will be performed at HII’s Pascagoula facility and is scheduled for completion by February 2019.
The Navy is ordering more Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) for itself and the government of Italy. Northrop Grumman will convert 32 AGM-88Bs into AGM-88Es at a cost of $22 million. Of those converted missiles 29 will be delivered to Italy and three to the US Navy. The AARGM is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile whose primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. The Italian Air Force is expected to buy up to 250 of these new missiles. Work will be performed at various national and international locations, including Northridge, California; Ridgecrest, California and Sanguinetto, Italy. The missiles’ delivery is expected by March 2020.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to keep the Navy’s Integrated Submarine Imaging System (ISIS) running. The company will provide the Navy with engineering services in support of the AN/BVY-1 ISIS under this $132.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee modification. ISIS integrates visual and digital imagery into submarine periscopes. It provides all-weather, visual, and electronic search, digital image management, indication, warning, and platform architecture interface capabilities for a variety of submarine classes. Work will be performed at multiple locations including – but not limited to – Manassas, Virginia; Syracuse, New York and Newport, Rhode Island.
Military.com reports that an MQ-9 Reaper UAV is now capable of engaging aerial targets. The Reaper proved its air-to-air combat capability during a controlled simulation held in November 2017. “It was an MQ-9 versus a drone with a heat-seeking air-to-air missile, and it was direct hit … during a test,” said Col. Julian Cheater, commander of the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
Flight Global reports that Raytheon is currently pitching a modified version of its Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to the US Air Force. The modified JPALS would provide USAF F-35As with an auto-landing capability on expeditionary airfields. JPALS was initially designed to help naval aviators to safely land their jets on aircraft carriers in poor visibility. The Air Force version of JPALS would be integrated onto a Humvee and then airlifted in a C-130J to expeditionary air bases. According to Raytheon, the system would be able to manage 50 different aircraft making different approaches within a radius of 20nm.
Middle East & Africa
Israel’s Elbit Systems will provide an unnamed Asian-country with its Naval Remote Controlled Weapon Station. The contract is valued at $173 and sees for the delivery of the RCWS to the Navy and Coast Guard of the country in question. The contract will be performed over a five-year period. The Naval RCWS to be provided feature a 12.7mm machine gun and ammunition, advanced fire control system and a modular electro-optic suite. The RCWS family is a third-generation, multi-purpose weapon system for small and mid-caliber weapons. With modular, dual-weapon capabilities, the RCWS is designed for dynamic or static operation, to be used on ground stationary, ground mobile or naval platforms.
MBDA presents a new UAS at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics exhibition. The new UAV concept is designated as Spectre and is designed to provide rapid close air support at sub-unit level in military organisations. The low cost Spectre is an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) air system. Its tilt wing design allows it to quickly transition to forward flight mode for rapid traversal over complex terrain at low altitude. The UAV is capable of carrying a 50 lbs payload and is armed with either two MBDA Enforcer missiles or one Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) multirole weapons system. The Spectre is able to navigate, find, fix and track targets with an operator over the loop (OOTL) and can engage light armored, soft-skinned and unmanned threats, or heavier armored threats. Other mission module options include re-supply payloads, improved sensors, or electronic warfare payloads. The Spectre will have a cruising speed of 111 mp/h, and will be able to provide coverage in a 6 miles radius for over 60 minutes.
Thailand is ordering additional helicopters form Airbus. The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will receive four additional H-225M multirole utility helicopters as part of a fleet strengthening program. The H-225M can operate from sea and land and comes with an all-weather capability supported by night vision goggle compatibility. Powered by two Makila 2A1 engines the helicopter has a range of 700 nm and boasts an air-to-air or hover in-flight refuelling capability. The helicopter can be configured to perform tactical transport, SAR and MEDEVAC missions. The rotorcraft to be delivered to the RTAF will be specially equipped with emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, search light and electro-optical systems. This follow-on order will bring the RTAF’s H225M fleet to 12 units by 2021.
Watch: Insitu unveils Integrator Extended Range
Sep 20, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Department of Defense is heavily investing in current and future MIDS-JTRS development efforts. Data Link Solutions LLC and ViaSat Inc are each being awarded with contract modifications valued at $386.9 million and $96.2 million, respectively. Both modifications increase the ceiling of existing indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts that provide for the production and engineering efforts related to the MIDS-JTRS program. The Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) program replaces numerous legacy radios, reducing the need for excessive spares and logistics support. The software-defined MIDS-JTRS is a 4-channel radio designed to run the complex Link 16 waveform and up to three additional communication protocols, including the Airborne Networking Waveform (ANW). Because MIDS-JTRS is a software-defined system, new capabilities can be added within the limits of a module’s on-board processing and storage capabilities. Both contracts combine purchases for the Navy, Air Force and the MIDS Program Office, as well as to the governments of Austria, Chile, Finland, Israel, Jordan, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. DataLink Solutions will perform all relevant work at its Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Wayne, New Jersey facilities, whereas ViaSat will perform its work in Carlsbad, California. The ordering periods are expected to be completed by June 15, 2020.
The Navy is contracting General Dynamics Electric Boat for research on future Vertical Launch Payloads (VLP) concepts. The cost-plus-fixed-fee modification is valued at $22.5 million and provides for relevant engineering and technical design efforts needed to develop and formulate concepts on how VLP can be applied to current and future submarine platforms. Vertical launch payloads could be used in the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) once it is installed into Virginia-class submarines. The VPM consists of four large-diameter payload tubes in a new hull section to be inserted in the new class of attack submarines. This system will increase the Virginia’s strike capacity by 230 percent. Work will be performed at Electric Boat facilities in Groton, Connecticut, Kings Bay, Georgia and Bremerton, Washington. The initial efforts are expected to be completed by October 2019.
The Navy is ordering one Freedom-class LCS from Lockheed Martin and two Independence-class LCSs from Austal. Both companies are being awarded with fixed-price-incentive firm target modifications to previously awarded contracts. The DoD press release however does not specify the value of those modifications because the price-tag is considered to be a ‘source selection sensitive information’ as stated under in 42 in US Code 2101 and Federal Acquisition Regulations 2.101 and 3.104. Austal received an initial $584.2 million contract (N00024-17 C-2301) for the construction of one LCS-2 on October 6, 2017. The ships to be built will be the 33rd, 34th and 35th littoral combat ships in the fleet, and will exceed the 32-ship requirement set by the Navy. Appropriators, however are slashing funds for the acquisition of necessary mission modules in the 2019 Defense Department funding bill, raising concerns about future program delays. Work will be performed at various locations, including – but not limited to – Mobile, Alabama; Cincinnati, Ohio; Marinette, Wisconsin and Monrovia, California, and is expected to be completed by September 2024.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) aims to win a future tender to supply the Royal Air Force (RAF) with new airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The platform offered by IAI’s subsidiary, Elta systems, would be a Gulfstream G550 long-range business jet with the Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) structural modifications. The aircraft offers L- and S-band antennas, satellite links, 10-hour endurance, a 12,000-kilometer range, and a speed of 0.88 Mach. The plane entered development in 2003 and was delivered to the Israeli Air Force in 2007. Existing international customers include Italy and Singapore. If and when the UK will launch an open tender is yet unclear, because first of all, the RAF needs to decide whether it will upgrade its existing seven Sentry platforms or replace them.
Qatar is marking another milestone in its Eurofighter Typhoon acquisition program. The country made its first payment to BAE Systems on Tuesday, and thus finalises the $6 billion purchase of 24 Eurofighter jets and 9 Hawk trainers. This deal is the first major defense contract between the Emirate and the UK. In October 2017 the deal was hailed by former UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon as “an important moment in our defence relationship and the basis for even closer defence co-operation between our two countries.” The contract also provides for the training of Qatari pilots, facilitated by the British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) No. 12 squadron. This joint UK-Qatari operational squadron will also help to police the skies during he Gulf state’s hosting of World Cup 2022. Deliveries of the fighter aircraft are expected to commence in 2022.
Following a report by the FFI defense research institute, the Norwegian government concludes that it will be able to use its fleet of 14 NH-90 NFHs for both naval and coastguard operations. This decision reverses an initial plan that would have split the fleet, ultimately assigning 6 helicopters to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions and the remainder for fisheries and border protection missions. The helicopters will need to generate a total of 5,400 flight hours per year. This requirement presumes a good availability of spare parts, a sufficient number of aircraft for maintenance scheduling and a sufficiently large overhaul capacity. The recent FFI analysis suggests, that about 3,900 flight hours will be possible in the first year of operation, albeit at an increased cost of $57 million.
Jane’s reports that MBDA is currently working on mission module concepts to be integrated with the Boxer IFV. MBDA is developing those concepts as answer to the British Army’s future land surface-to-surface fire requirements. MBDA Future Land Indirect Fires concepts include the incorporation of an eight-cell land indirect fire mission module able to fire a 178 mm surface-to-surface missile. An MBDA spokesperson told Jane’s that the “Boxer is effectively designed to accept different mission modules that can be swapped in or out as required. So we are proposing is a modular mission module equipped to conduct a land indirect fires role.” The UK rejoined the Boxer program after a 14-year hiatus in April 2018. The Boxer is supposed to fulfill the Army’s mechanised infantry vehicle requirement by 2023.
The Royal Australian Air Force introduces its first F-35A to its Air Combat Group. The aircraft is part of No.3 Squadron, which will gradually replace its old F/A-18 A/B “Classic” Hornet aircraft with the 5th-generation JSF. Australia currently operates 55 F/A-18As and 16 F/A-18Bs, all of which will be retired by 2022. This is the RAAF’s ninth jet, and the first which will not be used at the Luke AFB International Pilot Training Centre. Australia is a Tier 3 partner in the JSF program and has a total of 72 F-35As on order.
Watch: B-1B Lancer Loads With GBU-31 JDAMs For Combat Mission
Sep 19, 2018 05:00 UTC
The ex-USS Enterprise will be towed, but not for now. Huntington Ingalls will be responsible to temporarily store and eventually tow the former Nimitz-class carrier under a $34 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification. CVN 65 was the oldest carrier in the fleet when it was decommissioned in February 2017. Early in the ship’s career, it was part of a blockade during the Cuban missile crisis and then joined the first nuclear-powered naval task force. The ship saw combat in Vietnam and was the first responder after 9/11. Now the US Navy uses it as a case-study to figure out the best answer to a big problem: How do we best dispose off a large nuclear-powered ship? When a nuclear-powered vessel is retiring, its shipboard nuclear reactors are defueled, the reactor vessels and their compartments are removed, encased and barged to the federal government’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southern Washington State, and the ships’ remains are cut up for scrap and recycling. The Navy is currently looking into two options, the Naval shipyard option, and the full commercial option. A recent GAO report estimates that dismantling of CVN 65 will cost around $1 billion and won’t start before 2024 or 2034, depending on the option the Navy chooses. Either way, ex-USS Enterprise dismantlement and disposal will set precedents for processes and oversight that may inform future aircraft carrier dismantlement decisions.
US Special Operations Command is contracting Harris Corp in support of its CV-22s. The company will provide SOCOM with components and technical services needed to keep the Osprey’s suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures (SIRFC) operational. SIRFC is an integrated electronic combat system which provides RF threat awareness and active self-protection jamming capabilities for Army aircraft against RF air defense systems actively engaging the aircraft. SIRFC consists of the Advanced Threat Radar Warning Receiver (ATRWR) and the Advanced Threat Radar Jammer. The system contributes to the aircrew’s full-dimensional protection. The awarded modification of $93.5 million increases the contract ceiling to a total of $383.5 million. The contract and its ordering period will end by July 30, 2019.
Rockwell Collins is being awarded with a modification against a three-year contract. The modification has a value of $11.8 million and adds two national stock numbers to support the Joint Helmet Mounting Cueing System (JHMCS) for F-15 and F-16 aircraft. JHMCS is the product of RCEV, a joint venture between Rockwell Collins and Elbit. According to the company, the JHMCS provides the pilot with “first look, first shoot” weapons engagement capabilities. The system enables the pilot to accurately cue onboard weapons and sensors against enemy aircraft and ground targets without the need to aggressively turn the aircraft or place the target in the Head-Up Display for designation. Work will be performed at RCEV’s facilities in Texas and Israel, and is scheduled for completion by August 30, 2023.
UAV manufacturer Insitu is currently pitching a new variant of its RQ-21A Integrator to the US Air Force. The Integrator ER is a medium-altitude UAV that will have either an endurance of 10h on station after traveling 200nm or or 6h on station after having traveled 300nm. During an Air Force conference, Esina Alic, Insitu president and CEO, said the UAV can be controlled at greater distances using a jam-resistant satellite link, instead of a line-of-site radio link, which typically limits small UAVs to ranges of 50nm to 70nm. The body of the Integrator-ER is based on the company’s Blackjack system, a system that is valued by the Marine Corps. Insitu is pitching it as contractor owned and operated, with roughly 12 people needed to run the system.
Middle East & Africa
The Egyptian government wants to purchase close to 60.000 120mm rounds for its tanks. The State Department is determined to approve this FMS, which is valued at $99 million. The possible order would include 46,000 120mm Target Practice – Tracer (M831A1) and 120 mm Target Practice, Cone Stabilized, Discarding Sabot – (M865) rounds; and 10,000 120mm 4th-Generation Kinetic Energy-Tungsten (KE-W) A4 Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer (APFSDS-T) rounds, to replace older models and to maintain a strategic munitions inventory for its M1A1 tank fleet. Included in the deal are also 4,500 120mm Insensitive Munitions High Explosive with Tracer (IM HE-T) tank rounds. Egypt will use those rounds to arm the tanks that are currently fighting the Islamic State in the Sinai peninsula. The training rounds will be used to ready M1A1 tank crews for operational deployments. Work will be performed at General Dynamics-OTS’ St. Petersburg, Florida facility,
The Dutch government is set to receive US support for its AH-64D Apache helicopter modernization program. The program was recently given the go-ahead as part of a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) signed by the DSCA and the Dutch State Secretary of Defence. The LOA has a value of $1 billion and includes the training of pilots and the upgrade of 28 Apache ‘D’ helicopters to the ‘E’ variant. The AH-64E ‘Guardian’ attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64. It has a number of improvements and upgrades, including more powerful engines, upgraded transmission, a new fire control radar, new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities.
Jane’s reports that French defense contractor MBDA is pitching a new adaption for its Brimstone missile system to the Polish Army. The Polish Armaments Inspectorate recently issued a requirement for a stand-off anti-armor capability, and is currently running two acquisition programs. The programs are known as ‘Pustelnik’ and ‘Karabela’, and are in support of the Polish Territorial Defence Forces (WOT) and the Polish Army. The Brimstone adaption would be part of the Karabela program, that stipulates an 8 km–10 km anti-armor weapon to equip multiple platforms. When outfitted with the palletised surface-launched salvo-fire adaptation, the Brimstone could serve as solution across all platforms.
India’s quest of indigenously developing a 3rd generation anti-tank guided missile is nearing its end. The Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) met all mission objectives during recently held flight tests at India’s Ahmednagar test range. The missile is is fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead and can engage targets to distances of up to 2.5 km. The missile’s development started after a committee examined various aspects related to a Spike-MR deal with Israel. The first MPATGM prototype is expected to be handed over to the Indian army for user trials by the end of 2018. Mass production of the missile is expected to begin in 2021.
Watch: RT Documentary – Ka-52 Alligator: Strike Helicopter. The Tank Destroyer
Sep 18, 2018 05:00 UTC
Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is set to further support the US Army’s CROWS. The awarded firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $498.3 million and provides for the continued production, sustainment and recurring engineering services needed to keep the M153 CROWS operational. The Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS, is a multi-vehicle externally mounted remote weapon system that allows the Gunner to remain inside the armor protected vehicle while firing a variety of crew served weapons. It allows on-the-move target acquisition and first-burst target engagement. Capable of target engagement under day and night conditions, the CROWS sensor suite includes a daytime video camera, thermal camera and laser rangefinder. It can mount weapons such as the M2 HB .50-cal Machine Gun, Mk19 40-mm Automatic Grenade Machine Gun, M240B 7.62-mm MG and M249 5.56-mm Squad Automatic Weapon. Work is estimated to be completed by September 2022.
General Atomics is being contracted to upgrade several MQ-9 Ground Control Stations (GCSs). The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is valued at $92.2 million and provides for MD-1A Block 15 GCS to MD-1A Block 30 GCS retrofits. The upgraded ground station include intuitive interfaces that are designed to make potentially hazardous situations easier to identify and to improve the decision-making process generally. A GCS serves two purposes, it controls the UAV and serves as key component of the data collection and dissemination process. The GCS receives the information collected by a UAV, processes that information, and reroutes it via a datalink to the appropriate end user. Work will be performed at GA’s facility in Poway, California and is scheduled for completion by May 29, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The armed forces of Afghanistan, Nigeria and Lebanon are set to receive unguided rockets as part of a US FMS. General Dynamics – OTS, will be responsible to procure an unspecified number of Hydra rockets at a cost of $44.3 million. Hydra-70 is a family of unguided rockets offering a variety of warhead configurations. These versatile and relatively inexpensive rockets can be fired from a variety of aircraft, from attack helicopters to jet fighters to light helicopters, and are arguably the world’s most widely used helicopter-launched weapon system. This contract modification also includes FMS to Australia and the Philippines. Work will be perfumed at GD’s facility in Williston, Vermont, with an estimated completion date of March 2021.
The government of Iraq will soon see a boost to its inventory of trucks, thanks to a US FMS. Navistar Defense will procure 4×4 and 6×6 trucks under this $31.4 million firm-fixed-price contract. Navistar has been supporting the Iraqi Ministry of Defense since 2008 and has delivered over 7,000 trucks and buses to Iraq through foreign military sales contracts. The order will likely include several militarized six-wheel flatbed trucks that come with a reinforced suspension and turbo-charged diesel engine. And four-wheeled MRAPs built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other asymmetric threats. Most of the work will be performed at Navistar’s Lisle, Illinois factory. The contract will run through September 27, 2020.
The Swiss army plans to decommission one of its major weapons systems as part of its FY2018 budget plan. The army will reduce its fleet of F-5 Tiger fighter jets by half. Some of the jets have been donated to museums and the others will be sold to international buyers. The Swiss Air Force signed an initial procurement contract for 72 Tiger fighter aircraft , 66 of the type F-5E (single seater) and 6 of the type F-5F (double seater) in 1976. In 1981, after the platform proved itself to be ideally suited for the Swiss ‘militia system’ a decision was made to procure another 38 additional aircraft. The 26 Tiger jets that will remain in service will take on some air-support tasks currently performed by F/A-18s. Switzerland is currently in the process of modernizing its air-defense systems and plans to acquire several new fighter jets.
French aircraft-carrier Charles de Gaulle will soon commence sea-trials following its mid-life upgrade and refit. The French Navy’s sole nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, entered a dry dock in early 2017, after 15 years of operational deployments. The overhaul program is led by French shipbuilder Naval Group and costs about $1.5 billion. Beyond standard maintenance operations, including refueling its nuclear reactor, the project modernized the ship’s combat system to maintain and increase interoperability with allied navies and allow the ship’s transition to the “All Rafale” air wing. The midlife work extends the carrier’s operational life for at least 20 more years.
Aerovironment is being tapped to support and deliver a RQ-20B Puma AE II system to the Estonian armed forces. The firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $8.8 million and includes the UAS and relevant support. The Puma AE is capable of conducting intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition (ISRT), battle damage assessment, maritime patrol, search and rescue and drug interdiction missions over water or land. The Puma is Aerovironment’s largest mini-UAV, but it’s still man-portable and hand-launched. The Puma AE’s most significant innovation is that it can land on both land and water, surviving near-vertical “deep stall” final approaches. Work will be performed at the company’s facility in Monrovia, California and will be completed by end of March, 2019.
The Republic of Korea wants to purchase six P-8A Patrol Aircraft from the United States. The possible FMS is valued at $2.1 billion. The potential deal would also include several joint tactical radio systems, GPS, missile warning sensors, radar, electronic support measures and counter measure dispensing systems. The Poseidon is designed to perform a variety of tasks and provides a Navy with an anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-smuggling platform that can sweep the area, launch sensors or weapons as needed, and remain aloft for many hours. The plane is equipped with a combination of sonobuoys, radars, day/night surveillance equipment, and ESM gear. Its 11 hardpoints can be armed with Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes, depth charges, and some free-fall bombs. Prime contractor will be Boeing. Other contractors include – among others – Raytheon, WESCAM, Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin and DRS. The DSCA notes, that the “proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing Korea’s naval capabilities to provide national defense and significantly contribute to coalition operations”.
Watch: F-35B Lightning II Start-Up & Takeoff • Valiant Shield 18
Sep 17, 2018 05:00 UTC
General Dynamics Electric Boat is receiving additional funding to advance with work on the Navy’s new-class of ballistic missile submarines. The cost-plus-fixed-fee modification is valued at $480.6 million and provides for advance procurement and construction of the Columbia-class submarines. The USA aims to begin construction of the new SSBN in 2021, and have the new type enter service with the fleet in 2031. A total of 12 boats would be produced, with the last boat expected to leave service around 2085. The new Columbia-class boats will field 16 Trident II D5 nuclear ballistic missiles, along with torpedoes for self-defense. Work will be performed at multiple locations including Quonset, Rhode Island; Newport News, Virginia and Groton, Connecticut. This modification will be subsumed into the lead ship construction contract in October 2020.
The US Air Force is contracting Raytheon for materials needed to keep its AIM-9X infrared missile and Captive Air Training Missiles flying. The $24.7 million contract provides for the procurement of urgent spares, containers, and materials needed to repair and refurbish the missile systems. The AIM-9X is the USA’s newest short-range air-to-air missile, using an advanced array seeker that widens the missile’s “boresight” cone, and allows a TV-like “imaging infrared” picture that’s much harder to fool with decoys. The Captive Air Training Missiles is designed to simulate the weight and operations of the AIM-120 AMRAAM radar-guided missile for training purposes. The contract includes the procurement of four active optical target detectors (AOTD) and radio frequency (RF) data links, four tactical guidance units, eight CATM guidance units, five AOTD containers, one Block I propulsion steering section (PSS), one Block 2 PSS for the Navy, and similar acquisitions for the Air Force. Work will be performed at multiple national and international locations including Cheshire, Connecticut; Tucson, Arizona and Heilbronn, Germany and is set to run through March 2021.
The Missile Defense Agency needs more Intercontinental Ballistic Missile target kits. Orbital Sciences will provide three ICBM Stage 0 conversion kits and and associated support services at a cost of $34.2 million. Orbital’s target ICBMs are needed to test the Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptor designed to protect the US from incoming missiles. The awarded modification increases the total value of the contract to $1.2 billion. To date, Orbital ATK has designed and developed more than 200 targets, which include air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) target, the inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) target and the patriot target vehicle (PTV). Work will be performed at Orbital’s facility in Chandler, Arizona and at a missile test range in Promontory, Utah. The contract will run from September 2018 through December 2023.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Saudi Navy now flies the first of its new MH-60R helicopters. The helicopter was handed over at a ceremony last Thursday, marking a major milestone in the Saudi naval multirole helicopter acquisition program. The MH-60R is designed to handle all surface attack and anti-submarine roles by itself, and can fulfil secondary missions that include directing naval surface fire support, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation and communications and data relay. Saudi Arabia’s $1.9 billion purchase of 10 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters was finalised in 2015.
The Hellenic Air Force is upgrading its ageing fleet of F-16 fighter jets. Lockheed Martin is being contracted to upgrade a total of 85 Greek F-16s to the Block 70/72 Viper configuration. The Block 70/72 is the latest evolution of the venerable F-16 fighter designed in the 1970s. The core of the F-16V configuration is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution display; and a high-volume, high-speed data bus. The F-16V fighter jet can be deployed in suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) missions, air-to-ground and air-to-air combat, and deep interdiction and maritime interdiction missions. Purchase of the F-16V will provide Greece with a fourth generation fighter aircraft that is inter-operable with various international partner nations.
Jane’s reports that the Portuguese Army is ordering 12 RQ-11B Raven DDL UAS to strengthen its ISTAR Battalion’s surveillance systems company. The contract has a value of $6.9 million and also includes the acquisition of equipment and services. The RQ-11 Raven is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched UAV that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. The man-portable Raven system features 3 UAVs, a ground control unit, a remote video terminal, transit cases and support equipment. Deliveries are scheduled to take place from March 2019 to January 2021.
The State Department is determined to approve a FMS to the Republic of Korea. The Asian-nation wants to buy up to 64 Patriot PAC-3 MSE missiles for an estimated cost of $501 million. The PAC-3 MSE is the follow-on variant of the PAC-3 missile and is designed to be a longer range missile that is more agile, and able to counter both tactical ballistic missiles and more conventional threats. The PAC-3 MSEs improved capability is achieved through a higher performance solid rocket motor, modified lethality enhancer, more responsive control surfaces, upgraded guidance software, and insensitive munitions improvements. The deal would also include the purchase of two PAC-MSE Test Missiles, range and test programs and other services. South Korea needs those upgraded missiles to enhance its missile defense capabilities. The Korean peninsula has been a contested space for decades. Recently South and North Korean relations started to harmonise, with both sides granting concessions to each other.
According to a Defense News report, Indonesia is moving ahead with its gradual drive to modernize its military. Indonesia’s defense minister confirms that the country intends to buy new tactical air transport planes and heavy-lift helicopters from the United States. The expected procurement will likely include five C-130Js and three to five CH-47 Chinooks. The C-130J is the latest variant of the combat-proven Hercules, and comes with better performance and a lower operational costs than its predecessors. Indonesia plans to completely renew its fleet of ageing B and H variants – the oldest of which first flew in the early 1960s – by 2024. It is yet unclear if Indonesia already formally submitted a FMS request to the US State Department.
Watch: USAF CV-22 Osprey Demo Flight at Yokota Air Base, Japan
Sep 14, 2018 05:00 UTC
Boeing is being tapped to upgrade the Navy’s P-8A Aircrew Training System. The contract modification has a value of $194.5 million and provides for upgrades that are essential to meeting future mission capabilities. Upgrades will also be made to training systems located in Adelaide, Australia. The advanced training system will allow the Navy and RAAF to reduce the time the aircraft is used for training, and thus increases its availability for operations. Work will be performed at multiple locations including Jacksonville, Florida; Whidbey Island, Washington and Dallas, Texas. The contract is scheduled for completion by September 2023.
Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout qualifies for automated sea mine hunting operations. During the recently held US Navy Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, the unmanned helicopter successfully coordinated with a small robotic surface ship and unmanned submersible, by serving as a communications relay and situational awareness platform. The MQ-8C is an unmanned Bell 407 designed to operate from the Freedom and Independence class LCS, collect surveillance, conduct mine hunting and anti-submarine warfare missions. In the future the drone may be armed with the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), a BAE Systems product that transforms unguided 2.75-inch rockets into a precision-guided round. The Fire Scout completed its initial operational test and evaluation on board the USS Coronado in July.
Middle East & Africa
Reports suggest that the Zambian Air Force (ZAF) is now operating at least one Hermes 450 UAV. The Hermes 450 is produced by Israeli company Elbit and can serve as a dual surveillance/attack drone. The Hermes 450 incorporates a high wing design. The cylindrical shaped fuselage is attached with straight wings. The UAV has about 17-20 hours endurance at up to 18,000 feet altitude, and can carry about 396 pounds of payload.
French shipbuilder Naval Group is competing with German rival ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems over Egypt’s future acquisition of two additional corvettes for its Navy. In 2014 Naval Group landed a deal for the delivery of four Gowind-2500 corvettes of which two have been delivered. The initial contract comes with options for two additional vessels, however it is yet unclear if Naval Group will win the next tender. German competitor TKMS will likely over two of its Meko 200 corvettes, worth $1.2 billion, excluding weapons. However, if TKMS should land the contract, the ships could be equipped with MBDA’s Aster-15 missile.
The Spanish government is determined to buy 23 additional NH-90 transport helicopters. The NH-90TTH is the base variant for land and air forces. It can be outfitted with SOF, MEDEVAC and CSAR kits. The helicopter has been designed to perform operations in extreme weather conditions. It can start up and fly, land, and shut down in winds gusting up to around 65 mp/h without losing rotor control, flying day and night in heavy icing conditions down to temperatures of -22 F and at ranges of up to 300nm. Spain also plans to modernize its fleet of 17 CH-47D Chinooks, updating them to the current F variant.
The South Korean Marine Corps plans to acquire a large transport ship capable of carrying its future F-35Bs and armed UAVs. “We are considering building the LPX (large platform experimental)-type ship capable of carrying aircraft in close cooperation with the Navy,” Marine Corps chief Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo said during a press conference on Wednesday. No specifics about the future vessel have been given, however it seems that the Marine Corps wants to secure its own LPX apart from the Dokdo-class ships that are currently in operation or under construction. The Marine Corps wants to enhance its amphibious operations and surveillance capabilities and use robotics and cutting-edge technologies as means to amplify South Korea’s maritime power projection.
Raytheon’s SM-3 Block IB missile is proving itself to be a reliable interceptor. The Japanese Kongo-class destroyer JS Atago (DDG-177) fired the SM-3 during an intercept flight test in cooperation with the US Navy off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii. Block IB missiles are equipped with an advanced 2-color infrared seeker, and a 10-thruster solid throttling divert and attitude control system. This increment allows to defend against medium range missiles and some Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles. This test marks a significant milestone in missile defense cooperation between Japan and the US.
Watch: Japanese Destroyer Successful SM-3 Missile Intercept Test | Aegis BMD
Sep 13, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Army is ordering more Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGMs) from Lockheed Martin. The company will procure an unspecified number of the Hellfire replacements at a cost of $49.6 million. The JAGM is an air-to-ground missile that provides advanced line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight capabilities. The missile is equipped with a fire-and-forget seeker and boasts an increased range and lethality compared to its predecessor. The JAGM is able to engage a multitude of targets ranging from heavy vehicles and patrol craft to bunkers and buildings. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Orlando, Florida and is set to run through February, 2021.
The US Army is procuring combustible case cartridges for its artillery systems. Armtec Defense Products will produce and deliver the cartridges for the modular artillery charge systems M231/M232-series at a cost of $35.8 million. The M231/M232A1 MACS was developed as the propelling charge system for use in all currently-fielded 155mm howitzer systems. MACS leaves no residue in the cannon breech and eliminates the need to cut and/or retie bag charges. Combustible case cartridges are made of nitrocellulose-based molded-fiber components which makes them both durable and rigid. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each order. The contract is scheduled for completion by May, 2020.
The US Navy is awarding Tecnico Corp with a contract in support of the Landing Craft, Air Cushion service life extension program (LCAC SLEP). The firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $25.6 million and provides for three LCAC SLEP availabilities. The company will be responsible to repair and upgrade the LCAC’s buoyancy box, replace its gas turbine engine and will install a new skirt and an integrated command, control, computers, communications and navigation equipment package. The Landing Craft Air Cushion is a high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious air cushion landing craft capable of carrying a 75 ton maximum payload and operating from existing and planned well deck ships. The craft is used to transport weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel from ship to shore and across the beach. The LCAC SLEP will extend the service life of the platform from 20 to 30 years. Work will be performed in Little Creek, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by February 2021.
The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport is ordering support services from L3 Technologies. The company will provide support and repair services for the TB-23 towed array systems and related test equipment. Under this $49.3 million contract. Towed array sonars are kind of like Christmas lights, except each light is a sonar emitter. They trail in the water behind moving ships, which accepts the data they generate and collate each emitter’s data into a powerful underwater picture. The TB-23 is designed to help attack submarine crews detect, track, and engage hostile submarines at long distances. The array is particularly effective at detecting quiet conventional and nuclear-powered submarines. Work will be performed in Sylmar, California facility and is expected to be completed by December 2021.
Middle East & Africa
The Afghan Air Force can now fly Enhanced M 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters. MDHI recently delivered the first five MD 530Fs to Kandahar Air Base. The helicopter can be deployed in tactical, reconnaissance and transport operations, as well as carry out airborne law enforcement, executive and personnel transport, air medical services, search-and-rescue (SAR), firefighting and other public safety missions. Afghanistan ordered a total of 30 Cayuse Warriors at a cost of $1.4 billion. The multipurpose armed helicopter enhances scout attack, armed escort and close air attack capabilities of the Afghan Air Force.
Kuwait’s budget for the current fiscal year suggests that the country will buy several additional Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The Ministry of Defense plans to spend $1.1 billion on the Typhoons and another $1.1 billion on machinery and air transport equipment. Kuwait purchased an initial 28 Eurofighter aircraft equipped with the Captor-E active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar back in 2016. First deliveries of which are expected to commence in 2019.
Hungary welcomes two overhauled Mi-24Ps back into service. The Mi-24 is a an attack and transport helicopter that was first flown in 1970. The Mi-24P is a later variant of the helicopter and is equipped with anti-tank missile systems that allow it to engage moving armored targets, weapon emplacements and slow-moving air targets. It has a total of four underwing pylons for up to 12 anti-tank missiles. The helicopters are stationed at Szolnok.
The Australian National Audit Office is voicing concerns over the acquisition procedures involved in the $975 million purchase of the Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light for the Australian Defense Force. Hawkei is a lightweight protected vehicle designed and developed by Thales Australia. A total of 1.100 Hawkei vehicles were procured under Project Land 121 Phase 4 as replacement to the army’s fleet of unarmored Land Rovers. However as Jane’s notes, the auditor-general advised in a recent report that he has been unable to reach a clear conclusion on whether the procurement has been effective and achieved value for money.
Watch: Russia Started Mega-Maneuver “Wostok 2018”
Sep 12, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Air Force is ordering 18 additional KC-46A tanker aircraft from Boeing. The contract has a value of $2.8 billion and includes spares and support equipment for the Lot 4 aircraft. The KC-46A is a wide-body, multi-mission aircraft capable of transporting fuel, cargo, passengers and patients. The airframe is based on the KC-767 but comes with modifications like a cargo door, an advanced flight deck display and militarised modification ranging from an air refuelling operator station to threat detection and avoidance systems. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in Seattle, Washington and is expected to be completed by January 2022.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to advance its development of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extreme Range (JASSM-XR). The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is priced at $51 million and includes all all-up round level systems engineering and programmatic activities to align and phase the work necessary to design, develop, integrate, test, and verify component and subsystem design changes to the JASSM-XR baseline electronics, hardware, firmware, and operational flight software. Few details about the JASSM-XR are known to this date, however the missile will likely be a 5,000 pound-class weapon that can fly out to 1,000 nautical miles to deliver a lethal payload up to 2,000 pounds precisely on target. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s location in Orlando, Florida and is scheduled for completion by end of August, 2023.
L-3 Communications Vertex Aerospace is set to support the Navy’s fleet of T-45 Goshawk trainers. The $202.9 million contract modification provides for a mix of maintenance, logistics and engineering support operations needed to keep the trainer aircraft flying. The Goshawk is used to train US Navy and Marine Corps pilots for conversion into the F/A-18A-D Hornet, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet family, the AV-8B Harrier II Plus, and the EA-6B Prowler. And also serves as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft to future platforms like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter variants. Work will be performed at multiple Naval Air Stations. They include NAS Kingsville, Texas; NAS Meridian, Mississippi; NAS Pensacola, Florida and NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. The contract will run through September 2019.
The new US Air Force’s combat rescue workhorse will soon make its first test flight. The HH-60W, or Pave Hawk II will soon replace the ageing HH-60G Pave Hawks. The Whiskey boasts longer range, and a specially-developed tactical mission kit that will give pilots and para-rescue crew information from an array of sensors. The HH-60W can be deployed in casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation missions, civil search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and insertion or extraction of combat forces. The first two HH-60Ws are currently undergoing several months of instrumentation checks at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach, Florida facility. The Pave Hawk II program calls for the delivery of 112 helicopters at a cost of $7.9 billion. The Air Force expects to fly its first helicopter by March 2020, and says that deliveries will likely run through 2029.
Middle East & Africa
The US government is releasing a $1.2 billion military aid package to Egypt. The money includes $1 billion for the current 2018 budget year and $195 million appropriated for 2017 that would have had to have been returned to the Treasury had it not been spent by end of September. The funds were initially withheld by formed Secretary Rex Tillerson due to Egypt’s poor human rights record. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however is determined to continue with the obligations and expenditures of Foreign Military Funds as means to strengthen the US security cooperation with Egypt. Egypt has a variety of US-weapons in its inventory. They include F-16s, Apache helicopters, E-2C Hawkeye aircraft and the AGM-84 Harpoon. Egypt long has been a key US ally in the Middle East, receiving nearly $80 billion in military and economic assistance over the past 30 years.
UK defense company Meggitt is deepening its involvement in the South Korean KF-X fighter program. The company will supply Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) with engine vibration monitoring units (EVMUs) to be installed on KF-X prototypes. Meggitt already delivers fire detection and bleed air leak detection systems, produces wheels and brakes, and designs the jets sensors and displays. The South Korean Air Force plans to replace its ageing F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II aircraft once the production starts in the mid-2020s.
The State Department is determined to approve a possible FMS to Japan. The Japanese government is requesting the purchase of up to nine additional E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. The potential deal has a value of up to $3.1 billion. The purchase would also include information and communication terminals, APY-9 radars and a variety of other systems. The carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft, is designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. If the sale is approved Japan’s fleet of E-2Ds would increase to 23. Principal contractor will be Northrop Grumman.
A team of six Indian Air Force personnel is currently on a training mission in France. The team consists of a fighter pilot, an engineer and four technicians who are being trained on the Rafale jet, first of which will be introduced to the IAF in September 2019. The French-made jets were bought under a $8.8 billion emergency purchase to counter-weight a drop in IAF capabilities and fleet strength. Delivery of all 36 fighter aircraft is expected to be completed by end of 2022.
Watch: US Navy Ships Sortie Out of Naval Station Norfolk Prior to Hurricane Florence
Sep 11, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Navy is ordering propulsors and tailcones for its next batch of submarines. The $37.5 million contract modification enables BAE Systems Platforms & Services to procure and manufacture four ship sets of fixed propulsor, tailcone and associated hardware for Virginia-class submarines SSN 800 through SSN 803. The Virginia-class nuclear submarines have several innovations over the Los Angeles class that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities with an emphasis on littoral operations. The redesigned propulsor makes the Virginia-class submarines quieter than the Russian Akula-class and other fourth-generation attack submarines. Tailcones protect the hoses exiting the rear of the submarine and maintain stability during rapid accent. Work will be performed in Louisville, Kentucky; Minneapolis, Minnesota and Jacksonville, Florida. The contract is expected to be completed by October 2022.
DRS Network & Imagining Systems is being tapped to provide the US Army with the new Joint Effects Targeting System (JETS). The firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $231.4 million and will run through September 2028. The lightweight laser designator rangefinder, is a handheld, portable device for target observation, location, and designation. The primary components are the Target Locator Module (TLM) and the Laser Designator Module (LDM). The hand-held system includes a GPS; celestial compass; precision azimuth vertical angle module, or PAVAM; and a laser designator to enable forward observers to accurately identify a target and drop precision guided munitions such as a Hellfire missile or Excalibur 155mm artillery round to within 10 meters of the target. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each order.
The Air Force is increasing the budget for its Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). United Technologies is receiving a cost-plus-incentive-fee modification priced at $436.6 million for the design, fabrication, integration and testing of its flight-weight adaptive engines. Adaptive engines represent a revolutionary advance in turbine engine technology. The adaptive engine optimizes performance and fuel efficiency across the flight envelope by utilizing a third stream of air to optimize the engine at different flight conditions. The three-stream engine technology is considered critical in developing the Air Force’s sixth-generation fighters and will be included in the F135 engine that powers the F-35 JSF. The modification increases the total value of the contract to $1.4 billion. Work will be performed at the company’s location in East Hartford, Connecticut and is expected to be completed by end of February 2022.
Middle East & Africa
The Egyptian Navy is adding another corvette to its fleet. The ENS Port Said is the second of four Gowind 2500-class vessels and is the first modern warship built in Egypt. The Gowind 2500 is designed by France’s Naval Group, formerly known as DCNS. In 2014 Egypt became DCNS’ second customer for the multi-mission combat vessel when it ordered four ships at a cost of $1.3 billion, with one, El Fateh built in Lorient and the other three being built in Egypt. The ships feature a of sea-proven steel monohull design, can accommodate 50 to 75 crew members and can travel at a maximum speed of 27 knots. The vessels are equipped with 16 VL-MICA surface-to-air missiles and eight Exocet MM40 surface-to-surface missiles as well as one 76mm and two 20mm guns.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is currently testing the T625 helicopter. The Turkish Light Utility Helicopter (TLUH) is the country’s first indigenously-made 5 ton class helicopter. T625 is a new generation, twin engine rotorcraft designed for military, paramilitary and civilian purposes. Full-rate production of the T625 is expected to commence in 2021.
Flight Global reports that global fighter jet manufacturers are readying themselves to pitch their products to Poland’s “Harpia” fighter tender. Warsaw needs to replace its ageing fleet of RAC MiG-29 fighters and Sukhoi Su-22 ground-attack aircraft, but hasn’t defined its specific requirements yet. Boeing views its combat-proven F-15 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as potential contenders. Other competitors will likely include the Eurofighter consortium with the Typhoon, Lockheed Martin which could potentially offer either the F-16 Block 70/72 or F-35, and Saab, which is expected to promote its Gripen E.
Chinese defense contractor AVIC is introducing a light combat variant of its FTC-2000 trainer. The FTC-2000G is the latest derivative of the Guizhou JL-9 supersonic advanced jet, and is an export-oriented lightweight multirole combat aircraft. The model can have up to seven hardpoints and a maximum payload weight of 3,000 kg. According to Flight Global, the Chinese aircraft manufacturer says that assembly of the aircraft started in February at the Anshun factory of its Guizhou Aviation Industries Co unit. It is now scheduled to make its first flight in late September
The government of Australia is ordering more than a thousand additional military trucks and modules from Rheinmetall. The $496 million deal is part of Australia’s Land 121 Phase 5B project. The company is already supporting the Australian Defence Force with 2,500 medium- and heavyweight military trucks worth a total of $1.4 billion.
Watch: USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is replenished at sea
Sep 10, 2018 05:00 UTC
Rosemount Aerospace is being tapped to provide the Navy with angle of attack (AoA) transmitters for its F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. The company will procure a total of 360 transmitters at a cost of $7.1 million. The AoA transmitter is is mounted on the fuselage with the sensing probe extending through the aircraft fuselage. The probe provides an AoA indication by sensing the direction of local airflow. Navy planes usually have to perform takeoff and landing operations from a very short aircraft carrier runways; during those operations the transmitter measures the AoA directly and help the pilot fly close to the stalling point with greater precision. Work will be performed in Burnsville, Minnesota and is expected to be completed in September 2019.
General Dynamics is being contracted for work on the USS Bonhomme Richard. The awarded firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $218.7 million and provides for a combination of maintenance, modernization, and repair work on the Wasp-class vessel during its docking phased maintenance availability. From 2012 to earlier this year the USS Bonhomme Richard was stationed in Sasebo, Japan and served there as the flagship of the Amphibious Force 7th Fleet’s expeditionary strike group. The Landing Helicopter Dock amphibious assault ship is designed to deploy helicopters, landing craft, supplies and personnel. The Richard is capable of embarking Harrier and F-35B fighter jets. Its one of eight Wasp-class vessels. Work will be performed in San Diego, California and is scheduled for completion by May 2020.
ATK Launch Systems is being contracted to keep the US land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in shape. The contract has a value of $86.4 million and provides for component testing, evaluation, engineering support and disposal for all stages of Minuteman and Peacekeeper systems. ICBMs have been part of the US primary strategic deterrence capability for the past 50 years, as part of a nuclear-armed triad that also includes submarine-launched ballistic missiles and long range heavy bombers. The Minuteman III entered service in 1970 and is currently the only operational ICBM. The Peacekeeper, also known as MX was introduced in the 1980’s as a first-strike weapon capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads to destroy Soviet missile silos. Work will be performed in Utah.
Alliant Techsystems Operations and General Dynamics are set to compete for each order of a $1.8 billion contract. The companies will provide the US military with 20mm, 25mm, 30x113mm, and 30x173mm medium caliber ammunitions. 20mm rounds are the standard load of many US aircraft like the F/A-18 which is equipped with a M61A1 six-barrel Gatling gun. 25mm ammunition fired by the Bushmaster cannon which can be found on Navy ships and the Bradley. The AH-64 Apache fires 30×113 mm rounds from its M230 Chain gun, while 30x173mm rounds are fired from the GAU-8 Avenger minigun installed on the A-10 Thunderbolt II. Work locations and funding will be allocated with each order. The contract is set to run through September 2023.
Middle East & Africa
The Kingdom of Jordan is strengthening its bilateral relationship with the Philippines. The two countries recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Defense Cooperation between the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and the Department of National Defense of the Philippines. Under this MOU, Jordan will transfer two of its $18 million AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters to the Philippines as means to support the country’s ongoing counter-terror efforts. The helicopters will be turned over to the Philippine government in July 2019 after the training of Filipino pilots.
France is joining the 21st space race amid growing fears of a future conflict. French Defense Minister Florence Parly plans to invest a total of $4.2 billion to renew and upgrade French military satellites and to protect its highly sensitive networks from prying eyes. “We will install surveillance cameras on our satellites so we will know who is approaching us,” Parly said during an interview with a French TV station. Last Friday Parly openly accused Russia of eavesdropping on secure military communications and said the Russian satellite has “big ears” and is “well-known but a bit indiscreet” and added “France is and will be a space power.” On June 28, the French parliament adopted a bill on military planning for 2019-2025, envisaging the increase of defense spending up to 2% of the country’s GDP. The French investment plan comes weeks after US President Donald Trump announced a plan to create a “Space Force”, a new branch of the US military by 2020.
The Taiwanese government plans to significantly boost its F-16 budget. The Ministry of National Defense will need about $4.6 billion to maintain parity between the upgraded F-16s and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s tactical fighters. A large chunk of the budget will be spend on a variety of air-to-air missiles and automated ground collision avoidance systems. The ROCAF has a total of 115 F-16s, of which 24 are out of service for upgrades at any point and 16 are in the USA for training at Luke AFB. By 2023 Taiwan will have an updated fleet of F-16Vs. The latest variant of the fighter jet integrates advanced capabilities as part of an upgrade package to better interoperate with fifth-generation fighters, including the F-35 and the F-22. The Viper can be deployed in suppression of enemy air defense missions, air-to-ground and air-to-air combat, and deep interdiction and maritime interdiction missions.
Watch: RARE MOMENT: HMS Queen Elizabeth meet USS Iwo Jima in the USA