Nov 23, 2018 05:00 UTC
Thales Defense and Security is being awarded with a delivery order for the repair of the airborne low frequency sonar system (ALFS) sonar dome installed on the Navy’s MH-60R helicopters. The undefinitized contract action is priced at $14 million and covers the repair of 58 sonar units. The AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) is the primary undersea warfare (USW) sensor of the MH-60R multi-mission helicopter. This integrated dipping sonar system enables the ‘Romeo’ to perform ASW missions. including submarine detection, tracking, localization and classification. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland and Brest, France. Performance is expected to be completed by November 2020.
Boeing is being contracted to increase resilience of the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) communication system. The $14 million contract modification includes mitigation and anti-jam efforts and additional strings. The Wideband Global SATCOM satellite system is the successor to the Defense Satellite Communications System-III, and is the backbone of US military global satellite communications. The WGS constellation provides flexible, high-capacity high-data-rate and long-haul communications for the nation’s warfighters. Boeing’s experts will provide an X-Band anti-jam upgrade for the satellite constellation that increases resilience to unintentional and hostile electronic threats. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facilities in El Segundo, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by February 28, 2021.
Embraer is one step closer in achieving the Final Operation Capability (FOC) for its KC-390 transport aircraft. During recently held tests at Brasília Air Force Base, Embraer was able to successfully complete troop unloading, evacuation by hatch and evacuation tests through the front and rear doors of the multi-mission medium airlift. About 370 Brazilian Air Force and Brazilian Army participated in the tests. “By completing this important stage of the testing campaign toward final military certification with excellence, the KC-390 demonstrates compliance with the industry’s most stringent operating and safety standards,” said Walter Pinto Junior, vice-president of the KC-390 Program. The Brazilian Air Force currently has 28 multi-role tankers on order, with the first expected to be delivered in the first half of 2019. Embraer hopes that its new aircraft will rival Lockheed Martin’s C-130.
One of the Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters dropped for the first time a GBU-49 precision bomb. The converted “dumb” bomb was dropped during a combat training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II is a dual-mode GPS and laser-guided 500 pound bomb designed for attacking both stationary and moving targets. It is an improved derivative of the laser-guided GB-10 Paveway II. “It’s a really flexible weapon,” Lt. Col. Matthew Johnston said in a press release. “It was reliable, accurate, and effective.” The GBU-49 can be used in a variety of weather conditions.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries can now offer a next-generation version of its Drone Guard counter-UAV system. Drone guard is able to detect, track and disrupt hostile UAVs. Developed by IAI subsidiary Elta, Drone Guard is comprised of 3-Dimensional (3D) radars and Electro-Optical (EO) sensors for detection and identification, as well as dedicated Electronic Attack (EA) jamming systems for disrupting drone flight. The radar setup includes the ELM-218M, ELM-2026B and ELM-2026 for short (3km), medium (5km) and long (6 km) ranges, respectively. The newly developed next-generation system adds a communication intelligence (COMINT) suite for more precise detection, classification and identification based on broadcast frequencies. The jamming disrupts the drone’s flight and can either cause it to return to its point-of-origin (‘Return Home’ function) or to shut down and make a crash landing.
The Belgium government is advancing in its MQ-9B acquisition program. The Belgian MoD will now start negotiations with the US Government to acquire the SkyGuardian UAS. The SkyGuardian is a NATO-standard variant of the B-model Predator. The Sky Guardian has a 13-foot longer wingspan than the Predator-B, a more damage tolerant composite airframe with double the service life, nearly twice the operational endurance and a greater payload capacity. “We look forward to providing our unmanned aircraft systems to meet Belgium’s mission requirements, while also supporting the NATO Alliance,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “We are also eager to work with our industrial partners in Belgium on a host of activities ranging from manufacturing to maintenance.” The MQ-9B also flys for the UK Royal Air Force, where it is the main platform of the country’s Protector program.
Russian firm Rosoboronexport is being contracted to supply the Indian Army with a Very-Short-Range Air Defence, or VSHORAD system. The decision about the $1.5 billion delay comes after months of delays over complaints made by other competitors in the competition. The Russian company reportedly undercut offers by Sweden’s SAAB RBS-70 NG and France’s MBDA Mistral. Both Saab and MBDA have complained to the Indian army that the Russian firm was even allowed to be a finalist, as it had failed two initial technical tests. It is latest model of Russian MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense system) technology. It offers superior performance over earlier supplied SA-18 missiles to India. The Igla-S can be used to engage a variety of targets including tactical aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The new systems will replace India’s ageing inventory of Igla-M air defense systems.
Watch: Watch the Su-57 operating in Syria
Nov 22, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Air Force’s next-generation stealth bombers will be maintained at Tinker Air Base in Oklahoma and at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The B-21 Raider previously referred to as the Long-Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B, is expected to be delivered in the mid-2020s. The air bases will be responsible to coordinate all maintenance and sustainment efforts of the new aircraft, which includes leading testing and evaluation efforts. This decision comes as the Northrop Grumman-made B-21 is expected to enter its critical design review milestone next month. The Air Force plans to buy a total of 100 Raiders as replacement to its fleet of B-2s and B-1Bs, which are expected to be retired by 2040. “From flight testing the X-15 to the F-117, Edwards AFB in the Mohave Desert has been at the forefront of keeping our Air Force on the cutting edge,” says Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen David L. Goldfein. “Now, testing the B-21 Raider will begin another historic chapter in the base’s history.”
Vista Outdoor Sales is being contracted to supply special ammunition to the Navy and the Marine Corps. Awarded by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the firm-fixed-price, IDIQ contract provides for the delivery of 5.56mm ball, carbine, barrier ammunition. This ammunition is designed to defeat intermediate barriers such as auto windshields and doors while providing sufficient terminal performance. The full name and designation of the round is the MK 318 MOD 0 “Cartridge, Caliber 5.56mm Ball, Carbine, Barrier”. Developed as a SOST (Special Operations Science and Technology) ammo, the 62 grain bullet features an open tip with lead at the front and a thick copper base. The lead is designed to defeat barriers and the copper to penetrate the barrier. Work will be performed at the company’s factory in Anoka, Minnesota. The $41.2 million contract is expected to be completed by November 2023.
IMSAR LLC is being tapped to proceed to Phase III of a previously awarded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. The awarded $10 million delivery order provides for ongoing work on the SBIR Topic AF112-144 entitled “Advanced Radar Concepts for Small (Tier I/II) Remotely Piloted Aircrafts.” The research program aims to develop a small multi-mode Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR) for small UAV’s. GSR is an integral part of the DoD’s Battlefield Awareness requirement. However nearly all ‘small radars’ (weighing 10 lbs or less) are limited to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) processing and lack a Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) and Dismount Detection Radar (DDR) capability. IMSAR is responsible to develop a new ‘small radar’ that incorporates SAR, GMTI and DDR capabilities and bridges the gap between advanced weapon system radars, and small Size Weight & Power radar systems that can operate on Group I/II Remotely Piloted Aircrafts.
Middle East & Africa
The Israel Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire upgraded F-15s to supplement its fleet of F-35 ‘Adir’ fighter aircraft. The squadron of F-15IAs will include certain stealth capabilities, such as radar-absorbing paint and internal weapons carriage. The fighter jets will be capable of carrying 11 missiles, in addition to 28 heavy, smart bombs for ground targets. Other additions include Raytheon’s AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radar, a long-range infrared search and track (IRST) sensor system, allowing for a “first sigh-first shot-first kill” capability and a helmet cueing system. With this upcoming purchase, Israel will be the third Middle-Eastern country to do so. Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have ordered their respective SA and QA variants which are the most advanced Eagles in the world. However experts say that Israel’s Eagle will be even more capable and advanced than the others. The upcoming deal marks the first Boeing fighter jet acquisition by the Israeli Air Force in two decades, with the first F-15IA expected to arrive in Israel as soon as 2023. The IDF says the new F-15 will not completely replace the F-35 stealth fighter, but is intended to reinforce the systems currently in place to enhance the range of capabilities to an optimal position vis-à-vis its missions—from Iran to Gaza.
The Czech Republic joins the multi-national European MALE RPAS program, formerly known as EuroDrone and EuroMALE project. The effort headed by Germany in partnership with France, Italy, and Spain was noted in the European Council’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) updated list of projects. This advanced UAV is being developed in partnership with Dassault Aviation (France) and Leonardo (Italy) and will from now on probably involve Aero Vodochody as it is the Czech Republic’s prime defense contractor. The drone is slightly bigger as IAI’s Heron TP has a turboprop engine and will be capable of carrying various weapon systems. EuroMALE external link is the second biggest European defense project and costs about $356 million. The drone has a wingspan of 26 meters, can carry up to 992 pounds of equipment and can fly for about 24 hours on an altitude of 49.000 feet. The European MALE RPAS development phase is expected to be launched in 2019, with a prototype first flight expected in early 2023 and delivery of the first system in about 2025.
The Japanese government is requesting the purchase of several Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). If approved by Congress the deal would see for the delivery of 32 AIM-120C-7 missiles at a cost of $63 million. Raytheon’s AIM-120 AMRAAM has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles. At present, the AIM-120-C7 is the most advanced AMRAAM approved for export beyond the USA. It features an improved seeker head, greater jamming resistance, and slightly longer range. Also included are containers, weapon support and support equipment as well as various contractor repair and support services. The DSCA notice states that the potential deal will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by supporting a key US ally and one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific.
The US State Department is determined to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan. The $561 million sale includes the delivery of 8 SM-3 IB missiles and 13 SM-3 IIA missiles. Block IB missiles allow the Japanese navy to defend against medium range and some intermediate range missiles developed by rouge regimes such as North Korea. IB upgrades include an advanced 2-color infrared seeker, and a 10-thruster solid throttling divert and attitude control system. Block IIA is a co-operative US-Japanese program, that adds a larger, more maneuverable “high-divert” kill vehicle. Once deployed the IIA missile will handle the near-strategic IRBM threat, and even engage some ICBMs. The contract also includes the provision of missile canisters and contractor support ranging from technical assistance, engineering and logistical support services. Prime contractors will be Raytheon and BAE Systems, who will respectively produce the missiles and canisters.
Watch: Indo Defence 2018: Pandur II 8×8 Infantry Fighting vehicle
Nov 21, 2018 05:00 UTC
Lockheed Martin is being contracted to mitigate the upcoming obsolescence of F-35 JSF essential semiconductors. Awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, the $41.5 million firm-fixed-price delivery order provides for procurement of new Xilinx and Intel-Altera field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). An FPGA is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing. They are configurable computer processors with large amounts of logic gates and RAM blocks to implement complex digital computations. The devices can carry out any logical function similar to an application-specific integrated circuit. The F-35s communication, navigation, and identification friend or foe (IFF) avionics rely on FPGAs, as do other critical electronic subsystems aboard the advanced fighter aircraft. The contract combines purchases for the US Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as to FMS customers. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2019.
The US Navy is procuring a number of Identification Friend or Foe Interrogator (IFFI) units for its P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Telephonics will deliver up-to 50 IFFIs and their associated mounting trays at a cost of $15.1 million. This contract also includes purchases for partner countries and FMS customers. The AN/UPX-43 is a Mark XIIA monopulse and AIMS-certified IFF interrogator for command and control. It enables air traffic controllers and air defenders to identify military and civilian aircraft, verify forces as friendly, and determine their bearing and range. The first order under this IDIQ contract combines purchases for the Navy ($2.7 million) and for the British Royal Air Force ($900 million). Work will be performed at Telephonics’ factory in Farmingdale, New York, and is expected to be completed in November 2021.
Thales Air Traffic Management is being tapped to support worldwide aircraft deployment by the US military. The awarded firm-fixed-price contract option provides for 9 Deployable-Instrument Landing System (D-ILS) production units and has a value of $30.6 million. The highly mobile D-ILS units will be used in airfield environments to precisely guide pilots on their final approach during low-visibility or low-ceiling weather conditions. The Thales D-ILS essentially provides the equivalent of fixed-based Instrument Landing System capability at tactical airfields and environmentally diverse regions such as sites hit by natural disasters. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $126 million. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by September, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli military officials are satisfied with the performance of the country’s Iron Dome air-defense system. Iron Dome is an effective, truck-towed mobile air defense system developed to counter very short range rockets and artillery shell (155mm) threats with ranges of up to 70km. During a recent escalation several militant organisations in the Gaza Strip launched a barrage of missile and mortar fire into Israel. From the 12th to the 13th of November about 460 107mm and 122mm short-range rockets and mortars were launched towards southern Israel. An IDF source told Jane’s that the Iron Dome batteries “performed in an excellent manner” by intercepting more than 100 projectiles heading towards civilian built-up areas in Israel.
The US State Department is determined to approve a FMS to NATO. Requested by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency the potential $320.5 million contract sees for the sale of various precision guided munitions kits. This includes the delivery of 2040 JDAM kits for GBU-31 2000 lbs and GBU-38 500lbs bombs. The contract further includes the delivery of required Munitions Adapter Units, Enhanced Computer Control Groups and Joint Programmable Fuzes for the weapon systems. Prime contractors Boeing and Raytheon will also provide NATO with laser kits, proximity sensors, Wireless Paveway Avionics Kit (WIPAK) interfaces and logistic services. This order will support following NATO members: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. This sale increases the quantity of precision-guided munitions within NATO and allows for their pre-coordinated transfer in support of national and NATO requirements.
The Finnish government is concluding the pre-bid dialogue phase of its H-X contest which seeks to find a suitable replacement for the country’s fleet of 62 Boeing F/A-18C/Ds. During this phase the government held a series of talks with industry with the aim to outline the contract parameters and the industrial offset proposed for Finnish industry. Shortlisted companies include Boeing with its F-18 Super Hornet, Dassault with its Rafale, Lockheed Martin and its F-35 JSF, Saab’s Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Helsinki expect preliminary offers early next year, with improved bids leading to a final decision in 2021. First deliveries are expected to commence in 2025. Project manager Lauri Puranen wrote in a blog on the Finnish MoD website that “all the manufacturers have taken the challenge seriously and are striving to provide Finland with the best possible overall package,” adding that “none of the candidates have a better or worse status”.
Tokyo is ordering the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Northrop Grumman. The $489 million contract includes the delivery of three RQ-4 Block 30i air vehicles, two ground control elements, spares, support equipment and other program activities. Each UAV will contain an enhanced integrated sensor suite payload (EEIS). Developed by Raytheon, the EISS comprises an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, synthetic aperture radar imagery, and ground moving target indicator elements. The Global Hawk’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of ISR collection capability to support joint combatant forces in worldwide peacetime, contingency and wartime operations. The Global Hawk provides persistent near-real-time coverage using imagery intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT) and moving target indicator (MTI) sensors. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s factory in San Diego and will run through September 2022.
The Royal Australian Air Force is fitting external fuel tanks on its C-130J Hercules aircraft in an attempt to boost its ability to perform a range of missions. The fuel tanks increase the fuel capacity of a Hercules from 19 tonnes to 27 tonnes. “Extra fuel is useful during Forward Arming and Refuelling Point operations, where the crew land and offload fuel to another aircraft, vehicle or storage tank,” Air Commodore William Kourelakos said in a statement. Flown by the Air Mobility Group, the effectiveness of the external tanks will be tested in December, where one C-130J will support Operation Christmas Drop in Guam. This involves the delivery of donated gifts to remote island communities in the West Pacific. “Some of these missions are to islands more than 2000km from Guam, where there’s very limited options to divert in the event of an emergency. Carrying that extra fuel would make some aspects of mission planning easier, allow crews to deliver to more island communities, or increase the amount of time loitering at a Drop Zone,” the Air Commodore concluded.
Watch: Going Behind Enemy Lines With Apache And Wildcat Helicopters | Forces TV
Nov 20, 2018 05:00 UTC
Space Vector and OrbitalATK are being contracted to support the Air Force’s Sounding Rocket Program-4 (SRP-4). Valued at $424 million the multiple-award IDIQ contract will be used to meet DoD’s and other government agency requirements needed to accomplish the Rocket Systems Launch Program’s (RSLP) sub-orbital mission. This includes sub-orbital research, development and test launch services, including prototype demonstrations and provision of missile defense targets. The RSLP program is responsible for providing suborbital launch capability for various DoD, DOE, and NASA organizations. The companies will use excess Minuteman rocket motors and other ballistic missile assets. Work will be performed at Space Vector’s facility in Chatsworth, California and at OrbitalATK’s facility in Chandler, Arizona. The contract includes a seven-year ordering period.
Lockheed Martin is receiving additional funding for work on the Trident II (D5) missile system. The two cost-plus-fixed-fee modifications are worth a combined $90.4 million and cover missile production and deployed system support. The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the US Navy’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles, and are found aboard Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines. The D5 is a three-stage, solid-fuel submarine-launched intercontinental-range ballistic missile. The US Navy initially planned to keep Trident submarines in service for 30 years, but has had to extend their service life to 42 years until 2027. The Navy expects to spend $4.8 billion on Trident II modifications between FY2018 and 2021. Work will be performed at multiple location including, but not limited to, Sunnyvale, California; Denver, Colorado and Cape Canaveral, Florida. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by September 30, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a contract modification to continue work on Saudi Arabia’s new warships. The undefinitized contract action modification provides for long-lead-time material and detail design in support of the construction of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships (MMSC). The order is valued at $282 million and includes Foreign Military Sales funding in the amount of $124 million. The MMSC is a derivative of the US Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship. Its mission capabilities include anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare, and special operations. Saudi Arabia’s new ships will be fitted with Mk-41 VLSs, Lockheed’s COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems, CIWS, a Mk-75 76mm OTO Melara Gun and several missile systems. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s locations in Marinette, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland; Herndon, Virginia; Moorestown, New Jersey; Manassas, Virginia and San Diego, California. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by October 2025.
The Royal Navy achieves another milestone aboard Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. RAF test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell recently completed a special landing manoeuvre with a F-35B. Edgell reportedly flew the STOVL aircraft facing the stern, not bow, before bringing the jet to a hover, slipping it over the huge flight deck and gently setting it down. This ‘back-to-front’ manoeuvre is intended to give naval aviators and the flight deck are more options to safely land the 5th generation fighter jet in an emergency. The wrong-way landing was a slightly surreal experience, said Squadron Leader Edgell. “It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing.”
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to start work on the second batch of E-2D aircraft for Japan. The FMS contract is priced at $33 million and provides for long-lead acquisitions related to the production of the fifth aircraft (JAA5) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft is designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. The E-2D comes with enhanced operational capabilities including the replacement of the old radar system with Lockheed Martin AN/APY9 radar, upgraded communications suite, mission computer, displays and the incorporation of an all-glass cockpit. The aircraft will improve Japan’s ability to effectively provide homeland defence utilizing an AEW&C capability. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the United States, France and Canada including, but not limited to, Syracuse, New York; Marlborough, Massachusetts; Aire-sur-l’Adour, France and Falls Church, Virginia. The initial batch is due to be delivered to the JASDF between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, while the fifth aircraft will follow before the end of 2022.
India’s Ministry of Defense has issued a letter of request to the US government bringing it one step closer in acquiring several MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. First announced in August 2018, the 24 unit order is part of larger defense acquisition program totalling at $6.5 billion. The Indian Navy will replace its ageing fleet of Sea King Mk 42B/C and Ka-28 helicopters with the Seahawks at a cost of $1.8 billion. The ‘Romeo’ is a next-generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter. It can carry two Mk-46, Mk-50 or Mk-54 light air-launched torpedoes, two AGM-119B Penguin anti-ship missiles or four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The R variant can also perform secondary missions such as SAR, CSAR, vertical replenishment, medical evacuation and insertion and extraction of special forces. If the deal is approved, India could receive the first aircraft by 2020 and the last by 2024
The Japanese government will delay a planned deployment of V-22 Ospreys amidst local opposition. The MoD initially intended to deploy 17 Ospreys to Saga airport in southwestern Japan in an effort to strengthen defense of remote islands in the southwest amid China’s increasingly aggressive posture. “It’s true that we are seeing a delay in the entire schedule. We’ll try to realize the delivery as soon as possible,” Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters, without elaborating on when the aircraft are now expected to arrive to Japan. Local residents are resisting the scheduled deployment because the tilt-rotor aircraft are considered to be noisy and accident-prone. Japan received the first of its 19 ordered Ospreys in August 2017.
Watch: The Prius Vulcan
Nov 19, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Air Force is stocking up its missile inventory. The service is ordering 50 long range anti-ship missiles (LRASMs) from Lockheed Martin. The Lot 2 production effort is priced at $172 million. The LRSAM program started in 2009 with to goal to develop a new generation of anti-ship weapons, offering longer ranges and better odds against improving air defense systems. The Navy needs the advanced anti-ship missile as an urgent capability stop-gap solution to address range and survivability problems with the Harpoon and to prioritize defeating enemy warships. The LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships using its sensors, encrypted communications and a digital anti-jamming GPS. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factory in Orlando, Florida and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2021.
Raytheon is being tapped to provide the Navy with an integral component of the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system. The company will produce and deliver several Common Array Block antennas at a cost of $34 million. CEC essentially brings together multiple sensors to provide high quality situational awareness and integrated fire control capability, improved battle force effectiveness and enables longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies. The Common Array Block is a next generation Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based CEC antenna. This high-power Common Array Block antenna increases the system’s reliability and efficiency while also reducing its size, weight and cost. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s locations in Largo, Florida and Andover, Massachusetts. Performance is scheduled to run through October 2020.
Rolls Royce is being contracted to support the US Navy’s Ship-to-Shore Connector program. The company is being awarded with a firm-fixed-price modification worth $41 million. The contract provides for the procurement of 20 MT7 marine turbine engines used to power Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 100-class craft 109 through 113. The program seeks to replace existing Navy landing hovercraft with the LCAC 100 due to current craft nearing the end of their service life. Each LCAC 100 craft mounts four MT7 engines. The MT7 combines modern turbine materials and technology to provide a state-of-the-art power system suited to a range of naval applications such as main propulsion and power generation. Work to be performed includes production of the MT7 engines and delivery to Textron Marine Systems for the assembly of the LCAC 100 class craft. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed by January, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish defense contractor Roketsan is reportedly working on a new short-range anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). According to Jane’s the company is currently accelerating development of the 125 mm manportable missile. Dubbed Karaok, the weapon is being designed for airborne infantry, amphibious assault units and special operation forces. It is a single-use, shoulder-launched weapon system that has an effective range of over 1100 yards. The 43 inch long weapon weighs close to 55 lbs and features an aligned, cruciform fold-out wing and aft fin assembly. The Karaok features a tandem warhead and a hybrid dual-stage rocket motor. This allows the weapon to be fired from an enclosed space. The guidance section consists of an integrated inertial measurement unit and an imaging infrared seeker. An official told Jane’s that the Karaok concept “provides for a new lightweight ATGM solution to meet the requirements of dismounted rapid response units, primarily special forces”.
French defense manufacturer MBDA successfully completes another milestone in its anti-ship missile development program. The company is currently developing a new version of its proven Marte platform. The Marte ER (extended range) is the third generation of the missile system that arms NFH90 and AW101 helicopters flown by the Italian Army. During a recently held test at an Italian test range the missile flew for about 62 miles on a pre-planned trajectory that included the passing of several waypoints and a sea-skimming flight. This new missile version meets the operational requirements of engaging targets well beyond the radar horizon. The Marte ER missile uses many of the technologies and has a great commonality with the standard Marte MK2 missile with the main difference lying in the turbo-engine propulsion system that provides a much greater effective range. Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, managing director of MBDA Italia said, “This test is a further confirmation of the robustness of the ER version of the Marte family of multi-platform anti-ship missiles that can be launched by ships, helicopters, coastal batteries and fast jets.
Australia is opting for General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper to fulfil its AIR 7003 requirement. Project AIR 7003 will see the delivery of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS). Australian ministers for Defense, Christopher Pyne, and Defense Industry, Steven Ciobo, jointly announced the selection of the Reaper over IAI’s Heron TP on November 16. GA says that its MQ-9 is a system fully-interoperable with Australia’s allies, including the US, the UK and France. “These new aircraft will provide enhanced firepower and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to a range of missions,” said Cristopher Pyne, adding, “The aircraft will be operated under the same laws of armed conflict, international human rights law, and rules of engagement as manned aircraft.” The Team Reaper Australia includes nine other companies: Cobham Australia, CAE Australia, Raytheon Australia, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Ultra Electronics Australia, Airspeed, and Quickstep Holdings Ltd.
South Korea’s next-generation attack submarines will be fitted with newly developed lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries will almost double the operational hours of the vessel compared to submarines powered by lead-acid batteries. Announced by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, the batteries will be installed onto the KSS-III Batch II diesel-electric submarines which will be launched in the mid-2020s. Following 30 months of development, the batteries passed a technology readiness assessment, a step toward integration on a weapons platform, the agency said in a news release. Developed by Samsung, the lithium-ion batteries are a somewhat novelty in the naval sector. Once considered to be expensive and too unstable for submarines, Korean developers are taking the risk and strongly prioritize safety and reliability. The new 3,000-ton KSS-III sub is 83.3-meter-long, 9.6-meter-wide, and can accommodate a crew of 50. It is capable of operating underwater without surfacing for up to 20 days. Its maximum underwater speed is estimated at 20 knots with a maximum operational range of 10,000 nautical miles. KSS-III is expected to be produced in three batches, with the last submarine expected to be delivered in 2029.
Watch: Trying out the British Army’s new assault rifle
Nov 16, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Department of Defense is ordering a new batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed Martin. The company is being awarded with a $23 billion contract modification that covers the procurement of 255 aircraft. About 106 planes will be delivered to US services, including 64 F-35As for the Air Force, 26 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and 16 F-35Cs for the Navy. Another 89 JSFs will be delivered to non-DoD participants of which 71 are A variant and 18 are B variants. A number of Foreign Military Sales customers will receive the remaining 60 F-35s in their A version. This modification includes low rate initial production lot 12 for US services and LRIP 12, 13 and 14 for international partner countries and FMS customers. Lots 12 and 13 jets are set to be delivered in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The definitization of the final LRIP 14 contract is expected to take place in 2020, with deliveries expected for 2022. Work will be performed at multiple locations worldwide. They include, but are not limited to, Fort Worth, Texas; San Diego, California; Nagoya, Japan and Warton United Kingdom. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed in March 2023.
The US Navy is ordering more ‘workhorses’ for its troops from Lockheed Martin. The company is being tapped to provide the Navy with eight MH-60R rotorcraft at a cost of $382 million. The order also includes associated systems engineering and program management support. The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter replaces SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters in the US Navy’s fleet and combines the capabilities of these aircraft. The helicopter can perform a multitude of mission ranging from anti-submarine warfare to naval gunfire support. Its two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines give it a cruise speed of 168 km/h to a range of 834km. The Navy will eventually replace its entire fleet of SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters with the MH-60R. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facilities in Owego, New York; Stratford, Connecticut and Troy, Alabama. The helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by September 2020.
L-3 Communications is being awarded with a multi-million support contract. Awarded by the US Air Force and priced at $35 million, the contract provides for logistic services in support of the service’s C-12 fleet. The C-12 Huron is a military version of an executive passenger and transport aircraft based on the Beech Model 200 Super King Air. Its primary functions include range clearance, embassy support, medical evacuation, VIP transport, passenger and light cargo transport. The support concept is based on total contractor support wherein a commercial contractor provides all FAA approved maintenance and material support. Services include engine repair/overhaul; propeller repair/overhaul; and airframe and avionics overhaul/repair. Work will be performed at global areas of operation including Madison, Mississippi; Buenos Ares, Argentina; Accra, Ghana and Gaborone, Botswana. The contract is set to run through December 31, 2018.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Bahraini Air Force will receive several attack helicopters as part of a US Foreign Military Sale. The US Department of State approved the deal for 12 AH-1Z Vipers, worth an estimated $912 million, in April this year. Bahrain expects delivery of the helicopters from the second half of 2022 onwards. The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a modern version of the AH-1 Cobra, the first ever attack helicopter. It is one of the most powerful, capable and advanced helicopters, flying today. Bahrain’s fleet will be armed with 14 AGM-114 Hellfires, and 56 Advance Precision Kill Weapon System II. The Viper’s manufacturer Bell, alongside Textron and General Electric have been listed as principal contractors on the sale. Bell CEO Mitch Snyder said the “most advanced helicopter in production” would “help protect the country for decades to come”.
The British MoD doubles its fleet of F-35 JSFs with a new 17-jet order. The Royal Air Force currently has 16 F-35As stationed at its base in Marham and has an additional two aircraft on order. The new 17 aircraft will be B variants for the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. The planes are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2022. Britain is the only Tier 1 partner outside the USA, and they have invested about $2 billion equivalent in the F-35’s development. They took delivery of their 1st IOT&E training and test aircraft in July 2012. “I am delighted to confirm that we are doubling the size of our F-35 force into a formidable fleet of 35 stealth fighters. This is another massive order in the biggest defence programme in history. Our military and industry are playing a leading role in the F-35 programme. We are now building this game-changing capability that will soon be ready for frontline action. This programme is set to bring an immense boost of £35 billion ($44 billion) into the British economy, and it will be welcome news to our firms that many more jets are now set for production,” British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a press statement.
The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) is ordering two more FFX-II-class frigates from South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). DSME will construct two more Daegu-class guided-missile frigates at a cost of $558 million. The Daegu-class is a slightly larger than the FFX-I, or Incheon-class, but includes almost all of the same core systems. FFX-II vessels are powered by a single 36-40MW MT30 turbine, and propulsion is all-electric. Equipped with a 16-cell K-VLS Korean Vertical Launch System, the ships can employ a broad weapon array that gives the more flexibly and greater reach. The FFX-II class is armed with one 127 mm MK 45 MOD 4 naval gun and one Raytheon six-barrelled 20 mm Phalanx close-in weapon system mounted on the top of the aft superstructure. The RoKN expects to commission up to eight FFX-II vessels.
Australia’s new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) procured under its Sea 1180 program will be referred to as Arafura-class. The Arafura-class ships will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the thirteen Armidale Class Patrol Boats, by acquiring 12 new vessels. The primary role of the OPV will be to undertake constabulary missions and the OPV will be the primary Australian Defense Force asset for maritime patrol and response duties. The ships feature a common modular design. Modular mission payloads can be fitted into the vessel making it suitable to fulfil specific roles such as border patrol, mine warfare, and hydrographic survey. The 1,640 ton ships are powered by two 8,500 kW diesel engines giving them a maximum speed of 20kt. The OPVs are armed with a 40mm naval gun and two 12.7 mm MGs. In addition the ships have several systems installed which includes the Scanter 6002 air and surface surveillance radar system from Terma and the 9LV-based Situational Awareness System (SAS) from Saab Australia. The class’ first OPV is expected to be delivered by 2021.
Watch: Supersonic air travel is finally coming back
Nov 15, 2018 05:00 UTC
Boeing is being awarded with extra funding in support of the US’ Minuteman III ICBM system. Awarded by the Air Force Nuclear Weapon Center, the additional $70.5 million cover specification changes for the ICBM’s Missile Flight Test, Telemetry, and Termination program. This includes changes to the management plan and flight termination receiver; and to the electromagnetic interference, cable qualification and antenna testing requirements. The Minuteman III has been an essential part of the USA’s nuclear strike capability for decades and will remain in service through 2030. The Minuteman III has a fast launch time, nearly 100 percent testing reliability, and backup airborne launch controllers to preserve retaliatory capabilities. The Minuteman’s telemetry, test, and termination systems are packaged in a wafer-like package called the Mod 7 that fits on test versions of the Minuteman between the missile’s reentry system and missile guidance set. During tests, Mod 7 transmits data from sensors aboard the test missiles that monitor the missile’s behavior before and during flight. The telemetry, test, and termination systems transmit telemetry data in real time on the missile’s critical on-board components like batteries booster stage pressure chambers, and guidance section. Most of the work will be performed in Huntington Beach, California. Performance is expected to be completed by January 29, 2021.
Detyens Shipyards is being tapped to overhaul one of the Navy’s Henry J. Kaiser-class support ships. The $10 million firm-fixed-price contract covers 60 days of shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and dry docking of the USNS Joshua Humphreys, which includes a variety of general services. The Navy’s existing force of fleet oilers consists of 15 Henry J. Kaiser-class ships. The primary role of Navy fleet oilers is to transfer fuel to Navy surface ships that are operating at sea, so as to extend the operating endurance of these surface ships and their embarked aircraft. Work on the T-AO 188 includes providing clean and gas-free tanks, hydro-blast and recoating efforts, flight deck preservation, stability testing, engine overhaul, recertification of lifeboats and winches, propeller system maintenance, overhauling sea valves and underwater hull cleaning and painting. The contract includes a number of options that could raise the total contract value to $11 million. Work will be performed at Detyens’ shipyard in North Charleston, South Carolina, and is expected to be completed by March 17, 2019.
The US Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard will procure upgrades for digital GPS anti-jam receivers installed on its fleet of F-16s. Provided by Rockwell Collins the upgraded receivers will provide the fighter aircraft with reliable navigation while operating in contested electromagnetic environments. The Digital GPS Anti-Jam Receiver (DIGAR) generates 16 simultaneous steered beams that provides airborne platforms with superior jamming immunity in the most severe GPS-challenged environments. The US Air Force is increasingly concerned about GPS jamming and spoofing by its adversaries, especially Russia, China and Iran, who have shown the ability to throw off aircraft navigation by sending receivers false coordinates. “From advanced fifth-generation aircraft to ground and maritime applications, this receiver is the most reliable military-grade GPS solution available due to its unmatched anti-jam protection levels,” said Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager, Communication, Navigation & Electronic Warfare Systems for Rockwell Collins.
The multi-billion F-35 JSF program will soon mark another major milestone. The US DoD expects to order a 12th batch of F-35s from Lockheed Martin by next spring. “Negotiations on the US contract are moving quickly on what is expected be the largest order to date for the F-35”, the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer Ellen Lord told Reuters. Some sources claim that the impending deal will cover the delivery of over 250 F-35 fighter jets to US services an international partners. The JSF program has been widely criticised for its overruns and schedule delays, however in September Lockheed managed to lower the price for the F-35A by 5,4% to $89.2 million, and expects to cut the price to $80 million by 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Bahraini Air Force is welcoming its first of two ex-UK Royal Air Force C-130Js. The surplus aircraft were acquired via a government-to-government contract. The 19 year old transport aircraft then underwent an excessive overhaul and maintenance process executed by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group at its Cambridge airport site. The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. The J variant reached its IOC with the US military in 2006 and features a number of key improvements that enhance performance and reduce overall operating costs. Matthew Harvey, International Sales Director Military Aerospace for Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group commented: “Delivery of this aircraft sees the first Government to Government transfer of a C-130J and the Kingdom of Bahrain enter the C-130 community as a new operator – we support more than 15 countries on the C-130 platform and the capability it delivers is proven. We look forward to continuing to support the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
Germany’s parliamentary budget committee is green lighting the Luftwaffe’s future heavy transport helicopter acquisition program. The German MoD needs to replace its ageing fleet of CH-53s by the end of 2020s and is willing to spend about $6.3 billion. Officials have said that Boeing’s CH-47E and Sikorsky’s CH-53K are being considered. In total the Luftwaffe wants to buy 45 to 60 heavy lift helicopters with delivers expected to take place between 2023 and 2029. The contract is expected to be finalized sometime in 2020. According to Jane’s, Air Force Chief General Ingo Gerhartz welcomed the fact “that the government has given more money for the urgently required modernisation of the Luftwaffe, especially for the next generation of transport helicopters, which we need for almost all deployments worldwide”.
Jane’s reports that the Thai MoD is interested in buying several L-39NGs from the Czech Republic. “They [the Thais] are interested in our aircraft, the newest generation of aircraft, something which is considered to be hi-tech military technology,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters on 10 November following a meeting in Brussels earlier this month with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39 but utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. It can be used as a trainer and to conduct light combat and reconnaissance missions under all climatic conditions. Powered by a Williams International FJ44-4M engine the L-39NG is suitable as light attack aircraft for countries with a limited air force.
Watch: Meet the Team Supporting the HMS Queen Elizabeth F-35B Trials – Part 3
Nov 14, 2018 05:00 UTC
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is starting the production of the US Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. The future USS Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127) will be the last vessel in the Flight IIA configuration. “It is exciting to commence construction on what will be the 77th ship of the Arleigh Burke class” said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “Not only will this ship continue the legacy of enduring warfighting capability, it will carry with it the strength and courage demonstrated by its namesake.” Introduced in 2000, the DDG 51 Flight IIA ships incorporate two hangars for two SH-60B helicopters as well as aircraft facilities. In addition the Gallagher will be fitted with an Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, making it suitable for Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) missions.
The Navy’s second Zumwalt-class destroyer is currently sailing towards California. The USS Michael Monsoor is making its way towards Coronado where it will be commissioned on January 26, 2019. Bath Iron Works started the ship’s construction in May 2013 with builder’s trials held in December 2017 and January 2018. During the acceptance trials held in February this year the USS Monsoor suffered an engine casualty which required the replacement of its two Rolls Royce MT30 maritime gas turbines. Like the Zumwalt, the Monsoor features a stealthy shape, electric-drive propulsion, new radar and sonar, and powerful guns and missiles. It’s fitted with 80 vertical launch cells for Tomahawk cruise missiles, ESSMs, and Raytheon’s Standard Missiles. Other armament includes a 155mm Advanced Gun System and a MQ-8C Fire Scout. The third ship in the class, USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), is set to be delivered in 2020. Combined, the Navy has spent about $23 billion on research, development and acquisition of the three-ship class.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey finalises an essential step in its TF-X development program. The Turkish Defense Industry Directorate (SSB) signed a framework agreement with TR Motor that enables the domestic production of the future jet’s engine. TR Motor will now join Aselsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries in the fighter jet development program. As SSB chief ?smail Demir notes, “the door remains open for international engine-makers to get involved in the project”. Saying that the main aim in the framework of the TF-X jet project was to develop an indigenous jet engine, Demir told Hurriyet Daily News that TR Motor, a new company, was established a while ago to achieve this target. Both Aselsan and TAI signed a MoU earlier this year. Both companies are developing critical systems for the TF-X, including a national radar, electro-optical systems, mission-control systems and integration of these systems into the future aircraft. The Turkish government has earmarked about $1.2 billion for an initial investment.
Saab confirms that its Gripen E fighter jet successfully fired a Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) for the first time. MBDA’s Meteor missile was conceived as a longer-range competitor to popular weapons like the Russian R77/AA-12, and American AIM-120 AMRAAM. Its ramjet propulsion offers the missile a head-on closing range of 120 km, and full powered performance at Mach 4+ throughout its flight, instead of the standard “burn and coast” approach use by rocket-powered counterparts. Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen is serving as the Meteor’s main test platform. “The aircraft continues to perform as smoothly as we have seen throughout the whole flight test phase flying with external stores. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming steps in the flight test program, taking us closer and closer to completing weapon integration. Meteor makes Gripen E extremely capable in the air dominance role”, says Robin Nordlander, Saab’s experimental test pilot.
France’s Defense Procurement Agency, DGA, accepts the F3-R-standard variant of the Rafale combat aircraft. The F-3R standard was launched in 2013 and features a range of software enhancements that allow for the integration of the Meteor BVRAAM and SBU-64 smart bombs. The enhancements also improve the jet’s Spectra self-defense system provided by Thales, and give it a new Friend-or-Foe interrogator/transponder with full Mode-5/ Mode-S-compatibility. Diagnostic improvements will make maintenance easier and more cost-effective. Approval from the French DGA was obtained on 31 October, says Dassault. Dassault will shortly begin development of the F4-standard Rafale, having completed initial feasibility studies for the program.
The Royal Navy’s eighth and final ship in the Type 26 acquisition program will be named HMS London. BAE will build the vessels in two batches, with three frigates in the first batch. The contract for the second batch is expected to be signed in 2020. BAE will construct the HMS London at its shipyard in Govan. Key Type 26 design criteria include multi-role versatility, flexibility in adapting to future needs, affordability in both construction and through-life support costs, and exportability. “The Type 26 Frigate is a cutting-edge warship, combining the expertise of the British shipbuilding industry with the excellence of the Royal Navy. These ships will be a force to be reckoned with, there to protect our powerful new carriers and helping keep British interests safe across the world,” said a MoD spokesman.
The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) is currently inducting its first of four Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. The aircraft is stationed at Gimhae Air Base in Busan, South Korea, where it is undergoing acceptance trials. The A330-200 MRTT is a derivative of the Airbus A330, and was designed from the outset to be able to function as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft at the same time. Airbus won the $1.2 billion contract in 2015. Other competitors included Boeing with its KC-46A and IAI with its B767-300 Multi Mission Tanker Transport (MMTT). It is expected that deliveries of all four A330 MRTTs will be concluded by the end of 2019.
Watch: Getting Dressed in WW1 – British Soldier
Nov 13, 2018 05:00 UTC
Enterprise Services is receiving additional funding for work on the currently running Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract. The modification with a potential maximum value of $486 million extends the potential ordering period by eight months. NGEN increases government operational and design control of the network and requisite Information Assurance enhancements to meet evolving security requirements. Its part of the DoD’s Joint Information Environment (JIE), which refers to an initiative to increase operational efficiency, enhance network security and cost savings through reduced infrastructure and manpower, achieved through the convergence of the Department of Defense’s multiple enterprise networks into a common global network. Work will be performed throughout the continental US, Europe, Guam, Korea and Japan. The contract runs from October 1, 2018 through May 31, 2020.
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory is being awarded with a contract modification to support the Navy’s common missile compartment (CMC) development. The modification is priced at $109 million and provides for research into new technologies to meet the guidance requirements of the Navy’s future CMC which will be fitted onto the Columbia- and Dreadnought-class SSBNs. The Laboratory will also provide specialized technical knowledge and support for future hypersonic missiles, including their guidance, navigation and control systems. This contract supports the DoD’s Prompt Global Strike program which seeks to develop a system that can deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour, in a similar manner to a nuclear ICBM. Work will be performed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and El Segundo, California. The contract will run until September 2019.
The US Army Contracting Command is awarding a contract modification to Longbow LLC. The contract, worth $8.9 million, provides for laser and longbow Hellfire engineering services. Hellfire missiles are the USA’s preferred aerial anti-armor missile, and are widely deployed with America’s allies. It is a combat proven tactical missile system using multiple launch platforms. The Hellfire is a 100lb class air-to-ground precision weapon delivering multi-target capability and precision strike lethality. The AGM-114L “Longbow Hellfire” adds a millimeter-wave radar seeker, which makes it a “fire-and-forget” missile. This missile’s distinctive name is a reference to the AH-64D Apache Longbow, whose sensor mast atop its rotor hub has the ability to detect, identify, and engage targets using the Longbow Hellfire. Work will be performed at the company’s facilities in Orlando and Ocala and is estimated to be completed by November 7, 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer BMC is being tapped for the mass production of the Turkish-designed Altay MBT. The contract signed between BMC and the Turkish Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) covers the initial production of 40 Altay tanks, with the first expected to be delivered in about 18 months. The Altay is the future third generation main battle tank for the Turkish army. Altay incorporates the most modern features of a tank. The Turkish MBT has a crew of four, comprising the driver, gunner, loader and commander. The tank is equipped with a state-of-the-art Volkan fire control system and battlefield management system, indigenously developed by Aselsan. Eventually BMC will produce up-to 210 tanks in a currently undefined timeframe. The program’s cost has not been disclosed to this date.
Italy will become the launch customer of the military variant of Leonardo’s AW169 helicopter. Leonardo will replace the ageing fleet of Bell types flown by the Guardia di Finanza police agency at a cost of $315 million. The contract also includes a support and training package. The AW169 external link is a new generation multi-purpose twin engine light intermediate helicopter providing a multi-role capability and a high mission flexibility. The AW169 Armed Aerial Scout supports missions such as armed reconnaissance, escort, command and control, security operations, target acquisition and targeting, as well as fire support coordination. Military qualification for the AW169s will be supplied by Italy’s Armaereo agency. The aircraft will be configured with a number of features, including electro-optical/infrared sensors, a rescue hoist and night-vision goggle compatibility. First deliveries will take place in mid-2019, and will run until 2024.
The Dutch MoD is ordering several PointShield systems from Israel’s DSIT Solutions. The PointShield is a compact, lightweight portable diver detection sonar (PDDS). Diver Detection Sonar (DDS) systems are sonar and acoustic location systems employed underwater for the detection of divers and submerged swimmer delivery vehicles (SDVs). The system’s advanced signal processing algorithms support fully automatic operation, from detection, through tracking to classification and alert. Gadi Leibovich, president and CEO of DSIT, said: “The PointShield system provides navies with rapid deployment, automatic detection of all types of threats, high reliability and real time continuous monitoring all at competitive prices and is tailored to specific user demands.”
US Navy Carrier Air Wing 5, which is currently embarked on the USS Ronald Reagan, lost a fighter aircraft. One of the wing’s F-18 jets crashed into the Philippine Sea earlier on Monday. Both pilots safely ejected and were rescued by a MH-60 Seahawk. The F-18 experienced a “mechanical issue that resulted in the crew ejecting” while carrying out “routine operations” from the Nimitz-class super-carrier, the US Navy 7th Fleet said.
Watch: 65 Years of the Thunderbirds
Nov 12, 2018 05:00 UTC
Ball Aerospace & Technologies is receiving extra funding to advance work on the Weather System Follow-on Microwave (WSF-M) program. Awarded by the Air Force the $255 million contract modification allows for the development and fabrication Weather System Follow-on Microwave Space Vehicle 1. The WSF-M space vehicle will provide orbital monitoring of weather and environmental conditions in support of military operations. It uses a passive microwave radiometer to measure the strength of electromagnetic radiation and is useful for weather and temperature mapping. Work will be performed in Boulder, Colorado and is expected to be completed by January 2023.
Raytheon is being tapped to continue work on its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA. The awarded contract modification is priced at $74.8 million and provides for the procurement of more Guidance Electronics Units (GEU). The SM-3 Block IIA is the co-operative US-Japanese program. It adds the larger diameter, a more maneuverable “high-divert” kill vehicle, plus another sensor/ discrimination upgrade to help deal with harder targets, countermeasures, and decoys. The Block IIA model is capable of engaging ballistic missiles as they begin their descent in low space at long ranges. This order is part of a 2016 SM-3 Block IIA contract that sees for Raytheon to continue efforts for qualification, test and integration of the enhanced GEU capability to the missile. The total contract value is now $1.1 billion. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled for completion by September 30, 2020.
Colt’s Manufacturing Company is being contracted to maintain the US Army’s inventory of M4 and M4A1 rifles. The contract is valued at $88.6 million and funded through FY2019 and FY2020 operations and maintenance funds. The M4 offers a collapsible buttstock, flat-top upper receiver assembly, a U-shaped handle-rear sight assembly that could be removed, and assortment of mounting rails for easy customization with a variety of sight, flashlight, grenade launchers, shotgun attachments and so forth. It’s the successor to the M-16 with which it shares a 85% commonality. The M4A1 is the special operations version of the M4 that’s been in use for more than a decade. It features a heavier barrel and a full-auto trigger. Work will be performed at Colt’s factory in West Hartford, Connecticut. The contract is set to run through September 25, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The Saudi Arabian Navy can expect delivery of its first new corvette in October 2021. According to Jane’s, Vicente Fernández Guerrero, the president of Spain’s state holding group SEPI, told members of parliament that the delivery timetable of the vessels has been finalised, with the remaining four corvettes to be handed over in four-month intervals. Saudi Arabia signed a $2 billion contract with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia on July 12, 2018. The new corvettes are based on Navantia’s Avante 2200 Combatant design and will feature some Saudi specific configurations like vertical launchers for the ESSM, Harpoon missiles, Rheinmetall CIWS and a Leonardo Super Rapid Naval gun. The vessel has a displacement of 2,200 tons with a length of 98.90 meters and a maximum speed of 25 knots. It was designed for low intensity missions such as patrol in the economic exclusive zone (EEZ), safeguard of sea lanes of communication, intelligence gathering, environment protection, drugs smuggling prevention, humanitarian relief and search and rescue operations.
The French Defense Procurement Agency DGA is giving MBDA the go-ahead to commence development of the MICA-NG missile. This next-generation air-to-air missile will arm the current and future versions of the Rafale combat aircraft. The MICA NG will replace the existing MICA. The MICA will be gradually withdrawn from service between 2018 and 2030. The MICA NG will be available in two versions, infrared and electromagnetic. MBDA’s development program includes an extensive redesign of the current missile variant, while harnessing the same aerodynamics, mass and centre of gravity. The next-generation missile will be fit to counter future threat with educed infrared and electromagnetic signatures, UAVs and small aircraft, as well as the threats normally countered by air-to-air missiles. The missile will be fitted with a new double-pulse rocket motor, giving it greater range and more energy. MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier said at the program launch, “we are proud of the work completed with the DGA to achieve maximum technical and financial optimisation. The fact that we have reached this stage is thanks to the vision that we were able to share with our French customer to address its operational challenges, as well as our own long-term commercial challenges.”
The Italian government will slow-down its F-35 acquisitions in accordance with its recently published defense spending review. The Tier 2 partner will be buying six or seven JSFs in the next five years instead of the previously planned 10 aircraft. The decision on the slowdown keeps with Italian policy on the F-35 set out by Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta after she took office in June. Italy will maintain spending on the program, with $874 million to be spend in 2019 and another $887 million earmarked for 2020. Italy has made significant investments in JSF development, and the country hosts a European Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) production line in Cameri, near Milan. The country is currently due to purchase 60 F-35 As and 30 F-35Bs.
France’s sole nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is back at sea and will be deployed to the Indian Ocean in early February. The Charles de Gaulle recently completed its mid-life upgrade and prepares for its first activity in 18 months. During the $1.8 billion upgrade program the carrier underwent traditional maintenance operations such as scheduled checks of installations, refueling of nuclear fuel and so forth. Beyond that the carrier received an overhauled combat system and new optimised aviation systems for the Rafale. Faced with the “profound change in the naval strategic panorama”, including the expansionist aims of Beijing in the South China Sea, France considers the aircraft carrier of incomparable “tactical and political value”, said Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Chief of Staff of the French Navy.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) seems to have an updated version of its J-10 fighter aircraft. The J-10 Thrust Vectoring Control, or TVC, is equipped with a hinged thrust-vectoring nozzle that allows it to control the direction of its exhaust. This capability gives it improved maneuverability and low-speed handling. The J-10 TVC is the only Chinese aircraft that uses this technology. Internationally TVC is found on Russian Su-35s and the US F-22 Raptor. The J-10 is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role fighter developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) and 611 Institute for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The high-performance J-10 aircraft has been designed as an air superiority fighter with air-to-surface capability and is powered by China’s domestically-produced WS-10B3 turbofan engine. Experts have noted that Chinese development of a reliable domestic jet engine would also be a major step in shoring up what some observers see as the long-term political risk of an over-reliance on Russian military hardware.
Watch: Rheinmetall Active Defence System (ADS)