Aug 21, 2018 05:00 UTC
Boeing is being contracted to upgrade the current IRST system on the Navy’s F/A-18E/F aircraft. The cost-plus-incentive-fee contract has a value of $152.4 million and provides for the design, development and integration of the new Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) Block II. The IRST is designed to locate the heat emitted by aircraft engines without the use of active radar, which is easily detected by enemy planes and ships. It also helps countering stealth technology. The new IRST system will be embedded on a special centerline fuel tank as means of giving the fighter jet some parity with peer aircraft. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facilities in Orlando, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri and is scheduled for completion by December 2021.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to support the US military with further engineering activities associated with the F-35’s logistics system. The order is valued at $26.1 million and provides for the design, development, integration and testing of the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) Security Architecture and the ALIS Sovereign Data Management (SDM) system. ALIS gives F-35 Lightning II operators the ability to plan ahead, to maintain, to plan and sustain its systems over the life of the air vehicle. The system has been criticised in the past due to reliability and security concerns. Last year the USMC had to halt operations of a F-35 squadron due to unspecified ‘anomalies’ in the ALIS software. In addition, some experts have claimed that ALIS could offer an incredibly attractive Achilles heel for enemy hackers to sink their teeth into. This order combines purchases for the Air Force ($10.7 million), Marine Corps ($7.8 million), Navy ($1.9 million), and international partners ($5.4 million). Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facilities in Forth Worth, Texas and Orlando, Florida. The order is expected to be completed in June 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The US Army is awarding Six3 Intelligence Solutions with a modified intelligence support contract. The $125.8 million modification provides for a variety of intelligence support services to US troops in Afghanistan and the Operation Resolute Support director of intelligence. The company’s mission solutions include biometrics, identity intelligence (I2), counterintelligence; command, control, communications, computers, and combat systems intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR); and Cyber security and enterprise architectures. There are currently 16.000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan. When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with soldiers in July he reiterated that the Taliban cannot win on the battlefield, cannot wait us out, and will ultimately have to settle their differences with the Afghan government at the negotiating table. Work will be performed in Kabul and is estimated to be completed by end of February, 2020.
Britain’s MoD plans to restart its future frigate contest for the Royal Navy. In February, Britain launched the competition to find a contractor interested in building five frigates, at a total cost of no more than £1.25 billion (roughly $1.6 billion). But the process had to be abandoned in late July when the DE&S said it had failed to attract sufficient compliant bids. A MoD spokesperson said that the government is determined to move ahead with the Type 31e program and that a Prior Information Notice has been issued so that the acquisition process does not lose any momentum. Jane’s described the Type 31e as a “credible frigate” that will cover “maritime security, maritime counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, escort duties, and naval fire support sitting between the high-end capability delivered by the Type 26 and Type 45, and the constabulary-oriented outputs to be delivered by the five planned River-class Batch 2 OPVs”. There are currently two designs that will we likely contenders. One is the Arrowhead designed by Babcock and the Leander designed by BAE Systems. The Royal Navy is currently in the process of replacing its aged Type 23s with new Type 26 ASWs, the remainder of Type 23s will be replaced by the new Type 31e frigates.
Indian media reports that the country successfully tested its first indigenous nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). The missile, built under the codename B-05, was launched from the INS Arihant. During the test three missiles were fired from the Arihant at a depth of 20m and about 10km off the Vizag coast. Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the 10-meter long B-05 has a strike range of about 750 km and weighs ten tonne. The two-stage missile uses solid propellant and can carry a payload of about 1000 kg. The INS Arihant is capable of carrying 12 B-05 or Sagarika missiles as well as torpedoes and cruise missiles. Indian defense scientists have also been testing longer-range K-series submarine-launched strategic missiles for the past few years. The long range (3,500 kilometers) K-4 missiles have so far been tested three times successfully from underwater pontoons, but the last test from a pontoon in December 2017 failed as the missile did not activate properly during the test. India has also started working on the K-5, which has a range of 5,000 kilometers, as well as the K-6, with its range of up to 6,000 km, for nuclear-powered submarines. This successful test heaves India into a quite exclusive club of nuclear countries. India is now the 6th country that has a nuclear triad, meaning that it can fire nuclear tipped missiles, from land, sea and air.
Taiwan is currently deploying its Tien Kung 3 air defense missile. The missile was developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, or NCSIST. The TK III s designed to engage different threats, including: aircrafts, cruise missiles, anti-radiation missiles, and short range tactical missiles. The system is composed of the surface-to-air missiles, the canisters, and the mobile fire control units. The fire control unit includes the phased array radar, communication relay, engagement control station, the launcher, and power plant equipment. The Tien-Kung system provides Taiwan with a domestically produced and highly capable air defense. Each new variant has allowed for greater range of defense. The newest variant, the Tien-Kung III provides medium- to long-range coverage that better ensures Taiwan’s ability to intercept threats earlier in their trajectory when they pose a lower risk. The Tien-Kung III is also capable of providing defense against some ballistic missiles.
Jane’s reports that Australia is ordering several hundred Boxer CRVs from Rheinmetall Defense Australia (RDA). The acquisition of 200 Boxer CRVs is part of Australia’s Project Land 400 Phase 2. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will introduce several variants of the Boxer with the reconnaissance variant, accounting for 133 of the 211 vehicles. The Boxer’s design is based on a modular structure selected to give the maximum flexibility for multipurpose operations. The vehicle incorporates a high level of standardisation and uses commercially proven automotive components. The 8×8 vehicle provides a load capacity of up to 8t and has an internal capacity of more than 14m³. The contract has a value of $4.1 billion. The vehicles are scheduled for delivery between 2019 and 2026.
Watch: Su-25 lands on road during exercise Vostok-2018
Aug 20, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Army is contracting Foster-Miller to support its counter-IED efforts. The company is being awarded with a hybrid contract valued at $11.6 million. Foster-Miller, doing business as QinetiQ North America will provide the service with a new Route Clearance and Interrogation System (RCIS) Type I. The Route Clearance and Interrogation System Type I essentially involves automation of the High Mobility Engineering Excavator (HMEE) platform. The HMEE-I is a backhoe loader developed by JCB. The vehicle can carry a two-man crew and was specifically developed for the US military, to replace its small emplacement excavator. The HMEE-I can be used to clear roads, lay power lines and create obstacles to hinder enemy forces. It has a lifespan of 25 years. The vehicle can be outfitted with a variety of self-protection kits that can provide ballistic and blast protection protection against small arms fire and improvised explosive devices. Under the RCIS program an operator will be able to wirelessly control the HMEE-I from a separate control vehicle. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Waltham, Massachusetts and is expected to be completed by March 14th, 2025.
The US Army is moving ahead with its Hellfire replacement. Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a contract modification that provides for the procurement of Joint-Air-to-Ground missiles at a cost of $26.4 million. The JAGM was cleared for low-rate initial production on June 27th. Its seeker combines a semi-active laser with millimeter-wave radar sensors that give it the capability to go up against stationary and moving land and maritime targets in bad weather or obscured conditions at ranges up to 16km. Initial operational capability through the Army is expected in early 2019. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Orlando, Florida and is expected to be completed by February 28th, 2020.
BAE Systems is being tapped to provide the US military with additional countermeasure systems for its F-35s as part of the PMA272 Air Expendable Countermeasures Program. The firm-fixed-price delivery order provides for the manufacture of T-1687/ALE-70(V) countermeasures at a cost of $70.4 million. PMA272 Air Expendable Countermeasures are designed to protect aircraft from radio-frequency and infrared targeted weapon systems. The ALE-70 towed radio frequency countermeasure consists of the reel and launcher assembly, tow line, T-1687 countermeasure transmitter, and electronic and mechanical subassemblies. It also has canisters, and explosive cartridges to deploy the decoys. When deployed from the aircraft, the ALE-70’s countermeasure transmitter responds to commands from the countermeasure controller located in the jet and emits waveforms to confuse or decoy adversary radars or radar-guided weapons. The system may be towed or free-flying. Work will be performed in Nashua, New Hampshire, and is scheduled for completion by March 2021.
The Navy is funding research on its fleet of MH-60 Sierra Multi-Mission Helicopters. The aircraft’s manufacturer Sikorsky is being awarded with a cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order valued a $9.7 million. The company will be responsible to conduct engineering efforts necessary to conduct comprehensive fatigue life analysis to define the expected service life of the Knighthawk. The MH-60S entered service in 2002 as a replacement for the US Navy’s Boeing CH-46D Sea Knight, flown mostly in utility roles that involve moving cargo between ships. It is designed specifically for amphibious assault operations but it fulfills multi-role operational capabilities. The MH-60S functions as a heavy-lift capable helicopter for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore transport. Work will be performed at Sikorsky’s facility in Stratford, Connecticut and is expected to be completed in January 2022.
Middle East & Africa
Jane’s reports that the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) is now in possession of over 120 new vehicles. The Central African Republic (CAR) received a variety of vehicles donated by the US and China. The Chinese company Poly Technologies delivered Dongfeng EQ2050 4×4s and Dongfeng CSK131 4×4 protected vehicles, at a total cost of $15 million. The Dongfeng CSK131 has got an armored hull that provides protection against small arms fire and artillery shell fragments. The vehicle can carry 5 troops and a driver and can be fitted with a shielded machine gun position or a remotely-controlled weapon station. The Dongfeng is the Chinese version of the US Humvee. The US delivered 42 Toyota Hilux 4×4 pickups and six Renault K380 utility trucks worth about $8.5 million. The Central African Republic (CAR) has been unstable since its independence from France in 1960. In 2013 the country plummeted into a religiously motivated civil-war when Muslim rebels from the Seleka umbrella group seized power in the majority Christian country. The country is undergoing an internationally supervised transition involving a constitutional referendum as well as presidential and parliamentary elections.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently on her way to the United States. The Royal Navy’s new flagship is sailing from Portsmouth Naval Base to Norfolk, Virginia. During carrier’s 11 weeks at sea two US-based F-35Bs will carry out 500 landings and take-offs. The UK’s second carrier, the HMS Prince of Wales is currently being fitted at Rosyth in Fife. Once the new ships of the Queen Elizabeth Class are complete, Britain will possess a full-size carrier for the first time in several decades. When fielded, the CVF design will be the largest ships in the world to use electric rather than mechanical propulsion drives. The new carriers will have 2 core components in the air wing, and 2 important ancillaries. The HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to embark on its first operational deployment in 2021.
The German Army’s air-wing is weaker than expected. A new study by the Bundeswehr found that it needs between 70 and 80 new light helicopters to cover shortfalls in flight hours for pilot training and carry out other missions. If the government approves the necessary funding the army could order dozens of Airbus’ H145M light utility helicopter. German Special Forces are already operating 15 of those helicopters and mission readiness is above 99%. According to the company’s website the H145M can be outfitted with a wide range of available optional mission equipment packages. Reconfigurations range from troop transport with seats to armed scout with a set of weapons and ballistic protection.
The Russian Ministry of Defense is issuing the largest defense contract in FY2018. The Ministry is ordering at least 36 Su-30SM fighters at a cost of $1 billion. The Su-30SM fighter was designed in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force. It is being manufactured by IRKUT, a company based in Russia. The multirole Su-30SM can be deployed in counter-air strikes, counter-land and counter-sea missions. It can conduct electronic counter-countermeasures and early warning tasks. The aircraft also acts as a command-and-control platform within a fleet of combat aircraft performing joint missions. Russia has ordered a total of 116 Su-30SM fighter jets in 2012, delivery of which is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Watch: HMS Queen Elizabeth is leaving for the USA
Aug 17, 2018 05:00 UTC
The upcoming FY2019 will be good year for US aerospace companies. The recently signed National Defense Authorization Act allows for the procurement of 413 aircraft at a cost of $39.5 billion. The US Navy is set to order a total of 119 warplanes. This includes 24 Super Hornets, 10 P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft, eight CH-53K helicopters. In addition, the Naval Air Systems Command is being entrusted with a multi-year contract authority for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft which gives it the right to negotiate bulk discounts with vendors based on a guarantee of several years of orders. The Air Force will buy 15 KC-46 tanker aircraft with a grant of $2.4 billion. The service will also be able to spend a further $300 million to procure aircraft for its Light Attack and Armed Reconnaissance (OA-X) program. Lockheed Martin will provide the Air Force, USMC and Navy with a total of 77 F-35 fighter jets. This $7.6 billion order is the largest appropriation for a single aircraft type. The company will deliver 48 F-35As, 20 F-35Bs and 9 F-35Cs. The total US defense funding rose by 2.4% to a total of $717 billion.
The US Army is investing in IED detection systems. Chemring Sensors and Electronic Systems will provide the service with a number of Husky Mounted Detection System systems. This firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $92.5 million. The Husky was initially developed in the 1970s by South Africa-based RSD, a division of Dorbyl and marketed by Critical Solutions International (CSI). The vehicle is equipped with a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) that detects mines and explosives by using hydraulically-controlled deploy and retract modes. The vehicle is fitted with automatic target recognition algorithms for GPR and metal detection data processing. The Husky’s crew is protected by a V-shaped hull and bulletproof glass. The employment strategy for the VMMD system involves a lead mine-detection vehicle searching for antitank mines. Upon detection, the prime mover would move forward towing the detonation trailers. A squad of engineers could then neutralize the mine or the trailers could detonate the mines in place. Locations of performance and funding will be determined with each order. Work is scheduled for completion by August 15th, 2022.
The Navy is contracting TOTE Services to support SBX-1. The company is being awarded with a firm-fixed-price contract valued at $11.1 million. The company will be responsible for operating and maintaining the Sea-Based X-Band Radar vessel. The X-band radar, also known as the SBX, was originally planned as a land-based system but a sea-based system became possible when the Bush administration withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It constitutes a mid-course fire control radar based on a seagoing semi-submersible vessel. The $815 million, mechanically-slewed, X-band phased array assembly is 280 feet tall, and weighs 2,400 tons. The radome alone weighs 18,000 pounds, stands over 103 feet high, and is 120 feet in diameter. Made entirely of a high-tech synthetic fabric, the radome is supported by air pressure alone, and is designed to withstand 130+ mph winds and a “100-year storm” at sea. The radar performs cued search, precision tracking, object discrimination and missile kill assessment. The in-flight interceptor communication system data terminal transfers commands from the GMD fire control system to the interceptor missile during its engagement with the target missile. This contract is scheduled for completion by September 2019, but does include several options which could extend the contract until end of March, 2024. The total cumulative value of this contract would rise to $65.3 million, if all options are exercised.
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is being tapped to replace the centralized 400-Hz power distribution system of three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The contract modification has a value of $9.5 million and provides for material and labor needed to add new integrated power node centers on the USS John Basilone (DDG 122), the USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and on the USS Gallagher (DDG 127). The current centralized 400-Hz power-distribution system, consists of two air-cooled solid state frequency converters. The new integrated power node center combines power transfer, frequency conversion, voltage transformation, power conditioning, and fault protection into one cabinet. Electrical power is at the heart of any modern warship. On destroyers for example they allow the Mk41 VLS to perform its job. For each launcher there are 400-Hz and 60-Hz power distribution units to supply power to the launcher electronics. Work will be performed at the company’s shipyard in Bath, Maine, and is expected to be completed by November 2022.
Middle East & Africa
Reports suggest that the United Arab Emirates is currently deploying one of its Wing Loong II UAVs from its Assab airbase in Eritrea. In October 2017 satellite imagery confirmed the UAE as the first export customer of China’s next-generation medium-altitude long-endurance and strike-capable UAE. The Diplomat states that the Wing Loong II has been primarily designed and developed for export and has been marketed by China’s defense industry as a more cost-effective alternative to the US-made General Atomics MQ-1 Predator. The Wing Loong UAV’s fixed mid-mounted wings with high aspect ratio provide improved performance by reducing the drag. Its fuselage structure is designed to minimise the radar cross-section. It features two vertical tail fins, arranged in a V shape. The tricycle landing gear, with two main wheels under the fuselage and one single wheel under the nose, facilitates safe take-off and landing. The unmanned combat aerial vehicle can be armed with a variety of weapons including laser-guided bombs and missiles to attack and destroy air or ground-based targets. The UAE is currently fighting Al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Germany is issuing a long-awaited final request for its multi-national TLVS (Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem) program. MBDA and Lockheed Martin will now negotiate the cost and technical parameters of the program with the Bundeswehr. If the German Bundestag, the country’s parliament, approves the necessary procurement funding, the Bundeswehr would receive its first-ever fielded air-defense system with a built-in 360-degree capability. The Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) program aimed to replace Patriot missiles in the United States, the older Hawk system in Germany, and Italy’s even older Nike Hercules missiles. MEADS will be designed to kill enemy aircraft, cruise missiles and UAVs within its reach, while providing next-generation point defense capabilities against ballistic missiles. MEADS is the product of a $4 billion development program shared by the US, Germany and Italy that incorporates Lockheed Martin’s hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile in a system including 360-degree surveillance and fire control sensors, netted-distributed tactical operations centers, and lightweight launchers. So far, only Germany has chosen to field the system.
Taiwan’s F-16 pilots are set to receive training support as part of a US foreign military sale. L3 Technologies is being awarded with a $25.8 million contract modification for an additional training system to be installed in an F-16 A/B Block 20 Mission Training Center. The Republic of China Air Force operates a total of 150 F-16A/B block 20 aircraft. Twenty F-16A/B Block 20 aircraft are based in the US for testing and training purposes. MTC’s immerse pilots in high-definition, dynamic training scenarios that enables them to practice air-to-air and air-to-ground missions under any condition that might be encountered during actual flight. Each F-16 MTC consists of four simulators that incorporate high-definition displays, image generation, databases and dynamic environments. Work will be performed in Arlington. Texas and is scheduled for completion by end of October, 2024.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is adding 12 L-15 advanced jet trainers to its training school. The PLAN Aviation University was formed in 2017 and is based in Shandong. The Hongdu L-15 Falcon made its maiden flight in 2006 and is intended to train pilots to fly high-performance forth-generation aircraft, such as the J-10 and Su-27. It is also suitable to complete all basic jet flight training courses. The Hongdu L-15 features a full glass cockpit which can accommodate two crew members, either a student pilot and instructor, or an official pilot and weapons systems officer. The jet has six hard points of which four are located under the two wings and two under the wing-tips. It can accommodate 6,000lb of payload. The aircraft can carry short range air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, bombs and rocket pods. The development comes amid Beijing’s general airpower build-up, specifically as it develops air wings for its growing fleet of aircraft carriers.
Watch: Jane’s reports of Merlin helicopter carrier deployment
Aug 16, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US pace and Missile Systems Center is ordering new missile defense satellites. Lockheed Martin will manufacture the three Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicles at a cost of $2.9 billion. The satellites will be a follow on to the US Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program. The SBIRS architecture includes a resilient mix of satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), payloads in highly elliptical orbit (HEO), as well as ground-based hardware and software. The integrated system supports multiple missions simultaneously, while providing robust performance with global, persistent coverage. The Next-Gen OPIR will succeed the current SBIRS by providing improved missile warning capabilities that are more survivable against emerging threats. This order supplements a similar contract to be awarded to Lockheed Martin, that sees for the production of two polar space vehicles. The contract encompasses a variety of tasks ranging from requirements analysis to a system critical design review. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by April 30th, 2021.
The Air Force is boosting its lethality with help from researchers at George Mason University. The University is receiving a cost contract for hardware and software valued at $60.4 million. The objective of this contract is to use existing infrastructure and proven technologies as means to enhance the capabilities of the Mobile Unmanned/Manned Distributed Lethality Airborne Network (MUDLAN) architecture. Under the contract, airborne high-bandwidth, multi-beam common datalink, autonomous connectivity will be demonstrated between tactical data-links and swarming unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems. First concrete concepts of distributed lethality were introduced in January 2015 as a response to the development of very capable anti-access area-denial (A2/AD) weapons and sensors specifically designed to deny access to a contested area. The plan is to fully interlink submarines, ships, UAVs and fighter jets so that they can track, identify and engage enemy forces simultaneously. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by August, 2022.
The Air Force One’s little brother is set to receive an interior makeover. The awarded $16 million contract enables Boeing to make all necessary changes to the C-32A so that its interior commensurates with the President’s VC-25A, better known as Air Force One. Changes include new interior elements, cleaning and painting efforts and replacing the current double-seat configuration with a triple-seat configuration. The C-32 is a specially configured version of the Boeing 757-200 commercial intercontinental airliner. The primary customers are the vice president, using the distinctive call sign “Air Force Two,” the first lady, and members of the Cabinet and Congress. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in Oklahoma City and is scheduled for completion by August 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Israel will send its ‘Sons of Sa’ar’ to protect its Mediterranean gas fields and its exclusive economic zone. The Israeli Navy is set to receive four next-generation Sa’ar 6 corvettes between 2019 and 2024. The 300-feet-long warships, which are currently being built in Kiel, Germany, will be packed to the gills with highly sensitive detection equipment — to monitor both the surrounding sea and airspace — as well as offensive weapons and defensive missile interceptors. The ships will be equipped with the ‘Naval Dome’, essentially a navalized version of the Iron Dome, with the Barak-8 missile at its core. The Barak-8, and aims to deliver up to 42 mile of range, thanks to a dual-pulse solid rocket motor whose second “pulse” fires as the missile approaches its target. This ensures that the missile isn’t just coasting in the final stages, giving it more than one chance at a fast, maneuvering target. The missile’s most important feature may be its active seeker. Instead of forcing its ship or land-based radar to “paint”/illuminate its target at all times, the Barak 8 can be left alone once it is close to its target. This is an excellent approach for dealing with saturation attacks using older ship radars, which can track many targets but illuminate just a few. The Barak-8 was developed by IAI in collaboration with Israel’s DDR&D, India’s DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization), the navies of both countries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., IAI’s ELTA Group and local industries in India.
The Spanish Ministry of Defense is looking for UAV systems to be deployed overseas. The military wants to procure a UAS that is light weight (20kg class) and must be suitable for protect troops that are posted on overseas training missions where local protection and security levels are minimal. The running bidding contest states the the country wants to purchase two systems, each consisting of three UAVs and their payload at a cost of $4.9 million. The contract also includes two ground stations and required launching and recovering systems. Currently there are several systems on the market that would fulfil Spain’s requirement. Considering the fact that Spain likes to support its domestic industry one likely contender could be the Fulmar X. Others include Insitu’s ScanEagle and Aerovironment’s Puma AE.
Jane’s reports that the UK is buying counter-unmanned aircraft system developed by Israeli defense contractor Rafael. According to Rafael, Drone Dome is an innovative end-to-end defence system designed to provide effective airspace defence against hostile drones, including micro and nano drones used by terrorist groups to gather intelligence and carry out aerial attacks. The C-UAS provides 360° circular coverage and is designed to detect, track, and neutralize drones classified as threats flying in No-Fly zones. The system integrates subsystems from different Israeli specialist manufacturers, including RADA that provides the RPS-42 Radar and communications intercept unit provide early warning and target detection, coupled with Controp’s MEOS EO/IR observation used for target recognition. The electronic attack segment is represented by C-Guard RD provided by Netline. RAFAEL’s Command and control system integrates these subsystems to enable effective and simple operation by a single user. The Drone Dome is designed to operate autonomously, or from command and control centers. No details pertaining to delivery timelines or contract values were disclosed.
Russia is launching a modernization program for its ageing fleet of Tu-95MS long-range strategic bombers. Despite being a Soviet-era aircraft the Tu-95MS conducted a number of bombing sorties in Syria where it attacked a total of 66 targets with cruise missiles. Between 1979 and 1993 several dozen Tu-95MSs were produced. The ‘Bear’ is powered by four turboprop engines and can be equipped with either 6 or 16 Kh-55 missiles and carry a further eight Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles or 14 Kh-65 anti-ship missiles. Self-defence capabilities include two 23mm automatic cannons and electronic jamming equipment. The modernization will include an upgraded NK-12MPM engine, new electronics, a new navigation system and enhanced weapon systems. Work will be performed at Tupolev’s Taganrog Aviation Plant, with the first overhauled Tu-95MSM scheduled to be ready for departure by the end of 2019. Russia plans to keep the planes in service until 2040.
The government of the Philippines is receiving a Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (SABIR) system as part of a US military assistance package. The system has a price-tag of $15 million and will enhance the Philippine military’s maritime domain awareness, airborne command and control, counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities. The system will be installed on C-130 aircraft and will transform the airframe into a sophisticated C4ISR platform which retains it basic cargo aircraft capacity. SABIR is a system of individual “bolt-on” modular components that can be configured in a number of ways to support various missions, aircraft configurations, and other customer-specific requirements. This SABIR system will be operated by the PAF’s 300 Air Intelligence and Security Wing (300 AISW) out of Benito Ebuen Air Base, Mactan.
Watch: Osprey performs take-off and landing on aircraft-carrier.
Aug 15, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Air Force is quickly moving ahead with its hypersonic missile program. The service is contracting Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control division to move ahead with the critical design review and relevant testing of its air-launched rapid response weapon (ARRW). The undefinitized contract has a value of $480 million. The ARRW is one of two current US hypersonic missile research programs. Once completed the ARRW will be able to travel at least five times the speed of sound. Current information suggests that the missile will achieve hypersonic speeds by the use of scramjets, which use an aircraft’s forward motion to shovel air at supersonic speeds into the engine, causing thrust. The hypersonic scramjet will be carried aloft by a large aircraft as a wing-mounted missile. Once the parent aircraft is going fast enough that the scramjet will ignite, it launches the missile. Hypersonic weapons will likely be engineered as “kinetic energy” strike weapons, meaning they will not use explosives but rather rely upon sheer speed and the force of impact to destroy targets. The Air Force is currently investing over one billion dollars to aggressively expedite the ARRW’s and HACSW’s development schedule. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Orlando, Florida and is expected to be completed by November 30th, 2021.
The Navy’s Blue Angels squadron is set to receive new wings. Boeing is being awarded with a firm-fixed-price delivery order valued at $17 million. The contract provides for necessary work needed to convert nine F/A-18E and two F/A-18F aircraft into a Blue Angel configuration. The Blue Angels were formed in 1946 following WWII as a public relations and recruiting tool to inspire airshow crowds to pursue excellence in all of their endeavors and as a recruiting asset to attract potential candidates to join the US Navy. Work is likely to include removing the jet’s 20mm Vulcan cannon, enhancing the the aircraft’s fuel systems for prolonged inverted flight, adding an oil tank and extra plumbing to the Super Hornet’s exhaust for the smoke system, as well as other smaller changes. Flight controls on the Blue Angels’ F/A-18’s are usually modified to make formation and inverted flight easier. The flight control stick between the pilots’ legs uses a spring to exert 40-pounds of forward bias force meaning the pilot constantly exerts slight rearward pressure compared to a normal Hornet to maintain level flight. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in St. Louis, Missouri and is scheduled for completion by December, 2021.
Ceradyne is being tapped to support the US Army’s newly developed lightweight helmet. The $34.6 million contract modification provides for the incorporation of additional systems and components in the Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS). The helmet is capable of providing a larger area of protection for the head and face. The new head protection system is also equipped with accessories, such as mandibles, visors, night vision goggle attachment devices, rails and a modular ballistic appliqué that provides protection against fragmentation, 9mm and rifle fire. The Army intends to field 7,000 units of IHPS to separate brigades during the FY2018 before moving to full-rate production. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Irvine, California.
The US Army is procuring a number of Inflatable Satellite Antenna (ISA) systems. GATR Technologies will provide the service with the systems, kits, spares and associated training under this $522,4 million contract modification. GATR’s ground-mounted antennas look like giant beach balls with tie-downs to point them in the right direction. The inflatable satellite terminal reduces the tactical footprint of large-aperture satellite communications systems and enables portable high-bandwidth communications in remote areas. The ISA is designed for military ground use in remote areas with harsh weather and where the movement and installation of large standard rigid satellite antennas is challenging. The main advantage of the terminal is portability, the company noted. When the ball is deflated, it rolls up (with the dish inside) like a sleeping bag and weighs 18 pounds. The antenna bag, blower, hoses and plates fit in one transportable case. The modification brings the contract’s total face value to more than $960 million. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order. The contract has an estimated completion date of September 26th, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Iranian media reports that the Islamic Republic has a new anti-ship ballistic missile in its arsenal. Dubbed Fateh Mobin, the new missile is based on the existing Fateh 110 missile design. The Mobin was recently tested by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The missile flew more than 100 miles on a flight path over the strait to a test range in the Iranian desert. The Fateh 110’s development started in 1995 and was first tested in 2001. According to CSIS the Fateh 110 already comes in two anti-ship variants. In 2014 the IRGC displayed the Hormuz-1 and Hormuz-2 equipped with anti-radiation capabilities for attacking radar systems. Another anti-ship variant of the Fateh is the Khalij Fars, which does have the electro-optical seeker required to improve accuracy enough to potentially hit a moving target. Defense Minister Gen. Hatami recently underlined Iran’s determination to further enhance its defense power in all fields “despite sanctions, pressures and psychological war by enemies”. A message clearly directed towards an US and regional audience.
Turkey may lose a $1.5 billion defense deal as the diplomatic crisis with the US escalates. The contract in question is Pakistan’s planned acquisition of 30 Turkish-made T129 ATAK helicopter gunships. The T129 is produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries but partly uses US-made engine parts for which TAI will need US export licenses. If those licenses are not issued Turkey cannot legally export the gunships to Pakistan. The helicopter is powered by two CTS800-4A turboshaft engines that are manufactured by LHTEC, a joint venture between the American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce. Turkey and Pakistan signed a deal July 13th for 30 T129 ATAK helicopter gunships.
The German Navy plans to equip its K130 corvettes with the Skeldar V-200 rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The Navy is procuring two V-200s and will start to operate them by the end of 2019. The Skeldar is developed by Saab, is capable of being launched from the deck of any vessel, and delivers real-time intelligence and surveillance. The Skeldar V-200’s major mission capabilities include surveillance, reconnaissance, target attainment and transfer of target data to strike platforms. The typical payload configuration includes EO/IR gimbals, a laser pointer, laser range finder (LRF), synthetic aperture radar (SAR), ground moving target indicator (GMTI), electronic warfare, AIS transponder, searchlight, megaphone and cargo hook. The German Navy has its K130s deployed to a variety of naval missions where an increased reconnaissance capability is direly needed. During combat operations the V-200 will assist in guiding ship-launched RBS15 Mk3 missiles to their target.
Vietnam is exporting three radar systems to Laos. The VRS-2DM radar system is produced by Viettel and provides information to air-defense troops and can perform airspace and flight management tasks. Laos purchased the system as means to boost its combat capability.
The government of Australia is set to receive a new engine for one of its P-8 Poseidon aircraft at a cost of $12.8 million. The Poseidon is powered by a CFM56-7B27AE engine is produced by CFM International belongs to the family of high-bypass turbofan aircraft engines. The CFM56-7 first ran on 21 April 1995 and has a takeoff thrust range of 19,500–27,300lb. It powers commercial Next-Generation 737s and military versions of the airframe including the AWACS and C-40 Clipper. Work will be performed at multiple international locations, including Villaroche, France and Durham, North Carolina. Delivery of the engine is scheduled for September 2019.
Watch: Iran unveils ‘Mobin’ missile
Aug 14, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Air Force is investing in research that seeks to protect aircraft from photonic energy. UES Inc. is being awarded a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with a value of $49 million. The contract provides for research and development as part of the Air Force’s Flash and Laser Airborne Protection System program. Flash and Laser Airborne Protection System program has been devised as means to increase an aircrew’s survivability to flash-blindness and directed energy threats. Laser weapon systems could one day become standard for self-defense capabilities on Air Force aircraft and augment existing kinetic capabilities. It could also be used to better defend non-stealth aircraft that are seen as increasingly vulnerable to advanced anti-aircraft defense systems developed by Russia and China. Directed energy weapons are still considered a nascent market although significant progress has been made on laser weapons for use in naval and ground-based applications, including systems capable of downing drones. UES will be responsible for conducting exploratory and advanced research and development of materials and technologies needed to control, manipulate, and protect airfares against photonic energy. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by November 10th, 2024.
Raytheon and Leonardo-DRS are being contracted to support the Army’s FLIR technology. Both companies are each being awarded with a maximum $79.3 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that provides for the production of spare parts in support of the Second Generation Forward Looking Infrared Block 1 B kit. The SG FLIR 1 B kit is a thermal imaging system developed as part of the Army’s Horizontal Technology Integration (HTI) initiative. B-Kits consist of common components that will be integrated into combat vehicle sights for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. These B-Kit upgrades will provide combat vehicle crews with a common picture across all host vehicles. Weapon sights that are based on FLIR technology support battlefield surveillance and target acquisition. They allow gunners and field commanders to see, identify and target enemy platforms 24 hours a day, regardless of obscurants such as smoke, fog and dust. FLIR systems are installed on various platforms including the M1 Abrams and the Bradley. Both contracts have a duration of five years and do not include option periods. Work will be performed at the companies locations in Texas and Florida, and is scheduled for completion by August 2023.
The Navy is ordering torpedo replacement kits from Lockheed Martin Sippican. The firm-fixed-price, cost and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification has a value of $59.1 million and provides for the production of G&C sections and CBASS kits used on the Mk48 Mod 7 torpedo. The Mk-48 is a huge 533mm torpedo (19 feet long, 3,500+ pounds) with advanced homing, wire guidance capabilities, and devastating consequences when its 300kg warhead hits a target. The Mk48 Mod 7 CBASS is an upgraded version of the MK 48 Advanced Capability (ADCAP) Mod 6 Advanced Common Torpedo (ACOT). CBASS includes a Broadband Sonar Analog Receiver, preamplifier and interfacing hardware. This gives the retrofitted torpedoes the ability to transmit and receive over a wide frequency band, and takes advantage of broadband signal processing techniques to improve their targeting & tracking capabilities. According to the Lockheed’s website the company delivers at least 20 Mod 7 CBASS kits per month to the US Navy. This contract combines purchases for the US Navy and international allies. The governments of the Netherlands, Canada and Turkey will each receive the kits under the US foreign military sales program. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facilities in Marion, Massachusetts; Braintree, Massachusetts and Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania. The kits are scheduled for delivery by March 2021.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped for work on the F-35 Lot 12. The company is being awarded with a cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order that provides for the procurement of ancillary mission equipment at a cost of $301.9 million. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground attack and air superiority missions. In May 2017 the DoD awarded Lockheed with a $1.3 billion contract for the low-rate initial production of 130 Lot 12 F-35s, including the provision of parts, maintenance, and other services for the program. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($109.7 million), USMC ($50.1 million), Navy ($8.9 million), non-DoD participants ($102.3 million) and FMS customers ($30.8 million). Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas and is expected to be completed by January 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Recent satellite imagery indicates that the Egyptian Air Force has 12 new attack helicopters in its inventory. The helicopters in question are Russian-made Ka-52s. In 2015 Egypt agreed to acquire 46 conventional Ka-52 Alligator helicopters. The Ka-52 Alligator is an all-weather attack helicopter, powered by two Klimov VK-2500 turboshaft engines and designed by Kamov Design Bureau. The platform can destroy enemy armored and unarmored ground targets, low-speed aerial targets and troops at the frontline and in tactical depth. It is also deployed as a surveillance platform and aerial command post for a group of attack helicopters. The Alligator is armed with a 30mm machine gun and comes with six wing-mounted external hard points, its armor can withstands hits from 23 mm projectiles. Pilots are seated in ejection seats. It can also fly when one engine is disabled. About Egyptian 30 pilots and 70 technicians were trained in Russia last year. The country also voiced its interest to acquire a number of navalised Ka-52K Katran helicopters.
Airbus’s Zephyr S could be the holder of a new world record for aerial endurance. The solar-powered unmanned aircraft is developed by Airbus Defense & Space stayed aloft for 25 days 23 hours and 57 minutes. The Zeyphr S is a High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite or HAPS, designed to fill the gap between satellites and UAVs. The HAPS is the first UAV to fly in the stratosphere. The aircraft has a wingspan of 82ft and a weight of 165lb and can achieve daytime altitudes of about 74.000ft. The drone was initially developed by UK company QinetiQ and later bought and marketed by Airbus. The UK Ministry of Defence has three Zephyrs on order, being built at a new factory in Farnborough. While the UK MoD has not specified its plans for the aircraft, HAPS are seen as supplementary to satellites for Earth observation. The Zeyphr S can carry a variety of payloads which offer voice, data communications both line of sight and beyond the line of sight, and line of sight high resolution optical imagery. HAPS could be fitted with a mission-specific payload and deployed tactically to provide persistent surveillance in response to a natural or human-caused disaster, or to act as a telecommunications relay station.
The government of Australia is set to receive support services for its destroyers as part of a US foreign military sale valued at $23.9 million. Lockheed Martin will provide the Royal Australian Navy with engineering and logistics support for its Aegis combat system installed on the Australian Air Warfare Destroyer Hobart Class vessels. Australia’s 7,000t destroyers are based strongly on Spain’s 5,800t F-104 Mendez Nunez AEGIS “frigate”, with some features from the subsequent 6,390t F-105 Cristobal Colon. Hobart will provide air defence for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and for self-protection against missiles and aircraft. The Aegis Combat System incorporating the state-of-the-art phased array radar, AN/SPY 1D(V), in combination with the SM-6 missile, will provide an advanced air defense system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges in excess of 93 miles. The destroyers can also be deployed in law enforcement operations, defence aid to the civil community, collection of environmental data, rescue operations and diplomatic roles. Work will be performed in Adelaide, Australia and three US locations including Moorestown, New Jersey, among others. Work is scheduled for completion by January 2020.
Indonesia is determined to move ahead with its planned acquisition of 11 Su-35s from Russia, despite the risk of being hit by US sanctions. The Asian nation wants to purchase the fighter jets to replace its ageing fleet of F-5 Tigers. The potential deal has a value of $1.5 billion. Several Asian countries, including Indonesia, India, and Vietnam, are under threat of American sanctions for importing Russian-produced weapons systems. The sanctions aim to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, involvement in the Syrian war, and interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Watch: IAF Su-30s fly during exercise Pitch Black 2018
Aug 13, 2018 05:00 UTC
Lockheed Martin is receiving a contract modification for the development of F-35 Lighting II upgrades. The modification is valued at $104.9 million and enables Lockheed to mature the design and development of the fighter jet’s Block 4 common capabilities. The upgrades are part of the F-35 Phase 2.2(A)(1) pre-modernization of common capabilities program which will support the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and international partners. The F-35 is only as capable as its code. The Lightning II comes with 8 million lines of code, more than four times the amount of the F-22, the world’s first 5th generation fighter. Now known as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2), Block 4 will enable the F-35 to employ its full panoply of sensors and munitions. With the wider Block 4 capability to be rolled out in four increments (Block 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4). It will will eventually enable the F-35 to fire cutting edge weapons systems such as the Small Diameter Bomb II and GBU-54 – both air-dropped bombs able to destroy targets on-the-move. The whole Block 4 update program is expected to cost $10.8 billion through FY2024. The contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($83.9 million) and for relevant international partners ($21.0 million). Work will be conducted at the Lockheed Martin’s facility on Fort Worth, Texas, and is scheduled for completion by July 2019.
The Navy is procuring upgrade kits for its fleet of submarines. Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems will procure, assemble, integrate and test the AN/BLQ-10 system modernization kits at a cost of $47 million. The AN/BLQ-10 submarine EW system, provides automatic detection, classification, localization, and identification of potentially hostile radar and communications signals at sea. It is designed for Virginia-, Los Angeles-, and Seawolf-class fast-attack submarines, Ohio-class conventional guided-missile submarines, and future Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarines, but not for current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines. When the boat is at periscope depth the system processes the signals that are picked up by the submarine’s imaging mast or periscope. It warns the crew of collisions, helps to avoid detection by enemy forces and is able to provide ISR support to the fleet. Work will be performed in Syracuse, New York; Manassas, Virginia and Moorestown, New Jersey. The systems are expected to be upgraded by December 2020.
The US State Department is determined to approve a foreign military sale to Mexico. The country want to purchase six Evolved Seasparrow tactical missiles (ESSM) and two Evolved Seasparrow telemetry missiles for an estimated cost of $41 million. The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. The potential deal would also include one MK56 VLS launcher (for RIM-162D) with eight launching cells and eight MK30 canisters, as well as services ranging from training to engineering support services. The Mexican Navy plans to equip its Sigma 10514 Class ship with the ESSM. The system allows the Navy to better protect critical sea lanes against potential foes while also increasing its maritime partnership potential.
Middle East & Africa
The Turkish Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) is contracting Turkish defense contractor Aselsan to develop a new electronic warfare system. Aselsan says that the system comes with a long-range detection and jamming capability that helps to suppress enemy air defense surveillance during combat operations. The HavaSOJ integrates with radar, giving it the capability to coordinate missions in real time and to counter aerial threats. The system will be probably installed on a business jet, purchase of which Turkey is close to reaching a deal on with an unidentified company. Aselsan expects first deliveries by 2027 and says that the first HavaSOJ will be available to the Turkish Air Force Command by 2023.
The US Army will provide it allies in Syria with Toyota HiLux pick-up trucks as part of CJTF Operation Inherent. Florida company Bukkehave will provide the trucks and spare parts under this $10.2 million firm-fixed-price foreign military sale. The Toyota HiLux a series of light commercial pickup trucks that is manufactured in Japan. The Toyota is considered to be reliable and highly mobile vehicle making it quite popular in the Middle East and Central Asia. It can be used to transport troops or as a light attack vehicle if equipped with a -.50 cal machine gun. In 2015 US counter-terror officials have asked Toyota, the world’s second largest auto maker, to help them determine how ISIS has managed to acquire the large number of Toyota pick-up trucks and SUVs seen prominently in the terror group’s propaganda videos. Work will be performed in Fort Lauderdale and is expected to be completed by December 1st, 2018.
Romania is set to procure several HIMARS launchers from Lockheed Martin. The $218 million contract modification provides for 18 M142 launchers, associated training, spares and product improvement modifications. The HIMARS is mounted to a 6 by 6 truck chassis and has been designed to engage and defeat artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, light armor and troop carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of rockets or one ATACMS missile. The basic tactical rocket warhead contains 644 M77 munitions, which are dispensed above the target in mid-air. The dual-purpose bomblets are armed during free-fall and a simple drag ribbon orients the bomblets for impact. Each MLRS launcher can deliver almost 8,000 munitions in fewer than 60 seconds at ranges exceeding 19miles. The ATACMS missile carries 950 baseball-sized M74 submunitions to ranges exceeding 180 miles. Romania will receive $106 million as part of a foreign military sale and will be liable to pay the remaining $112 out of its own funds. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Grand Prairie, Texas. Delivery of the systems is expected by December 2020.
The Philippines and a few other countries are set to receive Paveway bombs as part of a US foreign military sale package. The package costs $110 million and includes activities such as studies, production, certification, integration, and sustainment. The Paveway family of laser-guided bombs are capable of converting “dumb” bombs into precision-guided munitions. The variants include Paveway II and Paveway III that are laser-guidance kits; and the Enhanced Paveway II, Enhanced Paveway III and Paveway IV use both laser and GPS guidance. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in Tucson, Arizona and is expected to be completed by February 2029.
Saab announced that the Royal Thai Air Force is upgrading Thailand’s national Air Command and Control System. Saab will perform all work necessary to upgrade its 9AIR C41. The 9AR C4I is a core part of the country’s air defense capability. The system is in use since 2010 and builds the backbone of Thailand’s network-centric defense system. The upgrade will include new hardware and software necessary to sustain current capabilities. Work will be performed at Saab’s facility in Järfälla, Sweden. Upgrades are expected to be completed by 2020.
Watch: Philippine Navy successfully test fire SpikeER
Aug 10, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Naval Air Systems Command is procuring system components for its F-35 Lightning fighter jets. Lockheed Martin will provide the service with essential Aircraft Management System (AMS) and Panoramic Cockpit Display (PCD) components at a cost of $19.3 million. The company will also be responsible for mitigating hardware risks as part of the program’s technical Refresh Phase 3 development. The F-35 is an advanced 5th generation fighter jet that that comes with a broad range of integrated missions systems and sensor fusion. The Aircraft Management System is the brain of the aircraft and integrates with the Automated Information Logistics System, or ALIS, a centralized fleet management system developed to reduce the F-35’s sustainment cost. The Panoramic Cockpit Display was designed by pilots for pilots. The 20 inch by 8 inch PCD incorporates an integral touchscreen that dominates the cockpit. The fly by wire system is controlled via an active side-stick on the right and an active throttle on the left. Active means these inceptors are under complete computer control and can be programmed on the fly. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Forth Worth, Texas and is expected to be completed by September 2019.
UAS manufacturer Insitu is being tapped to support the US Marine Corps. The awarded firm-fixed-price delivery order has a value of $9 million and provides for the procurement of spare and sustainment parts needed to maintain the RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft system. Insitu’s ScanEagle family combines versatility, endurance and small size. The RQ-21A system is modular, flexible and multi-mission capable, providing roll-on, roll-off transitions between land and maritime environments. The drone is a bigger, heavier and more capable version of the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft that has logged thousands of hours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States Marine Corps has ordered 32 systems each consisting of five air vehicles. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Bingen, Washington and is scheduled for completion by January 2019.
The US Special Operations Command is determined to keep its incumbent MEUAS II-B program running. Insitu is being awarded a $5000 minimum, $232 million maximum additional task order for maintaining its mid-endurance unmanned aircraft systems intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services. MEUAS II-B is a fee-for-service or “power by the hour” contractor-owned and operated UAV network deployed in support of SOCOM operations. The catapult-launched mid-sized ScanEagle provides SOF units on the ground with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information.
The Canadian Armed Forces are increasing their numbers of ‘smart’ soldiers. Rheinmetall will deliver 1,256 additional sets of the Argus Soldier System at a cost of $16.9 million. The order is part of the Canadian Army’s Integrated Soldier System, with 1,632 sets of the same equipment expected to be delivered this year. Argus provides soldiers with an enhanced situational awareness and enables them to perform functions such as navigation, detect, locate, identify and engage targets, and several other command and control functions. The system comprises of a hand-held Tactical User Interface with Battle Management Software (BMS), tactical soldier radio, connection hub, control unit, head set, active noise reduction earphones, and high capacity batteries. The system’s tactical radio provides simultaneous communication for voice and data between soldiers and their commander on multiple nets. The Argus Soldier System is a modular data display provider ranging from a light version to a medium and extended command-and-control version. Argus has been developed to assist the soldier to operate in the future battlefield. Being networked give troops a tactical advangtage in urban areas and when facing a number of asymmetric threats and attacks by irregular forces.
Middle East & Africa
The US Army is awarding a PAE Government Services with a contract modification for sustained vehicle support work. The $10.8 million modification enables the company to continue its efforts as part of the US National Maintenance Strategy – Ground Vehicle Support program in Afghanistan. Under NMS, PAE will provide training and mentoring to the Afghanistan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) in maintenance, supply chain management and warehouse support across 25 locations in Afghanistan. PAE will also provide Contractor Logistics Support to the ANDSF, which will include maintenance, supply chain management and parts support for vehicles and ground equipment. The ANA’s inventory consists of approximately 23.000 types of vehicles, that include Soviet-era T-55 tanks and MT-LB armored personell carriers, 150 rather new T-72 tanks and about 2.500 US-made Humvees. A key outcome of the NMS in Afghanistan is to develop a long-term capacity and a near-term readiness to ensure that the country is self sufficient. The strategy aims to bridge the gap between the dependence on US logistics support and the transition of all responsibility of the ANDSF. Work will be performed in Hkia, Afghanistan and is scheduled for completion by August 30th 2022.
The German Naval Yards (GNY) shipyard group joins forces with former competitor ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as means to land the contract for the German Navy’s future MKS 180 multirole combat ship program. MKS180 ships are expected to be capable of tackling targets above and below water in addition to supporting land missions. Armament should feature a 127 mm naval gun while surface to air missiles should be capable of hitting targets at a distance of 15 miles thereby enabling protection from air threats. The ships will be equipped with towed sonars for anti-submarine warfare and include sick bays or detention rooms for counter-piracy missions. The German Navy wants to acquire four MKS180s for $4.5 billion and wants them to enter service by the beginning of 2023. The newly formed German partnership will compete against Blohm + Voss, which is bidding with Dutch shipyard Damen.
Swedish defense manufacturer Saab will deliver its Integrated Defensive Aids Suite-2 (IDAS-2) to India. The order is being placed by India’s state-owned defense contractor Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at a cost of $39 million. According to the company IDAS-2 is an EW system designed to provide self-defence in sophisticated, diverse and dense threat environments. It integrates with a platform’s radar and provides the aircrew with radar-warning, lasar-warning and missile-approach warning funtion. IDAS-2 is also fully integrated with with the BOP-L countermeasures dispenser, which automatically dispenses countermeasures under the control of the EWC upon threat-identification. The system will be produced at Saab’s facility on Centurion, South Africa. IDAS-2 will protect India’s fleet of Dhruv light attack helicopter. First deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2019.
Taiwan wants to procure Phalanx style systems to protect its air force bases. The government’s public solicitation for the “Near Force Air Defense Fast Propeller System” requires the air-defense weapon to have high-precision, a high rate of fire, to be mobile and to operate automatically. It must be able to counter a number of airborne threats ranging from subsonic missiles to UAVs. The US military has used the Phalanx Centurion in Iraq to protect FOB Kalsu from incoming rockets, artillery shells and mortars. The Centurion can reach beyond its own array and use other target acquisition sensors to detect and track fired rounds. The Air Force plans to install the land-based Phalanx Centurion at the Jiashan, the Hualienjia and the Taidong Zhihang bases where large stockpiles of AMRAAM missiles are stored.
Watch: RAAF timelapse of medical facility deployed at Pitch Black 2018.
Aug 09, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division is procuring support equipment for its fleet of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Northrop Grumman will supply the Navy with 45 end items of Peculiar Support Equipment (PSE) at a cost of $29.9 million. The firm-fixed-price order includes the delivery of updated software sets, system specification documents and obsolescence management. E-2D support activities are conducted through the PEO(T) and PEO(U&W) programs led by the Supporting Program Executive Office. Both programs provide flight line and intermediate maintenance level test equipment & automated test equipment for the E-2D. The E-2D gives the warfighter expanded battlespace awareness, especially in the area of information operations delivering battle management, theater air and missile defense, and multiple sensor fusion capabilities in an airborne system. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Florida, and is expected to be completed in August 2021.
The Missile Defense Agency is procuring further efforts for the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) from Lockheed Martin. The cost-plus award fee valued at $15.8 million provides for the procurement of materials and work necessary to support the BMD Increment 3 Capability Concept Development; and raises the total cumulative contract value to $2.8 billion. Aegis can simultaneously attack land targets, submarines, and surface ships while automatically protecting the fleet against aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles. Aegis has become a widely-deployed top-tier air defense system, with customers in the USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, and Spain. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Moorestown, New Jersey and is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
The Air Force is ordering the next round of receiver technology for its military GPS development program. Raytheon is being awarded with a $11.3 million contract modification for the development of the miniaturized airborne global positioning system (GPS) receiver 2K-M. Under the Military GPS User Equipment program (MGUE), the Air Force’s GPS Directorate is developing receiver cards that will plug into existing equipment, enabling them to utilize the new military M-Code. Last year Raytheon’s MAGR-2K-M underwent a successful prototype and system functional check on the B-2 — confirming the card could draw power, put out the right data and that that data was being received by the B-2 systems in the appropriate format. So far, the military has identified more than 700 types of weapons systems that will need to be upgraded — an effort requiring almost one million receiver cards. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s locations in El Segundo, California; and Huntsville, Alabama, and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2020.
The US Air Force is contracting Lockheed Martin to rapidly advance the development and testing of new hypersonic missiles. An initial contract for the development for Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW, pronounced “Hacksaw”) at a cost $928 million was awarded to the company in April. Lockheed will also develop another weapon system named the AGM-183A or ARRW for short. HCSW has been designed to deliver a prompt hypersonic / hypervelocity, precision strike capability against high-value, time-critical fixed and re-locatable surface targets in a single or multi-theatre challenged anti-access / area denial (A2/AD) environment. By using a rocket to boost the missile to very high altitudes, the unpowered ARRW then glides down to lower altitudes at speeds up to Mach 20. The US acceleration of the hypersonic missile development project is a necessary response towards Chinese and Russian surprise developments in high-speed weapons.
Middle East & Africa
AAI Corp., a subsidiary of Textron, is being contracted for the provision of force protection efforts in Afghanistan. The firm-fixed price contract has a value of $12.7 million. AAI will most likely use its Aerosonde as an advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) solution in order to provide the US military with the capability to effectively execute a number of deployment operations and engineering support activities. The Aersonde is equipped for simultaneous day-and-night full-motion video, communications relay and intelligence in a single flight. It has an endurance of over 14 hours and can travel to a range of about 75 nautical miles. Work will be performed at Bagram Airfield and Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed by March 27th, 2019.
Côte d’Ivoire’s Gendarmerie is now using the Belarusian-made Cayman 4×4 light armored vehicle. Last month the State Military-Industrial Committee (Goskomvoenprom) announced that it will deliver the vehicle to an unnamed African nation. Built by the 140 Repair Plant in Borisov, vehicle can be used in reconnaissance and sabotage missions, patrol, escort, peace-keeping and police operations, as well as in emergency response missions. It weighs about 7 tons and can carry a crew of six. A 170 hp D-245 engine powers it to a top speed of 60 mph on paved roads. Its side and rear armor is said to be equivalent to STANAG 4569 Level 1 and its frontal armor equivalent to Level 2. Côte d’Ivoire which currently has a protection company serving with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is the first known export customer of the Cayman 4×4.
A Spanish Eurofighter accidently launched an AIM-120 AMRAAM in Estonia. The fighter aircraft was flying near defenses near Pangod in the vicinity of Otepää when the incident occurred. It is yet unclear if the AIM-120D’s built in self-destruct mechanism terminated the flight or if the missile landed at an unspecified location. The Estonian Defense Forces have sent helicopters to search for the missile. The Spanish Eurofighter is part of NATO’s Air Policing Mission that support member states that do not have the necessary air capabilities to independently protect their airspace. The Spanish air force currently deploys six Typhoons as part of this mission. An investigation has been initiated to clarify the circumstances.
Jane reports that the Philippines is currently negotiating the terms of an agreement to expand collaboration on diesel-electric submarines with Russia. The Philippine Navy is currently in the process of conducting market research and doctrine studies in support of its submarine procurement program. The Navy is looking to purchase at least two submarines as part of its 2018-22 Second Horizon military modernization program. If the agreement realizes Russia would provide the Philippine Navy with submarine training to support military operations, maintenance, and sustainment activities.
Watch: What does it take to become a certified C2-A Pilot?
Aug 08, 2018 05:00 UTC
- The US Army is procuring protective netting kits in support of its MRAP vehicles. Navistar Defense will provide an unspecified amount of rocket propelled grenade netting kits as part of the awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. The three-year contract with no option periods is valued at $29.58 million. The PG Net provides a lightweight solution used as an add-on protection on top of existing armor. It can be used to protect the entire vehicle or apply on specific locations where other types of armor are less effective. The mesh structure is not designed to stop the incoming RPG but to disable it by trapping it in-flight and thus preventing it from detonation. Navistar’s netting kit is similar to the Q-Net offered by QinetiQ. Work will be performed in Illinois and is scheduled for completion by August 4th, 2021.
- Raytheon is set to provide the US Air Force with technical support for its inventory of AMRAAM missiles. The contract modification has a value of $13.1 million and provides for technical services and analysis support. Over the years Raytheon’s family of AIM-120s has become world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles. The AMRAAM’s advanced active guidance section provides aircrew with a high degree of combat flexibility and lethality. Its mature seeker design allows it to quickly find targets in challenging combat environments. Coupled with modern radars the missile’s guidance approach allows a fighter to launch and control many missiles at once, avoiding a dangerous fixation on one target. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Tucson, Arizona and expected to be completed by September 30th, 2020.
- The Navy is investing in a new Air Wing Training Facility. Straub Construction is being contracted to construct this new facility at Naval Air Station, Fallon at a cost of $16.8 million. The facility will be constructed using structural steel framing and a mix of reinforced concrete, including seismic upgrades. After its scheduled completion by August 2020, the facility will support a number of desk-style aircraft simulators where soldiers will train on platforms such as the Aegis combat system, the F-35 and E-2D. The facility will house F-35 Mission Rehearsal Trainers which are small scale simulators that use the same technology as ‘full-scale’ simulators but do not provide a full 360°-degree home display. NAS Fallon is home to TOPGUN and the virtual aegis combat system environment will train surface warfare officers to track and target air threats as part of the Navy’s general NIFC-CA capability.
- The Air Force’s OA-X trainer competition seems to gain traction again after a series of delays and mishaps. The Air Force plans to request proposals from a limited number of companies including Textron and Sierra Nevada Corp. The announcement follows the trainer experiment that was kicked off last year as means to study the feasibility of using an off-the-shelf platform as a low-cost solution for light attack and close-air support missions. Textron is competing with its AT-6 Wolverine and Sierra Nevada with its A-29 Super Tucano, jointly produced with Brazilian manufacturer Embraer. Earlier this year the second phase of the fighter experiment was cut short when a Super Tucano participating in the effort crashed near Holloman Air Force Base. One pilot died, and another was seriously injured. A formal solicitation is expected to be released in December, and a production contract will be awarded in the fourth quarter of FY 2019.
Middle East & Africa
- Reports suggest that the Iranian Air Force successfully overhauled yet another aircraft. IRGC military technicians spent about 25,000 man/hours of work on the French-made Mirage F1 fighter jet. The F1 performed its first flight in 1966. The F1 is built from aluminum alloy, with substantial use of honeycomb sandwich construction, and some use of steel and titanium. It is powered by a single SNECMA Atar 09K50 afterburning turbojet. The F1C was designed to be easy to maintain and quick to turn around between sorties. Iran acquired the F-1 after 24 Iraqi Air Force officers defected in 1991. After the airframes languished for years, the Iranian government commissioned a refurbishment and upgrade program named Project HABIBI in 2007. The Mirage now joins one overhauled American-made F-14 and F-5 jet, as well as 10 Russian-made Su-22s.
- Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Boeing are currently competing in being the lead vendor in one of Israel’s biggest defense procurement programs. The Israel Air Force is looking to modernize its fleet of tanker aircraft as means to maintain its air-superiority. IAI proposed to buy buying used Boeing 767 aircraft on the open market and converting them for airborne refueling of combat planes, however Boeing is reluctant to grant IAI permits to convert its planes to tanker configuration. Boeing has a clear interest in ousting IAI from the procurement program as it wants to push sales of its newly developed KC-46, which comes with a price-tag of $250-300 million. The Israel Air Force’s current tankers are used Boeing 707s converted by IAI in the early 1980s.
- The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense is issuing a tender for the general overhaul of two Mi-17 transport and four Mi-24V combat helicopters. The Mi-17 is a medium weight, single rotor helicopter. The aircraft construction primarily incorporates the airframe of a Mi-8 with the power train of the Mi-24, which provides an increase in performance and gross weight over the basic Mi-8. The aircraft is configured with 5-bladed main rotor system 70 feet diameter and uses wheeled landing gear. The multirole helicopter that can be armed with rockets, missiles and guns. The Mi-24V is equipped with a YakB four-barreled, 12.7mm, built-in, flexibly mounted machine gun, which has a firing rate of 4,000-4,500 rounds a minute and its four underwing pylons can accommodate up to 12 anti-tank missiles. The planned procurement has a total value of $22 million of which $6.6 million are earmarked for the Mi-17s and $15.3 million for Mi-24Vs.
- Jane’s reports that the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) can now offer an improved version of its Cai Hong 804C VTOL UAV. The particularity of this hybrid drone is the installation of 4 rotors on the tail beams attached to the wings, allowing it to take off and land vertically without the need for a track, or an ejection system. The updated vehicle features a redesigned composite airframe that boosts an increased wingspan, a maximum take-off weight of 60 lb. and a payload capacity of 8 lb. The UAV is equipped with an EO/IR ball turret that can detect and identify a tank-sized object at a maximum distance of 1.2 miles and 0.9 miles respectively. The UAV is equipped with an L-band datalink that enables it to transmit and receive data within a 62 miles line-of-sight distance, supporting a data transfer rate of up to 25.6 kbps for telemetry and 4 Mbps for imagery.
- Watch: The opening of Aviadarts 2018