Nov 09, 2018 05:00 UTC
Oshkosh is receiving an extra $11.9 million in funding to continue work on the US Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Retrofit Work Directive. The JLTV is being developed by the Army and the Marine Corps as a successor to the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), which has been in service since 1985. The JLTV has two variants; a two seat and a four seat variant, as well as a companion trailer. The vehicle offers the Core1080 crew protection for survivability, turret operated systems, remote weapons systems, and tube-launched missile system. The vehicle can be fitted with light, medium, and heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, smoke grenade launchers, or anti-tank missiles, operated from ring mounts or a remote weapon station. In early 2019, the Army will reportedly field 500 JLTVs to an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) in the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, NY, and 65 JLTVs to an Infantry Battalion with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) at Camp Lejeune, NC. Work will be performed at Oshkosh’s factory in Wisconsin and is scheduled to run through December 13, 2019.
Canadian Commercial Corp. is being contracted to support the US Navy’s AN/SQQ-89(V) Surface Ship ASW Combat System. The awarded IQIQ contract is priced at $10 million and provides for the refurbishment and manufacturing of the TR-343 transducer tube assemblies. The assemblies are a critical component of the TR-343 transducer that is used in the AN/SQS-53C hull-mounted sonar array, a subsystem of the above mentioned combat system. The AN/SQQ-89(V) provides surface warships with a seamlessly integrated undersea/anti-submarine warfare detection, localization, classification and targeting capability. The AN/SQS-53 is a computer controlled sonar set provided to surface ships which features both active and passive mode. Its primary sensor is hull mounted transducer array. In addition to search, detection and track of submarine threats, SQS-53C is responsible for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) weapons fire control and guidance to its assigned underwater target. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Toronto, Canada and is scheduled for completion by November 2023.
French aerospace company Dassault is withdrawing from Canada’s fighter jet competition. Ottawa issued an initial draft bid package for 88 fighter aircraft to industry partners last month and expects their feedback by the end of this year. Dassault decided to withdraw from the competition due to concerns over Canada’s requirements for intelligence data sharing and interoperability, particularly with US forces. With the Rafale out of the race, the potential aircraft in the competition now include the F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen and the Boeing Super Hornet. The upcoming fighter jet acquisition is priced at $12.2 billion, with the final bids required by May 2019.
Middle East & Africa
DRS Network & Imaging Systems is being awarded with a Foreign Military Sales contract. The deal is valued at $129 million and supports the armed forces of Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The company will provide the countries with support services for the Direct Support Electrical System Test Set (DSESTS). This includes system technical support services, system sustainment technical support services, and post production software support services; as well as diagnostic services. The DSESTS is used to test and trouble-shoot electrical systems on armoured vehicles such as the M1 Abrams or the Bradley IFV. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order. Performance of the contract is estimated to be completed by November 6, 2023.
The German newspaper Handelsblatt reports that Egypt is ordering two new frigates from Thyssen-Krupp. The contract is priced at $1.1 billion and covers the delivery of two Meko A-200 frigates. The Meko A combat ships, designed by Blohm and Voss, evolved from the Meko family of ships which have been in operation with navies around the world since the 1980s. The 3.500t A-200 is the largest class in the Meko A family. The A-200 is capable of full 4-dimensional warfare (AAW, ASW and ASuW, BCW). The frigate is designed to perform sustained operations across the full spectrum of general missions and tasks: patrol and interdiction, support of special force operations, SAR, and humanitarian operations.
KAI is being tapped to upgrade Indonesia’s fleet of T-50i aircraft. Jakarta signed the $89.4 million contract with the South Korean defense firm on Thursday. Under the deal, KAI will deliver three KT-1B trainer aircraft and install radar equipment and guns on the Indonesian Air Force’s T-50i aircraft. The T-50 Golden Eagle first flew in 2002 and comes in the T-50A advanced trainer and T-50B lead in fighter trainer versions. The T-50 G has digital fly-by-wire controls and hands on throttle and stick. The aircraft has seven external hardpoints for carrying weapons, one on the centreline under the fuselage, two hardpoints under each wing and an air-to-air missile launch rail at the two wingtips. A General Electric F404-GE-102 turbofan engine accelerates the plane to a maximum speed of 1,837km per hour. The deliveries and upgrades are expected to be completed in the beginning of 2021.
Watch: US MASSIVE Hybrid Transformer Helicopter/Plane in Action: V-22 Osprey + CH-53 Heavy Lifting
Nov 08, 2018 05:00 UTC
General Dynamics is being contracted to perform post-delivery work on the Navy’s new Virginia-class submarine. The $13.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification covers the procurement of long-lead-time materials for maintenance, repairs, testing, modifications and other work on the vessel. The USS Indiana is a Block III vessel that features a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining its outstanding warfighting capabilities. Work will be performed at GD’s shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by April 2019.
Boeing is receiving a contract modification to support the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track (IRST) program. The additional $12.1 million allow Boeing to incorporate conduct designing, developing, integrating and testing of the Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) Block II, Phase II engineering change. These efforts will be carried out to replace the IRST Block I system. The modification incorporates an engineering development model and upgrades for two sets of IRST Block I system weapon replacement assemblies. IRST is a long-wave infrared detection system that targets airborne vehicles in a radar-denied environment. In the mid-2000s, Lockheed Martin LMT was selected as the winner in the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F IRST competition, which required 170 systems. These were the IRST Block I systems, which are capable of detecting, tracking and ranging targets with weapon-quality accuracy. Now with the advanced version of this IRST system – the Block II version – set to get incorporated in the F/A-18 jets, these aircrafts will be able to perform better in terms of surveillance. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri. The Block II systems are expected to be completed in April 2022.
The US Air Force terminated a E-3 Sentry AWACS update contract with Boeing. Under the contract Boeing would have updated the radar on the Air Force’s flagship surveillance aircraft at a cost of $76 million. Boeing was on contract to provide improved radar processing “in a specific flight environment to meet a classified requirement,” for its E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System surveillance aircraft, Captain Hope Cronin, a service spokeswoman, told Bloomberg in an email. However after the company encountered major delays in developing hardware and software, and expected several extra years and an additional $60 million to complete the project, officials decided to issue a partial stop-work order in January and terminated the contract in May. Cronin further said, that “the Air Force determined the best approach for providing this critical capability would be to replace the legacy radar processor and its related components.” “Several companies responded to the Air Force’s request for information, and a request for proposal is currently being developed,” she added.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey starts serial production of its new ATMACA anti-ship missile. Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) recently signed a multi-million deal with its industry partners Roketsan and Aselsan. SSB’s contract includes the “mass production” of missiles by Roketsan, and manufacturing of fire control systems, necessary equipment and spare parts by Aselsan. The ATMACA is similar in capability to the Exocet, C-802 and Harpoon. The ATMACA AShM weighs 1700 lbs with a 440 lbs warhead. It can travel at subsonic speed and can reach a range of up to 124 miles. The guidance suite comprises a INS/GPS system with a terminal-stage active radar-homing (ARH) seeker. The missile is expected to be the main offensive weapon of the Milgem platform. The Turkish Navy intents to exchange all the Harpoon missiles in its inventory on 1:1 basis with ATMACA missile, meaning at least 350 missiles are needed.
The German Navy will equip its new Braunschweig-class corvettes with Leonardo’s OTO 76/62 Super Rapid gun system. The contract, signed with the German Federal Office in charge of defense acquisitions, includes the delivery of seven gun systems as well as training and spare parts supply. The 76mm Super Rapid gun mount is a light weight, multi-mission naval artillery system capable of firing in single-shot mode or 120 rounds per minute at ranges up to 10 nautical miles. Depending on the configuration, the OTO 76/62 Super Rapid could include the Strales capability to fire Dart guided ammunition specifically designed for the engagement of fast manoeuvrings targets, the Vulcano GPS-guided long-range ammunition able to engage a target with an excellent accuracy as well as the Multi Feeding (MF) device for the ammunition automatic handling. The system is designed for anti-aircraft, anti-missile and point defense missions. OTO 76/62 can be integrated on any type and class of ship, including smaller units. The contract value has not been disclosed.
Airbus Helicopters and Romania’s IAR have finalised an exclusive cooperation agreement for the heavy twin engine H215M multi-role helicopter. This follows an initial agreement signed in August 2017. Under the agreement, IAR will become the prime contractor for the H215M for any future order by the Romanian Ministry of Defense to replace its ageing fleet. The H215M multi-role helicopter is a military variant of the H215 civil helicopter. It features a crashworthy fuselage, incorporating a four-bladed main rotor and a monocoque tail boom integrating an anti-torque rotor with five composite blades. The H215M can be armed with 20mm cannons, 68mm rocket pods and side-mounted, rapid-fire machine guns to support attack missions. “We consider that the IAR-H215M helicopter is the best solution for the Romanian aeronautical industry, the Ministry of Defense and for other clients all over the world. IAR and Romania are looking forward to becoming helicopter manufacturers again. This contract represents a new chapter of the cooperation between France and Romania in the field of aeronautics,” said Neculai Banea, General Director of IAR.
The French Ministry of Defense plans to add an additional satellite to its Syracuse 4 program. According to the French arms-procurement agency, DGA, the extra satellite is needed to fulfil connectivity demands from drones and military aircraft. Syracuse 4A and 4B will replace the Syracuse 3A and 3B satellites, launched in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Offering a design life of 15 years, the two satellites will have identical X- and Ka-band payloads, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor. “This [the third] satellite will be different from the other ones we are currently building in order to better address the specific and increasing needs of airborne systems,” Col. Jannin, head of French satcom programs said at the 2018 Global MilSatCom conference. The first two Syracuse-4 satellites will be launched on Ariane-5ECA rockets between 2020 and 2022, with the third expected to launch by 2030. The Syracuse-4 satellites will feature unrivaled resistance to even the most extreme jamming methods, thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, including an active anti-jamming antenna and a digital onboard processor.
The Philippine Navy (PN) is currently testing its first AW-159 helicopter in the UK. “As confirmed by the Commander Naval Air Group (CNAG), the AW159 has just started initial test flight as part of the manufacturer’s trial. It is still scheduled for a series of test flights before scheduling its handover to the Philippines. According as well to CNAG, the flight signals the completion of the first unit,” defense department spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday. The PN ordered two AW159 Lynx Wildcat naval helicopters for $114 million in March 2016. The helicopters will give the PN a long sought after anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, carrying active dipping sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns.
Watch: USS Wichita Completes Acceptance Trials
Nov 07, 2018 05:00 UTC
Lockheed Martin is receiving more money to increase Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) production. Awarded by the Air Force, the $350 million increase to an IDIQ contract provides for lifecycle support for all efforts related to JASSM, Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, JASSM-Extended Range, and any JASSM variant. This includes system upgrades; integration, production and sustainment efforts, as well as management and logistical support. The Joint Air-to Surface Standoff Missile is a long-range, radar-evading cruise missile designed to destroy hostile air defenses before aircraft are within range. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factory in Orlando, Florida and is expected to be completed by April 2022.
General Atomics is being contracted to build more MQ-9 Reapers for the US Air Force. The company will produce several units in their FY2018 configuration at a cost of $263.4 million. The Reaper is a single-engine, turbo-prop, remotely piloted armed reconnaissance aircraft designed to operate over-the-horizon at medium altitude for long endurance. Funding for US SOCOM procures Special Operations Force-unique kits, payloads and modifications. The MQ-9 UAS is comprised of an aircraft segment, consisting of aircraft configured with an array of sensors that includes day/night Full Motion Video (FMV), Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor payloads; avionics, data links and weapons; a Ground control segment consisting of a Launch and Recovery Element, and a Mission Control Element with embedded Line-of-Sight and Beyond-Line-of-Sight communications equipment. Work will be performed at GA’s factory in Poway, California and is scheduled for completion by November 30, 2021.
Raytheon will support DARPA’s Millimeter-Wave Digital Arrays (MIDAS) program with research and development efforts. The competitive, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is priced at $11.5 million and will run through November 4, 2020. MIDAS aims to develop element-level digital phased-array technology that will enable next generation DoD millimeter wave systems and advance military secure communication technologies. The program is geared toward finding a common digital array tile for performing multiple-beam directional communications at millimeter-wave frequencies. The MIDAS program is focused on two key technical areas: the development of the silicon integrated circuits (ICs) needed for the core transceiver of the array tile; and the development of wideband antennas, millimeter-wave transmit/receive (T/R) components, and the integration of the various components needed to enable the use of this millimeter-wave technology across a number of different applications. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in El Segundo, California.
FlightSafety International is being selected to provide the US Marine Corps with flight training devices for the AH-1Z and the UH-1Y. The devices will be installed at the Marine Air Corps Station Futenma in Okinawa, Japan. FlightSafety’s simulation equipment includes VITAL 1100 Image Generators, a dome visual display with 270 x 80 degree field of view (+30 degrees up and -50 degrees down). The devices will also feature Microsoft Windows 10, advanced Cybersecurity, daily operational readiness test software as well as other computational system upgrades. In addition, the company will modify four existing AH-lZ and UH-IY flight training devices located at Camp Pendleton. This includes a new aft entry area, instructor operating system position and design, a visual display dome and visual turret structure, as well as an expanded vertical field of view and 6-axis degrees of freedom secondary motion system.
Middle East & Africa
One of the Egyptian Air Force’s MiG-29 fighter aircraft crashed during a training flight last Saturday. Military officials have confirmed that the jet crashed due to a “technical glitch in the control tools”, adding the pilot managed to eject safely. The plane was supplied by Russia to Egypt as part of a commercial contract in 2018. The MiG-29M/M2 is a major development of the legacy MiG-29, boasting design changes to the airframe, improved turbofans in the RD-33MK (which is similar in weight to the RD-33, but benefits from a higher thrust rating and full-authority digital engine control), fly-by-wire flight control system, updated avionics and Zhuk-ME pulse-Doppler radar. About 1,600 MiG-29s are currently operational worldwide and approximately 600 MiG-29s and variants are in service with the Russian Air Force.
The UK Ministry of Defence plans to spend over $243 billion over the next ten years as outlined in its 2018 Defence Equipment Plan. According to the paper, the MoD will spend about $600 million more on the UK’s new aircraft-carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and her F-35B fighter aircraft. This significant increase is being offset by reducing the cost of other ongoing MoD programs, such as the P-8 Poseidon program, the Apache sustainment program and the Type-26 frigate acquisition program. However the MoD is also experiencing some problems with other projects. The Royal Army’s Warrior IFV Capability Sustainment Program is already $81 million over budget and 13-months behind schedule. Despite the MoD’s efforts to drive down costs the National Audit Office is less than pleased. The office has noted that the MoD’s plan ‘remains unaffordable and is not sustainable if the Department wants to deliver longer-term value for money’. Current estimates assume that the MoD will have a spending gap of $9 to $19 billion in the next ten years.
Defense News reports that South Korean and Spanish defense officials are currently negotiating a possible trade of trainer and transport aircraft. The deal may involve the exchange of 54 advanced trainer jets built by KAI for four to six A400M transport aircraft. It seems that the initial proposal was made on the sidelines during the Farnborough International Airshow last July. The Spanish Air Force will soon need to replace its ageing fleet of Enaer T-35C Pillan jets, but has a surplus of about 13 A400Ms. If the deal goes through Spain could exchange some of its transporters for 34 KT-1 basic trainers and 20 T-50 advanced trainer jets. The total value of the swap deal is estimated to be $890 million.
Watch: BAE Systems Vulcano Precision-Guided Munition & Mk45 Naval Gun at Euronaval 2018
Nov 06, 2018 05:00 UTC
Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a contract modification in support of the F-35 Block 4 pre-modernization Phase II effort. Priced at $130.4 million the modification provides for requirements decomposition and design work that sees for the maturation of the aircraft’s weapon capabilities. Block 4 is part of the F-35 JPO’s Continuous Capability Development and Delivery or C2D2 effort that seeks to keep the fighter jet relevant against emerging, dynamic threats by quickly fielding incremental updates to the jet’s software, much like regularly updating one’s smartphone. The Block 4 update program will allow the aircraft to finally meet its full contractual specifications. The whole Block 4 update program is expected to cost $10.8 billion through FY2024. The contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($17.4 million), the Navy ($14.2 million), Marine Corps ($14.2 million) and for relevant international partners ($84.3 million). Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas and is expected to be completed in March 2020.
BAE Systems is being tapped to support the Navy’s Mk 41 Vertical Launch System. The company will provide the Navy with mechanical design agent engineering services at a cost of $45.9 million. The contract covers a variety of efforts including the provision of mechanical, cable, canister and canister support equipment; design and system engineering support; integration support and associated ancillary material. The Mk 41 is the most widely-used naval VLS in the world, and can be described as a naval Swiss army knife. The Mk 41 VLS can hold a wide variety of missiles: anti-air and ballistic missile defense, anti-submarine, land-attack and more. The Mk 41 VLS is installed on US Navy CG-47 and DDG- 51 class ships, as well as on warships of 11 allied navies. Work will be performed at BAE’s facilities in Minnesota and South Dakota, and is scheduled for completion by March 2020.
General Atomics is being contracted to improve the MQ-9’s reliability during adverse weather conditions. The $10.7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is awarded by the US Air Force and provides for “MQ-9 weather tolerance activities”. The MQ-9 is a larger and more powerful derivative of the MQ-1. The major difference in layout is the upward V-tail. Environmental factors, such as adverse weather conditions, affect a UAV’s overall reliability and are most often mitigated with operating limitations that restrict the system’s operational value. Environmental factors that can have major effects on an UAV’s reliability include precipitation, icing and wind. Work will be performed at GA’s factory in Poway, California and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2020.
A team of the US Army, DARPA and Sikorsky engineers and pilots successfully demonstrate DARPA’s “self-flying aircraft kit”. In a series of flight tests the team operated a S-76B commercial helicopter equipped with DARPA’s Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS). ALIAS comprises a set of hardware and software that allows an aircraft to autonomously take-off, travel to its destination and autonomously land. ALIAS has been around for several years, and the recent test brings DARPA one step closer to finalize its one-size-fits-all drop-in solution for automating a variety of aircraft. The test demonstrated that the software, could take off, fly in difficult winds and at low altitude, avoid wires and other obstacles, and even make determinations about whether or not it is safe to land in one place or another. Program Manager Dave Baden said the technology is important because it reduces the workload on the pilot: “Either to execute the MEDEVAC, the close air support mission or whatever they are there to do. “Rather than concentrate on moving controls, they can concentrate on what really needs to be done”. During next phase of tests Sikorsky will for the first time fly a Black Hawk military helicopter equipped with ALIAS.
Middle East & Africa
Reuters reports that Iran is now producing its ‘indigenously’ designed Kowsar fighter jet. “Soon the needed number of this plane will be produced and put at the service of the Air Force,” Defense Minister Amir Hatami said at a ceremony on Saturday to launch the plane’s production, which was shown on Iranian television. Iran first unveiled the Kowsar in August and claims that it is a fourth-generation fighter with an advanced manoeuvring capability and equipped with a multi-purpose radar. However, some military experts believe that the Kowsar is merely a carbon copy of an F-5 first produced by Northrop Grumman in the 1950s. The F-5 was sold to Iran in the 1960s and first entered operation in the Iranian Imperial Air Force in 1965. The news comes as tensions mount with the United States after the reimposition of US sanctions on Tehran.
The Romanian government is ordering three more Patriot air-defense systems from the US. Defense Minister Mihai Fifor said Friday that the units, purchased this week, were in addition to a $3.9 billion military contract that Romania signed with the US in December 2017. As part this multi-billion deal, Bucharest will the receive Patriot Configuration 3+, the most advanced configuration available, as well as an undisclosed quantity of GEM-T and PAC-3 MSE interceptor missiles. Mike Ellison, an official with Raytheon, which makes the Patriot missiles, said: “Romania is purchasing the most advanced, capable, cutting-edge tactical ballistic missile defense system in the world.” A NATO member since 2004, the procurement comes as Romania looks to modernize its Soviet-era equipment and improve its defense capabilities as tensions with neighboring Russia continue. The missiles are expected to become operational by 2020.
Australia is strengthening its defense relationship with the United States. One of the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers and one of the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers jointly tested the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) real-time sensor netting system for the first time. This sensor netting system allows ships, aircraft, and even land radars to pool their radar and sensor information together, creating a coherent picture. The CEC provides real time integration of fire control quality sensor data, as each CEC unit combines on-ship radar measurement data with those from all other CEC units using the same CEC algorithms. The result is a superior air picture based on all the data available, providing tracks (i.e. identified items) with identical track numbers throughout the net. During the test the HMAS Hobart established secure data links with the USS John Finn, after which the vessels shared tracking and fire control data. Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne said that “these trials are the culmination of 12 months of preparations and demostrate Hobart ‘s formidable capability,” he added that the trial marked “a significant milestone in the testing and qualifying of Hobart’s combat and weapons systems”.
Watch: US Army Pilot Tests ALIAS’ Autonomy Capabilities in Demonstration Flight
Nov 05, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Special Operations Command is ordering additional helicopters from Boeing. The awarded contract modification is priced at $42.8 million and provides for four new build MH-47G Chinooks. The MH-47G is a new version of the helicopter platform that first flew in 1962 and has been configured to perform long-range day and night missions, in inclement weather at low levels. The Chinooks feature enhanced digital avionics and flight control systems, as well as a sturdier monolithic airframe increasing survivability. According to the DoD press release, SOCOM needs those additional rotorcraft to satisfy an urgent need for heavy assault helicopters. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in Ridley Park.
The Canadian government is entering the next stage of its fighter procurement program. In a draft bid package posted on October 26 procurement officials name five companies that could make the run in the upcoming tender. Canada needs to replace its ageing fleet of fighter aircraft with 88 new ones at a cost of $12 billion. Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, Saab’s Gripen and the Boeing Super Hornet will likely be considered and the companies are expected to give their feedback by the end of this year. Ottawa plans to receive initial proposals from bidders between summer and winter 2019. A contract is anticipated to be awarded during the winter months of 2021-2022. Canada wants initial aircraft to be delivered in 2025, with IOC achieved by 2026. The Royal Canadian Air Force wants all aircraft delivered by 2031 or 2032, at which time the CF-18 fleet will be retired.
Raytheon is marking another milestone in its Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) program. During a recently held test one of the USMC’s F-35Bs made a successful digital air connection with the USS Wasp. SSDS uses software and commercial off-the-shelf electronics to turn incoming data from several systems into a single picture of prioritized threats. The system then recommends an engagement sequence for the ship’s crew, or (in automatic mode) fire some combination of jamming transmissions, chaff or decoys, and/or weapons against the oncoming threat. “Information is key for any Commander – and shared information from multiple sources and vantage points extends our battlespace and our advantage over enemy threats,” said U.S. Navy Captain Danny Busch, Program Executive Office – SSDS. “Now with the ability to link our sensors and weapons, from sea and air, SSDS is providing a level of interoperability and defensive capability never before available to the Expeditionary fleet.”
Boeing’s new KC-46 tanker receives more certifications as it successfully completes aerial refueling of two additional aircraft types. During recently held tests the KC-46 completed receiver certification testing for the B-52 bomber and the F/A-18 fighter jet, with the F-15 to follow next year. A Boeing spokesperson says that the certification test are in preparation for the start of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation work next year. KC-46A is a militarised version of the 767-2C. Modification include aerial refueling equipment, an air refueling operator’s station that includes panoramic 3-dimensional displays, and threat detection/ countermeasures systems. Boeing recently missed the delivery schedule for its first aircraft which was expected to take place on October 27. The KC-46 acquisition program sees for the delivery of 179 tankers at a cost of $44.3 billion, with the first aircraft expected to be delivered between April and June 2016.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing is being tapped to continue maintenance support for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s fleet of F-15 fighter aircraft. The company is being awarded with a $14.6 million contract that sees for the sustainment of the Aircraft Maintenance Debrief System (AMDS). The F-15 is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to achieve aerial superiority in combat situations. The contract allows Boeing to provide trained personnel to use and maintain AMDS equipment at six locations throughout Saudi Arabia. The company’s staff also train RSAF members on how to operate and maintain the equipment. Work will be performed at multiple locations in Saudi Arabia and is expected to run through November 4, 2023.
The Turkish government is contracting a team of three Turkish companies to build the country’s first indigenous long-range air and anti-missile system. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the National Long Range Regional Air Missile Defense System (SIPER) project on Wednesday. “This system is crucial for Turkey’s defense and they (the partners) are taking a new step with this project that will upgrade Turkey in the league of defense systems,” Erdo?an was quoted by Defense News’s Burak Ege Bekdil. The SIPER system will be produced by the Turkish state-run military electronics manufacturer Aselsan, state-controlled missile producer Roketsan, and Tübitak Sage, a state research institute. For the next 18 months the companies will conduct a definition study to prepare a a development and production contract for the future system. SIPER is expected to be completed by 2021.
Germany will be able to integrate Lockheed’s Patriot PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile into its next-generation TLVS missile defense system. TLVS is a highly mobile ground based air and missile defense system for protection against the current and future threat spectrum in the lower tier. TLVS is developed by an MBDA and Lockheed Martin joint venture. Build upon the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), TLVS is easily transportable, tactically mobile and uses the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE missile to defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft, providing full 360-degree engagement. Since its final decision in 2015 the German government was unable to move forward on its new air-defense system because Lockheed needed US governmental approval to integrate the Patriot missile into the TLVS. A spokesman at the German defense ministry said, “There is new momentum. Both sides are clearly committed to successful completion of the TLVS program.” The new air-defense system was expected to cost about $4.56 billion, however current estimates suggest a cost overrun by several billion. Germany wishes to sign a contract for TLVS in 2019 and field the system in 2025.
India recently conducted a user trial night-time test of its Agni-I ballistic missile. The Agni-I is a short-range ballistic missile that was first launched in 2002. The Agni-I is a single-stage missile developed to fill the gap between 250 km range of Prithvi-II and 2,500 km range of Agni-II. Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-I, is designed to carry a payload of more than one ton, including a nuclear warhead. Its strike range can be extended by reducing the payload. The missile has a specialised navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision. During the user trial a randomly selected unit launches a test missile to prove the system’s overall performance and crew readiness. The trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships from its launch till the missile hit the target area with accuracy, the Indian military said. In recent months the decade long conflict Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan started to resurface.
Watch: $2 Billion US Stealth Plane in Action Over US States: Northrop B-2 Spirit
Nov 02, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Marine Corps is buying an additional training system for its pilots. Lockheed Martin will procure one F-35 training device under the awarded $64.3 million contract modification. The F-35 Full Mission Simulator is fitted with a 360° visual display system, which accurately replicates all sensors and weapons employment and uses the same software as the aircraft. Each simulator carries the most recent software load, or operational flight program (OFP), so it can most accurately replicate the capabilities and handling qualities of the aircraft as it is concurrently developed, tested and fielded through various block upgrades. F-35 pilots complete 45% to 55% of their initial qualification flights in the simulator. Work will be performed at multiple locations including Orlando, Florida; Reston, Virginia and London, United Kingdom. The contract is expected to be completed in July 2021.
The US Navy is modifying a contract with Raytheon. The additional $34.1 million allow Raytheon to support the Navy’s Zumwalt-class ships with integrated logistics support and engineering services. The DDG-1000 ship’s prime missions are to provide naval gunfire support, and next-generation air defense, in near-shore areas where other large ships hesitate to tread. All three Zumwalt-class vessels equipped with latest electric propulsion systems, wave-piercing tumblehome hulls, stealth designs and advanced war fighting technology. The ships will have the capability to carry out a wide range of deterrence, power projection, sea control, and command and control missions once operational. Work will be performed at multiple locations. Around 52% of the work will be performed in Portsmouth, Rhode Island; 24% in Tewksbury, Massachusetts; 10% in San Diego, California; 6% in Nashua, New Hampshire; 5% Bath, Maine; 1% in Marlboro, Massachusetts; 1% in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and last 1% to be done in St. Petersburg, Florida. The contract is expected to be completed by September 2019.
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to continue development of the Common Missile Compartment (CMC). The awarded $10.8 million cost-plus incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee modification covers a number of technical engineering services; design and development engineering services; component and full scale test services and tactical underwater launcher hardware production services. The CMC will be fitted on the US future Columbia-class and UK Dreadnought-class SSBNs. The new generation of submarines will carry their Trident D5 nuclear-armed SLBMs in multiple “quad pack” Common Missile Compartments, a deliberate decision to simplify the process of building the two types of subs and hopefully save money. Nuclear missile submarines are a nation’s most strategic assets, because they are its most secure and certain deterrence option. Work will be performed at multiple location including – but not limited to – Sunnyvale, California; Kings Bay, Georgia and Barrow-In-Furness, England.
Middle East & Africa
General Electric is being contracted to support the Egyptian Air Force F-16 Service Life Extension Program. The company will deliver an unspecified number of F110-GE-100 engine conversion kits at a cost of $273.5 million. The Egyptian Air Force operates 220 F-16s, making it the 4th largest F-16 operator in the world. The F-16 is the EAF’s primary frontline aircraft. Among other operational roles, the F-16s perform missions which include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks. Also known as the Block 30 powerplant, the F110-GE-100 is the alternate engine for the Block 30/32/40-variants of the F-16 that was fitted from December 1985. Work will be performed at General Electric’s Cincinnati, Ohio facility. This contract involves foreign military sales and is scheduled for completion by October 30, 2023.
Sierra Nevada will upgrade two aircraft as part of the Saudi King Air 350 program. The company will add an intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance/synthetic aperture radar capability to the two King Air 350 extended range aircraft. The twin-propeller King Air 350 is an affordable, long-endurance option for effective manned battlefield surveillance and attack. US aircraft in their ISR configuration are equipped with signals intelligence (SIGINT) electronic interception capabilities, and carry L-3 Westar’s MX-15i surveillance turrets. One transportable ground station; one fixed ground station; and one mission system trainer are also included in the contract. The definitization modification is priced at $23.8 million and involves 100% foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia. Work will be performed at Sierra Nevada’s facility in Hagerstown, Maryland and is expected to be completed by May 2020.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to keep two of the UAE’s THAAD batteries operational. The $129.5 million noncompetitive, cost-plus-incentive-fee and firm-fixed-price contract provides for maintenance and sustainment work needed to keep the two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense batteries combat ready. Lockheed Martin will be responsible to provide the United Arab Emirates with software and hardware development, contractor logistics support, engineering services, and missile field surveillance. The THAAD system is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon that acts as the upper tier of a basic 2-tiered defense against ballistic missiles. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facilities in Sunnyvale, California; Dallas, Texas; Huntsville, Alabama; Anniston, Alabama; Troy, Alabama; Lakeland, Florida; and the United Arab Emirates. The contract performance period is from November 1, 2018 through July 2, 2021.
Thales UK is being awarded with the $105 million Future Air Defence Availability Project (F-ADAPT) that seeks to enhance the Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) and Lightweight Multi-role Missile (LMM) systems. The Starstreak is a dual-stage shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile that flies at 4 times the speed of sound, uses advanced laser-guidance to home in on fast-flying aircraft, pop-up helicopters, or UAVs, then uses a system of 3 individually-guided dart-like projectiles and warheads to shred any target they hit. The LMM is a very short-range, precision strike air-to-surface and surface-to-surface missile designed to deliver high accuracy and precision strike capabilities with low collateral damage effect against a variety of threats encountered by APCs, small vessels and artillery. The upgrades under the F-ADAPT project include thermal imaging which ensures the HVM system can be used 24 hours a day and ‘Friend or Foe’ identification, which will maximize intelligence on potential threats and targets.
India is procuring an air-defense command-and-control (C2) system from Israel. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will deliver the Sky Capture system to the Indian Army at a cost of $550 million. Sky Capture is a C2 system for anti-aircraft artillery and Very Short Range Air Defense (VSHORAD) systems that transforms legacy air defense systems into modern, accurate and effective weapons by applying modern sensors, communications and computing capabilities. The system integrates several sensors, including target acquisition and fire control radar systems which are optimized to detect targets with low radar cross-section, such as low-velocity UAVs and ultralights that can be detected from 40-60 km. This is the second high value deal IAI signed with India in recent weeks, with the first being a $770 million deal for the Barak-8 system.
Watch: Two lranian fast boats approached the US Wasp-class amphibious assault ship
Nov 01, 2018 05:00 UTC
South Korea is equipping three of its guided missile destroyers with a new Aegis combat system. The foreign military sales contract between Lockheed Martin and South Korea is priced at $365.7 million. Lockheed Martin will provide the Republic of Korea Navy with development and integration of the weapon system in its Baseline K2 configuration. The Aegis Combat System manages all combat essential elements on Arleigh-Burke and Ticonderoga-class ships and ensures that the missile launching element, the computer programs, the radar and the displays are fully integrated to work together. The contract covers services such as combat system installation, including staging and integrated logistics support required for the installation; program management, system engineering and computer program development; ship integration and testing; technical manuals and planned maintenance system documentation. Work will be performed at multiple national and international locations, including Moorestown, New Jersey and Ulsan, South Korea. Work on all three vessels is expected to be completed by July 2026.
Boeing is being contracted to supply multiple US foreign military sales customers with anti-ship missiles. The $244.7 million not-to-exceed, firm-fixed-price contract enables the company to procure long lead material for the Harpoon full-rate production Lot 91. The Harpoon Block II is an over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile capable of performing land-strike and anti-ship missions. The missile leverages progress on several other weapons to reduce its cost. The Harpoon’s GPS/INS guidance system is taken from Boeing’s JDAM program, and its GPS antennae and software are found on Boeing’s SLAM. The missile’s 500 pound blast warhead can deliver lethal firepower against targets like coastal missile batteries and ships in port. Work will be performed at multiple locations including – but not limited to – St. Charles, Missouri, Galena, Kansas and Elkton, Maryland.
The Air Force is upgrading the refuelling system for its C-17 Globemaster III short field, heavy-lift transport jets. Bodell Construction will construct the refueling hydrants and ramp expansion at a cost of $20.3 million. A hydrant system is a loop of pipeline located under the aircraft parking ramp that delivers fuel straight from the hydrant fuel tanks to the aircraft. A mobile pantograph allows for continuous fuel delivery to aircraft within 135 feet of a hydrant pit. With the hydrant system about 420 gallons a minute can be transferred to the C-17, which reduces the overall refueling time by half, compared to the current truck refueling method. Work will be performed in Charlotte, North Carolina and is expected to be completed by December 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Israel’s defense industry can expect a major influx of Boeing investments. The aerospace giant signed a “reciprocal procurement” agreement on Tuesday, that calls for Boeing to collaborate with Israeli industry to the value of at least 35% of all government deals exceeding $1 million. As Israel is expecting to award Boeing with contracts totalling at $10 billion over the next decade, the agreement could possibly add $3.5 billion in new business to Israel’s economy. “A reciprocal purchase agreement on such a scale is a significant achievement which will lead to the growth of many companies in the domestic market, and to expand their activities and success in international markets,” said Economy Minister Eli Cohen. Boeing is currently competing for a number of Israeli defense procurement contracts, including new F-15 fighter aircraft, aerial tankers and a squadron of transport helicopters.
The German air force will soon test a new passive radar system in the country’s southern province of Bavaria. During the week-long test German electronics specialist Hensoldt will deploy three of its newly developed TwInvis systems in the Munich area and one roughly 70 miles west, near the city of Ulm. The TwInvis system uses the signal echoes of existing third-party transmitters to detect and track aircraft. According to the company the one radar unit can monitor up to 200 aircraft in 3D within a radius of 250 kilometers. Passive radars have the advantage that they cannot be located by the enemy and are very hard to jam, however to properly function the radars are dependent on a sufficiently strong commercial broadcast activity in the targeted area. The company first unveiled the TwInvis passive radar system at the Berlin Air Show in April, where it was rumored as a technology with the potential to detect stealthy aircraft like the F-35.
India’s Coast Guard (ICG) is upgrading its fleet of maritime reconnaissance aircraft (MRA). The upcoming mid-life upgrade of the 17 licence-built Dornier Do-228s is expected to cost about $129 million. The aircraft will help the ICG to monitor the country’s 3,370 mile long coastline and over 77,000+ square miles of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone. According to the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) the aircraft will be fitted with “state-of-the-art technology” and Pollution Surveillance Systems. Primary contractor will be India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which acquired the production licence of Do-228s in 1986.
KBRwyle Technology Solutions is being contracted to support the US Army’s Prepositioned Stock Four (APS-4) located in South Korea. The $14.8 million contract modification covers the provision of logistics support services until November 2019. APS-4 is located in Japan and South Korea and supports the Pacific theatre with two armored battalions and one mechanized infantry battalion. The Army maintains a strategic inventory of sustainment supplies as part of Army Pre-positioned Stocks (APS). These stocks sustain forward-deployed and initial follow-on ground forces, and include major end items such as engines, repair parts, medical supplies, packaged petroleum products, barrier/construction materials, operations rations, and clothing required to sustain combat operations. The APS-4 is located at Camp Caroll near Waegwan, about 132 miles southeast of Seoul.
Watch: NATO stages biggest military exercise since end of Cold War
Oct 31, 2018 05:00 UTC
HRL Laboratories is receiving additional funding to complete work on the military’s next generation of gallium nitride (GaN) transistors. The $9.1 million contract is awarded by DARPA and is expected to be completed by April 2020. The contract is part of DARPA’s Dynamic Range-enhanced Electronics and Materials (DREaM) program that seeks to develop transistors with much improved linearity and noise figure at reduced power consumption for use in electronic devices that manage the electromagnetic spectrum from radio communications to radar. The company develops ultra-linear GaN transistors working in mm-wave frequencies that enable transmission and reception without distortion across the spectrum. The transistors will enable secure ultra-wideband communications with higher data rates, while reducing their draw on the prime power source of their eventual platforms, such as ships or aircraft. Technologies developed under the DREaM program are currently installed on SEWIP and AMDR systems and will be featured on the DoD’s Space Fence and NGJs. Work will be performed at HRL’s facilities in Malibu, California and Huntington Beach, California.
The US Navy is modifying a contract signed with BAE Systems. An additional $9.5 million are being awarded for engineering and integration services on the Trident II, SSGN attack weapon system and strategic weapon surety. The Trident II (D5) strategic weapons system is installed on US Navy Ohio-class submarines and UK Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines. Each Vanguard class submarine has 16 missile tubes and ejects missiles by using high-pressure gas. The Ohio-class submarines can carry up to 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with multiple independently-targeted warheads. BAE is not just working on the current Ohio-class submarines, but is also working on the integration of the Trident II D5 SLBM into the future Columbia-class submarines, by leading weapon system interface coordination and configuration management. Work will be performed at multiple locations such as, Rockville, Maryland; Barrow, United Kingdom and New Paris, Ohio. The Navy has obligated more than $1 million from FY 2019 Navy research and development test and evaluation funds, in addition to more than $8.4 million in UK funds.
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to advance the Pentagon’s cyber war-fighting capabilities. The $54.6 million contract allows Northrop Grumman to operate as the systems coordinator to continue development, integration and sustainment of the US Cyber Command’s Unified Platform Program (UPP). The system is intended to support cyber defense, planning command-and-control and situational awareness operations. Pentagon officials say that the UPP is one of the largest most critical acquisition programs to date. The Unified Platform will serve as the Cyber Command’s engine room for global cyber operations by combining different cyberspace platforms that offer a quick and easy access to a complete range of cyber capabilities. Work will be performed in San Antonio, Texas, and is expected to be completed by October 31, 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Iraq’s T-50 fighter jet fleet continues to grow. The six new T-50IQs advanced trainers were handed over on October 28. This is the third batch of aircraft, that are being procured under a $1.1 billion deal signed in 2013 for 24 T-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets from South Korean aerospace firm KAI. Since then 18 aircraft have been added to Iraq’s fleet, with the first batch delivered in March 2017 and the second delivery earlier this year. The T-50IQ variant is based on the FA-50 lightweight fighter model that’s fully fitted for lightweight fighter and light attack roles, with a secondary role as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) if necessary. The plane is equipped RWR and NVIS systems, is compatible with JDAMs and LINK-16 and offers more F-16 like attack capabilities than the classic T-50.
The Spanish Navy’s AB-212 life extension program is nearing its end. SENER and Babcock, the companies tasked with overhauling the helicopters have recently delivered the sixth unit to the service. SENER is responsible for major design, integration and engineering works under the project, while Babcock conducts some of the design, installation, and land and flight testing procedure. The LEP adds another 15 years of lifetime to the helicopters that have been operational since 1974. The upgraded AB-212s are being fitted with new electrical components and their analog cockpit is being replaced with a fully digitalized system. Additionally the helicopters are equipped with new radar, GPS, night vision and self-defense systems. The seventh and last unit expected to be delivered by the end of 2018.
Defense News reports that Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) will spend an extra $1.8 billion on three strategic military programs. This includes cyber and anti-submarine warfare developments and the Dreadnought-class nuclear submarine build program. This decision follows a months long battle for extra cash between Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and Chancellor Philip Hammond. Jon Louth, a RUSI analyst, commented the decision with “It’s welcome, but comes nowhere near addressing the potential funding gap if you add up all the programs in the equipment plan. It does appear to be a significant increase in percentage terms, although the devil will be in the detail.” The MoD is currently trying to bridge a funding gap in its $228 billion 10-year equipment plan.
India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is being tapped to upgrade the country’s M-46 field guns. The $27.7 million contract covers the upgrade of 300 M-46s to a 155mm calibre. The upgrades to the Soviet-era weapons include the replacement of the barrel and breech block and addition of new sighting systems and a new hydraulic rammer to ease loading of shells. The Indian Army had initiated the upgrade of the Soviet-era guns in 2008 with the contract being awarded to the Israeli firm Soltam, now part of Elbit. Soltam’s contract was suspended midway after allegations that it had bribed officials. Later, the government had decided to throw open the contract for domestic companies. The state-run Ordnance Factories Board participated in the tender issued by the Indian Army, competing with two other private manufacturers.
Watch: Euronaval 2018: Focus on Naval Aviation
Oct 30, 2018 05:00 UTC
HII is being contracted to repair one of the Navy’s Arleigh-Burke class destroyers. The firm-fixed-price contract is priced at $44.8 million and covers a combination of maintenance, modernization and repair work on the USS O’Kane. Upgrades to the vessel will revolve around reducing the ship’s workload requirements and increasing war-fighting capabilities while reducing total ownership cost to the Navy. Those improvements will include massive overhauls to combat systems, as well as hull, mechanical and electrical upgrades. This contract also includes options could raise the contract value to $51.5 million. DDG-77 will be overhauled at HII’s shipyard in San Diego, California and is expected to be back at sea by January 2020.
Central Lake Armor Express is being tapped to provide the Marine Corps with additional body armor. The contract is valued at $56.4 million and covers the production of up to 65.469 Plate Carrier Generation III – Soft Armor Inserts and data reports for the Marines. The new generation plate carrier was jointly designed by the US Army and the Marine Corps, after commanders called for lighter armor back in 2016. The new design is “less bulky, lighter in weight, and provides a smaller overall footprint than the current plate carrier while maintaining the same soft armor coverage and protection level,” Barabra Hamby, spokeswoman of MARCORSYSCOM told Marine Corps Times in July 2017. The new carriers come in eight sizes and offers better ballistic protection compared to the current design, its lighter weight helps to cut down on soldier fatigue. Fielding of the new body armor will start in June 2019. Work will be performed at Central Lake’s factory in Michigan and is expected to be completed by October 24, 2023.
The US Army is contracting General Dynamics for work on the M1 Abrams modernization program. The $25.7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order is against a five-year contract and provides for the delivery of various electronic components for the M1 Abrams tank. The Pentagon is currently in the process of upgrading several of its tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration. The new version offers enhanced protection and survivability, as well as a higher lethality than its predecessors. Upgrades include a JSTARS integration, improved power generation and distribution, armor upgrades, a line replaceable redesign and a C-IED suite. “The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tank will be the foundation for future incremental system upgrades and can host any mature technology the Army deems operationally relevant,” said Lt. Col. Justin Shell, the Army’s product manager for Abrams. Work will be performed at GD’s facilities in Michigan and Florida and is expected to be completed by September 2022.
Middle East & Africa
The US Air Force is extending its force protection contract with AAI Corp. The $23.7 million contract sees for the provision of ISR services at Bagram and Kandahar Airfields in Afghanistan and optionally at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan. AAI will most likely use its Aerosonde as an advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solution in order to provide the US military with the capability to effectively execute a number of deployment operations and engineering support activities. The contract is set to run through March 27, 2024.
Belgium’s shopping spree now includes the need for a new MALE UAV platform. A Flight Global report suggests that the European-country is interested in acquiring General Atomics’ MQ-9B Sky Guardian, 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. The new variant is able to fly in civil airspace and is immediately NATO interoperable. Belgian defense minister Steven Vandeput told Flight Global that “MALE drones play an increasingly important role in operations, but at European level there is a shortage of this type of aircraft,” and added “with this purchase, Belgium is joining the future and at the same time we are helping to eliminate a European shortage.” If Belgium opts for the Sky Guardian, it would join existing European MQ-9 operators Italy, France, Spain and the UK.
The Royal Australia Navy (RAN) is continuing to bolster its collaborative air-defense capabilities. The service officially inducted its second Hobart-class air warfare destroyer on October 27. The HMAS Brisbane is part of Australia’s SEA 4000 program to replace the RAN’s fleet of Adelaide Class (heavily upgraded FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class) frigates that have limited air-defense capabilities and could be hard-pressed to survive against modern anti-ship missiles. 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. The vessel’s suite of sensors includes the Lockheed Martin and Raytheon AN/SPY 1D(V) phased array radar, and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B surface search radar. The ship is currently equipped with SM-2 missile variants and will be able to fire the new SM-6 from 2020 onward.
Russian media agency TASS reports, that the country’s first regiment armed with the newly developed Avangard hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a hypersonic glide vehicle, will be operational by the end of 2019. “The scheduled period for placing the lead regiment on combat duty is the end of 2019. Initially, the regiment will comprise at least two systems but eventually their number will rise to their organic quantity of six units,” a source told TASS. Hypersonic weapons incorporate the speed of a ballistic missile with the maneuvering capabilities of a cruise missile. Hypersonic weapons refer to a class of weapons that travel faster than Mach 5 (ca. 3,800mph) and have the capability to maneuver during the entire flight. The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle that flies at 20 times the speed of sound. It travels through the dense layers of the atmosphere, maneuvering by its flight path and its altitude and breaching ballistic missile defense systems. The deployment is significant after United States President Donald Trump announced that the US planned to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or the INF Treaty.
Watch: Loading MASSIVE US Plane: McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III in Action
Oct 29, 2018 05:00 UTC
Boeing is being tapped to upgrade the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track systems. The $131.5 million order covers the procurement and upgrade of weapon replaceable assemblies installed on F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. The contract calls for Boeing to provide weapon replaceable assemblies that will optimize the Block I low-rate initial production jets, and covers other services such as technical risk reduction and tactics development. Infra-Red Search & Track (IRST) systems provide long range thermal imaging against air and ground targets. The systems can defeat radar stealth in some instances, by focusing on engine exhaust, or on the friction of the aircraft as it powers through the atmosphere. US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently called for 80 % of the Navy’s fleet of F/A-18s to be mission capable by end of fiscal 2019. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factories in Orlando, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri. The systems are expected to be completed in April, 2022.
L3 Technologies is being contracted to advance its prototype developed under the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) program. The awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is priced at $35.8 million and provides for the demonstration and test of existing technologies and associated technical data for L3’s NGJ low-band prototype. The NGJ program will eventually replace the AN/ALQ-99 jamming system currently installed on the EA-18G Growler. The broader aim is to develop a more cost effective AEA system with better performance against advanced threats through expanded broadband capability for greater threat coverage. Work will be performed at multiple locations including – but not limited to – Salt Lake City, Utah; Boulder, Colorado and Waco, Texas. L3’s is expected to complete this contract in June 2020.
The US Air Force is awarding Northrop Grumman with a contract for its Precision Real-Time Engagement Combat Identification Sensor Exploitation (PRECISE) program. The $16.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract sees for the development of new technologies that continue to advance combat identification for warfighters. The program seeks to enhance the effectiveness of surveillance radar by blending EO technologies like visible-light, infrared, multispectral, and hyperspectral sensors. Beyond that, PRECISE looks to enhance current radar technologies through signal processing, alternative bandwidths, and similar approaches. Work will be performed at Northrop’s facility in Baltimore, Maryland and is expected to be completed by January 2024.
Middle East & Africa
Nigeria is making progress in its JF-17 fighter jet acquisition program. The country recently signed a $184.3 million contract with Pakistan that covers the production of three PAC/CAC JF-17 Thunder fighters. The Thunder is a joint Chinese-Pakistani project aimed at reduceing Pakistan’s dependence on western firms for advanced fighters, by fielding a low-cost multi-role lightweight fighter that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. The fighter jet is a single engine, lightweight, multipurpose combat aircraft that costs $20 million per unit. Nigeria earmarked about $54 billion for the JF-17 program in its 2016 and 2018 budgets.
Latvia is strengthening its air-defence capabilities. The Latvian National Armed Force recently received the FIM-92A Stinger air-defense system from Denmark. The Stinger missile provides forward, short-range air-defense against low-altitude airborne targets. The Stinger provides Latvia with a SHORAD capability, focused on defending against low-flying aircraft, such as drones and attack helicopters, which present a considerable threat to maneuvering forces. “Currently, we are at a historic stage when Latvia receives significant armaments from allies to strengthen various of its military capabilities. Stinger will significantly contribute to the defense capabilities of Latvian Armed Forces units, opening up new opportunities for our country’s defense,” said Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis. The total contract value and number of units ordered has not been disclosed at this time.
Saab is one step closer to readying the Gripen E for operational use. One of the new JAS-39s successfully completed the first tests to verify the ability to release and launch external payloads earlier this month. During the test one of Saab’s pilots jettisoned one external fuel drop tank and fired an IRIS-T air-to-air missile. “As a pilot, flying with external stores such as drop tank and missiles is important to allow for evaluation of how the aircraft behaves with the stores attached. This test was also used to evaluate the effect on the aircraft when releasing and launching the stores. The highlight was of course to pull the trigger and watch the missile fire away. It also brings us closer to making the aircraft ready for its operational use”, says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Gripen Test Pilot at Saab. The JAS-39 Gripen is an excellent lightweight fighter by all accounts, with attractive flyaway costs and performance. Its canard design allows for quick “slew and point” maneuvers, allowing it to take advantage of the modern trend toward helmet-mounted displays, and air-air missiles with much wider boresight targeting cones.
One of South Korea’s Patriot missiles exploded during recently held annual air defense guided missile practice. South Korean media reports that before it exploded, the PAC-2 missile ascended for about four seconds after being launched at the Daecheon range. South Korea currently fields the PAC-2 GEM variant. This variant still uses the larger PAC-2 fragmentation missile, but have a range of improvements to their guidance systems, fuzes, and so forth. GEM-T is optimized against tactical ballistic missiles, while GEM-C is optimized against cruise missiles. An investigation will try to establish the exact cause of the incident.
The Royal Australian Air Force will soon have one of the world’s most advanced training fleets. BAE Systems Australia is currently upgrading the final Hawk Mk127 aircraft into its Williamtown maintenance facility. The Hawk Mk127 has been in service with the RAAF since 2001, upgrades of the 33 aircraft started in 2016 and are expected to be completed in 2019. The aircraft is an integral part of the air force’s fast jet training system, allowing the RAAF to place highly trained pilots into the cockpits of F/A-18s. The upgraded aircraft come with new training capabilities such as simulated radar, electronic warfare, digital mapping, ground proximity warning system and traffic collision avoidance. The Hawk lead-in fighter jet is prepared to deliver high calibre pilots for the F-35A joint strike fighter fleet.
Watch: Bell V 280 Valor