Jun 14, 2019 04:58 UTC
Huntington Ingalls will perform early service life period work
on the USS Gerald R. Ford. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC awarded the deal, which is valued at $687.1 million. Per the terms of the contract, Huntington Ingalls will support ship repair and modernization during continuous incremental availabilities, planned incremental availabilities, full-ship shock trials and continuous maintenance and emergent maintenance during the ship's early service life period. The company will perform work until June 2024. The Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier or CVN 78 is the lead ship of her class
. CVN 78 is the first new US aircraft carrier design in 40 years. The ship has 250% more electrical capacity than previous carriers, which will allow the ship to load weapons and launch aircraft faster than ever before. The USS Gerald R. Ford is currently undergoing sea trials. She is scheduled to be delivered in October and deployed around 2020. Issues with Ford’s nuclear propulsion system and Advanced Weapons Elevator had delayed the delivery for three months.
USA’s Nimitz Class &
UK’s Invincible Class
Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.
Nimitz Class cutaway
As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.
DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.
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Jun 14, 2019 04:56 UTC
The US Special Operations Command awarded
Boeing a $194.2 million delivery order modification. The deal procures six renew-build and one new-build MH-47G rotary wing aircraft. The MH-47G
is the special operations variant of Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook multi-role, heavy-lift helicopter used by the US Army Special Operations Aviation Command. The aircraft is able to support heavy-lift missions such as troop, weapons, vehicles and other equipment transportation, as well as civil and humanitarian relief missions. It can conduct long-range missions at a low level and in adverse weather conditions during the day and at night. The CH-47F/MH- 47G modernization programs, which includes a mix of remanufactured and new aircraft, will help the aircraft remain in the Army fleet at least through the 2030s. The current modification will sustain US Special Operations Forces (SOF) heavy assault, rotary wing aircraft and mitigate the impact of the MH-47G aircraft availability in light of increased SOF operational demands.
CH-47Fs take off
DII FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record; this FOCUS Article covers the CH-47F/MH-47G Chinook helicopter programs, in the USA and abroad. These helicopters’ distinctive “flying banana” twin-rotor design stems from the brilliant work of aviation pioneer Frank Piasecki. It gives Chinooks the ability to adjust their positioning very precisely, while carrying a large airframe whose load capacity has made it the world’s most popular heavy-lift helicopter. The USA expects to be operating Chinooks in their heavy-lift role past 2030.
The CH-47F looks similar to earlier models, but offers a wide range of improvements in almost every aspect of design and performance. While the related HH-47’s $10-15 billion CSAR-X program win was terminated, delivery orders continue for CH-47Fs and for MH-47G Special Forces configuration helicopters. International orders or formal requests have also come in from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the UAE, with India and other countries expected to follow.
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Jun 13, 2019 04:58 UTC
Lockheed Martin launched
the latest version of an advanced visualization and training tool for Apache AH-64
sensor system maintainers, called Rely3D. According to Lockheed Martin RELY3D is an interactive suite of applications that supports Apache aircraft maintainers with M-TADS/PNVS
virtual guides, 3-D animations, wiring diagrams and more. The advanced tool is aimed at reducing maintenance time on the Apache M-TADS/PNVS system. M-TADS/PNVS provides Apache helicopter pilots with long-range, precision engagement and pilotage capabilities for mission success and flight safety during any time of the day and in any weather. Lockheed Martin developed RELY3D based on an employee idea to improve maintenance efficiency through interactive training content. The tool helps reduce training time for Apache aircraft maintainers by up to 60%, the company noted.
AH-64 in Afghanistan
The AH-64 Apache will remain the US Army’s primary armed helicopter for several more decades, thanks to the collapse of the RAH-66 Comanche program, and the retirement sans replacement of the US Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH). Apaches also serve with a number of American allies, some of whom have already expressed interest in upgrading or expanding their fleets.
The AH-64E Guardian Block III (AB3) is the helicopter’s next big step forward. It incorporates 26 key new-technology insertions that cover flight performance, maintenance costs, sensors & electronics, and even the ability to control UAVs as part of manned-unmanned teaming (MUT). In July 2006, Boeing and U.S. Army officials signed the initial development contract for Block III upgrades to the current and future Apache fleet, via a virtual signing ceremony. By November 2011, the 1st production helicopter had been delivered. So… how many helicopters will be modified under the AH-64 Block III program, what do these modifications include, how is the program structured, and what has been happening since that 2006 award? The short answer is: a lot, including export interest and sales.
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Jun 12, 2019 04:58 UTC
Sikorsky won a $542 million firm-fixed price modification
to produce six VH-92A Presidential Helicopters. Under the terms of the contract, known as Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 1, Sikorsky will begin deliveries of six VH-92A helicopters in 2021. The remaining production aircraft will be delivered in 2022 and 2023. The contract also provides spares and training support. The VH-92A
is the military variant of the Sikorsky S-92. It is currently under development and will replace the Marine One US Presidential Transport Fleet. The aircraft has undergone government testing and operational assessments, including over 520 flight test hours establishing the aircraft’s technical maturity and readiness of its mission systems. Lockheed Martin delivered and installed the first VH-92A training device at the Presidential Helicopter Squadron HMX-1 in Quantico, Virginia, earlier this year. Sikorsky will perform work within the US and is expected to be finished in April 2022.
In January 2005, the U.S. Navy selected the US101 as the new “Marine One” baseline helicopter, for use by the President of the United States. The US101 is an American variant of AgustaWestland’s successful AW101 multi-mission medium helicopter; it beat out Sikorsky’s S-92 Superhawk, which is already in use as a government VIP transport in countries like South Korea.
That $1.7 billion victory was first endangered, and then destroyed, by ongoing changes from the White House staff. In 2008, the program’s ballooning costs and requirements got a temporary reprieve when US Navy agreed to proceed with the VH-71, despite a cost per aircraft equal or greater than the President’s Air Force One 747s. By June 2009, however, the VH-71 program had shot itself down.
Another round of competition is on the way, and back in 2009 the Pentagon said it was considering buying 2 different helicopters in the VXX follow-on program. Faced with an initial Analysis of Alternatives deemed too expensive, the OSD accepted the Navy’s revised approach in May 2012, setting things in motion for a new program of record.
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Jun 12, 2019 04:56 UTC
The US Navy awarded
Boeing a $22.8 million contract modification for additional acoustics software support activity and engineering support for the P-8A Poseidon
. The modification also incorporates virtual machine efforts and develops and integrates software for Multi-static Active Coherent Enhancements. The Poseidon is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations. It is also effective at humanitarian and search and rescue missions. The aircraft is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and ISR missions. Work will take place in Huntington Beach, California and is scheduled to be complete in January 2022.
Maritime surveillance and patrol is becoming more and more important, but the USA’s P-3 Orion turboprop fleet is falling apart. The P-7 Long Range Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Capable Aircraft program to create an improved P-3 began in 1988, but cost overruns, slow progress, and interest in opening the competition to commercial designs led to the P-7’s cancellation for default in 1990. The successor MMA program was begun in March 2000, and Boeing beat Lockheed’s “Orion 21” with a P-8 design based on their ubiquitous 737 passenger jet. US Navy squadrons finally began taking P-8A Poseidon deliveries in 2012, but the long delays haven’t done their existing P-3 fleet any favors.
Filling the P-3 Orion’s shoes is no easy task. What missions will the new P-8A Poseidon face? What do we know about the platform, the project team, and ongoing developments? Will the P-3’s wide global adoption give its successor a comparable level of export opportunities? Australia and India have already signed on, but has the larger market shifted in the interim?
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Jun 12, 2019 04:52 UTC
New Zealand’s Ministry of Defense released its Defense Capability Plan 2019
on June 11, outlining the investment priorities for the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) to 2030. The highest priority project within the plan is the replacement of the five Hercules transport aircraft. The preferred option for this replacement is the C-130J-30 Super Hercules, which is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft by Lockheed Martin. The C-130J
already flies with over 21 nations, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. New Zealand’s current Hercules first started services in the 1960s and is getting more and more expensive and harder to maintain. The C-130J-30 is a stretch version of the C-130J adding 15 feet to the fuselage, increasing usable space in the cargo compartment.
RAAF C-130J-30, flares
The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs?
C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS Article describes the C-130J, examines the bottleneck issue, covers global developments for the C-130J program, and looks at present and emerging competitors.
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Jun 11, 2019 04:58 UTC
Northrop Grumman Systems won a $958 million firm-fixed-price contract
to deliver 30 full-rate production Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar systems for the US Marine Corps. The deal includes spares parts and retrofit kits. The AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR
system provides multi-faceted detection and tracking capabilities to support engagement of a wide range of hostile threats, and offers robust air traffic control capabilities to ensure the safety of Marines worldwide. The G/ATOR comes in two distinct software variants
: Block I conducts air defense and surveillance missions for aviation command and control squadrons, and Block II targets the source of incoming artillery and other ground-based fires. The radar is able to detect low-observable targets with low radar cross sections such as rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles and drones. Northrop will perform work within the US and is expected to be finished by January 13, 2025.
The US military’s long run of unquestioned air superiority has led to shortcuts in mobile land-based air defenses, and the US Marines are no exception. A December 2005 release from Sen. Schumer’s office [D-NY] said that:
“Current radar performance does not meet operational forces requirements… consequences could potentially allow opposing forces to gain air and ground superiority in future operational areas.”
One of the programs in the works to address this gap is the AN/TPS-80 G/ATOR mobile radar system. It’s actually the result of fusing 2 programs: the Multi-Role Radar System (MRRS), and Ground Weapons Locator Radar (GWLR) requirements. When the last G/ATOR software upgrade becomes operational, it will replace and consolidate numerous legacy radars, including the AN/TPS-63 air surveillance, AN/MPQ-62 force control, AN/TPS-73 air traffic control, AN/UPS-3 air defense, and AN/TPQ-36/37 artillery tracking & locating radar systems.
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Jun 07, 2019 04:58 UTC
General Dynamics won a $25.6 million firm-fixed-price contract
to produce MK 46 Modification 2 Gun Weapon Systems for use on modern Littoral Combat Ship
(LCS) and Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ships. MK46 30mm all-weather, day/night, fully stabilized weapon system is a remotely operated system that uses a high-velocity cannon for shipboard self-defense against small, high-speed surface targets. It is the main deck gun for LPD-17
ships and is the secondary gun battery for LCS, and Zumwalt Class
ships. The contract is for the procurement of two 30mm MK 46 MOD 2 GWSs for the LCS Surface Warfare Mission module, two 30mm MK 46 MOD 2 GWSs for the LPD-29, two 30mm MK 46 MOD 2 GWSs for the LPD-30, and associated spare parts. General Dynamics will perform work within the US and is expected to be finished by September 2021.
LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are just entering service with the US Navy, and 11 ships of this class are eventually slated to replace up to 41 previous ships. Much like their smaller predecessors, their mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. The difference is found in these ships’ size, their cost, and the capabilities and technologies used to perform those missions. Among other additions, this new ship is designed to operate the Marines’ new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, alongside the standard well decks for hovercraft and amphibious armored personnel carriers.
While its design incorporates notable advances, the number of serious issues encountered in this ship class have been much higher than usual, and more extensive. The New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract was assigned appears to be part of the problem. Initial ships have been criticized, often, for sub-standard workmanship, and it took 2 1/2 years after the initial ship of class was delivered before any of them could be sent on an operational cruise. Whereupon the USS San Antonio promptly found itself laid up Bahrain, due to oil leaks. It hasn’t been the only ship of its class hurt by serious mechanical issues. Meanwhile, costs are almost twice the originally promised amounts, reaching over $1.6 billion per ship – 2 to 3 times as much as many foreign LPDs like the Rotterdam Class, and more than 10 times as much as Singapore’s 6,600 ton Endurance Class LPD. This article covers the LPD-17 San Antonio Class program, including its technologies, its problems, and ongoing contracts and events.
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Jun 03, 2019 04:56 UTC
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems won a $7.5 million contract modification
in support of the Navy’s AH-1Z helicopters. The company will build 37 A/A49E-7(V4) gun turrets for the US Navy’s as well as the government of Bahrain’s Vipers. The Bell AH-1Z Viper
is an American twin-engine attack helicopter, based on the AH-1W SuperCobra, that was developed for the United States Marine Corps as part of the H-1 upgrade program. The AH-1Z features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. The major components of the A/A49E-7(V4) are the M197 20MM rotary gun, gun turret, control system and ammunition handling system. The A/A49E-7(V4) gun turret system is chin mounted on the AH-1Z chopper providing the capability to position, feed, and fire the M197 20MM rotary gun. It provides air-to-air and air-to-ground capability. GenDyn will perform work under the contract modification in Maine, Vermont, and is expected to finish work by January 2022.
UH-1Y and AH-1Z
by Neville Dawson
The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required.
Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continued on into production and deployment.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades involved in each model, program developments and annual budgets, the full timeline of contracts and key program developments, and related research sources.
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Jun 03, 2019 04:54 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
The US Navy awarded General Atomics a $36.5 million modification
for nine months of Group 5 unmanned air system intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services. Group 5 indicates that the unmanned aerial vehicles are in the largest category of Defense Department classifications at greater than 1,320 pounds and functioning at altitudes above 18,000 feet. Specifically, the services are for Task Force Southwest and Marine Corps operations utilizing contractor-owned/contractor-operated MQ-9 unmanned air systems
. Task Force Southwest is an American operation in Afghanistan under NATO's Operation Resolute. It conducts security force assistance to train, advise, and assist missions to enable credible and sustainable Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in southwestern Afghanistan. The drones can carry precision guided bombs and missiles. The Reapers provide a wide-area persistent surveillance capability with the help of the so called Gorgon Stare System
, which consists of nearly 370 individual cameras that can simultaneously grab imagery across a 40-square mile zone. Analysts can combine those images into a single mosaic map and look for significant changes or patterns of activity and track vehicles and personnel movements over large areas. General Atomics will perform work within the US and outside the continental US. Scheduled completion date is in February next year.
The MQ-9 Reaper UAV, once called “Predator B,” is somewhat similar to the famous Predator. Until you look at the tail. Or its size. Or its weapons. It’s called “Reaper” for a reason: while it packs the same surveillance gear, it’s much more of a hunter-killer design. Some have called it the first fielded Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).
The Reaper UCAV will play a significant role in the future USAF, even though its capability set makes the MQ-9 considerably more expensive than MQ-1 Predators. Given these high-end capabilities and expenses, one may not have expected the MQ-9 to enjoy better export success than its famous cousin. Nevertheless, that’s what appears to be happening. MQ-9 operators currently include the USA and Britain, who use it in hunter-killer mode, and Italy. Several other countries are expressing interest, and the steady addition of new payloads are expanding the Reaper’s advantage over competitors…
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