Nov 16, 2018 04:56 UTC
The US Navy is ordering more 'workhorses' for its troops from Lockheed Martin. The company is being tapped to provide the Navy with eight MH-60R rotorcraft at a cost of $382 million. The order
also includes associated systems engineering and program management support. The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter replaces SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters in the US Navy’s fleet and combines the capabilities of these aircraft. The helicopter
can perform a multitude of mission ranging from anti-submarine warfare to naval gunfire support. Its two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines give it a cruise speed of 168 km/h to a range of 834km. The Navy will eventually replace its entire fleet of SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters with the MH-60R. Work will be performed at Lockheed's facilities in Owego, New York; Stratford, Connecticut and Troy, Alabama. The helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by September 2020.
USN Heli Plan
The US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawks have always had a naval counterpart. SH-60B/F Seahawk/ LAMPS helicopters were outfitted with maritime radar, sonobuoys, and other specialized equipment that let them perform a wide variety of roles, from supply and transport, to anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and even surface attack with torpedoes or Kongsberg’s AGM-119 Penguin missiles. Like their land-based counterparts, however, the Seahawks are getting older. The Reagan defense build-up is receding into history, and its products are wearing out.
European countries chose to build new designs like the medium-heavy EH101 and the NH90 medium helicopter. They’re larger than the H-60s, make heavy use of corrosion-proof composites, and add new features like rear ramps. The USA, in contrast, decided to upgrade existing H-60 designs for the Army and Navy. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”) Seahawks. MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss will eventually replace all SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters currently in the US Navy’s inventory. Both programs are underway, and will be covered in this DID FOCUS Article.
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Nov 16, 2018 04:54 UTC
The Royal Bahraini Air Force will receive
several attack helicopters as part of a US Foreign Military Sale. The US Department of State approved the deal for 12 AH-1Z Vipers, worth an estimated $912 million, in April this year. Bahrain expects delivery of the helicopters from the second half of 2022 onwards. The Bell AH-1Z Viper
is a modern version of the AH-1 Cobra, the first ever attack helicopter. It is one of the most powerful, capable and advanced helicopters, flying today. Bahrain's fleet will be armed with 14 AGM-114 Hellfires, and 56 Advance Precision Kill Weapon System II. The Viper’s manufacturer Bell, alongside Textron and General Electric have been listed as principal contractors on the sale. Bell CEO Mitch Snyder said the "most advanced helicopter in production" would "help protect the country for decades to come".
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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Nov 15, 2018 04:54 UTC
The Royal Bahraini Air Force is welcoming
its first of two ex-UK Royal Air Force C-130Js. The surplus aircraft were acquired via a government-to-government contract. The 19 year old transport aircraft then underwent an excessive overhaul and maintenance process executed by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group at its Cambridge airport site. The C-130
Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. The J variant reached its IOC with the US military in 2006 and features a number of key improvements that enhance performance and reduce overall operating costs. Matthew Harvey, International Sales Director Military Aerospace for Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group commented: “Delivery of this aircraft sees the first Government to Government transfer of a C-130J and the Kingdom of Bahrain enter the C-130 community as a new operator – we support more than 15 countries on the C-130 platform and the capability it delivers is proven. We look forward to continuing to support the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
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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Nov 14, 2018 04:54 UTC
Saab confirms that its Gripen E fighter jet successfully fired a Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) for the first time. MBDA’s Meteor missile was conceived as a longer-range competitor to popular weapons like the Russian R77/AA-12, and American AIM-120 AMRAAM. Its ramjet propulsion offers the missile a head-on closing range of 120 km, and full powered performance at Mach 4+ throughout its flight, instead of the standard “burn and coast” approach use by rocket-powered counterparts. Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen
is serving as the Meteor’s main test platform. “The aircraft continues to perform as smoothly as we have seen throughout the whole flight test phase flying with external stores. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming steps in the flight test program, taking us closer and closer to completing weapon integration. Meteor makes Gripen E extremely capable in the air dominance role”, says Robin Nordlander, Saab's experimental test pilot.
South African JAS-39D
As a neutral country with a long history of providing for its own defense against all comers, Sweden also has a long tradition of building excellent high-performance fighters with a distinctive look. From the long-serving Saab-35 Draken (“Dragon,” 1955-2005) to the Mach 2, canard-winged Saab-37 Viggen (“Thunderbolt,” 1971-2005), Swedish fighters have stressed short-field launch from dispersed/improvised air fields, world-class performance, and leading-edge design. This record of consistent project success is nothing short of amazing, especially for a country whose population over this period has ranged from 7-9 million people.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article for background, news, and contract awards related to the JAS-39 Gripen (“Griffon”), a canard-winged successor to the Viggen and one of the world’s first 4+ generation fighters. Gripen remains the only lightweight 4+ generation fighter type in service, its performance and operational economics are both world-class, and it has become one of the most recognized fighter aircraft on the planet. Unfortunately for its builders, that recognition has come from its appearance in Saab and Volvo TV commercials, rather than from hoped-for levels of military export success. With its 4+ generation competitors clustered in the $60-120+ million range vs. the Gripen’s claimed $40-60 million, is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Sweden’s lightweight fighter? In 2013 a win in Brazil started to answer that question.
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Nov 14, 2018 04:50 UTC
The Royal Navy's eighth and final ship in the Type 26 acquisition program will be named HMS London
. BAE will build the vessels in two batches, with three frigates in the first batch. The contract for the second batch is expected to be signed in 2020. BAE will construct the HMS London at its shipyard in Govan. Key Type 26
design criteria include multi-role versatility, flexibility in adapting to future needs, affordability in both construction and through-life support costs, and exportability. “The Type 26 Frigate is a cutting-edge warship, combining the expertise of the British shipbuilding industry with the excellence of the Royal Navy. These ships will be a force to be reckoned with, there to protect our powerful new carriers and helping keep British interests safe across the world," said a MoD spokesman.
Type 26 concept
In the late 2000s Britain slated to replace its existing fleet of Type 22 Broadsword Class and Type 23 Duke Class frigates with 2 new ship classes under a program known then as “Future Surface Combatant” (FSC). By the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the FSC’s C1 (T26) and C2 (type 27) tentative variants were merged into a single Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) class.
Outside attention often focuses on big-ticket ships like aircraft carriers, submarines, and advanced destroyers – but the frigate is the real backbone of most modern navies.
Lord Nelson loved his HMS Victory and her fellow first-rate ships of the line, but he asked the admiralty for more cruisers because he knew their versatile value as the “eyes of the fleet.” Modern multi-role frigates that can engage threats on the water, under water, and in the air fill that same role today, protecting other navy ships or undertaking independent action away from their task group.
The Type 26 GCS will have to fill that niche – but first, its requirements and design must be defined.
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Nov 12, 2018 04:58 UTC
Raytheon is being tapped to continue work on its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA. The awarded contract
modification is priced at $74.8 million and provides for the procurement of more Guidance Electronics Units (GEU). The SM-3 Block IIA is the co-operative US-Japanese program. It adds the larger diameter, a more maneuverable “high-divert” kill vehicle, plus another sensor/ discrimination upgrade to help deal with harder targets, countermeasures, and decoys. The Block IIA
model is capable of engaging ballistic missiles as they begin their descent in low space at long ranges. This order is part of a 2016 SM-3 Block IIA contract that sees for Raytheon to continue efforts for qualification, test and integration of the enhanced GEU capability to the missile. The total contract value is now $1.1 billion. Work will be performed at Raytheon's facility in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled for completion by September 30, 2020.
SM-2 Launch, DDG-77
(click to view larger)
Variants of the SM-2 Standard missile are the USA’s primary fleet defense anti-air weapon, and serve with 13 navies worldwide. The most common variant is the RIM-66K-L/ SM-2 Standard Block IIIB, which entered service in 1998. The Standard family extends far beyond the SM-2 missile, however; several nations still use the SM-1, the SM-3 is rising to international prominence as a missile defense weapon, and the SM-6 program is on track to supplement the SM-2. These missiles are designed to be paired with the AEGIS radar and combat system, but can be employed independently by ships with older or newer radar systems.
This article covers each variant in the Standard missile family, plus several years worth of American and Foreign Military Sales requests and contracts and key events; and offers the budgetary, technical, and geopolitical background that can help put all that in context.
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Nov 08, 2018 04:54 UTC
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.
Future Lynx naval
In 2006, Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland received a GBP 1 billion (about $1.9 billion at 02/07 rates) contract from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for 70 Future Lynx helicopters, and began a new chapter in a long-running success story. The Lynx is an extremely fast helicopter that entered service in the 1970s, and quickly carved out a niche for itself in the global land and naval markets. The base design has evolved into a number of upgrades and versions, which have been been widely exported around the world.
In Britain, Lynx helicopters are used in a number of British Army (AH7 & AH9) and Fleet Air Arm (Mk 8) roles: reconnaissance, attack, casualty evacuation & troop transport, ferrying supplies, anti-submarine operations, and even command post functions. The Future Lynx program reflects that, and British government and industry are both hoping that its versatility will help it keep or improve the Lynx family’s global market share. This is DID’s FOCUS Article for the AW159 Lynx Wildcat Program, describing its technical and industrial features, schedules, related contracts, and exports.
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Nov 07, 2018 04:56 UTC
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.
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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Nov 06, 2018 04:52 UTC
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.
The USA’s MIM-104 Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target (PATRIOT) anti-air missile system offers an advanced backbone for medium-range air defense, and short-range ballistic missile defense, to America and its allies. This article covers domestic and foreign purchase requests and contracts for Patriot systems. It also compiles information about the engineering service contracts that upgrade these systems, ensure that they continue to work, and integrate them with wider command and defense systems.
The Patriot missile franchise’s future appears assured. At present, 12 nations have chosen it as a key component of their air and missile defense systems: the USA, Germany, Greece, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the UAE. Poland, Qatar, and Turkey have all indicated varying levels of interest, and some existing customers are looking to upgrade their systems.
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Nov 06, 2018 04:50 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
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".
(click to enlarge)
Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) is the US Navy’s secret weapon. Actually, it’s not so secret. It’s just that its relatively low price means often leads people to overlook the revolutionary change it creates for wide-area fleet air and ballistic missile defense.
CEC is far more than a mere data-sharing program, or even a sensor fusion effort. The concept behind CEC is a sensor netting system that allows ships, aircraft, and even land radars to pool their radar and sensor information together, creating a very powerful and detailed picture that’s much finer, more wide-ranging, and more consistent than any one of them could generate on its own. The data is then shared among all ships and participating systems, using secure frequencies. It’s a simple premise, but a difficult technical feat. With huge implications.
This DID FOCUS Article explains those mechanics and implications. It will also track ongoing research, updates, and contracts related to CEC capabilities from 2000 forward.
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