Jul 21, 2017 04:58 UTC
Additional long lead time construction materials have been ordered
by the US Navy for the construction of the Ford-class
CVN 80 Enterprise. Work will be carried out in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by January 2024. Navy 2017 shipbuilding funds of $148.7 million will be obligated to the project. Long lead parts involve the lengthy planning, development and work of certain components and subsystems needed for the vessel. These include examples like shipboard nuclear power plants to the thousands of tons of steel needed to construct an aircraft carrier hull. The Enterprise is powered by A1B nuclear reactors and can generate two-and-a-half times the electrical power of its Nimitz-class predecessor, giving it the capacity to mount future weapons and electronics like laser weapons. It also has an electro-magnetic aircraft launch system rather than standard steam-powered catapults.
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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Jul 21, 2017 04:56 UTC
Saab's JAS-39 Gripen has been pulled
out of Belgium's fighter competition, leaving Brussels with the choice of either the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, or Lockheed Martin F-35. While Sweden's FMV defence materiel administration had initially touted the Gripen as a cost-effective solution that can easily fill the operational requirements required by Belgium, the request included the requirement that the delivering nation also provides extensive operational support—something that would require a change in both Swedish foreign policy and political mandate. As a result, Sweden and the FMV choose notto submit an answer to the Belgian request.
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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Jul 21, 2017 04:55 UTC
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) is to drive funds into Eurofighter Typhoon
fleet enhancement from savings made
through a new in-service support model. Known as the Typhoon total availability enterprise (Tytan), the new, 10-year arrangement between the RAF and industry partners BAE Systems and Leonardo is expected to reduce the Typhoon's per-hour operating cost by 30-40%, generating saving of at least $712 million over the agreement's lifetime. These funds will then be generated back into upgrading the aircraft. UK-specific initiatives already introduced via the Tytan contract include increasing the intervals between scheduled major maintenance activities, which will increase aircraft availability and reduce repair bills. Deep maintenance initially scheduled after every 400 flight hours has previously been extended to a 500h interval, and is expected to be stretched further to 750h.
The multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon has been described as the aerodynamic apotheosis of lessons learned from the twin engine “teen series” fighters that began with the F-14 and F-15, continued with the emergence of the F/A-18 Hornet, and extended through to the most recent F/A-18 Super Hornet variants. Aerodynamically, it’s a half generation ahead of all of these examples, and planned evolutions will place the Eurofighter near or beyond parity in electronic systems and weapons.
The 1998 production agreement among its 4 member countries involved 620 aircraft, built with progressively improved capabilities over 3 contract “tranches”. By the end of Tranche 2, however, welfare state programs and debt burdens had made it difficult to afford the 236 fighters remaining in the 4-nation Eurofighter agreement. A 2009 compromise was found in the EUR 9 billion “Tranche 3A” buy, and the program has renewed its efforts to secure serious export sales. Their success will affect the platform’s production line in the near term, and its modernization plans beyond that.
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Jul 19, 2017 04:58 UTC
Lockheed Martin will deliver Patriot
Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile systems to several international customers after receiving a $130.3 million contract
from the US Army. The order calls for the delivery of 35 missile segment enhancements, 100 launcher modifications kits, parts, software, and missile round trainers. Recipients of the systems include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Untied Arab Emirates, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan. Work will primarily take place at the company's Grand Prairie, Texas facility, as well as other sites across the US, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 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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Jul 19, 2017 04:57 UTC
Israel has increased the scope
of its Leonardo Aermacchi M-346
"Lavi" advanced jet trainers after the successful upgrade of the aircraft's software. Additional external fuel tanks have already been added to the trainers with future enhancements planned includes the addition of live bombs which will allow for advanced training of air-to-surface strike missions. The aircraft are also being employed to support advanced training involving "fourth-generation" fighters.
Tornado refuels M346
Alenia’s Aermacchi’s M-346 advanced jet trainer began life in 1993, as a collaboration with Russia. It was also something of a breakthrough for Alenia Aermacchi, confirming that the Finmeccanica subsidiary could design and manufacture advanced aircraft with full authority quadriplex fly-by-wire controls. Those controls, the aircraft’s design for vortex lift aerodynamics, and a thrust:weight ratio of nearly 1:1, allow it to remain fully controllable even at angles of attack over 35 degrees. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale. Not to mention Sukhoi’s SU-30 family, which has made a name for itself at international air shows with remarkable nose-high maneuvers.
The Russian collaboration did not last. For a while, it looked like the Italian jet might not last, either. It did though, and has become a regular contender for advanced jet trainer trainer contracts around the world. Its biggest potential opportunity is in the USA. For now, however, its biggest customer is Israel.
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Jul 18, 2017 04:59 UTC
Airbus Helicopters has received a $35.2 million contract modification
for the supply of parts and logistical support for the US Army's UH-72 Lakota
light utility helicopter. The deal includes orders for spare parts and logistical support to account for higher flying hours by the UH-72 fleet than originally projected. Work will be conducted at Grand Prairie, Texas, with a scheduled completion date set at December 31, 2017. $35.2 million in 2017 Army operations and maintenance funds have been obligated for the project.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This is DID’s FOCUS Article regarding the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program, covering the program and its objectives, the winning bid team and industrial arrangements, and contracts.
The US Army’s LUH program will finish as a 325 helicopter acquisition program that will be worth about $2.3 billion when all is said and done. It aimed to replace existing UH-1 Hueys and OH-58 Kiowa utility variants in non-combat roles, freeing up larger and more expensive UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for front-line duty. In June 2006, a variant of Eurocopter’s EC145 beat AgustaWestland’s AB139, Bell-Textron’s 412EP Twin Huey, and MD Helicopters’ 902 Explorer NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) design. The win marked EADS’ 1st serious military win in the American market, and their “UH-145” became the “UH-72A Lakota” at an official December 2006 naming ceremony.
Eurocopter has continued to field new mission kits and deliver helicopters from its Mississippi production line, while trying to build on their LUH breakthrough. A training helicopter win will keep the line going for a couple more years…
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Jul 14, 2017 04:59 UTC
US Special Operations Command's C-130J
aircraft are scheduled to receive new electronic warfare systems
aimed to enhance the aircrafts' survivability equipment to detect, identify, locate, deny, degrade, disrupt and defeat various threats. BAE Systems will conduct the work, installing its Radio Frequency Countermeasure (RFCM
) system—designed to be integrated on the USAF's AC-130J Ghostrider and MC-130J Commando II aircraft—over the next 30 months in a $67 million contract modification. The contract’s total value, including all options, is expected to exceed $300 million.
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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Jul 13, 2017 04:59 UTC
Tuesday saw the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and US Army successfully complete
the first ever test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD
) system against an incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). Orbital ATK provided the target, which was air-dropped North of Hawaii by parachute from the cargo hold of a C-17 aircraft before its rockets ignited and the missile simulated an intermediate range ballistic missile threat. Meanwhile, in Kodiak, Alaska, THAAD radars detected, acquired and tracked the target and developed a fire control solution. The interceptor was then launched, destroying the target's re-entry vehicle through kinetic force. This success leaves THAAD with a 100 percent track record for all 14 intercept attempts since flight testing began just over a decade ago.
THAAD: In flight
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (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. It’s designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets such as population centers and industrial resources as well as military forces, hence its previous “theater (of operations) high altitude area defense” designation.
This capability makes THAAD different from a Patriot PAC-3 or the future MEADS system, which are point defense options with limited range that are designed to hit a missile or warhead just before impact. The SM-3 Standard missile is a far better comparison, and land-based SM-3 programs will make it a direct THAAD competitor. So far, both programs remain underway.
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Jul 13, 2017 04:56 UTC
Rafael has completed integration
of its I-Derby air-to-air missiles on India's Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA
), with test-firing scheduled for the end of 2017. The Israeli firm also confirmed earlier reports that the fighter could be equipped with the latest Extended Range (ER) version of the missile, and is also looking to offer its Spike ER air-to-surface missile to meet an Indian requirement for helicopter-launched weapons. The Spike tender will also come with a new launcher to meet New Delhi's technical specifications.
India’s Light Combat Aircraft program is meant to boost its aviation industry, but it must also solve a pressing military problem. The IAF’s fighter strength has been declining as the MiG-21s that form the bulk of its fleet are lost in crashes, or retired due to age and wear. Most of India’s other Cold War vintage aircraft face similar problems.
In response, some MiG-21s have been modernized to MiG-21 ‘Bison’ configuration, and other current fighter types are undergoing modernization programs of their own. The IAF’s hope is that they can maintain an adequate force until the multi-billion dollar 126+ plane MMRCA competition delivers replacements, and more SU-30MKIs arrive from HAL. Which still leaves India without an affordable fighter solution. MMRCA can replace some of India’s mid-range fighters, but what about the MiG-21s? The MiG-21 Bison program adds years of life to those airframes, but even so, they’re likely to be gone by 2020.
That’s why India’s own Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project is so important to the IAF’s future prospects. It’s also why India’s rigid domestic-only policies are gradually being relaxed, in order to field an operational and competitive aircraft. Even with that help, the program’s delays are a growing problem for the IAF. Meanwhile, the west’s near-abandonment of the global lightweight fighter market opens a global opportunity, if India can seize it with a compelling and timely product.
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Jul 12, 2017 04:58 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Washington has also cleared
the $1.035 billion sale of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV
) and accessories to the UK. Under the deal, as many as 2,747 vehicles will be delivered, alongside baseline integration kits, basic issue item kits, B-kit armor, engine arctic kits, fording kits, run-flat kits, spare tire kits, silent watch kits, power expansion kits cargo cover kits, maintainer and operator training, and US logistics and support services. If approved by Congress, JLTV manufacturer Oshkosh Defense will act as main contractor.
Ultra APV demonstrator
In an age of non-linear warfare, where front lines are nebulous at best and non-existent at worst, one of the biggest casualties is… the concept of unprotected rear echelon vehicles, designed with the idea that they’d never see serious combat. That imperative is being driven home on 2 fronts. One front is operational. The other front is buying trends.
These trends, and their design imperatives, found their way into the USA’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program, which aims to replace many of the US military’s 120,000 or so Humvees. The US military’s goal is a 7-10 ton vehicle that’s lighter than its MRAPs and easier to transport aboard ship, while offering substantially better protection ad durability than existing up-armored Humvees. They’d also like a vehicle that can address front-line issues like power generation, in order to recharge all of the batteries troops require for electronic gadgets like night sights, GPS devices, etc.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. JLTV certainly qualifies, and recent budget planning endorsements have solidifed a future that was looking shaky. Now, can the Army’s program deliver?
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