Jan 17, 2020 04:56 UTC
Sweden has decided not to sell its General Electric F414G
engine that powers the Gripen E to the United States for scheduled servicing. It has now decided that the engines will be serviced at Trollhättan instead
. All F404 engines for the Swedish Gripen C/Ds are currently maintain at Trollhättan. The Saab JAS 39 Gripen
is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. The Swedish Armed Forces commissioned the Swedish Defense Material Administration to establish technical support and maintenance for RM16 / F414 for Gripen E at GKN in Trollhättan. This means that technical support and maintenance down to component level will be co-located in the Trollhättan for the JAS 39 Gripens engines
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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Jan 16, 2020 04:58 UTC
Raytheon Missile Systems won a $10.6 million contract modification
for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Production Lot 33 spares. The modification provides for the production Air Force and Navy spares. The AMRAAM
missile is a versatile and proven weapon with operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the surface launch role, it is the baseline weapon on the NASAMS launcher. In the air-to-air role, no other missile compares to the AMRAAM missile. The weapon’s advanced active guidance section provides aircrew with a high degree of combat flexibility and lethality. Its mature seeker design allows it to quickly find targets in the most combat challenging environments. Work will take place in Tucson, Arizona. Estimated completion date is in March 21, 2022.
AIM-120C from F-22A
(click for test missile zoom)
Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles, and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. It was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind, and of local air combat exercises like ACEVAL and Red Flag. This DID FOCUS article covers successive generations of AMRAAM missiles, international contracts and key events from 2006 onward, and even some of its emerging competitors.
One of the key lessons learned from Vietnam was that a fighter would be likely to encounter multiple enemies, and would need to launch and guide several missiles at once in order to ensure its survival. This had not been possible with the AIM-7 Sparrow, a “semi-active radar homing” missile that required a constant radar lock on one target. To make matters worse, enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own. Pilots who weren’t free to maneuver after launch would often be forced to “break lock,” or be killed – sometimes even by a short-range missile fired during the last phases of their enemy’s approach. Since fighters that could carry radar-guided missiles like the AIM-7 tended to be larger and more expensive, and the Soviets were known to have far more fighters overall, this was not a good trade.
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Jan 15, 2020 04:58 UTC
The first Eurofighter
combat aircraft configured for Kuwait made its maiden flight towards the end of 2019, the company announced
. Instrumented Series Production Aircraft (ISPA 6), equipped with the Kuwait Air Force configuration, departed the Flight Test Centre of Leonardo Aircraft Division in Turin-Caselle on December 23, 2019. As written by Eurofighter, ISPA 6 is the most advanced iteration of the aircraft to date, and while other elements have previously been flight tested, this is the first time that all of the enhancements have been brought together. ISPA 6 is the first to fly the Captor E-Scan Radar with Phase Enhancement 3 b (P3Eb), for which Kuwait is to be the launch customer. Other enhancements for Kuwait include the Lockheed Martin Sniper advanced targeting pod, the introduction of the DRS-Cubic ACMI P5 combat training pod and an enhanced Very High Frequency (VHF) Omni-Directional Range navigation aid.
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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Jan 13, 2020 04:58 UTC
Boeing won a $42.3 million modification
, which exercises an option for integrated logistics services and site activation support of P-8A
aircraft for the Navy and the government of Australia. The P-8A Poseidon is an aircraft designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, maritime surveillance and reconnaissance missions, capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations. It is also effective at search and rescue missions. The US. fiscal 2020 defense budget has allocated major war-fighting investments worth $57.7 billion for aircraft. The financial plan also includes an investment plan of $1.5 billion for 6 P-8A Poseidon jets. Such proposed inclusions highlight BDS segment’s solid prospects, which in turn, are likely to boost the company’s profit margin. Work will take place in Washington, Oklahoma, and Australia. Estimated completion date is in September, 2021.
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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Jan 13, 2020 04:56 UTC
The US Army is buying an unspecific number of SPIKE Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) missiles for its Apache helicopters Defense News
reports. This was disclosed by Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen on January 8. The US Army has chosen the Israeli made long-range Spike precision missile to use on attack helicopters as an interim solution for greater stand-off capabilities during future operations. While Apache helicopters
can currently take out targets like enemy tanks, light bunkers and personnel from some 12 km. away with the Hellfire Anti-Tank Guided Missile, the US Army wants a missile capable of striking from a longer distance. Developed and produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the SPIKE s a fifth generation precise electro-optical missile with a range of up to 25 kilometers.
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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Jan 09, 2020 04:56 UTC
German company Rheinmetall announced in a press release
that it has been awarded orders for additional equipment for the Bundeswehr’s Puma infantry fighting vehicle. Its Düsseldorf-based technology group is to supply spare parts and special tools worth a total of about $60 million. The Puma
is one of the most protected IFV currently available. It has a welded armor hull with add-on modular armor. It has an option of three various protection levels to suit operational needs. Weight of the vehicle vary from 29.4 to 43 tons accordingly to a protection level. The base model has a front and flank protection against 30 mm rounds, while vehicle has an all-round protection against 14.5 mm machine gun fire.
Germany has always been known for producing excellent armored vehicles. A combination of features that arguably make it the world’s best tank, and fire sale prices stemming from Germany’s rapid disarmament, have made the Leopard 2 the standard main battle tank in Europe and beyond. The same level of innovation and execution was shown in the late 1960s, when Germany’s Marder became the west’s first Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). Designs like the American M2/M3 Bradley, Sweden’s CV90 family and new SEP, Singapore’s Bionix-II, and Korea’s new XK-21 have stepped far beyond that legacy, however, and even the Russian region has continued to update their BMP designs. Meanwhile, the nature of military operations has changed to emphasize modularity, out of country missions, advanced electronic communications, and strong protection against threats like land mines.
The Marders need to be replaced, and this became a priority even within Germany’s limited defense budget. In response, German armored vehicle leaders Rheinmetall & KMW formed a 50/50 joint venture to design and produce a solution that would address these issues, and return Germany to a leadership position in the tracked IFV field. Enter the new Puma IFV – which has just received a EUR 3 billion production order from Germany.
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Jan 07, 2020 04:58 UTC
According to Reuters
, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe repeated his plans to deploy the Self-Defense Forces to the Middle East to ensure the safety of its ships, even as tensions in the region erupt in the wake of the United States’ killing of one of Iran’s top military commanders. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country has a military alliance with the US and good ties with Iran, told a news conference Monday that Tokyo was deeply concerned about rising tensions. The comments were Abe’s first since the attack, and came hours after Iran said it would abandon limits on uranium enrichment, leaving a landmark 2015 nuclear deal dead in all but name. Trump has doubled down on threats to Iran, saying Sunday that cultural sites are among 52 targets he plans to hit if Iran retaliates for Qassem Soleimani’s death. A US strike killed Soleimani on January 3 at Baghdad International Airport, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces. At least six people were killed in the strike. The attack was fired from the MQ-9 Reaper drone
of the US Air Force.
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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Jan 07, 2020 04:56 UTC
Three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters
are being transported to Australia to help fight local bushfires. The helicopters will start their journey to Royal Australian Air Force Base Edinburgh from today and are expected to remain there till end of January. The NH90
helicopters will have 55 aircrew and support personnel from RNZAF Base Ohakea. They comprise of aircrew, and staff for maintenance, logistics, communications, medical needs, refueling, security, and analysts. The NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter. It has the distinction of being the first production helicopter to feature entirely fly-by-wire flight controls.
NH90: TTH & NFH
The NH90 emerged from a requirement that created a NATO helicopter development and procurement agency in 1992 and, at almost the same time, established NH Industries (62.5% EADS Eurocopter, 32.5% AgustaWestland, and 5% Stork Fokker) to build the hardware. The NATO Frigate Helicopter was originally developed to fit between light naval helicopters like AW’s Lynx or Eurocopter’s Panther, and medium-heavy naval helicopters like the European EH101. A quick look at the NFH design showed definite possibilities as a troop transport helicopter, however, and soon the NH90 project had branched into 2 versions, with more to follow.
The nearest equivalent would be Sikorsky’s popular H-60 Seahawk/ Black Hawk family, but the NH90 includes a set of innovative features that give it some distinguishing selling points. Its combination of corrosion-proofing, lower maintenance, greater troop or load capacity, and the flexibility offered by that rear ramp have made the NH90 a popular global competitor.
As many business people discover the hard way, however, success can be almost as dangerous as failure. NH Industries has had great difficulty ramping up production fast enough to meet promised deliveries, which has left several buyers upset. Certification and acceptance have also been slow, with very few NH90s in service over a decade after the first contracts were signed. Booked orders have actually been sliding backward over the last year, and currently stand at around 500 machines, on behalf of 14 nations.
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Jan 02, 2020 04:56 UTC
Lockheed Martin won a $138.5 million contract
to exercise options for AEGIS Combat System Engineering Agent (CSEA) efforts for the design, development, integration, test and delivery of Advanced Capability Build (ACB) 20. Under this contract, the AEGIS CSEA
develops, integrates, tests and delivers computer program baseline Advanced Capability Builds; supports Technology Insertions (TI) (a replacement and/or upgrade of combat system computing hardware and associated middleware/firmware-design development); develops engineering products to support ship integration; supports developmental test/operational test events; develops training and logistics products; and provides field technical support for designated AEGIS baselines. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for Aegis CSEA efforts. The systems engineering, development and integration work under this contract will begin with Advanced Capability Build (ACB) 16 and technology insertion 16, and continue with a future ACB/TI through the period of performance of the contract. Work will take place in Moorestown, New Jersey. Estimated completion will be by December 2020.
The AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System for missiles, the SM-3 Standard missile, and the ship’s command and control system, in order to give ships the ability to defend against enemy ballistic missiles. Like its less-capable AEGIS counterpart, AEGIS BMD can also work with other radars on land and sea via Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). That lets it receive cues from other platforms and provide information to them, in order to create a more detailed battle picture than any one radar could produce alone.
AEGIS has become a widely-deployed top-tier air defense system, with customers in the USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, and Spain. In a dawning age of rogue states and proliferation of mass-destruction weapons, the US Navy is being pushed toward a “shield of the nation” role as the USA’s most flexible and most numerous option for missile defense. AEGIS BMD modifications are the keystone of that effort – in the USA, and beyond.
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Dec 31, 2019 04:54 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
HMS Tyne escorted Russian ship Perekop through the English Channel
on Christmas Day. The Royal Navy confirmed the HMS Tyne's
two-day operation in a statement. The Royal Navy confirmed that the ship had returned to Portsmouth and remains ready for further operations. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace praised the work of the Royal Navy crews who conducted operations during the Christmas holidays: "I am grateful for the efforts of the crew of HMS Tyne, who has sailed on Christmas Eve, helping to safeguard or seas", Wallace said. In August, a Royal Navy patrol ship monitored Russian ship Vasily Bykov through UK waters in a similar incident. In October, the HMS Mersey vessel of the UK Royal Navy escorted a group of three ships of Russia's Baltic Fleet as they headed along the UK coast to the English Channel.
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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