Sierra Nevada Corp. in Sparks, NV won a $36.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, cost-only contract for production of Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (JCREW) 3.1 dismounted systems to meet the requirements of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dismounted JCREW systems are electronic jammers designed to prevent the initiation of radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIED). ITT Corp., which supplies the JCREW 2.1 vehicle mounted system, and Northrop Grumman were also competing for this contract.
According to the FedBizOpps solicitation, Sierra Nevada will provide 200 JCREW 3.1 dismounted systems, support equipment and services, and additional long-lead time material. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would result in Sierra Nevada supplying an additional 2,300 systems for a cumulative value of $248.3 million. The contract includes 9,000 hours of engineering support services (ESS) for the initial 200 systems and 13,000 hours of ESS for the option quantity of 2,300 systems, field service representative support in-theater, depot level repair material and services, spares, and associated technical data.
Sierra Nevada will perform the work in Sparks, NV (90%) and Rancho Cordova, CA (10%), and expects to complete it by December 2010. This contract was competitively procured via the FedBizOpps website, with 3 proposals solicited and 3 offers received by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC (N00024-09-C-6306). See also Sierra Nevada release.
Australia’s ALR 2002 attempt to develop its own radar warning receiver & protection suite for its aircraft, including the RAAF’s F/A-18 Hornets, failed, forcing Australia to turn to the global standard for Hornets and Super Hornets: Raytheon’s AN/ALR-67(v)3. Canada also has a CF-18 Hornet upgrade program underway, as the current CF-18 fleet is expected to serve until at least 2017. As attacks from Pakistan rise, the government is also looking hard at sending its Hornets into harm’s way in Afghanistan.
Raytheon’s AN/ALR-67v3 is a radar warning receiver that provides visual and audio alerts to F/A-18 aircrew when it detects ground-based, ship-based, or airborne radar emitters. It’s designed to provide accurate identification, azimuth displays, and threat levels for hostile and friendly emitters. It has become the modern standard for F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet aircraft, and has been incorporated into a number of earlier model Hornets flown around the world.
Canada is adding itself to that list, and continues to buy new systems as part of multi-country orders.
Flight International reports that the Elisra joint venture between Elbit Systems (70%) and Israel Aaerospace Industries (30%) recently received a $25 million contract to supply an “integrated electronic warfare suite” for the ROKAF’s 12 C-130H Hercules tactical transports.
The exact model(s) were not named, but the report did say that the system will be capable of coping with both infrared-guided and radar-guided threats. That description could fit the Spectrolite SPS-65V-5, an all-in-one system that Elisra introduced in February 2008.
Elisra is making inroads into the Korean market. This recent win builds on a February 2009 order to equip KAI’s initial 4 F/A-50 lightweight fighter prototypes with Elisra self-protection systems; the fighters will also carry IAI Elta’s EL/M-2032 multi-mode radar. Israel’s defense ties with South Korea are growing slowly but steadily. A variety of UAV and electronics sales to Korea have even included advanced ballistic missile tracking radars. On the flip side, the Israeli Air force is considering Korea’s T-50 family as a possible replacement for its A-4 Skyhawks.
Alcatel-Lucent SA has accumulated losses of EUR 4.8 billion since 2006. As part of its efforts to refocus itself and improve its financial position, the firm has sold its 20.78% stake in major defense electronics firm Thales SA to Dassault Aviation SA of St. Cloud, France.
The sale price is reported to be EUR 38 per share, or about EUR 1.57 billion (about $2.25 billion). Dassault already owns 5.2% of Thales, but this purchase will make it Thales’ second largest shareholder after the French government’s 27.1%. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and the standard caveats, but that is not expected to be a problem. In a separate statement, France’s Finance Ministry said it has struck a shareholder pact with Dassault Aviation that is nearly identical to the one the state had with Alcatel-Lucent. After the acquisition, the French state and Dassault Aviation will control 53% of Thales’ capital, and 61% of its voting rights.
Nov 5/08: SAIC Technology Services Co., of San Diego, CA received an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for $16 million for R&D under a Broad Agency Announcement entitled “Electro Magnetic Effects Research and Development.” This research will examine aspects of high power EM lethality, with missions that include survivability of military equipment high power microwave (HPM) environments, the development of HPM weapons, and the refinement of HPM-predictive modeling for inclusion into engagement and campaign-level models. The military woul like SAIC to make optimum use of available AFRL/RDH capital assets and to augment or complement AFRL/RDH capabilities, rather than pursuing its research alone. The Air Force Research Laboratory/RDKP, Det 8 Directorate of Contracting at Kirtland AFB, NM manages this contract (FA9451-06-D-0222, P00009).
EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) is a side-effect of intense radiation bursts, usually from a nuclear weapon. Its effect is to fry most semiconductor-based electronics within its effective range, which is to say most electronics these days. This gives EMP a potential offensive use via strategically placed nuclear airbursts. Rep Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD] has led the charge on this issue in Congress, working to establish an EMP Commission that has reported on the USA’s general vulnerability to such attacks, and further research continues. HPM includes EMP, but it can also be much less dramatic. As one example, there are claims that some modern AESA radars might be able to focus their arrays, in order to produce a very localized HPM effect that could impair or even disable enemy radars. With AESA radars set to deploy in Russian and European fighters over the next decade, a better understanding of the applied physics involved makes sense for both defensive and offensive reasons.
The UH-60M Black Hawk is the US Army’s newest utility helicopter, with a number of upgrades over earlier models. To date, orders have been placed by the US Army, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. On Sept 9/08, the USA’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Egypt’s formal request for 4 UH-60M helicopters. They would support a newly established military Search and Rescue Operations Center, and assist with border security missions by performing surveillance and observation missions.
The request includes 4 UH-60M helicopters with 8 T-700-GE-701D engines, and 1 spare T-700-GE-701D engine. Each helicopter would also be equipped with FLIR Systems’ Star SAFIRE II/HD surveillance and targeting turret, an APR-39Av2 Radar Signal Detecting Set, an ALQ-144Av1 Infrared Countermeasure Set, an AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System, an AVR-2A Laser Warning Set, M130 Flare and Chaff Dispensers, and AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser Systems (CMDS), an Improved Hover Infrared Suppression System (IHIRSS). The contract would also include spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, and other forms of support.
The principal contractors will be United Technologies’ subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT, their subsidiary Schweizer Aircraft Company of Horseheads, NY, and General Electric Aircraft Company of Lynn, MA (engines). The estimated cost is $176 million, and the sale will not require the assignment of any additional U. S. Government or contractor personnel since Egypt already operates a handful of S-70/UH-60 helicopters out of the Cairo East base.
On Sept 9/08 The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF] an official request from Saudi Arabia for 12 AH-64D Block II Apache Longbow Helicopters, and associated items. The request, which could result in $598 million worth of contracts, would be used by the kingdom:
“…for its national security, and protecting its borders and oil infrastructure. The aircraft will provide the Saudi military more advanced targeting and engagement capabilities. The proposed sale will provide for the defense of vital installations and will provide close air support for the Saudi military ground forces. This sale also will increase the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) APACHE sustainability and interoperability with the U.S. Air Force, the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and other coalition air forces.”
Saudi Arabia already has 12 AH-64A Apaches, in service with 2 Aviation Battalion at King Khalid Military City, in the country’s northeast near Kuwait. A $400 million August 2006 DSCA request would have upgraded those helicopters to AH-64D status, but DID has seen no follow-on contracts to that effect. This request involves new equipment, including:
The request includes 12 Line Replaceable Units (LRUs): 12 Control Interface Units (CIU),12 System Processors (SP), 12 AN/AAR-54(V) Missile Warning Systems (MWS), 12 Small Laser Transmitter Assemblies (SLTA), Operational Flight Program (OFP) software, and spares (6 CIUs, 6 Sps, 7 individual MWS sensors, and 12 SLTAs). Installation support, engineering change proposals, minor modifications, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documents, repair and return, depot maintenance, and other related elements of logistics and program support are also included.
The principal contractor will be Northrop Grumman Corporation in Rolling Meadows, IL. Implementation will require about 5 contractor representatives in Australia for 12 weeks after delivery. U.S. Government and contractor representatives will also participate in program management and technical reviews for two-week intervals annually.
Offshoring aerospace work to India is a growing trend, and the Indian defense market’s combination of obvious opportunity and required industrial offsets has many foreign firms working to line up partners. Raytheon recently announced signed memorandums of understanding with 5 major Indian companies, as part of their “plan to build a team committed to providing the best solutions for India’s military forces… [These agreements] represent another step toward establishing a strong working relationship, encouraging pursuit of emerging business opportunities, and providing for in-country offset. They also will pave the way for more exchanges of technology and business know-how between India and the U.S.”
Gripen Demo will be a heavier aircraft (empty weight adds 300 kg to 7,100 kg, max. takeoff weight rises from 14,000 kg to 16,000 kg) with increased external and internal fuel capacity (internal fuel rises 38%, and…) and an increase from 8 to 10 weapon/fuel pylons. To offset this extra weight, Gripen Demo will use a higher-thrust GE/Volvo F414 engine variant, replacing the GE/Volvo F404 variant in current aircraft and giving the aircraft a 25%-35% power boost. Other improvements include an next-generation AESA radar (probably drawing on Ericsson’s “Nora” project), along with improved computing and avionics overall, including satellite communication, Link 16 capability added to the Gripen’s existing datalink, and improved electronic warfare via jammer pod integration and other measures. Gripen Demo’s corporate participants include Saab, General Electric together with Volvo (F414 engine), Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, APPH, Martin-Baker and Terma.
Gripen Demo c. Gripen International
Gripen Demo is designed to pave the way for future variants (JAS-39 E/F, DK, N et. al.). A next-generation Gripen is critical to the long-term viability and competitiveness of Sweden’s fighter fleet, and also to a number of contracts Saab is fighting for abroad. Norway signed a $25 million Letter of Agreement regarding Gripen Demo in April 2007, for instance, as part of the 3-way competition (F-35, JAS-39, Eurofighter) to replace its F-16s.