Oct 17, 2017 04:58 UTC
The US Navy has awarded
Initial Operational Capability (IOC) to the service's latest airborne mine detection system, the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA
). The system can be integrated on the MQ-8 Fire Scout
unmanned air system and can detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach zone area, keeping sailors and marines out of harms way on a potential landing zone. Part of the littoral combat ship’s (LCS
) suite of mine countermeasures (MCM) systems, COBRA's next test will involve at-sea trails onboard a LCS vessel equipped with a full MCM package, where it will fly various missions over beaches, while demonstrating system suitability for operating from the LCS.
MH-53E & Mk-105 sled
The US Navy currently uses large CH-53/MH-53 helicopters and towed sleds to help with mine clearance work, but they hope to replace those old systems with something smaller and newer. The MH-60S helicopter’s Airborne Mine Counter-Measures (AMCM) system adds an operator’s station to the helicopter cabin, additional internal fuel stores, and towing capability, accompanied by a suite of carried systems that can be mixed and matched. AMCM is actually 5 different air, surface and sub-surface mine countermeasures systems, all deployed and integrated together in the helicopter.
While the US Navy develops AMCM, and complementary ship-launched systems for use on the new Littoral Combat Ships, new minehunter ship classes like the Ospreys are being retired by the US Navy and sold. All in an era where the threat of mines is arguably rising, along with tensions around key chokepoints like the Suez Canal and Strait of Hormuz.
This article explains the components involved (AQS-20, ALMDS, AMNS, OASIS, RAMICS; COBRA, RMS, SMCM), chronicles their progress through reports and contracts, and provides additional links for research.
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Oct 09, 2017 04:59 UTC
Austral USA, the Mobile, Alabama-based subsidiary of the Australian shipbuilder has been awarded a $584.2 million modification
to a previously awarded US Navy contract for the construction of a littoral combat ship (LCS
). Under the terms of the deal, the firm will perform and oversee all necessary design, planning, construction and test and trials activities in support of delivery of the vessel to the Navy, with a scheduled completion date set for October 2023. Work will primarily take place at Mobile, Alabama, but also at several other east coast locations. The Navy expects to release a competitive solicitation(s) for additional LCS class ships in future years, and therefore the specific contract award amount for these ships is considered source selection sensitive information and for the time being, will not be made public.
Trimaran LCS Design
(click to enlarge)
Exploit simplicity, numbers, the pace of technology development in electronics and robotics, and fast reconfiguration. That was the US Navy’s idea for the low-end backbone of its future surface combatant fleet. Inspired by successful experiments like Denmark’s Standard Flex ships, the US Navy’s $35+ billion “Littoral Combat Ship” program was intended to create a new generation of affordable surface combatants that could operate in dangerous shallow and near-shore environments, while remaining affordable and capable throughout their lifetimes.
It hasn’t worked that way. In practice, the Navy hasn’t been able to reconcile what they wanted with the capabilities needed to perform primary naval missions, or with what could be delivered for the sums available. The LCS program has changed its fundamental acquisition plan 4 times since 2005, and canceled contracts with both competing teams during this period, without escaping any of its fundamental issues. Now, the program looks set to end early. This public-access FOCUS article offer a wealth of research material, alongside looks at the LCS program’s designs, industry teams procurement plans, military controversies, budgets and contracts.
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Oct 03, 2017 04:57 UTC
GE's Marine Solutions' LM2500 gas turbine modules will be manufactured
by Australian RJE Global for the Royal Australian Navy frigate program
. A Memorandum of Understanding signed by both firms will also see RJE Global manufacture a number of components for the gas turbines. The LM2500 gas turbines will be for the RAN's nine-ship SEA 5000 Future Frigate Program, as the turbines are operational on two of the short-listed, qualified ship designs for the new vessels—Fincantieri's FREMM and Navantia's F100 frigates. The new frigates will replace the navy's ageing Anzac-class frigates.
As Asia-Pacific nations invest in submarines, serious regional players also need to invest in anti-submarine capabilities. Aircraft like the P-8A Poseidon are great, but nothing really replaces dedicated and capable ASW ships. Their opponents’ anti-ship missiles are also experiencing a jump in capability, so a secondary air defense role isn’t optional. Australia’s 4 remaining FFG-7 Adelaide Class frigates have finished an expensive and somewhat rickety systems upgrade, but they fall short of what’s needed, and won’t last all that much longer. The RAN’s 6 ANZAC Class frigates are receiving much smoother ASMD air defense upgrades that will make them quite useful, but their service life will begin ebbing around 2024.
Hence Australia’s SEA 5000 Future Frigate program, which may receive an early push from issues with Australia’s naval industrial base…
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Sep 28, 2017 23:58 UTC
Orbital ATK has announced the award
of a $359 million contract from the US Navy to continue full-rate production of AGM-88E
advanced anti-radiation guided missiles (AARGM). The initial contract includes a $157 million award for Lot Six full-rate production, as well as an option for Lot Seven, and covers all-up round missiles and captive air training missiles for the US Navy, Italian Air Force and other allies through Foreign Military Sales orders. The missile is integrated into the weapons systems on the FA-18C/D Hornet, FA-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft, and is anticipated to achieve Initial Operational Capability on the Italian Air Force’s Tornado ECR aircraft in 2018.
The AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile whose primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. AARGM is a US Navy major acquisition program, with around 1,750 expected orders from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The Italian Air Force is expected to buy up to 250 of these successors to the AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, and Germany may also join.
So, why is AARGM a big deal? Perhaps the story of how a Serbian unit using an antiquated SA-3 battery managed to survive the 1999 NATO air campaign – and shoot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane – will help put things into perspective. DID recounts those events, explains the new weapon, and offers updates on contracts and key milestones.
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Sep 19, 2017 04:57 UTC
General Dynamics Land Systems UK has commenced live firing trials
for its AJAX armored vehicle program
. The trials are being held in West Wales, Great Britain, and will last for approximately five months, starting with static firing positions against immobile point targets and gradually progressing to a moving vehicle engaging moving targets. It is armed with the CT 40 autocannon and a coaxial 7.62mm chain gun for lighter targets. Used by both the UK and French armed forces, the CT 40 ustilizes a type of telescoping 40mm ammunition designed to take up less space and reduce the necessary size of the gun. It can fire armor-piercing discarding sabot and high-explosive airburst ammunition out to an effective range of 2500 meters. It has a maximum rate of fire of up to 200 rounds per minute.
Many of Britain’s army vehicles are old and worn, and the necessities of hard service on the battlefield are only accelerating that wear. The multi-billion pound “Future Rapid Effects System” (FRES) aims to recapitalize the core of Britain’s armored vehicle fleet over the next decade or more.
The best one can say is that FRES has gone far better than America’s comparable and canceled “Future Combat System.” That doesn’t mean the rise has been smooth. FRES was spawned by the UK’s withdrawal from the German-Dutch-UK Boxer MRAV modular wheeled APC program, in order to develop a more deployable vehicle that fit Britain’s exact requirements. Those initial requirements were challenging, however, and experience in Iraq and Afghanistan led to decisions that changed an already-late program. So, too, have subsequent budgetary crises…
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Sep 12, 2017 04:58 UTC
Lockheed Martin has received a $27 million modification
to an existing US Navy contract for the supply of retrofitting kits for the 60 Automatic Radar Periscope Detect and Discrimination (ARPDD) program. The firm will deliver 11 standard and 5 SEED kits for the program, which will provide a series of radar upgrades for use on MH-60 Seahawk
helicopters to help spot and discriminate enemy submarine periscopes. Work will primarily take place in Farmingdale, NY and Oswego, NY, with completion by October 2020. ARPDD has been in use with the Navy since 2009 and upgraded several times since then. It is one of the few systems available that are capable of identifying and tracking submarine periscopes.
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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Aug 31, 2017 04:57 UTC
Japan is seeking powerful new radar
from the US to boost the operational range of its planned procurement of a land-based version of the Aegis
ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. So far, previous efforts by Tokyo to acquire the AN/SPY-6 AESA radar have not come to fruition, leaving them to rely on existing radar technology that has less range than a new generation of BMD interceptor missiles. While the US Navy are seemingly behind Japan receiving the technology, there may be a reluctance from the MDA, which is responsible for developing BMD technology, to release such advanced technology before it is fully fielded by the US. Developed by Raytheon and integrated into the Aegis system by Lockheed Martin, SPY-6 radars will form part of the Pentagon's new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers
, due to be operational in 2022. In order for Japan to receive the Spy-6 in time for its planned deployment of its Aegis Ashore system in 2023, it will need to be cleared long before that 2022 date, in order to give the manufacturers time to build the system.
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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Jul 11, 2017 04:59 UTC
The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) has issued a request
to potential bidders for its Next Generation Jammer increment 2 program, which looks to develop a low-band jamming pod for the Boeing EA-18G Growler
and complement the service’s ongoing work on Increment 1's mid-band frequency jammer. Industry has been asked to show how existing technologies can meet requirements for a new low-band transmitter, which are generally used to jam early warning radars and voice communication frequencies. The contract will only ask to demonstrate, not mature, technology for increment 2, and will explore frequency coverage, effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP), spatial coverage and spectral purity.
EA-18G at Pax
The USA’s electronic attack fighters are a unique, overworked, and nearly obsolete capability. With the retirement of the US Air Force’s long-range EF-111 Raven “Spark ‘Vark,” the aging 4-seat EA-6B Prowlers became the USA’s only remaining fighter for radar jamming, communications jamming and information operations like signals interception . Despite their age and performance limits, they’ve been predictably busy on the front lines, used for everything from escorting strike aircraft against heavily defended targets, to disrupting enemy IED land mine attacks by jamming all radio signals in an area.
All airframes have lifespan limits, however, and the EA-6B is no exception. The USA’s new electronic warfare aircraft will be based on Boeing’s 2-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighter, and has 90% commonality with its counterpart. That will give it decent self-defense capabilities, as well as electronic attack potential. At present, however, the EA-18G is slated to be the only dedicated electronic warfare aircraft in the USA’s future force. Since the USA is currently the only western country with such aircraft, the US Navy’s EA-18G fleet would become the sole source of tactical jamming support for NATO and allied air forces as well.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article describes the EA-18G aircraft and its key systems, outlining the program, and keeping track of ongoing developments, contracts, etc. that affect the program.
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Jun 28, 2017 04:58 UTC
Raytheon have tested
a high energy laser system installed on a AH-64
attack helicopter. The test at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, saw the helicopter go airborne with the system before successfully engaging several targets, including a tank. The system saw Raytheon pair a variant of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, an advanced electro-optical infrared sensor, with a laser. The MTS provided targeting information, situational awareness and beam control. The demonstration marks the first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds.
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 19, 2017 04:59 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Raytheon has received a $83 million contract modification
for the procurement of full-rate production 180 AIM-9X Block II
air-to-air missiles. The US Navy award will see the firm will supply missiles to the Navy, USAF, Romania, Poland, Indonesia, Romania and Belgium. Also included in the modification is the procurement of 19 captive air-training missiles for the Air Force and Navy, along with 50 missiles containers for the US military and foreign governments. The USMC will receive three special training missiles for its Harrier jump jet program, and a wide spectrum of spare parts and support systems will be delivered to the Navy, Air Force, and Poland. Work will primarily be completed at Raytheon's facilities in Tuscon, Ariz., and Andover, Mass., and is scheduled for completion in March 2020.
AIM-9X test, F-18C
(click for close-up)
Raytheon’s AIM-9X Block II would have made Top Gun a very short movie. It’s the USA’s most advanced short range air-air missile, capable of using its datalink, thrust vectoring maneuverability, and advanced imaging infrared seeker to hit targets behind the launching fighter. Unlike previous AIM-9 models, the AIM-9X can even be used against targets on the ground.
These changes will help keep it competitive against foreign missiles like MBDA UK’s AIM-132 ASRAAM, RAFAEL of Israel’s Python 5, the multinational German-led IRIS-T, and Russia’s R73/ AA-11 Archer. So far, only American fighter types can use AIM-9X missiles, but that hasn’t stopped a slew of export requests and sales, especially in the Middle East.
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