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
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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Jun 19, 2017 04:55 UTC
Bell Helicopters is considering a plan
to manufacture AH-1Z Viper
attack helicopters in Romania within the next 4-5 years. News of the deal comes almost twenty years after a previous attempt to assemble the AH-1 in the country fell through. The announcement follows Bells' signing
of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Romanian company IAR-Ghimbav Brasov Group last November that would see the local firm cover possible maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of the AH-1Z should it be procured by Bucharest. While Romania has yet to launch a formal tender for their replacement, Bell is just one of several manufacturers, including Airbus, who are positioning themselves for an anticipated requirement.
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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May 26, 2017 04:58 UTC
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems has received a $40.8 million modification
to an existing contract for production of the MK 82/MK 200 Missile Fire Control System director controller equipment. The Navy contract calls for the delivery of fully functional systems with testing and engineering support and covers systems scheduled to be delivered as part of the Aegis Weapon System
for the Republic of Korea and Japan under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The work is not expected to affect current ship deployment or operational use and is expected to be completed by December 2021.
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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May 11, 2017 04:58 UTC
Northrop Grumman has received a $332 million modification to an existing contract
for work at the Joint National Center Research and Development for the Missile Defense Agency and the Department of Defense. Under the terms of the agreement, work to be carried out includes the integration of Ballistic Missile Defense System (BDMS
) and testing programs for the program, as well as the provision of logistical services, wargame and readiness exercises, and the development of doctrine, as well as information technology support for the Chief Information Officer for the BDMS. The additional DoD funding will increase the funding maximum from $3.85 billion to $4.18 billion, and may extend task orders until May 2018.
Monitors went black
C2BMC puts the “system” in the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System. At least that’s how the US Missile Defense Agency describes the Command and Control, Battle Management, and Communications (C2BMC) element. Basically, C2BMC synchronizes individual missile defense systems, sensors, and operators, which is essential to the layered missile defense approach the agency is working to develop. Since no one system is foolproof, layered system is designed to destroy enemy ballistic missiles by tracking and engaging them in all phases of flight, from boost, mid-course, and terminal phases of ballistic missiles. Tying all that together is a real challenge, since these systems weren’t all designed from the outset to operate together.
Some elements of the USA’s current missile warning and defense architecture include DSP and SBIRS satellites, Aegis BMD ships, Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD), Patriot anti-air missile defense, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries, along with flexible dual-use elements like the Patriot PAC-3, other sensors that might be plugged into the network, and other elements that will be developed in future…
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May 09, 2017 04:58 UTC
Northrop Grumman has been awarded
a $36.8 million contract to integrate radar systems on the MQ-8C Fire Scout
UAV for the US Navy. The pre-existing contract will include software updates, testing programs, and installation and support systems, and work will be carried out both in the US and in the UK through to May 2020. Research and development funds previously allocated for Fiscal 2016 will include $11.8 million set to expire at the end of the fiscal year.
MQ-8B Fire Scout
A helicopter UAV is very handy for naval ships, and for armies who can’t always depend on runways. The USA’s RQ/MQ-8 Fire Scout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle has blazed a trail of firsts in this area, but its history is best described as “colorful.” The program was begun by the US Navy, canceled, adopted by the US Army, revived by the Navy, then canceled by the Army. Leaving it back in the hands of the US Navy. Though the Army is thinking about joining again, and the base platform is changing.
The question is, can the MQ-8 leverage its size, first-mover contract opportunity, and “good enough” performance into a secure future with the US Navy – and beyond? DID describes these new VTUAV platforms, clarifies the program’s structure and colorful history, lists all related contracts and events, and offers related research materials.
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Apr 13, 2017 00:57 UTC
Future US Navy frigates may come with added air defense capabilities
as a new study group is being commissioned to examine adding such a platform to the requirements. At present, service specifications call for a vessel to have enough surface-to-air missiles to protect itself. The new idea is to double the RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM
) load from 8 to 16 or having a Mark 41 Vertical Launching System
loaded with eight Standard Missile-2 (SM-2
). Upgunning the frigates will change the Navy designation for the ships from FF, meaning frigate, to FFG — guided missile frigates able to provide area air defense.
The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. Compared to the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, ESSM is effectively a new missile with a larger, more powerful rocket motor for increased range, a different aerodynamic layout for improved agility, and the latest missile guidance technology. Testing has even shown the ESSM to be effective against fast surface craft, an option that greatly expands the missile’s utility. As a further bonus, the RIM-162 ESSM has the ability to be “quad-packed” in the Mk 41 vertical launching system, allowing 4 missiles to be carried per launch cell instead of loading one larger SM-2 Standard missile or similar equipment.
This is DID’s FOCUS article for the program, containing details about the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile family, and contracts placed under this program since 1999. The Sea Sparrow was widely used aboard NATO warships, so it isn’t surprising that the ESSM is an international program. The NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the USA – as well as non-NATO Australia. Foreign Military Sales ESSM customers outside this consortium include Japan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
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Apr 10, 2017 00:52 UTC
General Dynamics has been picked
by the UK to design and develop next-generation battlefield communication systems. The $409 million contract is part of the MoD's Morpheus Project, an effort launched to address critical system obsolescence and procure more advanced Tactical Communication and Information Systems for the British Army; allowing British warfighters to integrate new radios and other communication platforms faster and more easily. Under the agreement, GD will implement the Evolve to Open approach, which will modify existing Bowman communication systems into an open, modular platform.
The UK’s Bowman tactical communications system, which replaced the aging Clansman system, has encountered some problems with troops deployed in Afghanistan. The Bowman radios carried by the soldiers have a short battery life and are heavy. There is also a shortage of ancillary equipment, such as antennas and speakers, according to a May 14/09 report by the UK National Audit Office (NAO).
As DID reported earlier, a 2006 NAO report had identified a number of serious problems with the Bowman system resulting from the radical changes in communications technology and needs since the program was conceived in the 1980s. The report identified as issues the vast growth in bandwidth requirements due to UAVs et. al. transmitting video, the need for far greater capabilities without providing more money, the lack of robustness and modifiability in its closed architecture software systems, the effects of Bowman’s lack of definition on training and doctrine, and the effects of the program on the decimated British tactical radio industry.
Despite these problems, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) recently awarded 2 contracts worth £231 million ($376 million) to prime contractor General Dynamics UK to upgrade the Bowman system.
DID has more on the Bowman system upgrades…
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Apr 05, 2017 00:27 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
The US subsidiary of Israel's Elbit Systems received their first production order
for the Helmet Display and Tracker System (HDTS
) with the Continuously Computed Impact Point (CCIP) algorithm for the US Navy's fleet of MH-60S
helicopters. Valued at $50 million, work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas and completed by June 2021. The advanced technology
of the helmet and processor provides pilots and crews with line-of-sight tracking to improve interaction with the flight navigation system, enhance pilot and co-pilot situational awareness, and increase the accuracy of weapons delivery.
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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