At MSPO 2014, Lithuania signed a EUR 34 million contract with Poland for PPZR GROM soldier-portable anti-aircraft missiles, along with necessary instrumentation, simulators, and training. The Polish MON says that Lithuania is their 4th export customer after “Georgia, Indonesia, and Japan.” Peru has also bought GROM, as part of the vehicle-mounted POPRAD system, and missiles seized by Russian forces in Georgia appear to have found their way to pro-Russian “customers” in eastern Ukraine.
The purchase leaves Lithuania with a variety of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles…
The Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), named for U.S. Air Force pioneer Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, bills itself as “The World’s Premier Flight Simulation Test Facility.” Nearly half of the AEDC’s 58 test facilities are unique in the U.S., and 14 are unique in the world. These specialized test facilities have played a crucial role in the development and sustainment of virtually every high performance aircraft, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon, missile, and space system in use by all four of the U.S. military services today. The Center has also been involved in the development of every NASA manned space system, many satellites, and numerous commercial aircraft and spacecraft systems.
In 2003, the Air Force consolidated the test operations contract and the base services contract into a single contract for operations, maintenance, information management, and base support, which was awarded to Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) in Tullahoma, TN.
What’s left of the Dutch tank fleet has been sold to Finland. The Finnish Minister of Defence just approved the proposal to buy 100 Leopard 2A6NL main battle tanks, plus spare parts for 10 years, combat simulators, maintenance simulators, special tools and testing equipment, and ammunition. At EUR 200 million, that’s less than EUR 2 million per tank. The Finns don’t have a huge tank force, and the new vehicles will become the country’s entire front line tank fleet after they’re delivered between 2015 – 2019.
There are still some ancient T-55s in service, but…
Over the last decade, a belief has taken root in global naval circles that shallow littoral chokepoints for maritime trade, operations in and around failed states like Somalia, and expeditionary stabilization operations, will become key foci for many deployments. That realization has driven a number of approaches to naval construction. In the Netherlands, Royal Schelde’s Sigma Ships are designed in block modules, which can be added or subtracted to build anything from an offshore patrol vessel to a large frigate. Denmark is already building its Flyverfisken Class and Absalon Class ships, which leverage the mission module concept and can be used in roles ranging ranging from mine or sub hunting, to anti-ship warfare/ land attack, to carrying troops. Sweden’s Visby Class stealth corvettes helped to inspire the American concept of the Littoral Combat Ship – which has been criticized both for its cost, and for having fewer and less flexible high-end weapon options than any competitor.
Germany’s response has been the F125 frigate, which might best be described as an “expeditionary frigate” design. It doesn’t use the Danish or American mission module concept. Instead, it includes a number of features aimed at making it a strong contributor to long international deployments in littoral environments, and to naval support for stabilization operations.
The 21st century has seen a quiet transformation of the UAE’s armed forces. Advanced AWACS airborne early warning planes and air and missile defense systems are just the outward signs of a push from a collection of purchased weapon systems, to an integrated defense force that can cope with the most modern threats.
Making that happen requires more than just planes, or missiles. It requires extensive back-end systems that help turn information from advanced radars and airborne surveillance into a coherent whole, and allow command staff to direct battles based on that information. DID explains the larger picture and where things stand now, as the UAE continues its strong Command, Control, Computing, & Communications (C4) push.
Latest updates: JMATS & JMATS-II Support contracts.
MATS WST for SOCOM HC/MC-130J
One of the most important components of Lockheed Martin’s C-130J medium transport planes never leaves the ground. The best equipment is useless if people aren’t trained to operate and maintain it, which is why the MATS (Maintenance and Aircrew Training System) set of trainers and simulators are so essential. When the Pentagon assesses “operational suitability” for an aircraft, a strong training structure is one of the things they look for.
MATS complements the existing ATS system for previous-generation C-130s, and provides a comprehensive range of training devices and training support services to aircrews. The USA’s JMATS contracts include aircrew instruction, operations, contractor logistics support and engineering services:
The Israeli Air Force has known since December 2008 that its fleet of A-4 Skyhawk jet trainers and light attack aircraft would leave service. It took until July 2012 to sign a contract for the Skyhawk’s successor, despite justifiable complaints from South Korea that the process lacked full professional formality. The first M-346 Master trainers should begin arriving in Israel around mid-2014, where they will be operated by the IAI/Elbit “TOR” joint venture as a public-private partnership service to the IAF.
Italy’s M-346 eventually beat KAI’s supersonic T-50, thanks to a combination of air force evaluations, geo-political considerations, and countervailing industrial offers. For most countries, “industrial offsets” mean sub-contracting work in their country, sometimes even in sectors of their economy outside of the defense industry. Israel’s weapons industry is far more developed, however, and so their advanced trainer competition saw “industrial offsets” as the purchase of full-fledged Israeli weapons systems. South Korea was already a customer for Israeli radars, UAVs, and missiles, and was seen as the favorite thanks to their relationships and their jet. Italy was a much smaller customer, but relations between Silvio Berlusconi and the Jewish state had been good for a long time. By October 2011, reports surfaced that Italy had made Israel a very impressive offer – one that would make Italy a major export customer for strategic systems, even as it equalized purchases on both sides. In the end, it was an offer the Israelis couldn’t, and didn’t, refuse.
“In 2001, Elbit Systems began work under contracts for the Brazilian F-5 Aircraft Modernization Program. The program calls for the upgrade of 46 F-5 aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force. Our contracts for the program are with Embraer and the Brazilian Government, with a total value of approximately $230 million to be performed over an eight-year period. The contract with Embraer provides for an avionics upgrade, which includes an EW suite, mission computers, helmet mounted system, radar, displays and other avionics products. Delivery of production aircraft began in 2005. In January 2007, Elbit Systems was awarded an additional order to integrate further advanced capabilities in the F-5 aircraft. The contract with the Brazilian Government covers a logistic support program including establishment of an in-country maintenance center based at AEL.”
Brazil’s F-5BR upgrade program creates F-5EM and F-5FM aircraft.
In January 2012, Lockheed Martin Global Training and Logistics in Orlando, FL received a 5-year, $94 million cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to continue supporting the USAF’s Distributed Mission Operations Center. The mission of the 705th Combat Training Squadron DMOC is to to conduct exercises, training, tactics, techniques and procedures-warfighter readiness, testing, experimentation, tactical to operational-bridged events, and standards development for USAF Air Combat Command and its allies. Their efforts range all the way up to theater-level, full spectrum combat training, test, and mission rehearsal, including Air Combat Command’s Synthetic Battlespace inter-team training events; Air Expeditionary Force-aligned, quarterly recurring Virtual Flag exercises; etc.
Lockheed Martin will continue to operate the award-winning center, building and maintaining network infrastructure, developing and maintaining associated software and hardware, and conducting distributed mission operations engineering activities at Kirkland Air Force Base, NM. The contract runs until Jan 31/17, and is managed by the AFNWC/PKE at Kirkland AFB, NM (FA9422-12-D-0001).
In an age of expensive fighters, expensive fuel, limited flight time, and cheaper computing power, high-fidelity simulators have become an important component of pilot training. L-3 Link Simulation and Training in Arlington, TX is a global leader in this segment, with a very strong position in fighter plane simulators, and their associated Mission Training Centers. They’re often partnered with another major contractor in those efforts. Boeing is L-3’s partner for F-16 Mission Training Centers, for instance, even though the F-16 is a Lockheed Martin plane.
In October 2011, L-3 Link received a maximum $469.5 million firm-fixed-price, cost reimbursement contract to support 183 of their their F-16 TS (training system) installations around the world for the USAF (33 global locations, incl. Hill AFB, UT), and F-16 customers Bahrain, Greece, and Jordan. The contract doesn’t involve any simulators, but “support” means more than just simulator maintenance, training operations that include other devices, and keeping up the associated databases of simulated objects. It also involves change management to install simulator upgrades if requested, and keeping each simulator remains faithful to changes and upgrades in the real F-16 fleets. The USAF’s ASC/WNSK, at Wright Patterson AFB, OH, manages this contract for ther USAF, and acts as the agent for its Foreign Military Sale clients (FA8621-12-D-6337).