Jan 17, 2018 04:57 UTC
Monday saw the French Armed Forces officially induct its first C-130J Super Hercules
turboprop aircraft into service, with Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly acting as guest-of-honor, the aircrafts manufacturer Lockheed Martin has announced
. A total of two C-130J-30 airlifters and two KC-130J aerial refuelers have been ordered by Paris, and will join the Armée de l'Air's 62st Transport Wing based out of Orléans-Bricy Air Base. The model to be inducted was a C-130J-30 transport variant, and France is the 17th country to choose the C-130J for its airlift missions.
RAAF C-130J-30, flares
The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs?
C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS Article describes the C-130J, examines the bottleneck issue, covers global developments for the C-130J program, and looks at present and emerging competitors.
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Jan 16, 2018 04:59 UTC
Three of the four NH90
NATO frigate helicopter (NFH) delivered to Belgium have reported defective radars
, the Belgian Air Force has revealed. Purchased in 2015 at a cost of €35 million each, the helicopters were scheduled to replace the older Sea King helicopters for sea-rescue operations once the Sea Kings went out of service in 2019. The replacement of the defective radars is expected to take between three and six months, however, some reports suggest that each helicopter could be out for as long as 18 months, leaving only one model operational for four helicopter teams.
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 12, 2018 04:55 UTC
The US State Department's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has cleared the potential sale
of four SM-3 Block IIA
missiles to the government of Japan. Valued at an estimated $133.3 million, the sale also includes four MK 29 missile canisters, US Government and contractor representatives' technical assistance, transportation, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. Raytheon will act as prime contractor on the SM-3 production, while BAE Systems, based out of Minneapolis, MN, will supply the MK 29 canisters. Since the SM-3 Block IIA is being designed
jointly by the US and Japan for defense against medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, the sale is believed to pass by Congress with ease, and can be deployed on Aegis-class destroyers or on land by the Aegis Ashore program—both of which Japan either has, in the form of its destroyers, or is planning to procure, in its Aegis Ashore procurement.
SM-2 Launch, DDG-77
(click to view larger)
Variants of the SM-2 Standard missile are the USA’s primary fleet defense anti-air weapon, and serve with 13 navies worldwide. The most common variant is the RIM-66K-L/ SM-2 Standard Block IIIB, which entered service in 1998. The Standard family extends far beyond the SM-2 missile, however; several nations still use the SM-1, the SM-3 is rising to international prominence as a missile defense weapon, and the SM-6 program is on track to supplement the SM-2. These missiles are designed to be paired with the AEGIS radar and combat system, but can be employed independently by ships with older or newer radar systems.
This article covers each variant in the Standard missile family, plus several years worth of American and Foreign Military Sales requests and contracts and key events; and offers the budgetary, technical, and geopolitical background that can help put all that in context.
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Jan 11, 2018 12:58 UTC
US Navy and Australian government P-8A Poseidon
maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) will have integrated logistics services and site activation support provided by the aircraft's manufacturer Boeing, following the award of a $115.2 million contract modification
issued by the Naval Air Systems Command. The majority of the work will take place in Seattle, Washington and at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with some work being carried out in Brisbane, Australia. Scheduled completion is set for September 2021. Under a joint agreement, the new modified contract combines purchases for the US Navy and Australia. The Pentagon is expected to pay out more than $103.3 million, or what amounts to 90 percent of the total contract value, under a cooperative engagement agreement.
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 11, 2018 04:58 UTC
Lockheed Martin announced the receipt
of an undisclosed value US Navy development contract to provide the service's MH-60 helicopters
with an enhanced electronic warfare surveillance and countermeasure capabilities against anti-ship missile (ASM) threats. The firm's Advanced Off-Board Electronic Warfare (AOEW) Active Mission Payload (AMP) AN/ALQ-248 system, is a self-contained EW pod hosted by an MH-60R or MH-60S, and provides the Navy with advanced ASM detection and response capabilities. The system can work either independently or with the ship’s onboard electronic surveillance sensor, SEWIP Block 2 AN/SLQ-32(V)6, to detect an incoming missile and then evaluate where it is going. AOEW then uses radio frequency countermeasure techniques to deter the missile. Under the terms of the contract, if all options are exercised, Lockheed will deliver up to 18 AOEW AMP AN/ALQ-248 pods to the Navy. The company will start manufacturing in early 2019 with a target to reach initial operational capability in 2021.
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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Jan 08, 2018 04:58 UTC
* Raytheon received Wednesday, a $37.5 million DoD contract modification
for technical and engineering support on the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM
). Awarded by the US Naval Sea Systems Command, the agreement will task Raytheon with supporting the missile's design agent, in-service support, and technical engineering support services. The majority of the work will take place at the firm's Tucson, Arizona plant, with other work to take place in Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Spain, Turkey, Denmark and Greece, and is expected to be completed by December 2018. Designed as an upgrade to the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow Missile, the ESSM is a collaborative effort between the US and 11 other NATO allies for a naval ship armament capable of defense against short-range anti-ship missiles. Raytheon may also receive additional funds if the company happens to run into cost overruns, with the reimbursement fee negotiated before the contract is finalized.
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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Dec 28, 2017 04:58 UTC
Oskosh Defense will produce 258 joint light tactical vehicles (JLTV
) and 1,727 kits under a $100.1 million US Army contract
. Work will take place at the firm's base in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with an estimated completion time for May 31, 2019. Funding will be appropriated from fiscal 2017 and 2018 US Army other procurement funds, coupled with funds from the US Marine Corps (USMC) and the Office of Chief Army Reserves.
Ultra APV demonstrator
In an age of non-linear warfare, where front lines are nebulous at best and non-existent at worst, one of the biggest casualties is… the concept of unprotected rear echelon vehicles, designed with the idea that they’d never see serious combat. That imperative is being driven home on 2 fronts. One front is operational. The other front is buying trends.
These trends, and their design imperatives, found their way into the USA’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program, which aims to replace many of the US military’s 120,000 or so Humvees. The US military’s goal is a 7-10 ton vehicle that’s lighter than its MRAPs and easier to transport aboard ship, while offering substantially better protection ad durability than existing up-armored Humvees. They’d also like a vehicle that can address front-line issues like power generation, in order to recharge all of the batteries troops require for electronic gadgets like night sights, GPS devices, etc.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. JLTV certainly qualifies, and recent budget planning endorsements have solidifed a future that was looking shaky. Now, can the Army’s program deliver?
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Dec 27, 2017 04:58 UTC
Lockheed Martin landed a $7 billion contract
to provide F-22 Raptor
sustainment services. The agreement has a five-year base ordering period calling for comprehensive F-22 air vehicle sustainment—to be completed by December 31 2027—with work to be carried out at five operational US Air Force (USAF) and joint service bases and five US military installation support bases across the USA, as well as some undisclosed overseas locations. The deal follows last week's $6.7 billion award to United Technologies for sustainment activities on the Raptor's Pratt and Whitney F-119 engine.
Into that good night
The 5th-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. On the one hand, the aircraft offers full stealth, revolutionary radar and sensor capabilities, dual air-air and air-ground SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) excellence, the ability to cruise above Mach 1 without afterburners, thrust-vectoring super-maneuverability… and a ridiculously lopsided kill record in exercises against the best American fighters. On the other hand, critics charged that it was too expensive, too limited, and cripples the USAF’s overall force structure.
Meanwhile, close American allies like Australia, Japan and Israel, and other allies like Korea, were pressing the USA to abandon its “no export” policy. Most already fly F-15s, but several were interested in an export version of the F-22 in order to help them deal with advanced – and advancing – Russian-designed aircraft, air-to-air missiles, and surface-to-air missile systems. That would have broadened the F-22 fleet in several important ways, but the US political system would not or could not respond.
This DID FOCUS Article tracks continuing maintenance and fleet upgrade programs, contracts, and timely news. A separate public-access feature offers a profile of the USAF’s most advanced fighter, and covers both sides of the F-22 Raptor program’s controversies.
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Dec 07, 2017 04:56 UTC
The last S-70B-2 Seahawk operated by the Royal Australian Navy has flown its last flight
as the service completes its transition to the Sikorsky MH-60R
. 24 models of the new anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter have been delivered since 2014 and are operated by the 725 Sqn from Nowra, New South Wales. The last Seahawk was flown to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, where it will be preserved. The departing model was used during operations in the Middle East from the 1990-1991 Gulf War onwards.
MH-60Rs fire Hellfire
Australia’s AIR 9000, Phase 8 project aimed to buy 24 modern naval helicopters to 16 existing S-70B-2 Seahawks, along with the disastrous A$1.1 billion, 11-helicopter SH-2G “Super Seasprite” acquisition attempt. With a total sales and support value of over A$ 3 billion, it was a highly coveted award.
The finalists were familiar, and both had roots in Australia. Sikorsky’s MH-60R is a modernized descendant of the RAN’s existing S-70B anti-submarine helicopters, and Australia’s army operates the S-70A utility helicopter. On the other hand, a multi-billion dollar 2006 order made the European NH90-TTH (“MRH-90”) the Army’s future helicopter, and some MRH-90s will even serve as Navy utility helicopters. NHI/Eurocopter’s NH90-NFH naval variant builds on that base. So why did the MH-60R make Australia its 1st export win?
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Nov 27, 2017 04:57 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
The government of Georgia has been approved by the US State Department for the possible foreign military sale of Javelin
missiles and Command Launch Units. Announced by the Department of Defense's Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) last Monday
, the sale, if approved by US Congress, will include 410 Javelin Missiles, 72 Javelin Command Launch Units (CLUs)—includes two Javelin Block 1 CLUs to be used as spares—as well as training equipment, and US Government and contractor technical assistance. The value of the sale is estimated at $75 million, and while the Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin Joint Venture has been listed by the DSCA as prime contractors, the missiles will be provided from US Army stock and the CLUs will be obtained from on-hand Special Defense Acquisition Fund (SDAF)-purchased stock.
The FGM-148 Javelin missile system aimed to solve 2 key problems experienced by American forces. One was a series of disastrous experiences in Vietnam, trying to use 66mm M72 LAW rockets against old Soviet tanks. A number of replacement options like the Mk 153 SMAW and the AT4/M136 spun out of that effort in the 1980s, but it wasn’t until electronics had miniaturized for several more cycles that it became possible to solve the next big problem: the need for soldiers to remain exposed to enemy fire while guiding anti-tank missiles to their targets.
Javelin solves both of those problems at once, offering a heavy fire-and-forget missile that will reliably destroy any enemy armored vehicle, and many fortifications as well. While armored threats are less pressing these days, the need to destroy fortified outposts and rooms in buildings remains. Indeed, one of the lessons from both sides of the 2006 war in Lebanon has been the infantry’s use of guided missiles as a form of precision artillery fire. Javelin isn’t an ideal candidate for that latter role, due to its high cost-per-unit; nevertheless, it has often been used this way. Its performance in Iraq has revealed a clear niche on both low and high intensity battlefields, and led to rising popularity with American and international clients.
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