Dec 13, 2019 04:58 UTC
Bell-Boeing delivered the first MV-22
Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to go through the US Department of Defense's Common Configuration Readiness And Modernization program back to the Marine Corps. The company announced
on December 10 that the first of 129 Block B MV-22s to be upgraded to the latest Block C standard was delivered back to Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, from the recently opened production line at its Philadelphia plant in Pennsylvania. As a Block B configuration, this MV-22 was originally delivered to the fleet in 2005. In 2018, the aircraft flew from Marine Corps Air Station New River back to the Boeing Philadelphia facility for modernization. The next CC-RAM delivery is expected in early 2020.
In March 2008, the Bell Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received a $10.4 billion modification that converted the previous N00019-07-C-0001 advance acquisition contract to a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. The new contract rose to $10.92 billion, and was used to buy 143 MV-22 (for USMC) and 31 CV-22 (Air Force Special Operations) Osprey aircraft, plus associated manufacturing tooling to move the aircraft into full production. A follow-on MYP-II contract covered another 99 Ospreys (92 MV-22, 7 CV-22) for $6.524 billion. Totals: $17.444 billion for 235 MV-22s and 38 CV-22s, an average of $63.9 million each.
The V-22 tilt-rotor program has been beset by controversy throughout its 20-year development period. Despite these issues, and the emergence of competitive but more conventional compound helicopter technologies like Piasecki’s X-49 Speedhawk and Sikorsky’s X2, the V-22 program continues to move forward. This DID Spotlight article looks at the V-22’s multi-year purchase contract from 2008-12 and 2013-2017, plus associated contracts for key V-22 systems, program developments, and research sources.
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Dec 12, 2019 04:58 UTC
Raytheon won a $45.1 million delivery order
for APG-79 Radar System spare parts. The AN/APG-79
active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar is an airborne radar made for F/A-18 E/F
aircrafts. It is comprised of numerous solid-state transmit and receive modules to practically eliminate the possibility of mechanical breakdown. With a range of 150 km, the AN/APG-79 provides instantaneous track updates and multi-target tracking capabilities. The AN/APG-79 is strategically valuable because of its active electronic beam scanning. This feature allows the radar beam to be steered at nearly the speed of light, optimizing situational awareness and providing superior air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities. Performance location will be California. Estimated completion date is December 30, 2022.
AN/APG-79 AESA Radar
The AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar began life as a replacement. Initial F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet production batches installed Raytheon’s all-weather, multimode AN/APG-73, but the APG-79 has intrinsic technical features that offered revolutionary increases in capability, reliability, image resolution, and range.
Unlike the APG-73 that equipped the first Super Hornets, the APG-79’s AESA array is composed of numerous solid-state transmit and receive modules that are fixed in place, eliminating a common cause of breakdowns. To move their beams, they rely on electronic changes in each module’s transmissions, creating useful interference patterns in order to aim, focus and shape their output. Other system components include an advanced receiver/exciter, ruggedized commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) processor, and power supplies. With its open systems architecture and compact COTS parts, it changes what both aircrews and maintenance staff can do with a fighter radar – and does so in a smaller, lighter package.
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Dec 12, 2019 04:56 UTC
Boeing won a $9.5 million delivery order
, which provides Harpoon/SLAM-ER missile system and Harpoon launch systems follow-on integrated logistics and engineering services support for the Navy and various Foreign Military Sales customers. The A/U/RGM-84 Harpoon is an anti-ship missile system capable of being launched by aircraft, surface ships, submarines and shore batteries. The Harpoon
is a subsonic missile with a range of over 70 miles and a 488-pound blast/fragmentation warhead. It has been in use with upgrades since 1977 and is a standard anti-ship weapon with 28 countries. The AGM-84K Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response is a longer ranged upgraded version of the original SLAM, which is itself a development of the Harpoon. Work will take place in Missouri and Virginia. Expected completion is February 2022.
Harpoon in flight
The sub-sonic, wave-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile, with the minor exception of small helicopter-borne AGM-119B Penguin missiles. The Harpoon has been adapted into several variants, and exported to many navies around the world. At present, the Harpoon family includes AGM-84 air, RGM-84 sea/land, and UGM-84 submarine-launched versions. Variants such as the Joint Standoff Land Attack Missiles and the upgraded AGM-84K SLAM – Expanded Response will also be covered in this DID FOCUS Article. It describes the missiles themselves, and covers global contracts involving this family.
The Harpoon family’s best known competitor is the French/MBDA M38/39/40 Exocet, but recent years have witnessed a growing competitive roster at both the subsonic (Israel’s >Gabriel family, Russia’s SS-N-27 Klub family, Saab’s RBS15, Kongsberg’s stealthy NSM, China’s YJ-82/C-802 used by Hezbollah in Lebanon), and supersonic (Russia’s SS-N-22 Sunburn/Moskit, SS-N-26 Yakhont, and some SS-N-27 Klub variants, India’s SS-N-26 derived PJ-10 BrahMos) tiers.
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Dec 12, 2019 04:54 UTC
South Korea is expected to declare initial operating capability (IOC) for its F-35A on December 17. Media reports
say the ceremony will be held at 17th Fighter Wing base. So far, 12 aircraft have been delivered. South Korea has so far brought in 10 F-35As
, beginning with two in late March, under a plan to deploy a total of 40 fifth-generation jets through 2021. Last month, the Air Force showcased the next-generation fighters to the public for the first time during the Armed Forces Day event. The fighters can fly at a top speed of Mach 1.8 and carry top-of-the-line weapons systems, such as joint direct attack munitions.
F-35B: off probation
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer.
The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, many of these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports during 2012-2013.
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Dec 11, 2019 04:58 UTC
Northrop Grumman Systems won a $9.1 million delivery order
in support of the MQ-8C Firescout Unmanned Aircraft System
. This order is for the production and delivery of eight AN/ZPY-8 radar modification kits, eight forward access panel modification kits and all associated non-recurring engineering and qualification efforts in support of mission processor unit upgrades. Firescout is an autonomous helicopter system that provides real-time Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Target-acquisition (ISR&T), laser designation, and battle management to tactical users without relying on manned aircraft or space-based assets. It has the ability operate from any air-capable ship or land base in support persistent ISR&T requirements. There are two Fire Scout variants. The smaller MQ-8B Fire Scout has deployed on multiple frigates and is currently deployed on a Littoral Combat Ship. MQ-8B Fire Scout has also deployed to Afghanistan to support counter- improvised explosive device (IED) operations. The MQ-8C Fire Scout is the Navy’s next generation autonomous helicopter. The MQ-8C will be equipped with an upgraded radar that allows for a larger field of view and a range of digital modes including weather detection, air-to-air targeting, and a ground moving target indicator (GMTI). Work will take place in California, Texas, and Philadelphia. Estimated completion will be in April 2021.
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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Dec 11, 2019 04:54 UTC
The Korean Airlines won a $213 million contract
for A-10 Pacific Air Force depot support. This contract provides depot support for A-10 aircraft
that are stationed in South Korea. A-10s deployed to Korea are based at Osan, south of Seoul. KAL-ASD will perform support work at its MRO facility in Busan. The company also supports other USAF aircraft. The US Air Force introduced the A-10 in 1976 as a close air support aircraft. It is heavily armed, with one 30mm GAU-8/A seven-barrel Gatling gun and up to 7,200kg (16,000lb) of mixed ordnance, according to Boeing. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2029.
A-10A over Germany
The Precision Engagement modification is the largest single upgrade effort ever undertaken for the USA’s unique A-10 “Warthog” close air support aircraft fleet. While existing A/OA-10 aircraft continue to outperform technology-packed rivals on the battlefield, this set of upgrades is expected to make them more flexible, and help keep the aircraft current until the fleet’s planned phase-out in 2028. When complete, A-10C PE will give USAF A-10s precision strike capability sooner than planned, combining multiple upgrades into 1 time and money-saving program, rather than executing them as standalone projects. Indeed, the USAF accelerated the PE program by 9 months as a result of its experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article for the PE program, and for other modifications to the A-10 fleet. It covers the A-10’s battlefield performance and advantages, the elements of the PE program, other planned modifications, related refurbishment efforts to keep the fleet in the air, and the contracts that have been issued each step of the way.
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Dec 06, 2019 04:58 UTC
Raytheon won a $28.9 million contract modification
for fiscal 2020 Standard Missile-2 and Standard Missile-6
repairs and maintenance and support material. The modification combines purchases for the Navy as well as the government of the Kingdom of Spain under the Foreign Military Sales program. The deal will provide for engineering and technical support, depot and intermediate level repair, maintenance and recertification of standard missiles, sections, assemblies, subassemblies, components for fiscal 2020. The Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) is a fleet-area air defense weapon that provides anti-air warfare and limited anti-surface warfare capability against today’s advanced anti-ship missiles and aircraft. The Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) retains the Standard Missile airframe and propulsion elements and incorporates the advanced signal processing and guidance control capabilities of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). It is the latest addition to the Standard Missile family of fleet air defense missiles and provides Joint Force and Strike Force Commanders fleet air defense against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and land-attack anti-ship cruise missiles in flight. Work under the modification will take place in Arkansas, Arizona and California and expected completion is in December 2020.
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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Dec 05, 2019 04:58 UTC
Huntington Ingalls won an $11.5 million contract
to accomplish 12 months of execution planning for the repair and alteration requirements for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78 – aircraft carrier/nuclear propulsion) planned incremental availability. The contracted requirements include the advance planning, design, documentation, engineering, procurement, ship checks, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work. USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) was delivered to the US Navy in May 2017. CVN 78
will replace USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which entered service in 1961 and decommissioned in 2017. Work will take place in Virginia and is expected to be finished by September 2020.
USA’s Nimitz Class &
UK’s Invincible Class
Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.
Nimitz Class cutaway
As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.
DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.
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Dec 04, 2019 04:56 UTC
The US Navy awarded
L-3 Technologies a $10 million modification to procure eight Common Data Link Hawklink AN/SRQ-4 systems for the MH-60R
aircraft. AN/SRQ-4 is the shipboard element of a situational awareness system that links the MH-60R helicopter with surface warships in the area. The L3 Technologies’ next-generation AN/SRQ-4 provides Command/Control, sensor data transfer, data link operation and comprehensive built-in test. CDL Hawklink offers real time exploitation of aircraft sensors, extending situational awareness over the horizon. L3 Technologies’ Communication Systems produces network and communication systems, secure communications products, radio frequency components, satellite communication terminals and space, microwave and telemetry products. Work under the contract modification will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah, and estimated completion is in December 2022.
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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Dec 02, 2019 04:56 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems won a $74.7 million contract
for design agent engineering services for networks and network user systems on operational landing platform/dock LPD-17 Class amphibious transport dock ships. LPD-17
or San Antonio Class landing platform dock is the latest class of amphibious force ship for the US Navy. The mission of the San Antonio Class is to transport the US Marine Corps ‘mobility triad’, comprising advanced, amphibious assault vehicles (AAAVs), landing craft air-cushion (LCAC) and the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft around the world. Construction of the first ship of 12, the San Antonio (LPD 17), began in June 2000. The ship’s keel was laid in December 2000. It was launched in July 2003 and commissioned in January 2006. The San Antonio is home-ported at the Norfolk naval base, Virginia. The vessel achieved initial operating capability (IOC) in May 2008 and made its first deployment in August 2008 as part of the Iwo Jima expeditionary strike group. Work under the deal will take place in California, Virginia and Florida. Expected completion is in December 2024.
LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are just entering service with the US Navy, and 11 ships of this class are eventually slated to replace up to 41 previous ships. Much like their smaller predecessors, their mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. The difference is found in these ships’ size, their cost, and the capabilities and technologies used to perform those missions. Among other additions, this new ship is designed to operate the Marines’ new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, alongside the standard well decks for hovercraft and amphibious armored personnel carriers.
While its design incorporates notable advances, the number of serious issues encountered in this ship class have been much higher than usual, and more extensive. The New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract was assigned appears to be part of the problem. Initial ships have been criticized, often, for sub-standard workmanship, and it took 2 1/2 years after the initial ship of class was delivered before any of them could be sent on an operational cruise. Whereupon the USS San Antonio promptly found itself laid up Bahrain, due to oil leaks. It hasn’t been the only ship of its class hurt by serious mechanical issues. Meanwhile, costs are almost twice the originally promised amounts, reaching over $1.6 billion per ship – 2 to 3 times as much as many foreign LPDs like the Rotterdam Class, and more than 10 times as much as Singapore’s 6,600 ton Endurance Class LPD. This article covers the LPD-17 San Antonio Class program, including its technologies, its problems, and ongoing contracts and events.
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