Sep 13, 2016 00:48 UTC
Northrop Grumman has landed
a $108 million Navy contract to provide 10 MQ-8C
Fire Scout drones. The unmanned system provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, target acquisition, laser designation, and battle management and can operate from any air-capable ship or land base. Delivery of the new systems will be completed by August 2019.
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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Aug 26, 2016 00:45 UTC
Leaked documents in relation to a new naval submarine for the Indian Navy were stolen
from French manufacturer DCNS. The French government made the statement; adding that the information so far showed only operational aspects of the submarines. Both France and India have downplayed the security risk
of the leak which has caused concerns over the future of a recently agreed upon $38 billion deal with Australia.
India’s submarine fleet currently consists of 16 boats: 10 Russian SSK Kilo (Sindhugosh) Class, 4 locally built SSK U209 (Shishumar) Class, a leased nuclear-powered Improved Akula Class SSN from Russia (INS Chakra), and its own INS Arihant SSBN. Most of the Kilos have been modernized, but readiness rates for India’s existing submarine fleet sits below 40%, and the U209s will have trouble lasting much beyond 2015. With Pakistan acquiring modern submarines, and Chinese submarine building exploding, expanding India’s submarine fleet became an obvious national priority.
In 2005, India confirmed that it would buy 6 Franco-Spanish Scorpene diesel submarines, with an option for 6 more and extensive technology transfer agreements. Unfortunately, 7 years after that deal was signed, “Project 75” has yet to field a single submarine. A poor Indian procurement approach, and state-run inefficiency, are pushing the country’s entire submarine force toward an aging crisis. This DID FOCUS article covers the Scorpene deal and its structure, adds key contracts and new developments, and offers insights into the larger naval picture within and beyond India.
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Jun 09, 2016 00:50 UTC
Denmark has received the first three
of an eventual nine Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk
anti-submarine warfare helicopters to be operated by the Royal Danish Air Force. Completion of the order is expected by mid-2018. The MH-60R acquisition will see the RDAF replace their aging Westland Lynx 90 fleet and aims to extend Copenhagen's reach and capabilities.
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 28, 2016 00:52 UTC
India is formally adding
four more P-8I
aircraft to its Navy fleet in order to bolster their maritime surveillance capabilities. Contracts for the $1 billion deal were inked on Wednesday and will be delivered over the next three years. The long-range patrol craft can also carry an anti-submarine Harpoon missile for ASW missions.
India’s fleet of Soviet-era maritime patrol aircraft has been upgraded, but it needs to be replaced. Indian naval responsibilities are growing, and the 2008 terrorist atrocities in Mumbai made it crystal-clear that control of their coasts was a necessity. Fortunately, they already had a competition underway. In December 2005, after an attempted buy of Lockheed Martin P-3s fell through, India’s navy had floated an RFP for at least 8 new sea control aircraft. Bids from a variety of contenders, including Lockheed Martin, were submitted in April 2007. Subsequent statements by India’s Admiral Prakash suggested that they could be looking for as many as 30 aircraft by 2020.
The plan had been for price negotiations to be completed in 2007, with first deliveries to commence within 48 months. India’s Ministry of Defence has extreme problems with announced schedules, but their existing fleet was wearing out, international requests for India’s maritime patrol help are rising, and Mumbai’s events provided an extra shove. By January 2009, India had picked its aircraft: the 737-derivative P-8i Neptune, a variant of the P-8A that’s readying for service as the P-3’s successor within the US Navy. DID discusses the geopolitical drivers, the current fleet, the known competitors, Boeing’s P-8i, and key contracts and events.
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