In November 2005, reports surfaced that that Germany would sell Israel 2 AIP-equipped Dolphin submarines, to join its existing fleet of 3 conventional diesel-electric Dolphin Class boats. In 2006, the deal for 2 Dolphin AIP boats was finalized at a total of $1.27 billion, with the German government picking up 1/3 of the cost. The new boats are built at the Howaldtswerke-Deutche Werft AG (HDW) shipyard, in the Baltic Sea coastal city of Kiel, with deliveries originally scheduled to begin in 2010. Those have been delayed, and have not begun as of yet.
Reports that an additional sale may be in the offing have now been confirmed, but just absorbing these 3 new boats will be no small challenge for Israel’s “3rd service”…
In March 2005, Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile (or JASSM) cruise missile won the competition with Boeing’s SLAM-ER and the Taurus KEPD 350 for the AIR 5418 Follow-on Standoff Weapon (FOSOW) requirement. This marks the first international sale of this stealthy cruise missile, which was originally developed for the US Air Force and Navy. The contract includes production, integration and support, and was signed in September 2006. Total project cost was revealed as A$ 300 million (about USD$ 230 million), and production will be integrated into the existing line at the Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations facility in Troy, AL, USA.
The Australian government noted that “acquiring a long range air to surface missile has been publicly listed in Defence’s Capability Plan since 2001 and specific details were announced in August 2004,” and JASSMs were expected to be operational on Australia’s aircraft fleet by December 2009. Nevertheless, the purchase raised some controversy at home concerning its effect on the region, the reason it was chosen, and some of the choices that accompany its selection.
What’s the history behind this buy? Why did Australia make this particular choice, and choose the JASSM over the SLAM-ER? Is the regional destabilization controversy valid? And what happened?
In February 2010 Defense News reported that Saudi Arabia’s fleet of Tornado low-level, medium-range strike fighters would soon be receiving a pair of significant enhancements: MBDA’s stealthy Storm Shadow medium range cruise missiles, and the MBDA/Boeing Brimstone anti-armor missile. The Storm Shadow would give the Saudis a potent long range strike capability against even heavily-defended targets, while the Brimstone missiles will allow Saudi fast jets to serve in an assault-breaker role, or offer reliable close air support for ground forces.
These developments were actually Phase 2 of an ongoing effort to keep the RSAF’s Tornado strike fleet relevant until at least 2020, under BAE Systems’ Saudi Tornado Sustainment Programme (TSP).
HIMARS is designed to be a more transportable counterpart to the tracked M270 MLRS system that can roll off a C-130 to deliver long-range artillery support. The HIMARS systems will complement Singapore’s own air-transportable Pegasus semi-mobile 155mm howitzers, providing longer range precision strike just as they complement the USMC’s M777A2 howitzers. But the 2007 request was just the beginning.
In July 2006, the Indian government announced that Russia would build 3 “stealth warships” for India under a Rs 5114 crore (INR 51.14 billion, then about $1.1 billion) contract signed in New Delhi. The contract actually covers 3 modified Krivak III/ Talwar Class frigates, as a follow-on to an earlier $900 million purchase in 1997.
The Krivak III/ Talwar Class ships like INS Tabar are not really stealth warships, esp. by comparison to more modern designs like Singapore’s new Formidable Class frigates from France (a Lafayette Class derivative). They’re best described as mid-range multi-role frigates, with some stealth features and a potential emphasis on anti-submarine work. By mid-2013 they had all been commissioned by the Indian Navy.
In 2007, Finland wanted Lockheed Martin’s stealthy AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles, in order to arm its F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters. Despite a history of good relations, in 2007, the US State Department said no.
Fast forward to 2008. The Russian invasion of Georgia, and Germany’s response, upset more than a few calculations in the region. As NATO weakens, the Nordic nations appear to be moving toward an informal defense compact of their own. Finland, whose memories of Russian invasion are still vivid, repeated its request for stealthy cruise missiles – with 2 alternative buys waiting in the wings. In 2011, Finland finally got what it wanted: approval to buy Lockheed Martin’s JASSM. Now the missiles have to be bought, and integrated with Finland’s Hornet fleet.
In mid-May 2013, MBDA signed an MoU with Lockheed Martin that has the potential to shake up the naval missile industry. It sounds innocuous: both companies agree to jointly explore the market for the integration of MBDA naval missile systems into Lockheed Martin’s MK-41 Vertical Launch System, and ExLS VLS/cell insert. They’ll begin with a late 2013 demonstration involving Britain’s new CAMM-M Sea Ceptor missile, but the implications reach far beyond.
Right now, the naval missile market is divided by launcher type, and many of MBDA’s missiles sit in a DCNS banlieue.
The US DSCA notified Congress [PDF] on August 21, 2012 of Indonesia’s request for 18 AGM-65K2 Maverick missiles, 36 TGM-65K2 Captive Air Training Missiles, 3 TGM-65D Maintenance Training Missiles, and the necessary services and ancillaries, for an estimated $25M total. If the request turns into an actual contract, the missiles will equip Indonesia’s F-16s. The contractor is Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ.
The 2,000 pound AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is intended to be a stealthy, inexpensive GPS/IIR (Global Positioning system/ Imaging InfraRed) guided cruise missile that lets American aircraft attack well-defended targets – without putting them in the crosshairs of new long-range surface to air missile systems. JASSM has experienced a rocky development history, due to long-standing reliability issues. In 2005 it was threatened with cancellation following a series of poor test results. The program went through 2007 on an ongoing roller coaster of ups and downs, and by May 2009 it appeared the program was facing cancellation once again.
A production hiatus did take place between Lot 7 and FY 2010’s Lot 8, but test results have allowed the USAF to move forward. FY 2012’s milestones include the Lot 10 order, certification on 2 new platforms, JASSM-ER certification, and another export request.