Mar 26, 2020 04:54 UTC
The Spanish Ministry of Defense has utilized an Airbus-owned
and operated A400M
transport aircraft to deliver face masks to help combat the coronavirus. The airlift, which took place the day prior to Airbus' announcement on 24 March, saw aircraft MSN56 fly "thousands" of masks from the company's Toulouse headquarters in southern France to Getafe Air Base near Madrid, in Spain. As noted by Airbus, the masks which were part of a consignment of two million delivered to Europe from China, are destined for use in the Spanish health system. "This air-bridge will enable the delivery of a significant supply of masks to the Spanish public health network in support of current Covid-19 crisis efforts. This comes on top of donations by Airbus in recent days to provide thousands of masks to hospitals and public services around Europe. The company will continue to provide support with additional flights planned to take place in the coming days in co-ordination with national authorities," the company said in a statement.
A400M rollout, Seville
Airbus’ A400M is a EUR 20+ billion program that aims to repeat Airbus’ civilian successes in the full size military transport market. A series of smart design decisions were made around capacity (35-37 tonnes/ 38-40 US tons, large enough for survivable armored vehicles), extensive use of modern materials, multi-role capability as a refueling tanker, and a multinational industrial program; all of which leave the aircraft well positioned to take overall market share from Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules. If the USA’s C-17 is allowed to go out of production, the A400M would also have a strong position in the strategic transport market, with only Russian AN-70, IL-76 and AN-124 aircraft as competition.
Airbus’ biggest program issue, by far, has been funding for a project that is more than EUR 7 billion over budget. The next biggest issue is timing, as a combination of A400M delays and Lockheed’s strong push for its C-130J Super Hercules narrow the field for future exports. This DID Spotlight article covers the latest developments, as the A400M Atlas moves into the delivery phase. Will Airbus’ 3rd big issue become its own customers?
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Mar 24, 2020 04:56 UTC
Oshkosh Defense LLC won a $17.4 million contract modification
to exercise an option covering priced man-hours, labor, material and fees on material for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)
system technical support JLTV retrofit efforts. Estimated completion date is December 30, 2020. The company also won a $16.8 million modification to exercise options for packaged kits for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle family of vehicles with an expected completion date of November 30, 2023. Oshkosh Defense is a global leader in the design, production and sustainment of best-in-class military vehicles and mobility systems. The company developed its JLTV for the US Army and Marine Corps, to replace the aging fleet of High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV/Humvee). Work will take place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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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Mar 20, 2020 04:58 UTC
Colonna Shipyards won an $8.9 million deal
for an 80-day shipyard availability for the emergency dry-docking of Navy Ship Spearhead (T-EPF 1)
. The Spearhead Class Expeditionary Fast Transport shipbuilding program to provide "a platform intended to support users in the Department of the Navy and Department of the Army. The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program is a cooperative effort for a high-speed, shallow draft vessel intended for rapid intratheater transport of medium-sized cargo payloads. The Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift, providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances. Work will take place in Norfolk, Virginia and is expected to be finished 2020.
Austal MRV/JHSV concept
When moving whole units, shipping is always the cheaper, higher-capacity option. Slow speed and port access are the big issues, but what if ship transit times could be cut sharply, and full-service ports weren’t necessary? After Australia led the way by using what amounted to fast car ferries for military operations, the US Army and Navy decided to give it a go. Both services leased Incat TSV/HSV wave-piercing catamaran ship designs, while the Marines’ charged ahead with very successful use of Austal’s Westpac Express high-speed catamaran. These Australian-designed ships all give commanders the ability to roll on a company with full gear and equipment (or roll on a full infantry battalion if used only as a troop transport), haul it intra-theater distances at 38 knots, then move their shallow draft safely into austere ports to roll them off.
Their successful use, and continued success on operations, attracted favorable comment and notice from all services. So favorable that the experiments have led to a $3+ billion program called the Joint High Speed Vessel. These designs may even have uses beyond simple ferrying and transport.
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Mar 16, 2020 04:52 UTC
Marshall Advanced Composites signed an $11.6 million contract
with Lockheed Martin to manufacture and supply cockpit trim panels for its C-130J Super Hercules
airlifter for the next five years. “We are delighted to have received this five-year contract from Lockheed Martin. It really is testament to the hard work of the team and strength of our partnership with Lockheed Martin“, said Advanced Composites General Manager, Carl Morse. He continued: “We’ve been supplying the panels for over 20 years and have historically been on a series of relatively short term contracts, however our proven ability to drive cost out of the supply, outstanding on-time delivery record and appetite to innovate our processes has given our customer the confidence to make another long-term commitment. The panels are manufactured at Marshall’s composites facility in North Yorkshire from phenolic glass fibre sandwich panels with a Nomex honeycomb core, followed by finishing operations such as painting, electrical assembly and integration to provide Lockheed Martin with lineside kits of plug and play parts to their Marietta facility.
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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Mar 05, 2020 04:58 UTC
CAE USA-Mission Solutions won a $10.6 million modification
for the F-15E
, F-16 and F-22A
contract aircrew training and courseware development contract. The contract modification is for exercising Option Year Three. The Boeing F-15E dual-role fighter is an advanced long-range interdiction fighter and tactical aircraft. The F-15E is the latest version of the Eagle, a Mach 2.5-class twin-engine fighter. The F-16 and the F-15 Eagle were the world’s first aircraft able to withstand higher g-forces than the pilots. The F-16 Fighting Falcon entered service in 1979. The F-22A Raptor is an advanced tactical fighter aircraft developed for the US Air Force. It entered service with the USAF in December 2005 to replace the F-15, with emphasis on agility, stealth and range. Work under the contract modification is expected to be finished by April 1, 2020.
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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Mar 04, 2020 04:54 UTC
Thales UK has been awarded contracts
worth around $422.8 million to develop the sonar suite and above-water sensor systems for the new Royal Navy Dreadnought Class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines
(SSBNs). Previously known as Successor, the Dreadnought submarine program is planned to replace the RN's four existing Vanguard Class SSBNs - one for one, from the early 2030s - to maintain a posture of continuous at-sea deterrence. Manufacture work on the first two 17,200-tonne displacement boats is under way at the BAE Systems Maritime - Submarines' Barrow-in-Furness shipyard facility in Cumbria.
“We are committed to working towards a safer world in which there is no requirement for nuclear weapons… However, the continuing risk from the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the certainty that a number of other countries will retain substantial nuclear arsenals, mean that our minimum nuclear deterrent capability, currently represented by Trident, is likely to remain a necessary element of our security.” — UK SDSR, 1998
Britain has a big decision to make: do they remain a nuclear weapons power, or not? In an age of collapsing public finances and an uncertain long-term economic future, the money needed to design new nuclear missile submarines is a huge cost commitment that could crowd out other needs. Then again, in an age of collapsing non-proliferation frameworks, clear hostility from ideologies that want nuclear weapons, and allies who are less capable and dependable, the downside of renouncing nuclear weapons is a huge risk commitment. Pick one, or the other. There is no free lunch.
This article covers that momentous decision for Britain, and the contracts and debates associated with it.
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Feb 19, 2020 04:58 UTC
Helicopter Flight Training Systems (HFTS),of which German defense company Rheinmetall
is a part, has entered into an agreement to modernize flight simulators for the German Army Aviation Corps’ NH90
helicopters. A contract to this effect was signed at the end of December 2019. Awarded to HFTS, the complete contract encompasses operation, service and maintenance of the simulators through to 2027, with a contractually guaranteed availability rate of at least 98%. The modernization project involves upgrade of simulators to the latest helicopter standard called MR-1. This upgrade is accompanied by a renovation of the computer configurations, the replacement of the instructor station and the tactical situation animation software (CGF) and includes Level C certification with the European authority EASA.
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 16, 2020 04:58 UTC
Raytheon Missile Systems won a $10.6 million contract modification
for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile Production Lot 33 spares. The modification provides for the production Air Force and Navy spares. The AMRAAM
missile is a versatile and proven weapon with operational flexibility in a wide variety of scenarios, including air-to-air and surface-launch engagements. In the surface launch role, it is the baseline weapon on the NASAMS launcher. In the air-to-air role, no other missile compares to the AMRAAM missile. The weapon’s advanced active guidance section provides aircrew with a high degree of combat flexibility and lethality. Its mature seeker design allows it to quickly find targets in the most combat challenging environments. Work will take place in Tucson, Arizona. Estimated completion date is in March 21, 2022.
AIM-120C from F-22A
(click for test missile zoom)
Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles, and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. It was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind, and of local air combat exercises like ACEVAL and Red Flag. This DID FOCUS article covers successive generations of AMRAAM missiles, international contracts and key events from 2006 onward, and even some of its emerging competitors.
One of the key lessons learned from Vietnam was that a fighter would be likely to encounter multiple enemies, and would need to launch and guide several missiles at once in order to ensure its survival. This had not been possible with the AIM-7 Sparrow, a “semi-active radar homing” missile that required a constant radar lock on one target. To make matters worse, enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own. Pilots who weren’t free to maneuver after launch would often be forced to “break lock,” or be killed – sometimes even by a short-range missile fired during the last phases of their enemy’s approach. Since fighters that could carry radar-guided missiles like the AIM-7 tended to be larger and more expensive, and the Soviets were known to have far more fighters overall, this was not a good trade.
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Dec 12, 2019 04:58 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
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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