Oct 15, 2019 04:56 UTC
A new UNIPAC III Search and Rescue (SAR) kit for the US Navy’s P-8A is now undergoing testing
. The kit can provide 100 people with food, water and communications for an extended time. The testing, which is performed at PAX, but funded by the Royal Australian Air Force ensures those rescued are found and sustained with food, water and communications for an extended time. “The test program is a perfect example of the benefits reaped when two international partners join as part of a cooperative partnership“, said Squadron Leader Nathan Mula, an Australian P-8A Flight Test Tactical officer stationed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River (PAX) in Maryland. Operated by US Navy, Australia and India, the P-8
is performing maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations around the globe. Additionally, the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea have ordered the aircraft with deliveries expected through the middle of the next decade.
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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Jul 30, 2019 04:56 UTC
UK’s Marshall Aerospace signed a contract
with Boeing to start work for the E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) program. Marshall is responsible for the conversion and delivery of the new fleet. The program has Marshall turn 737 Next-Generation aircraft into E-7s, including adding the Northrop Grumman multi-role Electronically Scanned Array surveillance radar, communication and mission computer systems. The E-7
is a twin-engine airborne early warning and control aircraft. The aircraft was designed for the Royal Australian Air Force. The Wedgetail can control the tactical battle space, providing direction for fighter aircraft, surface combatants and land based elements, as well as supporting aircraft such as tankers and intelligence platforms.
over New South Wales
The island continent of Australia faces a number of unique security challenges that stem from its geography. The continent may be separated from its neighbors by large expanses of ocean, but it also resides within a potential arc of instability, and has a number of important offshore resource sites to protect. Full awareness of what is going on around them, and the ability to push that awareness well offshore, are critical security requirements.
“Project Wedgetail” had 3 finalists, and the winner was a new variant of Boeing’s 737-700, fitted with an MESA (multirole electronically scanned array) radar from Northrop Grumman. That radar exchanges the traditional AWACS rotating dome for the E-7A’s “top hat” stationary antenna. That design, and the project as a whole, have run into severe turbulence, creating problems for Boeing earnings, the ADF, and other export orders for the type. DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This one covers contracts, events, and key milestones within Australia’s E-7A program, from inception to the current day.
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Jun 07, 2019 04:58 UTC
General Dynamics won a $25.6 million firm-fixed-price contract
to produce MK 46 Modification 2 Gun Weapon Systems for use on modern Littoral Combat Ship
(LCS) and Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ships. MK46 30mm all-weather, day/night, fully stabilized weapon system is a remotely operated system that uses a high-velocity cannon for shipboard self-defense against small, high-speed surface targets. It is the main deck gun for LPD-17
ships and is the secondary gun battery for LCS, and Zumwalt Class
ships. The contract is for the procurement of two 30mm MK 46 MOD 2 GWSs for the LCS Surface Warfare Mission module, two 30mm MK 46 MOD 2 GWSs for the LPD-29, two 30mm MK 46 MOD 2 GWSs for the LPD-30, and associated spare parts. General Dynamics will perform work within the US and is expected to be finished by September 2021.
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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Mar 07, 2019 04:54 UTC
Safran Helicopters introduced
the Belgian Air Force as its newest customer of the Expert Link, video assistance service. The Expert Link allows the customer to connect, through a secure, live video feed, with Safran Helicopter Engines experts to facilitate technical diagnosis or guide them through a maintenance task. The service was launched last year. Based on a proven video assistance application provided by Librestream, Expert link is available at two service levels. Essential, where Safran Helicopter Engines provides remote technical diagnosis and real-time interactive visual assistance, and Premium adds hands-free support on scheduled tasks using borescopes or smart glasses. The Belgian Air Force works together with Royal Netherlands Air Force for the support of the RTM322 engine. It will benefit from the Premium level of the new Expert Link service for the engine maintenance of its NH90
fleet. The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter developed in response of NATO requirements for battlefield helicopters, which could also be operated in naval environments. In 2007, The NATO Helicopter Management Agency signed contract with NHIndustries to supply Belgium with a total of ten NH90 helicopters.
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 17, 2019 04:50 UTC
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) holds its annual Cobra Warrior exercise in September at Coningsby Air Base in Lincolnshire and it features a premiere
: Israeli Air Force aircrew and fighter jets are to take part in a joint exercise with the Royal Air Force in Britain for the first time. The exercise is the culmination of the advanced Qualified Weapons Instructor course, and usually also includes crew and aircraft from other allied air forces who fly together with the British teams in complex combat scenarios. Last year, German and Italian aircraft joined the RAF. Recent British-Israeli defense cooperation has included the training of British personnel on the use of Israeli weapons systems acquired by Britain: the Watchkeeper WK450
drone, the Exactor ground-based missile, and the Litening targeting pod carried by RAF Typhoon and Tornado aircraft.
Britain’s Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program aims to give the Royal Artillery an advanced mid-range UAV for surveillance – and possibly more. Watchkeeper will be an important system, working within a complementary suite of manned (vid. ASTOR Sentinel R1) and unmanned (Buster, Desert Hawk, MQ-9 Reaper) aerial Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition Reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems. This will make it a core element of the UK Ministry of Defence’s Network-Enabled Capability strategy.
The initial August 2005 contract award to Thales UK’s joint venture was worth around GBP 700 million, but that has risen, and the program expected to create or sustain up to 2,100 high-quality manufacturing jobs in the UK. The Watchkeeper platform is based on Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450 UAV platform, which is serving as a contractor-operated interim solution on the front lines of battle.
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Sep 10, 2014 16:13 UTC
Latest updates[?]: US military receiver tracks & receives Galileo signal - why does this matter?; Satellite status update from August's failed launch.
The USA’s Global Positioning System service remains free, but the European Union is spending billions to create an alternative under their own control. In addition to civilian GPS (the Open Service), services to be offered include a Safety of Life Service (SoL) for civil aviation and search and rescue, a paid Commercial Service with accuracy greater than 1 meter, plus a Public Regulated Service (PRS) for use by security authorities and governments. PRS/SoL aims to offer Open Service quality, with added robustness against jamming and the reliable detection of problems within 10 seconds.
Organizational issues and shortfalls in expected progress pushed the “Galileo” project back from its originally intended operational date of 2007 to 2014/15. After a public-private partnership model failed, the EU gained initial-stage approval for its plan to finance the program with tax dollars instead of the expected private investments. Political issues were overcome in 2007 by raiding other EU accounts for the billions required, but by 2011, it became clear that requests for billions more in public funds were on the way. Meanwhile, doubts persist in several quarters about Galileo’s touted economic model. Security concerns regarding China’s early involvement, and its potential Beidou-2/Compass projects, have been equally persistent, and there is good reason to expect that the constellation has a military purpose. On a European political and contractual level, however, Galileo is now irreversible.
This article offers background, players, developments, contracts, and in-depth research links for Galileo, as well as linked EU programs like GIOVE and EGNOS.
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