Mar 22, 2018 04:56 UTC
Australia's fleet of P-8 Poseidon
maritime patrol aircraft have achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC)
. So far, the Royal Australian Air Force has taken delivery of six aircraft out of a total order of 12, with the aircraft operated by the No. 11 sqn. from RAAF Edinburgh. “The arrival of the P-8A has allowed Air Force, under Plan Jericho, to develop and evolve new operating concepts, support arrangements and sustainment options," adds RAAF air marshal Leo Davies. “These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Family of Systems." Under this plan, first announced in 2015, Canberra also aims to acquire and integrate Northrop Grumman's MQ-4C Triton UAV
, and has hinted that it could obtain "up to seven".
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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Mar 16, 2018 04:55 UTC
Qatar has signed a deal at its biennial defense expo, DIMDEX, with the NHI consortium—which includes Airbus’ and Leonardo’s helicopter divisions and Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker, which respectively hold 62.5 percent, 32 percent and 5.5 percent of the consortium—for the purchase of 28 NH90
and 16 H125
helicopters. A statement
by Airbus from Doha said that 16 of the NH90s are in the tactical transport (TTH) configuration while the remaining 12 NH90s are in naval (NFH) configuration. The H125s will be received by the Qatar Armed Forces Air Academy for training purposes. Work will be split between Airbus—who will assemble the NH90 TTH aircraft from its facility in Marignane, France—and Leonardo—who will be responsible for final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters in Italy. The deal
is estimated to be worth at least $3.7 billion.
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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Feb 20, 2018 04:58 UTC
Huntington Ingalls received Friday, February 16, a $1.43 billion US Navy contract
for the procurement of the detail design and construction of landing platform dock 29—the latest addition to the service's San Antonio-class
amphibious transport docks. Work will take place mostly in Pascagoula, Mississippi, but also in Crozet, Virginia, Beloit, Wisconsin, New Orleans, Louisiana, with other efforts to take place across the continental United States. Contract completion is scheduled for July 2023.
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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Jul 07, 2017 04:56 UTC
Australia has contracted Boeing
to carry out upgrades to the early-warning and control capabilities of its fleet of E-7A Wedgetail
aircraft. Valued at $442.4 million, the aircraft will be fitted with new sensors as well as tactical data links, and communication and encryption systems. The project will be completed by mid-2022. Wedgetail aircraft are configured Boeing 737-700, with the addition of advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar and 10 mission crew consoles. Australia currently has the aircraft deployed to the Middle East region as part of its contribution to the fight against the Islamic State.
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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Nov 05, 2015 00:17 UTC
A British Army Watchkeeper
UAV has crashed
while coming in to land at a test and evaluation site in the south west of England. The GBP1.2 billion ($2.4 billion) program has come under fire
for cost overruns, with the majority of the 33 Watchkeepers owned by the British currently in storage. An Initial Operating Capability timetabled for 2017 is unlikely to be achieved, with the Ministry of Defence ultimately planning to procure 54 of the 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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