DARPA and MIT buddy up on molecules | Russia eyes Turkey’s TF-X program | The German Luftwaffe is losing its wings
- Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. has been awarded a firm-fixed-price delivery order in support of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. The order provides for the procurement of four aerial refueling retrofit kits and related support equipment in support of the aircraft. The contract is valued at $11,4 million. Northrop Grumman’s E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft, designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. Secondary roles include strike command and control, land and maritime surveillance, search and rescue, communications relay, and even civil air traffic control during emergencies.Work will be performed at various locations within the continental US, including St. Augustine Florida; Ronkonkoma, New York and Melbourne, Florida and is scheduled for completion by April 2019.
- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a cost-reimbursement modification to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The contract provides for exercising the second option to the 36-month contract for Phase 3 of DARPA’s Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules program. Current and emerging Department of Defense (DoD) capabilities rely on upon access to a number of critical, high-value molecules that are often prohibitively expensive. The Living Foundries program aims to enable adaptable, scalable, and on-demand production of such molecules by programming the fundamental metabolic processes of biological systems to generate a vast number of complex molecules that are not otherwise accessible, essentially transforming synthetic biomanufacturing into a predictable engineering practice supportive of a broad range of national security objectives. The program has three challenge areas: rapid, improved prototyping of known molecules; prototyping of known, but currently inaccessible, molecules; and prototyping of novel molecules.The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $32 million. Work will be mainly performed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is scheduled for completion by April 2020.
- Lockheed Martin Corp. Missiles and Fire Control, Dallas, Texas has been awarded to separate contract modifications related to the THAAD interceptor program. The first contract modification provides for the production of additional THAAD Lot 10 interceptors and associated product support and is valued at $145.3 million. The second modification sees for the production of additional Missile Round Pallets-Transportable and is valued at $17.9 million. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon that acts as the upper tier of a basic 2-tiered defense against ballistic missiles. It’s designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere.Combined those modifications bring the total cumulative face value of the contract to $2.4 billion. Work will be performed at various locations including Dallas, Texas; Sunnyvale, California and Anniston, Alabama and is scheduled for completion by August and December 2021 respectively. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.
Middle East & Africa
- Turkey’s program for the design, development and production of the country’s first indigenous fighter jet is gaining pace. Late last month Turkey’s largest defense contractor Aselsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries signed a memorandum of understanding to share work on the TF-X program. Both companies will work to develop critical systems for the TF-X, including a national radar, electro-optical systems, mission-control systems and integration of these systems into the future aircraft. Earlier this year the Turkish government earmarked an initial investment of $1.2 billion. The next critical stage will be Ankara’s decision on the procurement of an engine for the fighter plane. Up to this date Turkey wanted to build the TF-X with know-how from BAE Systems. In January 2017, Britain and Turkey signed a deal worth more than $137 million to develop the Turkish fighter jet. However, in a surprise move the Russian defense conglomerate Rostec has voiced its interest in supplying those engines. This development may well cause further concern for other NATO members who view the increasing defense cooperation between Turkey and Russia in a critical manner. Turkey’s ambitious TF-X program currently awaits a critical presidential endorsement.
- The magazine Der Spiegel reports that the German Luftwaffe is currently facing problems keeping the ground readiness of its Eurofighter Typhoon fleet. According to the magazine the majority of the Luftwaffe’s 128 fighter planes is currently not cleared for conducting missions. Engineers are concerned about faulty wing-pods that could seriously impede the functionality of the plane’s self-protection system. Without this system the planes are not ready for conducting missions as part of its NATO obligations. The technicians managed to fix some issues with the pods but are unable to fix an issue with leaking cooling-fluid. The component issue, centers on a so-called “grease nipple” that is part of the system that cools the wingtip pods that house elements of the self-protection system, which was designed by BAE Systems. Supplies of the component have been restricted while the primary supplier, a U.S.-based company, is recertified after a change in its ownership. “We hope to get this problem under control in several weeks or months,” the Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Holger Neumann told a regular German government news conference. He declined to give any details about how many of Germany’s Eurofighters were affected by the spare parts logjam.
- The Japanese government is currently debating the size of its P-1 maritime patrol aircraft fleet. The P-1 is developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries as an indigenous replacement for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion’s. Japan’s Navy has so far taken delivery of 15 P-1s. Tokyo has yet to define its long-term spending plans, currently there are no follow up contracts in place, however it is possible that the government will acquire up to 58 additional planes, to fully replace its aged P-3C inventory. Japan sent two P-1s to Germany in late April for a debut appearance at the ILA Berlin air show, with one participating in the flying display and the other parked in the static area. “We have brought the aircraft here to promote Japan’s very high level of technology to the world,” the P-1 program managed Capt Ryota Ishida said during a press conference.
- Taiwan unveils quadcopter drone armed with an assault rifle and grenade launcher
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