Sikorsky Snags $940M from DoD | JLENS Funding Appears Sure Despite Deficiencies | First Int’l Deliveries of APKWS: 110 Units to JordanDec 02, 2015 00:20 UTC
- The Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp, two substantial contracts totaling $940 million. The first $833 million contract aims at “sustaining, Army fixed engineering sustaining, program management/systems engineering sustaining, Army provisioning, Army technical publications, other integrated logistics support, contractor manpower reporting, packaging handling storage and transportation, and advance procurement funding”. The Pentagon also awarded a $106 contract to provide technical, engineering, logistics services and supplies, and 100 percent parts support for the H-60 weapons system. Work will be completed on both contracts by the end of 2016. The new deals follow the 2012 agreement between the DoD and Sikorsky to supply UH-60 Black Hawk tactical transport helicopters to the US Armed Forces worth $7.3 billion, and a $316.17 million modification award for the overhaul, repair and recapitalization of the H-60 weapons system in 2014.
- Despite facing criticisms and ridicule over its runaway blimp incident in October, US lawmakers have put their faith behind the $2.7 billion JLENS missile defense system. The Los Angeles Times reported that all 35 members of the defense appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate were in favor of continued funding of the program. The vote of confidence comes alongside a December 11 deadline by Congress to cut $5 billion from Obama’s proposed defense budget with some programs at risk. While the report may seem like good news for JLENS and manufacturer Raytheon, we’ll have to wait until after the vote to see if these blimps are too big (or expensive) to fail.
- Northrop Grumman has completed the three week operational assessment of the MQ-8C Fire Scout. The naval UAV took part in 11 flights, spending over 83.4 hours in the air. The MQ-8C was also tested against maritime and surveyed land targets and will begin ship based testing in the 2017 fiscal year. The Fire Scout is currently being developed for the Navy, however the program had been been adopted and dropped by both the Navy and Army in the past. With the successful tests announced, one wonders will the Army wish to jump back on board?
- Airbus and the Mexican Navy have continued their stream of C-295 endurance tests after a successful flight to Antarctica. The November 27 flight follows an earlier flight to the Bolivian capital La Paz to highlight the aircraft’s ‘hot and high’ capabilities. The flight is the first of its kind in a C-295 and was operated by a mixed crew from the Mexican Navy and Airbus Defence & Space. The aircraft is currently making a tour of the region, demonstrating capabilities in a continent of many extremes, and will return to Mexico in early December with the hope of a few orders in the cargo hold.
- A US Air Force MQ-1 squadron has been deactivated in Djibouti, raising doubts over the continued use of UAVs in combat operations based out of the area. The 60th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron had flown over 24,000 hours between November 2014 and October 2015. During this period, the MQ-1s neutralized 69 enemy fighters, including five high valued individuals. Based out of camp Lemonnier, the MQ-1s were involved in operations not only on the African continent, but in the Gulf region as well. It is unclear if other units are operating UAV missions from the base or its network of camps and outposts or if the 60th is to be replaced.
- Jordan is the first nation to receive shipments of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS). 110 units of the system were requested by the Jordanian government back in 2014 and will be equipped on CN-235 gunships allowing for greater flexibility and precision engagement. The US has received 13 requests for the system to be sold and buyers will include Iraq, the Netherlands and Tunisia. Since the deployment of the system on the US Navy’s MH-60 Seahawk and Marine Corps UH/AH-1 light attack helicopters in 2007, APKWS has been fired more than 100 times, boasting a success rate of 94%.
- The Philippine Air Force (PFA) has received the first two FA-50 Golden Eagle fighters from South Korea. 12 were ordered in 2013 in a deal between the two governments totaling $400 million. The remaining jets will be delivered in batches throughout 2017 with the first two being utilized as trainers. Weapons systems for the fighters are to be purchased later, but it is said that an Israeli firm is being looked at to meet these requirements. The purchases come at a time when the Philippines is trying to beef up its maritime and air force capabilities amid creeping expansion by China in the South China Sea.
- After Indonesia’s President Widodo refused to answer questions in relation to the purchase of three new AW101 helicopters, Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called the purchase excessive. Since the announcement of the planned purchases last week by the Indonesian Air Force, the government has come under scrutiny from both the public and opposition politicians claiming it a waste of public money. Kalla defended the president saying that he had not ordered the purchase of the helicopters, worth $55 million each, and that the president will discuss the plan upon his return from the ongoing UN Climate Change Summit in Paris.
- MQ-1 taking off and landing: