Human error to blame for SM-3 Block IIA test failure | Wildcat production to remain in UK | Potential expansion of KAI corruption probeJul 27, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has received a $85.5 million United States Air Force contract modification for the production and delivery of Long Range Anti Ship Missiles (LRASM) to the service. The order calls for the manufacture of 23 LRASM Lot 1 missiles, with work to be performed in Orlando, Fla., with a scheduled completion date of Sept. 29, 2019. The missile is currently being integrated with the B-1B Lancer strategic bomber and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet for air launched missions, as well as the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System used on US and allied ships for surface-to-air and land attack missiles. It is expected to be mounted on submarine vertical launch systems as well.
- The US Navy has awarded Raytheon a $11.5 million contract modification for engineering and technical services for Standard Missile-2 and Standard Missile-6 surface-to-air missiles. As well as the US Navy, Japan, Denmark, South Korea, Taiwan and Germany will receive services under the award which includes engineering work for production and integration of the system into Navy and foreign missile platforms. Work will be conducted in Tucson, Ariz. and has an expected completion date of June 2018. The SM series feature as a key element of the AEGIS Weapon System mounted on Ticonderoga and Arleigh Burke-class Navy warships, while variants are also in use with 15 allied countries.
- Last month’s failed SM-3 Block IIA interceptor test conducted by the US Navy and Missile Defense Agency (MDA) was caused by human error, according to an anonymous source close to the test. The June 21 test saw the missile self-destruct after it tracked a medium-range ballistic target missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. Now, it is believed that a tactical datalink controller, in charge of maintaining encrypted data exchanges between ships and aircraft, accidentally identified the incoming ballistic missile target as a friendly in the system, causing the SM-3 missile to self-destruct in flight. So while the incident is slightly embarrassing, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the interceptor.
Middle East & North Africa
- Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has announced that contracts involving the sale of Almaz-Antey S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems have been “inked.” Speaking to lawmakers from his ruling AK Party at a party meeting in parliament, Erdogan stated that “Steps have been taken and signatures signed with Russia concerning the S-400s. God willing we will see the S-400s in our country.” The announcement now confirms that both the S-400 procurement and the Turkey-Eurosam programs are parallel initiatives, with the S-400 being sought for near-term needs.
- Two unidentified governments have placed orders with Rheinmetall for air defense system hardware and services for its air forces. With a combined value in excess of $250 million, one order is to a new customer who will acquire two Skyguard 3 air defence systems, with each system including a Skyguard 3 fire control unit and two 35mm Oerlikon Twin Gun GDF009 automatic cannons. The second order, to a repeat customer, requests the delivery of one 35mm Skyguard 1 fire units, as well as 35mm ammunition, simulators, and on-location training. Rheinmetall will conduct deliveries through 2021 with expectations that follow-up orders will be made.
- The British MoD has insisted that fabrication of the AW159 Wildcat helicopter will remain within the UK. Leonardo, the helicopter’s manufacturer, had been considering moving from its facility where the Wildcat is fabricated in Yeovil, UK, however, the government announced that work will remain there for the life cycle of the Wildcat program. The helicopter is in use with the British Royal Navy and British Army, with 62 of the models currently in service.
- As a result of the ongoing investigation into corruption at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), many in South Korea see the scandal potentially widening into a probe into other defense programs initiated under former President Park Geun-hye. Prior to being impeached, ousted from office, and imprisoned earlier this year for influence peddling, Park and her administration had overseen the approval of the purchase of 40 F-35 fighters from Lockheed Martin and kicked off the development of the indigenous KF-X fighter with KAI. Now, these programs could be rolled into a wider corruption investigation to include higher-level figures, as President Moon Jae-in seeks to eradicate corruption between big business and politicians. The prosecution personnel made available—more than 100— for the ongoing KAI Surion helicopter investigation may also indicate to a potential widening of scope.
- AeroVironment has signed contracts with the Australian MoD to deliver its Wasp AE unmanned aerial system to the Australian Defense Forces. Deliveries will take place over a three-year period commencing from July 2018 in conjunction with Australian partners XTEK, General Dynamics Mediaware and Sentient Vision. The WASP AE is a small hand-launched reconnaissance and surveillance UAS that weighs just 2.8 pounds and is capable of landing on both land and sea.
- Wasp AE demonstration: