Aug 30, 2017 05:00 UTC
- The US Army has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $310 million contract for engineering changes to the M1A2 Abrams tank System Enhancement Package Version 3. Work to be undertaken include the design, development and integration for the upgrades to the M1A2, with a projected completion date scheduled for Feb. 28, 2024. The M1A2 SEP 3 are upgraded versions of the M1A2 Abrams tank, and feature improved power generation, networking capabilities and have a lower-profile Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS) system for its top-mounted .50mm machine gun.
- Raytheon has been awarded a $614 million modification for a contract previously valued at $630 million by the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The modification calls for the production of 17 Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missiles, perform production support and engineering efforts, perform obsolescence monitoring, perform technical baseline engineering support, perform quality assurance and audit efforts, and provide containers. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is estimated for completion in March 2020.
Middle East & Africa
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Iran is building production sites for precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon, adding that their intention is to use them on Israel. “This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept,” he said at the beginning of a meeting in Jerusalem with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Netanyahu’s comments come as Hamas’ new leader in the Gaza Strip, Yehiyeh Sinwar, said the Palestinian group has repaired relations with Iran after a five-year rift and is using its newfound financial and military aid to gear up for new hostilities with Israel. Iran was once Hamas’ lead backer, however, Hamas broke with Tehran in 2012 after it failed to support Iran’s close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the Syrian civil war. Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah have provided much personnel and support to aid Assad’s campaign against jihadist and other rebel groups fighting the regime, often bringing them close to Syria’s border with Israel.
- Britain’s leading shipbuilding bosses are scheduled to meet with the ruling Conservative party in September to be briefed on the broad outline for a new class of light frigates for the Royal Navy. Babcock International, BAE Systems, BMT Defence Services and a small design consultancy known as Stellar Systems are expected to submit designs for the Type 31 light frigate program, and it is believed that London wants the first of the vessels to be operational in time to replace the Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll which is scheduled for decommissioning in 2023. However, some analysts in the UK said the timeline, if confirmed, was daunting. The Type 31 program is a centerpiece of the Conservative governments yet-to-be-published national shipbuilding strategy, which aims to lay the foundation of a modern and efficient naval shipbuilding sector.
- North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) over Japan, its most provocative move to date. The early morning test on Tuesday flew over the northern island of Hokkaido island before crashing into the sea, sparking the Japanese government to send out a “J-alert” on its nationwide warning system, telling residents of the island of the threat. The test follows a series of short-range missiles launches into the sea off its east coast early on Saturday, as South Korea and the US militaries conducted defense drills on the Korean peninsula.
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has commenced production of its Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). The event was marked by a ceremony on August 26, with senior officials from the Ministry of Defence, Indian Air Force and HAL all present at the occasion. Fifteen basic models will be made during the production run, which features a narrow fuselage and tandem configuration for pilot and co-pilot/weapon system operator and capable of conducting operations under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes. It is armed with a 20-millimeter Turret gun, 70-millimeter Rocket, air-to-air missile, EO-Pod and helmet pointing system.
- Israeli firm Elbit Systems (ESLT.TA) said on Tuesday it won a contract worth about $93 million from an unnammed Asia-Pacific country to upgrade its F-5 aircraft fleet. Under the terms of a deal, the defense electronics firm will supply the F-5 with systems including head-up displays, an advanced cockpit, radars, weapon delivery and navigation systems. The deal will run for three years. Asian operators of the F-5 include Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Korea.
- Boeing has offered to construct a manufacturing facility in India for the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter planes as it chases New Delhi’s planned acquisition of 57 carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft. The offer follows a similar agreement between India and Lockheed Martin, made earlier this year, for an India production line of the F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcon. If selected, the F/A-18 procurement will replace the Indian Navy’s current fleet of MiG-29K aircraft, which have been plagued by maintenance problems. They will be based on the modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, and its two planned indigenously-built Vikrant-class carriers.
- M1A2 System Enhancement Package (SEP) V2 Abrams main battle tank on manoeuvres:
Aug 29, 2017 05:00 UTC
- In a littoral combat ship (LCS) first, the US Navy successfully used a UAV to provide over-the-horizon targeting information and damage assessment for a missile that was launched from an LCS vessel. The ship in question, the Independence-class LCS USS Coronado, was participating in exercises off the coast of Guam when it fired a RGM-84D Harpoon Block 1C missile that successfully struck a surface target at significant distance beyond the ship’s visual range. During the exercise, a Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout drone and a Lockheed Martin MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, both part of Coronado’s rotary-wing air detachment, provided targeting support for the Harpoon missile. The aircraft used radar, electro-optical systems and other sensors to locate the target, pass targeting information back to the ship via data link to refine the firing solution, monitor and assess the missile, and then carry out damage assessment on the target.
- Northrop Grumman said it will upgrade its RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV to meet the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) requirement for a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV, equipped with a high-energy laser that could destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the boost phase. While the MDA’s HALE program requires a minimum altitude of 63,000ft and a payload capacity between 5,000-12,500lb (2,270-5,670kg), the RQ-4 currently can reach 60,000ft and can carry a 3,000lb payload, according to US Air Force specifications. Northrop officials acknowledge the 3,000lb limit but have also said the current configuration could reach a maximum payload of 4,000lb. The company is also looking to reduce the weight of the aircraft by removing some heavy equipment that has remained on the platform since its development in the late 1990s, rather than looking to redesign it.
Middle East & Africa
- Israel’s Defense Ministry has signed contracts for a follow-on order of 17 Lockheed Martin F-35i Adir fighters. This will be the third tranche of F-35 orders made by Israel, who expect delivery of the latest batch by December 2024. In the first deal, Israel paid $125 million per plane for 19 F-35s in total. In the second deal, the price went down to $112 million per plane for 14 jets. Israel expects the price to drop below $90 million per plane when it approaches the US again for planes for a third flight squadron.
- It’s been reported that the UAE is in discussions with the Japanese government for the sale of an unknown number of Kawasaki Heavy Industries C-2 transport planes. Specifications and details on the aircraft have already been provided to Abu Dhabi, and all that remains is the finishing of a bilateral treaty regarding the transfer of defense equipment and technology, a necessary step for Tokyo to sell defense platforms due to its pacifist constitution. At present, Japan prohibits exports of defense equipment and technology to countries engaged in conflict, a potential issue for the UAE who are currently involved in the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. However, sources inside the Japanese Defense Ministry feel the deal may squeeze through as the UAE are “not the one who is leading the intervention.”
- Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is looking to sell its FA-50 Golden Eagle to the Botswana Defence Force. Billing it as a cheaper alternative to Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen, which is also being looked at Botswana, KAI claims that the FA-50 has a cheaper acquisition and maintenance cos than its competitor— the Gripen’s life-cycle cost is “three times” that of the FA-50. The Korean firm is also offering a comprehensive support package which includes an “instructional systems development” (ISD) for the FA-50 as well as its trainer variant the T-50 and the Pilatus PC-7 turboprop-powered basic trainer. Last year, it was reported that Botswana was in talks with Sweden for eight to twelve JAS-39C/D Gripen fighters, believed to cost in the region of $1.7 billion.
- Airbus has signed an agreement with Romanian firm IAR Brasov for the latter to act as main contractor for any Romanian military orders for Airbus Helicopters’ H215M multirole aircraft. The deal extends a previous arrangement, signed in April, by ten years and was announced during French President Emmanuel Macron’s official visit to Bucharest and in presence of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. IAR Brasov, a company whose majority of shares are held by the Romanian government, has already built over 360 helicopters under license.
- Malaysia has launched the first its littoral combat ships (LCS) ordered from France in a near $2 billion deal signed in 2011. Based on the Gowind 2500 corvette, the Maharaja Lela is the first of six vessels on order and is expected to enter service in 2019, with all vessels ordered to be operational by 2023. Malaysia is in the midst of a naval modernization plan that aims to reduce the number of ship types in service from 15 to five under its aptly—albeit unoriginally—named 15-to-5 plan. The five classes of ships are planned to consist of 12 LCS vessels, 18 Kedah-class offshore patrol vessels, 18 Chinese-designed littoral mission ships, three multi-role support ships of an as-yet undetermined design and four submarines. At present, this plan has Kuala Lumpor’s naval inventory at six Kedah-class offshore patrol vessels, which are based on the German Blohm+Voss MEKO 100 design, along with two French Scorpene diesel-electric submarines.
- A letter of understanding (LoU) has been signed between the Kalashnikov Concern and Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) that will see both firms collaborate on the marketing and sale of small arms to the Pakistan civilian market. The document includes the desire to establish “brand-zones … in Pakistan for the implementation of [Kalashnikov] civilian small arms,” and the deal is being viewed as the Russian firm’s gateway into the Pakistani market. Earlier this year, the POF signed a similar LoU with Italian firearms maker, Beretta. That deal called on both parties to jointly promote the sale of Beretta pistols, shotgun and apparel in Pakistan.
- The USAF’s light attack experiment:
Aug 28, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $547.9 million US Army contract for the production and delivery of Hellfire II air-to-ground attack missiles. As many as 7,359 Hellfire II missiles, in a number of air-to-ground variants, and including their containers will be produced by September 20, 2020 at the firm’s facility in Orlando, Florida. The Hellfire is the primary air-to-ground short-range precision guided missile for US helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and is in service with many other nations. It also comes in ground and ship-launched models.
- Advanced construction has commenced on the US Navy’s third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier by Huntington Ingalls. The firm’s Newport News Shipbuilding division started the process last Thursday with a ceremonial cutting of a 35-ton steel plate of the Enterprise (CVN 80) under an advance-fabrication contract awarded earlier in the year. The Navy expects to make an award for the ship’s detail design and construction next year.
- As a falling oil and gas sector has reduced demand for its wares, Bell Helicopter is looking to sell its 525 Relentless medium helicopter to the military sector as a 20-passenger troop transport or search and rescue (SAR) platform. In a market that already faces stiff competition from Sikorsky, NH Industries, Airbus, and Leonardo, Larry Thimmesch, vice-president of 525 sales and business development, is confident that the advanced technologies on the Relentless, such as fly-by-wire controls, will appeal to military operators, adding that some governments have already reached out about the helicopter. However, the firm has yet to set a baseline configuration for the military variant of the 525.
Middle East & Africa
- The Nigerian Ministry of Defense is looking at further procurements of Russian weaponry to help it tackle the insurgency of the jihadist militant group, Boko Haram. Items being viewed include new rifles, armored vehicles, MiG fighters and the Yak-130. Speaking on the sidelines of the International Army Games-2017, Nigerian Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali said that after having a look at potential new equipment, they will “look at some of its specifications before we sit down for negotiations” upon the delegation’s return to Nigeria. Abuja already has ordered 12 Mi-35 helicopters from Russian helicopters, with two models already delivered.
- Elbit Systems has won a $14.9 million contract to arm 126 Patria eight-wheel drive armored modular vehicles operated by the Croatian military. Under the terms of the deal, Elbit Systems will supply its UT30MK2 unmanned turrets fitted with a 30mm cannon and a 7.62x51mm gun, as well as Spike-LR missile systems made by fellow Israeli firm, Rafael. Government sources said that while both firms had initially presented separate offers, the final tender submitted was a joint bid which aimed to offer both company’s systems at the lowest possible price. The Israeli firms won out against an offer from Croatian manufacturer, Duro Dakovic, who had previously worked with Finland’s Patria to help produce the vehicles for Zagreb, however, its offer is believed to be twice that of the Israeli one. Delivery of the weapons systems is scheduled for early 2018.
- Helicopter manufacturer Russian Helicopters has been awarded a contract by the Russian Ministry of Defense for the “formation of the concept of a high-speed combat helicopter.” The two-year agreement will see both sides work on determining the “technical appearance of the perspective high-speed combat helicopter.” Andrey Boginsk, Russian Helicopter’s CEO, hailed the contract as “a serious step towards the new generation of helicopter construction, with higher speeds and flight and technical characteristics.”
- The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Leidos Innovation Group a $727.7 million Army contract for support of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and Special Mission Wing (SMW) helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft fleets. The agreement will run until May 31, 2020, and will be carried out by Leidos in Kabul, Afghanistan. Despite receiving heavy investment from the US since the ousting of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan government still relies heavily on US air support. The AAF’s inventory is a mixture of Russian–Soviet-era platforms like the Mi-17 transport and Mi-24 attack helicopters— as well as American and other nation’s helicopters and light aircraft—planes like the A-29 Super Tucano turboprop attack planesand MD-530 utility helicopters.
- A labor union for workers at Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has warned that an ongoing probe into corruption at the company could damage its chances of participating in the US Air Force T-X trainer competition. The union demanded that there be a swift normalization of business irrespective of the probe’s findings. It also wants a new KAI chief to be named as soon as possible to resolve liquidity issues and put business back in order. KAI has teamed with Lockheed Martin to enter an upgraded version of the T-50A as a solution for the USAF’s Advanced Pilot Training (APT) program, which aims to replace the service’s existing fleet of trainer aircraft.
- Gymnasts help cut steel for the future USS Enterprise:
Aug 28, 2017 04:58 UTC
Advanced construction has commenced on the US Navy's third Gerald R. Ford-class
aircraft carrier by Huntington Ingalls. The firm's Newport News Shipbuilding division started the process
last Thursday with a ceremonial cutting of a 35-ton steel plate of the Enterprise (CVN 80) under an advance-fabrication contract awarded earlier in the year. The Navy expects to make an award for the ship's detail design and construction next year.
USA’s Nimitz Class &
UK’s Invincible Class
Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.
Nimitz Class cutaway
As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.
DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.
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Aug 28, 2017 04:57 UTC
The Nigerian Ministry of Defense is looking at further procurements
of Russian weaponry to help it tackle the insurgency of the jihadist militant group, Boko Haram. Items being viewed include new rifles, armored vehicles, MiG fighters and the Yak-130
. Speaking on the sidelines of the International Army Games-2017, Nigerian Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali said that after having a look at potential new equipment, they will "look at some of its specifications before we sit down for negotiations" upon the delegation's return to Nigeria. Abuja already has ordered 12 Mi-35 helicopters from Russian helicopters, with two models already delivered.
Russia’s air force (VVS) aged badly in the wake of the Cold War, and the recapitalization drought soon made itself felt in all areas. One of those areas involved advanced jet trainers, which form the last rung on the ladder before assignment to fighters. Russia’s Czech-made L-29 and L-39 trainers were left with questionable access to spare parts, and a competition that began in the 1990s finally saw Yakolev’s Yak-130 collaboration with Italy’s Finmeccanica beat the MiG-AT in 2002. Unfortunately, Russian budget realities allowed orders for just a dozen early production Yak-130s, even as the VVS’s L-39 fleet dwindled drastically.
The Yak-130’s multi-mission capabilities in training, air policing, and counterinsurgency make it an attractive option for some customers beyond Russia. Initial export successes helped keep Yak-130 production going in those early years, mostly via a confirmed order from Algeria (16). In December 2011, however, Russia finally placed a significant order that got production started in earnest. Russia continues to promote the aircraft abroad, and now that the plane’s future is secure, interest and orders are picking up…
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Aug 25, 2017 05:00 UTC
- The US Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin and Raytheon separate $900 million contracts for the development of the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) nuclear cruise missile. Work will primarily be conducted in Orlando, Fla., and Tucson, Ariz until 2020, after which the service will select one of the firms to finish development of the missile. Expected to be deployed by the late 2020s, the LRSO will be mounted on the B-52H Stratofortress , B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the future B-21 Raider bomber currently under development. It will replace the AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile currently used on the B-52.
- Are you a US Army soldier? Do you like video games? Well if you are and do, the US Army is looking for personnel to provide input through online gameplay to help develop the Operation Overmatch crowd-sourced innovation platform. The game involves an eight-on-eight scenario with players fighting advanced enemies equipped with realistic capabilities in a variety of real-world scenarios, and is part of the Early Synthetic Prototyping program designed to connect scientists, soldiers and engineers with their ideas on prototype weapons, equipment and tactics. While still in its early development stages, it will allow soldiers to test weapons and tactics and provide instant feedback and data through game analytics. The program will allow the Army to test thousands of variants of weapons and equipment still on the drawing board without the need for spending on prototypes. The game currently features models of planned future armored and unmanned vehicles and is set in an urban environment.
Middle East & Africa
- Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900 UAV has been declared fully operational by the Israel Air Force following the successful completion of evaluations by the service. The inspection carried out included assessments of the aircraft’s operation and maintenance, and the squadron’s flight department’s capability to receive a mission from HQ and complete it successfully, among others. Nicknamed Kochav, it is the most advance UAV in the Israeli Air Force UAV division.
- Boeing has been awarded a $222.5 million contract modification for the production and delivery of eight CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the Royal Saudi Land Forces. Production of the new builds will be conducted at Ridley Township, Penn., with an estimated completion time of July 31, 2021. Last year, the US State Department approved the sale of 48 CH-47F Chinooks and associated equipment to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth an estimated $3.5 billion. The Royal Saudi Land Forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deploy a variety of US-made helicopters, including UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift transport aircraft, AH-64 Apache gunships and the CH-47, among others.
- Norway’s Kongsberg Defense Systems has announced that is will maintain gear boxes on Norway’s Sea King helicopters. The framework agreement, signed with the Norwegian Defense Logistics organization, will run until 2020 at an estimated cost of $37.9 million. Kongsberg also announced it will deliver its Integrated Combat Solution for Finland’s new K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled artillery, after signing a deal with the howitzer’s manufacturer, South Korea’s Hanwha Land Systems. Finnish modifications to the K9s aim at accommodating the country’s existing digital radios and Patria-made battlefield management system (BMS).
- The Danish government will supply Stinger air-defense missiles and launch systems to the Latvian armed forces with deliveries scheduled to take place next year. While the exact cost and number of systems to be supplied in the acquisition has yet to be revealed, a Latvian government statement said that all units will receive the systems, including the National Guard. Its Ministry of Defense (MoD) added that it is in the process of obtaining support, maintenance and training equipment for the Stinger, as NATO allies help Riga with training for use of the missiles.
- India has issued a global request for information (RFI) for a $10 billion acquisition involving 123 naval multi-role helicopters and 111 naval multi-utility helicopters for its Navy. An MoD spokesperson said that Lockheed Martin (which has acquired Sikorsky) and Bell Helicopter of US, Airbus Helicopters of France, and Russian Helicopters of Russia have all been contacted for information, one of which will then pair with one of India’s domestic private sector companies, who in turn will produce the helicopters. Domestic private companies, which will compete to be the strategic partner for both helicopters programs are Bharat Forge Limited, Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited, Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Aerospace, and Tata Advanced Systems Limited. The latest RFI will be replaced by a formal RFP likely next year, and thereafter the formal selection of the overseas original equipment manufacturer (OEM). The selection process for a strategic partner and an overseas OEM is likely to take two to three years, according to an MoD defense production official.
- Cobham Mission Systems has been selected to provide launchers for South Korea’s next-generation KF-X fighter program. The company will provide an unspecified number of the launchers by 2020 at a cost of $9 million. Ken Kota, general manager of Cobham Mission Systems, called its launcher system “a highly robust, long stroke ejection system that allows the interchangeable carriage and release of either Meteor or AMRAAM air-to-air missiles without role change.” South Korea plans to produce 120 KF-X fighters while Indonesia, a program partner, looks to operate 80 IF-X aircraft.
- The now fully operational Hermes 900 UAV:
Aug 25, 2017 04:58 UTC
Boeing has been awarded a $222.5 million contract modification
for the production and delivery of eight CH-47F Chinook
helicopters to the Royal Saudi Land Forces. Production of the new builds will be conducted at Ridley Township, Penn., with an estimated completion time of July 31, 2021. Last year, the US State Department approved the sale of 48 CH-47F Chinooks and associated equipment to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth an estimated $3.5 billion. The Royal Saudi Land Forces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deploy a variety of US-made helicopters, including UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift transport aircraft, AH-64 Apache gunships and the CH-47, among others.
CH-47Fs take off
DII FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record; this FOCUS Article covers the CH-47F/MH-47G Chinook helicopter programs, in the USA and abroad. These helicopters’ distinctive “flying banana” twin-rotor design stems from the brilliant work of aviation pioneer Frank Piasecki. It gives Chinooks the ability to adjust their positioning very precisely, while carrying a large airframe whose load capacity has made it the world’s most popular heavy-lift helicopter. The USA expects to be operating Chinooks in their heavy-lift role past 2030.
The CH-47F looks similar to earlier models, but offers a wide range of improvements in almost every aspect of design and performance. While the related HH-47’s $10-15 billion CSAR-X program win was terminated, delivery orders continue for CH-47Fs and for MH-47G Special Forces configuration helicopters. International orders or formal requests have also come in from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the UAE, with India and other countries expected to follow.
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