After two month lull, North Korea launches new ICBM | Raytheon contests DoD’s JSTARS decision | Qatar’s Eurofighter deal concluded, say BAE |Nov 30, 2017 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin has landed a $37.7 million modification to a previously awarded contract worth $10.7 billion, to exercise an option for software conversions for structure and systems datasets in support of Lot 10 production for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Work will take place at Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility and at Samlebury, England, where program partner BAE Systems operate a 180 acre facility at the disused Samlebury Aerodrome. Contract completion is scheduled for June 2020. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
- The US Navy has exercised a second year option with IAP Worldwide Services for logistics support services on E-6B Mercury aircraft. Worth over $58.9 million, the contract tasks IAP with maintaining and supporting the E-6B Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) and Airborne Command Post aircraft, support equipment, aircraft weapon system, associated support sites, and supporting organizations, up until November 2018. Work will take place at several US locations including: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (70 percent); Patuxent River, Maryland (10 percent); Bellevue, Nebraska (10 percent); and Fairfield, California (10 percent). News of the contract comes as rising tensions over the possible threat of nuclear war with North Korea remain high, with Pyongyang testing yet another nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missile on Wednesday. The Pentagon’s E-6 fleet, based out of Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, is tasked with relaying instructions from the National Command Authority to its fleet of ballistic missile submarines in the event of nuclear war. E-6B model Mercury aircraft are also capable of remotely controlling Minutemen ICBMs.
- Raytheon is contesting a US Air Force (USAF) decision to reject its Archimedes radar—a derivative of the APS-154 Advanced Airborne Sensor found on the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft—from the service’s E-8C JSTARS replacement program. While the USAF has yet to officially announce rival Northrop Grumman as the winner, the flying branch did notify Raytheon that Archimedes was no longer under consideration, prompting the firm to file a protest with the US Government Accountability Office on 20 November. Both Raytheon and Northrop are still under contact from an award last year to carry out radar risk reduction work and Raytheon has maintained that it will continue its work on the JSTARS radar risk reduction effort. Speaking to Flight Global, a Raytheon spokesperson said its “radar solution for the JSTARS program offers the air force the most mature and capable technology available to meet this urgent need,” adding that “the evaluation process had significant flaws, and we have filed a protest accordingly.”
Middle East & Africa
- In what may be some kind of record, a senior BAE Systems official has told the UK Parliament’s Defence Select Committee that a deal to sell Eurofighter Typhoon fighters and Hawk jet trainers to Qatar is complete—just six weeks after the signing of a statement of intent. Chris Boardman, the managing director of BAE Systems’ military air and information business, said all that is needed to be decided is an appropriate date to sign contracts, but would not speculate on what that date would be. Boardman also urged the British government to provide clarity on its vision for combat air requirements in a post-Typhoon era. Qatar’s purchase of 24 Eurofighter Typhoons is the first major arms contract to be signed between the UK and the Gulf state, and is the first Typhoon sale by the British since the Ministry of Defence took over responsibility for leading the government’s Typhoon export sales effort from the Defence and Security Organisation, the department responsible for most overseas sales in the sector.
- Poland’s defense ministry has launched the analysis/market survey phase of its “Harpia” acquisition. The effort covers the replacement the Polish Air Force”s current fleet of 31 MiG-29 fighters and 18 Sukhoi Su-22 ground-attack aircraft and Warsaw wants to program to increase the service’s “capability to perform offensive and defensive counter-air missions, and to support land, sea, and special operations”. The fighter procurement calls for approximately 32 units—enough for two fighter squadrons—with deliveries to start in 2024. Manufacturers are required to submit responses including a general description of their proposed equipment by 18 December, with selected parties to then be issues with an official request for information. Potential candidates include the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS-39 Gripen and a US government-backed proposal with the Lockheed Martin F-16V. Also in the works is an electronic warfare capability, however, it has not been decided whether these aircraft will be the same as the new fighters or a separate platform.
- NH Industries announced the successful maiden flight of its second NH90 Sea Lion platform, a naval variant of the medium-size multi-role helicopter being developed for the German Navy. The November 24 test comes roughly one year on from when model one took off from the Donauwörth facility of NHI consortium member Airbus Helicopters. Next up, NHI will undertake a several-month period of development testing that will focus on avionics and software, followed by further modifications to the aircraft throughout 2018. The initial serial production aircraft is now in final assembly, ahead of first delivery scheduled for late 2019. Berlin will acquire 18 Sea Lions to replace its navy’s fleet of aged Westland Sea King 41s.
- The US State Department has notified Congress that it has cleared the possible sale of AIM-120C-7 air-to-air missiles in support of Poland’s F-16 fighter program. Announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the package includes 150 missiles, as well as missile containers, weapon system support, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. Raytheon will act as prime contractor with the total package estimated at $250 million.
- Following a two month lull, North Korea successfully tested another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the early hours of Wednesday morning. State media hailed the Hwasong-15 missile as its “most powerful”, adding that it reached an altitude of around 4,475 km (2,780 miles)—more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station—and flew 950 km (590 miles) during its 53-minute flight, before landing in Japanese waters (although it did not cross Japan unlike some previous tests). South Korea responded by carrying out live-fire drills, launching one of its own ballistic missiles, while the international community reiterated their opposition and condemnation of Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions ahead of an emergency session of the UN Security Council. An analysis by the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists concludes that the missile could have travelled more than 13,000km on a standard trajectory, thus reaching “any part of the continental United States”.
- Report on North Korea’s latest ICBM test: