Sep 18, 2018 05:00 UTC
Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace is set to further support the US Army’s CROWS. The awarded firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $498.3 million and provides for the continued production, sustainment and recurring engineering services needed to keep the M153 CROWS operational. The Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS, is a multi-vehicle externally mounted remote weapon system that allows the Gunner to remain inside the armor protected vehicle while firing a variety of crew served weapons. It allows on-the-move target acquisition and first-burst target engagement. Capable of target engagement under day and night conditions, the CROWS sensor suite includes a daytime video camera, thermal camera and laser rangefinder. It can mount weapons such as the M2 HB .50-cal Machine Gun, Mk19 40-mm Automatic Grenade Machine Gun, M240B 7.62-mm MG and M249 5.56-mm Squad Automatic Weapon. Work is estimated to be completed by September 2022.
General Atomics is being contracted to upgrade several MQ-9 Ground Control Stations (GCSs). The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is valued at $92.2 million and provides for MD-1A Block 15 GCS to MD-1A Block 30 GCS retrofits. The upgraded ground station include intuitive interfaces that are designed to make potentially hazardous situations easier to identify and to improve the decision-making process generally. A GCS serves two purposes, it controls the UAV and serves as key component of the data collection and dissemination process. The GCS receives the information collected by a UAV, processes that information, and reroutes it via a datalink to the appropriate end user. Work will be performed at GA’s facility in Poway, California and is scheduled for completion by May 29, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The armed forces of Afghanistan, Nigeria and Lebanon are set to receive unguided rockets as part of a US FMS. General Dynamics – OTS, will be responsible to procure an unspecified number of Hydra rockets at a cost of $44.3 million. Hydra-70 is a family of unguided rockets offering a variety of warhead configurations. These versatile and relatively inexpensive rockets can be fired from a variety of aircraft, from attack helicopters to jet fighters to light helicopters, and are arguably the world’s most widely used helicopter-launched weapon system. This contract modification also includes FMS to Australia and the Philippines. Work will be perfumed at GD’s facility in Williston, Vermont, with an estimated completion date of March 2021.
The government of Iraq will soon see a boost to its inventory of trucks, thanks to a US FMS. Navistar Defense will procure 4×4 and 6×6 trucks under this $31.4 million firm-fixed-price contract. Navistar has been supporting the Iraqi Ministry of Defense since 2008 and has delivered over 7,000 trucks and buses to Iraq through foreign military sales contracts. The order will likely include several militarized six-wheel flatbed trucks that come with a reinforced suspension and turbo-charged diesel engine. And four-wheeled MRAPs built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other asymmetric threats. Most of the work will be performed at Navistar’s Lisle, Illinois factory. The contract will run through September 27, 2020.
The Swiss army plans to decommission one of its major weapons systems as part of its FY2018 budget plan. The army will reduce its fleet of F-5 Tiger fighter jets by half. Some of the jets have been donated to museums and the others will be sold to international buyers. The Swiss Air Force signed an initial procurement contract for 72 Tiger fighter aircraft , 66 of the type F-5E (single seater) and 6 of the type F-5F (double seater) in 1976. In 1981, after the platform proved itself to be ideally suited for the Swiss ‘militia system’ a decision was made to procure another 38 additional aircraft. The 26 Tiger jets that will remain in service will take on some air-support tasks currently performed by F/A-18s. Switzerland is currently in the process of modernizing its air-defense systems and plans to acquire several new fighter jets.
French aircraft-carrier Charles de Gaulle will soon commence sea-trials following its mid-life upgrade and refit. The French Navy’s sole nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, entered a dry dock in early 2017, after 15 years of operational deployments. The overhaul program is led by French shipbuilder Naval Group and costs about $1.5 billion. Beyond standard maintenance operations, including refueling its nuclear reactor, the project modernized the ship’s combat system to maintain and increase interoperability with allied navies and allow the ship’s transition to the “All Rafale” air wing. The midlife work extends the carrier’s operational life for at least 20 more years.
Aerovironment is being tapped to support and deliver a RQ-20B Puma AE II system to the Estonian armed forces. The firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $8.8 million and includes the UAS and relevant support. The Puma AE is capable of conducting intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition (ISRT), battle damage assessment, maritime patrol, search and rescue and drug interdiction missions over water or land. The Puma is Aerovironment’s largest mini-UAV, but it’s still man-portable and hand-launched. The Puma AE’s most significant innovation is that it can land on both land and water, surviving near-vertical “deep stall” final approaches. Work will be performed at the company’s facility in Monrovia, California and will be completed by end of March, 2019.
The Republic of Korea wants to purchase six P-8A Patrol Aircraft from the United States. The possible FMS is valued at $2.1 billion. The potential deal would also include several joint tactical radio systems, GPS, missile warning sensors, radar, electronic support measures and counter measure dispensing systems. The Poseidon is designed to perform a variety of tasks and provides a Navy with an anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-smuggling platform that can sweep the area, launch sensors or weapons as needed, and remain aloft for many hours. The plane is equipped with a combination of sonobuoys, radars, day/night surveillance equipment, and ESM gear. Its 11 hardpoints can be armed with Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes, depth charges, and some free-fall bombs. Prime contractor will be Boeing. Other contractors include – among others – Raytheon, WESCAM, Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin and DRS. The DSCA notes, that the “proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing Korea’s naval capabilities to provide national defense and significantly contribute to coalition operations”.
Watch: F-35B Lightning II Start-Up & Takeoff • Valiant Shield 18
Sep 17, 2018 05:00 UTC
General Dynamics Electric Boat is receiving additional funding to advance with work on the Navy’s new-class of ballistic missile submarines. The cost-plus-fixed-fee modification is valued at $480.6 million and provides for advance procurement and construction of the Columbia-class submarines. The USA aims to begin construction of the new SSBN in 2021, and have the new type enter service with the fleet in 2031. A total of 12 boats would be produced, with the last boat expected to leave service around 2085. The new Columbia-class boats will field 16 Trident II D5 nuclear ballistic missiles, along with torpedoes for self-defense. Work will be performed at multiple locations including Quonset, Rhode Island; Newport News, Virginia and Groton, Connecticut. This modification will be subsumed into the lead ship construction contract in October 2020.
The US Air Force is contracting Raytheon for materials needed to keep its AIM-9X infrared missile and Captive Air Training Missiles flying. The $24.7 million contract provides for the procurement of urgent spares, containers, and materials needed to repair and refurbish the missile systems. The AIM-9X is the USA’s newest short-range air-to-air missile, using an advanced array seeker that widens the missile’s “boresight” cone, and allows a TV-like “imaging infrared” picture that’s much harder to fool with decoys. The Captive Air Training Missiles is designed to simulate the weight and operations of the AIM-120 AMRAAM radar-guided missile for training purposes. The contract includes the procurement of four active optical target detectors (AOTD) and radio frequency (RF) data links, four tactical guidance units, eight CATM guidance units, five AOTD containers, one Block I propulsion steering section (PSS), one Block 2 PSS for the Navy, and similar acquisitions for the Air Force. Work will be performed at multiple national and international locations including Cheshire, Connecticut; Tucson, Arizona and Heilbronn, Germany and is set to run through March 2021.
The Missile Defense Agency needs more Intercontinental Ballistic Missile target kits. Orbital Sciences will provide three ICBM Stage 0 conversion kits and and associated support services at a cost of $34.2 million. Orbital’s target ICBMs are needed to test the Ground-based Midcourse Defense interceptor designed to protect the US from incoming missiles. The awarded modification increases the total value of the contract to $1.2 billion. To date, Orbital ATK has designed and developed more than 200 targets, which include air-launched intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) target, the inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) target and the patriot target vehicle (PTV). Work will be performed at Orbital’s facility in Chandler, Arizona and at a missile test range in Promontory, Utah. The contract will run from September 2018 through December 2023.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Saudi Navy now flies the first of its new MH-60R helicopters. The helicopter was handed over at a ceremony last Thursday, marking a major milestone in the Saudi naval multirole helicopter acquisition program. The MH-60R is designed to handle all surface attack and anti-submarine roles by itself, and can fulfil secondary missions that include directing naval surface fire support, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation and communications and data relay. Saudi Arabia’s $1.9 billion purchase of 10 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters was finalised in 2015.
The Hellenic Air Force is upgrading its ageing fleet of F-16 fighter jets. Lockheed Martin is being contracted to upgrade a total of 85 Greek F-16s to the Block 70/72 Viper configuration. The Block 70/72 is the latest evolution of the venerable F-16 fighter designed in the 1970s. The core of the F-16V configuration is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, a modern commercial off-the-shelf (COTS)-based avionics subsystem, a large-format, high-resolution display; and a high-volume, high-speed data bus. The F-16V fighter jet can be deployed in suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) missions, air-to-ground and air-to-air combat, and deep interdiction and maritime interdiction missions. Purchase of the F-16V will provide Greece with a fourth generation fighter aircraft that is inter-operable with various international partner nations.
Jane’s reports that the Portuguese Army is ordering 12 RQ-11B Raven DDL UAS to strengthen its ISTAR Battalion’s surveillance systems company. The contract has a value of $6.9 million and also includes the acquisition of equipment and services. The RQ-11 Raven is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched UAV that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition. The man-portable Raven system features 3 UAVs, a ground control unit, a remote video terminal, transit cases and support equipment. Deliveries are scheduled to take place from March 2019 to January 2021.
The State Department is determined to approve a FMS to the Republic of Korea. The Asian-nation wants to buy up to 64 Patriot PAC-3 MSE missiles for an estimated cost of $501 million. The PAC-3 MSE is the follow-on variant of the PAC-3 missile and is designed to be a longer range missile that is more agile, and able to counter both tactical ballistic missiles and more conventional threats. The PAC-3 MSEs improved capability is achieved through a higher performance solid rocket motor, modified lethality enhancer, more responsive control surfaces, upgraded guidance software, and insensitive munitions improvements. The deal would also include the purchase of two PAC-MSE Test Missiles, range and test programs and other services. South Korea needs those upgraded missiles to enhance its missile defense capabilities. The Korean peninsula has been a contested space for decades. Recently South and North Korean relations started to harmonise, with both sides granting concessions to each other.
According to a Defense News report, Indonesia is moving ahead with its gradual drive to modernize its military. Indonesia’s defense minister confirms that the country intends to buy new tactical air transport planes and heavy-lift helicopters from the United States. The expected procurement will likely include five C-130Js and three to five CH-47 Chinooks. The C-130J is the latest variant of the combat-proven Hercules, and comes with better performance and a lower operational costs than its predecessors. Indonesia plans to completely renew its fleet of ageing B and H variants – the oldest of which first flew in the early 1960s – by 2024. It is yet unclear if Indonesia already formally submitted a FMS request to the US State Department.
Watch: USAF CV-22 Osprey Demo Flight at Yokota Air Base, Japan
Sep 17, 2018 04:52 UTC
The Royal Saudi Navy now flies the first of its new MH-60R helicopters. The helicopter was handed over
at a ceremony last Thursday, marking a major milestone in the Saudi naval multirole helicopter acquisition program. The MH-60R
is designed to handle all surface attack and anti-submarine roles by itself, and can fulfil secondary missions that include directing naval surface fire support, search and rescue, vertical replenishment, logistics support, personnel transport, medical evacuation and communications and data relay. Saudi Arabia’s $1.9 billion purchase of 10 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters was finalised in 2015
USN Heli Plan
The US Army’s UH-60 Black Hawks have always had a naval counterpart. SH-60B/F Seahawk/ LAMPS helicopters were outfitted with maritime radar, sonobuoys, and other specialized equipment that let them perform a wide variety of roles, from supply and transport, to anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, medical evacuation, and even surface attack with torpedoes or Kongsberg’s AGM-119 Penguin missiles. Like their land-based counterparts, however, the Seahawks are getting older. The Reagan defense build-up is receding into history, and its products are wearing out.
European countries chose to build new designs like the medium-heavy EH101 and the NH90 medium helicopter. They’re larger than the H-60s, make heavy use of corrosion-proof composites, and add new features like rear ramps. The USA, in contrast, decided to upgrade existing H-60 designs for the Army and Navy. Hence the MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopter (aka. “Romeo”) and MH-60S (aka. “Sierra”) Seahawks. MH-60Rs and MH-60Ss will eventually replace all SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters currently in the US Navy’s inventory. Both programs are underway, and will be covered in this DID FOCUS Article.
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Sep 17, 2018 04:48 UTC
The State Department is determined to approve
a FMS to the Republic of Korea. The Asian-nation wants to buy up to 64 Patriot PAC-3 MSE missiles for an estimated cost of $501 million. The PAC-3
MSE is the follow-on variant of the PAC-3 missile and is designed to be a longer range missile that is more agile, and able to counter both tactical ballistic missiles and more conventional threats. The PAC-3 MSEs improved capability is achieved through a higher performance solid rocket motor, modified lethality enhancer, more responsive control surfaces, upgraded guidance software, and insensitive munitions improvements. The deal would also include the purchase of two PAC-MSE Test Missiles, range and test programs and other services. South Korea needs those upgraded missiles to enhance its missile defense capabilities. The Korean peninsula has been a contested space for decades. Recently South and North Korean relations started to harmonise
, with both sides granting concessions to each other.
The USA’s MIM-104 Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target (PATRIOT) anti-air missile system offers an advanced backbone for medium-range air defense, and short-range ballistic missile defense, to America and its allies. This article covers domestic and foreign purchase requests and contracts for Patriot systems. It also compiles information about the engineering service contracts that upgrade these systems, ensure that they continue to work, and integrate them with wider command and defense systems.
The Patriot missile franchise’s future appears assured. At present, 12 nations have chosen it as a key component of their air and missile defense systems: the USA, Germany, Greece, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and the UAE. Poland, Qatar, and Turkey have all indicated varying levels of interest, and some existing customers are looking to upgrade their systems.
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Sep 14, 2018 05:00 UTC
Boeing is being tapped to upgrade the Navy’s P-8A Aircrew Training System. The contract modification has a value of $194.5 million and provides for upgrades that are essential to meeting future mission capabilities. Upgrades will also be made to training systems located in Adelaide, Australia. The advanced training system will allow the Navy and RAAF to reduce the time the aircraft is used for training, and thus increases its availability for operations. Work will be performed at multiple locations including Jacksonville, Florida; Whidbey Island, Washington and Dallas, Texas. The contract is scheduled for completion by September 2023.
Northrop Grumman’s MQ-8C Fire Scout qualifies for automated sea mine hunting operations. During the recently held US Navy Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, the unmanned helicopter successfully coordinated with a small robotic surface ship and unmanned submersible, by serving as a communications relay and situational awareness platform. The MQ-8C is an unmanned Bell 407 designed to operate from the Freedom and Independence class LCS, collect surveillance, conduct mine hunting and anti-submarine warfare missions. In the future the drone may be armed with the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), a BAE Systems product that transforms unguided 2.75-inch rockets into a precision-guided round. The Fire Scout completed its initial operational test and evaluation on board the USS Coronado in July.
Middle East & Africa
Reports suggest that the Zambian Air Force (ZAF) is now operating at least one Hermes 450 UAV. The Hermes 450 is produced by Israeli company Elbit and can serve as a dual surveillance/attack drone. The Hermes 450 incorporates a high wing design. The cylindrical shaped fuselage is attached with straight wings. The UAV has about 17-20 hours endurance at up to 18,000 feet altitude, and can carry about 396 pounds of payload.
French shipbuilder Naval Group is competing with German rival ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems over Egypt’s future acquisition of two additional corvettes for its Navy. In 2014 Naval Group landed a deal for the delivery of four Gowind-2500 corvettes of which two have been delivered. The initial contract comes with options for two additional vessels, however it is yet unclear if Naval Group will win the next tender. German competitor TKMS will likely over two of its Meko 200 corvettes, worth $1.2 billion, excluding weapons. However, if TKMS should land the contract, the ships could be equipped with MBDA’s Aster-15 missile.
The Spanish government is determined to buy 23 additional NH-90 transport helicopters. The NH-90TTH is the base variant for land and air forces. It can be outfitted with SOF, MEDEVAC and CSAR kits. The helicopter has been designed to perform operations in extreme weather conditions. It can start up and fly, land, and shut down in winds gusting up to around 65 mp/h without losing rotor control, flying day and night in heavy icing conditions down to temperatures of -22 F and at ranges of up to 300nm. Spain also plans to modernize its fleet of 17 CH-47D Chinooks, updating them to the current F variant.
The South Korean Marine Corps plans to acquire a large transport ship capable of carrying its future F-35Bs and armed UAVs. “We are considering building the LPX (large platform experimental)-type ship capable of carrying aircraft in close cooperation with the Navy,” Marine Corps chief Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo said during a press conference on Wednesday. No specifics about the future vessel have been given, however it seems that the Marine Corps wants to secure its own LPX apart from the Dokdo-class ships that are currently in operation or under construction. The Marine Corps wants to enhance its amphibious operations and surveillance capabilities and use robotics and cutting-edge technologies as means to amplify South Korea’s maritime power projection.
Raytheon’s SM-3 Block IB missile is proving itself to be a reliable interceptor. The Japanese Kongo-class destroyer JS Atago (DDG-177) fired the SM-3 during an intercept flight test in cooperation with the US Navy off the coast of Kauai in Hawaii. Block IB missiles are equipped with an advanced 2-color infrared seeker, and a 10-thruster solid throttling divert and attitude control system. This increment allows to defend against medium range missiles and some Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles. This test marks a significant milestone in missile defense cooperation between Japan and the US.
Watch: Japanese Destroyer Successful SM-3 Missile Intercept Test | Aegis BMD