The Navy’s UAV family is growing | Europe unveils its 1st homemade drone | Israel postponed Arrow-3 testMay 03, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Special Operations Command is contracting AAI Corp., Hunt Valley for the continuation of its MEUAS II-B services. The contract is valued at $120 million and provides for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services on its mid-endurance unmanned aircraft systems. AAI Corp., a Textron subsidiary, so far has received similar contracts in 2012 and 2016. AAI Corp. manufactures the Aerosonde and the Shadow v2 UAV’s. Currently it cannot be confirmed which UAV will be chosen. However considering past purchases, one can assume that AAI’s Aerosonde will be the likely winner. The Aerosonde and the Shadow v2 are direct competitors to Boeing’s/Insitu ScanEagle UAV system.
- Raytheon Missile Systems Co., Tucson, Arizona, has been awarded a contract modification in support of ballistic missile defense efforts. The contract is valued at over $387 million and allows Raytheon to procure a limited subset of items necessary to maintain schedule for eventual manufacture, assembly, test and delivery of 20 Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles and related efforts. SM-3 Standard missiles, also known as Ballistic Missile Killers, have been the backbone of the US Navy’s ballistic missile defense plans for many years now. The missile will be the mainstay of naval Anti-Ballistic Missile defense and can also fulfill an “outer air” role via long-range kills of bombers carrying cruise missiles. The SM-3 uses the RIM-156 test program’s airframe and propulsion/booster, then adds a third-stage rocket motor, a GPS/INS guidance section and a LEAP) kinetic warhead. At present, SM-3 is in naval service with the USA and Japan, may be ordered by the Netherlands for its air defense destroyers, and is set to play a key role in Europe’s land-based missile defenses from bases in Romania and Poland. The modification increases the total cumulative face value of the contract to $1.1 billion. The work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona and is set to be completed by April 2022.
- The US Navy is looking to extend its “Group 5” fleet of unmanned air systems within the next decade. “Group 5” fleet includes the largest and most capable UAS in the US inventory. So far only three aircraft types are in development or production. The systems in question are the MQ-9 Reaper, the RQ-4 Global Hawk and the MQ-4C Triton. By design, these large and long-endurance aircraft operate in secluded airspace as far as possible from manned aircraft, each performing their singular missions in safe isolation. The next addition to the “Group 5” will be the MQ-25 Stingray. With its implementation the US Navy seeks to close the gap with between UAS and manned aircraft by adding a system that is designed from the outset to operate within meters or less of large manned aircraft. For the first time in an aircraft development program, the Navy will assume the role as the lead systems integrator and will responsible for the development of the MQ-25’s carrier-based cockpit as well as for delivering the upgraded Carrier Vessel and Nuclear Segment which includes modifying the joint precision approach landing system and the airborne launch and recovery equipment systems. The Navy has earmarked about $2.2 billion in the budget through fiscal year 2022 to spend on the air system component of the MQ-25 program.
Middle East & Africa
- Israel has postponed a planned live test of its Arrow-3 ballistic missile interceptor to improve the system’s readiness. The Arrow system is a more advanced weapon than the Patriot and possesses far more range, undertaking high altitude interceptions and covering a wide area as a Theater Missile Defense (TMD) system. Unlike the USA’s THAAD, PAC-3, or SM-3 which all use “hit to kill” technology, Israel’s Arrow relies on a directed fragmentation warhead to destroy enemy missiles. It can work in conjunction with a number of systems. The system passed its first full interception test over the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 and was deployed in Israel in 2017. The cancelled test in Alaska was scheduled for June 2018 and was supposed to test the missile’s interception distances. Arrow-3 is jointly manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries and Boeing and is regarded as bulwark against Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah and serves as the top tier of an integrated Israeli shield built up to withstand various potential missile or rocket salvoes.
- The German arms manufacturer Heckler and Koch Defense, Inc. has been awarded a contract for the purchase of up to 15,000 M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle systems. The overall value of the contract is about $29.4 million under of a five-year, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract, with the Marine Corps being the main contracting activity. The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle is a lightweight, magazine-fed select-fire weapon that originally was billed to replace the aging M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. The Marine Corps is considering replacing the service’s M4 and M16 service rifles with the M27 IAR. Most of the work will be performed at Oberndorf, Germany. Other locations include Columbus, Georgia and Ashburn, Virginia and is scheduled for completion by April 2023.
- The Spanish-German defense contractor Airbus Defense and Space has recently unveiled a 1:1 model of its Medium Altitude Long Endurance / Remotely Piloted Air System (MALE RPAS). The EuroMALE has been developed in a partnership with the Dassault Aviation (France) and Leonardo (Italy) and is the direct successor to the failed EuroHawk project. The drone is slightly bigger as IAI’s Heron TP has a turboprop engine and will be capable of carrying various weapon systems. EuroMALE is the second biggest European defense project and costs about $356 million. The drone has a wingspan of 26 meters, can carry up to 992 pounds of equipment and can fly for about 24 hours on an altitude of 49.000 feet. Currently there are between 300-400 drone projects worldwide, with the US covering about three-quarters of the market followed by Israel and Europe.
- The Indian government has announced its wish to amend a deal with the Pentagon. Instead of buying 22 unarmed Guardian naval surveillance drones, New Delhi now favors the acquisition of armed drones that can boost ‘Hunt and Kill’ capabilities. With this bid the Indian government seeks to substantially enhance India’s so-called stand-off weapon capabilities. The Trump administration had agreed to supply long endurance high-altitude surveillance armed unmanned aerial vehicles in June 2017 at a cost of $2-3 billion. Manufactured by General Atomics, Predator-B has both land and naval versions and can be armed with air-to-land missiles, anti-ship missiles and laser guided bombs and are capable of hunting and destroying targets across seas and over land borders. This matter will be likely discussed in further detail during the two-plus-two dialogue between the Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Sawaraj and Minister of Defense Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary Defense Jim Mattis.
- SIKORSKY CH-53K Display at ILA 2018 Berlin – 1st Flight outside USA