Deal Paveway’s the acquisition of LGTR’s | Germany Navy gets a PUMA | Afghanistan flies its Black HawksMay 11, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is being tapped by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division to produce more laser training rounds. The contract modification is part of a multi-year deal, it provides for the production of 7,501 BDU-59F/B LGTR and is valued at over $23 million. In October 2017 the Air Force had selected Lockheed Martin for follow-on production of Paveway II Laser-Guided Bomb Kits for the ninth consecutive year. The Paveway II consists of a computer control group guidance system with a semi-active laser seeker and pneumatically-controlled guidance canards for the front-end of the bomb, plus an air foil group on the back end that provides lift and stability. Once a target is designated, laser guidance is more accurate than GPS, but it can be foiled by obscurants like fog and sandstorms. The BDU-59F/B LGTR is used in tactical employment training and is a cost-effective alternative to expending on operational Laser-Guided Bomb assets. LGTR allows aircrews to practice delivery tactics in a real-mission environment and experience actual weapon characteristics within today’s range limitations. Work will be performed at multiple locations in the US and in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Canada. Work is scheduled for completion by December 2020.
- The US Army Contracting Command is awarding a contract modification to Raytheon. In this $8.9 million deal the company will provide logistics support for the Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wireless-guided Improved Target Acquisition System (TOW ITAS). The TOW ITAS was originally designed to provide an advanced fire control system for the TOW anti-armor missile, significantly increasing target detection, acquisition, recognition and engagement ranges. It also offers upgraded hardware for a 30-year old system, as electronics have a rapid turnover cycle and some of its parts were no longer in production. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, with an estimated completion date of May 4th 2019.
- The Navy has recently issued a Request of Information for the development of a concept to protect large cargo and surveillance aircraft, such as the C-130, from incoming missiles using small interceptors launched by the targeted aircraft themselves or by unmanned escort aircraft flying next to them. The system is called Hard Kill Self-Protection Countermeasure System (HKSPCS) and aims to add a new standard of self-protection that moves beyond current systems, which focus on blinding the guidance systems of incoming missiles with laser- and radio frequency-based countermeasures or confusing them by dispensing chaff and flares. The contracting notice comes as the US government is becoming increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of these aircraft in any future high-end conflict, especially as potential opponents, such as Russia and China, continue to develop and field more capable air-to-air and surface-to-air-missiles, as well as associated sensors. The Navy says it wants the HKSPCS concepts that will be able to have enough shots to successfully defeat at least four to 10 incoming missiles. The systems could either be internal to the aircraft or an external pod that will work with any standard BRU-32 bomb rack. The HKSPCS would attempt to shoot down incoming missiles by firing salvos of interceptors at them. Alternatively, a new class of unmanned escort aircraft could fly alongside the manned transports and surveillance aircraft and fire interceptors at incoming missiles.
Middle East & Africa
- Turkish media reports that the US will deliver the first F-35 joint strike fighter to Turkey by June. This announcement comes after weeks of tense US-Turkish relations that started with the Turkish intent to acquire the S-400 air defense system from Russia. US Congress attempted to cancel this deal in its draft of National Defense Acquisition Act. Turkey has strongly criticized Congress’ move and vowed to retaliate. The Turkish Armed Forces are part of the DoD’s Joint Strike Fighter program and have been planning to upgrade their fighter fleet with 100 F-35s as replacement to their current F-16s.
- Jane’s reports that the Afghan Air Force recently flew its first operational mission with its recently acquired ‘Black Hawk’. Afghanistan is set to receive 159 Black Hawks by 2020 as the United States transitions the country’s armed forces over from its approximately 80 Russian-built Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ helicopters that are nearing the end of their service lives. The country will also receive further 30 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior light attack and reconnaissance helicopters and six A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprops.
- The German Navy will receive several RQ-20B Puma II UAV. Produced by AeroVironment the hand-launched tactical unmanned aircraft system provides the German Navy with a persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance capability. Its force protection and over-the-horizon reconnaissance capability comes without the need to modify the host ship from which it is operated. To fulfill all the requirements set by the Bundesamt fur Ausrustung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr, AeroVironment partnered with the German company ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik GmbH. AeroVironment developed the Puma system to win a 2008 United States Special Operations Command competitive program of record. The mini-UAV market focuses on flying devices that can be carried, launched, and recovered by soldiers. The RQ-20B Puma II AE differs from the baseline RQ-20A-model. It is equipped with longer-life battery power sources (increasing endurance to 3.5 hours and range to 20 km), a transit bay that can accommodate additional payloads.
- The French defense contractor Thales announced that it has begun the production of its Sea Fire 500 digital radar. The naval sensor is a four-panel phased array antenna designed to track conventional, asymmetric and emerging air and surface threats, such as supersonic missiles. The radar draws on work on big data and cybersecurity, and future software development will be written into the system to boost performance and reliability over the life of the system. The system is set to be installed on France’s brand-new FTI frigates. The multi-mission FTI frigate will carry a 125-strong crew and displace 4,250 tons. It is equipped with MBDA Aster 30 anti-air and Exocet anti-ship missiles, MU90 torpedo’s, and a 76 mm cannon. The FTI program is valued at $4.5 billion, with the first of the frigates to be delivered in 2023.
- The Russian government has unveiled its Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic missile during Moscow’s annual Victory Day parade. During a flyby, two unaccompanied MiG-31 fighter jets showed the modified Iskander-M ballistic missile. Experts believe Kinzhal can in several minutes break through any missile defense and destroy with high precision even reinforced concrete underground objects. The missile is distinguished from the ground Iskander-M by a different tail and smaller fins. The tail has a special cover plug which likely protects the engine nozzles at hypersonic speed. The plug is dropped after the missile is fired by MiG-31. In response to Russian development of hypersonic missiles, the Pentagon announced that it will ramp up research on the technology with a stunning 136 percent ($257 million) increase in the 2019 budget request.
- Lockheed Martin tests its T-50A