- The Navy is awarding two firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity contracts in support of its submarine fleet. The contracts are being awarded to EnerSys Energy products and Exide Technologies, and come with a five-year ordering period and an aggregate ceiling of $75 million. The deal provides for the production of submarine valve regulated lead acid battery cells. The submarine valve regulated lead acid batteries provide emergency backup power supply for the nuclear reactor onboard strategic and fast attack nuclear submarines. Nuclear propulsion has seen many technological advances over the last decades. The future of the US Navy’s submarine fleet will consist of Virginia-class fast attack boats and SSBN-X strategic ballistic missile submarines. Propulsion on both vessel types will largely be the same. For example, the SSBN-X propulsion will be all-electric, which decouples the drive train from the turbines, and the pump-jet propulsion will use shrouded technology taken from the Virginia Class. Work will be performed in Warrensburg, Missouri and Forth Smith, Arkansas respectively, and is scheduled for completion by May 2023.
- The Marine Corps is tapping Oshkosh Defense LLC in support of its Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement program. The $43 million contract provides for the procurement of Engineering Change Proposal kits, parts and/or hardware components in support of the program. The 14 variants in the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) form the core of the USA’s new state-of-the-art medium military transport truck fleet. Which in turn forms the core of the “mature logistics capability” seen in theatres of action worldwide. The Trucks produced under the Engineering Change Proposal will feature a higher capacity chassis to carry enhanced protection, a higher output alternator to simplify the electrical system and feed the growing demand for power, support enhanced vehicle diagnostics, increase engine power and performance, and introduce key safety features like electronic stability control. Work will be performed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and is expected to be completed by May 2023.
- Raytheon Missile Systems is being tapped to produce more GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway IIs. The $13.4 million contract modification is being awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Paveway II kits convert standard Mk 80 family free-fall bombs into laser-guided weapons. Each guidance kit consists of a computer control group (CCG) 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 (AFG) on the back end that provides lift and stability. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $73,7 million. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by January 2019.
Middle East & Africa
- Pakistan is set to receive thirty T-129 attack helicopters from Turkey. Pakistan is known to have evaluated the Turkish-built attack helicopter as part of an ongoing effort to procure a new attack helicopter for the country’s army. The T-129 is based on the AugustaWestland (now Leonardo) produced A-129 Mangusta. Turkish Aerospace Industries is the T-129’s prime contractor. The aircraft is notable for its low frontal profile, and offers a good mix of surveillance, gun and missile capabilities. The T-129A EDH carries the nose-mounted 20mm cannon turret with 500 rounds, and 4 pylons for unguided rockets. The T-129B version will add Roketsan’s MIZRAK missiles and CIRIT 70 mm Laser Guided Rockets, and Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles. Pakistan currently has US-built Bell AH-1Z Vipers, Bell AH-1 Cobras and four Mi-35s in its inventory. The T129 competed against the Chinese-built Z-10.
- Romania is set to receive new ballistic missile defense units as part of US foreign military sales. A $395 million contract modification enables Raytheon IDS to produce a phased array tracking on radar to intercept option fire unit in support of the PATRIOT system. Phased array radar systems are used to scan, identify and track both enemy planes and incoming ballistic missiles. A PATRIOT firing battery includes several components: an antenna mast group, radar, electric power station, launchers, ECC command center, and maintenance center. They are carried on a mix of heavy and medium trucks. The radar set is either an AN/MPQ-53 radar for PAC-2 systems, or an AN/MPQ-65 for PAC-3 systems and is carried by a 10-ton M983 HEMTT truck pulling a M860 semitrailer. Work will be performed at various locations. Including Andover, Massachusetts and McKinney, Texas. The contract has an estimated completion date of April 30th, 2020.
- The French Air Force has recently requested 38 Airbus H-160M helicopters. The aircraft will be procured under the hélicoptère interarmées léger program. The program sees for the acquisition of the country’s new tri-service medium-category rotorcraft fleet. Deliveries are scheduled to begin by 2025, with a total number of 169 units ordered. The H-160M helicopters are capable of performing air-to-air refueling and will be equipped for a broad range of missions, including search and rescue, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, close air support and air interception. Those destined for close air support tasks will be equipped with a 20mm cannon and guided rockets. Approximately 420 helicopters will be replaced by the H-160 including the French navy’s Alouette IIIs, SA 365 Dauphin and AS565 Panther, the French Air Force’s AS555 Fennec and SA330 Pumas; and the French army Pumas, SA341/SA342 Gazelles and Fennec.
- A deal between the Indian government and the Russian defense contractor Rosoboronexport may be cancelled following a series of complaints from the other competitors. The $1.5 billion contract would provide for the procurement of up to 5.000 very-short range air defense or VSHOD systems. The Russian company made the lowest bid and competed against Saab of Sweden, Rafael of Israel, MBDA and Thales of France, and LIG Nex 1 of South Korea. After technical evaluation and qualification of the proposed systems, only Igla-S by Rosoboronexport, RBS 70 NG by Saab and Mistral by MBDA were selected for trials. VSHOD systems are designed for detecting, tracking and intercepting airborne targets, including a wide variety of low RCS and low-flying targets such as fighter aircraft, ultra-lights and UAVs. VSHOD systems help a country to make its airspace dangerous enough to deny enemies full air dominance. Considering India’s very limited defense budget it seems unlikely that a possible deal will move ahead in the near future.
- Russia starts construction of its first Husky Class Nuclear submarine