US Military is smartening-up its Hydra family | Kuwait will fly brand new Super Hornets | The Sea Giraffe sees the worldJun 29, 2018 05:00 UTC
- The Navy is ordering more fire power from BAE Systems. The company is being awarded a contract modification to a previous firm-fixed-price delivery order valued at $224,3 million. The modification provides for the production and delivery of an additional 10,185 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems II (APKWS II). The APKWS program has been devised to give the Hydra 70mm rocket family a new lease of life by converting these ubiquitous rockets into cheap laser-guided precision weapons. The procurement of the additional units will upgrade the current 2.75-inch rocket system to a semi-active laser-guided precision weapon in support of the Air Force, Army, and foreign military sales (FMS) customers. This modification combines purchases for the Air Force ($144,1 million), Army ($58,5 million); Navy ($17,1 million); and FMS ($4,4 million). Work will be performed in Hudson, New Hampshire (70 percent); and Austin, Texas (30 percent), and is expected to be completed in March 2019.
- Raytheon is being tapped to support the Navy’s fleet of EA-18G Airborne Electronic Attack aircraft. The $65,4 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract provides for systems engineering and software development services of the aircrafts ALQ-227 communications countermeasures set. At present, the EA-18G is slated to be the only dedicated electronic warfare aircraft in the USA’s future force. The EA-18 shares a 90% commonality with the standard F/A-18F Super Hornet, sharing its airframe, radar, stores management system and weapon options. The exception is the Super Hornet’s 20mm Vulcan Gatling gun, which has been removed from the nose in favor of electrical equipment. The AN/ALQ-227 communication countermeasures system uses a dedicated, omni-directional antenna for signals detection, analysis, and recording. That system works with the plane’s jamming, in order to perform complex jamming tasks. Work will be performed in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is expected to be completed in June 2023.
- Superior Forge and Steel is being tapped to produce a number of BLU-137/B bombs. The $476,9 million ceiling indefinite/delivery indefinite-quantity contract provides for the production of the BLU-137/B penetrator warhead bodies with a guaranteed production of 300 bodies during the first year with a possibility of up to 3,500 bodies in the subsequent four years. In development since at least 2015, there aren’t a lot of details about the BLU-137/B or its features. An Air Force FY2018 request added the following statement, “the BLU-137 will increase fuse survivability when used against bunkers, aircraft shelters, and reinforced targets.” In short, this new model will more reliability explode after punching through its target. Work will be performed in Lima, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Falconer, New York, and is expected to be completed by May 2020.
Middle East & Africa
- The government of Kuwait is set to receive a boost to its aircraft fleet as part of a US foreign military sale. Boeing will produce 22 F/A-18E and six F/A-18F Super Hornets in support of the middle-eastern nation. The fixed-price-incentive-firm contract is valued at $1.5 billion. The F/A-18E is a single-seat Super Hornet. The 2-seat F/A-18F sacrifices some range, carrying only 13,350 lb. – 900 fewer pounds than the F/A-18E. In exchange for this reduced range, it adds a 2nd crewman with an advanced attack station cockpit to assist in strike roles. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including El Segundo, California; Hazelwood, Missouri; Endicott, New York, and various locations outside the continental US. Work is expected to be completed in January 2021.
- Swedish defense manufacturer Saab is set to deliver more of units of its multi-role naval radar Sea Giraffe AMB to an undisclosed customer. The company announced that work for the initial phase of the contract will be carried out during the period of 2018-2019 and that there is also an option for the delivery of 10 additional Sea Giraffe AMBs. The Sea Giraffe AMB is a medium range, multi-role surveillance radar optimized for detecting small air and surface targets with high update rate in all kinds of environments, including the littorals. It assists the commander in all kind of naval warfare and give the operators maximum time to react to incoming threats. The system is optimized for, and is in service on, vessels such as the Swedish Visby Class corvette and the US Littoral Combat Ship Independence class. Saab has sold Sea Giraffe in various configurations to customers around the world, including Sweden, Poland and the US.
- Embraer is reportedly on the verge of completing a deal with Portugal confirming the country as the first export customer for the KC-390 tanker transport. It comes just over a year after Portugal opened negotiations to buy five KC-390s, with an option for a sixth, with deliveries starting in 2021. The KC-390 is Brazils bid for the global C-130 replacement market. Competing against the C-130J, A400M, Russia’s AN-12 and China’s Yun-8/9. Embraer reportedly bases its business case on a break-even point of 120 orders, or about 1/7th of the tactical transport market outside of China, Russia, Ukraine and the USA. Four nations originally committed to the military aircraft, which flew for the first time in 2015. However, progress with Argentina, the Czech Republic and Chile appears to have stalled. It remains to be seen if the upcoming sale to Portugal will boost Embraer’s export efforts.
- The UK Royal Air Force will soon take delivery of its first MQ-9B SkyGuardian, which will form the basis of the UK’s future Protector RPAS. The MQ-9B SkyGuardian medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely-piloted air system is a version of General Atomics’ Predator B. The aircraft has been developed under a company-funded effort to address the strict airworthiness type-certification requirements of different military and civil authorities. In May last year, MQ-9B SkyGuardian set a 48-hour continuous flight endurance record for the company’s Predator aircraft series. RAF operations with at least 20 Protector RG1s are due to commence during the 2020s. The platform will replace the service’s current armed Reapers.
- The government of Australia is looking into the purchase of equipment associated with the integration of the CEAFAR 2 Phased Array Radar System with the AEGIS Combat System. The potential foreign military sale is valued at $185 million. CEAFAR is a 4th generation S-band active phased array radar, and it’s designed to be supplemented with the X-band CEAMOUNT Solid State Continuous Wave Illuminator. The combined system of radar, illuminator and central equipment group of power supplies etc. is able to generate and continuously maintain more than 10 simultaneous fire control channels. According to the DSCA, the proposed sale will enhance Australia’s Surface Combatant capability by adding nine AEGIS capable Future Frigates over the next 20 years and by upgrading their existing three AEGIS capable Hobart Class destroyers with the latest technology and capability. This sale enhances Australia’s self-defense capability, while significantly improving interoperability with US Navy AEGIS combatants in the region.
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