- The Navy is tapping Raytheon for repair work on its rotor aircraft. The $8.2 million firm-fixed-price delivery order provides for repair work of the forward-looking infrared radiometer (FLIR) systems on the Navy’s V-22 and H-53 platforms. FLIR cameras use an imaging technology that senses infrared radiation. They can be used to help pilots to fly their vehicles at night and in fog, or to detect warm objects against a cooler background. Many camera systems use digital image processing to improve the image quality. FLIR systems enable pilots to identify friend from foe at night and during adverse weather conditions. Especially during night operations FLIR systems have a tactical advantage over standard night-vision equipment because they are able to detect a greater wavelength of light. Work will be performed in McKinney, Texas and Jacksonville, Florida and is expected to be completed by June 2020.
- General Dynamics Electric Boat Co. is contracting BAE Systems in support of its Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarine production. Under the contract BAE Systems will deliver two sets of payload modules, each consisting of four tubes, for the future SSN 804 and SSN 805 submarines. The Virginia Payload Module (VPM) extends the length of the Block V submarines over previous versions of the Virginia-class by adding an additional mid-body section to create more payload space for greater firepower. Each large-diameter payload tube can store and launch up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles. Work will be performed at the company’s facility in Louisville, Kentucky, with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2020.
Middle East & Africa
- The government of Qatar is set to receive further support of its integrated air and missile defense program as part of a US foreign military sale. The $49 million contract modification provides for the procurement of work and material for the Qatar Air and Missile Defense Operation Center (ADOC) program. Qatar, a key US partner and member of the Gulf Cooperation Council had requested the purchase of the Patriot missile defense system back in 2015. The ADOC itself is a command and control center focused on air and missile defenses. It consists of multiple weapon systems and radars, and is composed of a command center, space for operations and planning personnel as well as senior leader offices. The contract also includes the training of Qatari personnel at ADOC. Work will be performed in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by May 2020.
- Jane’s reports that Jordan’s defense manufacturer King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) has recently unveiled its two newly developed armored fighting vehicles (AFV’s). The Al-Faris armored vehicle is based on the Volat 6×6 cross-country chassis and comes with advanced ballistic and blast protection. It can be used as a platoon strength troop carrier by providing space for 8 dismounts plus a commander, driver and gunner. It can also be configured as a command and control platform, forward observation vehicle (FOO) or in a convoy support role. The Al-Mared is based on an 8×8 TATRA truck chassis fitted with a fully protected all-welded steel hull that can provide ballistic protection against bomb blasts with the equivalent of 8kg of TNT and Armor-Piercing ammunition. The vehicle has a crew of two and can carry eight infantrymen at the rear of the hull. Both APCs can be equipped with the locally developed Snake Head Cupola which can accommodate a wide range of weapons.
- The UK Royal Air Force has officially received the first of its F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters. The four jets flew 4.000 miles from Beaufort in South Carolina to RAF Marham and were accompanied by Voyager tankers. Britain is the only Tier 1 partner outside the US and has invested about $2 billion equivalent in the F-35’s development. The F-35B is the most expensive Lightning II fighter variant, with an average flyaway cost of $135 million. The STOVL fighters will be deployed on the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth class carriers. The UK has to date received 15 of its planned 138 F-35 jets.
- The German Bundesrechnungshof, an agency comparable to the US Government Accountability Office is warning that the federal procurement of the new Puma infantry fighting vehicle will take years longer than previously thought. The Puma is jointly developed in a joint venture between Kraus-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. Rheinmetall is responsible for the development and design of the chassis. The vehicle is operated by a crew of three and carries up to eight equipped troops in the rear troop compartment. The vehicle is of modular construction which allows it to be fully air transportable on an A400M aircraft. The Puma is armed with a remotely controlled weapon station, developed by Kraus-Maffei Wegmann, which is fitted with a dual feed Mauser 30mm MK 30-2 cannon. Rheinmetall is responsible for the integration of the Mauser cannon and the ammunition handling system. At the current rate the integration of all required features into the platform will take until 2029, meaning that German ground forces will have to rely on the predecessor tank, the 40-some-year-old Marder. Preparations for sustaining the Marder beyond its envisioned end of life in 2025 are already underway, including retrofitting the vehicles with the MELLS anti-tank weapon.
- Boeing has outlined its industrial collaboration engagement with Indonesia as part of its foreign military sale contract to supply the nation with eight AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. The AH-64E Guardian Block III incorporates 26 key new-technology insertions that cover flight performance, maintenance costs, sensors & electronics, and even the ability to control UAVs as part of manned-unmanned teaming (MUT). The contract includes supporting the Indonesian Army with technical reach-back support, spares and repairs. The helicopter purchase also includes the training of Indonesian Army maintenance personnel training provided by Boeing and the US Army. Boeing is currently in negotiations with the Indonesian aerospace firm PT Dirgantara, which is looking to play a role in supporting the Apaches in operation with the Army by providing spare parts and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services. Indonesia will use the helicopters to defend its borders, conduct counterterrorism and counter-piracy operations, and control the free flow of shipping through the strategic Straits of Malacca.
- The Chinese company Yunzhou Intelligence Technology, which specializes in designing and manufacturing unmanned surface vessels (USVs) has recently demonstrated its swarming technology. The demonstration comprised 56 autonomous USVs and was held in the Wanshan Archipelago near Hong Kong. The ME40 USV is a 1.63 m long, 0.71 m wide, and 0.37 m tall modular USV that is typically configured for hydrographic surveys. These systems provide the sea vehicles with real-time decision making and collaborative engagement capabilities, enabling them to perform complex and high-risk maneuvers with minimal human intervention. Swarming technology will mark the next big leap for unmanned platforms, both for the civilian and military market. In 2017 the Pentagon unveiled the Perdix autonomous drone, that operates in cooperative swarms of 20 or more.
- Indian Air Force Jaguar jet crashes in Kutch