- The Navy is procuring spares for its F-35 Lightning II aircraft. Under the $503 million contract modification Lockheed Martin will provide air vehicle initial spares, to include F-35 deployment spares packages, afloat spares packages, and associated consumables required to support the air vehicle delivery schedules for the Air Force, Marine Corps and non-DoD participants. The F-35 program has had a variety of issues with spare part availability. The logistics system designed to keep the F-35 fleet flying often doesn’t, with more than a fifth of grounded planes sitting idle waiting for spare parts. According to a report by Aviation Week & Space Technology, twenty two percent of the F-35s grounded globally are unable to fly because they are waiting on parts. This contract modification combines purchases for the Air Force ($106,5 million); Marine Corps ($91,6 million); Navy ($68,1 million); and non-DoD participants ($236,8 million). Work will be performed at various locations inside and outside the continental US. They include Fort Worth, Texas; El Segundo, California and Cheltenham, United Kingdom. Work is expected to be completed in December 2023.
- DRS Sustainment Systems Inc. is being tapped by the US Army in support of its fleet of Abrams tanks. The fixed-price-incentive contract is valued at $192 million and provides for the procurement of Abrams Active Protection systems, sets of countermeasures, as well as calibration and maintenance kits in support of the tanks Enhancement program. The active protection system (APS) will equip a brigade of US Army tanks, protecting them during a deployment to Europe in 2020. Up to 80 M1A2 Abrams are set to be retrofitted with the Israeli-made Trophy system. Trophy works by ringing a tank with flat panel radar sensors that constantly monitor for incoming threats. Once an incoming tank round, anti-tank missile, or shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket is detected on a collision course with the tank, the Trophy system launches a number of explosively formed projectiles in a shotgun-like pattern at the incoming threat weapon. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, with an estimated completion date of March 31, 2020.
- The US Army is contracting Raytheon Missile Systems for the production of artillery shells. The contract modification is valued at $93 million and provides for the procurement of Excalibur 155mm projectiles. The M982 Excalibur is delivered as a complete 155mm artillery shell, with GPS guidance and pop-out fins. Excalibur is an International Cooperative Development program involving the USA and Sweden, on account of their interest for their Archer artillery program. The most recent operational version is the Excalibur Block Ia-2. It adds base bleed technology and maximum charge compatibility, in order to increase range from 14.3 to 25.9 statute miles when fired from US howitzers or Denel’s G6. One Excalibur round costs about $70.000. Work will be performed at various locations, including Tucson, Arizona; McAlester, Oklahoma; Karlskoga, Sweden and South Plymouth, United Kingdom. The contract has an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2020.
- Marvin Engineering is set to supply the Air Force with launcher systems in support of its AIM-120 missile systems. The $126 million contract provides for 1,450 guided missile launchers and 925 sub-assembly components used for F-15s, F-16s and Navy F-18s AIM-120 systems. US-only AIM-120D missiles feature the C7 improvements, but the D version reportedly adds a very strong set of upgrades, making it more capable and lethal. Work will be performed in Inglewood, California, and is expected to be completed by May 28, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
- The government of Kuwait will receive software updates for its fleet of Super Hornet fighter aircraft as part of a US foreign military sale. As part of the an un-definitized contract action with a not-to-exceed value of $179 million, Boeing will provide the system configuration set H12K for the Kuwait Air Force configured F/A-18E/F Aircraft software development. The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. At present, Super Hornets that can compete against contemporary designs, albeit with some drawbacks. The F/A-18 platform is currently receiving a general upgrade to its electronics, performance and stealth as means of extending its service life to 2030 and beyond. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed in September 2022.
- French defense manufacturer Daher is currently testing an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) configuration for its TBM 910 and TBM 930 single-engine turboprop aircraft. The new configuration allows the mounting of sensors and high-definition cameras beneath the wings of the aircraft. The TBM 910/TBM 930 ISR version also can fly surveillance missions with a multi-sensor optronic retractable turret, as well as a Synthetic Aperture Radar/Ground Moving Target Indicator. The TBM 910 is just as fast as its predecessor in flight, while offering pilots quicker access to cockpit information, along with safety-enhancing guidance and improved readability. The aircraft is a cheaper alternative to the high-end TBM 930 version. Both aircraft have a maximum cruise speed of 330kt, a 1,730nm range and fuel consumption of 37gal per hour. The aircraft can take off and land from 2,455ft runways.
- Jane’s reports that France’s Arquus Hornet remote controlled weapon system (RCWS). The newly developed system will equip the future French Army’s fleet of armored fighting vehicles. Arquus is already a protected vehicle and integrated support market leader, and a major player in the Scorpion program. The Hornet range RCWS are highly dependable and deliver optimum connectivity, with the tactical situation being displayed on screen. The most basic version, called the Hornet Lite, will be armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun (MG) provided with 400 rounds of ammunition. The standard Hornet RCWS can be armed with a 7.62 mm MAG58 with 1,000 rounds of ammunition, 12.7 mm M2 HB MG with 300 rounds, or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL) with 64 grenades. Ammunition is stored in a box magazine on the left side. The Griffon APCs will field the Hornet from 2019 and will be followed by the Jaguar reconnaissance vehicle from 2021.
- The Philippine Navy could potentially receive more Beechcraft King Air TC-90 patrol aircraft from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The JMSDF has given the Navy five TC-90 patrol aircraft as part of a deal made in 2016. Three of the delivered aircraft are already operational, while the other two are being equipped and painted for Philippine service. The TC-90 has a range of more than 1,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 226 knots, and is capable of carrying eight passengers, along with the pilots. The additional TC-90s are expected to boost the Philippine Navy’s capability in intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime air surveillance.
- German defense manufacturer KMW floats new tank design!