- The US Navy is boosting its fleet of patrol boats for its near-shore operations. Gravois Aluminum Boats LLC, doing business as Metal Shark, is being awarded a delivery order for 40 Patrol Boats at a cost of $18.4 million. The Metal Shark 40PBX has been chosen as the Navy’s new standard patrol boat in October 2017. The boat is replacing the fleet of force protection boats currently in use with Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Coastal Riverine Forces (CRF). The PBX is a 40 ft, welded-aluminum pilothouse patrol boat characterized by a chiseled, angular profile and a faceted hull, and is powered by twin diesel inboards driving water jet propulsors. The jet drives allow the joystick-controlled boat to hit speeds up to 35 knots. In its standard configuration the boat is equipped with a variety of weaponry, including a pair of remotely operated and stabilized 25 mm chain guns and six crewed .50 caliber machine guns. Its C4SI suite allows for enhanced situational awareness, survivability and multi-mission support. The contract also includes basic boat equipment, long-term preservation, boat familiarization and crew training. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Jeanerette, Louisiana, and is expected to be completed by April 2021.
- Sierra Nevada Corp. is being contracted to support the KC-130J tanker aircraft platform. The awarded $10.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification provides for the engineering and manufacturing of an outer wing station-430 to be installed on the aircraft. The KC-130J is a variant of the combat-proven C-130J and is used by the operating forces for aerial refueling, ground refueling, tactical transportation of personnel or cargo, and logistic support missions. The outer wing station, also known as rainbow panels are attached to the center wing and provide the aircraft with lift. The outer wing run from station 0 to 576. Work will be performed in Centennial, Colorado and Sparks, Nevada, and is scheduled for completion in July 2019.
- The US Special Operations Command is procuring upgrades for its M4A1 rifles. Sig Sauer is set to supply SOCOM with the Suppressed Upper Receiver Group (SURG). The five-year firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $48 million. The M4 Carbine is the latest member of the M16 family, offering a shorter weapon more suited to close-quarters battle, or to units who would find a full-length rifle too bulky. SURG is a 5.56mm, integrally suppressed upper receiver. This short stroke gas piston upper features a 6.75? barrel with a permanently attached 19 baffle, Titanium suppressor. It has two gas settings for use with sub and supersonic ammunition. Short stroke gas pistons eliminate carbon blow-back into the rifles chamber, and also reduce the heat problem created by the super-hot gases used to cycle the M4. The majority of work will be performed at the company’s location in Newington, New Hampshire and is expected to be completed by July 2023.
- The Navy is contracting L3 Technologies and Boeing to procure two EA-18G Tactical Operational Flight Trainers. The companies are respectively being awarded with a $9.5 million and $9.1 million contract. The EA-18G has a 90% commonality with F/A-18 Super Hornet, sharing its airframe, radar and weapon options. Only difference is that the Growler substitutes the Hornets 20mm Vulcan Gatling gun with advanced electrical equipment, providing US forces with an essential electronic attack capability. L3’s work will be performed in Arlington, Texas and is expected to be completed by November 2019. Boeing’s work will be performed in Arlington, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri, with an estimated completion expected by December 2019.
Middle East & Africa
- Turkey and Ukraine plan to jointly manufacture the new Antonov An-188 military cargo aircraft. Parties involved in negotiations include Turkey’s defense procurement office, TAI, Antonov and Ukraine’s umbrella defense entity Ukroboronprom. Turkish officials have made clear that for any co-production deal to go ahead the aircraft must be brought to full compliance with NATO standards. The An-188 multi-purpose military transport aircraft is a modification of An-70 medium-range transport aircraft, which was unveiled at the Paris Air Show in 2015. The plane will be equipped with four D-436-148FM three-shaft high by-pass turbofan engines and an advanced glass cockpit with the latest flight navigation and communication equipment. Featuring short take-off and landing (STOL) capability, the jet-powered aircraft will be able to perform take-off and landing on different airfields, including unpaved runways and short runways with a length of 1000 yards. The An-188 features a flight distance of up to 4784 miles, a cruising altitude of up to 40000 feet, and a speed of up to 497 mph depending on aircraft and engine type and variant.
- The French government is greenlighting the development of a new generation air-to-air missile. This program will renew the MICA of the Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighters in use by the Air Force and Navy. The MICA NG will be developed come in IR and electromagnetic variants and will replace the current MICA, whose withdrawal of service is expected between 2018 and 2013. The MICA NG is the first weapons program launched under France’s 2019-2025 Military Program Law. A Rafale can carry up to six Mica missiles. A Rafale pilot can release the MICA when intercepting an aircraft beyond visual range and can also fire the weapon from its rails when locked in a dogfight. The Rafale will also carry the Meteor missile to hit aircraft beyond visual range. The new missiles are scheduled for delivery between 2026 and 2031.
- The Indian government is upgrading New Delhi’s air-defense systems. The capital will receive a new missile defense system, a reconfigured no-fly zone and refined protocols that regulate the termination of rogue planes. The new National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASMS-II) will be procured from the US at a cost of roughly $1 billion. NASAMS is a medium-range, network-centric air defense system designed and developed jointly by Raytheon and Kongsberg. The system is armed with 3D Sentinel radars, short and medium range missiles, launchers, fire-distribution centers and command-and-control units. The system can identify, engage and destroy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and UAVs. The system is network centric with an open architecture which increases survivability in case of electronic attacks. The missile system can engage 72 targets simultaneously in active and passive modes. The primary weapon of the system is the AIM-120 AMRAAM. If the purchase goes through India will join the RNoAF, the Dutch Army, the Spanish Army and the US Capital Region which are all currently deploying the NASMS.
- Watch: USS Wichita will be delivered to the USN later this summer.