SM-3 ballistic missiles get a new digital data link | Morocco receives ship-killers | IAI’s Gabriel to protect FinlandJul 09, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Northrop Grumman Undersea Systems is being contracted to support the Navy’s undersea warfare capabilities. The $9.9 million firm-fixed-priced, cost-plus-fixed-fee modification provides for the accomplishment of depot level repair, maintenance, and modifications of the AN/AQS-24 mine detecting system. The AN/AQS-24 Mine hunting system is a helicopter towed sonar array system that is used to detect and classify oceanic mine threats. Its laser line scanner provides precision optical identification of underwater mines and other objects of interest. The system offers target box cuing and high-speed operation to provide high-resolution optical imagery for target identification. The AN/AQS-24 offers synthetic aperture sonar and advanced navigation controls and digital signal processing for target positioning. The system is rapidly deployable, and has been towed from aircraft, surface ships, and remotely operated vehicles. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Annapolis, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by April 2019.
- The Missile Defense Agency is procuring a new digital data link solution for its ballistic defense missiles. The awarded contract is valued at $7.4 million and enables Raytheon Missile Systems to develop, build, test, qualify and integrate a digital data link (DDL) solution to resolve existing Plate 3A transceiver obsolescence for the SM-3 IB missile. SM-3 Block IB has become the main variant for orders since 2011. With Block IB and associated ship-based upgrades, the Navy gains the ability to defend against medium range missiles fielded by countries like North Korea and Iran, and some Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles under development by those rogue regimes. A DDL is needed to send guidance commands to the missile. This modification increases the total cumulative face value of the contract t $1,7 billion. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, with an expected completion date of December 2019.
Middle East & Africa
- The Kingdom of Morocco is adding several types of US-made anti-ship missiles to its inventory. Types include AGM, RGM and UGM. The 2,000-pound AGM-158 JASSM is intended to be a stealthy, inexpensive guided cruise missile. It’s designed to attack well-defended targets without putting its carrier aircraft in the crosshairs of new long-range surface to air missile systems. The AGM-88E AARGM is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile whose primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. The sub-sonic, wave-skimming GM-84 Harpoon has been adapted into several variants and exported to many navies around the world. The Royal Moroccan Navy does not have launching platforms for this kind of missiles on its ships and has no land to sea launch platforms at all. All indications are that these six missiles will be used with the RMAF F-16C for anti-ship missions.
- The Finnish Ministry of Defense is giving its O.K. to proceed with the acquisition of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Gabriel anti-ship missile. The missile will equip the Finnish Navy’s Squadron 2000 Hamina-class missile fast attack craft and future Squadron 2020 Class multirole corvettes. The Gabriel will replace the current Saab RBS-15 SF anti-ship missile when it reaches its end of life service in the early 2020s. The Gabriel is a short-range anti-ship missile similar to the French Exocet and US Harpoon. It is a multi-role missile that, with newer variants, can have a range of over 100 miles. It has been in service with multiple countries since 1982. IAI’s Gabriel was selected over four other systems offered, including Kongsberg’s NSM, MBDA’s Exocet, Boeing’s Harpoon and Saab’s RBS15. The purchase is valued at $190 million and provides for launchers, missiles, simulators, test equipment, spare parts and training. The deliveries will take place between the years 2019 and 2025.
- Italy may drop out of its F-35 deal with Lockheed Martin. Italy’s defense minister Elisabetta Trenta has said that the government will not buy more fighter jets and is considering whether to stick to the order to which it is already committed. Trenta comes from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement which has always been critical of the multi-billion purchase, saying that the money would be better spent to strengthen welfare and invest in European defense projects. However, she also acknowledged the fact that cancelling the placed order may result in strong financial penalties. Italy is a Tier 2 partner in the F-35 JSF program and has made significant investments in its development. The country intends to host a European Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) production line in Cameri, near Milan.
- Airbus may soon sign its first export contract for its A400M military transport plane. The name of the potential export country as not been named yet. Airbus Defense and Space Chief Executive Dirk Hoke said, “we are pretty optimistic that there will be a first signature of a contract for the A400M for export still this year”. Airbus’ A400M is a €20+ billion program that aims to repeat Airbus’ civilian successes in the full size military transport market. A series of smart design decisions were made around capacity, extensive use of modern materials, multi-role capability as a refueling tanker, and a multinational industrial program; all of which leave the aircraft well positioned to take overall market share from Lockheed Martin’s C-130 Hercules. Airbus says the A400M, built by Airbus for seven NATO buyers (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey) is finally turning the corner after years of cost overruns, technical challenges and schedule delays.
- The UK may soon receive first offers for its Sentry E-3D fleet replacement program. Two of Europe’s top aerospace defense companies are discussing combining their airborne early warning capabilities in an attempt to head off a possible sole-source British purchase of the Boeing Wedgetail. A potential collaboration would see for the integration of Saab’s Erieye radar onto an Airbus-built platform. Airbus has quite a lot experience in converting commercial A330 and A320 aircraft into the world’s market-leading tanker. The Erieye antenna reportedly provides coverage out to 279 miles, with a detection range of 217 miles even in challenging conditions. The Erieye Ground Interface Segment (EGIS) provides a 2-way exchange of data via an associated “Link-E” datalink sub-system, and the plane’s capabilities can also reportedly be used to support border control or even rescue operations. Late last month, The Times newspaper reported the MoD was heading for a possible sole source buy of between four and six Wedgetail aircraft at a cost of up to $3.4 billion to replace the Sentry fleet. The Sentry’s are currently due to stay in service with the RAF until 2035.
- The government of Singapore is set to receive support for its fleet of F-15 SG fighter jets as part of a US foreign military sale valued at $10.2 million. PKL Services Inc. will provide the Republic of Singapore Air Force with training on the F-15 aircraft, including both maintenance and operations. The F-15 SG is an advanced version of the US Air Force’s F-15E Strike Eagle, which adds longer range and a lot of ordnance to the base F-15 air superiority fighter. Singapore’s fighters come with a number of enhancements, making them the world’s most modern Strike Eagles. The location of performance will be Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho and is expected to be completed by end of September 2022.
- Two more Su-30SMs are delivered to fighter regiment in Kursk