- The Navy is contracting Flour Marine Propulsion LLC for work on nuclear propulsion. The cost-plus-fixed fee contract is valued at $1,2 billion and provides for work at the Naval Nuclear Laboratory. The Naval Nuclear Laboratory falls under the Department of Energy and provides advanced nuclear propulsion work and technical support to the Navy. They specifically work on the Navy’s aircraft carrier and submarine nuclear fleet. The USA has had an all-nuclear submarine fleet for over 50 years, a policy that dates back to the visionary Admiral Hyman Rickover. On the surface, America’s aircraft carriers became an all-nuclear fleet with the retirement of the USS Kitty Hawk. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative estimated value of this contract to $13 billion. Work will be performed in Pennsylvania, New York and Idaho.
- GE Aviation Systems LLC is being tapped to support the US’s fleet of tanker aircraft. The awarded firm-fixed-price modification has a value of $18 million and provided for additional spare parts on the KC-130J propeller system. The KC-130J is a version of the classic C-130 Hercules. The KC-130J is a multi-role, medium-sized fixed-wing aerial refueling aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin primarily for the US Marine Corps. The US Navy and the USMC currently operate a fleet of 47 KC-130J Hercules aircraft. The plane is powered by four Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines. Each engine, driving an all-composite six-blade R391 propeller, develops a power of 3,425kW. Work will be performed in Sterling, Virginia and is expected to be completed in May 2022.
Middle East & Africa
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to receive support for its Vision 2030 plans as part of a US foreign military sale. Kratos Technology & Training Solutions is being awarded a $53 million contract modification under the International Program the company will provide program planning, logistics and a variety of technical services and instructional services in support of Saudi Arabia. These services support all levels of Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ Vision 2030 goals. Saudi Arabia is almost completely reliant on outside military purchases. One of the 2030 plan’s pillars is developing a domestic military production capacity so that it is less dependent on the US and foreign military purchases. Work will be performed at various locations in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Jubail, Jeddah, Dammam, and Ras al Ghar.
- Jane’s reports that the Air Force of Mali is adding four light attack aircraft to its fleet. The African nation has purchased four Embraer EMB 314/A-29 Super Tucanos. The country had ordered a total of six aircraft in 2015, however after a series of financial issues the order was reduced to four. According to the company the Super Tucano is designed to carry a fighter’s typical array of weapons, either smart or conventional. Its armament line-up is fully integrated with its avionics system and comprises most advanced ordnance and sensors. The Super Tucanos delivered to Mali are armed with 12.7 mm machine guns and can carry 70 mm rocket pods and 300 lb. bombs. The government also indicated that it also acquired 20 mm cannon pods for the aircraft. With this delivery, Mali joins Angola, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania as African operators of the Super Tucano.
- The United Kingdom is looking to boost its inventory of Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs). The US State Department is determined to approve the possible foreign military sale valued at $650 million. The UK wants to buy up to 200 AIM-120D missiles. The AIM-120D features C7 improvements and adds a number of strong upgrades to the missile. The new hardware and software is rumored to offer improved jamming resistance, better operation in conjunction with modern AESA radars, and an improved high-angle off-boresight “seeker cone,” in order to give the missile a larger no-escape zone. Less-publicized improvements reportedly include a dual-pulse rocket motor, for up to 50% more range and better near-target maneuvering. The UK will be the first export customer of the AIM-120D. The deal also includes missile containers, weapon system support, training and warranties. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems Company.
- Italy’s Guardia di Finanza is increasing its maritime patrol mission capabilities. The militarized police force will purchase an ATR 72-600 that will be outfitted by Leonardo. Valued at $51.2 million the contract includes the plane, training and logistics support. If a number of unspecified options are exercised the total value of the contract could reach $250 million. According to Flightglobal, the twin-engine turboprop will be capable of performing a number of roles, including maritime patrol, search and rescue, anti-piracy and anti-drug smuggling operations, and surveillance of territorial waters. The plane is expected to be delivered sometime in 2019.
- The Indonesian Navy is establishing a new squadron primarily tasked with UAV maritime surveillance missions. The Skadron Udara 700 will be based in Juanda Surabaya and will operate the ScanEagle UAS. Indonesia is currently anticipating the delivery of four Insitu ScanEagle UAVs and associated equipment, from the US government. The UAVs are being provided under a grant by the US government under a capacity-building program for Southeast Asian navies known as the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI). The ScanEagle is solidly based on Insitu’s original “Insight” platform, with different variants distinguished by their payloads and accompanying equipment rather than their aerodynamic design. The UAVs are launched by catapult, and autonomously recovered using a folding “skyhook” and catch-line. The Indonesian MSI package seeks to specifically improve the country’s maritime patrol capabilities, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance integration, and equipment maintenance capacity.
- EA-6B Prowler flies