More dollars for the LCS program | Saudi Arabia boosts its Navy | Japan in dire need to find F-2 successorJul 18, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Thales Defense and Security is being tapped to support worldwide aircraft deployment by the US military. The awarded firm-fixed-price contract provides for up to 29 Deployable-Instrument Landing System (D-ILS) production units and has a value of $12.2 million. The highly mobile D-ILS units will be used in airfield environments to precisely guide pilots on their final approach during low-visibility or low-ceiling weather conditions. The Thales D-ILS essentially provides the equivalent of fixed-based Instrument Landing System capability at tactical airfields and environmentally diverse regions such as sites hit by natural disasters. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $126 million. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by July, 2023.
- The US Army is looking for work in support of its Waveform Development Environment Ecosystem. Thales Defense & Security, Rockwell Collins, Northrop Grumman, Harris Corp and General Dynamics are set to compete for each order of the hybrid contract valued at $249 million. Waveform Development Environment Ecosystem is the US Army’s multi-year program to facilitate the rapid development and production of software-defined radio waveforms. This technology is needed to provide troops with the ability to securely send and access large amounts of encrypted data simultaneously. Part of this ecosystem is Joint Tactical Radio System (JSTARS) or Rifleman radio. The Rifleman radio can create self-forming, ad hoc, voice and data networks. What’s even more significant is that they also enable any leader at the tactical level to track the position of individual soldiers who are also using the radio. That’s a big deal in urban environments, which can force a squad or platoon to split up. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 12, 2023.
- Lockheed Martin is being awarded a modification in support of the Navy’s LCS program. The un-definitized contract action modification has a value of $450.7 million and provides for long-lead-time material and detail design in support of the construction of four Multi Mission Surface Combatant ships. Lockheed Martin MMSC (Multi-Mission Surface Combatant) is a derivative of the US Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship. The MMSC platform can be configured with a variety of sensors and weapons based on operational requirements of the naval customer. It also allows for interoperability with the US Navy and allied naval forces in joint operations. Its mission capabilities include anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare, and special operations. This modification brings the total cumulative face value to over $1 billion. The contract also includes a $225.3 million US foreign military sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside and outside the continental US. They include Crozet, Virginia; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland and the UK. Production is expected to be completed by October 2025.
Middle East & Africa
- Jane’s reports that Saudi Arabia is purchasing five new corvettes with a price tag of $2.1 billion. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been negotiating the deal since 2015, with the last vessel expected to be delivered in 2022. The contract will involve around seven million hours of work at the company’s shipyards in Bahía de Cádiz, Ría de Ferrol and Cartagena. According to the data from Navantia, the ships will be based on the Avante 2200 design. The total displacement of these corvettes is over 2,500 tons, the length of the hull is 98.9 m. The two diesel power plants will provide a speed of up to 25 knots. The crew will consist of 92 sailors. The ships will be armed Harpoon anti-ship missiles, ESSM surface to air missiles, a Super Rapid naval gun built by Leonardo, a CIWS system, torpedo launchers and remote weapon stations. The multi-purpose vessel is especially designed for surveillance and maritime traffic control missions, search and rescue missions and assistance to other ships, among others. In addition, the vessels will provide an important capacity for defense of strategic assets, intelligence gathering and anti-submarine, anti-aircraft, anti-surface and electronic warfare missions.
- Leonardo and General Atomics will jointly work on integrating Leonardo’s SAGE electronic warfare surveillance system onto the MQ-9B UAS. SAGE analyses the electromagnetic spectrum across the Land, Sea and Air domains in order to map the source of active emissions. Using highly accurate Direction Finding (DF) antennas, SAGE builds target locations and provides situational awareness, advance warning of threats and the ability to cue other sensors. The sensor with a 360° radar-warning-receiver capability allows to identify the location and parametric data of specific RF emitters from a single platform, thus enhancing the tactical electronic intelligence picture and situational awareness. SAGE is already in service with the South Korean Navy, Brazilian Navy and Indonesian Air Force. The two companies plan to integrate SAGE into the MQ-9B airframe without the need for external pods. First orders will be possible as soon as 2019.
- Swedish defense contractor Saab is unveiling its next generation RBS15 Gungnir anti-ship missile system. The RBS15 missile family is optimized for the littoral environment. According to the company the Gungnir will be offered in both air-launched and surface-launched configurations, a highly advanced target seeker and a range of more than 186 miles. The system is backwards compatible to that it can easily be integrated with the Mk3 system. RBS-15 fire-and-forget missiles grew out of Sweden’s need for missiles that excelled in littoral warfare situations like Sweden’s fractured coastlines and innumerable bays. They have a longer reach and heavier punch than counterparts like the Harpoon. The option to engage targets from the air, as well as from land and sea gives the ability to perform coordinated attacks, with multiple missiles, against a wide range of naval and land-based targets thereby increasing mission flexibility and success. The RBS15 Mk4 development and production program started in March 2017. One month later a first order with a value of $362 million was placed, with deliveries to take place from 2017 to 2026.
- The government of Taiwan is set to receive support for its fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft as part of a US foreign military sale. URS Federal Services will provide a maintenance and supply support to meet all of the 21st Fighter Squadron mission objectives under this firm-fixed task order valued at $7.3 million. Taiwan is currently in the middle of a modernization program that seeks to improve the island’s ability to control the sea and deny enemies to take that control. The ultimate issue for Taiwan is one of numbers. In the air, quantity has a quality all its own. The current fighter jet availability is quite low with just 74 out of 146 F-16s considered to be operational. This task order provides safe, efficient and effective maintenance for sortie production of Taiwan’s 14 Block 20 F-16 aircraft for the Taiwan Air Force. Work will be performed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by end of July, 2019.
- The government of Japan is in dire need to replace its ageing fleet of F-2 fighters. The country is currently searching for a Japan-led international collaborative development for a new fighter jet. Lockheed Martin already issued a development proposal that is a big favorite. The company would build a high-performance stealth machine integrating F-35 electronics onto a F-22 platform. However, the plane will be more expensive than initially thought thus raising concerns to the program’s cost effectiveness. Lockheed estimates the initial price tag to be around $177 million per plane, essentially making it more expensive than the F-35. Japan will start retiring its fleet of 90 F-2s by 2030. Development of a new plane takes about 10-years therefore the Ministry of Defense intends to specify any concrete development policy by the end of the year.
- Watch: Torpedoes and anti-ship missiles sink ship during RIMPAC 2018