Multi-million contract for F-16 avionics support | Space Acquisition overhaul is underway | Javelins incomingJul 26, 2018 05:00 UTC
- Leidos Inc. is being contracted in support of the Air Force’s avionics intermediate shop product support integration program. The firm-fixed-price requirements contract has a value of $620 million and allows for independent product support and the provision of single-point solutions for the F-16 advanced avionics intermediate shop. Avionics is the science and technology of the development and use of electrical and electronic devices in aviation and is essential to keeping jets ready to fly at a moment’s notice. Line replaceable units processed through the AIS are returned quickly to the supply system, without having to use time and money for shipping to a centralized intermediate repair facility or being returned to depot. Transportation time would dramatically hinder asset availability. Using high-tech equipment, technicians are able to perform on-scene screening of the aircraft, which increases the return-to-service rate. Work will be performed at Hill Air Force Base and Robins Air Force Base as well as in 23 European countries that either host an US AFB or are foreign military sales customers. Work is expected to be completed by July 24, 2023.
- Management consulting firm McKinsey is being awarded a contract modification in support of the Air Force. The company will implement the Space Acquisition Transformation plan under this $8.4 million modification. The pivot towards space is part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, which lays the foundation towards a separate military department responsible for national security space. An interim report published in March was highly critical of the current acquisition system for space systems. It pointed out that today’s processes slow down modernization at a time when US access and use of space capabilities are being threatened by foreign adversaries. The 2018 NDAA calls for changes in the management of military space components, most of which are controlled by the US Air Force. Speeding up the acquisition process will require a sweeping review of how the Space and Missile Systems Center does business. This change will likely involve a change of management culture, essentially moving away from being mission/product focus towards managing space systems as an enterprise. Work will be performed at Los Angeles Air Force Base, El Segundo, California, and is expected to be completed by March 29, 2019.
- Pratt & Whitney Military Engines is set to continue its engine work in support of the F-35 platform. The company is being awarded a modification which is valued at $24.6 million and which provides for the procurement of F135 Low-Rate Initial Production 9. The contract also includes needed support equipment and associated labor for depot activities outside the continental US and fleet modernization efforts for the Navy, USMC, Air Force, foreign military sales customers and non-DoD participants. The LRIP 9 production contract include 53 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) and 13 short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion systems for the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps as well as five countries – Italy, Norway, Israel, Japan and the United Kingdom. The F135 engine maintains a 96 percent full mission capability requirement, and new production engine reliability is exceeding 90 percent, well ahead of key 2020 requirements. Work will be performed in East Hartford, Connecticut and Indianapolis, Indiana. It is expected to be completed in May 2021.
- Several US allies are set to receive a boost to their anti-tank capabilities as part of a US foreign military sale. Raytheon-Lockheed Martin Javelin JV is being awarded a contract modification that provides full-rate production of the Javelin system at a cost of $307.5 million. The FGM-148 Javelin missile system is a heavy fire-and-forget missile that will reliably destroy any enemy armored vehicle, and many fortifications as well. Javelin technically consists of 2 parts. The $80k Javelin missile that come in ready-to-fire tubes and the $125k Command Launch Unit that houses the weapons sensors, optics and electronics. In Iraq the weapon proved that it can fill the niche between high and low-intensity conflicts, which led to a rise in popularity with American and international customers. After work is completed at the company’s location in Tucson, Arizona, the Javelin will be delivered to Australia, Estonia, Lithuania, Turkey Taiwan and Ukraine by August 2021.
Middle East & Africa
- Alsalam Aerospace Industries is being tapped to convert six mission capable Saudi F-15S aircraft to a F-15SA configuration. The contract has a total value of $59.6 million, of which $17.8 million will come from the US foreign military sales fund. Services include program management, conversion labor and storage. The F-15SA can be considered to be the most advanced production F-15 Eagle that is being built today. In 2015 Saudi Arabia ordered 84 new build F-15SAs and close to 70 kits to upgrade their existing F-15S fleet to the SA configuration. This configuration includes a full fly-by-wire control system, a new AESA radar, a digital electronic warfare and radar warning suite, missile launch detection system, updated flat-panel display cockpits with helmet mounted displays and an infrared search and track system. Work will be performed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and is expected to be completed by August 2020.
- The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is set to receive a boost to its UAV fleet as part of a US foreign military sale. Insitu Inc. is being awarded a modification to a previously issued firm-fixed-price delivery order, that provides for the production of 27 ScanEagle UAVs and 37 payloads at a cost of $10.8 million. In March Insitu had received a contract valued at over $47 million to support Afghanistan’s surveillance efforts. The payloads are housed in the nose section. The operators can swap the payloads in the field in a few minutes. The sensors installed in the turret allow the operator to track stationary or moving targets without having to re-maneuver the air vehicle. The payloads include electro-optical and infrared sensors, biological and chemical sensors, laser designators and a magnetometer for identification and locating magnetic anomalies. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Bingen, Washington, and is expected to be completed by December 2019.
- Jane’s reports that Swedish defense contractor Saab is intensifying flight trials for its newly developed Gripen E fighter jet. Prototype 39-8 has been flying since June 2017 and is mainly used to test the airframe and flight controls. Prototypes 39-9 and 39-10 have already left the production line at Linköping and are currently undergoing verification ahead of their first flights. The will be used as a tactical systems testbed and as first production-standard airframe respectively. The E-series is Saab’s latest answer to evolving threats in the modern battlespace. The E-series has a new and more powerful engine, improved range performance and the ability to carry greater payloads. It also has a new AESA-radar, InfraRed Search and Track system, highly advanced electronic warfare and communication systems readying the platform for the 21st century. The JAS-39 Gripen is an excellent lightweight fighter by all accounts, with attractive flyaway costs. Sweden is due to receive the first of 60 Gripen Es in 2019, with deliveries running through to 2026. The only international customer to date, Brazil, has ordered an initial batch of 28 Gripen Es and eight twin-seat Gripen Fs to be delivered between 2019 and 2024.
- The Philippines is set to receive several retired turboprop light attack aircraft from the US Air Force. The aircraft to be delivered have been retired from the US military since the mid-1990s, will be provided to the Asian nation for free as part of a general assistance package to the country’s military. The aircraft will be a mixture of two OV-10A and two OV-10G+ aircraft formerly operated by NASA. Modifications to the aircraft include a L3-Wescam MX-15Di Electro-Optical turret, Link 16 tactical datalinks, full-motion video, a glass cockpit and the ability to fire the BAE’s APKWS GPS-guided rocket. Military applications for which the Bronco is particularly suited include anti-guerrilla operations, helicopter escort, close air support, armed reconnaissance and forward air control. In addition, it could be used for utility missions such as cargo paradrop — delivery of up to six paratroops, medical evacuation, smoke screening and psychological warfare with leaflets and loudspeakers. The Philippines is the last operator of the OV-10 Bronco, with its air force currently operating between eight and 10 aircraft. The new aircraft are expected to be operational in early 2019.
- Watch: F35 engine upgrade could enable Directed Energy Weapons