Aug 31, 2018 05:00 UTC
Raytheon is being tapped to provide the US Navy with logistics services needed to maintain the night-vision systems installed on its rotor and tilt-rotor aircraft. The five-year performance-based logistics contract amounts to $59.7 million and sustains the availability of the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems installed on the CH-53 and V-22. The US Marine Corps currently has 165 CH-53 Super Stallions in service. The helicopter is equipped with the lightweight, high performance AN/AAQ-29A FLIR on a 12 inch turret. The FLIR pod helps helicopter pilots with low-level navigation to high altitude long-range targeting. The V-22 Osprey has a nose-mounted AN/AAQ-27 FLIR that provides navigation and target recognition capabilities in darkness and low-visibility conditions. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facilities in McKinney, Texas; El Segundo, California and in Jackson, Florida.
The US Army is spending $491 million on generators. The firm-fixed-price contract awarded to Cummins Power Generation provides for the production of several Advanced Medium Mobile Power Sources (AAMPS). AAMPS has been developed under the Army’s Advanced State of the Art Power Components Program, which was devised to sustain a reliable electrical power availability on the battlefield. The current family of AMMPS consists of five versions: the 5 kW, 10kW, 15kW, 30kW, 60kW generators. In Afghanistan this new generation of generators saves about 300,000 gallons of fuel each month. The Army needs a reliable power network to control its tanks, aircraft and battle formations which heavily relies on electrical powered communication technologies. The contract is set to run until August 2022.
L-3 Communications will produce a number of Electro-Optic/Infrared/Laser Designator payloads for the US Army’s RQ-7Bv2 Shadow UASs. The firm-fixed-price contract is valued at $454 million and is expected to be completed by August, 2023. The Shadow v2 is the latest model of the Shadow series. It is an all-digital system, optimized for new multi-mission, single-sortie profiles and manned/unmanned teaming. The UAS has a wingspan of 20ft, and can provide a 9 hour coverage at altitudes of up to 18.000ft. L-3s payload will provide near-real-time reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, as well as intelligence and battle damage assessment capabilities.
Aviall Services, a subsidiary of Boeing will provide the US and Australian Navies with essential components for the P-8A Poseidon. The $23.7 million firm-fixed-price contract procures six quick engine change & engine build up components. The engine’s used on the P-8 are designed so that the whole assembly can be removed from and replaced in the vehicle as a unit. Under the Quick Engine Change concept, if a unit requires a major engine job, the power plant can be removed and another one quickly installed. The Poseidon is powered by a CFM56-7B27AE engine is produced by CFM International belongs to the family of high-bypass turbofan aircraft engines. Work will be performed at the company’s facilities in Everett, Washington and Dallas, Texas. The US Navy and Australia will pay $15.8 and $7.9 million respectively. The contract expected to be completed in May 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The United Arab Emirates will receive a number of sensors, designators and processors for its AH-64E Apache helicopters as part of a US Foreign Military Sale. Lockheed Martin will produce modernized day sensor assembly (M-DSA) kits, laser range finder designators, and flight code processors at a cost of $44.8 million. The M-DSA, also known as Arrowhead, is an electro-optical and fire control system that the Apache helicopter pilots use for combat targeting of their Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as flying in day, night, or bad weather missions. Tin 2010, the UAE bought a total of 60 Apaches in a $5 billion deal. Work will be performed at the contractor’s location in Orlando, Florida and is scheduled for completion by the end of April, 2022.
Reuters reports, that Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched two Zelzal-1 missiles towards Saudi Arabia. The Zelzal-1 is part of Iran’s short-range missile systems. It is a solid-fuel heavy artillery rocket, that carries a 300 lb. warhead to a range of up to 100 miles. Saudi Arabia is leading a western-backed alliance of Sunni Muslim Arab states trying to restore the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, ousted from the capital Sanaa by the Iran-aligned Houthis in 2015.
One Hellenic Air Force pilot was killed when his T-2 Buckeye aircraft crashed during a routine training flight. The T-2 was once the Navy’s primary early flight training and carrier indoctrination aircraft. Every jet-qualified Naval Aviator and virtually every Naval Flight Officer from the late 1950s until 2004 received training in the T-2 Buckeye, a length of service spanning four decades. Greece bought a total of 40 T-2s. A statement by the Greek Air Force said the aircraft crashed due to mechanic failure 2 nautical miles south of the airport in Kalamata. The co-pilot survived by parachuting to safety. In the US, the Buckeye was replaced by the T-45 Goshawk.
Jane’s reports that the French SF 1/67 Pyrénées Helicopter Squadron is currently training with a new 20mm cannon installed on its multi-mission Caracal helicopters. The Caracal is a special variant of Eurocopter’s EC725 Cougar, specifically designed for or Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions. Typically they are equipped with MAG 58 machine guns, which limit the helicopter’s in-air refueling capability. Nexter’s SH-20 retractable door mounting is built around the M621 cannon, and is designed to provide the Caracal with an air-to-ground fire-support capability. The unit expects to reach an operational capability in the coming weeks.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will soon receive the last batch of ten Sukhoi Su-35S from Russia. The Su-35s is Russia’s most advanced fighter aircraft, which can compete with America’s upgraded ‘teen series’, the JAS-39, the Rafale and the Eurofighter. The per-unit cost of the fighter jet, is estimated to be about $85 million. The Diplomat notes, that Russia was initially reluctant to sell the fighter jets to China as it feared Chinese reverse engineering the plane’s powerful thrust-vectoring engine. In 2015, China became the first international customer of the Su-35S when it ordered 24 jets for a total of $2.5 billion.
Watch: When you should expect the Air Force to announce its next trainer aircraft
Aug 30, 2018 05:00 UTC
Phoenix International Holdings is being tapped to provide the US Navy with the continued maintenance and operation of its Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS). The awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee modification has a value of $29.9 million and ensures that the rescue systems are maintained in a high state of readiness so that they can be rapidly deployed on a 24/7 basis. The SRDRS is a tethered, remotely-operated vehicle that is placed into the water and attaches to the disabled submarine’s hatch. It can be transported via sea, air and land, and doesn’t need a mother submarine or dedicated surface support ship, making it more more mobile than its predecessor. The system includes an air transportable rapid assessment/underwater work system, a decompression chamber system and a pressurized rescue module. The SRDRS was first delivered to the US Navy in 2008. Work will be performed at the contractor’s location in San Diego, California and will run through August 2019.
Jane’s reports that the US Navy plans to fast-track the integration of a new gun system onto the MH-60S. The MH-60S entered service in 2002 as a replacement for the US Navy’s Boeing CH-46D Sea Knight. Its roles encompass troop transport, search and rescue, and other standard roles. However their weapons package either includes the GAU-17 M134 Minigun or the GAU-21 .50 calibre heavy machine gun limiting the helicopter to either perform SAR or SUW missions. The new externally mounted gun system (EMGS) will bridge this gap, essentially making the MH-60S capable to simultaneously perform defensive air patrols while maintaining its SAR capability. Five n-flight live trials are planned for later this year.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is currently hosting several F-35Cs from the Strike Fighter Squadron 125. The pilots and aircraft are currently conducting their Operational Test-1 (OT-1) phase, which evaluates if the JSF is ready to operate within a carrier air wing. The C-variant of the JSF is the most expensive one and features 30% more wing area, larger tails and control areas and wingtip ailerons. Its structure is strengthened so that it can withstand hundreds of launch and recovery rounds. The F-35C is expected to be the US Navy’s high-end fighter, as well as its high-end strike aircraft. OT-1 helps give the Navy an assessment of how the aircraft would perform on deployment. Rear Adm. Dale Horan, director, Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration Office is asking, “Can we maintain it? Can we get the parts? Can we get it airborne? Can we repair it if it has a problem? ” Those are the kinds of things the Navy will have to figure out in the coming days and weeks.
Middle East & Africa
Qatar is currently in the process of building a new airbase. A senior Qatari Amiri Air Force official said that the new Tamim Airbase will host the country’s new Rafale, F-15s and Typhoons. Since 2014 the country’s airforce underwent a major modernization and overhaul process including the introduction of modern technology, upgraded airfields, the first class of female fighter pilots and the acquisition of new jets. Qatar has purchased a total of 35 F-15QAs at a cost of $12 billion, 24 Rafale jets for $7.8 billion and 24 Typhoons for $6.7 billion. In the coming years the Qatar Air Force will grow its fleet to a total of 96 aircraft, which is a significant leap from its current of 12 Mirage-2000s.
Defense News reports, that the US Air Force may soon deploy some of its MQ-9 Reapers to Romania’s 71st Air Base at Campia Turzii. According to a Air Force document the service is building a new $950 million hangar that will be able to house medium-altitude, long-endurance drones. The UAV in its ISR configuration will likely conduct support intelligence-gathering operations around eastern Europe and the Black Sea. The upcoming deployment of the Reapers will help the US to generate a real-time picture of Russian activities in the Black Sea. The UAVs will assist in monitoring what ships are moving in and out and can provide early warning of hostile activities.
The Czech Republic is set to boost its inventory with 62 Titus armored vehicles. The Titus is the result of a cooperation between Tatra Trucks and Nexter Systems. The Titus looks quite similar to other MRAP models with the engine at the front, the crew compartment in the middle and the troop’s area at the rear. The vehicle is highly adaptable and can be outfitted with any kind of RWS from 7.62mm to 20mm, and 40mm grenade launcher. Its 500hp engine powers it to a maximum speed of 64 mph and to ranges of up to 434 miles. According to a company press release, there is a number of versions of the vehicle available, ranging from a classic IFV through a mobile command post, armoured ambulance to communications, maintenance and evacuation vehicles. For police purposes, there are a number of modules, which can be used to quickly prepare a vehicle to fulfil specific roles, such as the SWAT module, the WCT module (Water Cannon Tank) or the riot control module. The deal has a total value of $303.1 million, with delivers expected for the years 2020-2025.
The UK Royal Marines are currently embarking their new Commando Merlin HC4 helicopters on HMS Queen Elizabeth as part of the carrier’s four-month ‘Westlant 18’ deployment. In the upcoming months the helicopters will be provide a SAR capability in support of F-35B trials. The UK is currently in the process of upgrading a total of 55 helicopters at cost of $3 billion. Of which, 25 AW101s are refurbished to the Merlin HC4 configuration, which includes cockpit modernizations and minor redesigns, plus standard naval changes like a folding rotor head, strengthened landing gear, deck lashing points, and a fast roping point for the Royal Marines.
Russian daily newpaper Kommersant claims, that Algeria has voiced its intent to purchase 14 MiG-29M fighter jets. The new planes are set to replace the country’s Soviet-era MiG-29s. Over the last decade the Algerian Air Force was an avid costumer of Russian equipment. So far it bought 44 Su-30MKAs, 14 Mi-26T2s helicopters, 16 Yak-130 trainers and 42 Mi-28NE combat helicopters. The MiG-29 Fulcrum is a single-seat, highly maneuverable fighter aircraft designed to engage airborne targets such as aircraft, UAVs and cruise missiles and was designed as Soviet counterpart to US F-15s and F/A-18s. The upgraded M-version features a longer range, an in-flight refueling system, state-of-the-art equipment, redundant fly-by-ware system for improved safety and reliability, and higher weapon load. The potential deal has a value of $700-800 million.
Watch: The Harrier – RAF’s Top Warplanes
Aug 30, 2018 04:52 UTC
The UK Royal Marines are currently embarking
their new Commando Merlin HC4 helicopters on HMS Queen Elizabeth
as part of the carrier’s four-month ‘Westlant 18’ deployment. In the upcoming months the helicopters will be provide a SAR capability in support of F-35B trials. The UK is currently in the process of upgrading a total of 55 helicopters at cost of $3 billion. Of which, 25 AW101s are refurbished to the Merlin HC4
configuration, which includes cockpit modernizations and minor redesigns, plus standard naval changes like a folding rotor head, strengthened landing gear, deck lashing points, and a fast roping point for the Royal Marines.
Merlin & HMS Sutherland
As part of Britain’s fiscal rebalancing, The Royal Navy is set to inherent the RAF’s Merlin HC3/3A medium-heavy battlefield helicopter fleet, while simultaneously upgrading its existing set of Merlin HM Mk1s. The entire effort approaches $3 billion for a final total of 55 refurbished helicopters, and these refurbishments will be carried out as part of the AW101 fleet’s long-term maintenance plan.
The navy’s existing fleet is being progressively upgraded and returned to service, adding a range of technological improvements to the helicopter’s avionics, control systems, sensors, and radar. The Royal Navy received 44 EH101 Merlin HM1s between 1998-2002 for training, surface attack and anti-submarine warfare duties, and has since lost 2 in accidents. The remaining 42 helicopters are now expected to remain in service until 2029, though only 30-38 will be upgraded. Another 28 EH101 Merlin HC3/ HC3A medium support helicopters currently serve with the UK Royal Air Force, and they will join the Navy to succeed the Sea King Mk.4 Commandos as the Royal Marines’ battlefield helicopters.
Continue Reading… »
Aug 29, 2018 05:00 UTC
Leidos is set to support the US Army’s Saturn Arch program. The company is being awarded with a $26.8 million contract modification that provides for a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) Aircraft. Saturn Arch is the Army’s answer to an ever evolving threat posed by IED’s. It essentially is an effort to implement ISR capabilities to a special aircraft fitted with state of the art sensor technology to identify and assist in removing explosives from the battlefield. Aircraft used under Saturn Arch often include Bombardier Dash-8 planes that are outfitted with radar, imagers, and signal intelligence capabilities. Work will be at the company’s facility in Bridgewater, Virginia and is scheduled for completion in September 2019.
Raytheon is being contracted by the US Navy for work on the MQ-4C Triton UAS. The cost-reimbursable job order is valued at $9.3 million and allows for the production and fleet integration of the Triton multi-spectral targeting system (MTS). The MTS is a turreted EO/IR sensor used in maritime and overland ISR missions. According to a DoD notice, the sensor system will augment existing sensors that will enhance navigation as well as CSR, observation and interception missions. The system also provides long-range surveillance, target acquisition, tracking, range finding and laser designation for the Griffin and Paveway missiles and other forms of munitions. The Triton will have a minimum mission radius of 3,000 nautical miles, with a 10 hour time to on-station at 2,000 nmi mission radius, and autonomous flight through moderate icing or turbulence. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by August 2020.
PeopleTec is being awarded with a $33.6 million contract for engineering and support efforts by the Missile Defense Agency. The contract has a two-year base value o $9 million and covers advisory and assistance services for international programs in the Ballistic Missile Defense System. These services also cover BMDS development, test, operations, infrastructure and acquisitions. Work will be carried out at multiple locations including the company’s location in Huntsville, Alabama and in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel currently fields the Arrow-3 missile defense system that is a collaboration project between Boeing and IAI. The contract is set to run through September 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the country is moving ahead with the purchase of advanced ground-to-ground missiles that can reach ‘anywhere in the Middle-East’. The project was announced by Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman back in February and included an initial budget of $500 million to set up a new unit within the IDF’s ground forces. The new missile system will fill an operational gap that cannot be bridged by the US-made MLRS. The project could cost up to $2 billion, spread out over a decade, depending on the number of missiles the Israeli military will acquire. The focus on developing new ground-to-ground capabilities stems from an ever increasing threat to Israeli aircraft by advanced air-defense systems deployed in Syria and elsewhere.
It seems that Turkey will be banned from purchasing the F-35s for the foreseeable future. The latest bill was put forward by Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen and prohibits the transfer of the fighter jets to Turkey as long as it cannot be guaranteed that the country will not be purchasing the S-400 air-defense system from Russia. As Jane’s notes, US defense officials are concerned that Turkey operating the S-400 in the vicinity of the F-35 would compromise the aircraft’s security, including its stealth capabilities, and represent a strategic threat to the United States. Turkey is a Tier 3 partner in the JSF program and initially planned to order about 100 F-35As as replacement for its 240-plane F-16 fleet. The overall program is expected to cost around $16 billion. Currently it is uncertain if the Van Hollen’s amendment will become law.
The Romanian government is moving ahead with its planned acquisition of anti-ship missiles that are to be deployed to the country’s Black Sea coast. Potential bidders include Boeing, MBDA, Kongsberg and Saab, which are offering the Harpoon, Exocet MM40, the NSM and RBS-15 Mk3 respectively. The sub-sonic, sea-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the standard anti-shipping missile used by the US Navy, and its variants are in service with 27 navies around the world. The MM40 missile is an upgraded version of the MM38 that began development in 1976, it has an inertial navigation system, an active radar seeker, and is equipped with a high explosive fragmentation warhead. The stealth-enhanced NSM aims to be a germination beyond the Harpoon, an air-launched version is being developed for the F-35. RBS-15 fire-and-forget missiles have a longer reach and heavier punch than counterparts like the Harpoon. The contract has a value of $159 million and is scheduled to be financed in the years 2018-2023.
European NATO members are currently stockpiling air-to-ground precision guided munitions with the help of the US. The project is being run by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) and will reduce dependence on the US in the case of prolonged air-operations. The initial order of $20 million JDAM and Paveway kits are part of a larger US FMS worth about $231 million. During the 2011 intervention in Libya several countries ran out of munitions and found it difficult to use those of other air forces.
The Australian Ministry of Defense is confirming that it will arm its Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles with the Spike LR2. The country is procuring a total of 211 Rheinmetall Boxers under its Land 400 Phase 2 program. The Spike LR2 is produced by Israeli defense contractor Rafael and is the latest member of the multi-purpose missile family. The missile has the capability to destroy a number of different targets including MBTs with reactive armor and fortified structures. The LR2 is equipped with a passive and uncooled multi-band seeker that integrates both thermal and HD imagery and includes a smart target tracker with AI features, allowing the missile to track and target automatically.
Watch: PAF JF-17 performs at Radom airshow
Aug 28, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Air Force plans to integrate a new IRST system on its fleet of F-15C aircraft. Boeing will provide the Air Force with engineering, manufacturing, and development efforts of the F-15 Legion Pod. The contract has a value of $208.2 million and will run through November 2020. The Legion Pod is being developed in conjunction with Lockheed Martin. The pod features Lockheed’s IRST21 infrared sensor and advanced data processing capabilities. This multi-function sensor system has been designed to provide long-range detection and tracking of airborne threats in radar-denied environments. The common interface of the Legion pod allows it to be easily integrated onto any aircraft without affecting the aircraft’s operational flight programme. Work will bet performed at Boeing’s facilities on St. Louis, Missouri and Orlando, Florida.
The Navy is stocking up on spares for its Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. Raytheon is receiving a firm-fixed-price contract that provides for the provision of ESSM Block I life-of-type-buy and assembly-level spares at a cost of $25.1 million. The RIM-162 is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. The ESSM Block I is a semi-active radar homing missile that depends on reflected radiation from the ship’s radar to see its target. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside and outside the US, including Andover, Massachusetts; Hengelo OV, Netherlands and Richmond, Australia. Work is scheduled for completion by June 2021.
The US Army is modernizing its stockpiles of Javelin missiles. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin will conduct a holistic engineering development to modernise the Javelin Weapon System under this $14.3 million contract modification. The FGM-148 Javelin is a man-portable anti-tank missile used to destroy moving vehicles, fixed fortifications, troops in the open and low-flying helicopters. It can be used for direct fire or in a pop-up mode that allows it to hit tanks from above to take advantage of their thinner top armor. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona and is expected to be completed by September, 2020.
The US Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) has achieved a milestone in its Miniature Air-Launched Decoy X (MALD-X) development. MALD-X decoys are mini-cruise missiles, which are used to distract and deceive an enemy air defense system so that a real strike package can succeed and survive. The ‘stealth in reverse’ decoys fly long distances along pre-planned flight patterns, carrying radar reflectors that simulate the radar return of fighter or bomber aircraft. MALD-X enhances the modular nature of the mini cruise missile with the ability to accommodate different electronic warfare payloads that are more advanced than those found on its predecessors. A series of flight demonstrations were recently held at Naval Air Warfare Center Point Mugu, with additional tests to take place next year. Raytheon was awarded $34.8 million by the USAF to develop a new version in 2016.
Jane’s reports, that the Brazilian Navy’s newest ship is dropping anchor in Rio de Janeiro. The PHM Atlantico was bought from the UK Royal Navy earlier this year as part of Brazil’s ‘Obtaining Full Operational Capability’ program. The deal has an estimated value of $108.7 million. While sailing for the UK the ship had the name HMS Ocean. The ship has a 22.500 t displacement and offers pace for a crew of 255, an aircrew of 206, and 480 marines. The vessel’s primary role is as an amphibious support vessel. Secondary ship roles include training, a limited anti-submarine warfare role, humanitarian assistance, and acting as a base for anti-terrorist operations.
Middle East & Africa
Russian media reports that the east African nation of Burundi is considering purchasing the Pantsir-S1 air-defense system. The system is produced by Russia’s KBP and features a fire-control radar and electro-optical sensor, two 30-mm cannons and up to 12 57E6 radio-command guided short-range missiles. It is designed to protect vital small-size and big military areas, industrial targets and land forces units and reinforced the air defense units responsible for the protection of troops and military installations against precision-guided air attack from low and extreme low altitudes. The Burundi National Defense Force has currently a variety of air-defense weapons in its inventory, ranging from SA-7B Grail MANPADS to M-1939 anti-aircraft guns.
Swedish defense manufacturer Saab confirms that Lithuania is upgrading its RBS-70 MANPADS. The company is being awarded with two contracts providing for the delivery of improved missiles and BORC night-capability sights. The two orders have a value of $10.9 million. The RBS 70 missile can be operated independently in stand-alone mode or can be configured with several firing units linked with a surveillance radar to form an anti-aircraft battery. Unlike competitors such as Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger, MBDA’s Mistral, the RBS-70 is an ‘unjammable’ laser beam-riding missile with no seeker head at the front. The BORC clip-on thermal sight allows the laser guidance beam from the day sight to pass without distortion to the missile for a jam proof accurate guidance. According to Saab, 19 nations have procured more than 1,600 RBS 70 systems, including more than 18,000 missiles.
The French Air Force is currently conducting a large-scale humanitarian relief mission in Asia. Operation Pegase, includes a fleet of three Rafale B fighter jets, an A310 transport plane and a C-135 refuelling tanker. Most recently the mission was joined by a A400M that flew 25 tons of aid from Jakarta to Lombok, the Indonesian island devastated by a series of powerful and deadly earthquakes. The airlifted ferried food supplies, two ambulances, building material, and NGO medical staff to the island just east of Bali. Operation Pegase, with its aircraft and about 100 flight crew members will now spend a couple of days in Vietnam.
Watch: RMAF’s A400Ms take off from Subang
Aug 28, 2018 04:50 UTC
, that the Brazilian Navy's newest ship is dropping anchor in Rio de Janeiro. The PHM Atlantico was bought from the UK Royal Navy earlier this year as part of Brazil's 'Obtaining Full Operational Capability' program. The deal has an estimated value of $108.7 million. While sailing for the UK the ship had the name HMS Ocean
. The ship has a 22.500 t displacement and offers pace for a crew of 255, an aircrew of 206, and 480 marines. The vessel's primary role is as an amphibious support vessel. Secondary ship roles include training, a limited anti-submarine warfare role, humanitarian assistance, and acting as a base for anti-terrorist operations.
L12 & LCVPs
The 22,500t HMS Ocean is similar to some of the smaller LHD designs like the 21,300t French Mistral Class. Built to commercial standards, LPH01/ L12 carries a crew of 255, an aircrew of 206, and 480 Royal Marine Commandos; an additional 320 marines can be accommodated in a short-term emergency. The ship has capacity for 40 vehicles, but its 4 Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) Mk 5s aren’t designed to handle heavy vehicles like tanks. Its main assets are up to 18 helicopters: usually 12 transport (EH101 Merlins or H-3 Sea Kings), and 6 smaller maritime/ scout/ attack helicopters (multi-role Lynx variants, and/or WAH-64D Apache attack helicopters). H-47 Chinooks can be refueled and serviced on deck.
HMS Ocean’s primary role is as an amphibious support vessel. Secondary ship roles include training, a limited anti-submarine warfare role, humanitarian assistance, and acting as a base for anti-terrorist operations. The 2011 campaign over Libya added a strike carrier role of sorts, using the WAH-64D. Those kinds of events have forced the ship to remain at sea near more distant shores, and on longer voyages, than originally anticipated. Hence the priority on crew-related modifications. Not to mention some of the other changes being made under recent refits.
Continue Reading… »
Aug 28, 2018 04:48 UTC
Swedish defense manufacturer Saab confirms
that Lithuania is upgrading its RBS-70 MANPADS. The company is being awarded with two contracts providing for the delivery of improved missiles and BORC night-capability sights. The two orders have a value of $10.9 million. The RBS 70
missile can be operated independently in stand-alone mode or can be configured with several firing units linked with a surveillance radar to form an anti-aircraft battery. Unlike competitors such as Raytheon’s FIM-92 Stinger, MBDA’s Mistral, the RBS-70 is an ‘unjammable’ laser beam-riding missile with no seeker head at the front. The BORC
clip-on thermal sight allows the laser guidance beam from the day sight to pass without distortion to the missile for a jam proof accurate guidance. According to Saab, 19 nations have procured more than 1,600 RBS 70 systems, including more than 18,000 missiles.
RBS-70, Australian Navy
The domain of man-portable air defense missile systems (MANPADS) has 4 major competitors around the world. Saab’s RBS-70 is used by 18 countries, and Finland continues to raise its order. Sweden’s Nordic next-door neighbor uses the RBS-70 in 2 modes: as a dispersed, soldier-carried system, and as a vehicle-mounted VSHORAD(Very Short Range Air Defense) system.
A 2009 purchase will complement these dispersed, short-range RBS-70 systems with a wider air defense net based on Sentinel radars, and ground-launched AMRAAM missiles. This combination is intended to make Finland’s airspace dangerous enough to deny enemies full air dominance, while its difficult terrain and mobile land forces bleed any future invasion until it quits. If that strategy sounds improbable, recall that Finland forced Stalin’s Russia to settle for a qualified draw in the 1939 Winter War, when Hitler’s ally attacked Finland per the terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
Continue Reading… »
Aug 27, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Marine Corps’ H-1 upgrade program is set to receive another major financial boost. Bell Helicopters will manufacture and deliver 29 newly built Lot 15 AH-1Z attack helicopters at a cost of $509.7 million. The contract modification also provides for long lead material and components for an additional seven Lot 16 aircraft. The H-1 program, is the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The Viper will receive a new newly designed “Integrated Avionics System” cockpit, including a Thales’ TopOwl helmet-mounted display system and the AN/AAQ-30 FLIR system. Work will be performed at Bell’s facilities in Fort Worth, Texas and Amarillo, Texas, and is scheduled for completion in February 2021.
The Navy is contracting Technical Systems Integration for the provision of necessary overhaul and modification work on the USMC’s Mk-105 minesweeping system. The firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract has a value of $10.5 million, but also includes options, which if exercises, would bring the face value to roughly $54 million. The Mk-105 Magnetic Influence Minesweeping System is a catamaran hydrofoil which is towed behind the MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter. It is used to detect mines that use magnetic sensors to target the metallic hulls of ships before detonating. The twin magnetic tails, consisting of open-electrode magnetic sweeps, are towed behind the sled, detonating mines to clear the water for safe shipping. Work will be performed in Panama City, Florida, and is expected to be completed by August 2019.
Raytheon is being tapped to progress with the re-certification of the Navy’s Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles. The cost plus-fixed-fee delivery order is valued at $9.3 million and provides validation and verification and cost risk analysis. The key to the next set of Tomahawk improvements is actually a warranty. The missile has a 15-year warranty and a 30-year service life, the re-certification process will keep the Tomahawk cruise missile flying through 2040. To keep the missiles up-to-date, Raytheon will add a newly developed ability to strike targets at sea. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside the continental US, including Walled Lake, Michigan; Tempe, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The contract is expected to be completed in August 2019.
Middle East & Africa
The Israel Defense Force will receive new thermal weapon sights for its M-16 and M-4 rifles as part of a US Foreign Military Sales. FLIR Systems will deliver a number of Milsight T75 long-range thermal weapon sights, materials and training at a cost of $14 million. The ThermoSight T75 weapon sight that doubles as a portable reconnaissance scope, is designed to interface with scopes such as the Trijicon ACOG for the M-4, M-16, and similar weapons. The sight is compatible with any 1913 Mil-Std Rail System. It has three zoom capabilities, 1X, 2X, and 4X, for long range ID and engagement. It can be clipped-on to day-sight/RCO or use as stand-alone thermal sight for mission flexibility and works with all combat optics and rapidly adaptable to various weapon platforms. Work will bet performed at the company’s facility in North Billerica, Massachusetts. The sights are expected to be ready for delivery by end of December 2019.
The government of France is increasing its remote strike and surveillance capabilities. The European nation is ordering an unspecified number of MQ-9 UAVs from General Atomics. The firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract has a value of $123 million and involves foreign military sales to the government. France introduced the Reaper in 2013, when it requested the purchase of 16 MQ-9 aircraft and associated equipment at a cost of $1.5 billion. The drone s designed primarily for attack missions but can also be used for surveillance, close air support and reconnaissance. The MQ-9 has a a high cruise speed, a flight ceiling up to 40,000 feet and can carry a larger sensor and weapons payload than its predecessors. The Reapers can be armed with laser-guided missiles and bombs like the Hellfire and GBU-12 Paveway, as well as GPS-guided GBU-38 JDAMs. Work will be performed at GA’s facility in Poway, California and is expected to be completed on May 1st, 2020.
The French Air Force is finishing its deployment to Estonia, and will be replaced by the German Luftwaffe. From now on, four German Eurofighter Typhoons will take on the NATO air policing duties. There are currently NATO air and land forces from the Netherlands, Spain, the US, the UK deployed in the northeastern Estonian town of Tapa. They are part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission. Germany bought a total of 140 Eurofighters, equipped with IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missiles, Meteor long-range air-to-air missiles and a Captor radar.
The Indian Ministry of Defense clears a major defense acquisition with a total value of $6.5 billion. The biggest chunk of the procurement will be the purchase of 111 naval utility helicopters. They will be built by an Indian company at a cost of $3.1 billion. $3.4 billion are earmarked for a variety of missiles and 150 Indian-made 155mm artillery gun systems. The Indian Navy will also replace its 12 outdated Seaking multi-role helicopters with 24 US-made MH-60Rs. This deal is expected to be worth about $1.8 billion. The MoD will further procure total of 14 Vertically Launched Short Range Missile Systems which will increase the capability of warships to shoot down and destroy incoming anti-ship missiles.
Watch: A Jordanian fighter pilot was killed in a helicopter crash in Texas
Aug 24, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Navy needs more support services to keep the fleet’s single combat system running. Lockheed Martin will provide additional engineering and technical services for the Submarine Warfare Federated Tactical Systems (SWFTS) program. This cost-plus-incentive-fee modification has a value of $13.5 million. SWFTS is an engineering and management program that consists of all submarine combat system subsystems, consultation, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence to aid in integrating all systems into a single combat system for naval battle group interconnectivity. SWFTS essentially is a common architecture for the Navy’s five different classes of submarines, transforming the submarines from stand-alone vessels to nodes in combat networks. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Manasses, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by December, 2018.
The US Army is contracting General Atomics for further engineering services in support of its Gray Eagle UAS. The modification to previously awarded contract has a value of $11 million. The MQ-1C Gray Eagle is based on the MQ-1 Predator, but it is bigger, can carry more payload and has an engine that runs on the same kind of fuel that is used to power US Army vehicles. Its expansive mission set includes, but is not limited, to wide-area Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), convoy protection, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection and defeat, close air support, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions. The Gray Eagle, equipped with signal jammers, will likely be one of the Army’s primary electronic warfare platform. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Poway, California and is scheduled for completion by end of September, 2019.
Progeny Systems is set to supply the Navy and a number of US foreign military sales customers with a number of Mk-54 Mod 1 lightweight torpedo kits. The contract has a value of $40.6 million, but includes options which, if exercised, would increase the total face value of the contract to $303.2 million. FMS customers include Canada, Australia, the UK and Taiwan. The Mod 1 kit is an upgrade that adds a new sonar array assembly, and improved processing capability. The torpedo has a price-tag of $1 million per piece and is designed to work in both deep water and near-shore or shallow environments. Work will bet performed at multiple locations, including Charleroi, Pennsylvania; Salt Lake City, Utah and Manassas, Virginia.
Middle East & Africa
Jane’s reports, that Saudi Arabia is deploying one of its Patriot batteries to protect pilgrims in Mecca. Satellite imagery collected by DigitalGlobe shows that the missile launchers were aimed towards the Yemeni border, some 354 miles away. Houthi rebels have regularly launched ballistic missiles towards the kingdom, and targeted Mecca directly on October 9th, 2016. PAC-3 is the current standard, its enhanced capabilities allow it to be used for point defense against ballistic missiles. Saudia Arabia is believed to have ordered a total of 802 PAC-3 missiles at a cost of $7.15 billion since 2014.
The government of Bulgaria is inviting Russian and Belorussian companies to submit offers for a multi-million deal. The country urgently needs to overhaul its fleet of Russian-made Su-25s, a process that already is 10-years overdue. The Su-25 is a single-seat, close-support aircraft, known by the Nato reporting name Frogfoot. The plane is equipped with a 30mm twin-barrel gun, its wings have ten pylons for carrying a range of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon systems selected for the mission. Bulgaria currently operates a total of 35 Su-25s, which entered service 1988. The planes were grounded in December 2017 because the Ministry of Defense did not have the resources to conduct necessary maintenance work. The modernization efforts will likely cost $24.2 million.
The Ukrainian military is currently testing a new domestically developed 80mm unguided missile. Tests are held at Chernihiv firing-range, to date a total of 300 RS-80 Oskol missiles were fired from a Mi-8 helicopter. The country is in the midst of a low-intensity conflict with pro-Russian separatists in its eastern Donbass region.
The Austrian Ministry of Defense plans to procure a number of new helicopters for the Air Force. The new aircraft are needed to replace Austria’s fleet of Alouette-IIIs, which are already over 50-years old. The Ministry is looking into a variety of platforms suitable to fill the role of the Alouette. Possible successors could be Leonardo’s AW-109, Bell’s 429 or Airbus’ H-145M. In addition, the Army plans to buy three overhauled Blackhawks. To guarantee the necessary funding, Austria’s quite limited military budget of $2,6 billion will be boosted with a $463 million special investment program.
The Russian military will soon receive an upgraded variant of of the Mi-28NE Night Hunter combat helicopter. The Mi-28NE is designed to carry out search and destroy operations against tanks, armored and un-armored vehicles, and enemy personnel in combat, as well as low-speed airborne targets. Upgrades include an new external radar and the capability to fire new anti-tank guided missiles. The new ATGM is the latest variant of the 9M123M Khrisantema-VM, known by Nato as AT-15 Springer.
Watch: Close up of an A-10 Warthog
Aug 23, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Army is modernizing one of its training systems. Lockheed Martin will provide the service with an upgraded Close Combat Tactical Trainer Manned Module (CCTT) under a $356.3 million hybrid contract. The CCTT is a computer-driven, manned-module simulator that replicates the vehicle interiors of close-combat units. integrates all facets of combat vehicle operations to immerse Warfighters in the scenarios they will face on the battlefield. Through the CCTT, units train and are validated in tactics, doctrine, weapons systems, mission planning and rehearsals. Crewed simulators, such as the Abrams MBT, the Bradley and the Humvee, offer sufficient fidelity for collective mission training. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each individual order. The modernization efforts are scheduled for completion by August, 2028.
The US Air Force is procuring an unspecified number of aerial target from Kratos. The contractor will provide the service with Lot 14-16 BQM-167A high performance, jet powered unmanned aerial target drone systems at a cost of $108.9 million. The Air Force uses the BQM-167A to test and evaluate air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons systems. The system is capable of speeds from 230 to 600 knots. The drone can achieve flight altitudes from 50 feet above ground level to 50,000 feet mean sea level. Maneuvers include G-turns up to 9G’s, and other aerial acrobatic turns. The UAV can carry a full range of current Air Force subscale target payloads which include a scoring system, infrared and radar enhancements, electronic attack pods and a chaff/flare dispenser set. Work will be performed at Kratos’ facility in Sacramento, California, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
The US Marine Corps is adding more unmanned aircraft systems to its inventory. Insitu is being contracted to provide the service with four Lot 2 RQ-21A Blackjack drone systems. The firm-fixed-price contract also includes the delivery of eight attrition air vehicles, of which seven are reserved for the USMC and one for Poland, which will receive the vehicle as part of a US foreign military sale. The order has a total value of $53.9 million. The Blackjack belongs to the family of Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (STUAS). The drone can be deployed in persistent maritime and land-based tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, data collection, target acquisition and dissemination missions. One UAS consists of five air vehicles with multi-mission payloads, two ground control stations and ancillary equipment. Work will be performed at Insitu’s facilities in Bingen, Washington and Hood River, Oregon. The systems are expected to be ready for delivery by June 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Iran is showing off its ‘new’ fighter jet as the diplomatic relations with the US further deteriorate. The Iranian Ministry of Defense claims that Kowsar-88 is the first domestically produced 4th generation fighter jet. However, experts quickly noted that the unveiled jet looks quite similar to the 50s era US-made F-5F. The F-5 was sold to Iran in the 1960s and first entered service in the Iranian Imperial Air Force in 1965. During the jet’s presentation President Hassan Rouhani reasserted Iran’s political standpoint that it will not yield to diplomatic or economic pressure. He clearly stated that the country is readying itself to counter any foreign military powers that seek to take over Iran’s territory and resources, while adding that under President Donald Trump the United States was becoming isolated even from its own allies. Iran is currently in the process of building up its influence in the region. It has a significant amount of troops stationed in Syrian and is sponsoring Houthi rebels in Yemen. To date the claim that the Kowsar-88 is indeed a new fighter jet seems to be just a product for domestic propaganda rather than genuine information.
The Swedish Air Force needs a new fighter jet after one of its JAS 39 Gripen crashed yesterday, August 21. Shortly after take-off the aircraft collided with a bird and subsequently crashed in a forested area about five miles north of a military air base near the southern Swedish city of Ronneby. The Gripen multirole fighter aircraft, developed by Saab, was first flown in December 1988 and entered operational service with the Swedish Air Force in 1997. The JAS-39, is a canard-winged successor to the Viggen and one of the world’s first 4+ generation fighters. The Gripen remains the only lightweight 4+ generation fighter type in service, its performance and operational economics are both world-class, and it has become one of the most recognized fighter aircraft on the planet.
Russia’s influence in the Balkans is growing, as the Serbian Air Force is now flying two Russian MiG-29 fighter jets. During the handover ceremony Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for helping make Serbia’s armed forces stronger. Produced between 1989 and 1991, the warplanes are somewhat newer than Serbia’s four existing MiGs, which were delivered in 1987. Serbia claims military neutrality and formally wants to join the European Union. But it is also negotiating additional arms purchases from Russia, including attack and transport helicopters, Buk-M1 and Buk-M2 air-defense missile systems, and Tunguska antiaircraft systems. The small country received the second-hand fighter jets free of charge but will be responsible to pay about $213 million for upgrades and maintenance work on a total of six MiG-29s. Serbia faces a mini arms race with NATO-member Croatia, which has recently agreed to purchase 12 used F-16 fighter aircraft from Israel.
The Royal Navy is introducing a new mine countermeasures sonar to its service. Produced by Thales, the enhanced 2093 Wideband variant has been developed under the Royal Navy’s 2093 Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP). The system is currently installed on the Navy’s Sandown-class minehunter HMS Grimsby and was extensively tested off the coast of Scotland. Thales will also refit the Grimsby’s six sister ships as part of multi-million pound contract. Sandown-class minehunters are built almost entirely of non-magnetic materials and are designed to resist high shock levels. Their manoeuvrability is controlled, either manually or automatically, by using the Ship Position Control System (SPCS) developed by Vosper Thornycroft. The 2093 sonar transmitter and receiver are contained within a towed body which is lowered below the ship by automated winch of armoured cable, penetrating oceanic temperature layers which can block sonar signals. The system greatly improves the minehunters ‘coverage rate’ and ‘speed of advance’.
The Japanese government is currently negotiating a potential development cooperation with Germany and France. Japan plans to sell its P-1 maritime patrol aircraft to the two European countries. The Japanese Ministry of Defense began the development of P-1 along with the C-X transport aircraft in 2001 to replace the ageing P-3C fleet. The aircraft built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and is equipped with new acoustics and phased array radar systems with enhanced capabilities for detecting and tracking submarines and small vessels. Germany is currently in possession of P-3Cs, while France relies on Dassault’s Atalantic. The two countries will soon need to replace their ageing aircraft and are looking for offers that reduce procurement costs as much as possible, while Japan at the same time is heavily promoting the export of military equipment as means to revitalise its domestic defense industry. Germany and France will use the new patrol aircraft to monitor increased Russian submarine activity.
Watch: Marine Corps infantry training