The C-5 Galaxy is ready to do the heavy lifting | Trident II – so hot right now | China goes hypersonicAug 07, 2018 05:00 UTC
- The Air Force is working on the next operational resiliency phase for one of its satellites. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is being awarded a $32.0 million contract modification for work on the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Satellite Vehicle 4. The AEHF system is a series of four military communication satellites which will entirely replace the current in-orbit Milstar system. The main function of the AEHF spacecraft in geostationary orbits will be to provide secure, survivable and near-worldwide satellite communications. Advanced EHF satellites will provide at least 10 times greater total capacity, and offer channel data rates 6 times higher, than current Milstar II communications satellites. They’ll offer 24-hour low, medium, and high data rate satellite connectivity from 65 N to 65 S latitude, worldwide. AEHF SV-4 was initially expected to launch in spring 2017. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $9,2 billion. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by end of January 2021.
- The US Army is contracting Mnemonics Inc. for the production of Remote Activation Munition Systems. The firm-fixed-price contract has a value of $38.31 million and provides for both the M152 and Mk152 systems. The RAMS was initially developed for Special Operations Forces as a replacement to for the M122 Remote Demolition Firing Device. It is a secure, radio-controlled system designed to remotely control demolition charges. The operator has the capability to destroy, delay and disrupt an enemy while avoiding direct contact. RAMS consists of a transmitter and two types of receivers, an electric output to initiate blasting caps and an explosive output to initiate C4 or other items directly. Work locations and funding will be determined with each individual order. Work is scheduled for completion by August 2021.
- The US Navy is further investing in its submarine launched nuclear ballistic missile capability. Lockheed Martin will provide a variety of services to support the fiscal 2019 Trident II missile production at a cost of $22.28 million. The Trident II D5 was first deployed in 1990. The US and UK respectively are investing in the Trident II D5 LE Program, which is intended to extend the service life of the weapon system until 2042, to match the hull life of the Ohio-class submarine. Under the program a further 108 missiles are being purchased, in order to meet long-term inventory requirements. The LE program involves updating the missile’s electronics, guidance and reentry systems. Lockheed Martin has managed has managed all of the US submarine-launched ballistic missile/ fleet ballistic missile (SLBM/FBM) programs since the first-generation Polaris. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by date September 2023.
- The Air Force is now in possession of a completely refurbished fleet of C-5M Super Galaxy transport planes. The US Air Force Air Mobility Command began a program to modernize the C-5s in 1998 after a study concluded the decades-old aircraft had 80% of their service life remaining. AMP is the first step. Its main purpose is to equip the aircraft to fly in civil airspace by the most direct routes, at the most advantageous altitudes, with the most efficient fuel usage and cargo loads. AMP is also trying to reduce the number of devices and wires in the planes, to reduce costs and improve reliability. RERP’s core improvement is the addition of modern F138-GE-100 jet engines, derived from General Electric’s CF6-80C2s that power many commercial airliners. The C-5 is capable of carrying two 78-ton M1A1 main battle tanks or helicopters and other large equipment intercontinental distances. Over the years Lockheed Martin upgraded a total of 52 C-5s with new engines, avionics and diagnostic systems, which will keep the airlifters flying until the 2040s.
Middle East & Africa
- The Afghan Air Force is re-adding the first refurbished Mi-17V-5 helicopter to its fleet. The helicopter was repaired by the Slovakian Tren?ín Aircraft Repair Corps, which won the tender as part of a NATO Support and Procurement Agency competition in 2016. Designed to transport cargo inside the cabin and on an external sling, the Mi-17V-5 is one of the world’s most advanced helicopters. It can also be deployed in troop and arms transport, fire support, convoy escort, patrol, and search-and-rescue (SAR) missions. The helicopter can fly in tropical and maritime climates, and desert conditions. The helicopter is armed with Shturm-V missiles, S-8 rockets, a 23mm machine gun, PKT machine guns and AKM sub-machine guns. It features eight firing posts for aiming the weapons. According to the company this was the first general overhaul of the Mi-17V-5 helicopter in the EU and NATO area.
- Jane’s reports that France is determined to export its SCALP cruise missile to Egypt, despite the US blocking the sale of essential components. French Defense Minister Florence Parly said during a recent press conference that “in this case, we will not be able to lift the US opposition to the sale of SCALP missiles [to Egypt]. The only thing we can do is for MBDA to make some investment in research and development to be able to manufacture similar components that are not covered by ITAR.” The SCALP is a long-range, air-launched, stand-off attack missile designed and developed by France-based MBDA Systems. The missile is capable of engaging the targets precisely in any weather conditions during day and night. The long range and low attitude combined with subsonic speed make the Storm Shadow quite stealthy. The French government is convinced that it can build the missiles with a reasonable delay. The International Trade in Arms Regulation (ITAR) agreement may also affect Egypt’s purchase of 12 additional Rafale jets from France. According to reports, the Egyptian government will not sign for the new aircraft unless the SCALP missiles are included.
- Reports suggest that China is now in possession of a new hypersonic test vehicle, which is able to achieve speeds Mach 5.5 for over six minutes. Designated Starry Sky 2 the flight vehicle reached an altitude of 30km and undertook several maneuvers. The wedge-shaped vehicle is being developed by the China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics, the fuselage is designed to improve its supersonic lift-to-drag ratio by using the shock waves generated by its own flight as a lifting force. The hypersonic vehicle was first carried by a solid-propellant rocket and then separated as its own propulsion system took over. The US tested an experimental “waverider” from 2010 to 2013 that was designed to reach Mach 6. China’s defense budget this year amounts to $175 billion, significant amounts of which are invested in R&D operations as means to catch-up to US, Russian and European technologies.
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