USAF moves ahead with NG-OPIR | ‘Sons of Sa’ar’ sail to protect Israeli economic interests | Russia is modernizing its strategic bomber fleetAug 16, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US pace and Missile Systems Center is ordering new missile defense satellites. Lockheed Martin will manufacture the three Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicles at a cost of $2.9 billion. The satellites will be a follow on to the US Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program. The SBIRS architecture includes a resilient mix of satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), payloads in highly elliptical orbit (HEO), as well as ground-based hardware and software. The integrated system supports multiple missions simultaneously, while providing robust performance with global, persistent coverage. The Next-Gen OPIR will succeed the current SBIRS by providing improved missile warning capabilities that are more survivable against emerging threats. This order supplements a similar contract to be awarded to Lockheed Martin, that sees for the production of two polar space vehicles. The contract encompasses a variety of tasks ranging from requirements analysis to a system critical design review. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by April 30th, 2021.
The Air Force is boosting its lethality with help from researchers at George Mason University. The University is receiving a cost contract for hardware and software valued at $60.4 million. The objective of this contract is to use existing infrastructure and proven technologies as means to enhance the capabilities of the Mobile Unmanned/Manned Distributed Lethality Airborne Network (MUDLAN) architecture. Under the contract, airborne high-bandwidth, multi-beam common datalink, autonomous connectivity will be demonstrated between tactical data-links and swarming unmanned aircraft systems and small unmanned aircraft systems. First concrete concepts of distributed lethality were introduced in January 2015 as a response to the development of very capable anti-access area-denial (A2/AD) weapons and sensors specifically designed to deny access to a contested area. The plan is to fully interlink submarines, ships, UAVs and fighter jets so that they can track, identify and engage enemy forces simultaneously. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by August, 2022.
The Air Force One’s little brother is set to receive an interior makeover. The awarded $16 million contract enables Boeing to make all necessary changes to the C-32A so that its interior commensurates with the President’s VC-25A, better known as Air Force One. Changes include new interior elements, cleaning and painting efforts and replacing the current double-seat configuration with a triple-seat configuration. The C-32 is a specially configured version of the Boeing 757-200 commercial intercontinental airliner. The primary customers are the vice president, using the distinctive call sign “Air Force Two,” the first lady, and members of the Cabinet and Congress. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in Oklahoma City and is scheduled for completion by August 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Israel will send its ‘Sons of Sa’ar’ to protect its Mediterranean gas fields and its exclusive economic zone. The Israeli Navy is set to receive four next-generation Sa’ar 6 corvettes between 2019 and 2024. The 300-feet-long warships, which are currently being built in Kiel, Germany, will be packed to the gills with highly sensitive detection equipment — to monitor both the surrounding sea and airspace — as well as offensive weapons and defensive missile interceptors. The ships will be equipped with the ‘Naval Dome’, essentially a navalized version of the Iron Dome, with the Barak-8 missile at its core. The Barak-8, and aims to deliver up to 42 mile of range, thanks to a dual-pulse solid rocket motor whose second “pulse” fires as the missile approaches its target. This ensures that the missile isn’t just coasting in the final stages, giving it more than one chance at a fast, maneuvering target. The missile’s most important feature may be its active seeker. Instead of forcing its ship or land-based radar to “paint”/illuminate its target at all times, the Barak 8 can be left alone once it is close to its target. This is an excellent approach for dealing with saturation attacks using older ship radars, which can track many targets but illuminate just a few. The Barak-8 was developed by IAI in collaboration with Israel’s DDR&D, India’s DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organization), the navies of both countries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., IAI’s ELTA Group and local industries in India.
The Spanish Ministry of Defense is looking for UAV systems to be deployed overseas. The military wants to procure a UAS that is light weight (20kg class) and must be suitable for protect troops that are posted on overseas training missions where local protection and security levels are minimal. The running bidding contest states the the country wants to purchase two systems, each consisting of three UAVs and their payload at a cost of $4.9 million. The contract also includes two ground stations and required launching and recovering systems. Currently there are several systems on the market that would fulfil Spain’s requirement. Considering the fact that Spain likes to support its domestic industry one likely contender could be the Fulmar X. Others include Insitu’s ScanEagle and Aerovironment’s Puma AE.
Jane’s reports that the UK is buying counter-unmanned aircraft system developed by Israeli defense contractor Rafael. According to Rafael, Drone Dome is an innovative end-to-end defence system designed to provide effective airspace defence against hostile drones, including micro and nano drones used by terrorist groups to gather intelligence and carry out aerial attacks. The C-UAS provides 360° circular coverage and is designed to detect, track, and neutralize drones classified as threats flying in No-Fly zones. The system integrates subsystems from different Israeli specialist manufacturers, including RADA that provides the RPS-42 Radar and communications intercept unit provide early warning and target detection, coupled with Controp’s MEOS EO/IR observation used for target recognition. The electronic attack segment is represented by C-Guard RD provided by Netline. RAFAEL’s Command and control system integrates these subsystems to enable effective and simple operation by a single user. The Drone Dome is designed to operate autonomously, or from command and control centers. No details pertaining to delivery timelines or contract values were disclosed.
Russia is launching a modernization program for its ageing fleet of Tu-95MS long-range strategic bombers. Despite being a Soviet-era aircraft the Tu-95MS conducted a number of bombing sorties in Syria where it attacked a total of 66 targets with cruise missiles. Between 1979 and 1993 several dozen Tu-95MSs were produced. The ‘Bear’ is powered by four turboprop engines and can be equipped with either 6 or 16 Kh-55 missiles and carry a further eight Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles or 14 Kh-65 anti-ship missiles. Self-defence capabilities include two 23mm automatic cannons and electronic jamming equipment. The modernization will include an upgraded NK-12MPM engine, new electronics, a new navigation system and enhanced weapon systems. Work will be performed at Tupolev’s Taganrog Aviation Plant, with the first overhauled Tu-95MSM scheduled to be ready for departure by the end of 2019. Russia plans to keep the planes in service until 2040.
The government of the Philippines is receiving a Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (SABIR) system as part of a US military assistance package. The system has a price-tag of $15 million and will enhance the Philippine military’s maritime domain awareness, airborne command and control, counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities. The system will be installed on C-130 aircraft and will transform the airframe into a sophisticated C4ISR platform which retains it basic cargo aircraft capacity. SABIR is a system of individual “bolt-on” modular components that can be configured in a number of ways to support various missions, aircraft configurations, and other customer-specific requirements. This SABIR system will be operated by the PAF’s 300 Air Intelligence and Security Wing (300 AISW) out of Benito Ebuen Air Base, Mactan.
Watch: Osprey performs take-off and landing on aircraft-carrier.