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.
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