The US Army needs to keep the lights on | UAE upgrades its Apaches | China receives last batch of FlankersAug 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