Stingray goes into production | Spike missile family gets a new member | Taiwan arms itself to counter asymmetric threatsSep 03, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Navy is moving ahead with its planned acquisition of the MQ-25A UAV. Boeing is being awarded with an initial fixed-price-incentive-firm-target contract for the delivery of four unmanned aerial vehicles. The MQ-25A is a UAV tanker that is expected to reach its initial operational capability including the integration into the carrier air wing by 2024. A carrier-based UAV tanker would allow the USN to extend the range of its manned aircraft, including the F-35 Lightning II, F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler. The company will provide the design, development, fabrication and all necessary certification for the next generation aircraft. Work will be performed at multiple locations in the US, including Boeing’s facilities in St. Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California, and is scheduled for completion in August 2024.
Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a multi-million contract in support of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The modification has a value of $250 million and defintizes the pricing for the JSF Lot 11 production. The Lot 11 production contract sees for the delivery of 141 F-35s. Flight Global estimates that the current cost per unit of the F-35A Lot 11 is about $89 million. This contract combines purchases for the Air Force ($86.3 million), Marine Corps ($44.8 million), Navy ($36.8 million) and international FMS partners ($41.2 million). Work will be performed a multiple locations inside and outside the continental US. Locations include Lockheed’s facilities in Fort Worth, Texas and El Segundo, California, as well as locations in Norway and United Kingdom.
The Navy is stocking up on spares to keep its fleet of F/A-18 Super Hornets flying. The undefinitized contractual action delivery order with a one five-year option period has a value of $128.9 million. The F/A-18 series of multirole fighters is capable of operating from airstrips and aircraft carriers. It is designed for both air-superiority and land attack missions, and can carry a variety of ordnance ranging from air-to-air missiles and precision-guided bombs to standoff munitions. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in St. Louis, Missouri and is scheduled to run through November, 2021.
The USS Michael Monsoor is ready to sail again. Shipbuilder Bath Iron Works recently completed the replacement of one of the massive turbines needed to power the DDG-1001. The Navy decided to replace the unit after it noticed an unusual vibration during sea trials and discovered afterward that a foreign object had damaged some of the blades. The Zumwalt class destroyers are powered by two Rolls-Royce MT30 turbines, similar to those used on Boeing 777 passenger jets.
Middle East & Africa
The armed forces of Afghanistan will continue to receive ground vehicle support as part of a US FMS. The contract modification awarded to PAE Government Systems is valued at $138.5 million. The United States has been training and equipping the Afghan military and security forces since the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom, including thousands of light utility trucks and Humvee fighting vehicles. Work will be performed in HKIA, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of August 2022.
Israeli defense contractor Rafael is developing a new, fifth-generation version of its Spike-ER multipurpose precision-guided missile system. The 170 mm Spike ER2 will equip attack helicopters, combat vehicles, and small boats. The Spike ER2 is an upgrade of the 8-km Spike ER (Extended Range) missile. The missile also includes a new RF datalink variant to maximize the missile’s energetic range for enhanced stand-off launch from rotary platforms, enabling its 16-km range. It also contains an advanced seeker with high-resolution IR and day sensors for extended range target acquisition, and a multispectral target tracker, enabling sensory data fusion. Rafael plans to offer the Spike ER2 for the German Tiger Program.
Germany is determined to actualise its own version of a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. On Wednesday, the German government agreed to create a new cybersecurity agency tasked with innovating technology for defense purposes.The agency will be headed jointly by the Defense and Interior ministries and will eventually employ 100 people. The new shop is slated to get a budget of $230 million between 2019 and 2022. The German parliament, the Bundestag, will debate the proposal in the upcoming months. Once the funding is cleared, analysts will begin their work in earnest next year.
The Taiwanese Navy plans to build brand-new fast-attack missile boats as an effort to strengthen the country’s asymmetric warfare capabilities in the face of a growing military imbalance in the Taiwan Strait. Shifting from its past heavy reliance on conventional forces, Taiwan will now focus on “quality, efficiency and precision over quantity”, an anonymous defense official told CAN. The 50-ton vessels are small, fast, agile and can be armed with anti-ship missiles, like the Hsiung Feng II. The development program has an overall value of $1.03 billion.
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