The Reaper – target locked | Navy orders Hawkeye for Super Cobras | Japan plans to integrate SM-6 capabilitySep 04, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Air Force is procuring a number of high-definition targeting systems for its MQ-9 Reaper UAVs. Raytheon will produce 127 AN/DAS-4 Multi-Spectral Targeting System Model B (MTS-B) turrets and will upgrade 40 DAS-1A to DAS-4 turrets. The predominantly fixed-price-incentive contractual action for FY 2017 – FY 2018 has a value of $281.9 million. Raytheon’s MTS-B is an electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) and laser detecting-ranging-tracking set. The EO/IR system provides long-range surveillance, high-altitude target acquisition, tracking, range-finding, and laser designation for the Hellfire missile and other laser-guided munitions. MTS-B has been adapted for the high-altitude MQ-9, which has a flying ceiling of 50,000 feet. Work will bet performed at Raytheon’s facility in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by September 30, 2020.
More USMC AH-1Z Super Cobras will be equipped with new target sight systems. Lockheed Martin will manufacture a total of 5 AN/AAQ-30s under this $11.8 million firm-fixed-price modification. The Hawkeye XR is a third generation, state-of-the-art FLIR targeting system developed for the AH-1Z and fully integrates into the helicopter’s fire control system and TopOwl HMD. It provides range and optical line-of-sight data for all weapons, even AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Work will be performed at the contractor’s facilities in Orlando, Florida and in Ocala, Florida. The contract is expected to end by January 2022.
The US Army is upgrading parts of its 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Germany. The Regiment will receive a new Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station configuration for its Stryker combat vehicles. From now on soldiers will be able to launch Javelin missiles from within the light-armored vehicle. Until now, if infantry troops wanted to engage mechanized targets, the Stryker would have to stop, the soldier would get out, fire the missile, and then jump back on. This upgrade is a US response to continuing Russian aggressions in Eastern-Europe. The integration of the Javelin into the RWS now puts the Stryker on par with Russia’s BMP-3 tracked infantry fighting vehicles.
Middle East & Africa
Kuwait is receiving technical support for its PATRIOT system as part of a US FMS. Raytheon is being awarded with a $9.8 million contract modification that provides for technical assistance, planning, training, maintenance and sustainment. The Phased Array Tracking Radar Intercept On Target missile system is a mainstay in many military inventories. At present, 12 nations have chosen it as a key component of their air and missile defense system. Kuwait currently has the latest PAC-3 configuration deployed. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in Andover, Massachusetts and is estimated to be completed by end of December, 2019.
An Italian F-35A will be deployed to Belgian, where it will be presented in a static exposition at the Belgian Air Force Days. Italy is a Tier 2 partner in the JSF program and will likely buy up to 131 fighter aircraft. The Lightning II is currently competing against the F-16 and the Eurofighter, in a competition launched in 2017 by the Belgian Government to buy 34 new combat aircraft at an initial price of $3.1 billion.
Jane’s reports that Indonesian state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara (PTDI) is currently developing a gunship variant of the CN-235 twin-engine multipurpose aircraft. Aerial gunships are extremely useful in a number of military scenarios, but most involve internal security, counter-insurgency, and special forces work. The new variant will be equipped with one 30mm DEFA 553 aircraft cannon and EO/IR targeting systems. A flying demonstrator is currently being manufactured and is slated to conduct its first flight in 2019.
The Russian Navy is currently conducting early research on engine designs for its Project 23000E Shtorm. Behind this ominous name hides a new nuclear-powered super-carrier, one of Russia’s most ambitious military programs. The principal design work for the new carrier is being undertaken by the St. Petersburg-based Nevskoye Planning and Design bureau, Russia’s primary designer of large surface warships. Project Shtorm was shrouded in mystery for several years until an initial concept was unveiled by the Krylovsky State Research Center (KRSC) back in 2015. The new super-carrier would displace close to 100.000 tons, 330 meters long, 40 meters wide and could launch 80-90 aircraft with an EMALS system. Considering the estimated program cost of $9 billion, it seems quite unlikely that economically weakened Russia will move beyond the design stage.
The Japanese government plans to spend about $118 million on missiles for its new guided missile destroyer Maya. The Aegis-equipped Maya will be commissioned in 2020 and will receive several SM-6 missiles. SM-6 integration is part of Japan’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense initiative that will intercept missiles through the integrated use of Aegis vessels, early-warning aircraft, radars and other equipment, mainly in view of the threats posed by cruise missiles owned by China and under development by North Korea. The SM-6 is the latest variant of Raytheon’s combat proven missile system. Integrated with the Aegis BMD the missiles provide protection against anti-ship and ballistic missiles.
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