LPD-17 Flight II development picks up the pace | Italy arms itself with AARGMs | MBDA meets Bond villain – unveils new Spectre UAVSep 21, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Navy is accelerating the LPD 17 Flight II development program. The service is awarding a $11.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to Huntington Ingalls (HII), allowing the company to speed up the development of the Flight II ship design. LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are currently entering service and will be used to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. Flight II is the next design step of the LPD 17s, these vessels have the same basic hull, but carry fewer Marines, hold less cargo, and remove costly elements. Flight II ships can be configured to serve as a Joint Control and Command Center, as a hospital ship or fulfil ballistic missile defense roles. Work will be performed at HII’s Pascagoula facility and is scheduled for completion by February 2019.
The Navy is ordering more Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) for itself and the government of Italy. Northrop Grumman will convert 32 AGM-88Bs into AGM-88Es at a cost of $22 million. Of those converted missiles 29 will be delivered to Italy and three to the US Navy. The AARGM is a medium range, supersonic, air-launched tactical missile whose primary job is to attack and kill enemy radars. The Italian Air Force is expected to buy up to 250 of these new missiles. Work will be performed at various national and international locations, including Northridge, California; Ridgecrest, California and Sanguinetto, Italy. The missiles’ delivery is expected by March 2020.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to keep the Navy’s Integrated Submarine Imaging System (ISIS) running. The company will provide the Navy with engineering services in support of the AN/BVY-1 ISIS under this $132.2 million cost-plus-incentive-fee modification. ISIS integrates visual and digital imagery into submarine periscopes. It provides all-weather, visual, and electronic search, digital image management, indication, warning, and platform architecture interface capabilities for a variety of submarine classes. Work will be performed at multiple locations including – but not limited to – Manassas, Virginia; Syracuse, New York and Newport, Rhode Island.
Military.com reports that an MQ-9 Reaper UAV is now capable of engaging aerial targets. The Reaper proved its air-to-air combat capability during a controlled simulation held in November 2017. “It was an MQ-9 versus a drone with a heat-seeking air-to-air missile, and it was direct hit … during a test,” said Col. Julian Cheater, commander of the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
Flight Global reports that Raytheon is currently pitching a modified version of its Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS) to the US Air Force. The modified JPALS would provide USAF F-35As with an auto-landing capability on expeditionary airfields. JPALS was initially designed to help naval aviators to safely land their jets on aircraft carriers in poor visibility. The Air Force version of JPALS would be integrated onto a Humvee and then airlifted in a C-130J to expeditionary air bases. According to Raytheon, the system would be able to manage 50 different aircraft making different approaches within a radius of 20nm.
Middle East & Africa
Israel’s Elbit Systems will provide an unnamed Asian-country with its Naval Remote Controlled Weapon Station. The contract is valued at $173 and sees for the delivery of the RCWS to the Navy and Coast Guard of the country in question. The contract will be performed over a five-year period. The Naval RCWS to be provided feature a 12.7mm machine gun and ammunition, advanced fire control system and a modular electro-optic suite. The RCWS family is a third-generation, multi-purpose weapon system for small and mid-caliber weapons. With modular, dual-weapon capabilities, the RCWS is designed for dynamic or static operation, to be used on ground stationary, ground mobile or naval platforms.
MBDA presents a new UAS at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics exhibition. The new UAV concept is designated as Spectre and is designed to provide rapid close air support at sub-unit level in military organisations. The low cost Spectre is an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) air system. Its tilt wing design allows it to quickly transition to forward flight mode for rapid traversal over complex terrain at low altitude. The UAV is capable of carrying a 50 lbs payload and is armed with either two MBDA Enforcer missiles or one Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) multirole weapons system. The Spectre is able to navigate, find, fix and track targets with an operator over the loop (OOTL) and can engage light armored, soft-skinned and unmanned threats, or heavier armored threats. Other mission module options include re-supply payloads, improved sensors, or electronic warfare payloads. The Spectre will have a cruising speed of 111 mp/h, and will be able to provide coverage in a 6 miles radius for over 60 minutes.
Thailand is ordering additional helicopters form Airbus. The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will receive four additional H-225M multirole utility helicopters as part of a fleet strengthening program. The H-225M can operate from sea and land and comes with an all-weather capability supported by night vision goggle compatibility. Powered by two Makila 2A1 engines the helicopter has a range of 700 nm and boasts an air-to-air or hover in-flight refuelling capability. The helicopter can be configured to perform tactical transport, SAR and MEDEVAC missions. The rotorcraft to be delivered to the RTAF will be specially equipped with emergency flotation gear, fast roping, cargo sling, search light and electro-optical systems. This follow-on order will bring the RTAF’s H225M fleet to 12 units by 2021.
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