Oct 31, 2018 05:00 UTC
HRL Laboratories is receiving additional funding to complete work on the military’s next generation of gallium nitride (GaN) transistors. The $9.1 million contract is awarded by DARPA and is expected to be completed by April 2020. The contract is part of DARPA’s Dynamic Range-enhanced Electronics and Materials (DREaM) program that seeks to develop transistors with much improved linearity and noise figure at reduced power consumption for use in electronic devices that manage the electromagnetic spectrum from radio communications to radar. The company develops ultra-linear GaN transistors working in mm-wave frequencies that enable transmission and reception without distortion across the spectrum. The transistors will enable secure ultra-wideband communications with higher data rates, while reducing their draw on the prime power source of their eventual platforms, such as ships or aircraft. Technologies developed under the DREaM program are currently installed on SEWIP and AMDR systems and will be featured on the DoD’s Space Fence and NGJs. Work will be performed at HRL’s facilities in Malibu, California and Huntington Beach, California.
The US Navy is modifying a contract signed with BAE Systems. An additional $9.5 million are being awarded for engineering and integration services on the Trident II, SSGN attack weapon system and strategic weapon surety. The Trident II (D5) strategic weapons system is installed on US Navy Ohio-class submarines and UK Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines. Each Vanguard class submarine has 16 missile tubes and ejects missiles by using high-pressure gas. The Ohio-class submarines can carry up to 24 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with multiple independently-targeted warheads. BAE is not just working on the current Ohio-class submarines, but is also working on the integration of the Trident II D5 SLBM into the future Columbia-class submarines, by leading weapon system interface coordination and configuration management. Work will be performed at multiple locations such as, Rockville, Maryland; Barrow, United Kingdom and New Paris, Ohio. The Navy has obligated more than $1 million from FY 2019 Navy research and development test and evaluation funds, in addition to more than $8.4 million in UK funds.
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to advance the Pentagon’s cyber war-fighting capabilities. The $54.6 million contract allows Northrop Grumman to operate as the systems coordinator to continue development, integration and sustainment of the US Cyber Command’s Unified Platform Program (UPP). The system is intended to support cyber defense, planning command-and-control and situational awareness operations. Pentagon officials say that the UPP is one of the largest most critical acquisition programs to date. The Unified Platform will serve as the Cyber Command’s engine room for global cyber operations by combining different cyberspace platforms that offer a quick and easy access to a complete range of cyber capabilities. Work will be performed in San Antonio, Texas, and is expected to be completed by October 31, 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Iraq’s T-50 fighter jet fleet continues to grow. The six new T-50IQs advanced trainers were handed over on October 28. This is the third batch of aircraft, that are being procured under a $1.1 billion deal signed in 2013 for 24 T-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets from South Korean aerospace firm KAI. Since then 18 aircraft have been added to Iraq’s fleet, with the first batch delivered in March 2017 and the second delivery earlier this year. The T-50IQ variant is based on the FA-50 lightweight fighter model that’s fully fitted for lightweight fighter and light attack roles, with a secondary role as a lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) if necessary. The plane is equipped RWR and NVIS systems, is compatible with JDAMs and LINK-16 and offers more F-16 like attack capabilities than the classic T-50.
The Spanish Navy’s AB-212 life extension program is nearing its end. SENER and Babcock, the companies tasked with overhauling the helicopters have recently delivered the sixth unit to the service. SENER is responsible for major design, integration and engineering works under the project, while Babcock conducts some of the design, installation, and land and flight testing procedure. The LEP adds another 15 years of lifetime to the helicopters that have been operational since 1974. The upgraded AB-212s are being fitted with new electrical components and their analog cockpit is being replaced with a fully digitalized system. Additionally the helicopters are equipped with new radar, GPS, night vision and self-defense systems. The seventh and last unit expected to be delivered by the end of 2018.
Defense News reports that Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) will spend an extra $1.8 billion on three strategic military programs. This includes cyber and anti-submarine warfare developments and the Dreadnought-class nuclear submarine build program. This decision follows a months long battle for extra cash between Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and Chancellor Philip Hammond. Jon Louth, a RUSI analyst, commented the decision with “It’s welcome, but comes nowhere near addressing the potential funding gap if you add up all the programs in the equipment plan. It does appear to be a significant increase in percentage terms, although the devil will be in the detail.” The MoD is currently trying to bridge a funding gap in its $228 billion 10-year equipment plan.
India’s state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is being tapped to upgrade the country’s M-46 field guns. The $27.7 million contract covers the upgrade of 300 M-46s to a 155mm calibre. The upgrades to the Soviet-era weapons include the replacement of the barrel and breech block and addition of new sighting systems and a new hydraulic rammer to ease loading of shells. The Indian Army had initiated the upgrade of the Soviet-era guns in 2008 with the contract being awarded to the Israeli firm Soltam, now part of Elbit. Soltam’s contract was suspended midway after allegations that it had bribed officials. Later, the government had decided to throw open the contract for domestic companies. The state-run Ordnance Factories Board participated in the tender issued by the Indian Army, competing with two other private manufacturers.
Watch: Euronaval 2018: Focus on Naval Aviation
Oct 30, 2018 05:00 UTC
HII is being contracted to repair one of the Navy’s Arleigh-Burke class destroyers. The firm-fixed-price contract is priced at $44.8 million and covers a combination of maintenance, modernization and repair work on the USS O’Kane. Upgrades to the vessel will revolve around reducing the ship’s workload requirements and increasing war-fighting capabilities while reducing total ownership cost to the Navy. Those improvements will include massive overhauls to combat systems, as well as hull, mechanical and electrical upgrades. This contract also includes options could raise the contract value to $51.5 million. DDG-77 will be overhauled at HII’s shipyard in San Diego, California and is expected to be back at sea by January 2020.
Central Lake Armor Express is being tapped to provide the Marine Corps with additional body armor. The contract is valued at $56.4 million and covers the production of up to 65.469 Plate Carrier Generation III – Soft Armor Inserts and data reports for the Marines. The new generation plate carrier was jointly designed by the US Army and the Marine Corps, after commanders called for lighter armor back in 2016. The new design is “less bulky, lighter in weight, and provides a smaller overall footprint than the current plate carrier while maintaining the same soft armor coverage and protection level,” Barabra Hamby, spokeswoman of MARCORSYSCOM told Marine Corps Times in July 2017. The new carriers come in eight sizes and offers better ballistic protection compared to the current design, its lighter weight helps to cut down on soldier fatigue. Fielding of the new body armor will start in June 2019. Work will be performed at Central Lake’s factory in Michigan and is expected to be completed by October 24, 2023.
The US Army is contracting General Dynamics for work on the M1 Abrams modernization program. The $25.7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order is against a five-year contract and provides for the delivery of various electronic components for the M1 Abrams tank. The Pentagon is currently in the process of upgrading several of its tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration. The new version offers enhanced protection and survivability, as well as a higher lethality than its predecessors. Upgrades include a JSTARS integration, improved power generation and distribution, armor upgrades, a line replaceable redesign and a C-IED suite. “The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tank will be the foundation for future incremental system upgrades and can host any mature technology the Army deems operationally relevant,” said Lt. Col. Justin Shell, the Army’s product manager for Abrams. Work will be performed at GD’s facilities in Michigan and Florida and is expected to be completed by September 2022.
Middle East & Africa
The US Air Force is extending its force protection contract with AAI Corp. The $23.7 million contract sees for the provision of ISR services at Bagram and Kandahar Airfields in Afghanistan and optionally at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan. AAI will most likely use its Aerosonde as an advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solution in order to provide the US military with the capability to effectively execute a number of deployment operations and engineering support activities. The contract is set to run through March 27, 2024.
Belgium’s shopping spree now includes the need for a new MALE UAV platform. A Flight Global report suggests that the European-country is interested in acquiring General Atomics’ MQ-9B Sky Guardian, a NATO-standard variant of the B-model Predator. The Sky Guardian has a 13-foot longer wingspan than the Predator-B, a more damage tolerant composite airframe with double the service life, nearly twice the operational endurance and a greater payload capacity. The new variant is able to fly in civil airspace and is immediately NATO interoperable. Belgian defense minister Steven Vandeput told Flight Global that “MALE drones play an increasingly important role in operations, but at European level there is a shortage of this type of aircraft,” and added “with this purchase, Belgium is joining the future and at the same time we are helping to eliminate a European shortage.” If Belgium opts for the Sky Guardian, it would join existing European MQ-9 operators Italy, France, Spain and the UK.
The Royal Australia Navy (RAN) is continuing to bolster its collaborative air-defense capabilities. The service officially inducted its second Hobart-class air warfare destroyer on October 27. The HMAS Brisbane is part of Australia’s SEA 4000 program to replace the RAN’s fleet of Adelaide Class (heavily upgraded FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class) frigates that have limited air-defense capabilities and could be hard-pressed to survive against modern anti-ship missiles. Australia’s 7,000t destroyers are based strongly on Spain’s 5,800t F-104 Mendez Nunez AEGIS “frigate”, with some features from the subsequent 6,390t F-105 Cristobal Colon. The vessel’s suite of sensors includes the Lockheed Martin and Raytheon AN/SPY 1D(V) phased array radar, and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B surface search radar. The ship is currently equipped with SM-2 missile variants and will be able to fire the new SM-6 from 2020 onward.
Russian media agency TASS reports, that the country’s first regiment armed with the newly developed Avangard hypersonic intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a hypersonic glide vehicle, will be operational by the end of 2019. “The scheduled period for placing the lead regiment on combat duty is the end of 2019. Initially, the regiment will comprise at least two systems but eventually their number will rise to their organic quantity of six units,” a source told TASS. Hypersonic weapons incorporate the speed of a ballistic missile with the maneuvering capabilities of a cruise missile. Hypersonic weapons refer to a class of weapons that travel faster than Mach 5 (ca. 3,800mph) and have the capability to maneuver during the entire flight. The Avangard is a strategic intercontinental ballistic missile system equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle that flies at 20 times the speed of sound. It travels through the dense layers of the atmosphere, maneuvering by its flight path and its altitude and breaching ballistic missile defense systems. The deployment is significant after United States President Donald Trump announced that the US planned to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or the INF Treaty.
Watch: Loading MASSIVE US Plane: McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III in Action
Oct 30, 2018 04:56 UTC
The US Army is contracting General Dynamics for work on the M1 Abrams modernization program. The $25.7 million firm-fixed-price delivery order
is against a five-year contract and provides for the delivery of various electronic components for the M1 Abrams
tank. The Pentagon is currently in the process of upgrading several of its tanks to the M1A2 SEPv3 configuration. The new version offers enhanced protection and survivability, as well as a higher lethality than its predecessors. Upgrades
include a JSTARS integration, improved power generation and distribution, armor upgrades, a line replaceable redesign and a C-IED suite. "The Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tank will be the foundation for future incremental system upgrades and can host any mature technology the Army deems operationally relevant," said Lt. Col. Justin Shell, the Army's product manager for Abrams. Work will be performed at GD's facilities in Michigan and Florida and is expected to be completed by September 2022.
America’s M1 Abrams tanks come in a number of versions. In addition to the M1A1 that is now standard, the US Army is beginning to field its M1 TUSK for urban warfare. It also operates the M1A2 System Enhancement Program (SEP), currently the most advanced standard variant.
This Spotlight article covers the M1A2 Abrams SEP upgrade program, and will be updated and backfilled as new contracts are issued and key events take place.
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Oct 30, 2018 04:52 UTC
The Royal Australia Navy (RAN) is continuing to bolster its collaborative air-defense capabilities. The service officially inducted
its second Hobart-class air warfare destroyer on October 27. The HMAS Brisbane
is part of Australia's SEA 4000
program to replace the RAN's fleet of Adelaide Class (heavily upgraded FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class) frigates that have limited air-defense capabilities and could be hard-pressed to survive against modern anti-ship missiles. Australia’s 7,000t destroyers are based strongly on Spain’s 5,800t F-104 Mendez Nunez AEGIS “frigate”, with some features from the subsequent 6,390t F-105 Cristobal Colon. The vessel's suite of sensors includes the Lockheed Martin and Raytheon AN/SPY 1D(V) phased array radar, and the Northrop Grumman AN/SPQ-9B surface search radar. The ship is currently equipped with SM-2 missile variants and will be able to fire the new SM-6 from 2020 onward.
F100 visits Sydney
Under the SEA 4000 Air Warfare Destroyer program, Australia plans to replace its retired air defense destroyers with modern ships that can provide significantly better protection from air attack, integrate with the US Navy and other coalition partners, offer long-range air warfare defense for Royal Australian Navy task groups, and help provide a coordinated air picture for fighter and surveillance aircraft. Despite their name and focus, the ships are multi-role designs, with a “sea control” mission that includes area air defense, advanced anti-submarine operations, and the ability to fight other ships.
The Royal Australian Navy took a pair of giant steps in June 2007, when it selected winning designs for its keystone naval programs: Canberra Class LHD amphibious operations vessels, and Hobart Class “air warfare destroyers.” Spain’s Navantia made an A$ 11 billion clean sweep, winning both the A$ 3 billion Canberra Class LHD and the A$ 8 billion Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer contracts. The new AWD ships were scheduled to begin entering service with the Royal Australian Navy in 2013, but that date has now slipped to 2016 or so. A 2014 ANAO report examines why – and the answers aren’t pretty.
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Oct 29, 2018 05:00 UTC
Boeing is being tapped to upgrade the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track systems. The $131.5 million order covers the procurement and upgrade of weapon replaceable assemblies installed on F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. The contract calls for Boeing to provide weapon replaceable assemblies that will optimize the Block I low-rate initial production jets, and covers other services such as technical risk reduction and tactics development. Infra-Red Search & Track (IRST) systems provide long range thermal imaging against air and ground targets. The systems can defeat radar stealth in some instances, by focusing on engine exhaust, or on the friction of the aircraft as it powers through the atmosphere. US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently called for 80 % of the Navy’s fleet of F/A-18s to be mission capable by end of fiscal 2019. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factories in Orlando, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri. The systems are expected to be completed in April, 2022.
L3 Technologies is being contracted to advance its prototype developed under the Navy’s Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) program. The awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is priced at $35.8 million and provides for the demonstration and test of existing technologies and associated technical data for L3’s NGJ low-band prototype. The NGJ program will eventually replace the AN/ALQ-99 jamming system currently installed on the EA-18G Growler. The broader aim is to develop a more cost effective AEA system with better performance against advanced threats through expanded broadband capability for greater threat coverage. Work will be performed at multiple locations including – but not limited to – Salt Lake City, Utah; Boulder, Colorado and Waco, Texas. L3’s is expected to complete this contract in June 2020.
The US Air Force is awarding Northrop Grumman with a contract for its Precision Real-Time Engagement Combat Identification Sensor Exploitation (PRECISE) program. The $16.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract sees for the development of new technologies that continue to advance combat identification for warfighters. The program seeks to enhance the effectiveness of surveillance radar by blending EO technologies like visible-light, infrared, multispectral, and hyperspectral sensors. Beyond that, PRECISE looks to enhance current radar technologies through signal processing, alternative bandwidths, and similar approaches. Work will be performed at Northrop’s facility in Baltimore, Maryland and is expected to be completed by January 2024.
Middle East & Africa
Nigeria is making progress in its JF-17 fighter jet acquisition program. The country recently signed a $184.3 million contract with Pakistan that covers the production of three PAC/CAC JF-17 Thunder fighters. The Thunder is a joint Chinese-Pakistani project aimed at reduceing Pakistan’s dependence on western firms for advanced fighters, by fielding a low-cost multi-role lightweight fighter that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. The fighter jet is a single engine, lightweight, multipurpose combat aircraft that costs $20 million per unit. Nigeria earmarked about $54 billion for the JF-17 program in its 2016 and 2018 budgets.
Latvia is strengthening its air-defence capabilities. The Latvian National Armed Force recently received the FIM-92A Stinger air-defense system from Denmark. The Stinger missile provides forward, short-range air-defense against low-altitude airborne targets. The Stinger provides Latvia with a SHORAD capability, focused on defending against low-flying aircraft, such as drones and attack helicopters, which present a considerable threat to maneuvering forces. “Currently, we are at a historic stage when Latvia receives significant armaments from allies to strengthen various of its military capabilities. Stinger will significantly contribute to the defense capabilities of Latvian Armed Forces units, opening up new opportunities for our country’s defense,” said Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis. The total contract value and number of units ordered has not been disclosed at this time.
Saab is one step closer to readying the Gripen E for operational use. One of the new JAS-39s successfully completed the first tests to verify the ability to release and launch external payloads earlier this month. During the test one of Saab’s pilots jettisoned one external fuel drop tank and fired an IRIS-T air-to-air missile. “As a pilot, flying with external stores such as drop tank and missiles is important to allow for evaluation of how the aircraft behaves with the stores attached. This test was also used to evaluate the effect on the aircraft when releasing and launching the stores. The highlight was of course to pull the trigger and watch the missile fire away. It also brings us closer to making the aircraft ready for its operational use”, says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Gripen Test Pilot at Saab. The JAS-39 Gripen is an excellent lightweight fighter by all accounts, with attractive flyaway costs and performance. Its canard design allows for quick “slew and point” maneuvers, allowing it to take advantage of the modern trend toward helmet-mounted displays, and air-air missiles with much wider boresight targeting cones.
One of South Korea’s Patriot missiles exploded during recently held annual air defense guided missile practice. South Korean media reports that before it exploded, the PAC-2 missile ascended for about four seconds after being launched at the Daecheon range. South Korea currently fields the PAC-2 GEM variant. This variant still uses the larger PAC-2 fragmentation missile, but have a range of improvements to their guidance systems, fuzes, and so forth. GEM-T is optimized against tactical ballistic missiles, while GEM-C is optimized against cruise missiles. An investigation will try to establish the exact cause of the incident.
The Royal Australian Air Force will soon have one of the world’s most advanced training fleets. BAE Systems Australia is currently upgrading the final Hawk Mk127 aircraft into its Williamtown maintenance facility. The Hawk Mk127 has been in service with the RAAF since 2001, upgrades of the 33 aircraft started in 2016 and are expected to be completed in 2019. The aircraft is an integral part of the air force’s fast jet training system, allowing the RAAF to place highly trained pilots into the cockpits of F/A-18s. The upgraded aircraft come with new training capabilities such as simulated radar, electronic warfare, digital mapping, ground proximity warning system and traffic collision avoidance. The Hawk lead-in fighter jet is prepared to deliver high calibre pilots for the F-35A joint strike fighter fleet.
Watch: Bell V 280 Valor
Oct 29, 2018 04:54 UTC
Nigeria is making progress
in its JF-17 fighter jet acquisition program. The country recently signed a $184.3 million contract with Pakistan that covers the production of three PAC/CAC JF-17
Thunder fighters. The Thunder is a joint Chinese-Pakistani project aimed at reduceing Pakistan’s dependence on western firms for advanced fighters, by fielding a low-cost multi-role lightweight fighter that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. The fighter jet
is a single engine, lightweight, multipurpose combat aircraft that costs $20 million per unit. Nigeria earmarked about $54 billion for the JF-17 program in its 2016 and 2018 budgets.
FC-1/ JF-17, armed
The FC-1/ JF-17 Thunder is a joint Chinese-Pakistani project that aimed to reduce Pakistan’s dependence on western firms for advanced fighters, by fielding a low-cost multi-role lightweight fighter that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. It isn’t a top-tier competitor, but it represents a clear step up from Pakistan’s Chinese MiG-19/21 derivatives and French Mirage III/V fighters. This positioning addresses a budget-conscious, “good enough” performance market segment that the West once dominated, but has nearly abandoned in recent decades.
Pakistan has fielded JF-17s in squadron strength, with more on order and a Block II R&D program nearing completion. India’s competing Tejas fighter is overcoming project delays by looking to foreign component sources, but Pakistan and China remain out front with their offering, even though they began their project much later than India did. Pakistan and China have even set up a joint JF-17 marketing agency to promote export sales, which hasn’t paid off as quickly as they had hoped, but it would be unwise to count them out just yet…
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Oct 26, 2018 05:00 UTC
Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, is being contracted to help stem the maintenance burden of the Marine Corps’ CH-53 Super Stallion. The contract is priced at $717.4 million and covers logistics and repair support for 98 components of the CH-53 and MH-53 platforms. H-53 aircraft include the CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy transport helicopter that can transport up to 55 troops or 15 tons of cargo, as well as the MH-53E Sea Dragon minesweeper and the MH-53M Pave Low IV CSAR and SOF helicopter. The helicopters have on average a 44:1 maintenance : flying hours ratio. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, North Carolina and Stratford, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by December 2022.
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to support the Navy’s ongoing DDG-51 New Construction Ship and DDG-51 Midlife Modernization programs. The company will provide the service with common Integrated Bridge and Navigation Systems (IBNS) at a cost of $18.1 million. The IBNS is a hull, mechanical and electrical upgrade and part of the comprehensive plan to modernize the DDG-51 class to ensure the ships remain combat relevant and affordable throughout their life. The systems to be installed include radar systems, navigation software, ship control software, chart servers, network interface boxes, flat panel displays, global positioning systems, and ship control display systems. Back fit installation of the IBNS systems by the Navy will be conducted at the home ports of the vessels during their modernization windows. This contract also includes a number of options which, if exercises, would raise the total value to $163.9 million. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s facility in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The US Air Force is procuring a number of depot level maintenance services from L3 Technologies. The awarded contract is valued at $55.3 million and covers the Organic Depot Activation of MQ-9 communications and data link parts. L3’s tactical common datalink is part of the MQ-9 sensor payload, which can also include General Atomics’ Lynx synthetic aperture radar. A common datalink guarantees the interoperability of military systems and helps the military to achieve information dominance. The common datalink is a family of full duplex, jam-resistant, point-to-point microwave communication links used in imagery and signals intelligence collection systems. Work will be performed at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Pennsylvania and at the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Complex in Georgia. The contract is set to run through October 21, 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish media confirms that the country will start installing S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in October 2019. National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told the Daily Sabah the military is currently selecting the right personnel which will later be sent to Russia for training. Turkey’s $2 billion purchase of the Russian-made systems was seen as a controversial move by many international observers and raised concern among other NATO member countries. Some US politicians even pressed for cancelling the delivery of F-35 JSFs to Turkey. Regarding this issue, Akar said he did not expect any problems with the delivery of the aircraft. Referencing Ankara’s rift with the US over the S-400 deal, Akar said that when taking into account the current political climate and military situation experiencing such an unfavorable row again was highly unlikely and the project is continuing as anticipated. Turkey is a Tier 3 partner in the JSF program and is expected to buy up to 100 F-35As at a cost of $16 billion.
Flight Global reports that the UK’s planned procurement of the E-7 Wedgetail system jointly produced by Boeing and Northrop Grumman is raising major concerns by rival producers of AEW&C aircraft. Defense secretary Gavin Williamson in early October confirmed that the UK is in early discussions with Boeing linked to a potential E-7 purchase, describing the 737-based system as “the stand-out performer in our pursuit of a new battlefield surveillance aircraft”. Saab is fiercely stepping up its efforts to halt the non-competitive acquisition. “We are concerned by the lack of competition and the lack of dialogue and response from MoD,” said Andre Walton, head of Saab UK, who notes that Saab’s “significant investment in the UK” is premised on an understanding that the nation is committed to “fair and transparent, free-market competition”. In a recent letter to Defense Committee chairman Julian Lewis, Walton offered the integration of Saab’s Erieye AESA and mission equipment onto the RAF’s A330 Voyager aircraft, which would reduce program costs by removing the need to acquire new aircraft. Flight Global states that factors behind the UK’s preference for the E-7 system stem from a reluctance to invest in a potentially risky development activity, with an acquisition to instead draw on Australia’s large investment in, and operational experience with the Wedgetail’s capability.
The Italian government is slashing its defense budget to free resources for a new welfare program. Officials in Rome will cut about $512.3 million from the budget which will be announced to parliament in the coming days. As a result Italy will halt all ongoing purchases of NH-90 helicopters in 2019, and will suspend the planned upgrade of its Tornado aircraft. Italy planned to spend about $4.5 billion on 56 NH-90s for its Army and Navy. The country is also putting a $34 million deal for the MBDA Camm-Er missile defense system on hold, but expects its restart in one years time. The only program that makes the cut will be the F-35 although upcoming purchases will be slowed in order to spread out payments.
Raytheon says the the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) conducted five flight tests of the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) interceptor over the summer. During the tests the navy fired three SM-2 Block IIIB missiles to destroy simulated aerial threats. The SM-2 is the most commonly encountered variant, and a long series of upgrades have kept it current over the years. SM-2 Block IIIB is the most popular version at present, swapping ICWI capability for an infrared (IR) guidance mode capability developed by the Missile Homing Improvement Program (MHIP). SM-2 versions are provided as medium range (50 mile) rounds that can be fired from AEGIS rail launchers, AEGIS vertical launch systems, and Tartar rail launchers. Raytheon discontinued production of the missile in 2013, but restarted the SM-2 line in 2017 after demand from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the Netherlands, according to the company.
Watch: Naval Group Latest Innovations at Euronaval 2018
Oct 26, 2018 04:58 UTC
Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, is being contracted to help stem the maintenance burden of the Marine Corps' CH-53 Super Stallion. The contract
is priced at $717.4 million and covers logistics and repair support for 98 components of the CH-53
and MH-53 platforms. H-53 aircraft include the CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy transport helicopter that can transport up to 55 troops or 15 tons of cargo, as well as the MH-53E Sea Dragon minesweeper and the MH-53M Pave Low IV CSAR and SOF helicopter. The helicopters have on average a 44:1 maintenance : flying hours ratio. Work will be performed in Cherry Point, North Carolina and Stratford, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by December 2022.
The U.S. Marines have a problem. They rely on their CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy lift helicopters to move troops, vehicles, and supplies off of their ships. But the helicopters are wearing out. Fast. The pace demanded by the Global War on Terror is relentless, and usage rates are 3 times normal. Attrition is taking its toll. Over the past few years, CH-53s have been recalled from “boneyard” storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, in order to maintain fleet numbers in the face of recent losses and forced retirements. Now, there are no flyable spares left.
Enter the Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, now known as the CH-53K. It aims to offer notable performance improvements over the CH-53E, in a similar airframe. The question is whether its service entry delay to 2018-2019 will come too late to offset a serious decline in Marine aviation.
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Oct 26, 2018 04:52 UTC
Next » Latest updates[?]:
Flight Global reports
that the UK's planned procurement of the E-7 Wedgetail system jointly produced by Boeing and Northrop Grumman is raising major concerns by rival producers of AEW&C aircraft. Defense secretary Gavin Williamson in early October confirmed that the UK is in early discussions with Boeing linked to a potential E-7 purchase, describing the 737-based system as "the stand-out performer in our pursuit of a new battlefield surveillance aircraft". Saab is fiercely stepping up its efforts to halt the non-competitive acquisition. "We are concerned by the lack of competition and the lack of dialogue and response from MoD," said Andre Walton, head of Saab UK, who notes that Saab's "significant investment in the UK" is premised on an understanding that the nation is committed to "fair and transparent, free-market competition". In a recent letter to Defense Committee chairman Julian Lewis, Walton offered the integration of Saab's Erieye
AESA and mission equipment onto the RAF's A330 Voyager
aircraft, which would reduce program costs by removing the need to acquire new aircraft. Flight Global states that factors behind the UK's preference for the E-7 system stem from a reluctance to invest in a potentially risky development activity, with an acquisition to instead draw on Australia's large investment in, and operational experience with the Wedgetail's
over New South Wales
The island continent of Australia faces a number of unique security challenges that stem from its geography. The continent may be separated from its neighbors by large expanses of ocean, but it also resides within a potential arc of instability, and has a number of important offshore resource sites to protect. Full awareness of what is going on around them, and the ability to push that awareness well offshore, are critical security requirements.
“Project Wedgetail” had 3 finalists, and the winner was a new variant of Boeing’s 737-700, fitted with an MESA (multirole electronically scanned array) radar from Northrop Grumman. That radar exchanges the traditional AWACS rotating dome for the E-7A’s “top hat” stationary antenna. That design, and the project as a whole, have run into severe turbulence, creating problems for Boeing earnings, the ADF, and other export orders for the type. DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This one covers contracts, events, and key milestones within Australia’s E-7A program, from inception to the current day.
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