The Air Force is selecting Boeing for the delivery of the next generation of pilot training aircraft. Boeing is being awarded with a $9.2 billion contract that provides for the anticipated delivery of 351 aircraft, 46 associated training devices, and other ancillary supplies and services. The Advanced Pilot Training aircraft will be the T-X system, developed in a partnership between Boeing and Saab. The aircraft is delivered to the Air Force as a complete advanced pilot training system including state-of-the-art, ground-based training aids. The T-X system will eventually replace the current 57-year-old fleet of T-38C Talons. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in St. Louis, Missouri. The contract supports the Air Force’s objective of an initial operational capability by 2024 and full operational capability by 2034.
United Launch Services (ULS) is being contracted to shuttle military satellites into space. The awarded contract modification is valued at $867 million and covers the launch of several satellites using Delta IV and Atlas V rockets under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The EELV program was designed to reduce the cost of government space launches through greater contractor competition, and modifiable rocket families. The rockets can deliver various payloads including AEHF, SATCOM, SBIRS-High and GPSIIF satellites. The modification also provides for base and range support, maintenance, depreciation efforts and launch site and range operations. Work will be performed at ULS’ location in Centennial in Colorado; at the Vandenberg Air Force Base and at Cape Canaveral Air Station. The contract is expected to be completed by September 30, 2019.
Raytheon being tapped to deliver CIWS upgrades to the US Navy, US Army and several partner nations. The firm-fixed-price contract is priced at $482.3 million and provides for the delivery of Mk15 upgrades and conversions, system overhauls, and associated hardware. The Mk15 serves as the last layer of defense against enemy missiles and aircraft. The current Block IB Baseline 2 Upgrade Kits cost $1 million per piece and will be the new US Navy standard by 2019. This contract includes purchases for the Navy, Army and the governments of Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside and outside the US, including – but not limited to – Melbourne, Florida; Tempe, Arizona and Ottobrunn, Germany. Performance is expected to be completed by April 2024.
The Navy is ordering four more Arleigh-Burke class destroyers from Bath Iron Works. The awarded multiyear contract has a value of $3.9 billion and provides for the construction of one ship per year through FY2022. The DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class ships will form the backbone of the future US Navy. The vessels can operate independently or as part of groups and offer multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. This contract also includes options for engineering change proposals, financial requirements and availabilities that, if exercised, would bring the face value of the order to $4 billion. Work will be performed at Bath Iron Works’ shipyard in Bath, Maine and at several other locations including Cincinnati, Ohio and South Portland, Maine. The new warships are expected to launch by June 2028.
Middle East & Africa
The Kingdom of Bahrain is seeking to purchase GMLRS rockets and ATACMS missiles from Lockheed Martin. The possible Foreign Military Sale is priced at $300 million and includes the delivery of 720 GMLRS rockets and 110 ATACMS missiles. The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System incorporates a GPS-aided inertial guidance package integrated on an improved 227mm rocket body. The system can engage targets at ranges of up to 60km and is designed to engage urban areas and other locations where precision targeting is key. The Army Tactical Missiles System is designed for deep attack of enemy second-echelon forces at ranges beyond that of current cannons and rockets and can operate at ranges of up to 300km. The DSCA release states that both systems will help Bahrain to protect its oil and natural gas infrastructure.
Airbus is being commissioned to conduct de-risking studies aimed at providing the Eurocopter Tiger with next generation battlefield capabilities, on behalf of French, German and Spanish armament agencies. The Tiger is the first all-composite helicopter developed in Europe and comes in different variants. The French HAP version is intended to be a scout and escort helicopter. The German HAC/UHT anti-tank version can fire Stingers, Hydra rockets, anti-tank missiles but lacks a chin turret and cannon. The new Tiger HAD variant was developed to fix those deficiencies, and may become the default version for new-build EC665 Tiger exports. Airbus will now prepare the development and retrofit phases of the new avionics, mission, and weapon systems that will be incorporated onto the new Tiger.
The German Luftwaffe may not get its new heavy-lift helicopters by the time it needs them. Germany’s BAAINBw federal procurement body recently postponed the planned acquisition of either the new CH-53K or Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook until further notice. From 1971-1975, 110 CH-53G derivatives of the CH-53D Sea Stallions were built in Germany. Germany started a large-scale modernisation program in 2002 that included the replacement of the 35-year old electrical system, limiting airframe fatigue and extending the helicopters’ design life from 6,000 to 10,000 flight hours. The air force will have to retire its ageing fleet of Sikorsky CH-53Gs from 2025 onwards and initially planned to take delivery of the first new aircraft in 2023. The service expected to finalise the 60-unit deal in 2020.
Media outlets report that Azerbaijan is adding a new operational-tactical missile system to its inventory. The Polonez missile system is a new Belarusian multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) developed by state-owned Foreign Trade Unitary Enterprise (SFTUE) BelSpetsVneshTechnika (BSVT). The Polonez heavy artillery system carries two pods with four 300 mm rockets each. It can engage targets within a distance between 50km and 200km with a high precision rate. Azerbaijan may have bought those new systems as answer to Armenia’s purchase of Iskander missiles.
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