Northrop Grumman is being contracted to upgrade the Navy’s electronic warfare aircraft. The awarded contract is valued at $697 million and provides for upgraded EA-18G system configuration sets (SCS) and Airborne Electronic Attack and Electronic Warfare systems. The deal also includes the provision of final upgrades for the EA-6B aircraft, which is expected to be retired in 2019. The order combines purchases for the US Navy and government of Australia under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Growler is the Navy’s land- and carrier-based, radar and communication jamming aircraft. The plane’s Airborne Electronic Attack and Electronic Warfare systems include a new ALQ-218 receiver, a next-generation ALQ-99 jamming pod, am APG-79 AESA radar and an Electronic Attack suite. SCS is operational software that gives the Growler its combat capabilities. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Point Mugu, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Bethpage, New York and Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The updates are expected to be completed in October 2023.
Boeing is being tapped to support the US Intercontinental Ballistic Missile modernisation program which intends to keep the Minuteman III operational through 2030. The company will deliver eight digital components and 75 message processor drawers in compliance with the government’s minimum requirement for the ICBM program under this $55.6 million undefinitized contract. This action supports the program’s Cryptography Upgrade Increment II, which fully integrates KS-60 capabilities of remote key/code change and irreversible code transformation. Work under the sole-sourced and firm-price-incentive-fee contract will take place in Huntsville, Alabama and Huntington Beach, California. The project is slated for completion on February 11, 2019.
Boeing will miss the delivery deadline of its first KC-46 tanker aircraft to the US Air Force, which was set for October 27th. US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told journalists in a round-table at Bloomberg headquarters in New York, that the service and the company are currently trying “to lay down the path forward for delivery and to make sure the deficiencies that have been identified are taken care of in a way that brings that aircraft in as promised.” The missed deadline is the latest in a series of missed deadlines, that include unresolved deficiencies with the tanker’s system for midair refueling and a delayed FAA certification. The KC-46 acquisition program sees for the delivery of 179 tankers at a cost of $44.3 billion, with the first aircraft expected to be delivered between April and June 2016.
Huntington Ingalls Industries is starting the fabrication of the US Navy’s next amphibious assault ship. The Bougainville is the third America-class amphibious assault ship and first Flight I ship constructed for the Navy. The America-class ships are part of the Navy’s Seapower 21 doctrine and replace the already decommissioned Tarawa-class LHAs. They are based on the more modern LHD Wasp Class design, with the LHD’s landing craft and well deck removed in favor of more planes and hangar space. The vessels are able to embark F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and V-22 Osprey aircraft. “Bougainville represents the next generation of amphibious capabilities and is a key component to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy,” James F. Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said in a press release. “The ability to both support Joint Strike Fighter and put Marines ashore will ensure that the Amphibious Fleet remains agile and capable of expeditionary warfare well into the 21st century.” The USS Bougainville (LHA 8) is scheduled to be delivered in 2024.
Middle East & Africa
The government of Iraq will receive a number of new Toyota Land Cruisers as part of a FMS deal. TGS USA will deliver the vehicles and spare parts under this $39.5 million firm-fixed-price contract. The Land Cruiser model comes either as a pickup or as a SUV. The various types offer a flexible set of options with different load carrying capacities and levels of armor.
The Portuguese Air Force is ordering five new helicopters from Leonardo. The company will deliver AW119Kx light-singles for multirole missions under this $23 million contract. The ‘Koalas’ will perform a wide range of roles including training, MEDEVAC, troop transport and short range maritime search and rescue (SAR), the platform may also be used for firefighting. The new aircraft will eventually replace Portugal’s current fleet of eight Aérospatiale SA316 Alouette III light helicopters. Deliveries are set to start in late 2018 from Leonardo’s plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with completion of deliveries expected by early 2020.
The UK Royal Air Force marks another milestone in its F-35 JSF program. One of the RAF’s B variant was successfully refuelled by a Voyager tanker aircraft. The refuelling took place earlier this week over the North Sea at 19,000 feet. Britain’s Voyager, is an Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) that functions both as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft. A F-35B pilot told Forces TV that “it’s fantastic to be able to link up the UK’s 5th generation asset with the RAF’s Voyager tanker in UK skies for the first time.”
A team of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is currently training to operate the country’s future CH-47F helicopters. The team is made up of four pilots and four flight engineers who started their training in Delaware on Monday. The CH-47F Chinook is the latest variant in a family of helicopters that first saw service in 1962 during the Vietnam War. The upgraded version includes more powerful engines, reduced vibration, upgraded avionics and self-defense systems, and manufacturing advances designed to improve both mission performance and long term costs. The IAF plans to introduce the Chinooks to its fleet in the near future. India purchased 15 CH-47F Chinook and 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters under a 2014 deal valued at $3.1 billion.
Watch: RAF Voyager refuels F-35B for the first time in the UK
The Navy is modifying a support agreement with Boeing. The $136.9 million contract modification extends depot level maintenance and repair services for the P-8A’s engines. The contract is supporting Poseidon aircraft that are flown by the Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. Boeing will also be responsible to conduct field assessments and provide technical assistance during engine changes. The P-8A Poseidon is a heavily militarized derivative of the globally deployed, commercially supported Boeing 737-800 airframe and commercial CFM56-7B27A/3 and CFM56-7B27AE series engines. The high-bypass turbofan engines, are each rated at 120kN. The engine has logged more than 30 million flight hours and maintains a proven high-reliability figure of merit of 0.003% in-flight shut down rate for every 1,000 hours of flight. Work will be performed at Boeing facilities in Atlanta, Georgia and Seattle, Washington. The contract is expected to run through October 2019.
General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding (NASSCO) is being contracted to start pre-production of the Navy’s next Expeditionary Sea Base. The undefinitized contract action is valued at $136.7 million and covers the procurement of long lead time material in support of Expeditionary Sea Base-6. NASSCO will use the allocated funds to acquire components for the base’s propeller and shafting, centrifugal pumps, fuel and lube oil purifiers, integrated bridge electronics, integrated propulsion, main diesel generator and steering gear components. The Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship-class is based on NASSCO’s Alaska class crude oil carrier, and incorporates a number changes that make it a highly flexible platform that can be used across a broad range of military support operations. The ESB is optimized to support a variety of maritime-based missions and is designed around four core capabilities: aviation facilities, berthing, equipment staging support, and command and control assets. Work will be performed at multiple locations including, but not limited to, San Diego, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Busan, Korea. This contract action is expected to be completed by May 2019.
EDO Corp. Defense Systems, a subsidiary of Harris Corp., is being awarded with a $7.8 million US Navy contract to deliver nine BRU-55B/A kits, four carriage system simulators and 30 joint miniature munition interface cables. BRU-55 allows carriage of two smart weapons (up to 1000lb class) on a single aircraft station. BRU-55 weapons currently consist of JSOW missiles, 1000 lbs JDAMs, and WCMD smart cluster bombs, and it is currently deployable on the Navy’s F-18 aircraft. The BRU-55 uses the MIL-STD-1760 interface. Work will be performed at EDO’s factory in Amityville, New York and is expected to be completed in June 2021.
Middle East & Africa
An undisclosed Asian customer is buying ELM-2032 fire-control radars from Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The contract is valued at $55 million. The ELM-2032 can be delivered in different sizes, and equips a number of different aircraft. It has been fitted to F-16s, including Israel’s own fleet. The ELM-2032 is an advanced pulse Doppler, multimode planar array fire-control radar intended for multi-role fighter aircraft originated from the Lavi project. It is suitable for air-to-air and air-to-surface modes. The radar system is critical to the fighter aircraft’s weapon system effectiveness and accuracy. It detects and tracks maneuvering targets while employing advanced techniques to lock on the target. In 2012 a similar deal was struck, back then probable customers included Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and India.
Saab will launch a new version of its RBS15 Gungnir anti-ship missile system at Euronaval next week, the company says on its website. The surface launch version of the RBS15 uses the latest Mk4 missile variant. The RBS15 Mk4 development and production program started in March 2017 and incorporates a highly advanced target seeker and a range of more than 186 miles. This variant provides greater range, an enhanced defense penetration and electronic protection capability and the ability to precisely strike targets in adverse weather conditions. “With the RBS15 Gungnir we continue to build on the success and knowledge we have gained from the previous generations of RBS15. The surface launch version is a highly flexible missile system that can be integrated with existing command networks and on a wide range of the ships available on the market today”, says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Dynamics.
The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) is choosing Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen to be the country’s next supersonic jet fighter. The Philippine Air Force has been looking for new aircraft to replace its retired fleet of US-made F5 Interceptors for over a decade. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the country is opting for the Gripen due to it being cheaper and less expensive in maintenance cost than the also offered F-16. Furthermore the Gripen is a proven supersonic fighter aircraft that has been in service with several countries in Europe and the Middle East. The Philippine Air Force needs the new multi-role jetfighters to counter ongoing Chinese pressure.
Taiwan is suspending a potential MQ-9 FMS request to the US and opts to wait for its domestically produced Tengyun UAV. The Taiwanese Air Force is currently in the process of creating a UAV Reconnaissance Squadron. A deal for the delivery of MQ-8B Fire Scout drones is currently under consideration. Until now it was believed that the Scout will be supplemented with the MQ-9, however the government will now wait for the completion of the Tengyun as it is expected under the country’s national defense autonomy policy. The Tengyun development program is led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and already cost $490 million. The Air Force plans to make a final decision on the purchase after it evaluated and assessed the UAVs in coming trials.
Watch: I4th Combat Aviation Brigade Training In Germany
Latest updates[?]: Saab will launch a new version of its RBS15 Gungnir anti-ship missile system at Euronaval next week, the company says on its website. The surface launch version of the RBS15 uses the latest Mk4 missile variant. The RBS15 Mk4 development and production program started in March 2017 and incorporates a highly advanced target seeker and a range of more than 186 miles. This variant provides greater range, an enhanced defense penetration and electronic protection capability and the ability to precisely strike targets in adverse weather conditions. “With the RBS15 Gungnir we continue to build on the success and knowledge we have gained from the previous generations of RBS15. The surface launch version is a highly flexible missile system that can be integrated with existing command networks and on a wide range of the ships available on the market today”, says Görgen Johansson, Senior Vice President and head of Saab business area Dynamics.
On October 6, 2006, Saab Bofors Dynamics and the Polish companies MESKO and BUMAR signed a contract for production of the RBS15 Mk3 anti-ship missile. MESKO and BUMAR are procuring the RBS15 Mk3 on behalf of the Polish Ministry of Defence, and the contract value is EUR 110 million (about $140 million). The ordered missiles will arm Poland’s Project 660 Orkan Class corvettes, which are currently part of a broad fleet modernization effort via a 2001 upgrade contract with Thales Naval Netherlands. The RBS15 is currently in service with Sweden and Germany (via partner Diehl BGT Defence in September 2005); Poland is the second NATO country to adopt it.
The contract became effective when a separate industrial offset agreement was signed with the Polish Ministry of Economy…
Dyncorp is being contracted to support the Navy’s fleet of TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters. The awarded contract is valued at $152.3 million and provides for logistics support services and depot level maintenance material for about 118 TH-57 aircraft. The TH-57 is more commonly known as the Bell 206 Jet Ranger, which was originally designed to meet the needs of the US Army’s 1962 Light Observation Helicopter competition as the YOH-4. It was defeated by the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse, but would later be adopted by the US Navy as the TH-57 Sea Ranger and used for pilot training. Work will be performed in Milton, Florida and is expected to be completed by November 2022.
Boeing is being tapped to enhance the AN/ALQ-218 Sensor System deployed on the EA-18G Growler. The company will add Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) System enhancements to the system’s hardware and the communication lines between assemblies at a cost of $24.4 million. The delivery order covers the modification of thirteen sets of WRA-7, WRA-8, WRA-9, and 18 AEA gun bay pallets. The AEA suite provides state-of-the-art selective-reactive and pre-emptive jamming capability. The majority of the AEA unique avionics are installed on a pallet in the gun bay and in two wingtip pods. The AEA communications receiver and jamming system provides electronic suppression and attack against communication threats. Work will be performed at Boeing facilities in Baltimore, St. Louis, St. Augustine, Bethpage, Patuxent River and China Lake. The modifications are expected to be completed in December 2020.
The Office of Naval Research is already starting to plan for the Navy’s next-generation of submarines. Electric Boat Corp will provide the service with work for the Next Generation Submarine Science and Technology Research program. The initial $14.7 million contract includes options, which if exercised, would bring the total value to $39.6 million. The Navy’s new submarines are still about two decades away from entering service, however the service is already looking towards the technologies that will allow future subs to become mother ships to entire fleets of unmanned underwater systems that find and sink the enemy. Work will be performed at Electric Boat’s facility in Groton, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by either October 2019, or October 2023, depending if options are exercised.
Middle East & Africa
One of the Saudi Air Force’s Hawk jet trainers crashed on Monday, killing its crew. The crash happened during a training flight about 62 miles from Tabuk near the Jordanian border. BAE’s Hawk 100 trainer is an advanced two-seat weapons systems trainer with an enhanced ground attack capability. The aircraft provides fighter lead-in training and navigator and weapons systems operator training. The aircraft has seven hardpoints on the wings for weapon payloads. Short-range air-to-air missiles can be mounted on the wingtip missile launchers. Saudi Arabia acquired its first Hawks in the 1980s and purchased an additional 22 aircraft in 2016 in a $3 billion deal.
The Kenyan Air Force is continuing the build-up of its helicopter fleet. During a recent visit of President Uhuru Kenyatta at a base in Nairobi one H125 and one H125M were presented. Reports suggest that the Kenyan Defense Force has received about nine helicopters from the United Arab Emirates, including the delivery of 70mm rocket launchers and a M124D Minigun. The H125 is a cost-effective armed platform with a very small footprint and excellent maneuverability. The H125M is the most capable armed scout helicopter in its category. The H125M is tailored for locating and attacking targets of opportunity. It relies on the qualities of power, simplicity, firing stability and stealth to carry out a diverse range of demanding missions. Over the years, the Kenyan Air Force has been acquiring new helicopters to bolster its operations. Recent purchases include a $253 million deal for 12 Cayuse Warriors and a second-hand AH-1 Cobra.
Czech firm Aero Vodochody rolls out its first L-39NG jet trainer, four years after it announced the aircraft’s development at Farnborough 2014. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39 but utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. As Flight Global notes, one of the most significant changes the L-39NG brings over the company’s legacy L-39 Albatros is the introduction of a Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engine, in place of its previous, Ukrainian-supplied AI-25. The new generation aircraft will be used to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft, and can be tailored to the customer’s requirements to a great extent. Andrej Babiš, the Czech Prime Minister told an audience at the launch event that Aero Vodochody’s aircraft were always used by the Czech army and that “I [he] will personally support Aero Vodochody to ensure this aircraft is a success and will ensure my fellow ministers will do the same.” First deliveries are expected in the third quarter of 2020.
The Gesellschaft für Intelligente Wirksysteme mbH (GIWS) is being contracted by the German Ministry of Defense to restart the SMArt 155 program. The SMArt 155 shells contain 2 active sub-munitions that deploy by parachute, using redundant radar/radiometer/infrared sensors to detect armored vehicles. They attack through the top armor, using explosively-formed penetrators that serve as a sort of instant tank shell. Redundant mechanisms will destroy the shell if it finds no targets, and a further backup will render it inert if they fail for some reason. More than 12,000 SMArt 155 artillery projectiles were manufactured for Germany and Switzerland, followed by Australia and Greece with final deliveries in 2006. GIWS will now source all elements and materials required to restart serial production of the projectiles, which is expected to commence in 2024.
Dassault is granting a first glimpse on Japan’s new Falcon 2000 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA). Japan has ordered a total of five Falcon 2000 MSAs for its Coast Guard. The aircraft is built in a partnership between Dassault, L-3 Platform Integration and Thales. The Falcon 2000 MSA is designed for a broad range of missions, including maritime surveillance, piracy control, drug interdiction, fishery patrol, law enforcement, search and rescue, intelligence and reconnaissance. It can also perform SIGINT, environment protection, monitoring of maritime approaches, over-the-horizon targeting (OTHT), surveillance of economic exclusive zone (EEZ) missions. The aircraft has underwing store stations for carrying a wide variety of weapons such as air-to-surface missiles, target towing equipment, electronic warfare and simulation pods. The first aircraft is due to enter service in the first half of 2019.
Watch: Introducing the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Rolls Royce is being contracted to support the US Air Force’s Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission-Capability (ATTAM). The awarded IDIQ contract is valued at $100 million and enables the company to develop, demonstrate and transition advanced propulsion technologies as part of phase one of the ATTAM program. North American Technologies-LibertyWorks, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce, will provide the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with work on power and thermal technologies that “provide improvement in the service’s affordable mission capability.” Work will be performed the company’s facility in Indianapolis and is expected to be completed by October 2026.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is currently in the process of piloting new technologies that may redefine the future of naval engineering. The company plans to install the first certified 3D-printed metal part on an aircraft carrier. The Nimitz-class carrier USS Harry S. Truman will be fitted with a prototype piping assembly sometime next year. HII recently announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division is working with the US Navy to develop methods of additive manufacturing of metal parts for its nuclear-powered warships. Additive manufacturing is a digitized process that layers metal powder to create three-dimensional parts, and was recently approved by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). HII plans to use the process to potentially replace castings and fabricated parts such as valves, housings and brackets. Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design said “this is a watershed moment in our digital transformation, as well as a significant step forward in naval and marine engineering.”
Middle East & Africa
Turkish Aerospace is being tapped to provide the Turkish military with more MALE UAVs. The 22-unit order includes the delivery of 16 Anka-S drones and six Anka-Bs. The Anka-S made its maiden flight in September 2016 and entered serial production in 2017. The platform can carry a 200kg payload, making it suitable to perform a variety of missions, such as real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), communication relay, target acquisition and tracking. The S variant can also be fitted with Smart Micro Munition (MAM-L), developed by Roketsan. The drone’s fuselage is made out of composite materials, while some fittings and frames are built using high-strength material to withstand concentrated loads. Both variant will be equipped with Aselsan’s CATS HD electro-optical/infrared sensor. Turkey’s military currently flies eight Anka-S UAVs and will start receiving the additional drones in 2019.
Israel Aerospace Industries plans to expand its business in North America. IAI currently has two subsidiaries in the US, Stark Aerospace in Mississippi and Elta North America in Maryland. Israel’s Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile canisters for example are tagged with “Made in Mississippi”. As Defense New notes, Stark’s production of the canister is part of the indigenous production of IAI parts and programs that the company expects to expand. They are key to the Arrow-3 program that received $310 million in funding from the US in FY18 and FY19. The US currently accounts for about 75% of the market for IAI. The company now plans to build the necessary legal constructs, that would make it an American entity in the US. This would allow IAI to bring its intellectual property to the US, and pitch products at a level that would increase its market share.
Jane’s reports that Leonardo is making its first sales of the Osprey-50 radar. Leonardo’s Osprey is an operating in X-Band radar based on a flat-panel antenna design. It has no moving parts and up to four AESA antennas positioned around the platform aircraft, each providing 120 degrees of coverage. The system is can be fitted with a range of antenna sizes, depending on the azimuth coverage requirement. Osprey’s flat panel design opens up the potential for installation on a long list of aircraft previously deemed unable to carry such a class of radar, including UAVs. The company did not identify the radar’s customers, but confirmed that it received an initial two orders for the Osprey’s larger aperture variant.
Taiwan’s department of defense and the navy are currently evaluating the MQ-8B Fire Scout. Taiwan’s acquisition of the Fire Scout is part of a larger agreement with the US that includes more than ten individual military procurement projects. They include the acquisition of M777 155mm precision guided munitions, P-3C ASW aircraft and improved C-130s. Taiwan’s navy will soon need to retire its ageing fleet of MD500 anti-submarine helicopters that have been in service for over 40 years, the Fire Scout together with some MH-60Rs could be chosen as a replacement. The country’s navy needs a UAS that can operate at sea and start from a narrow ship deck. The MQ-8B could be used as a multi-functional weapon system that undertakes maritime patrol reconnaissance missions, and acts as an anti-ship and anti-mine warfare platform. If Taiwan will opt for the Fire Scout is still unclear because some essential steps in the formal procurement process have not been made. Taiwan plans to spend $646 million on its navy in the coming years.
China Daily reports that AVIC is ready to start batch production of its Z-19E export variant. This decisions follows a series of performance tests and verifications, demonstrating the model is capable of entering the production phase. The Z-19 is a light attack and reconnaissance helicopter developed and manufactured by Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, it is based on a license-built variant of the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin multi-purpose helicopter, and is able to conduct attack, armed reconnaissance and scout missions. While the Z-19 is operated by the Chinese army, it is not clear if AVIC has secured a customer for the Z-19E. Though not confirmed talks are said to be on with several countries in Africa, Middle East and parts of Asia to sell its military helicopters.
Watch: F-35 pilot makes history with revolutionary way of landing jet on board HMS Queen Elizabeth
Parts of the global F-35 fleet are currently grounded in the wake of one of the aircraft crashing in South Carolina two weeks ago. The initial investigation that followed the incident, concluded that the crash was caused by a faulty fuel tube. The DoD’s Joint Program Office says in a statement that “the US Services and international partners have temporarily suspended F-35 flight operations while the enterprise conducts a fleet-wide inspection of a fuel tube within the engine on all F-35 aircraft.” So far, the F-35 has run into its share of problems, including faulty ejection seats, software issues and maintenance problems. The US military currently has 245 JSF’s in its service while there are 75 F-35s in the international fleet. However, whereas the Israeli Air Force halted all F-35i flights, the UK decided not to ground its jets but paused some F-35 flying as a “precautionary measure.”
Iridium Satellite LLC is being awarded with a $44 million contract modification that provides for the extension of services on the current airtime contract. The DoD is Iridium’s largest single customer, with the company supplying up to 40 percent of DoD satellite demand. From 2015 through 2017, Iridium replaced its former low-earth-orbit satellite constellation with a total of 72 new satellites and on-orbit spares, which provide more features, more flexibility, and more bandwidth to US troops. Performance of this contract will be at Iridium’s facility in Tempe, Arizona and is set to run from October 22, 2018 through to April 21, 2019.
Middle East & Africa
The Cameroonian military is taking delivery of its new Panthera T6 armored personnel carriers (APCs). The Panthera T6 is produced by Dubai-based firm Minerva Special Purpose Vehicles (MSPV). The APC is based on the Toyota 79-series 4×4 chassis and can be used in urban and cross-country patrol and border security operations. The T-6 is available in various body configurations and offers protection against assault rifle fire and two DM51 hand grenades. The T6 is powered by a 4 litre V6 petrol engine driving all four wheels through a five speed manual transmission. It seats two plus six, although other seating arrangements are available. The Cameroonian military will equip its Rapid Intervention Battalions with the new APC’s. The Battalions are currently conducting on a counter-insurgency deployment in the southwest and northwest regions.
Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall are teaming up in an attempt to land a tender to supply new heavy-lift helicopters to the German military. Together they will make a joint bid to supply the German navy and air force with a number of MH-60s. The navy is currently in the process of replacing its fleet of 21 Westland Sea Lynx ASW helicopters, which will be retired in 2025. The air force also plans to replace its current fleet of heavy-lift helicopters, a process that will likely cost about $4.6 billion. Competitors for this tender will likely include Airbus with its NH90 and AgustaWestland.
Flight Global reports that OCCAR is moving forward to upgrade the fleet of Tiger attack helicopters. The European defense procurement agency has placed two multinational de-risking contracts that are directly linked to the planned mid-life upgrade program for the Tiger. The program consists of a series of agreements with Airbus, MBDA and Thales and is conducted on behalf of France, Germany and Spain, which currently have 136 Tigers in their fleets. The program will bring the Tiger to an enhanced Mk III standard that sees for the integration of new avionics and an improved weapon system. OCCAR currently plans to reintroduce the first modernised helicopter to operational use between 2025 and 2026.
Chinese media confirms what years of reports and rumors suggested, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) will soon be able to fly a new stealth-bomber. A documentary broadcast by China Central Television claims that the Hong-20 or H-20 is currently making “great progress” and will soon make its maiden flight. The Chinese government had disclosed it was working on this type of aircraft in 2015, but did not give it an official designation at that time. The bomber is developed by the Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, a subsidiary of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China. There is little hard data about the H-20, but the information that is available says that it will reportedly be a stealthy flying wing that can carry at least 10 tons of weaponry out to an unrefueled range of approximately 5,000 miles. The Hong-20 will be an essential platform for China’s nuclear triad consisting of ground-based ICMBs, sea-launched SLBMs and nukes launched from long-range bombers. Experts believe that the aircraft will make its first flight in early 2020.
The South Korean military is opting for Raytheon’s Standard Missile family to thwart potential missile attacks from North Korea. Maj. Gen. Kim Sun-ho, the head of Joint Chiefs of Staff’s force buildup planning bureau recently confirmed that the military will procure the naval-based SM-3 interceptor. The SM-3 will be part of the Korea Air and Missile Defense network (KAMD) and serve along the US Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. The SM-3 is designed to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles, and its Block IB variant allows for defense against medium range missiles fielded by countries like North Korea and Iran, and some Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles developed by those regimes. No details about the timetable for adopting the SM-3 have been given so far.
The US Air Force is awarding a series of contracts for the development of a Launch System Prototype for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. The contracts are part of a portfolio that aims to leverage commercial launch solutions to meet National Security Space requirements. This includes the launch of the heaviest and most complex payloads the US military has to offer.
The first contract is awarded to United Launch Alliances and is valued at $967 million. This covers the an initial investment for the development of ULA’s Vulcan Centaur launch system. The Vulcan is being developed to replace both the Atlas-5 and Delta-4 families which will be phased out beginning in 2018. By 2023 ULA plans to introduce a more powerful Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES) to the Centaur second stage. ACES, assisted by six solid rocket boosters will be able to outlift the existing Delta 4 Heavy. ULA’s work will be performed at it’s factories in Centennial, Colorado; Decatur, Alabama; and at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Vulcan is expected to be ready for launch by end of March 2025.
The second contract is valued at $791.6 million goes to Orbital Sciences Corp, which will develop the OmegA launch system. Orbital’s OmegA rocket’s initial intermediate-payload configuration consists of a solid-rocket booster a second stage powered by the company’s Castor 300 or Castor 600 solid-rocket motor, and a third stage powered by two Aerojet RL-10C engines. By adding up to six strap-on boosters, OmegA will be capable of launching payloads of up to 22,266 lbs. to a geostationary transfer orbit, and payloads of up to nearly 17,200 lbs. to geostationary equatorial orbits. The OmegA will be produced at a variety of Orbital facilities including Chandler, Arizona; Magna and Promontory, Utah; Iuka, Mississippi; West Palm Beach, Florida; Sandusky, Ohio; and Michoud, Louisiana. The OmegA will be launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Orbit is expected to complete the rocket by December 31st, 2024.
The third contract is being awarded to Blue Origin LLC owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The $500 million order covers the initial development of the company’s New Glenn launch system. New Glenn is a new reusable rocket family, the three-stage version is 313 feet tall. The first stage is modelled after the reusable booster New Shepard and significantly reduces cost and maintenance. A single, vacuum-optimized BE-3 engine, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, powers its third stage. Work will be performed at the company’s factories in Kent, Washington and Huntsville, Alabama. The New Glenn will have its launch facilities at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg AFB and is expected to be ready by July 2024.
In the coming months the companies will create launch system prototypes; ultimately, the Air Force will narrow the field from three to two developers, who will continually compete for national security rocket launch opportunities from fiscal year 2020 onward. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is currently left out of the competition but may be able to join the program at a later stage. Under the EELV program, the competitors must develop or source domestically-produced propulsion systems — a reversal of the current status quo. (end)
General Electric is being awarded with a eight-year IDIQ contract to support the Air Force’s ATTAM program. The contract has a ceiling of $250 million and provides for the development of next generation turbines. The Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission-Capability program aims to develop and demonstrate inlet, engine, exhaust nozzle, and integrated thermal management technologies that enable optimized propulsion system performance over a broad range of altitude and flight velocity. The new engine design will use adaptive fan blades and engine cores to generate high thrust when needed, and optimize fuel efficiency when cruising or loitering, in order to combine the best characteristics of high-performance and fuel-efficient jet engines. Work will be performed at GE’s factory in Cincinnati, Ohio and is expected to be completed by October 2026.
Lockheed Martin is receiving a contract modification to a previously awarded Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Field Support Contract (TFSC). The modification is valued at $164 million which raises the contract’s total ceiling value to $725 million. Lockheed will continue to provide logistics, in theatre support, software support, missile support and security and engineering services. THAAD is designed to intercept incoming enemy ballistic missiles as they begin their terminal descent phase in low space and the upper atmosphere. This modification also incorporates activities in support of the the International Engineering Services program and Field Surveillance program. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factories in Huntsville, Alabama; Sunnyvale, California; Grand Prairie, Texas and Troy, Alabama. The ordering period remains from March 25, 2010, through March 31, 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Pakistan is consolidating its nuclear capability and is reaffirming it’s deterrence regime. The country conducted a test launch of its Ghauri or Hatf-V ballistic missile on Monday, October 8. The Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Public Relations team published a video that shows the missile to successfully launch and the dummy re-entry vehicle striking a land-based target. The Ghauri is a medium-range, road-mobile, liquid-fueled ballistic missile that can carry a 1.400 lbs payload. The Ghauri is a Pakistani modification of North Korea’s Nodong ballistic missile. Pakistan is thought to possess around two dozen Ghauri missiles. The Army states in a press release that “the launch was conducted by Army Strategic Forces Command and was aimed at testing the operational and technical readiness of Army Strategic Forces Command”, and that the missile “can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads up to a distance of 1300 km.” The ability to strike Indian targets make the missile a core part of Pakistan’s strategic missile forces.
Jane’s reports that the Spanish Ministry of Defense is selecting the Orbiter 3 UAV for overseas missions. The $3.6 million deal between Spain and Israeli company Aeronautics provides for the delivery of two Orbiter 3 systems, each comprising three UAVs. Orbiter can be ground or sea-launched from a catapult and uses a low acoustic signature electric motor for propulsion during missions of up to seven hours duration at a range of 100 km. On land, the UAS is recovered by means of a parachute and deployed airbag. The Orbiter 3 carries a triple sensor payload that is specifically designed to fulfil an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) role. The UAV can be assembled on 20 minutes, can fly-autonomous and will be used to protect Spanish bases and troops on overseas missions.
BAE Systems Australia is currently in the run to secure a deal for the continued support of Australia’s Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and LHD Landing Craft (LLC). BAE is teaming up with Atlantic & Peninsula Australia, Saab Australia and Navantia Australia. Together they offer an experienced team that can maintain the capabilities of the LHD assets and optimise the sustainment and support system. Atlantic & Peninsula Australia previously worked on the HMAS Choules, a dock landing ship, while Saab supported the LHD combat system in the past. Navantia is the designer of the Canberra-class and also manufactures the class’ hulls. The Royal Australian Navy’s new Canberra-class LHDs are be able to serve as amphibious landing ships, helicopter carriers, floating HQs and medical facilities for humanitarian assistance, and launching pads for UAVs or even short/vertical takeoff fighters.
The US Army is introducing a more lethal long-range missile to its inventory. The service is now able to fire Raytheon’s DeepStrike missile from its M142 HIMARS and M270 MLRS launchers. The launchers are now outfitted with a launch pod missile container. This launchers are now able to fire two missiles from a single weapons pod. The DeepStrike is Raytheon’s answer to Russia’s Iskander Ballistic missile and has been designed to fulfil the requirements of the Army’s Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program. According to the Army the LRPF program is its “number one modernization priority and critical to winning in a peer adversary”. The DeepStrike will be the Army’s future surface-to-surface missile that can engage moving sea and land-based targets at ranges of up to 309 miles, ultimately replacing the ATACMS missiles. Live-fire demonstrations are expected to be held by the end of 2019.
Embraer’s first series production KC-390 successfully completes its maiden flight. This milestone allows the multi-mission medium airlifter to join the Brazilian Air Force’s flight test campaign, in which over 1.900 flight hours have been logged so far. Embraer states that the Brazilian aviation authority ANAC will soon issue the basic aircraft with a civil certification. The KC-390 is a T-tailed, high-winged, hump-backed form as a full military aircraft and C-130 competitor.
The US Army Futures Command is interested in buying Airbus’ Zephyr S HAPS system. The new group is the Army’s fourth command and is tasked with driving the service into the future to achieve clear overmatch in future conflicts. The command wants to use the high-altitude pseudo-satellite for a variety of missions, including as military, security and civil missions and acting as a communication hub. The Zephyr is built out of carbon fibre composite materials and is solar powered. The drone set the world record for flight endurance in July after staying aloft using solar cells for 25 days 23h 57min. Willie Nelson, the Futures Command’s director, told Flight Global “I think they are an incredible capability that we should continue to invest [science and technology] dollars into research and development”. The UK has currently three Zephyrs on order. They will provide British troops with battlefield intelligence and surveillance. The US Army currently has no funded program to acquire high-altitude UAVs.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense firm Smart Shooter unveils a new optical device that helps soldiers to engage targets under crowded and stressful conditions. The SMASH 2000 Plus can be placed on a wide range of small arms, such as the M4 Carbine, and according to the company virtually guarantees rounds on target. The SMASH consists of an imaging system, a firing processor and user display. A number of sensors allow the optical device to track ground and aerial drone targets, once the soldiers acquires a target the system works out a firing solution and releases a shot. The device helps fatigued and stressed soldiers to effectively engage enemies or drones in congested environments. The 2000 Plus is the latest variant, and is specifically designed to accurately hit fast and maneuverable tactical drones during the day and at night. The SMASH system is currently in use by the Israeli Defense Force and was successfully tested by US SOFs and other military agencies.
An Israeli official claims that Syria’s new S-300 is not a match for the IAF’s F-35i fighter aircraft. The official told Israel’s Army Radion on Wednesday that the Russian supplied air-defense missile system can be “defeated by Israel’s stealth fighters and possibly destroyed on the ground”. Tzachi Hanegbi also told the radio station that the S-300’s capabilities had long been factored into Israeli planning. The F-35 is designed as an ‘affordable stealth’ counterpart to the F-22 Raptor, in addition the F-35i incorporates Israeli-made electronic counter-measures systems. Experts have noted that although, the S-300 has systems that are designed to detect and track the presence of low observable aircraft such as the F-35i, its low-band early warning radars may not be able to accurately target the aircraft. The Russian government confirms that the delivery of the S-300 to Syria is a response to an incident last month that resulted in the downing of a Russian spy plane.
Thales and Leonardo are testing the jointly-developed end-to-end missile warning and protection system in live-fire scenarios. According to a press release, the system successfully demonstrated it’s ability to very quickly defend against incoming missiles, during a recently held Surface-to-Air Launch Trial hosted by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration. The warning and protection system consists of the Miysis DIRCM system and DAS controller provided by Leonardo and a Thales Elix-IR multi-function TWS. The Elix-IR warning system provides alert about incoming threats which typically are heat-seeking missiles equipped with infrared seekers such as inexpensive Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) used by terrorist organizations and military operators worldwide. The Miysis system tracks and jams the incoming missile’s guidance system, steering the missile away from the target. This latest-generation protective system is a UK Sovereign capability and has been specified to meet the requirements of the UK Ministry of Defense.
The Australian Army is ordering a laboratory from Spain’s Indra. The awarded contract is valued at $25.4 million and provides for the design and manufacture of a deployable forensic laboratory. This new facility will help soldiers to faster collect, analyse, and document the evidence from IED attacks. Deployable Forensic C-IED Laboratories are intended to analyze the intelligence and evidence gathered at the scene of an IED event quickly, to both give a commander quick actionable intelligence and support subsequent exploitation. Procurement of this facility gives the Australian Army it’s needed Joint Counter Improvised Explosive Device Capability as outlined under the Land154 Phase 2 procurement program. According to the company, over 90% of the contract will be carried out by Australian equipment manufacturers and distributors.
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Latest updates[?]: The UK plans to buy two unmanned solar-powered aircraft, known as Zephyrs, which are capable of carrying small payloads that might consist of reconnaissance cameras or communications equipment. The Zephyrs hold the absolute endurance record for un-refuelled aeroplanes staying up for 336 hours, 22 minutes and eight seconds. Developed in the UK by QinetiQ, the technology has been recently bought and marketed by Airbus with the MoD's vote of confidence expected to lead to an increase in sales. High altitude, solar powered planes have often been used for civilian purposes by companies like Google and Facebook to deliver broadband to locations that lack fixed-line connections.
QinetiQ’s Zephyr is a very high-flying, ultra-light solar powered UAV designed to break existing flight length records. It’s one of the contenders in DARPA’s Vulture program, which eventually expects to field an aircraft whose flight length will be measured in years.
The platform also attracted the independent interest of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division in Lakehurst, NJ. In May 2009, they issued a $44.9 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to QinetiQ North America in Arlington, VA for 7 Zephyr UAVs and 1 ground station. Work will be performed in Farnborough Hampshire, United Kingdom, and is expected to be complete in May 2014. This contract was competitively procured via a Broad Agency Announcement (N68335-09-C-0194).
The DefenseLINK release cited “up to 3 months continuous operation” as the performance goal, which matched DARPA’s Phase 2 goals. On the other hand…
Raytheon is being contracted to develop a new propulsion system for the US Army’s TOW missile. The contract is valued at $21 million and covers three years of research and development necessary to make required performance improvements to the tube-launched, optically tracked TOW missile. “Improving TOW’s propulsion system will increase range and deliver enhanced protection for ground troops while providing them with more capability,” said Kim Ernzen, Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice president. The wire-guided, operator-controlled BGM-71 TOW missile family external link remains a mainstay thanks to modernization, specialization, improved sighting systems, and pre-existing compatibility with a wide range of ground vehicles. The new propulsion system will be integrated into all TOW missile variants, including the top and direct attack 2B, direct attack 2A and Bunker Buster missiles. The TOW weapon system is scheduled to remain in the US Army’s inventory until the 2050s.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to introduce a full rate production configuration to the new AN/TPQ-53 (Q-53) radar. The US Army is awarding Lockheed with a contract modification that sees for the insertion of Gallium Nitride into the Q-53. The Q-53 is a mobile, maneuverable, fully supportable and easily maintained counterfire target acquisition radar. Compared to currently deployed systems, the new, battle-tested Q-53 offers enhanced performance, including greater mobility, increased reliability and supportability, a lower life-cycle cost, reduced crew size, and the ability to track targets in a full-spectrum environment, a vital capability on today’s battlefield. According to the press release, the transition to GaN will provide the Q-53 with additional power for capabilities including long-range counterfire target acquisition. GaN has the added benefit of increasing system reliability and reducing lifecycle ownership costs. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factories in New York, New Jersey and Florida.
Flight Global reports, that the new SB-1 Defiant is still on track to make its maiden flight before the end of 2018. The Defiant is a third-generation X2 aircraft jointly developed by Sikorsky and Boeing. It will be their main pitch in the US Government’s Future Vertical Lift program and is a direct rival to Bell’s V-280. The aircraft’s first flight will be conducted with a one-year delay due to problems during the composite blade manufacturing process. The companies have already installed a testbed for the Defiant’s powertrain systems at a West Palm Beach, Florida facility and plan to test the helicopter’s turbines, transmission and rotors in the coming weeks. This Powertrain System Test Bed (PSTB) lets them run the engines at their full combined 9,000 shaft horsepower and show how used components behave under increased stress. The Sikorsky-Boeing team plans to make ground runs with the Defiant in November. Both the Defiant and V-280 are aimed at satisfying the Army’s requirement under capability set-3, or “medium” variant that would be analogous to a legacy UH-60 Black Hawk.
Middle East & Africa
Chinese UAVs are becoming increasingly attractive to Middle-Eastern customers. Chinese arms dealers are especially attractive to those countries in the region which are restricted from purchasing US-manufactured UAVs because of their poor track record in protecting civilian lives during operations. Song Zhongping, a Chinese military analyst and former lecturer at the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force University of Engineering recently told Military Times that “the Chinese product now doesn’t lack technology, it only lacks market share,” and “the United States restricting its arms exports is precisely what gives China a great opportunity.” Preferred Chinese products include CASC’s Cai-Hong 4 and 5 models which are quite similar to General Atomics’ Predator and Reaper drones, but much cheaper. According to Ulrike Franke, an expert on drones and policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, China has sold more than 30 Chai-Hong 4s to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq in deals worth over $700 million.
Jane’s reports that French shipbuilder Naval Group is one step closer in finishing the last two of the French Navy’s six Aquitaine-class FREMM (frégate européenne multi-mission) anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigates. The FREMM European multi-mission frigate is a joint programme between France and Italy. It will build 21 FREMM frigates for the French Navy and the Italian Navy. Both the Bretagne and Normandie have now be fitted with the latest Sylver A50 vertical launchers. One Sylver A50 module can carry 8 missiles with a length under 5m, like the self-defense Aster15 and the tactical Aster30 missile. The MBDA Aster15 air defense missile system provides protection against supersonic and subsonic threats. The Aster 30 is an advanced two-stage hypersonic missile system for area defense against aircraft and missile attacks. Both ships are currently at Naval Group’s Lorient shipyard. After the successful completion of a set of sea trials the ships are expected for delivery in 2019. The French DGA confirmed to Jane’s that the decision to install the A50 was made to mitigate the risk created by a gap in the French Navy’s anti-air warfare (AAW) capability between 2020 and 2022/23.
Japan’s submarine program is marking another major milestone. Last week Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation launched their first Soryu-class submarine. The JS Oryu, is a diesel-electric submarine that uses long-endurance lithium-ion batteries. The diesel-electric propulsion system gives the vessel a smaller acoustic signature, giving it an edge during sensitive and combat operations. MHI says the 84-meter submarines are the world’s largest conventionally powered boats. They are also Japan’s first submarines to be fitted with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that enable them to remain fully submerged for longer periods of time. Lithium-ion batteries allow submariners to shut off the primary diesel-electric power to switch to batteries for longer-endurance propulsion during sensitive operations. Battery operations can, in theory, significantly reduce the acoustic signature of a given submarine, making them harder to detect. The JS Oryu will be delivered to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in 2020. Japan has commissioned 9 units in the class so far while a total of 13 are planned to be operated by 2023.
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