Sikorsky is being contracted for upgrades to the helicopters used by Marine Helicopter Squadron One. Awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, the deal is worth close to $15 million and modifies the previous terms of an IDIQ for executive helicopter special progressive aircraft rework. The task order provides for security, project engineering, sustainment engineering, integrated logistics support, material support, program support and training. The executive helicopter program flies two types of rotorcraft, the VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N White Hawk. The Marine Corps currently operates 11 VH-3D Sea Kings, and 8 smaller VH-60N Black Hawk helicopters. The current helicopters will eventually be replaced by VH-92As. Work will be performed at Sikorsky’s factory in Stratford, Connecticut and in Quantico, Virginia. Performance of the contract is scheduled for completion by November 2019.
The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office is receiving a ceiling increase for additional V-22 Osprey support. The modification is priced at $20.5 million and provides for additional Joint Performance Based Logistics support for the MV-22 flown by the Marine Corps, and the CV-22 flown by US SOCOM and by the Air Force. The Corps’ currently flies the Osprey in its Block C configuration which adds features AN/ALE-47 defensive systems, a “Cabin Situational Awareness Device”, a Color Weather Radar System and large HUD displays. The CV-22 features more sophisticated surveillance capabilities, beefed-up defensive systems that include the AN/ALQ-211v2, extra fuel tanks, and useful capabilities like terrain-following flight. Its most current configuration is the CV-22 Block 20. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the United States, including Fort Worth, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and St. Louis, Missouri. The contract is set to run through January 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Egypt is requesting the purchase of 10 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. Approved by the State Department, the deal is valued at $1 billion and will expand Egypt’s existing fleet of multi-mission heavy attack helicopters in an attempt to beef up forces to counter terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula. Included in the deal are targeting systems, Hellfire missiles, night vision goggles, radars and other equipment needed for combat operations. Spare parts, maintenance services and training materials are also included in the sale. The Apache Guardian is the latest variant of the helicopter boasting a greater stand-off attack capability and more advanced sensors. The armored attack helicopter carries a 30mm chaingun and can fire a variety of rockets and guided missiles. Main contractors will be Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon.
Sierra Nevada Corp is being tapped to provide outside of continental US (OCONUS) contractor logistic support. Worth $329 million the undefinitized contract action will support 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft flown by the Nigerian Air Force. Included in the deal are ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment and FLIR systems for six aircraft. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $220 million are being obligated for this contract. The A-29s will assist the Nigerian military in conducting surveillance, reconnaissance and counter insurgency operations against threats such as piracy in the Niger Delta as well as the ongoing insurgency by the jihadists of Boko Haram.
Saudi Arabia is one step closer in acquiring Lockheed’s THAAD missile defense system. The Kingdom recently signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the US. Priced at $15 billion, the deal includes the delivery of 44 THAAD launchers, 360 THAAD Interceptor Missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group, and seven AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars. “After completing required congressional notifications in 2017, followed by many months of negotiation, signing letters of offer and acceptance marks a step toward protecting the United States and its regional partners from Iranian-origin missiles,” CNBC was told by State Department spokesperson. THAAD is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets such as population centers and industrial resources as well as military forces.
Bulgaria’s upcoming fighter jet overhaul program is expected to cost about $106 million. The Bulgarian Air Force is in dire need to modernise its fleet of ageing Soviet-era combat aircraft, as an acquisition process to choose a modern NATO-standard aircraft is still pending. A statement by the Bulgarian MoD says that the overhaul program is needed so that the air force can continue to carry out its NATO required air policing duties. “The implementation of the project is directly dependent on the implementation of the project to acquire a new type of combat aircraft and is of paramount importance both for the national security and defence of the country and for the implementation of the Nato collective defence mechanisms and the common security and defence of the EU,” the statement said. The Su-25 is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft, designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The MiG-29 is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft developed as an air superiority fighter.
Global helicopter manufacturers are currently eyeing an upcoming Japanese requirement for over 50 attack helicopters. Previously known as AH-X competition, the ‘New Attack Helicopter’ requirement seeks to replace the current AH-1Ss in service with the Japan Ground Self Defence Force. An initial RFI was issued in May, to which Bell, Boeing, Leonardo Helicopters, Airbus Helicopters, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries responded. Flight Global notes that Bell is promoting its AH-1Z. Leonardo is pitching its upcoming AW-249 with an offer for a full industrial package. Airbus is promoting its HForce configured H-125Ms and Mitsubishi is offering upgraded UH-60s. A request for proposals is expected to follow in the next months.
Watch: F-15E Strike Eagle Cockpit Vid • Exercise Point Blank (2018)
The US Army is ordering another batch of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles from Oshkosh. Oshkosh will deliver 6,017 JLTVs at a cost of $1,7 billion. The JLTV program started in 2006, with the aim to develop a successor platform to the Humvee. The new platform provides more survivability from insurgent attacks such as road-side bombings and boasts a greater payload capacity and modularity. The agreement also includes the delivery 22,166 kits, which include installation and packaging kits. Work will take place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and is expected to be completed by September 2019.
Raytheon is receiving additional funding to support the Navy’s stockpiles of SM-2 and SM-6 Standard surface-to-air missiles. Awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the $37,3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification provides for intermediate-level repair and maintenance work. The SM-2 Standard is a series of surface-to-air missiles deployed on guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, designed to engage enemy missiles and aircraft to ranges of up to 100 miles. The SM-6 IA ERAM is supersonic missile designed as a supplement to the SM-2. It is designed to target a variety of targets ranging from aircraft to ballistic missiles in their terminal phase of descent. Work will be split between Raytheon’s facilities in Tucson, Arizona; Camden, Arkansas and Huntsville, Alabama. Performance of the contract is set to run through November, 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Qatar is requesting the purchase of a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) from the US. The $215 million deal has been approved by the State Department and pending approval by Congress. If approved the deal will see for the procurement of 40 AIM 120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, one spare missile guidance section, one spare control section and eight captive air training missiles. NASAMS is a medium-range, network-centric air defence system that can be deployed to identify and engage enemy aircraft, and to protect high-value assets and mass population centres against air-to-surface threats. The AIM 120C-7 is the most advanced AMRAAM approved for export beyond the USA. It features an improved seeker head, greater jamming resistance, and a slightly longer range than other versions. Other items including in the contract are missile containers, software for the AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel Radar, spares and other equipment and services. Main contractor will be Raytheon.
The US State Department is determined to approve a Foreign Military Sale to Egypt. Priced at $201 million the potential deal calls for the delivery of 46,000 M831A1 and M865 rounds and 10,000 APFSDS-T rounds. The 46,000 120mm Target Practice – Tracer (M831A1) and 120 mm Target Practice, Cone Stabilized, Discarding Sabot – (M865) rounds; and the 10,000 120mm 4th-Generation Kinetic Energy-Tungsten (KE-W) A4 Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer (APFSDS-T) rounds, will replace older round models in the Egypt’s M1A1 Abrams ammunition inventory. Egypt will use those rounds to arm the tanks that are currently fighting the Islamic State in the Sinai peninsula. The training rounds will be used to ready M1A1 tank crews for operational deployments. This announcement supersedes another FMS request delivered to Congress on September 17, 2018. Work will be performed at General Dynamics-OTS’ St. Petersburg, Florida facility
The UK Army Air Corps’ Apache AH1 salvaging program is nearing its end. The last two of 14 Army attack helicopters will be delivered to the US where they will be dismantled; recovered material and components will then bye refused on newly build AH-64E Guardians. This effort is part of the UK MoD’s Apache Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) which calls for the delivery of 50 new-build Apache Guardians at a price of $488 million. The FMS contract with Boeing was inked in May 2017 and includes the remanufacture of 38 Apache AH1s and a further 12 entirely new build Apache Guardians. The Apache Guardian attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64. It has a number of improvements and upgrades, including more powerful engines, upgraded transmission, a new fire control radar, new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities.
Japanese media suggest that Tokyo is preparing to order another 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The country’s MoD says that it needs more F-35s as replacement for its ageing F-15s, and government plans to approve the acquisition in its upcoming National Defense Program Guidelines. Japan currently has 42 F-35s on order which will succeed its fleet of 91 upgraded F-4 “Phantom Kai” fighters. by 2024.The additional 100 planes will replace half of Japan’s 213 F-15J Eagle air superiority fighters, this order will likely be mix of the A and B variants. To accommodate the F-35 B STOVL variant, Tokyo plans to overhaul and revamp one of its JS Izumo helicopter carrier to host the fighters. The total contract value is estimated to be around $9 billion.
South Korean aerospace and defense firm KAI is expected to unveil a prototype of its new light armed helicopter next month. Developed in a partnership with Airbus, the LCH-LAH will replace the ageing MD500s and 70 AH-1S Cobras flown by the South Korean Army. Based on the Eurocopter EC 155 helicopter, the LAH is designed to fly at a speed of upward of 324 kilometers per hour and have a range of some 905 km. Its maximum take-off load is 4.9 tons with the chopper to be equipped with a 20-mm gun and anti-armor guided missiles made locally. “Following the rollout of the LAH’s prototype next month, an engine test is scheduled in March next year and a maiden flight in May,” a KAI official told Korean media. The first operational LCH-LAH is expected to be delivered by the end of 2022.
Boeing is being contracted to support the DoD’s Protected Tactical Enterprise Service program. Awarded by the Space and Missile Systems Center, the $383 million contract provides for development of a ground system that protects tactical satellite communications from enemy jamming. The Protected Tactical Enterprise Service (PTES) will be a hub-and-spoke system that reaches out to tactical warfighters and uses the WGS constellation. It will tap the Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW), which the government developed to provide secure communications in a frequency-agnostic format. The US military relies on a complex set of Military Satellite Communication (MILSATCOM) and tactical networks. These networks transport command and control (C2), sensor, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information to enable timely and decisive operations. As electronic threats against satellite communication are rapidly advancing the US military needs more robust networks that allow its warfighters to securely and effectively communicate in the most congested electronic environments. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in El Segundo, California, and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2025.
The US Army Contracting Command is modifying a contract with Lockheed Martin. The company will receive an extra $79 million to cover further work on Apache night vision sensor systems, subcomponent production and technical services. Night vision is enabled by Lockheed’s M-TADS/PNVS Arrowhead. Arrowhead is an electro-optical and fire control system that the Apache helicopter pilots use for combat targeting of their Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as flying in day, night, or bad weather missions. The Apache’s night vision sensors work on the forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, which detects the infrared light released by heated objects. The FLIR sensor has three fields-of-view, a multi-target tracker, multiple-code laser spot tracking, and internal boresight. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each order. The contract is set to run through October 2021.
Raytheon Vision System is being awarded with a follow-up contract for the Focused Opportunity Reaching Toward Reliable Electro-Optic Strategic Sensors (FORTRESS) program. The contract modification is priced at $19 million and is seeking to develop more capable mid-wave infrared focal plane arrays for persistent surveillance applications. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s FORTRESS program seeks to advance and maintain the state-of-the-art, scientific knowledge, growth, processing, and characterization capability in low-noise infrared sensor chip assemblies (SCAs) for national strategic space applications such as electro-optical surveillance satellites. Raytheon will produce larger and more resistant SCA’s that are able to withstand bombardment by space radiation, as well as laser attacks. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s factory in Goleta, California and is expected to be completed by February 2022.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to continue to the next phase of its Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II Infrared Search and Track (IRST) upgrade program. Awarded by Boeing, the $108 million contract allows for the development, platform integration, flight test and qualification of the IRST21 Block II sensor system installed on the US Navy’s Super Hornet fighter aircraft. IRST21 is a multi-function sensor system that has been designed to provide long-range detection and tracking of airborne threats in radar-denied environments. It is a passive, long-range sensor system that uses infrared search and track technology to detect and track heat coming off the engines of enemy aircraft. The IRST21 autonomously detects and tracks airborne targets at long ranges, and can merge the data with the fighters’ other sensors to provide a multi-dimensional view of threats. The Navy plans to field a 170 Block II sensor across its F-18 fleet.
Middle East & Africa
The Qatar Emiri Air Force expects to receive its first batch of F-15QA fighter jets by March 2021. This will be the first batch of the 36 unit order, with the remainder to be delivered in batches of four every three months. Qatar’s new F-15s will come with a totally remodeled cockpit featuring large panel touch screen displays and a new HUD display. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah inaugurated the F-15QA production line at Boeing’s St. Louis factory in August 2018. Qatar’s $12 billion F-15 order is part of a general drive to strengthen the country’s air power, which also includes the purchase of 12 Dassault Rafales and 24 Eurofighter Typhoons.
British defense contractor BAE Systems plans to soon introduce a new advanced combat systems technology to Royal Navy warships. As part of a $27 million investment, BAE plans to begin operational trials of an augmented-reality system sometime next year. During those initial trials BAE’s system will be installed on a Type 23 frigate, where the bridge watch officer will be equipped with augmented-reality glasses that allow the officer to blend real-world visuals with data generated by sensors, like radars and sonars, laid over the top in a similar fashion to the Striker II pilot’s helmet. At a later stage BAE plans to supplement the system with artificial intelligence as a tool to quickly process data and help reach crucial decisions faster. “These technologies have the potential to transform maritime warfare and greatly increase the situational awareness and efficiency of crews on board Royal Navy ships,” said BAE’s head of technology for naval systems Frank Cotton.
Swedish company Saab will collaborate with BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin to develop and integrate the new combat system for Australia’s Hunter-class frigates. Australia will procure a total of nine frigates under its SEA 5000 future frigate program. The Hunter-class is based on BAE’s Type 26 frigate, one of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warships. Hunter-class ships will mount an indigenous CEA Phased-Array Radar, integrated with the Aegis combat management system used by the US Navy. Equipped with a Mk 41 VLS the vessels will be able to shoot ESSMs and SM-2s. BAE is responsible for the design, integration, testing and activation of the combat system; Lockheed will manufacture and deliver the Aegis weapon system, while Saab Australia will build an advanced tactical interface. “The fact that BAE Systems Australia has selected Saab as partner is further proof of our world-class combat system integration capabilities,” Anders Carp, head of Saab’s business area surveillance, said in a company announcement on Friday. “The extensive skills and experience that we bring to this project will complement those of BAE Systems.”
Latest updates[?]: The US Army Contracting Command is modifying a contract with Lockheed Martin. The company will receive an extra $79 million to cover further work on Apache night vision sensor systems, subcomponent production and technical services. Night vision is enabled by Lockheed's M-TADS/PNVS Arrowhead. Arrowhead is an electro-optical and fire control system that the Apache helicopter pilots use for combat targeting of their Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as flying in day, night, or bad weather missions. The Apache's night vision sensors work on the forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, which detects the infrared light released by heated objects. The FLIR sensor has three fields-of-view, a multi-target tracker, multiple-code laser spot tracking, and internal boresight. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each order. The contract is set to run through October 202
AH-64 & Arrowhead
For much of the post-WWII era, US helicopter pilots have been trained to fly “low and fast.” This was based on combat experience in Korea and Vietnam. In the urban environments of Iraq and Afghanistan, however, flying low and fast has made helicopters more vulnerable to a number of threats: terrain, wires/powerlines, rocket propelled grenades, small arms fire, and shoulder-fired missiles.
Enter the Arrowhead system. Arrowhead is an electro-optical and fire control system that AH-64 Apache helicopter pilots use for combat targeting of their Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as flying in day, night, or bad weather missions. The system also provides accurate targeting at high altitudes, a practice that also has its drawbacks. This free-to-view Spotlight article covers the Arrowhead’s characteristics, components, contacts, consequences, and contracts.
F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Block IIs fighters are beginning to enter service with the US Navy and Australia, carrying significantly improved AN/APG-79 AESA radars and other electronic upgrades. Recent years have seen another spreading improvement within global fighter fleets, however: Infra-Red Search & Track (IRST) systems that provide long range thermal imaging against air and ground targets. Most of these deployments have been on Russian (MiG-29 family, SU-30 family) and European (Eurofighter, Rafale, Gripen NG) fighters, or special American exports (UAE’s F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcons, Korea & Singapore’s F-15K/SG Strike Eagles).
IRST: B-2, ICU
That absence puts American fighters behind an important curve. This IRST approach 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. As F-14 pilots will recall, long range electro-optics also offer positive identification, conferring the ability to use a plane’s aerial missiles at their full ranges. Best of all, IRST offers a passive way to locate and target enemy aircraft, without triggering the target’s radar warning receivers. When coupled with medium-range IR missiles like some Russian AA-10 variants, France’s MICA-IR, or even future versions of AMRAAM NCADE, an IRST system offers a fighter both an extra set of medium-range eyes, and a stealthy air-to-air combat weapon. Programs are underway to give some American “teen series” fighters this capability, albeit in a somewhat unusual way.
The US Army is ordering a special netting system from Saab. The Swedish company will deliver several of its Ultra Lightweight Camouflage Net Systems (ULCANS) at a cost of $66 million. The ULCANS system consists of one hexagonal and one rhomboidal screen, available in both woodland and desert version. It features a simplified interconnect system and effective snape disrupters. These multi-spectral camouflage nets offer improved concealment for vehicles and field positions by masking visual, thermal, near infra-red and broadband radar signatures. Erik Smith, president and CEO of Saab Defense and Security USA, said: ‘Saab’s camouflage systems provide the US Army with a state of the art signature management capability for its land forces including exceptional levels of multispectral protection against any possible sensor threat available today.’ The netting system are expected to be delivered between 2019 and 2020.
The US Air Force’s 461st Flight Test Squadron is currently testing an Auto GCAS system on F-35 JSFs. Stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System fitted aircraft will undergo several rounds of testing. Auto GCAS is designed to prevent CFIT (controlled flight into terrain) mishaps by executing an automatic recovery maneuver when terrain impact is imminent. The system relies on a set of sensors that continently measure the fighter jets trajectory, speed, terrain data and pilot input. If GCAS senses an incoming crash, the system calculates the best way to recover to a safe trajectory, automatically overrides the flight controls and flies the aircraft away from danger. The GCAS system is being developed by Lockheed Martin and will be “the stepping stone to increased combat capability via a fully capable combat autopilot that will be able to execute tactical manoeuvres to defeat inbound kinetic and non-kinetic threats, and maximise lethality through precise weapon employment,” says Lt Col Raven LeClair, a F-35 test pilot with the 461st Flight Test Squadron.
Middle East & Africa
Israel’s Golden Eagle Squadron is welcoming two more F-35i Adir advanced fighter aircraft. The new aircraft will be stationed at Israeli Air Force’s Nevatim base, southeast of Beersheba. The planes took off from the United States last week, but were slightly delayed in arriving in Israel, apparently due to bad weather. Israel’s F-35i ‘Adir’ fighter is based on the standard F-35A variant modified with Israeli-made electronic counter-measures systems. Israel has, for now, agreed to purchase 50 F-35 fighters in total from the United States, which are scheduled to be delivered in installments of twos and threes by 2024. With a need to keep ahead of regional changes and increased threats in the Middle East, the Israeli Air Force is expected to soon place orders on several new aircraft to upgrade its ageing squadrons.
Europe’s next-generation fighter jet program will officially launch next year. Airbus and Dassault Aviation will be the first contractors to start work on the Franco-German project. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel first announced plans for the development program in July 2017, with the first contracts expected to be issued in early 2019. “This is a decisive step for European defense, which shows that France and Germany can unite for future projects,” the two governments said in a statement on Wednesday. The two companies will now jointly draft a common concept for the new Future Combat Air System (FCAS), this includes the fighters design, its weapons and connectivity with other aircraft, including UAVs. The FCAS program, known in France as SCAF (Système de Combat Aérien Futur), is envisioned as a complex system of systems comprising a new-generation fighter aircraft, unmanned combat aircraft, future air-launched missiles, and swarms of small drones, all interconnected with satellites, other aircraft, NATO networks as well as national and allied ground and naval combat systems. Key technology challenges for the firms will be the design of an engine fulfilling the needs of a stealthy aircraft with high connectivity and excellent performance.
The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) will soon deploy the country’s next-generation Surface-to-Air Anti-Missile. Dubbed the Haegung, the missile which also known as K-SAAM, is a 3.07 m long ship-based anti-air projectile that employs inertial mid-course guidance and a dual microwave and imaging infrared seeker for terminal guidance. The missile is being developed by South Korea’s state-run Agency for Defense Development (ADD), and recently completed an evaluation test, where 9 out of 10 missiles accurately hit their targets. In development since 2011, the Haegung will soon start to replace Raytheon’s Rolling Airframe Missile, the current system operated by the South Korean Navy.
The US Special Operations Command is modifying a contract with Insitu. The additional $18 million cover mid-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance services under the MEUAS 1.5B program. Insitu will use its ScanEagle as an advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) solution in order to provide the US military with the capability to effectively execute a number of deployment operations. The ScanEagle is an unmanned aerial vehicle that can hover over areas for over 24 hours at a maximum altitude of 19,000 feet and carry several kinds of sensor payloads and other equipment. The modification increases the ceiling value of the contract to $250 million in an attempt to bridge gaps in ISR services as orders transition to MEUAS III.
The US Naval Sea Systems Command is contracting VT Halter Marine to start production on the Military Sealift Command’s next survey ship. The contract is priced at $9 million and provides for further design engineering, procurement of long-lead time material and limited advanced production of the Oceanographic Survey Ship (T-AGS 67). MSC’s oceanographic survey ships are special mission ships, which are operated by civilian mariners who work for private companies under contract. These ships can perform acoustical, biological, physical and geophysical surveys. They gather data that provides much of the military’s information on the ocean environment. The collected data helps to improve technology in undersea warfare and enemy ship detection. Work will be performed at the company’s facilities in Pascagoula, Mississippi; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and New Orleans, Louisiana. Performance of the contract is scheduled for completion by May 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Jane’s reports that South Africa’s Denel group is accelerating the development of its Cheetah C-RAM missile. Reinart Moraal, Denel Dynamics’ chief systems engineer says that successful trials of the Cheetah missile earlier this year have taken it closer to full integration with Rheinmetall Defence’s Oerlikon Skyshield CAP. The Cheetah missile flies at Mach 3 to ranges of 10.000 m and acts as an effector as part of a C-RAM system designed to counter cruise missiles, UAVs and helicopters. The Cheetah-Skyshield combination will protect South African troops against widely available light artillery weapons, such as shoulder fired rocket launchers, mortars and light cannons, which are increasingly found on the asymmetric battlefield.
The Serbian Air Force will soon receive its first two H-145M multirole helicopters. They are part of a 9 unit order, with first deliveries scheduled for December. The M is the member of the H145 family and can be deployed in transportation, special operations, intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR), search-and-rescue, fire support, and medical evacuation missions. The helicopters are equipped with the HForce battle management system designed to engage conventional and asymmetric threats with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.. The platform can be fitted with different equipment packages depending on individual mission requirements. The Serbian aircraft will be equipped with a fast roping system, high-performance camera, fire support equipment, ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support the most demanding missions. The Serbian government expects to receive all six H145M battlefield support helicopters by the end of 2019. The contract between Airbus Helicopters and Serbia foresees transfer of technology, spare parts, tools and documentation for the helicopters’ maintenance and repair.
Germany’s next steps in its upcoming fighter jet acquisiiton program will be announced by the end of the year. Sources familiar with the process told Reuters that the Eurofighter consortium and Lockheed Martin will be the main contenders in the multi-billion competition. The new fighter jets will replace the Luftwaffe’s ageing fleet of Tornado aircraft, which will be phased out from 2025 onwards. Ursula Von der Leyen, Germany’s Defense Minister, favours a European solution which would put the Eurofighter in the lead, but her office also reviewed data submitted in April by the US government on the F-35, and the F-15 and F/A-18E/F jets, both built by Boeing. One of Germany’s key requirement will be a nuclear capability. The new jets must be able to carry and deliver nuclear bombs, so that Germany can fulfil some of its NATO nuclear-sharing policy obligations. This nuclear requirement put tip to balance in favour of Lockheed’s F-35, as nuclear certification is much cheaper than the Eurofighter’s which is estimated to cost over $793 million. A decision on the Tornado’s replacement needs to be approved by parliament within the next two years and a contract signed by 2020 or 2021 to ensure deliveries by 2025.
CFM International is being contracted to deliver a new jet engine to Norway under the Foreign Military Sales program. Priced at $13 million the contract sees for the procurement of one P-8 Poseidon engine. The Poseidon is powered by a CFM56-7B27AE high-bypass turbofan aircraft engine. Norway bought nine Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft in 2016 to replace its ageing P-3 Orion fleet. Work will be performed at factories in Villaroche, France, Evendale, Ohio, Bromont, Canada and Singapore. The contract is set to run through September 2019.
Vietnam will equip its KCT-15 cruise missiles with Russia’s GLONASS system. GLONASS is one of four GPS systems. The KCT-15 is Vietnam’s license build version of Russia’s Kh-35 anti-ship missile. Development of the Kh-35 started as a Soviet response to the US Harpoon, but was adopted into service only in 2003. The Kh-35 carries a 300 lbs High Explosive Fragmentation warhead, and is designed to pierce horizontally through the bulkheads and compartments prior to exploding inside the ship. It travels at subsonic speed and is effective against frigates and smaller destroyers. Yevgeny Bushmin, Russia’s vice-president, recently said that the Kremlin was very supportive of concluding an intergovernmental agreement with Vietnam on the development and use of the GLONASS system. GLONASS is a high-altitude orbital space complex comprised of six high-elliptical orbiting satellites, that will provide high-precision navigation services from 2023 onwards. This will give Vietnam extensive access to Russia’s GLONASS network.
Watch: Watch the Philippine Navy’s latest round of testing the Spike-ER
Thales Defense and Security is being awarded with a delivery order for the repair of the airborne low frequency sonar system (ALFS) sonar dome installed on the Navy’s MH-60R helicopters. The undefinitized contract action is priced at $14 million and covers the repair of 58 sonar units. The AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) is the primary undersea warfare (USW) sensor of the MH-60R multi-mission helicopter. This integrated dipping sonar system enables the ‘Romeo’ to perform ASW missions. including submarine detection, tracking, localization and classification. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland and Brest, France. Performance is expected to be completed by November 2020.
Boeing is being contracted to increase resilience of the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) communication system. The $14 million contract modification includes mitigation and anti-jam efforts and additional strings. The Wideband Global SATCOM satellite system is the successor to the Defense Satellite Communications System-III, and is the backbone of US military global satellite communications. The WGS constellation provides flexible, high-capacity high-data-rate and long-haul communications for the nation’s warfighters. Boeing’s experts will provide an X-Band anti-jam upgrade for the satellite constellation that increases resilience to unintentional and hostile electronic threats. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facilities in El Segundo, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by February 28, 2021.
Embraer is one step closer in achieving the Final Operation Capability (FOC) for its KC-390 transport aircraft. During recently held tests at Brasília Air Force Base, Embraer was able to successfully complete troop unloading, evacuation by hatch and evacuation tests through the front and rear doors of the multi-mission medium airlift. About 370 Brazilian Air Force and Brazilian Army participated in the tests. “By completing this important stage of the testing campaign toward final military certification with excellence, the KC-390 demonstrates compliance with the industry’s most stringent operating and safety standards,” said Walter Pinto Junior, vice-president of the KC-390 Program. The Brazilian Air Force currently has 28 multi-role tankers on order, with the first expected to be delivered in the first half of 2019. Embraer hopes that its new aircraft will rival Lockheed Martin’s C-130.
One of the Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters dropped for the first time a GBU-49 precision bomb. The converted “dumb” bomb was dropped during a combat training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II is a dual-mode GPS and laser-guided 500 pound bomb designed for attacking both stationary and moving targets. It is an improved derivative of the laser-guided GB-10 Paveway II. “It’s a really flexible weapon,” Lt. Col. Matthew Johnston said in a press release. “It was reliable, accurate, and effective.” The GBU-49 can be used in a variety of weather conditions.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries can now offer a next-generation version of its Drone Guard counter-UAV system. Drone guard is able to detect, track and disrupt hostile UAVs. Developed by IAI subsidiary Elta, Drone Guard is comprised of 3-Dimensional (3D) radars and Electro-Optical (EO) sensors for detection and identification, as well as dedicated Electronic Attack (EA) jamming systems for disrupting drone flight. The radar setup includes the ELM-218M, ELM-2026B and ELM-2026 for short (3km), medium (5km) and long (6 km) ranges, respectively. The newly developed next-generation system adds a communication intelligence (COMINT) suite for more precise detection, classification and identification based on broadcast frequencies. The jamming disrupts the drone’s flight and can either cause it to return to its point-of-origin (‘Return Home’ function) or to shut down and make a crash landing.
The Belgium government is advancing in its MQ-9B acquisition program. The Belgian MoD will now start negotiations with the US Government to acquire the SkyGuardian UAS. The SkyGuardian is 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. “We look forward to providing our unmanned aircraft systems to meet Belgium’s mission requirements, while also supporting the NATO Alliance,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “We are also eager to work with our industrial partners in Belgium on a host of activities ranging from manufacturing to maintenance.” The MQ-9B also flys for the UK Royal Air Force, where it is the main platform of the country’s Protector program.
Russian firm Rosoboronexport is being contracted to supply the Indian Army with a Very-Short-Range Air Defence, or VSHORAD system. The decision about the $1.5 billion delay comes after months of delays over complaints made by other competitors in the competition. The Russian company reportedly undercut offers by Sweden’s SAAB RBS-70 NG and France’s MBDA Mistral. Both Saab and MBDA have complained to the Indian army that the Russian firm was even allowed to be a finalist, as it had failed two initial technical tests. It is latest model of Russian MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense system) technology. It offers superior performance over earlier supplied SA-18 missiles to India. The Igla-S can be used to engage a variety of targets including tactical aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The new systems will replace India’s ageing inventory of Igla-M air defense systems.
The US Air Force’s next-generation stealth bombers will be maintained at Tinker Air Base in Oklahoma and at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The B-21 Raider previously referred to as the Long-Range Strike Bomber, or LRS-B, is expected to be delivered in the mid-2020s. The air bases will be responsible to coordinate all maintenance and sustainment efforts of the new aircraft, which includes leading testing and evaluation efforts. This decision comes as the Northrop Grumman-made B-21 is expected to enter its critical design review milestone next month. The Air Force plans to buy a total of 100 Raiders as replacement to its fleet of B-2s and B-1Bs, which are expected to be retired by 2040. “From flight testing the X-15 to the F-117, Edwards AFB in the Mohave Desert has been at the forefront of keeping our Air Force on the cutting edge,” says Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen David L. Goldfein. “Now, testing the B-21 Raider will begin another historic chapter in the base’s history.”
Vista Outdoor Sales is being contracted to supply special ammunition to the Navy and the Marine Corps. Awarded by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the firm-fixed-price, IDIQ contract provides for the delivery of 5.56mm ball, carbine, barrier ammunition. This ammunition is designed to defeat intermediate barriers such as auto windshields and doors while providing sufficient terminal performance. The full name and designation of the round is the MK 318 MOD 0 “Cartridge, Caliber 5.56mm Ball, Carbine, Barrier”. Developed as a SOST (Special Operations Science and Technology) ammo, the 62 grain bullet features an open tip with lead at the front and a thick copper base. The lead is designed to defeat barriers and the copper to penetrate the barrier. Work will be performed at the company’s factory in Anoka, Minnesota. The $41.2 million contract is expected to be completed by November 2023.
IMSAR LLC is being tapped to proceed to Phase III of a previously awarded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. The awarded $10 million delivery order provides for ongoing work on the SBIR Topic AF112-144 entitled “Advanced Radar Concepts for Small (Tier I/II) Remotely Piloted Aircrafts.” The research program aims to develop a small multi-mode Ground Surveillance Radar (GSR) for small UAV’s. GSR is an integral part of the DoD’s Battlefield Awareness requirement. However nearly all ‘small radars’ (weighing 10 lbs or less) are limited to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) processing and lack a Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) and Dismount Detection Radar (DDR) capability. IMSAR is responsible to develop a new ‘small radar’ that incorporates SAR, GMTI and DDR capabilities and bridges the gap between advanced weapon system radars, and small Size Weight & Power radar systems that can operate on Group I/II Remotely Piloted Aircrafts.
Middle East & Africa
The Israel Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire upgraded F-15s to supplement its fleet of F-35 ‘Adir’ fighter aircraft. The squadron of F-15IAs will include certain stealth capabilities, such as radar-absorbing paint and internal weapons carriage. The fighter jets will be capable of carrying 11 missiles, in addition to 28 heavy, smart bombs for ground targets. Other additions include Raytheon’s AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radar, a long-range infrared search and track (IRST) sensor system, allowing for a “first sigh-first shot-first kill” capability and a helmet cueing system. With this upcoming purchase, Israel will be the third Middle-Eastern country to do so. Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have ordered their respective SA and QA variants which are the most advanced Eagles in the world. However experts say that Israel’s Eagle will be even more capable and advanced than the others. The upcoming deal marks the first Boeing fighter jet acquisition by the Israeli Air Force in two decades, with the first F-15IA expected to arrive in Israel as soon as 2023. The IDF says the new F-15 will not completely replace the F-35 stealth fighter, but is intended to reinforce the systems currently in place to enhance the range of capabilities to an optimal position vis-à-vis its missions—from Iran to Gaza.
The Czech Republic joins the multi-national European MALE RPAS program, formerly known as EuroDrone and EuroMALE project. The effort headed by Germany in partnership with France, Italy, and Spain was noted in the European Council’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) updated list of projects. This advanced UAV is being developed in partnership with Dassault Aviation (France) and Leonardo (Italy) and will from now on probably involve Aero Vodochody as it is the Czech Republic’s prime defense contractor. The drone is slightly bigger as IAI’s Heron TP has a turboprop engine and will be capable of carrying various weapon systems. EuroMALE external link is the second biggest European defense project and costs about $356 million. The drone has a wingspan of 26 meters, can carry up to 992 pounds of equipment and can fly for about 24 hours on an altitude of 49.000 feet. The European MALE RPAS development phase is expected to be launched in 2019, with a prototype first flight expected in early 2023 and delivery of the first system in about 2025.
The Japanese government is requesting the purchase of several Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM). If approved by Congress the deal would see for the delivery of 32 AIM-120C-7 missiles at a cost of $63 million. Raytheon’s AIM-120 AMRAAM has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles. At present, the AIM-120-C7 is the most advanced AMRAAM approved for export beyond the USA. It features an improved seeker head, greater jamming resistance, and slightly longer range. Also included are containers, weapon support and support equipment as well as various contractor repair and support services. The DSCA notice states that the potential deal will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by supporting a key US ally and one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific.
The US State Department is determined to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan. The $561 million sale includes the delivery of 8 SM-3 IB missiles and 13 SM-3 IIA missiles. Block IB missiles allow the Japanese navy to defend against medium range and some intermediate range missiles developed by rouge regimes such as North Korea. IB upgrades include an advanced 2-color infrared seeker, and a 10-thruster solid throttling divert and attitude control system. Block IIA is a co-operative US-Japanese program, that adds a larger, more maneuverable “high-divert” kill vehicle. Once deployed the IIA missile will handle the near-strategic IRBM threat, and even engage some ICBMs. The contract also includes the provision of missile canisters and contractor support ranging from technical assistance, engineering and logistical support services. Prime contractors will be Raytheon and BAE Systems, who will respectively produce the missiles and canisters.
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Lockheed Martin is being contracted to mitigate the upcoming obsolescence of F-35 JSF essential semiconductors. Awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, the $41.5 million firm-fixed-price delivery order provides for procurement of new Xilinx and Intel-Altera field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). An FPGA is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by a customer or a designer after manufacturing. They are configurable computer processors with large amounts of logic gates and RAM blocks to implement complex digital computations. The devices can carry out any logical function similar to an application-specific integrated circuit. The F-35s communication, navigation, and identification friend or foe (IFF) avionics rely on FPGAs, as do other critical electronic subsystems aboard the advanced fighter aircraft. The contract combines purchases for the US Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as to FMS customers. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2019.
The US Navy is procuring a number of Identification Friend or Foe Interrogator (IFFI) units for its P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Telephonics will deliver up-to 50 IFFIs and their associated mounting trays at a cost of $15.1 million. This contract also includes purchases for partner countries and FMS customers. The AN/UPX-43 is a Mark XIIA monopulse and AIMS-certified IFF interrogator for command and control. It enables air traffic controllers and air defenders to identify military and civilian aircraft, verify forces as friendly, and determine their bearing and range. The first order under this IDIQ contract combines purchases for the Navy ($2.7 million) and for the British Royal Air Force ($900 million). Work will be performed at Telephonics’ factory in Farmingdale, New York, and is expected to be completed in November 2021.
Thales Air Traffic Management is being tapped to support worldwide aircraft deployment by the US military. The awarded firm-fixed-price contract option provides for 9 Deployable-Instrument Landing System (D-ILS) production units and has a value of $30.6 million. The highly mobile D-ILS units will be used in airfield environments to precisely guide pilots on their final approach during low-visibility or low-ceiling weather conditions. The Thales D-ILS essentially provides the equivalent of fixed-based Instrument Landing System capability at tactical airfields and environmentally diverse regions such as sites hit by natural disasters. The total cumulative face value of the contract is $126 million. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland, and is expected to be completed by September, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli military officials are satisfied with the performance of the country’s Iron Dome air-defense system. Iron Dome is an effective, truck-towed mobile air defense system developed to counter very short range rockets and artillery shell (155mm) threats with ranges of up to 70km. During a recent escalation several militant organisations in the Gaza Strip launched a barrage of missile and mortar fire into Israel. From the 12th to the 13th of November about 460 107mm and 122mm short-range rockets and mortars were launched towards southern Israel. An IDF source told Jane’s that the Iron Dome batteries “performed in an excellent manner” by intercepting more than 100 projectiles heading towards civilian built-up areas in Israel.
The US State Department is determined to approve a FMS to NATO. Requested by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency the potential $320.5 million contract sees for the sale of various precision guided munitions kits. This includes the delivery of 2040 JDAM kits for GBU-31 2000 lbs and GBU-38 500lbs bombs. The contract further includes the delivery of required Munitions Adapter Units, Enhanced Computer Control Groups and Joint Programmable Fuzes for the weapon systems. Prime contractors Boeing and Raytheon will also provide NATO with laser kits, proximity sensors, Wireless Paveway Avionics Kit (WIPAK) interfaces and logistic services. This order will support following NATO members: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. This sale increases the quantity of precision-guided munitions within NATO and allows for their pre-coordinated transfer in support of national and NATO requirements.
The Finnish government is concluding the pre-bid dialogue phase of its H-X contest which seeks to find a suitable replacement for the country’s fleet of 62 Boeing F/A-18C/Ds. During this phase the government held a series of talks with industry with the aim to outline the contract parameters and the industrial offset proposed for Finnish industry. Shortlisted companies include Boeing with its F-18 Super Hornet, Dassault with its Rafale, Lockheed Martin and its F-35 JSF, Saab’s Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Helsinki expect preliminary offers early next year, with improved bids leading to a final decision in 2021. First deliveries are expected to commence in 2025. Project manager Lauri Puranen wrote in a blog on the Finnish MoD website that “all the manufacturers have taken the challenge seriously and are striving to provide Finland with the best possible overall package,” adding that “none of the candidates have a better or worse status”.
Tokyo is ordering the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Northrop Grumman. The $489 million contract includes the delivery of three RQ-4 Block 30i air vehicles, two ground control elements, spares, support equipment and other program activities. Each UAV will contain an enhanced integrated sensor suite payload (EEIS). Developed by Raytheon, the EISS comprises an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, synthetic aperture radar imagery, and ground moving target indicator elements. The Global Hawk’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of ISR collection capability to support joint combatant forces in worldwide peacetime, contingency and wartime operations. The Global Hawk provides persistent near-real-time coverage using imagery intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT) and moving target indicator (MTI) sensors. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s factory in San Diego and will run through September 2022.
The Royal Australian Air Force is fitting external fuel tanks on its C-130J Hercules aircraft in an attempt to boost its ability to perform a range of missions. The fuel tanks increase the fuel capacity of a Hercules from 19 tonnes to 27 tonnes. “Extra fuel is useful during Forward Arming and Refuelling Point operations, where the crew land and offload fuel to another aircraft, vehicle or storage tank,” Air Commodore William Kourelakos said in a statement. Flown by the Air Mobility Group, the effectiveness of the external tanks will be tested in December, where one C-130J will support Operation Christmas Drop in Guam. This involves the delivery of donated gifts to remote island communities in the West Pacific. “Some of these missions are to islands more than 2000km from Guam, where there’s very limited options to divert in the event of an emergency. Carrying that extra fuel would make some aspects of mission planning easier, allow crews to deliver to more island communities, or increase the amount of time loitering at a Drop Zone,” the Air Commodore concluded.
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