Space Vector and OrbitalATK are being contracted to support the Air Force’s Sounding Rocket Program-4 (SRP-4). Valued at $424 million the multiple-award IDIQ contract will be used to meet DoD’s and other government agency requirements needed to accomplish the Rocket Systems Launch Program’s (RSLP) sub-orbital mission. This includes sub-orbital research, development and test launch services, including prototype demonstrations and provision of missile defense targets. The RSLP program is responsible for providing suborbital launch capability for various DoD, DOE, and NASA organizations. The companies will use excess Minuteman rocket motors and other ballistic missile assets. Work will be performed at Space Vector’s facility in Chatsworth, California and at OrbitalATK’s facility in Chandler, Arizona. The contract includes a seven-year ordering period.
Lockheed Martin is receiving additional funding for work on the Trident II (D5) missile system. The two cost-plus-fixed-fee modifications are worth a combined $90.4 million and cover missile production and deployed system support. The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the US Navy’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles, and are found aboard Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines. The D5 is a three-stage, solid-fuel submarine-launched intercontinental-range ballistic missile. The US Navy initially planned to keep Trident submarines in service for 30 years, but has had to extend their service life to 42 years until 2027. The Navy expects to spend $4.8 billion on Trident II modifications between FY2018 and 2021. Work will be performed at multiple location including, but not limited to, Sunnyvale, California; Denver, Colorado and Cape Canaveral, Florida. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by September 30, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a contract modification to continue work on Saudi Arabia’s new warships. The undefinitized contract action modification provides for long-lead-time material and detail design in support of the construction of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships (MMSC). The order is valued at $282 million and includes Foreign Military Sales funding in the amount of $124 million. The MMSC is a derivative of the US Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship. Its mission capabilities include anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare, and special operations. Saudi Arabia’s new ships will be fitted with Mk-41 VLSs, Lockheed’s COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems, CIWS, a Mk-75 76mm OTO Melara Gun and several missile systems. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s locations in Marinette, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland; Herndon, Virginia; Moorestown, New Jersey; Manassas, Virginia and San Diego, California. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by October 2025.
The Royal Navy achieves another milestone aboard Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. RAF test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell recently completed a special landing manoeuvre with a F-35B. Edgell reportedly flew the STOVL aircraft facing the stern, not bow, before bringing the jet to a hover, slipping it over the huge flight deck and gently setting it down. This ‘back-to-front’ manoeuvre is intended to give naval aviators and the flight deck are more options to safely land the 5th generation fighter jet in an emergency. The wrong-way landing was a slightly surreal experience, said Squadron Leader Edgell. “It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing.”
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to start work on the second batch of E-2D aircraft for Japan. The FMS contract is priced at $33 million and provides for long-lead acquisitions related to the production of the fifth aircraft (JAA5) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft is designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. The E-2D comes with enhanced operational capabilities including the replacement of the old radar system with Lockheed Martin AN/APY9 radar, upgraded communications suite, mission computer, displays and the incorporation of an all-glass cockpit. The aircraft will improve Japan’s ability to effectively provide homeland defence utilizing an AEW&C capability. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the United States, France and Canada including, but not limited to, Syracuse, New York; Marlborough, Massachusetts; Aire-sur-l’Adour, France and Falls Church, Virginia. The initial batch is due to be delivered to the JASDF between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, while the fifth aircraft will follow before the end of 2022.
India’s Ministry of Defense has issued a letter of request to the US government bringing it one step closer in acquiring several MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. First announced in August 2018, the 24 unit order is part of larger defense acquisition program totalling at $6.5 billion. The Indian Navy will replace its ageing fleet of Sea King Mk 42B/C and Ka-28 helicopters with the Seahawks at a cost of $1.8 billion. The ‘Romeo’ is a next-generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter. It can carry two Mk-46, Mk-50 or Mk-54 light air-launched torpedoes, two AGM-119B Penguin anti-ship missiles or four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The R variant can also perform secondary missions such as SAR, CSAR, vertical replenishment, medical evacuation and insertion and extraction of special forces. If the deal is approved, India could receive the first aircraft by 2020 and the last by 2024
The Japanese government will delay a planned deployment of V-22 Ospreys amidst local opposition. The MoD initially intended to deploy 17 Ospreys to Saga airport in southwestern Japan in an effort to strengthen defense of remote islands in the southwest amid China’s increasingly aggressive posture. “It’s true that we are seeing a delay in the entire schedule. We’ll try to realize the delivery as soon as possible,” Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters, without elaborating on when the aircraft are now expected to arrive to Japan. Local residents are resisting the scheduled deployment because the tilt-rotor aircraft are considered to be noisy and accident-prone. Japan received the first of its 19 ordered Ospreys in August 2017.
The US Air Force is stocking up its missile inventory. The service is ordering 50 long range anti-ship missiles (LRASMs) from Lockheed Martin. The Lot 2 production effort is priced at $172 million. The LRSAM program started in 2009 with to goal to develop a new generation of anti-ship weapons, offering longer ranges and better odds against improving air defense systems. The Navy needs the advanced anti-ship missile as an urgent capability stop-gap solution to address range and survivability problems with the Harpoon and to prioritize defeating enemy warships. The LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships using its sensors, encrypted communications and a digital anti-jamming GPS. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factory in Orlando, Florida and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2021.
Raytheon is being tapped to provide the Navy with an integral component of the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system. The company will produce and deliver several Common Array Block antennas at a cost of $34 million. CEC essentially brings together multiple sensors to provide high quality situational awareness and integrated fire control capability, improved battle force effectiveness and enables longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies. The Common Array Block is a next generation Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based CEC antenna. This high-power Common Array Block antenna increases the system’s reliability and efficiency while also reducing its size, weight and cost. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s locations in Largo, Florida and Andover, Massachusetts. Performance is scheduled to run through October 2020.
Rolls Royce is being contracted to support the US Navy’s Ship-to-Shore Connector program. The company is being awarded with a firm-fixed-price modification worth $41 million. The contract provides for the procurement of 20 MT7 marine turbine engines used to power Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 100-class craft 109 through 113. The program seeks to replace existing Navy landing hovercraft with the LCAC 100 due to current craft nearing the end of their service life. Each LCAC 100 craft mounts four MT7 engines. The MT7 combines modern turbine materials and technology to provide a state-of-the-art power system suited to a range of naval applications such as main propulsion and power generation. Work to be performed includes production of the MT7 engines and delivery to Textron Marine Systems for the assembly of the LCAC 100 class craft. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed by January, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish defense contractor Roketsan is reportedly working on a new short-range anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). According to Jane’s the company is currently accelerating development of the 125 mm manportable missile. Dubbed Karaok, the weapon is being designed for airborne infantry, amphibious assault units and special operation forces. It is a single-use, shoulder-launched weapon system that has an effective range of over 1100 yards. The 43 inch long weapon weighs close to 55 lbs and features an aligned, cruciform fold-out wing and aft fin assembly. The Karaok features a tandem warhead and a hybrid dual-stage rocket motor. This allows the weapon to be fired from an enclosed space. The guidance section consists of an integrated inertial measurement unit and an imaging infrared seeker. An official told Jane’s that the Karaok concept “provides for a new lightweight ATGM solution to meet the requirements of dismounted rapid response units, primarily special forces”.
French defense manufacturer MBDA successfully completes another milestone in its anti-ship missile development program. The company is currently developing a new version of its proven Marte platform. The Marte ER (extended range) is the third generation of the missile system that arms NFH90 and AW101 helicopters flown by the Italian Army. During a recently held test at an Italian test range the missile flew for about 62 miles on a pre-planned trajectory that included the passing of several waypoints and a sea-skimming flight. This new missile version meets the operational requirements of engaging targets well beyond the radar horizon. The Marte ER missile uses many of the technologies and has a great commonality with the standard Marte MK2 missile with the main difference lying in the turbo-engine propulsion system that provides a much greater effective range. Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, managing director of MBDA Italia said, “This test is a further confirmation of the robustness of the ER version of the Marte family of multi-platform anti-ship missiles that can be launched by ships, helicopters, coastal batteries and fast jets.
Australia is opting for General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper to fulfil its AIR 7003 requirement. Project AIR 7003 will see the delivery of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS). Australian ministers for Defense, Christopher Pyne, and Defense Industry, Steven Ciobo, jointly announced the selection of the Reaper over IAI’s Heron TP on November 16. GA says that its MQ-9 is a system fully-interoperable with Australia’s allies, including the US, the UK and France. “These new aircraft will provide enhanced firepower and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to a range of missions,” said Cristopher Pyne, adding, “The aircraft will be operated under the same laws of armed conflict, international human rights law, and rules of engagement as manned aircraft.” The Team Reaper Australia includes nine other companies: Cobham Australia, CAE Australia, Raytheon Australia, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Ultra Electronics Australia, Airspeed, and Quickstep Holdings Ltd.
South Korea’s next-generation attack submarines will be fitted with newly developed lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries will almost double the operational hours of the vessel compared to submarines powered by lead-acid batteries. Announced by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, the batteries will be installed onto the KSS-III Batch II diesel-electric submarines which will be launched in the mid-2020s. Following 30 months of development, the batteries passed a technology readiness assessment, a step toward integration on a weapons platform, the agency said in a news release. Developed by Samsung, the lithium-ion batteries are a somewhat novelty in the naval sector. Once considered to be expensive and too unstable for submarines, Korean developers are taking the risk and strongly prioritize safety and reliability. The new 3,000-ton KSS-III sub is 83.3-meter-long, 9.6-meter-wide, and can accommodate a crew of 50. It is capable of operating underwater without surfacing for up to 20 days. Its maximum underwater speed is estimated at 20 knots with a maximum operational range of 10,000 nautical miles. KSS-III is expected to be produced in three batches, with the last submarine expected to be delivered in 2029.
Watch: Trying out the British Army’s new assault rifle
The US Department of Defense is ordering a new batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed Martin. The company is being awarded with a $23 billion contract modification that covers the procurement of 255 aircraft. About 106 planes will be delivered to US services, including 64 F-35As for the Air Force, 26 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and 16 F-35Cs for the Navy. Another 89 JSFs will be delivered to non-DoD participants of which 71 are A variant and 18 are B variants. A number of Foreign Military Sales customers will receive the remaining 60 F-35s in their A version. This modification includes low rate initial production lot 12 for US services and LRIP 12, 13 and 14 for international partner countries and FMS customers. Lots 12 and 13 jets are set to be delivered in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The definitization of the final LRIP 14 contract is expected to take place in 2020, with deliveries expected for 2022. Work will be performed at multiple locations worldwide. They include, but are not limited to, Fort Worth, Texas; San Diego, California; Nagoya, Japan and Warton United Kingdom. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed in March 2023.
The US Navy is ordering more ‘workhorses’ for its troops from Lockheed Martin. The company is being tapped to provide the Navy with eight MH-60R rotorcraft at a cost of $382 million. The order also includes associated systems engineering and program management support. The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter replaces SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters in the US Navy’s fleet and combines the capabilities of these aircraft. The helicopter can perform a multitude of mission ranging from anti-submarine warfare to naval gunfire support. Its two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines give it a cruise speed of 168 km/h to a range of 834km. The Navy will eventually replace its entire fleet of SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters with the MH-60R. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facilities in Owego, New York; Stratford, Connecticut and Troy, Alabama. The helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by September 2020.
L-3 Communications is being awarded with a multi-million support contract. Awarded by the US Air Force and priced at $35 million, the contract provides for logistic services in support of the service’s C-12 fleet. The C-12 Huron is a military version of an executive passenger and transport aircraft based on the Beech Model 200 Super King Air. Its primary functions include range clearance, embassy support, medical evacuation, VIP transport, passenger and light cargo transport. The support concept is based on total contractor support wherein a commercial contractor provides all FAA approved maintenance and material support. Services include engine repair/overhaul; propeller repair/overhaul; and airframe and avionics overhaul/repair. Work will be performed at global areas of operation including Madison, Mississippi; Buenos Ares, Argentina; Accra, Ghana and Gaborone, Botswana. The contract is set to run through December 31, 2018.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Bahraini Air Force will receive several attack helicopters as part of a US Foreign Military Sale. The US Department of State approved the deal for 12 AH-1Z Vipers, worth an estimated $912 million, in April this year. Bahrain expects delivery of the helicopters from the second half of 2022 onwards. The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a modern version of the AH-1 Cobra, the first ever attack helicopter. It is one of the most powerful, capable and advanced helicopters, flying today. Bahrain’s fleet will be armed with 14 AGM-114 Hellfires, and 56 Advance Precision Kill Weapon System II. The Viper’s manufacturer Bell, alongside Textron and General Electric have been listed as principal contractors on the sale. Bell CEO Mitch Snyder said the “most advanced helicopter in production” would “help protect the country for decades to come”.
The British MoD doubles its fleet of F-35 JSFs with a new 17-jet order. The Royal Air Force currently has 16 F-35As stationed at its base in Marham and has an additional two aircraft on order. The new 17 aircraft will be B variants for the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. The planes are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2022. Britain is the only Tier 1 partner outside the USA, and they have invested about $2 billion equivalent in the F-35’s development. They took delivery of their 1st IOT&E training and test aircraft in July 2012. “I am delighted to confirm that we are doubling the size of our F-35 force into a formidable fleet of 35 stealth fighters. This is another massive order in the biggest defence programme in history. Our military and industry are playing a leading role in the F-35 programme. We are now building this game-changing capability that will soon be ready for frontline action. This programme is set to bring an immense boost of £35 billion ($44 billion) into the British economy, and it will be welcome news to our firms that many more jets are now set for production,” British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a press statement.
The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) is ordering two more FFX-II-class frigates from South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). DSME will construct two more Daegu-class guided-missile frigates at a cost of $558 million. The Daegu-class is a slightly larger than the FFX-I, or Incheon-class, but includes almost all of the same core systems. FFX-II vessels are powered by a single 36-40MW MT30 turbine, and propulsion is all-electric. Equipped with a 16-cell K-VLS Korean Vertical Launch System, the ships can employ a broad weapon array that gives the more flexibly and greater reach. The FFX-II class is armed with one 127 mm MK 45 MOD 4 naval gun and one Raytheon six-barrelled 20 mm Phalanx close-in weapon system mounted on the top of the aft superstructure. The RoKN expects to commission up to eight FFX-II vessels.
Australia’s new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) procured under its Sea 1180 program will be referred to as Arafura-class. The Arafura-class ships will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the thirteen Armidale Class Patrol Boats, by acquiring 12 new vessels. The primary role of the OPV will be to undertake constabulary missions and the OPV will be the primary Australian Defense Force asset for maritime patrol and response duties. The ships feature a common modular design. Modular mission payloads can be fitted into the vessel making it suitable to fulfil specific roles such as border patrol, mine warfare, and hydrographic survey. The 1,640 ton ships are powered by two 8,500 kW diesel engines giving them a maximum speed of 20kt. The OPVs are armed with a 40mm naval gun and two 12.7 mm MGs. In addition the ships have several systems installed which includes the Scanter 6002 air and surface surveillance radar system from Terma and the 9LV-based Situational Awareness System (SAS) from Saab Australia. The class’ first OPV is expected to be delivered by 2021.
Watch: Supersonic air travel is finally coming back
Boeing is being awarded with extra funding in support of the US’ Minuteman III ICBM system. Awarded by the Air Force Nuclear Weapon Center, the additional $70.5 million cover specification changes for the ICBM’s Missile Flight Test, Telemetry, and Termination program. This includes changes to the management plan and flight termination receiver; and to the electromagnetic interference, cable qualification and antenna testing requirements. The Minuteman III has been an essential part of the USA’s nuclear strike capability for decades and will remain in service through 2030. The Minuteman III has a fast launch time, nearly 100 percent testing reliability, and backup airborne launch controllers to preserve retaliatory capabilities. The Minuteman’s telemetry, test, and termination systems are packaged in a wafer-like package called the Mod 7 that fits on test versions of the Minuteman between the missile’s reentry system and missile guidance set. During tests, Mod 7 transmits data from sensors aboard the test missiles that monitor the missile’s behavior before and during flight. The telemetry, test, and termination systems transmit telemetry data in real time on the missile’s critical on-board components like batteries booster stage pressure chambers, and guidance section. Most of the work will be performed in Huntington Beach, California. Performance is expected to be completed by January 29, 2021.
Detyens Shipyards is being tapped to overhaul one of the Navy’s Henry J. Kaiser-class support ships. The $10 million firm-fixed-price contract covers 60 days of shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and dry docking of the USNS Joshua Humphreys, which includes a variety of general services. The Navy’s existing force of fleet oilers consists of 15 Henry J. Kaiser-class ships. The primary role of Navy fleet oilers is to transfer fuel to Navy surface ships that are operating at sea, so as to extend the operating endurance of these surface ships and their embarked aircraft. Work on the T-AO 188 includes providing clean and gas-free tanks, hydro-blast and recoating efforts, flight deck preservation, stability testing, engine overhaul, recertification of lifeboats and winches, propeller system maintenance, overhauling sea valves and underwater hull cleaning and painting. The contract includes a number of options that could raise the total contract value to $11 million. Work will be performed at Detyens’ shipyard in North Charleston, South Carolina, and is expected to be completed by March 17, 2019.
The US Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard will procure upgrades for digital GPS anti-jam receivers installed on its fleet of F-16s. Provided by Rockwell Collins the upgraded receivers will provide the fighter aircraft with reliable navigation while operating in contested electromagnetic environments. The Digital GPS Anti-Jam Receiver (DIGAR) generates 16 simultaneous steered beams that provides airborne platforms with superior jamming immunity in the most severe GPS-challenged environments. The US Air Force is increasingly concerned about GPS jamming and spoofing by its adversaries, especially Russia, China and Iran, who have shown the ability to throw off aircraft navigation by sending receivers false coordinates. “From advanced fifth-generation aircraft to ground and maritime applications, this receiver is the most reliable military-grade GPS solution available due to its unmatched anti-jam protection levels,” said Troy Brunk, vice president and general manager, Communication, Navigation & Electronic Warfare Systems for Rockwell Collins.
The multi-billion F-35 JSF program will soon mark another major milestone. The US DoD expects to order a 12th batch of F-35s from Lockheed Martin by next spring. “Negotiations on the US contract are moving quickly on what is expected be the largest order to date for the F-35”, the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer Ellen Lord told Reuters. Some sources claim that the impending deal will cover the delivery of over 250 F-35 fighter jets to US services an international partners. The JSF program has been widely criticised for its overruns and schedule delays, however in September Lockheed managed to lower the price for the F-35A by 5,4% to $89.2 million, and expects to cut the price to $80 million by 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Bahraini Air Force is welcoming its first of two ex-UK Royal Air Force C-130Js. The surplus aircraft were acquired via a government-to-government contract. The 19 year old transport aircraft then underwent an excessive overhaul and maintenance process executed by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group at its Cambridge airport site. The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. The J variant reached its IOC with the US military in 2006 and features a number of key improvements that enhance performance and reduce overall operating costs. Matthew Harvey, International Sales Director Military Aerospace for Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group commented: “Delivery of this aircraft sees the first Government to Government transfer of a C-130J and the Kingdom of Bahrain enter the C-130 community as a new operator – we support more than 15 countries on the C-130 platform and the capability it delivers is proven. We look forward to continuing to support the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
Germany’s parliamentary budget committee is green lighting the Luftwaffe’s future heavy transport helicopter acquisition program. The German MoD needs to replace its ageing fleet of CH-53s by the end of 2020s and is willing to spend about $6.3 billion. Officials have said that Boeing’s CH-47E and Sikorsky’s CH-53K are being considered. In total the Luftwaffe wants to buy 45 to 60 heavy lift helicopters with delivers expected to take place between 2023 and 2029. The contract is expected to be finalized sometime in 2020. According to Jane’s, Air Force Chief General Ingo Gerhartz welcomed the fact “that the government has given more money for the urgently required modernisation of the Luftwaffe, especially for the next generation of transport helicopters, which we need for almost all deployments worldwide”.
Jane’s reports that the Thai MoD is interested in buying several L-39NGs from the Czech Republic. “They [the Thais] are interested in our aircraft, the newest generation of aircraft, something which is considered to be hi-tech military technology,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters on 10 November following a meeting in Brussels earlier this month with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39 but utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. It can be used as a trainer and to conduct light combat and reconnaissance missions under all climatic conditions. Powered by a Williams International FJ44-4M engine the L-39NG is suitable as light attack aircraft for countries with a limited air force.
Watch: Meet the Team Supporting the HMS Queen Elizabeth F-35B Trials – Part 3
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works is starting the production of the US Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. The future USS Patrick Gallagher (DDG-127) will be the last vessel in the Flight IIA configuration. “It is exciting to commence construction on what will be the 77th ship of the Arleigh Burke class” said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “Not only will this ship continue the legacy of enduring warfighting capability, it will carry with it the strength and courage demonstrated by its namesake.” Introduced in 2000, the DDG 51 Flight IIA ships incorporate two hangars for two SH-60B helicopters as well as aircraft facilities. In addition the Gallagher will be fitted with an Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, making it suitable for Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) missions.
The Navy’s second Zumwalt-class destroyer is currently sailing towards California. The USS Michael Monsoor is making its way towards Coronado where it will be commissioned on January 26, 2019. Bath Iron Works started the ship’s construction in May 2013 with builder’s trials held in December 2017 and January 2018. During the acceptance trials held in February this year the USS Monsoor suffered an engine casualty which required the replacement of its two Rolls Royce MT30 maritime gas turbines. Like the Zumwalt, the Monsoor features a stealthy shape, electric-drive propulsion, new radar and sonar, and powerful guns and missiles. It’s fitted with 80 vertical launch cells for Tomahawk cruise missiles, ESSMs, and Raytheon’s Standard Missiles. Other armament includes a 155mm Advanced Gun System and a MQ-8C Fire Scout. The third ship in the class, USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG-1002), is set to be delivered in 2020. Combined, the Navy has spent about $23 billion on research, development and acquisition of the three-ship class.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey finalises an essential step in its TF-X development program. The Turkish Defense Industry Directorate (SSB) signed a framework agreement with TR Motor that enables the domestic production of the future jet’s engine. TR Motor will now join Aselsan and Turkish Aerospace Industries in the fighter jet development program. As SSB chief ?smail Demir notes, “the door remains open for international engine-makers to get involved in the project”. Saying that the main aim in the framework of the TF-X jet project was to develop an indigenous jet engine, Demir told Hurriyet Daily News that TR Motor, a new company, was established a while ago to achieve this target. Both Aselsan and TAI signed a MoU earlier this year. Both companies are developing critical systems for the TF-X, including a national radar, electro-optical systems, mission-control systems and integration of these systems into the future aircraft. The Turkish government has earmarked about $1.2 billion for an initial investment.
Saab confirms that its Gripen E fighter jet successfully fired a Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) for the first time. MBDA’s Meteor missile was conceived as a longer-range competitor to popular weapons like the Russian R77/AA-12, and American AIM-120 AMRAAM. Its ramjet propulsion offers the missile a head-on closing range of 120 km, and full powered performance at Mach 4+ throughout its flight, instead of the standard “burn and coast” approach use by rocket-powered counterparts. Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen is serving as the Meteor’s main test platform. “The aircraft continues to perform as smoothly as we have seen throughout the whole flight test phase flying with external stores. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming steps in the flight test program, taking us closer and closer to completing weapon integration. Meteor makes Gripen E extremely capable in the air dominance role”, says Robin Nordlander, Saab’s experimental test pilot.
France’s Defense Procurement Agency, DGA, accepts the F3-R-standard variant of the Rafale combat aircraft. The F-3R standard was launched in 2013 and features a range of software enhancements that allow for the integration of the Meteor BVRAAM and SBU-64 smart bombs. The enhancements also improve the jet’s Spectra self-defense system provided by Thales, and give it a new Friend-or-Foe interrogator/transponder with full Mode-5/ Mode-S-compatibility. Diagnostic improvements will make maintenance easier and more cost-effective. Approval from the French DGA was obtained on 31 October, says Dassault. Dassault will shortly begin development of the F4-standard Rafale, having completed initial feasibility studies for the program.
The Royal Navy’s eighth and final ship in the Type 26 acquisition program will be named HMS London. BAE will build the vessels in two batches, with three frigates in the first batch. The contract for the second batch is expected to be signed in 2020. BAE will construct the HMS London at its shipyard in Govan. Key Type 26 design criteria include multi-role versatility, flexibility in adapting to future needs, affordability in both construction and through-life support costs, and exportability. “The Type 26 Frigate is a cutting-edge warship, combining the expertise of the British shipbuilding industry with the excellence of the Royal Navy. These ships will be a force to be reckoned with, there to protect our powerful new carriers and helping keep British interests safe across the world,” said a MoD spokesman.
The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) is currently inducting its first of four Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. The aircraft is stationed at Gimhae Air Base in Busan, South Korea, where it is undergoing acceptance trials. The A330-200 MRTT is a derivative of the Airbus A330, and was designed from the outset to be able to function as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft at the same time. Airbus won the $1.2 billion contract in 2015. Other competitors included Boeing with its KC-46A and IAI with its B767-300 Multi Mission Tanker Transport (MMTT). It is expected that deliveries of all four A330 MRTTs will be concluded by the end of 2019.
Enterprise Services is receiving additional funding for work on the currently running Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract. The modification with a potential maximum value of $486 million extends the potential ordering period by eight months. NGEN increases government operational and design control of the network and requisite Information Assurance enhancements to meet evolving security requirements. Its part of the DoD’s Joint Information Environment (JIE), which refers to an initiative to increase operational efficiency, enhance network security and cost savings through reduced infrastructure and manpower, achieved through the convergence of the Department of Defense’s multiple enterprise networks into a common global network. Work will be performed throughout the continental US, Europe, Guam, Korea and Japan. The contract runs from October 1, 2018 through May 31, 2020.
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory is being awarded with a contract modification to support the Navy’s common missile compartment (CMC) development. The modification is priced at $109 million and provides for research into new technologies to meet the guidance requirements of the Navy’s future CMC which will be fitted onto the Columbia- and Dreadnought-class SSBNs. The Laboratory will also provide specialized technical knowledge and support for future hypersonic missiles, including their guidance, navigation and control systems. This contract supports the DoD’s Prompt Global Strike program which seeks to develop a system that can deliver a precision-guided conventional weapon airstrike anywhere in the world within one hour, in a similar manner to a nuclear ICBM. Work will be performed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and El Segundo, California. The contract will run until September 2019.
The US Army Contracting Command is awarding a contract modification to Longbow LLC. The contract, worth $8.9 million, provides for laser and longbow Hellfire engineering services. Hellfire missiles are the USA’s preferred aerial anti-armor missile, and are widely deployed with America’s allies. It is a combat proven tactical missile system using multiple launch platforms. The Hellfire is a 100lb class air-to-ground precision weapon delivering multi-target capability and precision strike lethality. The AGM-114L “Longbow Hellfire” adds a millimeter-wave radar seeker, which makes it a “fire-and-forget” missile. This missile’s distinctive name is a reference to the AH-64D Apache Longbow, whose sensor mast atop its rotor hub has the ability to detect, identify, and engage targets using the Longbow Hellfire. Work will be performed at the company’s facilities in Orlando and Ocala and is estimated to be completed by November 7, 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer BMC is being tapped for the mass production of the Turkish-designed Altay MBT. The contract signed between BMC and the Turkish Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) covers the initial production of 40 Altay tanks, with the first expected to be delivered in about 18 months. The Altay is the future third generation main battle tank for the Turkish army. Altay incorporates the most modern features of a tank. The Turkish MBT has a crew of four, comprising the driver, gunner, loader and commander. The tank is equipped with a state-of-the-art Volkan fire control system and battlefield management system, indigenously developed by Aselsan. Eventually BMC will produce up-to 210 tanks in a currently undefined timeframe. The program’s cost has not been disclosed to this date.
Italy will become the launch customer of the military variant of Leonardo’s AW169 helicopter. Leonardo will replace the ageing fleet of Bell types flown by the Guardia di Finanza police agency at a cost of $315 million. The contract also includes a support and training package. The AW169 external link is a new generation multi-purpose twin engine light intermediate helicopter providing a multi-role capability and a high mission flexibility. The AW169 Armed Aerial Scout supports missions such as armed reconnaissance, escort, command and control, security operations, target acquisition and targeting, as well as fire support coordination. Military qualification for the AW169s will be supplied by Italy’s Armaereo agency. The aircraft will be configured with a number of features, including electro-optical/infrared sensors, a rescue hoist and night-vision goggle compatibility. First deliveries will take place in mid-2019, and will run until 2024.
The Dutch MoD is ordering several PointShield systems from Israel’s DSIT Solutions. The PointShield is a compact, lightweight portable diver detection sonar (PDDS). Diver Detection Sonar (DDS) systems are sonar and acoustic location systems employed underwater for the detection of divers and submerged swimmer delivery vehicles (SDVs). The system’s advanced signal processing algorithms support fully automatic operation, from detection, through tracking to classification and alert. Gadi Leibovich, president and CEO of DSIT, said: “The PointShield system provides navies with rapid deployment, automatic detection of all types of threats, high reliability and real time continuous monitoring all at competitive prices and is tailored to specific user demands.”
US Navy Carrier Air Wing 5, which is currently embarked on the USS Ronald Reagan, lost a fighter aircraft. One of the wing’s F-18 jets crashed into the Philippine Sea earlier on Monday. Both pilots safely ejected and were rescued by a MH-60 Seahawk. The F-18 experienced a “mechanical issue that resulted in the crew ejecting” while carrying out “routine operations” from the Nimitz-class super-carrier, the US Navy 7th Fleet said.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies is receiving extra funding to advance work on the Weather System Follow-on Microwave (WSF-M) program. Awarded by the Air Force the $255 million contract modification allows for the development and fabrication Weather System Follow-on Microwave Space Vehicle 1. The WSF-M space vehicle will provide orbital monitoring of weather and environmental conditions in support of military operations. It uses a passive microwave radiometer to measure the strength of electromagnetic radiation and is useful for weather and temperature mapping. Work will be performed in Boulder, Colorado and is expected to be completed by January 2023.
Raytheon is being tapped to continue work on its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA. The awarded contract modification is priced at $74.8 million and provides for the procurement of more Guidance Electronics Units (GEU). The SM-3 Block IIA is the co-operative US-Japanese program. It adds the larger diameter, a more maneuverable “high-divert” kill vehicle, plus another sensor/ discrimination upgrade to help deal with harder targets, countermeasures, and decoys. The Block IIA model is capable of engaging ballistic missiles as they begin their descent in low space at long ranges. This order is part of a 2016 SM-3 Block IIA contract that sees for Raytheon to continue efforts for qualification, test and integration of the enhanced GEU capability to the missile. The total contract value is now $1.1 billion. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled for completion by September 30, 2020.
Colt’s Manufacturing Company is being contracted to maintain the US Army’s inventory of M4 and M4A1 rifles. The contract is valued at $88.6 million and funded through FY2019 and FY2020 operations and maintenance funds. The M4 offers a collapsible buttstock, flat-top upper receiver assembly, a U-shaped handle-rear sight assembly that could be removed, and assortment of mounting rails for easy customization with a variety of sight, flashlight, grenade launchers, shotgun attachments and so forth. It’s the successor to the M-16 with which it shares a 85% commonality. The M4A1 is the special operations version of the M4 that’s been in use for more than a decade. It features a heavier barrel and a full-auto trigger. Work will be performed at Colt’s factory in West Hartford, Connecticut. The contract is set to run through September 25, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The Saudi Arabian Navy can expect delivery of its first new corvette in October 2021. According to Jane’s, Vicente Fernández Guerrero, the president of Spain’s state holding group SEPI, told members of parliament that the delivery timetable of the vessels has been finalised, with the remaining four corvettes to be handed over in four-month intervals. Saudi Arabia signed a $2 billion contract with Spanish shipbuilder Navantia on July 12, 2018. The new corvettes are based on Navantia’s Avante 2200 Combatant design and will feature some Saudi specific configurations like vertical launchers for the ESSM, Harpoon missiles, Rheinmetall CIWS and a Leonardo Super Rapid Naval gun. The vessel has a displacement of 2,200 tons with a length of 98.90 meters and a maximum speed of 25 knots. It was designed for low intensity missions such as patrol in the economic exclusive zone (EEZ), safeguard of sea lanes of communication, intelligence gathering, environment protection, drugs smuggling prevention, humanitarian relief and search and rescue operations.
The French Defense Procurement Agency DGA is giving MBDA the go-ahead to commence development of the MICA-NG missile. This next-generation air-to-air missile will arm the current and future versions of the Rafale combat aircraft. The MICA NG will replace the existing MICA. The MICA will be gradually withdrawn from service between 2018 and 2030. The MICA NG will be available in two versions, infrared and electromagnetic. MBDA’s development program includes an extensive redesign of the current missile variant, while harnessing the same aerodynamics, mass and centre of gravity. The next-generation missile will be fit to counter future threat with educed infrared and electromagnetic signatures, UAVs and small aircraft, as well as the threats normally countered by air-to-air missiles. The missile will be fitted with a new double-pulse rocket motor, giving it greater range and more energy. MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier said at the program launch, “we are proud of the work completed with the DGA to achieve maximum technical and financial optimisation. The fact that we have reached this stage is thanks to the vision that we were able to share with our French customer to address its operational challenges, as well as our own long-term commercial challenges.”
The Italian government will slow-down its F-35 acquisitions in accordance with its recently published defense spending review. The Tier 2 partner will be buying six or seven JSFs in the next five years instead of the previously planned 10 aircraft. The decision on the slowdown keeps with Italian policy on the F-35 set out by Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta after she took office in June. Italy will maintain spending on the program, with $874 million to be spend in 2019 and another $887 million earmarked for 2020. Italy has made significant investments in JSF development, and the country hosts a European Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) production line in Cameri, near Milan. The country is currently due to purchase 60 F-35 As and 30 F-35Bs.
France’s sole nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is back at sea and will be deployed to the Indian Ocean in early February. The Charles de Gaulle recently completed its mid-life upgrade and prepares for its first activity in 18 months. During the $1.8 billion upgrade program the carrier underwent traditional maintenance operations such as scheduled checks of installations, refueling of nuclear fuel and so forth. Beyond that the carrier received an overhauled combat system and new optimised aviation systems for the Rafale. Faced with the “profound change in the naval strategic panorama”, including the expansionist aims of Beijing in the South China Sea, France considers the aircraft carrier of incomparable “tactical and political value”, said Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Chief of Staff of the French Navy.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) seems to have an updated version of its J-10 fighter aircraft. The J-10 Thrust Vectoring Control, or TVC, is equipped with a hinged thrust-vectoring nozzle that allows it to control the direction of its exhaust. This capability gives it improved maneuverability and low-speed handling. The J-10 TVC is the only Chinese aircraft that uses this technology. Internationally TVC is found on Russian Su-35s and the US F-22 Raptor. The J-10 is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role fighter developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) and 611 Institute for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The high-performance J-10 aircraft has been designed as an air superiority fighter with air-to-surface capability and is powered by China’s domestically-produced WS-10B3 turbofan engine. Experts have noted that Chinese development of a reliable domestic jet engine would also be a major step in shoring up what some observers see as the long-term political risk of an over-reliance on Russian military hardware.
Latest updates[?]: Colt's Manufacturing Company is being contracted to maintain the US Army's inventory of M4 and M4A1 rifles. The contract is valued at $88.6 million and funded through FY2019 and FY2020 operations and maintenance funds. The M4 offers a collapsible buttstock, flat-top upper receiver assembly, a U-shaped handle-rear sight assembly that could be removed, and assortment of mounting rails for easy customization with a variety of sight, flashlight, grenade launchers, shotgun attachments and so forth. It's the successor to the M-16 with which it shares a 85% commonality. The M4A1 is the special operations version of the M4 that's been in use for more than a decade. It features a heavier barrel and a full-auto trigger. Work will be performed at Colt's factory in West Hartford, Connecticut. The contract is set to run through September 25, 2020.
An M4 – or is it?
The 5.56mm M-16 has been the USA’s primary battle rifle since the Vietnam war, undergoing changes into progressive versions like the M16A4 widely fielded by the US Marine Corps, “Commando” carbine versions, etc. The M4 Carbine is the latest member of the M16 family, offering a shorter weapon more suited to close-quarters battle, or to units who would find a full-length rifle too bulky.
In 2006 an Army solicitation for competitive procurement of 5.56mm carbine designs was withdrawn, once sole-source incumbent Colt dropped its prices. The DoD’s Inspector General weighed in with a critical report, but the Army dissented, defending its practices as a sound negotiating approach that saved the taxpayers money. As it turns out, there’s a sequel. A major sequel that has only grown bigger with time.
The M4/M16 family is both praised and criticized for its current performance in the field. In recent years, the M4 finished dead last in a sandstorm reliability test, against 3 competitors that include a convertible M4 variant. Worse, the 4th place M4 had over 3.5x more jams than the 3rd place finisher. Was that a blip in M4 buys, or a breaking point? The Army moved forward with an “Individual Carbine” competition, but as the results started to show the M4 again lagging – even with ammunition changed to a round specially formulated to make the M4 shine – the Army abruptly stopped the process once again, stating that the performance superiority of the competing gun was not better to a degree making it worthwhile. The Army stated after the tests that only a result that was twice as good as the existing gun’s performance would signify an actionable performance difference.
More recently, the Marines have considered adding various after-market upgrades to the platform in order to increase accuracy, learning from the private sector and competitive shooting circuit what appears to be providing the best bang.
Oshkosh is receiving an extra $11.9 million in funding to continue work on the US Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Retrofit Work Directive. The JLTV is being developed by the Army and the Marine Corps as a successor to the High Mobility, Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), which has been in service since 1985. The JLTV has two variants; a two seat and a four seat variant, as well as a companion trailer. The vehicle offers the Core1080 crew protection for survivability, turret operated systems, remote weapons systems, and tube-launched missile system. The vehicle can be fitted with light, medium, and heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, smoke grenade launchers, or anti-tank missiles, operated from ring mounts or a remote weapon station. In early 2019, the Army will reportedly field 500 JLTVs to an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) in the 10th Mountain Division at Ft. Drum, NY, and 65 JLTVs to an Infantry Battalion with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) at Camp Lejeune, NC. Work will be performed at Oshkosh’s factory in Wisconsin and is scheduled to run through December 13, 2019.
Canadian Commercial Corp. is being contracted to support the US Navy’s AN/SQQ-89(V) Surface Ship ASW Combat System. The awarded IQIQ contract is priced at $10 million and provides for the refurbishment and manufacturing of the TR-343 transducer tube assemblies. The assemblies are a critical component of the TR-343 transducer that is used in the AN/SQS-53C hull-mounted sonar array, a subsystem of the above mentioned combat system. The AN/SQQ-89(V) provides surface warships with a seamlessly integrated undersea/anti-submarine warfare detection, localization, classification and targeting capability. The AN/SQS-53 is a computer controlled sonar set provided to surface ships which features both active and passive mode. Its primary sensor is hull mounted transducer array. In addition to search, detection and track of submarine threats, SQS-53C is responsible for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) weapons fire control and guidance to its assigned underwater target. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Toronto, Canada and is scheduled for completion by November 2023.
French aerospace company Dassault is withdrawing from Canada’s fighter jet competition. Ottawa issued an initial draft bid package for 88 fighter aircraft to industry partners last month and expects their feedback by the end of this year. Dassault decided to withdraw from the competition due to concerns over Canada’s requirements for intelligence data sharing and interoperability, particularly with US forces. With the Rafale out of the race, the potential aircraft in the competition now include the F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab’s Gripen and the Boeing Super Hornet. The upcoming fighter jet acquisition is priced at $12.2 billion, with the final bids required by May 2019.
Middle East & Africa
DRS Network & Imaging Systems is being awarded with a Foreign Military Sales contract. The deal is valued at $129 million and supports the armed forces of Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq Morocco and Saudi Arabia. The company will provide the countries with support services for the Direct Support Electrical System Test Set (DSESTS). This includes system technical support services, system sustainment technical support services, and post production software support services; as well as diagnostic services. The DSESTS is used to test and trouble-shoot electrical systems on armoured vehicles such as the M1 Abrams or the Bradley IFV. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order. Performance of the contract is estimated to be completed by November 6, 2023.
The German newspaper Handelsblatt reports that Egypt is ordering two new frigates from Thyssen-Krupp. The contract is priced at $1.1 billion and covers the delivery of two Meko A-200 frigates. The Meko A combat ships, designed by Blohm and Voss, evolved from the Meko family of ships which have been in operation with navies around the world since the 1980s. The 3.500t A-200 is the largest class in the Meko A family. The A-200 is capable of full 4-dimensional warfare (AAW, ASW and ASuW, BCW). The frigate is designed to perform sustained operations across the full spectrum of general missions and tasks: patrol and interdiction, support of special force operations, SAR, and humanitarian operations.
KAI is being tapped to upgrade Indonesia’s fleet of T-50i aircraft. Jakarta signed the $89.4 million contract with the South Korean defense firm on Thursday. Under the deal, KAI will deliver three KT-1B trainer aircraft and install radar equipment and guns on the Indonesian Air Force’s T-50i aircraft. The T-50 Golden Eagle first flew in 2002 and comes in the T-50A advanced trainer and T-50B lead in fighter trainer versions. The T-50 G has digital fly-by-wire controls and hands on throttle and stick. The aircraft has seven external hardpoints for carrying weapons, one on the centreline under the fuselage, two hardpoints under each wing and an air-to-air missile launch rail at the two wingtips. A General Electric F404-GE-102 turbofan engine accelerates the plane to a maximum speed of 1,837km per hour. The deliveries and upgrades are expected to be completed in the beginning of 2021.
Watch: US MASSIVE Hybrid Transformer Helicopter/Plane in Action: V-22 Osprey + CH-53 Heavy Lifting
General Dynamics is being contracted to perform post-delivery work on the Navy’s new Virginia-class submarine. The $13.8 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification covers the procurement of long-lead-time materials for maintenance, repairs, testing, modifications and other work on the vessel. The USS Indiana is a Block III vessel that features a redesigned bow with enhanced payload capabilities, replacing 12 individual vertical launch tubes with two large-diameter Virginia Payload Tubes, each capable of launching six Tomahawk cruise missiles. This, among other design changes, reduced the submarines’ acquisition cost while maintaining its outstanding warfighting capabilities. Work will be performed at GD’s shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by April 2019.
Boeing is receiving a contract modification to support the Navy’s Infrared Search and Track (IRST) program. The additional $12.1 million allow Boeing to incorporate conduct designing, developing, integrating and testing of the Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) Block II, Phase II engineering change. These efforts will be carried out to replace the IRST Block I system. The modification incorporates an engineering development model and upgrades for two sets of IRST Block I system weapon replacement assemblies. IRST is a long-wave infrared detection system that targets airborne vehicles in a radar-denied environment. In the mid-2000s, Lockheed Martin LMT was selected as the winner in the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F IRST competition, which required 170 systems. These were the IRST Block I systems, which are capable of detecting, tracking and ranging targets with weapon-quality accuracy. Now with the advanced version of this IRST system – the Block II version – set to get incorporated in the F/A-18 jets, these aircrafts will be able to perform better in terms of surveillance. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri. The Block II systems are expected to be completed in April 2022.
The US Air Force terminated a E-3 Sentry AWACS update contract with Boeing. Under the contract Boeing would have updated the radar on the Air Force’s flagship surveillance aircraft at a cost of $76 million. Boeing was on contract to provide improved radar processing “in a specific flight environment to meet a classified requirement,” for its E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System surveillance aircraft, Captain Hope Cronin, a service spokeswoman, told Bloomberg in an email. However after the company encountered major delays in developing hardware and software, and expected several extra years and an additional $60 million to complete the project, officials decided to issue a partial stop-work order in January and terminated the contract in May. Cronin further said, that “the Air Force determined the best approach for providing this critical capability would be to replace the legacy radar processor and its related components.” “Several companies responded to the Air Force’s request for information, and a request for proposal is currently being developed,” she added.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey starts serial production of its new ATMACA anti-ship missile. Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) recently signed a multi-million deal with its industry partners Roketsan and Aselsan. SSB’s contract includes the “mass production” of missiles by Roketsan, and manufacturing of fire control systems, necessary equipment and spare parts by Aselsan. The ATMACA is similar in capability to the Exocet, C-802 and Harpoon. The ATMACA AShM weighs 1700 lbs with a 440 lbs warhead. It can travel at subsonic speed and can reach a range of up to 124 miles. The guidance suite comprises a INS/GPS system with a terminal-stage active radar-homing (ARH) seeker. The missile is expected to be the main offensive weapon of the Milgem platform. The Turkish Navy intents to exchange all the Harpoon missiles in its inventory on 1:1 basis with ATMACA missile, meaning at least 350 missiles are needed.
The German Navy will equip its new Braunschweig-class corvettes with Leonardo’s OTO 76/62 Super Rapid gun system. The contract, signed with the German Federal Office in charge of defense acquisitions, includes the delivery of seven gun systems as well as training and spare parts supply. The 76mm Super Rapid gun mount is a light weight, multi-mission naval artillery system capable of firing in single-shot mode or 120 rounds per minute at ranges up to 10 nautical miles. Depending on the configuration, the OTO 76/62 Super Rapid could include the Strales capability to fire Dart guided ammunition specifically designed for the engagement of fast manoeuvrings targets, the Vulcano GPS-guided long-range ammunition able to engage a target with an excellent accuracy as well as the Multi Feeding (MF) device for the ammunition automatic handling. The system is designed for anti-aircraft, anti-missile and point defense missions. OTO 76/62 can be integrated on any type and class of ship, including smaller units. The contract value has not been disclosed.
Airbus Helicopters and Romania’s IAR have finalised an exclusive cooperation agreement for the heavy twin engine H215M multi-role helicopter. This follows an initial agreement signed in August 2017. Under the agreement, IAR will become the prime contractor for the H215M for any future order by the Romanian Ministry of Defense to replace its ageing fleet. The H215M multi-role helicopter is a military variant of the H215 civil helicopter. It features a crashworthy fuselage, incorporating a four-bladed main rotor and a monocoque tail boom integrating an anti-torque rotor with five composite blades. The H215M can be armed with 20mm cannons, 68mm rocket pods and side-mounted, rapid-fire machine guns to support attack missions. “We consider that the IAR-H215M helicopter is the best solution for the Romanian aeronautical industry, the Ministry of Defense and for other clients all over the world. IAR and Romania are looking forward to becoming helicopter manufacturers again. This contract represents a new chapter of the cooperation between France and Romania in the field of aeronautics,” said Neculai Banea, General Director of IAR.
The French Ministry of Defense plans to add an additional satellite to its Syracuse 4 program. According to the French arms-procurement agency, DGA, the extra satellite is needed to fulfil connectivity demands from drones and military aircraft. Syracuse 4A and 4B will replace the Syracuse 3A and 3B satellites, launched in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Offering a design life of 15 years, the two satellites will have identical X- and Ka-band payloads, built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor. “This [the third] satellite will be different from the other ones we are currently building in order to better address the specific and increasing needs of airborne systems,” Col. Jannin, head of French satcom programs said at the 2018 Global MilSatCom conference. The first two Syracuse-4 satellites will be launched on Ariane-5ECA rockets between 2020 and 2022, with the third expected to launch by 2030. The Syracuse-4 satellites will feature unrivaled resistance to even the most extreme jamming methods, thanks to state-of-the-art equipment, including an active anti-jamming antenna and a digital onboard processor.
The Philippine Navy (PN) is currently testing its first AW-159 helicopter in the UK. “As confirmed by the Commander Naval Air Group (CNAG), the AW159 has just started initial test flight as part of the manufacturer’s trial. It is still scheduled for a series of test flights before scheduling its handover to the Philippines. According as well to CNAG, the flight signals the completion of the first unit,” defense department spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, said in a text message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday. The PN ordered two AW159 Lynx Wildcat naval helicopters for $114 million in March 2016. The helicopters will give the PN a long sought after anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, carrying active dipping sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns.