USAF order JTEs from Northrop Grumman | US blocks Israeli F-16 sale to Croatia | Austria split over Eurofighter replacementDec 10, 2018 05:00 UTC
Northrop Grumman is being contracted to supply US agencies and Foreign Military Sales customers with Joint Threat Emitters. The IDIQ contract is priced at $450 million and provides for Joint Threat Emitter (JTE) production. Awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the order also includes spares, support equipment, testing and training. The JTE is a radar and satellite system that simulates a modern, reactive battlespace war environment, designed to help pilots train air-combat manoeuvres. The system provides ground threat warnings up to the exercising aircraft via an electronic signal to simulate a surface-to-air missile or anti-aircraft artillery attack for training. The mobile simulator is comprised of a Threat Emitter Unit, a Wide Band Kit, a C2 Unit, and a Remote Power Unit. Work will be performed at Northrop Grumman’s factory in Buffalo, New York, and various national and international locations. Performance is expected to be completed by December 5, 2025.
Raytheon is being tapped to support the US Air Force’s Force Element Terminal Risk Reduction effort. Raytheon will provide the service with risk reduction studies, analyses, and demonstrations of its Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Airborne Military Satellite Communication product line at a cost of $11 million. The AEHF system is a series of four military communication satellites which will entirely replace the current in-orbit Milstar system. The main function of the system is to provide secure, survivable and near-worldwide satellite communications. Work is party funded through FY 2018 and FY 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $4 million. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s Marlborough, Massachusetts, and is expected to be completed by August 30, 2019.
The US Army is procuring a number of Mk. 80 and BLU-109 Tritonal bomb components. The firm-fixed-price contract is valued at $265 million and is set to run through October, 2023. The Mk. 80 series belongs to the family of general purpose bombs and functions as building block for numerous variants of non-guided and precision-guided air delivered munitions. The series includes various configurations of 250 lb., 500 lb., 1,000 lb., and 2,000 lb. bombs. The BLU-109 is a 2,000 lb. bomb with a hardened casing meant to penetrate fortifications like secure command locations, protected weapon storage sites, and key transportation and communication resources. . It includes laser-guided variants for precision strikes such as the GBU-27 Paveway II and the electro-optical GBU-15. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order.
The US Marine Corps is buying new Amphibious Combat Vehicles for its troops. BAE is receiving an additional $140 million to build 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) and covers associated production efforts, fielding and support costs. The Corps’ will eventually replace its fleet of ageing AAVP7 Amtracs with 204 new ACVs at a cost of $1.2 billion. According to Naval Technology the ACV is a modern eight-wheeled amphibious armored personell carrier that can carry a crew of three with 13 embarked Marines. The vehicles feature has a blast-resistant V-shaped hull to withstand IED blasts. Its six-cylinder 700HP Cursor engine propel it to speeds of up to 10km/h at sea and up to 106 km/h at land. The ACV’s armament is yet unclear. The ACV’s armament will likely include a 40 mm grenade launcher and a .50 cal machine gun. The contract is payed for with FY 2019 Marine Corps procurement funds. Work will be performed at BAE’s factories in York, Pennsylvania and Aiken, South Carolina. Production of the new vehicles is expected to be completed in August 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli media reports that the United States government is blocking the Israel’s sale of 12 American-made F-16s to Croatia. In March 2018 the Croatian government decided to procure used F-16D Barak fighter jets from Israel, in order to replace its ageing fleet of Russian jets. According to Channel 10 News, the US is blocking the $500 deal because on the grounds that Israel “acted unfairly and that it made a profit on the back of the US.” Senior officials told the media outlet that Israel equipped the F-16D Barak fighter jets with advanced indigenous electronic systems in order to give it an edge compared to US made fighter jets. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I am in favor, but Defense Secretary Mattis is against it – he is the one who is blocking it.”
The Austrian government is currently debating the future of the country’s air force. Austrian newspaper Die Presse reports that the coalition government is split over whether to keep its fleet of Eurofighter Tranche 1 Block 5 fighter aircraft or replace them with new Saab Gripen jets. Austria is currently in a legal battle with the Eurofighter consortium, accusing them of fraud and wilful deception in connection with the $2 billion, 12 unit plane order signed in 2003. The conservatives prefer to keep the Eurofighters, whereas the Freedom Party prefers to replace the planes. Die Presse notes that both options would cost about the same, and adds that keeping the jets will also require various upgrades and new weapon systems. Austria’s MoD is currently plagued by a declining budget but needs to replace its ageing aircraft fleet, upcoming purchases may include new helicopters and Leonardo’s M-345.
Japan is ordering a second KC-46A Pegasus for its air force. The aircraft is procured under a contract modification valued at $159 million. Delivery of the first tanker to the JASDF is scheduled for February 2021. Once delivered, the KC-46 will add a significant boost external link to Japan’s aerial refueling capabilities, adding to the current fleet of four KC-767J tankers. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in Seattle, Washington and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2021.
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