USN is beefing up its ship self-defense systems | Iran & Malaysia show interest in JF-17 | UK MoD announces Type31e shortlistDec 12, 2018 05:00 UTC
Northrop Grumman is being contracted to start work on two new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Priced at $49.8 million the firm-fixed-price modification provides for long-lead parts procurement and associated support needed to start full rate production of the two Lot 7 surveillance planes. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is an all-weather, tactical airborne early warning aircraft that is capable of deploying from an aircraft carrier. 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. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the continental US including – but not limited to – Syracuse, New York; El Segundo, California; Marlborough, Massachusetts and Indianapolis, Indiana. Work on this contract is expected to be completed by December 2023.
Raytheon is being tapped to keep the Navy’s ship self-defense systems (SSDS) running. Awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the contract modification is worth just over $21 million and provides for continued platform systems engineering and agent support of the SSDS Mk 2. The SSDS features an open architecture computing environment software, which includes selected software components from the total ship computing environment infrastructure, and is designed to speed up the process of detecting, tracking and engaging anti-ship cruise missiles. SSDS is installed aboard CVN, LSD, LPD, LHA and LHD classes. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in San Diego, California and is expected to be completed by June 2019.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center is modifying a contract with Aretè Associates. An additional $17 million will allow the company to exercise an option of an IDIQ contract that sees for the production of AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) subassemblies. The COBRA system can be deployed on the US Navy’s MQ-8C Fire Scout and is designed to help detect and localize minefields and obstacles when flown over a beach or other coastal landing area. COBRA uses a fast-scanning LIDAR laser, 3D imaging camera, and target recognition algorithms. Data collected by COBRA an be sent to an amphibious landing force through the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) Assault Breaching System (JABS), which could either direct a JDAM air assault on the beach to clear mines or could feed the location of mines to the precision navigation and lane marking systems on the amphibious vehicles coming ashore. Work will be performed at Aretè locations in Tucson, Arizona; Destin, Florida and Santa Rosa, California. The subassemblies are scheduled for completion by July 2021.
Middle East & Africa
An article by Defense World suggests that Iranian and Malaysian military officials may buy Pakistan’s JF-17 Thunder. Some talks were held on the sidelines of the IDEAS 2018 aerospace exhibition, which took place in Karachi late last month. The exhibition was attended by Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Qasem Soleiman and Malaysian Royal Air Force Chief General Dato’ Affendi. The JF-17 is a Pakistani fighter jet with Chinese parts. The Thunder is a single engine, lightweight, multipurpose combat aircraft that can host modern electronics and precision-guided weapons. It costs $20 million per unit. Malaysia first voiced interest buying the jet in April 2018 during the Defence Services Asia (DSA) expo held in Kuala Lumpur.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) shortlists three companies to build the Royal Navy’s new frigates. BAE Systems, Babcock and Atlas Elektronik UK will now each compete to design and manufacture the new warships. The Type 31e program sees for the delivery of five frigates at a cost of $1.5 billion. Stuart Andrew, Minister for Defence Procurement, told media that it was the first frigate competition the UK had run “in a generation”. “One of these designs will go on to bolster our future fleet with five new ships, creating UK jobs and ensuring our Royal Navy maintains a truly global presence in an increasingly uncertain world,” he said. The Type 31e frigates will be sitting between the high-end capability delivered by the Type 26 and Type 45, and the constabulary-oriented outputs to be delivered by the five planned River-class Batch 2 OPVs and will cover maritime security, maritime counter-terrorism and counter-piracy operations, escort duties, and naval fire support missions. The MoD expects to announce a preferred bidder by the end of next year and wants the first ship to be delivered in 2023.
Jane’s reports that the Royal Air Force is arming its Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft with MBDA’s Meteor missile. This is the first time the French-made beyond visual range air-to-air missiles are deployed on the British Typhoons. The Meteor was conceived as a longer-range competitor to popular weapons like the American AIM-120 AMRAAM. Its ramjet propulsion is intended to offer the missile a head-on closing range of 120 km, with a 2-way datalink and full powered performance at Mach 4+ throughout its flight, instead of the standard “burn and coast” approach use by rocket-powered counterparts. The intent is to give the Meteor both longer reach, and a wider “no escape” profile. The Meteor program partners include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
The Royal Australian Air Force is welcoming its ninth and tenth F-35A fighter jet. These will be the first JSFs to be stationed permanently in the country with the first eight used for pilot training with the US Air Force’s 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. “Today marks a very important day for the Australian Defence Force and particularly the Royal Australian Air Force,” RAAF Air Marshal Leo Davies told media representatives during the jet’s welcoming ceremony. “Welcome to the latest chapter of the F-35 story, the most significant Royal Australian Air Force acquisition in our 97-year history,” he continued. “The two aircraft that landed here today mark the latest step in an exciting journey for Air Force, which has been over 16 years in the making.” Australia is a Tier 3 partner in the JSF program and expects to buy an initial 73 F-35As with an option to buy a further 28 aircraft in the next decade.
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