The Navy’s LCS-13 enters its PSA | Rafael is developing new networked combat system | HAL LUH program achieves another milestoneDec 13, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Naval Air Systems Command is ordering a provisioning parts database of technical information from Sikorsky. The cost-plus-fixed-fee delivery order is priced at $38 million and supports the initial operational capability of the Navy’s CH-53K King Stallion helicopter. The database will include 2D drawings that support all organizational, intermediate and depot levels in support of the helicopter. The provisioning database will determine the range and quantity of repair parts, and support and test equipment required to operate and maintain the King Stallion for its initial period of service. Provisioning is an integral part of supply chain management. The delivery order is partially funded ($8.6 million) through FY 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds. Work will be performed at Sikorsky’s facility in Stratford, Connecticut and is scheduled for completion in November 2023.
The US Navy’s 13th Littoral Combat Ship is receiving its last finishing touches. Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a $16 million cost-plus-award-fee order in support of the USS Wichita. The contract provides for engineering and management services during the ship’s post shakedown availability (PSA). The company will provide the Navy with 65.000 man-hours of work and is responsible for work specification, pre-fabrication and material procurement. The USS Wichita is a Freedom-class LCS, designed to conduct anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare, and special operations. The PSA is assigned to newly built, activated or converted ships upon completion of a shakedown cruise. Work performed is focused on correcting defects noted during the shakedown cruise and those remaining from Acceptance Trails. Work will be performed in Baltimore, Maryland; New York and Marinette, Wisconsin. The PSA is expected to be completed by February 2020.
Boeing is being awarded with a contract modification to sustain the US Air Force’s Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) Block 10 system. Worth $22.7 million the modification exercises a contract option for sustainment and required development to keep the SBSS running. Required efforts include systems engineering, operations, operations support, and contractor logistics support. SBSS is intended to detect and track space objects, such as satellites, anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and orbital debris, providing information to the US DoD as well as NASA. The Block 10 satellite operates 24-hours a day, 7-days a week collecting metric and Space Object Identification data for man-made orbiting objects without the disruption of weather, time of day and atmosphere that can limit ground-based systems. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in El Segundo, California and in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Performance is expected to be completed by June 2022.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense contractor Rafael is currently working on a new net-centric combat system. Defense News reports that Rafael is developing a system that will create a network between manned and unmanned armored vehicles, with one acting as a mothership that coordinates enemy engagement – quite similar to the ‘mothership’ shown in the blockbuster movie “Independence Day”. Rafael says that the technology which transforms any armored vehicle into this “ultra-modern combat system” already exists; customers who may want to buy this next-generation combat system able to simultaneously acquire and neutralize multiple targets, include the Israel Defense Force and the US Army. The US Army is already working on its next modernisation program which is quite focused automatisation and integration of artificial intelligence. The ‘Big Six’ program, announced in October 2017, looks to revamp and future-proof armor, artillery, aviation, air and missile defense, networks and soldiers. One of the first platform to be modernised will be the Bradley IFV, the new version is expected to be ready for deployment after 2026. If and when Rafael’s new combat system will find its way onto US (and other country’s) platforms remains to be seen.
The Bulgarian government plans to overhaul some of its ageing T-72M1 MBTs. According to Jane’s, Sofia expects to sign a contract with the state-controlled TEREM EAD holding company by the end of the year. The contract calls for the overhaul of 13 T-72s and refurbishment of 60 TPD-K1 standby laser sights at a total cost of $8 million. The T-72 first entered production in 1972 and an estimated 50.000 have been built, many of which are still being used by about 45 countries, including Russia. Bulgaria is also considering launching a modernisation program for its armored vehicles in 2019.
Vietnam is buying Israeli drones for its troops. A recently signed contract with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) sees for the delivery of three Heron 1 UAVs and one ground control station at a cost of $140 million. The Heron 1 MALE UAV is designed to perform strategic reconnaissance and surveillance operations. The drone is reportedly capable of flying for over 24 hours at a time at altitudes around 32,000 feet. its sensors allow for a fully automated take-off and landing, even under adverse weather conditions. The Heron 1 is built to carry multiple payloads at a time for a variety of missions, ranging from EO/IR sensors to SAR radars. Israel has sold $1.5 billion worth of arms and defense equipment to Vietnam over the last decade.
India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is marking an important milestone in its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) development program. The platform successfully flew at a 6km altitude for an extended period of time. The LUH has been undergoing tests to expand its envelop. The recent feat achieved in Bengalore is a critical requirement for certifying the 3-tonne helicopter for use. The LUH showed a satisfactory level of performance and handling qualities, which qualifies it to participate in high altitude cold weather trials scheduled for January 2019. India’s military already has some 187 LUHs on order, with 126 to be delivered to the Army and 61 to the Air Force. The LUH is being indigenously developed by HAL to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators.
Watch: Talk Techy To Me – What can you really see with infrared detectors?