MDA successfully tests Aegis Ashore | German Tiger crash caused by mechanic’s error | Ireland orders RBS-70 from SaabDec 14, 2018 05:00 UTC
The Bell Boeing Joint Project Office is receiving extra funding to support the V-22 family of tilt rotor aircraft. The modification to a previously awarded IDIQ contract (N00019-18-D-0103) is priced at $18 million. It exercises an option for technical analysis, engineering and integration on V-22 aircraft platform. Work under this contract will support the US Navy, Marine Corps and US Air Force; as well as the government of Japan as part of the Foreign Military Sales program. The V-22 has been in service with the Air Force and the Marine Corps for almost a decade; and the Navy plans to adopt its own variant of the aircraft to perform its critical Carrier-Onboard-Delivery mission to deliver forces, supplies and weapons to forward-stationed ships at sea. The Navy plans to buy a total of 44 CMV-22Bs starting in 2018, with first deliveries expected to start in 2020. Japan currently has 19 V-22s on order. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is expected to be completed in December 2022.
The US DoD’s Aegis Ashore missile defense system achieves another milestone. During a recently held test the system successfully identified and tracked an intermediate-range ballistic test missile and intercepted it with a SM-3 Block IIA missile. The test was conducted somewhere over the Pacific with the interceptor launched from the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. “It was of great significance to the future of multi-domain missile defense operations and supports a critical initial production acquisition milestone for the SM-3 Block IIA missile program,” MDA Director Lieutenant General Sam Greaves told Reuters. The MDA has three Aegis Ashore systems in total. One station in Romania which, operational since 2016; and another in Poland, which is expected to be operational in 2020. 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 US Army is ordering engineering services for the Javelin anti-tank missile. Awarded to Raytheon, the $12 million cost contract has an estimated completion date of October 30, 2019. The FGM-148 Javelin is a man-portable anti-tank missile used by the US and many allied countries. The missile has a “fire-and-forget” infrared guidance system and is designed to engage moving vehicles, fixed fortifications, troops in the open and low-flying helicopters. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s factory in Tucson, Arizona.
Middle East & Africa
The 2017 crash of a German army Tiger helicopter in Mali which resulted in the death of two crew members was caused by a mechanic’s error, a German defense ministry report claims. A mistake during a rotor blades configuration led to the autopilot automatically turning itself off when the pilot pointed the Eurocopter Tiger’s nose towards the ground. This caused the disintegration of the main rotor blade, leaving the crew with “no chance to avoid the accident,” according to the report. The Tiger helicopter had been serviced by Airbus team which apparently forgot to set the blades’ airflow angle correctly. As the helicopter was flying roughly 155 mph at an altitude of 1640 ft over the Gao desert, the Tiger’s autopilot switched itself off believing that it had recognized a manual override, leading the helicopter to tilt forwards abruptly. Once the vehicle had started to descend, parts of the aircraft broke off, including the main rotor blades.
Ireland is ordering several RBS-70 BOLIDE surface-to-air missile systems from Saab. The deal is priced at $66 million with deliveries scheduled for 2019 to 2022. The first RBS-70 system entered service in 1977, the BOLIDE is special variant of the current Mk 2 production model and features a new sustainer rocket motor. The BOLIDE anti-aircraft missile flies at Mach 2 speed and is designed to intercept targets at altitudes of more than 5.000 m to a range of up-to 8.000 m. A single Mk.2 missile is believed to cost about $100.000. In March last year Brazil ordered several RBS-70 missiles in a deal worth $11.7 million. Saab says that it has delivered more than 1.600 launchers and over 17.000 missiles to 19 countries.
Slovakia starts its largest military modernisation program in history with the purchase of 14 F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets. Slovakian minster of defense Peter Gajdoš inked the contract with Lockheed Martin on Wednesday. Slovakia will acquire the jets through the US Foreign Military Sales program. The $1.8 billion deal also provides for ammunition, logistics support and training services for 22 pilots and 160 technicians. The contract further includes an agreement on industrial cooperation with the aim to give Slovakian businesses a foothold in the aviation industry. The Slovakian air force expects delivery of the first aircraft by the end of 2022, with the remainder to be delivered by the end of 2023.
NATO Agency NAHEMA signs a NH90 Through Life Support (TLS) contract with NHIndustries. TLS is an engineering services package supporting NH90s flown by Australia, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and New Zealand. Activities in the package include the provision of continuing airworthiness and configuration management; remote technical assistance and support; as well as Integrated Logistic Support (ILS). The NH90 features a combination of corrosion-proofing, lower maintenance, greater troop or load capacity, and mission flexibility offered by a rear ramp, making it a popular global platform. To date, more than 540 NH90 variants are currently on order, with more than 370 helicopters already delivered to 17 Armed Forces in 13 countries.
Chinese media reports suggest that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy could soon fly a two-seat variant of its J-15 fighter jet. This new version is reportedly capable of performing electronic jamming missions bringing China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier closer to full operational capability. The J-15 flying shark is based on the Russian-made Su-33 but is equipped with Chinese engines, weapons and radars. The plane made its maiden flight in 2009 and was adopted by the PLA Navy in 2013. The J-15 in its two-seat variant was first shown in 2012 and can carry China’s indigenous PL-12 medium-range air-to-air missiles. The J-15D variant with electronic warfare (EW) pods made its debut in May 2018 and is comparable to the US Navy’s Boeing EA-18G Growler.
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