Dec 21, 2018 04:56 UTC
Boeing is receiving additional funding to continue research on the MQ-25 Stingray. The contract modification
is valued at $90.4 million and is expected to be completed in August 2024. Under the contract, Boeing will perform a number of studies and analysis related to the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the MQ-25 Stingray
. The Stingray will be the Navy's next 'Group 5' aircraft. With its implementation the US Navy seeks to close the gap with between UAS and manned aircraft by adding a system that is designed from the outset to operate within meters or less of large manned aircraft. The UAV
will have the capacity to carry 15,000 pounds of fuel and will be used to refuel the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler, and F-35C fighter jets, extending their range and time in the air significantly. Work will be performed at Boeing's factory in St. Louis, Missouri.
UCAS-D/ N-UCAS concept
The idea of UAVs with full stealth and combat capabilities has come a long way, quickly. Air forces around the world are pursuing R&D programs, but in the USA, progress is being led by the US Navy.
Their interest is well-founded. A May 2007 non-partisan report discussed the lengthening reach of ship-killers. Meanwhile, the US Navy’s carrier fleet sees its strike range shrinking to 1950s distances, and prepares for a future with fewer carrier air wings than operational carriers. Could UCAV/UCAS vehicles with longer ranges, and indefinite flight time limits via aerial refueling, solve these problems? Some people in the Navy seem to think that they might. Hence UCAS-D/ N-UCAS, which received a major push in the FY 2010 defense review. Now, Northrop Grumman is improving its X-47 UCAS-D under contract, even as emerging privately-developed options expand the Navy’s future choices as it works on its new RFP.
Continue Reading… »
Dec 20, 2018 05:00 UTC
Lockheed Martin is being contracted to build a next-generation missile defense radar system on Hawaii. Awarded by the Missile Defense Agency, the $585 million fixed-price incentive delivery order provides for design, development and delivery of the Homeland Defense Radar – Hawaii (HDR-H). The HDR-H is able to autonomously acquire, track and discriminate incoming ballistic missiles and will increase the overall capability of MDA’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System. The radar system is built upon Lockheed’s Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR). LRDR combines proven solid-state radar technologies with proven ballistic missile defense algorithms, all based upon an open architecture platform. The radar provides precision metric data to improve ballistic defense discrimination. The contract is partially funded through FY2018 and FY2019 research development test and evaluation funds, amounting to $51.4 million. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factory in Moorestown, New Jersey and at the radar site on Oahu, Hawaii. The HDR-H is expected to be completed by December 2023.
BAE Systems is being awarded with a five-year support contract covering the repair of countermeasure systems for various aircraft. The order is priced at $32 million and provides for the repair of 103 items of the ALQ-126B, and two items of the ALE-55 countermeasures systems. The US Navy’s AN/ALQ-126B is designed to secure aircraft communications by generating noise jamming for potential enemy listeners and defeat radar seekers of incoming missiles. The Navy uses the system on some of its aircraft platforms, such as the F/A-18 and E-6B Prowler. The AN/ALE-55 is a towed decoy comprised of an electronic frequency converter (EFC) and a fiber optic towed decoy (FOTD). It can suppress, deceit, and seduce enemy planes, launchers and missiles. Work will be performed in Nashua, New Hampshire; Jacksonville, Florida and Crane, Indiana.
The US Army is buying more Joint-Air-to-Ground missiles. Lockheed Martin is receiving a contract modification valued at $91 million that extends JAGM procurement as part of LRIP 3. The JAGM is an air-to-ground missile that provides advanced line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight capabilities and will eventually replace the Army’s inventory of Hellfire missiles. The missile is designed to engage a variety of targets, including heavy vehicles, patrol craft, bunkers and buildings. The Army expects to achieve JAGM’s IOC in early 2019. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factory in Orlando, Florida and is expected to be completed by February 2022.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey is requesting the purchase of several Patriot batteries. The potential Foreign Military Sale calls for the delivery of 80 Patriot MIM-104E GEM-T missiles and 60 PAC-3 MSE missiles at a cost of $3.5 billion. The multi-billion deal also provides for four AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets, four Engagement Control Stations, 10 Antenna Mast Groups, 20 M903 Launching Stations and Electrical Power Plant (EPP) III. The package also covers communications equipment, tools and test equipment, range and test programs, and some other services. PAC-2 GEM-T are optimised to target incoming ballistic missiles. PAC-3 MSE is designed to be a longer range missile that is more agile, and able to counter both tactical ballistic missiles and more conventional threats. Turkey is a NATO member and hosts the TPY-2 radar site which is crucial to the European Phased Adaptive Approach that seeks to protect allies and partners against Iranian ballistic missile threats. Main contractors will be Raytheon and Lockheed Martin.
The government of Kuwait is ordering several engines for its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from General Electric. Awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, the Foreign Military Sales contract calls for the procurement of 56 F414-GE-400-1A install engines; four F414-GE-400 spare engines; two spare engine containers and 12 spare engine modules at a cost of $257 million. The F414 is one of the newest and most advanced aircraft engines. It features an axial compressor with 3 fan stages and 7 high-pressure compressor stages, and 1 high-pressure and 1 low-pressure turbine stage. In March 2018 Kuwait agreed to purchase 28 Super Hornets at a cost of $1.2 billion. Work will be performed at GE’s factories in Lynn, Massachusetts; Hooksett, New Hampshire; Rutland, Vermont and Madison, Kentucky. Performance is expected to run through December 2020.
All of NATO’s 14 Boeing E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft have now been fitted with Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) technology. The majority of work was completed at Boeing’s Manching facility in southern Germany. Efforts covered under the upgrade program focused on a new flight management and flight safety avionics system, and the installation of 50 new ‘black boxes’. GATM allows the E-3A’s to fly in civilian airspace enabling the surveillance planes to operate worldwide. The E-3 is based on Boeing’s 707 family, and its ability to see and direct air operations within hundreds of miles provides vital strategic support. NATO formed its E-3A Component in 1982 and expects to keep the aircraft in service through 2035.
India’s Space Research Organisation launches a new military communication satellite. Gsat-7A was launched from Sriharikota at 4:10pm on Wednesday and will be the Indian Air Force’s exclusive ‘eye in the sky’. The 5000 lbs satellite will link IAF fighter jets, transporters and tankers, AWACS platforms and UAVs and ultimately act as a force multiplier. The IAF expects Gsat-7A to strengthen its net-centric war fighting capability. Gsat-7A is India’s 35th communication satellite. The satellite flies in an eventual geostationary orbit allowing the IAF to expand its communication capabilities and boost some of its network-dependant warfare and drone capabilities.
Watch: T-38 Talon Flight Over Northern California
Dec 19, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Air Force is allocating a large amount of money in maintaining its AH-64E Apache’s LAIRCM countermeasure system. Northrop Grumman is being awarded with a $3.6 billion IDIQ contract supporting the service’s Large Aircraft Infrared Counter Measures (LAIRCM) equipment. This contract covers the delivery of LAIRCM line replaceable units and support equipment, and provides for logistics services; systems and sustaining engineering efforts and other activities. LAIRCM is a is a laser-based countermeasures system that can defend a wide range of aircraft from an infrared missile attack by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat, and activating a high-intensity system of pulsed lasers to track and defeat the threat by confusing its guidance head. The US Army used LAIRCM to protect its Apache gunships while operating against ISIS targets in Northern Iraq and Syria. This contract includes numerous sales to US allies as part of the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed at the company’s facility in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, and is expected to be completed by December 2025.
The US Army is pouring $700 million into its Mobile Protected Firepower acquisition program. BAE Systems and General Dynamics will each deliver 6 prototype vehicles by February 2020. The US Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program will provide the service with a new combat vehicle platform that allows US troops to disrupt, breach and break through enemy lines and defensive fortifications. The platform is required to be effective against hard targets such as bunkers, heavy machine gun nests and armored vehicles. UPI suggest that the MPF prototype offered by General Dynamics will be quite similar to the Ajax, developed for the UK; whereas BAE’s prototype could be a version of its M8 Buford Armored Gun System. The acquisition is part of the US Army’s 2015 combat vehicle modernization strategy, which will eventually see for the delivery of 504 vehicles. BAE is receiving $375 million, with work to be performed at its Sterling Heights, Michigan factory. General Dynamics is receiving $335 million, also working at Sterling Heights. The aggressive acquisition schedule wants the first prototypes tested within the next 16 months and expects the first vehicles to be fielded in 2025
Boeing and Embraer are forming a joint-venture on Embraer’s KC-390 multimission aircraft. The two companies announced that they will jointly “promote and develop new markets” for the KC-390. Embraer will have 51% stake in the joint venture, with Boeing owing the rest. This agreement is extending the companies partnership, with Boeing having gained a 80% stake in the Brazilian company’s commercial business in July 2018. A deal which cost Boeing $4.2 billion. The deal is pending approval by the Brazilian government – which holds a “golden share” – Embraer’s shareholders and regulatory agencies.
Middle East & Africa
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is increasing its stocks of Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs). Raytheon is being awarded with a cost-only contract that provides for the delivery of ESSMs and spares at a cost of $24.7 million. The ESSM is designed to protect navy ships from incoming missiles and aircraft. The RIM-162 Block 1 features a semi-active radar that is guided by reflected radiation from the ship’s radar. The missile is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. The order includes Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $23.8 million. Work will be performed in Raufoss, Norway; Mississauga, Canada; Richmond, Australia. Performance is expected to run through December 2021. The ESSM will equip Saudi Arabia’s new Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships.
The UK Royal Navy’s new Sea Venom/ANL missile faces a year-long delay. The missile is being developed under a $630 million contract issued by the UK and French governments. The missile will fulfil the UK’s Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy) requirement and will meet France’s national Anti Navire Léger requirement. The Sea Venom will eventually equip the Royal Navy’s Wildcat HMA2 helicopter and the French Navy’s Hélicoptère Interarmées Léger (HIL—Joint Light Helicopter) respectively. The delay means that the Royal Navy’s Wildcats will have to operate without their main anti-ship armament, ultimately limiting their ability to provide British ships – such as the HMS Queen Elizabeth – with an extended anti-ship capability until late 2021. The Sea Venom is a lightweight, subsonic sea-skimming missile guided by an IIR seeker. The missile is designed to counter a wide range of threats such as fast-moving patrol boats, corvettes and coastal targets.
Taiwan’s Wan Chien stand-off cruise missile still doesn’t meet Republic of Korea Air Force requirements. The RoCAF conducted a number of missile tests with its F-CK-1 Ching Kuo Indigenous Defense Fighters earlier this year. During the tests the Wan Chien successfully completed a low-altitude drop, but repeatedly failed to correctly deploy when dropped at high-altitude. When launched at high-altitude the Wan Chien shows an unstable flight profile. This is caused by either a hardware or software error affecting the correct unfolding of the missile’s pop-out wings, leading to a turbulent air intake, delaying ignition of its engine. The Wan Chien can be compared to the US’s AGM-154 JSOW and is currently operational in small numbers. The RoCAF plans to hold a new series of trials sometime next year, pending a comprehensive examination of the missile’s software and hardware. The missile flies to a 150 mile range and allows Taiwan to strike targets on China’s southern-coast.
It is yet unclear when Indonesia will receive its first Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, due to an outstanding contract. Russia’s IRKUT defense contractor cannot start jet production until Jakarta signs a purchasing contract with Moscow. Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Georgievna Vorobieva expects to finalise the contract soon, however considering Indonesia’s recent financial troubles it is yet to be seen how soon. Indonesia’s Su-35 acquisition was finalised in February 2018 and sees for the delivery of 11 fighter jets at a cost of $1.14 billion. The Flanker E aircraft will replace the Asian-nation’s ageing fleet of F-5 Tiger IIs, some of which have been in service for almost four decades. The Su-35 is Russia’s most advanced fighter aircraft, which can compete with America’s upgraded ‘teen series’, the JAS-39, the Rafale and the Eurofighter.
Watch: First Phalanx of Three is being fitted on the UK Aircraft Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth
Dec 19, 2018 04:56 UTC
Boeing and Embraer are forming a joint-venture on Embraer’s
KC-390 multimission aircraft. The two companies announced that they will jointly “promote and develop new markets” for the KC-390
. Embraer will have 51% stake in the joint venture, with Boeing owing the rest. This agreement is extending the companies partnership, with Boeing having gained a 80% stake in the Brazilian company’s commercial business in July 2018. A deal which cost Boeing $4.2 billion. The deal is pending approval by the Brazilian government - which holds a “golden share” - Embraer's shareholders and regulatory agencies.
KC-390 refuels AMXs
Global competition in the 20-ton air transport segment continues to intensify, with Brazil’s launch of its KC-390 program. Embraer figures reportedly place the global C-130 replacement market at around 700 aircraft. In response, it will develop a jet-powered rival to compete with Lockheed Martin’s C-130J, the larger Airbus A400M, Russia’s AN-12 and its Chinese copy the Yun-8/9, and the bi-national Irkut/HAL MRTA project. Smaller aircraft like the EADS-CASA C-295M, and Alenia’s C-27J, represent indirect competition.
Embraer is extending its efforts and markets by crafting a jet-powered medium transport with a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, that can be refueled in the air, and can provide refueling services to other aircraft by adding dedicated pods. The KC-390 has now become a multinational program, and may be shaping up as the C-130’s most formidable future competitor. A tie-up with Boeing underscores the seriousness of Embraer’s effort, which is now a production program…
Continue Reading… »
Dec 18, 2018 05:00 UTC
Raytheon is being contracted to kick-off development of a new Standard Missile variant. Awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the $149 million contract provides for engineering, manufacturing and development of the SM-2 Block IIIC variant. This new variant will fill the gap between the Navy’s new advanced – but quite expensive – long-range SM-6 missile, and the short-range ESSM. The Block IIIC upgrade substitutes the SM-2’s the legacy semi-active radar homing system for the SM-6 active seeker while leaving intact the other aspects of the SM-2 airframe, making it a medium-range missile. The upgrade allows the Navy to use the SM-2 in offensive strikes against enemy aircraft and surface ships. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facilities in Tucson, Arizona; Wolverhampton, England; East Aurora, New York; Middletown, Ohio and Englewood, Colorado. The Navy plans to field the new missile from October 2022 onwards.
Raytheon is receiving additional funding for work on the Naval Strike Missile. The firm-fixed-price modification (N00024-18-C-5432) is priced at $32.6 million and provides for manufacture and delivery of the over-the-horizon weapon system. Included in the deal are encanistered missiles (EM) loaded into launching mechanisms (LM); and a single fire control suite (FCS). The stealth-enhanced Naval Strike Missile aims to be a generation beyond the US GM-84 Harpoon. Once the NSM locks on, it strikes ships or land targets with a 265 lb. titanium warhead and programmable fuse. Work will be performed a national and international locations including Kongsberg, Norway; Tucson, Arizona; Schrobenhausen, Germany; Raufoss, Norway; McKinney, Texas and Louisville, Kentucky. The NSMs are expected to be completed by December 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to service target acquisition and vision sensors aboard Qatar Emiri Air Force AH-64E Apache helicopters. The Foreign Military Sales contract is priced at $10.2 million and includes work on the Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensor, or M-TADS/PNVS Arrowhead system. Arrowhead is an electro-optical and fire control system that the Apache helicopter pilots use for combat targeting of their Hellfire missiles and other weapons, as well as flying in day, night, or bad weather missions. Qatar currently has 24 Apache Guardians in its fleet. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factory in Orlando, Florida and estimated to be completed by March 31, 2024.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) is testing a new anti-tank missile system for its APCs. The system fires a medium-range Spike ATGMs and is housed in the turrets of the IDF’s latest generation of armored personnel carriers, the Namer and Eitan. “The turret system is composed of special and innovative control systems that allows the turret to be controlled from the crew compartment in order to prevent exposing the soldiers to external dangers,” the IDF said in a statement. The Namer is a heavy armored APC which recently underwent an upgrade program comprised of a new turret with trophy radars and countermeasure dispensers. The Eitan is a newly developed APC which is expected to enter service in 2021.
France is ordering three more A330 MRTT tanker aircraft from Airbus. Awarded by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), this is the third and final tranche of the multi-year contract signed in 2014. Paris needs 15 MRTTs to replace its fleet of old C-135FR and KC-135R aircraft, some of which have been in service for over 60 years. The acquisition program is priced at roughly $3.4 billion and sees for the delivery of the aircraft in France’s specific “Phenix” configuration by the end of 2023. The A330-200 MRTT is a derivative of the Airbus A330, about 60 aircraft have been ordered by 12 nations.
Germany will replace its obsolete Bell UH-1D helicopters with Airbus’ H-145M. The Bundeswehr is buying seven H-145Ms and expects delivery by 2020. The deal comes with a support package covering logistics support, repair and maintenance efforts. The total value of the order has not been disclosed at this time. The H-145Ms will be the Bundeswehr’s new search and rescue fleet in the event of aircraft accidents on German territory. With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tons, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation. The German fleet will be equipped with high-performance cameras, searchlights, emergency beacon locator systems, a full suite of medical equipment, rescue winches and load hooks.
Hyundai Heavy Industries is being contracted to build two new frigates for South Korea’s navy. The $563 million order sees for the delivery of two FFX Batch II ships by 2023. The ships will be the seventh and eight units within the Republic of Korean Navy’s coastal frigate program. The 2.800-ton vessels are have a maximum speed of 30 knots and are equipped with naval guns and guided missiles. These Batch II ships will be powered by a single 36-40MW MT30 turbine and all-electric propulsion. This hybrid electric drive propulsion system reduced the ships’ acoustic footprint, making it more effective in anti-submarine operations. The RoKN expects to commission up to eight FFX-II vessels.
Watch: Meet the New F-16 Fighter Jet (Thanks to F-32 and F-22 DNA)