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 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)
Dec 18, 2018 04:56 UTC
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.
NSM test launch
Kongsberg’s stealthy new Naval Strike Missile (Nytt SjomalsMissil), which continues its development and testing program, has already shown potential in the crowded market for long-range ship attack and shore defense weapons. NSM’s Joint Strike Missile counterpart may have even more potential, as a longer-range air-launched naval and land strike complement to Kongsberg’s popular Penguin short-range anti-ship missile.
The market for anti-ship missiles is a crowded one, and the distinction between anti-ship and precision land strike weapons is blurring fast. Aside from a bevy of Russian subsonic and supersonic offerings, naval buyers can choose Boeing’s GM-84 Harpoon, China’s YJ-82/C-802 Saccade, MBDA’s Exocet, Otomat, or Marte; IAI of Israel’s Gabriel/ANAM, Saab’s RBS15, and more. Despite an ongoing shift toward supersonic missiles, Kongsberg chose not to go that route. So, how do they expect to be competitive in a crowded market? The F-35 Lightning II may hold the key.
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Dec 18, 2018 04:52 UTC
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.
C-135FR refuels A330
France currently relies on 14 C-135s for its aerial refueling needs, but these militarized relatives of the Boeing 707 are expensive to maintain, lack key technologies required for unrestricted flight, and are approaching 50 years old. Over those intervening decades, European governments have built up their own aviation industry, and the Airbus A330 MRTT has been ordered by a number of countries. In 2014, France is finally joining them, and beginning a EUR 3 billion program for 12 A330 “Phenix” aerial tanker-transports.
The French purchase will cap a series of interim moves to keep the existing fleet operational. French governments have searched for space in their multi-year military budgets to fund recapitalization, even as technical delays held up key projects…
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Dec 18, 2018 04:50 UTC
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
FFX: Jeonbuk launch
South Korea currently owns some of the world’s best and most advanced shipyards. That civilian strength is beginning to create military leverage, and recent years have seen the ROK take several steps toward fielding a true open-ocean, blue water navy. Their new KDX-II destroyers, KDX-III AEGIS destroyers, LPX amphibious assault ships, and KSS-I/KSS-II (U209/U214) submarines will give the nation more clout on the international stage, but what about the home front? North Korea’s gunboats have launched surprise attacks on the ROK Navy twice in the last decade, while its submarines continue to insert commandos in South Korean territory, and committed acts of war by sinking ROKN ships. To the west, Chinese fishing rights are a contentious issue that has led to the murder of a Korean Coast Guard official on the high seas.
Hence the Future Frigate Experimental (FFX) program. It aims to build upon lessons learned from ROK naval shipbuilding programs in the 1980s and 1990s, and replace 37 existing ships with a modern class of upgunned inshore patrol frigates. A contract to build the lead FFX frigate Incheon was issued in December 2008, and South Korea continues to work to define the program, including the forthcoming Batch II design.
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Dec 17, 2018 05:00 UTC
The US Navy is pouring more money into US, UK submarine fire control systems research. General Dynamics is receiving a $35 million contract modification that provides for R&D, and sustainment efforts for the US, UK SSBN Fire Control Sub-system (FCS) and the US SSGN Attack Weapon Control System (AWCS). This includes training services and provision of support equipment and a US/UK shipboard data system. The American Ohio- and British Vanguard-class SSBNs are carrying the Trident II D5 nuclear missile and are an integral part to a nuclear triad. From 2027 onwards the types will be replaced with Columbia- and Dreadnought-class submarines. US SSGNs are converted Ohio-class SSBNs. These “Tactical Tridents” carry 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles and are designed to support special operations. Work will be performed at GD’s facilities in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Kings Bay, Georgia and Dahlgren, Virginia. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by September 2019.
The US Air Force is extending a support contract with Boeing. The company is being awarded with a cost-plus-fixed-fee modification that exercises a third option-year for AC-130U operations support. Efforts covered under this contract include continued development, modification, sustainment, and maintenance of the ‘Spooky’ gunships. The AC-130U is a highly modified C-130, its primary missions are close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in Fort Walton Beach, Florida and US military bases in Afghanistan and Kuwait. This option year end on December 31, 2019.
Sikorsky has to re-schedule the maiden flight of its newly developed SB-1 Defiant due to some issues within the helicopter’s testbed. As reported by Flight Global, the joint Sikorsky-Boeing team discovered some issues on the aircraft’s powertrain system testbed. Company officials have stressed that those ‘minor’ problems will soon be solved. According to Sikorsky the issues at hand could be caused by faulty instrumentation or a software bug. The Defiant is a third-generation X2 aircraft will be the company’s main pitch in the US Government’s Future Vertical Lift program. Powertrain system tests are a key requirement that must be met before the Defiant can lift off. The SB-1’s maiden flight was initially expected sometime last year, but had to be postponed to later this year due to some delays in the composite rotor blade manufacturing process. The Defiant’s first flight will likely be in early 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing is being contracted to support Kuwait’s fleet of F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft. The Foreign Military Sales contract is priced at $92.3 million and exercises Phase 1 integrated logistics support for 22 F/A-18E and 6 F/A-18F planes. Kuwait purchased these aircraft in a $1.5 billion deal in June this year. The F/A-18E Super Hornet is the single-seat variant and the F/A-18F Super Hornet is the two tandem-seat variant. They are larger and more advanced derivatives of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C/D Hornet. Work will be performed at multiple locations including St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; China Lake, California; Patuxent River, Maryland and Gulf Port, Mississippi. The contract will run through December 2020.
The Bulgarian Air Force will soon need to replace its Soviet-era MiG-29s and is currently reviewing offers for F-16s, F-18s, new Gripen and second-hand Eurofighter Typhoons. However Boyko Borisov, the country’s Prime Minister seems to favour Lockheed’s F-16. “From what I have heard from the pilots, a new F-16 is a significantly better aircraft than all the rest that are on offer,” Borisov told reporters on the sidelines of an EU summit in Sofia. The planned purchase of 14 aircraft is expected to cost $1 billion. Lockheed is offering the latest Bock 70/72 variant of the fighter jet. The F-16 Viper includes upgraded radars, sensors and an auto GCAS suite. US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan added “Lockheed Martin has made what I think is a very attractive proposal [to Bulgaria] for the sale of fighter aircraft that other NATO allies have purchased that would make those aircraft, if purchased here, interoperable with those NATO partners.” Some F-16Vs were recently purchased by Slovakia.
Hungary is ordering 16 H-225M multi-role helicopters from Airbus. This is Budapest’s second purchase of helicopters as part of the country’s Zrinyi 2026 military modernisation program; the first was signed earlier this year and sees for the delivery of 20 H-145M helicopters. The H-225M is a medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter designed for troop transport, combat search and rescue and special operations missions. The helicopters will be equipped with the company’s HForce weapon management system. The HForce features FN Herstal HMP400 guns, Thales FZ231 unguided rockets, Nexter NC621 cannons, Wescam’s MX15 electro-optical targeting system and a helmet-mounted sight display by Thales. With this contract, Hungary becomes the 9th country to have selected the H225M; other operators include France, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Kuwait and Singapore. No details of the contract value or delivery schedule have been revealed yet.
Poland is adding four M-346 Advanced Jet Trainers to its contract with Leonardo. The contract option is priced at $147 million and extends Poland’s fleet to16 aircraft, making it the 2nd largest M-346 export customer. The M-346 is a 5th generation lead-in fighter jet that offer a high level manoeuvrability and controllability at a very high angle-of-attack using a fly-by-wire control system. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale. Since the jet’s introduction in 2004 Leonardo has sold 76 M-346s to Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel.
Russian media outlet TASS reports that Vietnam may drop out of a potential arms deal with Israel. Vietnam signed a contract with Israel’s Rafael for the delivery of several SPYDER surface-to-air missile systems in 2015. The 2015 deal included the delivery of five or six batteries and 250 missiles. Over the past year Vietnam conducted several missile tests, all of which failed. One defense ministry source told TASS that the SPYDER performs poorly in tropical conditions and regularly breaks down. The source also said that the SPYDER isn’t the best choice for Vietnam due to some incompatibility issues with earlier supplied Russian surface-to-air missile systems. Neither the Vietnamese nor the Israeli defense ministry commented the report.
Watch: LCS 19 Christening and Launch
Dec 17, 2018 04:52 UTC
Poland is adding four M-346 Advanced Jet Trainers to its contract with Leonardo. The contract option
is priced at $147 million and extends Poland's fleet to16 aircraft, making it the 2nd largest M-346 export customer. The M-346
is a 5th generation lead-in fighter jet that offer a high level manoeuvrability and controllability at a very high angle-of-attack using a fly-by-wire control system. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale. Since the jet's introduction in 2004 Leonardo has sold 76 M-346s to Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel.
Tornado refuels M346
Alenia’s Aermacchi’s M-346 advanced jet trainer began life in 1993, as a collaboration with Russia. It was also something of a breakthrough for Alenia Aermacchi, confirming that the Finmeccanica subsidiary could design and manufacture advanced aircraft with full authority quadriplex fly-by-wire controls. Those controls, the aircraft’s design for vortex lift aerodynamics, and a thrust:weight ratio of nearly 1:1, allow it to remain fully controllable even at angles of attack over 35 degrees. This is useful for simulating the capabilities of advanced 4+ generation fighters like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter, and Rafale. Not to mention Sukhoi’s SU-30 family, which has made a name for itself at international air shows with remarkable nose-high maneuvers.
The Russian collaboration did not last. For a while, it looked like the Italian jet might not last, either. It did though, and has become a regular contender for advanced jet trainer trainer contracts around the world. Its biggest potential opportunity is in the USA. For now, however, its biggest customer is Israel.
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Dec 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.
Watch: Loading 70 Tons Abrams Onto Gigantic US AirCraft: C-17 Globemaster III