Latest updates[?]: The US Marine Corps is buying new Amphibious Combat Vehicles for its troops. BAE is receiving an additional $140 million to build 30 Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACVs) and covers associated production efforts, fielding and support costs. The Corps' will eventually replace its fleet of ageing AAVP7 Amtracs with 204 new ACVs at a cost of $1.2 billion. According to Naval Technology the ACV is a modern eight-wheeled amphibious armored personell carrier that can carry a crew of three with 13 embarked Marines. The vehicles feature has a blast-resistant V-shaped hull to withstand IED blasts. Its six-cylinder 700HP Cursor engine propel it to speeds of up to 10km/h at sea and up to 106 km/h at land. The ACV’s armament is yet unclear. The ACV's armament will likely include a 40 mm grenade launcher and a .50 cal machine gun. The contract is payed for with FY 2019 Marine Corps procurement funds. Work will be performed at BAE's factories in York, Pennsylvania and Aiken, South Carolina. Production of the new vehicles is expected to be completed in August 2020.
AAAV/ EFV, swim mode
The US Marine Corps’ AAVP7 Amtracs have been their primary ship to shore amphibious armored personnel carrier for a long time; the AAV7A1 was initially fielded in 1972, and underwent a major service life extension program and product improvement program from 1983-1993. The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was the USMC’s plan to replace the aging AMTRACS (lit. AMphibious TRACtorS), which saw extensive service deep inland during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The personnel version of the new EFVs would carry a crew of 3, plus a reinforced rifle squad of 17 combat-loaded Marines. A high-tech weapons station would provide firepower, via a stabilized ATK 30mm MK 44 Bushmaster cannon with advanced sights to replace the AAV’s unstabilized .50 caliber machine gun. A command variant would carry an array of communications and computer systems and staff personnel. The EFV remained the U.S. Marine Corps’ top land acquisition priority, even as its price tag and development issues cut its buy sharply. Push finally came to shove in 2010, however, as the USMC realized that it simply couldn’t afford the vehicle, or its performance.
That begat a new program called the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), designed to be a more realistic version of the EFV. A Marines version designed for only light water use was called the MPC, which was iced in June 2013. That program was resurrected under increased capabilities pressures as the APC 1.1, which had its coming out party during an industry day in July 2014. A draft RFP was released in November, with hopes that a final RFP would be issued in spring 2015.
$105.7 million was requested for ACV 1.1 research, testing and evaluation.
The APC 1.1 has been examined by the Congressional Research Service, producing this report, which – in a nutshell – says that the program has a few issues, the primary one being the strategic lack of “connectors” allowing equipment onshore. Current options (LCAC, JHSV and LCU 1600) are relatively unprotected.
Huntington Ingalls (HII) is being contracted to support two of the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers. The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification is priced at $10.7 million and provides for material purchases and management for the USS Chosin and USS Vicksburg. HII will provide a number of efforts including engineering, technical, planning, ship configuration, data, and logistics work. These efforts cover lifetime support of both maintenance and modernization. The Ticonderoga Class remains critical to American seapower, functioning as anti-air defense platform, and contributing substantial anti-ship and anti-submarine combat power to its assigned naval groups. Work will be performed at HII’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and is expected to be complete by August 2019.
Flight Global reports that the US Marine Corps intends to replace two of its ageing C-9B Skytrain executive transports with two Boeing C-40 aircraft. Supported by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the USMC is currently conducting a market survey to identify a potential business that could procure and deliver the aircraft. NAVAIR says it is open to considering a second-hand aircraft, however the it is more likely that the service will turn to Boeing, the aircraft’s sole manufacturer. The 737 based C-40 Clipper comes in 3 variants; the C-40A is a Navy aircraft, while its counterpart C-40C and executive/VIP C-40Bs are USAF planes. The C-40A is modified with a large cargo door, and the strengthened wings and landing gear of the 737-800. The aircraft is certified to operate in three configurations: an all-passenger configuration that can accommodate 121 passengers, an all-cargo configuration of eight cargo pallets, or a combination of three pallets and 70 passengers. The Clipper has a range of 3,400 nautical miles with 5,000 pounds of cargo, and can carry up to 40,000 pounds.
Middle East & Africa
The Egyptian Navy inks a five-year in-service support agreement with France’s Naval Group. Managed by a company subsidiary work will be performed in the port of Alexandria and covers a number of vessels. “This milestone marks a new step in the long-term strategic partnership between Naval Group and the Egyptian Navy. Naval Group is proud to serve the Egyptian Navy,” Naval Group said. The Egyptian Navy took delivery of the second out of four Naval Group produced Gowind-corvettes in September 2018; the navy’s other Naval Group vessel, the FREMM multi-mission frigate Tahya Misr was delivered in 2015. In June 2016, Naval Group delivered two Mistral-class Landing Helicopter Dock vessels to the Egyptian Navy.
Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) is contracting Saab to deliver Giraffe 4A multi-function radars and maintain the military’s Arthur artillery locating system. The Giraffe 4A digital multi-channel system features an active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology based on gallium nitride (GaN). The system can be used for air surveillance and air defense as well as warning and artillery locating tasks. “Our ground-based radar Giraffe 4A strengthens our customers’ capability to detect incoming threats including tactical ballistic missiles. Tensions around us are increasing and the system gives our customers a world-class multi-function capability that helps to protect their interests”, says Anders Carp, Head of Saab’s business area Surveillance. Arthur is a stand alone medium-range passive phased array C-band radar that detects incoming shells and rockets, and determines where they were fired from before the shells can even land. The system can reportedly detect a mortar bomb at 55 km, shells at 31 km rockets at 50 – 60 km, locating targets at a rate of 100 per minute. It has been sold to several countries, including South Korea and the United Kingdom.
The Dutch Armed Forces are procuring a number of next-generation container systems from the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group. The Cambridge headquartered company will provide more than 1400 container systems over the next five years under this $127 million deal. The production order includes command and control shelters, workshops, controlled atmosphere and basic stores units, together with a 14-year fully integrated availability support package, including a full availability-based fleet management package. Alistair McPhee, chief executive of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, told Business Weekly: “Winning this contract is a major milestone in the strategic development of our Land Systems business and emphasises our capability to manage major programmes which benefits not only Marshall but local suppliers. “During both the implementation and support phases of this contract we will be working closely with Dutch industry not only as part of the supply chain but also as part of the development of our business across Europe.” Marshall “specialises in providing deployable infrastructure or shelters, vehicle systems and support services to military forces worldwide”. Army Technology notes that more than 6,000 shelters in more than 200 configurations are in currently in service.
The Franco-German training academy (EFA) in Le Cannet-des-Maures in South-East France is now equipped with a fully upgraded Eurocopter Tiger simulation system. The system has been configured to train aircrews of France’s Tiger HAD combat support variant and Germany’s UHT Step 2 anti-tank and fire support variant. Work is being done as part of the Tiger Aircrew Training Means (TATM) program that started in December 2014. Performed by Thales and Rheinmetall, upgrade work included new cockpit configurations, displays and avionics for both variants and new weapons systems for the HAD version. Awarded by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, the program also includes a support package for all 20 simulators in service until 2025.
Two US Marine aircraft crashed into the sea off the coast of Japan during a nightime air-to-air refueling exercise on Thursday. The incident involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 tanker aircraft. CNN was told that five crew were on board the KC-130 and two on the F/A-18 at the time of the crash. The ‘mishap’, as the US Marine Corps describes it, happened some 200 miles of the coast as the aircraft flew through adverse weather conditions. Two Marines were rescued. One is in “fair condition”, while the other “is being transported to a local hospital for evaluation”, Corps’ officials told the BBC. F/A-18 Super Hornets are designed for both air-superiority and land attack missions, and can carry a variety of ordnance ranging from air-to-air missiles and precision-guided bombs to standoff munitions. The US Marines fly smaller, earlier-generation F/A-18 C/D Hornets that are no longer in production. The KC-130J is a multi-role, medium-sized fixed-wing aerial refueling aircraft manufactured by Lockheed Martin, it essentially is a very advanced derivative of the standard C-130J.
Watch: Royal Navy and RAF locked in dogfight over new jets | Sky News
The US Air Force is contracting L-3 Technologies for sustainment work on its fleet of E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The firm-fixed price requirements contract provides for repair and overhaul of electron tubes installed on the E-3 at a cost of $7.8 million. L-3 started to supply Wide Band Klystron Power Amplifiers for the E-3 in 2005. Those electron tubes replaced older narrow chain klystron tubes installed on the E-3. The WBKAs have a better reliability, system redundancy and simplified logistics. The WBKPA is integral to the radar subsystem, which provides all-weather surveillance and command, control and communications (C3) functions needed by commanders. Work will be performed at L-3’s factory in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and is scheduled for completion by June 5, 2024.
Boeing achieves another milestone in its KC-46 tanker program and sets the stage for the start of Initial Operational Test & Evaluation testing next year. The Pegasus successfully achieved its Phase II receiver certification, and proved that it can refuel F-16, KC-135, C-17, A-10, KC-46, B-52, and F/A-18 aircraft. Phase II consisted of three weeks of flights with F-15E fighter jets stationed at Edwards AFB in California. Boeing says in a press statement, that during the tests a KC-46 and receiver aircraft flew at different airspeeds, altitudes and configurations to ensure compatibility and performance throughout the refueling envelope of each receiver. “The Air Force crews were with us every step of the way during this critical testing,” said Jake Kwasnik, KC-46 test program manager. “It was awesome to see everyone working together as we conducted flights out of Boeing Field and also at Edwards and Minot Air Force bases.” Phase III receiver testing will start in 2019, and includes training with additional receiver aircraft. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the US Air Force.
Middle East & Africa
Jane’s reports that the Iranian Navy is taking two more Ghadir submarines into service. The launch ceremony was held at Bandar Abbas naval base on November 29. The Ghadir-class mini submarines allow the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN) to operate in shallow waters such as the Persian Gulf. The IRIN claims that the submarines have sonar-evading technology and can launch missiles from under water, as well as fire torpedoes and drop marine mines. Those small subs weigh less than 150 metric tons and are used for short missions, with no living accommodations for a crew of up to nine. Iran does not disclose the total number of submarines in its fleet, however, it is believed to have some 12 light and three Russian-made submarines.
General Atomics is being contracted to support France’s fleet of MQ-9 UAVs. Priced at $26.7 million, the contract provides for contractor logistics support phase three and involves 100% Foreign Military Sales to France. France bought six MQ-9 Reaper Block 1 UAVs in a roughly $600 million deal back in 2014. In August 2018 General Atomics was awarded a $123 million procurement contract for six additional MQ-9 Reapers in their latest Block 5 version. They should be delivered to the French Air Force by May 1, 2020. France’s MQ-9s are currently just able to perform surveillance missions, however the air force plans to weaponize the platforms sometime between 2019 and 2020. The Reaper is a single-engine, turbo-prop, remotely piloted armed reconnaissance aircraft designed to operate over-the-horizon at medium altitude for long endurance. Work will be performed at GAASI’s factory in Poway, California and is expected to be completed in December 31, 2019.
Leonardo’s new C-27J Spartan baseline configuration performs its first flight at the company’s Aircraft Division Turin plant. Launched in 1997, the C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft incorporates the same propulsion system and advanced avionics as the C-130J Hercules Transporter, giving it the name “Baby Herc”. The aircraft design is based on the proven G-222 airframe from Alenia, with turboprop engines from Allison and advanced systems from Lockheed Martin. The new base configuration comprises a new avionics system, new cockpit control panels and LED aircraft lights. Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director, said: “New operators will enjoy modern avionics and improved operational cost and performance within the aircraft flyaway price. The main benefits of the new C-27J baseline configuration are compliance with new civil aviation regulations and military requirements obsolescence risk reduction.” A total of 85 C-27Js are currently in service with 14 countries around the globe ranging from Greece to Chad.
AAI Corporation is receiving additional funding to maintain logistics services in support of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The $152.7 million contract modification provides for contractor logistics sustainment services for the Shadow RQ-7B unmanned aerial system. Australia bought several RQ-7B Shadow 200 UAVs in 2011 as part of its Joint Project 129 Phase 2. The aircraft can see targets up to 125 kilometers away from the brigade tactical operations center, and recognize tactical vehicles up to 8,000 feet above the ground at more than 3.5 kilometers slant range, day or night. The drone can fly for 9 hours and carries pa¥loads of up-to 95 lbs. Work will be performed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is set to run through May 29, 2020.
Japan’s planned upgrade of its Boeing F-15 Eagle fighter jets will likely be supported by the US government and Boeing under the Foreign Military Sales process. Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries delivered some 213 license-built F-15 variants the country’s air force between 1981 and 1999. Some 200 remain in service, of which about 88 were continuously upgraded over the past decade, gradually incorporating additional improvements like Link 16. Tokyo now plans to upgrade two of its F-15J/DJ interceptors at a cost of $89 million. According to Defense News, the upcoming upgrades include new electronic warfare equipment, and larger weapon load out – increasing the number of missiles the aircraft can carry – and the integration of the AGM-158 JASSM. Shigeyuki Uno, the principal deputy director of the defense planning and programming division of Japan’s Ministry of Defense, also told Defense News that the F-15s radar will also be upgraded, which will likely involve the AN/APG-63(V)3 or the AN/APG-63(V)1, both are AESA radars produced by Raytheon. Japan’s midterm defense program guidelines, to be released by the end of 2018, are expected to provide more details on this program, including the number of F-15s Japan plans to upgrade.
Austal is being contracted to build another Spearhead-class vessel for the US Navy. The cost-plus-fixed-fee undefinitized contract action is priced at $40.4 million and procures long-lead-time material and production engineering services for Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 14. EPF ships are the go-to platform for fast, intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment. These vessels bridge the gap between low-speed sealift and high-speed airlift. Their capability to access austere, minor and degraded ports make them very suitable for operations in underdeveloped countries. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including – but not limited to – Novi, Michigan; Chesapeake, Virginia and Iron Mountain, Michigan. The US Navy’s 14th EPF is expected to be completed by July 2022.
Northrop Grumman is receiving more money to increase the operational range of four US Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. The awarded contract modification is valued at $21 million and allows for the installation of aerial refueling retrofit kits on four E-2Ds. The retrofit kits comprise a probe and associated piping, electrical and lighting upgrades, and long endurance seats that will enhance field of view in the cockpit and reduce fatigue over longer missions. The aerial refuelling capability effectively doubles the time the Hawkeye can stay in the air conducting its mission. The upgraded version of the Advanced Hawkeye flew for the first time in December 2016. Work will be performed at Northrop’s factory in St. Augustine, Florida and is expected to be completed in June 2020.
Navy is ordering integrated logistics and engineering support services for itself and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The contract modification, worth $10.5 million, exercises an option to provide calendar year 2019 support services for the Harpoon and SLAM-ER weapon systems. The GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile, which competes with MBDA’s Exocet and Saab’s RBS15, among others. The AGM-84K SLAM-ER is an advanced derivative of the Harpoon missile, and competes with precision attack missiles like Lockheed’s JASSM, and European missiles like the EADS Taurus KEPD 350 and the MBDA Storm Shadow. The modification combines purchases for the Navy totalling at $2.5 million and FMS customers in the amount of $7.9 million. Work will be performed at Boeing facilities in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Charles, Missouri; Yorktown, Virginia and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Performance is set to run through November 2019.
Middle East & Africa
MTU America is being tapped to deliver a number of engines and engine components to Israel. The $7.9 million delivery order is part of a US Foreign Military Sale to support Israeli marine vessels. The company will deliver engines and engine components to multiple engine series: ranging from the M90 to SE84. MTU is the largest supplier of engines to the Israeli Navy. Its engines are found a variety of vessel ranging from Sa’ar-5 missile frigates and Dolphin-class submarines. The order is entirely funded through the FMS program. Work will be performed at MTU’s factory in Brownstown Township, Michigan. Work under this contract is scheduled for completion by September 2019.
Italy’s F-35s have reached their initial operating capability, making it the first European country to do so. “This is an important day, since it is the first concrete integration of fourth and fifth generation aircraft,” General Alberto Rosso, the country’s Air Force chief, told media at Italy’s Amendola Air Base, located in the south, it’s home to 8 Italian JSFs. Italy is a Tier 2 partner in the F-35 program, and is host to a European Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) production line in Cameri. The country’s government recently decided that it will slow down its F-35 acquisitions, decreasing its intake from 10 to 6. Base commander Colonel Davide Marzinotto notes that upgrading the aircraft from Block 3i to Block 3F was a key to achieving the jet’s IOC. The Italian Air Force currently intends to buy a mix of A and B variants, 90 F-35s in total.
Poland plans to accelerate its replacement program of the air force’s Soviet-era aircraft. Fighter jets in service include RAC MiG-29 fighters and Sukhoi Su-22 ground-attack aircraft. The replacement program is part of the country’s Harpia requirement which intends to induct new fighter aircraft from 2024 onwards. Warsaw is reportedly looking for an aircraft that can perform a number of combat roles, including certain maritime operations and electronic warfare missions. Flight Global notes that Boeing may offer the F-15 or F/A-18E/F; Leonardo, acting on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium, will offer the Typhoon; Lockheed Martin could pitch the F-16 or F-35, and Saab could promote its Gripen E. The Polish government intends to complete the analytical and conceptual phase of the Harpia program by the end of February 2019, paving the way for starting the procurement process.
The Indian Navy (IN) agrees to lease one Akula-2 class SSN as part of an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) signed with Russia. The $3.3 billion deal comes with a six-year refit and rebuild availability, that including nuclear reactor replacement and installation of India-made systems on board the vessel. The INS Chakra, India’s other Akula-2 submarine, is on ten-year lease totalling at $2.5 billion. The Chakra serves as a training vessel with secondary operational capabilities. The navy can now choose between two Akula-2 class submarines: the in 1989 launched K-391 Bratsk, or the K-295 Samara, launched in 1994. In August 2018 India successfully launched a nuclear capable SLBM from INS Arihant – India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine – completing the country’s nuclear triad.
Watch: Alakran 120 mm Light Mortar System (Indo Defence 2018) | Jane’s
Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. is being awarded with three individual contracts for work on the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program. Awarded by the Naval Sea System Command, the contracts have cumulative face value of $1.7 billion and provide for various naval nuclear propulsion components. The components provide nuclear propulsion capabilities to power a variety of Navy vessels, including submarines and aircraft carriers, by drawing power from a small nuclear power plant installed on the vessel. FY 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds in the amount of $1.2 billion are being obligated which will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will to various levels be performed at the company’s facilities in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and in Schenectady, New York.
Lockheed Martin is receiving a contract modification to exercise options for ship integration and test of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS). Issued by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the $20.5 million modification supports Aegis baselines through Advanced Capability Build (ACB) 12. Efforts covered under this contract include shipboard integration engineering; Aegis test team support; Aegis modernization team engineering support; ballistic missile defense test team support and AWS element assessments. The contract provides for work on five new-construction DDG 51-class ships and for modernisation work on another five Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The deal also covers integrated combat system modifications and upgrades for all ships with Aegis baselines up to and including advanced capability build 12. The AWS is a centralized, automated, C2 and weapons control system featuring a radar that can perform search, track and missile guidance functions simultaneously, with a track capacity of more than 100 targets. Work will be performed at multiple locations – including, but not limited to – Bath, Maine; San Diego, California and Deveselu, Romania.
Sierra Nevada Corp. is being contracted to permanently install the Airborne Mission Networking System on US Air Force bases throughout the continental US. The $9.2 million contract modification provides for the installation of trial kits. The Airborne Mission Networking System is designed to utilize all airborne communication assets to connect with space and surface networks building a seamless communications platform across all three major domains of warfare: Air, Space, and Terrestrial. This modification raises the contract’s total cumulative face value to $39 million. Work will be performed in Centennial, Colorado and at US government facilities as required. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by September 16, 2019.
L-3 Communications is being tapped to provide support services for the US Air Force’s T-1A Jayhawk advanced trainer aircraft. The work order calls for contractor operated and maintained base supply of the Air Education and Training Command fleet of 178 T-1A trainer aircraft, with work to take place at the following USAF bases: Randolph Air Force Base, Texas; Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; and Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida. The T-1A aircraft is a medium-range, twin-engine jet trainer aircraft used for advanced pilot training. It is used by the Air Force for flying strategic, tactical airlift and tanker aircraft. Scheduled completion is slated for November 30, 2019. Total value of the contract is $97.5 million, with a total of $48 million in FY2019 operations and maintenance funds being obligated at the time of the award.
Middle East & Africa
Communications and Power Industries is being contracted to support the Homing All the Way Killer (HAWK) missile system in use with US allies. The $24.8 million contract includes Foreign Military Sales to Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and other global partners. The countries will receive Klystron Tubes spares for the MIM-23 HAWK surface-to-air missile launcher. The MIM-23 is a Raytheon designed all-weather low to medium altitude ground-to-air missile system. Development of the system started in the late 1950s with an IOC achieved in August 1960. Klystron Tubes are high power microwave vacuum tubes used to amplify radar signals. Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of November 27, 2023.
Israeli defene electronics contractor Elbit announces that it won a multi-million deal awarded by an undisclosed Asia-Pacific country. The 6-year contract has a reported value of $112 million and provides for advanced airborne intelligence systems. Bezhalel Machlis, Elbit President & CEO, said: “We are pleased to be awarded this contract to supply an intelligence solution that addresses both current and future battlefield requirements. We see a continuous demand for our systems due to our unique capacity to offer comprehensive and agile solutions encompassing platforms, payloads and analysis technologies.” Further information is currently not available.
The US State Department is determined to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to Poland. Poland is requesting the purchase of 20 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) M142 Launchers, and other related equipment for an estimated cost of $655 million. If approved by Congress, Poland would receive the launchers, GMLRS M31unitary and M30A1 alternative warheads and ATACMS M57 unitary warheads. The defense package also includes Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems, launcher pod assemblies and High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles. The DSCA release states that Poland will use the HIMARS to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. Main contractor will be Lockheed Martin.
Slovakia’s upcoming fighter jet acquisition remains a topic of contention. Last Friday the Slovakian MoD announced that it had finalised three agreements regarding the purchase of 14 F-16s plus associated training and equipment; shortly after Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini declared the contracts to be invalid due to missing approval by the finance ministry. “Premier Pellegrini considers the contracts regarding the purchase of F-16 fighters signed earlier in the day by the defense ministry to be invalid for the moment, as the finance ministry still hasn’t approved the deal,” a statement said. Some analysts suggest that this squabble is rooted in an internal power struggle between right-wing Defense Minister Peter Gajdos and the populist-left Pellegrini. Slovakia wants to buy several F-16 Block 70/72 fighters to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-designed, Russian made MiG-29 fighter jets.
The Indian Navy (IN) says that the INS Vikrant, the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier will begin sea trials in 2020. The carrier has entered its final phase of construction at Kochi shipyard. The INS Vikrant, is a 37,000-tonne Project 71 carrier with a short take-off but arrested recovery (STOBAR) configuration that has been under construction since 2009. Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is currently pressing for building a second indigenous aircraft carrier. “The case for a second IAC has received necessary impetus though it is still a decade away. Construction would be spread over 7-10 years. We will see the start of construction in three years,” Admiral Lanba told media representatives on the sidelines of a Navy conference on Monday.
Watch: RAF F-35Bs Scramble With F-15s And Rafales To Defeat An Enemy | Forces TV
Latest updates[?]: Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. is being awarded with three individual contracts for work on the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program. Awarded by the Naval Sea System Command, the contracts have cumulative face value of $1.7 billion and provide for various naval nuclear propulsion components. The components provide nuclear propulsion capabilities to power a variety of Navy vessels, including submarines and aircraft carriers, by drawing power from a small nuclear power plant installed on the vessel. FY 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds in the amount of $1.2 billion are being obligated which will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will to various levels be performed at the company's facilities in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, and in Schenectady, New York.
Basic Nuclear Propulsion
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This DII Spotlight article covers American nuclear propulsion industrial base contracts since the beginning of FY 2006. The USA has had an all-nuclear submarine fleet for over 50 years, a policy that dates back to the visionary Admiral Hyman Rickover. On the surface, America’s aircraft carriers became an all-nuclear fleet with the retirement of the USS Kitty Hawk [CV 63], and FY 2008-09 spending legislation pushed the US Navy to use nuclear power in its future CG (X) cruisers and new amphibious ship classes. At present, however, carriers are the only nuclear-powered American surface ships on the drawing board.
The civilian nuclear sector has seen major advances over the last 2 decades, and so has the military sector. The commitment to a nuclear fleet includes funding for those technical advances, as well as work to maintain both the reactors on board American ships, and the industrial base that supports them.
The US Navy is allocating more funding towards studying and improving the F-35’s operational capability. Lockheed Martin is receiving a $18.5 million modification to a previously awarded IDIQ contract. The extra money covers program-related and logistical work and analysis of the F-35’s ability to accomplish its mission requirements set by the US military and other partnering nations and foreign buyers. Included in the analysis is a study looking into cost and weight reductions and simulations of the aircraft’s performance with modelling and simulation activities. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in December 2019.
IAP Worldwide Services is being contracted to ensure the operational readiness of the US Air Force’s fleet of E-6B Mercury aircraft. Priced at $76.8 million, the modified contract exercises the third option year for logistics support services on the “survivable airborne communication system” airplanes. The E-6B Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) aircraft are 707-300 derivatives designed to support the Navy’s SSBN ballistic missile submarine force and overall strategic forces. The contract enables IAP Worldwide to maintain and support the Mercury and covers the provision of support equipment, aircraft weapon system parts, associated support sites, and supporting organizations. Work is expected to be completed in November 2019 with 70% of the work performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and 10% each done at facilities in Patuxent River, Maryland; Bellevue, Nebraska; and Fairfield, California.
Sierra Nevada Corp is receiving a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to support US SOCOM’s fleet of heavy gunships. Awarded by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, the contract provides for the procurement of standoff precision guided munitions modified cargo doors and sensor conversion units at a cost of $30.8 million. This contract supports the service’s fleet of AC-130 aircraft that will soon be equipped with Dynetics’ GBU-69/B Small Glide Munitions (SGMs) Stand-Off Precision Guided Munition (SOPGM). The AC-130U Spooky is a highly modified C-130, its primary missions are close air support, air interdiction and armed reconnaissance. Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by December 2024.
Radiance Technologies is being tapped to provide the US Army with high energy laser lethality research, assessment and support. The contract with an estimated completion date of November 15, 2023 is valued at $28.2 million. US services currently have multiple directed energy weapons-related programs running, some of which show promise. A number of US Army programs are reportedly showing promise during concept demonstrations and their potential relevance in addressing a number of current and emerging threats to US ground forces. In the past Radiance has worked on the Army’s High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck, or HELMTT, which is a 50 kilowatts class laser system integrated in a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. HELMTT is meant to provide a weapons system to Soldiers that requires less logistics support than a kinetic weapons system, and is less costly to operate. Work will be performed at the company’s facility in Huntsville, Alabama. Department of Defense FY 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $724,000 are being obligated.
Middle East & Africa
The Moroccan government is requesting the purchase of 162 Abrams tank enhancement kits from the US. The potential deal is priced at $1.3 billion and is currently pending approval by Congress. Already approved by the State Department the Foreign Military Sales package will procure enhancements to variants such as the M1A1 Abrams situational awareness (baseline version), the M1A2M with commander’s independent thermal viewer, or the M1A1 US Marine Corps version equipped with slew to cue. The deal further procures 324 M240 Machine Guns, 1035 M865 Training SABOT Rounds and 1610 M831Al HEAT Rounds. Additional items to be acquired include 162 export single channel ground and airborne radio systems (SINCGARS), 162 RT-1702 receiver transmitters, 162 M250 smoke grenade launchers, and special armor, as well as other related elements of logistics and program support. Prime contractor will be General Dynamics, with work to be performed at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama. The DSCA notice states that the enhancements will contribute to the modernization of Morocco’s tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats.
Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet reports, that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has found a solution to finalising a defense order with Pakistan. The order sees for the delivery of 30 T129 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan. This $1.5 billion deal was stalled due to the US DoD refusing to issue the Turkish company with an export license. This forced TAI to look for a replacement of the US and British-made LHTEC CTS800-4A turboshaft engines. Turkey and Pakistan have now agreed to acquiring a replacement variant for the engines. According to Hurriyet producers in France and Poland are being considered as potential suppliers, provided that the new engine shows adequate performance in high-altitude and bad weather conditions during upcoming tests.
Science and Engineering Services is being tapped to modernize four SH-60F Seahawk helicopters for the Spanish Navy. The Foreign Military Sale is priced at $25 million and provides for aircraft refurbishment, modification and delivery. The SH-60F is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission helicopter and part of the Sikorsky S-70 family. The variant is designed to conduct ASW and SAR missions and is extensively used for logistics, transporting personnel, mail, and supplies between ships. The helicopter can also fulfil a ‘Plane Guard’ mission, which is a rescue mission that is airborne any time the host Aircraft Carrier is launching or recovering aircraft. The Spanish Navy currently has 12 Seahawks in its inventory. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $6 million are being obligated. Work will be performed at the company’s factory in Huntsville, Alabama. The SeaHawks will be back in Spain by March 2021.
Taiwan’s air force is hoping that the US approves its requested purchase for new F-16V fighter jets. The air force sees the F-16V as a platform that would increase the country’s air defense capabilities, while also being a cheaper alternative to the costly F-35. Defense Minister Yan Defa minded that the service must evaluate the platform based on its combat strength and supplement capability to the other three aircraft types in service, he also reassured that any proposed platform that meets the operational requirements will be taken into consideration. Taiwan’s main fighter platforms are the F-16, AIDC F-CK-1 known as Indigenous Defense Fighter and the Mirage 2000, all of which are about 20 years old. Past requests for the purchase of 66 F-16C/D fighters were rejected by the US government. As an alternative the US proposed the delivery of F-16Vs which have a comparable performance to the C/D variants. Hong Kong-based military commentator Song Zhongping told the South China Morning Post that ‘the US had considered selling the production lines of its discontinued F-16 and F-18 fighter jets to India, and it was possible it may also sell the F-16 production line to Taiwan’.
Watch: F-15E Strike Eagle Cockpit Vid • Exercise Point Blank (2018)
Sikorsky is being contracted for upgrades to the helicopters used by Marine Helicopter Squadron One. Awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command, the deal is worth close to $15 million and modifies the previous terms of an IDIQ for executive helicopter special progressive aircraft rework. The task order provides for security, project engineering, sustainment engineering, integrated logistics support, material support, program support and training. The executive helicopter program flies two types of rotorcraft, the VH-3D Sea King and VH-60N White Hawk. The Marine Corps currently operates 11 VH-3D Sea Kings, and 8 smaller VH-60N Black Hawk helicopters. The current helicopters will eventually be replaced by VH-92As. Work will be performed at Sikorsky’s factory in Stratford, Connecticut and in Quantico, Virginia. Performance of the contract is scheduled for completion by November 2019.
The Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office is receiving a ceiling increase for additional V-22 Osprey support. The modification is priced at $20.5 million and provides for additional Joint Performance Based Logistics support for the MV-22 flown by the Marine Corps, and the CV-22 flown by US SOCOM and by the Air Force. The Corps’ currently flies the Osprey in its Block C configuration which adds features AN/ALE-47 defensive systems, a “Cabin Situational Awareness Device”, a Color Weather Radar System and large HUD displays. The CV-22 features more sophisticated surveillance capabilities, beefed-up defensive systems that include the AN/ALQ-211v2, extra fuel tanks, and useful capabilities like terrain-following flight. Its most current configuration is the CV-22 Block 20. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the United States, including Fort Worth, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and St. Louis, Missouri. The contract is set to run through January 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Egypt is requesting the purchase of 10 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters. Approved by the State Department, the deal is valued at $1 billion and will expand Egypt’s existing fleet of multi-mission heavy attack helicopters in an attempt to beef up forces to counter terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula. Included in the deal are targeting systems, Hellfire missiles, night vision goggles, radars and other equipment needed for combat operations. Spare parts, maintenance services and training materials are also included in the sale. The Apache Guardian is the latest variant of the helicopter boasting a greater stand-off attack capability and more advanced sensors. The armored attack helicopter carries a 30mm chaingun and can fire a variety of rockets and guided missiles. Main contractors will be Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon.
Sierra Nevada Corp is being tapped to provide outside of continental US (OCONUS) contractor logistic support. Worth $329 million the undefinitized contract action will support 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft flown by the Nigerian Air Force. Included in the deal are ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment and FLIR systems for six aircraft. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $220 million are being obligated for this contract. The A-29s will assist the Nigerian military in conducting surveillance, reconnaissance and counter insurgency operations against threats such as piracy in the Niger Delta as well as the ongoing insurgency by the jihadists of Boko Haram.
Saudi Arabia is one step closer in acquiring Lockheed’s THAAD missile defense system. The Kingdom recently signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the US. Priced at $15 billion, the deal includes the delivery of 44 THAAD launchers, 360 THAAD Interceptor Missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group, and seven AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars. “After completing required congressional notifications in 2017, followed by many months of negotiation, signing letters of offer and acceptance marks a step toward protecting the United States and its regional partners from Iranian-origin missiles,” CNBC was told by State Department spokesperson. THAAD is a long-range, land-based theater defense weapon designed to intercept missiles during late mid-course or final stage flight, flying at high altitudes within and even outside the atmosphere. This allows it to provide broad area coverage against threats to critical assets such as population centers and industrial resources as well as military forces.
Bulgaria’s upcoming fighter jet overhaul program is expected to cost about $106 million. The Bulgarian Air Force is in dire need to modernise its fleet of ageing Soviet-era combat aircraft, as an acquisition process to choose a modern NATO-standard aircraft is still pending. A statement by the Bulgarian MoD says that the overhaul program is needed so that the air force can continue to carry out its NATO required air policing duties. “The implementation of the project is directly dependent on the implementation of the project to acquire a new type of combat aircraft and is of paramount importance both for the national security and defence of the country and for the implementation of the Nato collective defence mechanisms and the common security and defence of the EU,” the statement said. The Su-25 is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft, designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The MiG-29 is a twin-engine jet fighter aircraft developed as an air superiority fighter.
Global helicopter manufacturers are currently eyeing an upcoming Japanese requirement for over 50 attack helicopters. Previously known as AH-X competition, the ‘New Attack Helicopter’ requirement seeks to replace the current AH-1Ss in service with the Japan Ground Self Defence Force. An initial RFI was issued in May, to which Bell, Boeing, Leonardo Helicopters, Airbus Helicopters, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries responded. Flight Global notes that Bell is promoting its AH-1Z. Leonardo is pitching its upcoming AW-249 with an offer for a full industrial package. Airbus is promoting its HForce configured H-125Ms and Mitsubishi is offering upgraded UH-60s. A request for proposals is expected to follow in the next months.
Watch: F-15E Strike Eagle Cockpit Vid • Exercise Point Blank (2018)
The US Army is ordering another batch of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles from Oshkosh. Oshkosh will deliver 6,017 JLTVs at a cost of $1,7 billion. The JLTV program started in 2006, with the aim to develop a successor platform to the Humvee. The new platform provides more survivability from insurgent attacks such as road-side bombings and boasts a greater payload capacity and modularity. The agreement also includes the delivery 22,166 kits, which include installation and packaging kits. Work will take place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and is expected to be completed by September 2019.
Raytheon is receiving additional funding to support the Navy’s stockpiles of SM-2 and SM-6 Standard surface-to-air missiles. Awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command, the $37,3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee modification provides for intermediate-level repair and maintenance work. The SM-2 Standard is a series of surface-to-air missiles deployed on guided-missile destroyers and cruisers, designed to engage enemy missiles and aircraft to ranges of up to 100 miles. The SM-6 IA ERAM is supersonic missile designed as a supplement to the SM-2. It is designed to target a variety of targets ranging from aircraft to ballistic missiles in their terminal phase of descent. Work will be split between Raytheon’s facilities in Tucson, Arizona; Camden, Arkansas and Huntsville, Alabama. Performance of the contract is set to run through November, 2019.
Middle East & Africa
Qatar is requesting the purchase of a National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) from the US. The $215 million deal has been approved by the State Department and pending approval by Congress. If approved the deal will see for the procurement of 40 AIM 120C-7 AMRAAM missiles, one spare missile guidance section, one spare control section and eight captive air training missiles. NASAMS is a medium-range, network-centric air defence system that can be deployed to identify and engage enemy aircraft, and to protect high-value assets and mass population centres against air-to-surface threats. The AIM 120C-7 is the most advanced AMRAAM approved for export beyond the USA. It features an improved seeker head, greater jamming resistance, and a slightly longer range than other versions. Other items including in the contract are missile containers, software for the AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel Radar, spares and other equipment and services. Main contractor will be Raytheon.
The US State Department is determined to approve a Foreign Military Sale to Egypt. Priced at $201 million the potential deal calls for the delivery of 46,000 M831A1 and M865 rounds and 10,000 APFSDS-T rounds. The 46,000 120mm Target Practice – Tracer (M831A1) and 120 mm Target Practice, Cone Stabilized, Discarding Sabot – (M865) rounds; and the 10,000 120mm 4th-Generation Kinetic Energy-Tungsten (KE-W) A4 Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer (APFSDS-T) rounds, will replace older round models in the Egypt’s M1A1 Abrams ammunition inventory. Egypt will use those rounds to arm the tanks that are currently fighting the Islamic State in the Sinai peninsula. The training rounds will be used to ready M1A1 tank crews for operational deployments. This announcement supersedes another FMS request delivered to Congress on September 17, 2018. Work will be performed at General Dynamics-OTS’ St. Petersburg, Florida facility
The UK Army Air Corps’ Apache AH1 salvaging program is nearing its end. The last two of 14 Army attack helicopters will be delivered to the US where they will be dismantled; recovered material and components will then bye refused on newly build AH-64E Guardians. This effort is part of the UK MoD’s Apache Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) which calls for the delivery of 50 new-build Apache Guardians at a price of $488 million. The FMS contract with Boeing was inked in May 2017 and includes the remanufacture of 38 Apache AH1s and a further 12 entirely new build Apache Guardians. The Apache Guardian attack helicopter is the latest version of the AH-64. It has a number of improvements and upgrades, including more powerful engines, upgraded transmission, a new fire control radar, new sensors, avionics and has improved night operation capabilities.
Japanese media suggest that Tokyo is preparing to order another 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The country’s MoD says that it needs more F-35s as replacement for its ageing F-15s, and government plans to approve the acquisition in its upcoming National Defense Program Guidelines. Japan currently has 42 F-35s on order which will succeed its fleet of 91 upgraded F-4 “Phantom Kai” fighters. by 2024.The additional 100 planes will replace half of Japan’s 213 F-15J Eagle air superiority fighters, this order will likely be mix of the A and B variants. To accommodate the F-35 B STOVL variant, Tokyo plans to overhaul and revamp one of its JS Izumo helicopter carrier to host the fighters. The total contract value is estimated to be around $9 billion.
South Korean aerospace and defense firm KAI is expected to unveil a prototype of its new light armed helicopter next month. Developed in a partnership with Airbus, the LCH-LAH will replace the ageing MD500s and 70 AH-1S Cobras flown by the South Korean Army. Based on the Eurocopter EC 155 helicopter, the LAH is designed to fly at a speed of upward of 324 kilometers per hour and have a range of some 905 km. Its maximum take-off load is 4.9 tons with the chopper to be equipped with a 20-mm gun and anti-armor guided missiles made locally. “Following the rollout of the LAH’s prototype next month, an engine test is scheduled in March next year and a maiden flight in May,” a KAI official told Korean media. The first operational LCH-LAH is expected to be delivered by the end of 2022.
Boeing is being contracted to support the DoD’s Protected Tactical Enterprise Service program. Awarded by the Space and Missile Systems Center, the $383 million contract provides for development of a ground system that protects tactical satellite communications from enemy jamming. The Protected Tactical Enterprise Service (PTES) will be a hub-and-spoke system that reaches out to tactical warfighters and uses the WGS constellation. It will tap the Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW), which the government developed to provide secure communications in a frequency-agnostic format. The US military relies on a complex set of Military Satellite Communication (MILSATCOM) and tactical networks. These networks transport command and control (C2), sensor, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) information to enable timely and decisive operations. As electronic threats against satellite communication are rapidly advancing the US military needs more robust networks that allow its warfighters to securely and effectively communicate in the most congested electronic environments. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facility in El Segundo, California, and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2025.
The US Army Contracting Command is modifying a contract with Lockheed Martin. The company will receive an extra $79 million to cover further work on Apache night vision sensor systems, subcomponent production and technical services. Night vision is enabled by Lockheed’s M-TADS/PNVS Arrowhead. 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. The Apache’s night vision sensors work on the forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, which detects the infrared light released by heated objects. The FLIR sensor has three fields-of-view, a multi-target tracker, multiple-code laser spot tracking, and internal boresight. Work locations and relevant funding will be determined with each order. The contract is set to run through October 2021.
Raytheon Vision System is being awarded with a follow-up contract for the Focused Opportunity Reaching Toward Reliable Electro-Optic Strategic Sensors (FORTRESS) program. The contract modification is priced at $19 million and is seeking to develop more capable mid-wave infrared focal plane arrays for persistent surveillance applications. The Air Force Research Laboratory’s FORTRESS program seeks to advance and maintain the state-of-the-art, scientific knowledge, growth, processing, and characterization capability in low-noise infrared sensor chip assemblies (SCAs) for national strategic space applications such as electro-optical surveillance satellites. Raytheon will produce larger and more resistant SCA’s that are able to withstand bombardment by space radiation, as well as laser attacks. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s factory in Goleta, California and is expected to be completed by February 2022.
Lockheed Martin is being tapped to continue to the next phase of its Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block II Infrared Search and Track (IRST) upgrade program. Awarded by Boeing, the $108 million contract allows for the development, platform integration, flight test and qualification of the IRST21 Block II sensor system installed on the US Navy’s Super Hornet fighter aircraft. IRST21 is a multi-function sensor system that has been designed to provide long-range detection and tracking of airborne threats in radar-denied environments. It is a passive, long-range sensor system that uses infrared search and track technology to detect and track heat coming off the engines of enemy aircraft. The IRST21 autonomously detects and tracks airborne targets at long ranges, and can merge the data with the fighters’ other sensors to provide a multi-dimensional view of threats. The Navy plans to field a 170 Block II sensor across its F-18 fleet.
Middle East & Africa
The Qatar Emiri Air Force expects to receive its first batch of F-15QA fighter jets by March 2021. This will be the first batch of the 36 unit order, with the remainder to be delivered in batches of four every three months. Qatar’s new F-15s will come with a totally remodeled cockpit featuring large panel touch screen displays and a new HUD display. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah inaugurated the F-15QA production line at Boeing’s St. Louis factory in August 2018. Qatar’s $12 billion F-15 order is part of a general drive to strengthen the country’s air power, which also includes the purchase of 12 Dassault Rafales and 24 Eurofighter Typhoons.
British defense contractor BAE Systems plans to soon introduce a new advanced combat systems technology to Royal Navy warships. As part of a $27 million investment, BAE plans to begin operational trials of an augmented-reality system sometime next year. During those initial trials BAE’s system will be installed on a Type 23 frigate, where the bridge watch officer will be equipped with augmented-reality glasses that allow the officer to blend real-world visuals with data generated by sensors, like radars and sonars, laid over the top in a similar fashion to the Striker II pilot’s helmet. At a later stage BAE plans to supplement the system with artificial intelligence as a tool to quickly process data and help reach crucial decisions faster. “These technologies have the potential to transform maritime warfare and greatly increase the situational awareness and efficiency of crews on board Royal Navy ships,” said BAE’s head of technology for naval systems Frank Cotton.
Swedish company Saab will collaborate with BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin to develop and integrate the new combat system for Australia’s Hunter-class frigates. Australia will procure a total of nine frigates under its SEA 5000 future frigate program. The Hunter-class is based on BAE’s Type 26 frigate, one of the world’s most advanced anti-submarine warships. Hunter-class ships will mount an indigenous CEA Phased-Array Radar, integrated with the Aegis combat management system used by the US Navy. Equipped with a Mk 41 VLS the vessels will be able to shoot ESSMs and SM-2s. BAE is responsible for the design, integration, testing and activation of the combat system; Lockheed will manufacture and deliver the Aegis weapon system, while Saab Australia will build an advanced tactical interface. “The fact that BAE Systems Australia has selected Saab as partner is further proof of our world-class combat system integration capabilities,” Anders Carp, head of Saab’s business area surveillance, said in a company announcement on Friday. “The extensive skills and experience that we bring to this project will complement those of BAE Systems.”