Apr 25, 2019 05:00 UTC
Vigor Marine won a $14.3 million contract in support of the USNS Wally Schirra or T-AKE 8. The Lewis and Clark Class cargo ship has a length of 689 feet and was launched on March 8, 2009. The mission of Lewis and Clark Class ships is to deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to carrier battle groups and other naval forces, serving as a shuttle ship or station ship. The deal provides for regular overhaul and dry docking. Work will take place in Portland, Oregon and the estimated completion date is August 25, 2019.
The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $117.1 million contract modification for air vehicle initial spares to include a deployment spares package, afloat spares package, and associated consumables to support air vehicle delivery schedules for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. This contract comes after it was reported that the estimated total price for research and procurement in the F-35 program has increased by $22 billion in current dollars adjusted for inflation. The increase reflects for the first time the current cost estimates for a major set of upgrades planned in coming “Block 4” modifications. Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord and Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan have been pushing the program office and Lockheed to reduce projected operations and support costs. Work for the initial spares contract will take place within the US, the UK and the Netherland and is expected to be finished in August 2023.
Lockheed Martin announced in a press release that it had won a $362 million contract to recapitalize 50 of the US Army’s Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers. The US Army’s MLRS recapitalization effort will eventually upgrade its existing fleet of 225 MLRS M270A1 launchers, and 160 decommissioned M270A0’s slated for de-militarization, to M270A2s. The M270 is a 227mm Multiple Launch Rocket System designed to be used against troops and light equipment, air defense systems and command centers. In 1983, the first MLRS units entered service with the US Army. The MLRS M270 self-propelled launcher vehicle is a stretched version of the American M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. The Launcher Loader Module, mounted on the rear of the vehicle hull consists of a base, turret and cage.
Middle East & Africa
Raytheon won a $399.4 million contract from the US Missile Defense Agency to provide long lead hardware procurement and manufacturing, systems engineering and program management, obsolescence and reliability updates, maintenance planning, facility design support, country support and common software development to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Foreign Military Sales funds in the full amount will be used to fund the effort. Work will take place in Woburn, Massachusetts.
According to a leaked Russian government document, a Russian MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft was mistakenly shot down by “friendly fire” during a training flight near the Telemba proving ground in Siberia almost two years ago. The incident in question had happened on April 26, 2017. At the time, the Kremlin said that the plane had been on a training exercise, but offered no additional details about the mishap. Both of the Foxhound’s crew survived the incident. In the leaked report, investigators concluded that the crew in the plane that got shot down had improperly followed procedures, allowing them to stray into the potential line of fire during the live-fire exercise. It also faulted aviators flying the other Foxhound for turning on their Zaslon-AM’s fire control function at the wrong time, cueing an R-33 missile right at their wingman.
Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System (ROSY) will protect armored vehicles of the Portuguese and Belgian Armed Forces. Deliveries of 126 systems to Spanish defense contractor URO Vehículos Especiales (UROVESA) will start this month and will run through March 2020. Rheinmetall, acting as subcontractor for Jankel, will also begin pre-series delivery of the system for the Belgian Army’s Light Troop Transport Vehicle (LTTV). All 199 vehicles are being prepared for integration of the system, in addition to the supply of control units and launchers for 167 vehicles. According to Rheinmetall, ROSY offers light military and civilian vehicles protection from unexpected attacks, for example during patrols or when traveling in convoys. Unlike the conventional smoke protection systems in use, ROSY is able to generate dynamic smoke screens as well as spontaneous, large-area and multispectral interruption of the line of sight.
Australia deployed its Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, Jane’s reports. On April 21, four Australian Army Tiger helicopters were airlifted to the Royal Malaysian Air Force Air Base at Subang on a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter for joint training exercises with Malaysia. The Tiger is designed to perform armed reconnaissance, air or ground escort, air-to-air combat, ground fire support, destruction and anti-tank warfare, day or night and in adverse conditions. The exercises mark a major milestone for the helicopter given that until very recently Australian auditors were recommending that it not be operated aboard ships due to performance limitations.
Watch: RAF F-35B Jets Flying into RAF Marham Airbase
Apr 25, 2019 04:54 UTC
Australia deployed its Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, Jane’s
reports. On April 21, four Australian Army Tiger helicopters were airlifted to the Royal Malaysian Air Force Air Base at Subang on a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter for joint training exercises with Malaysia. The Tiger
is designed to perform armed reconnaissance, air or ground escort, air-to-air combat, ground fire support, destruction and anti-tank warfare, day or night and in adverse conditions. The exercises mark a major milestone for the helicopter given that until very recently Australian auditors were recommending that it not be operated aboard ships due to performance limitations.
Tiger HAP & HAC
Eurocopter’s Tiger had always had a very odd setup in that it came in two seemingly incomplete versions (HAP scout and HAC/UHT anti-tank), whose respective deficiencies severely limited multi-role flexibility and hence exports. The new Tiger HAD (Helicoptere Appui Destruction) variant fixes those deficiencies, and looks set to become the default version for new-build EC665 Tiger exports.
The HAD project began in December 2005, as the EU’s OCCAR organization for armament cooperation signed a formal contract in Bonn, Germany and set out initial procurement numbers for Spain. This was followed by the French DGA’s announcing the restructuring of its own 80-helicopter order, and each customer has made its own choices as the new variant has gone from concept to initial delivery.
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Apr 24, 2019 05:00 UTC
The Navy awarded Raytheon a $28 million contract modification for integration and production support for the Air and Missile Defense Radar AN/SPY-6(V). The AN/SPY-6(V) next-generation integrated radar will be featured on the Flight III Arleigh Burke Guided Missiles Destroyers. According to Raytheon, the SPY-6 is built with so called Radar Modular Assemblies, each of them a self-contained radar in a 2’x2’x2’ box. They can stack together to form any size array to fit the mission requirements of any ship, which would make the SPY-6 the Navy’s first truly scalable radar. In January, the radar completed an important milestone when it successfully tracked a ballistic missile target in the system’s final development test. The radar is on schedule for delivery to the Navy in 2020, replacing the SPY-1 radar. The contract includes support for continued combat system integration and testing, engineering, training, software and depot maintenance as well as field engineering services. Raytheon will perform work at various locations within the US. The estimated completion date is in December this year.
Raytheon successfully completed a static test of its new DeepStrike missile rocket motor. The next-generation, long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike missile will replace the Army Tactical Missile System. Raytheon won the $116.4 million contract to build the missile in June 2017 under the technology up-gradation and risk trimming phase of the Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program. The missile will be compatible with two launch systems of the US Army, the M270 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and the M142 high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS). The rocket motor test brought the weapon one step closer to its maiden flight test, scheduled for this year. A previous milestone for the DeepStrike was the successful preliminary design review, in which the Army evaluated every aspect of the new missile’s design, from its advanced propulsion system and innovative lethality package to its guidance system.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli company Rafael dropped out of Switzerland’s $8 billion air defense tender. Rafael had initially offered its David’s Sling system. David’s Sling is an Israeli system developed with the United States that is designed to defend against short-range and theater ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles. However, the Israeli Department of Defense did not give the company the necessary permit to go further in the tender. Reasons for this decision are unclear. Companies still participating in the tender are Raytheon with the Patriot system and Eurosam with the SAMP/T.
Contributing to NATO’s increased presence in the Baltic states, the UK deployed five Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the Amari Air Base in Estonia. The AH-64s are expected to participate in upcoming NATO military exercises and provide defense coverage for a military base near the Russian border. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson commented on the deployment: “It’s a very credible threat that we see from Russia and part of the reason that we’re deploying five Apache attack helicopters is making sure that we’re constantly adapting to a changing situation.“ According to the British Army, the Apaches will be working in tandem with the Wildcat battlefield reconnaissance helicopters to provide valuable training opportunities to NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm and to the UK-led battlegroup deployed on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.
The US and the Sri Lankan Navy ended the Cooperation Afloat and Readiness Training (CARAT) exercise four days earlier than scheduled due to the recent attacks in the Asian country. “All US personnel involved in CARAT are accounted for and redeployment is in progress,” it says in an updated news release. Several bombers carried out six coordinated attacks at churches and hotels on Sunday, killing at least 290 people. The government declared a state of emergency to take effect at midnight Monday. The declaration allows police and military forces to detain and interrogate potential suspects without a court order. The US-Sri Lanka CARAT exercise was slated to take place for a week and was based off the southern port city of Hambantota. Hambantota was not targeted in Sunday’s attacks, but the suspension of exercises will allow Sri Lanka to reallocate military resources should they become necessary in the aftermath. The CARAT is the US Navy’s oldest and longest continually-running regional exercise in South and Southeast Asia. Participants conduct partnered training focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships.
According to reports, China’s Gas Turbine Research Institute designed and tested a prototype of a new turbofan engine for fighter aircraft within 18 months. The team of young engine designers will be given an award during China’s Youth Day on May 4. It took the development team only a year to design the engine, and just six months to finish testing the first prototype. No details of the engine, including its designation, have been revealed, but official statements claimed that the new engine would “rival advanced foreign fighter jets and represents China’s highest technical level in aero engines”. Until now, long-standing difficulties that have hampered China’s production of military aircraft engines forced it to import Russian-made engines for several of its major aircraft projects.
Watch: New Advanced Version of its F 15 Eagle for the US Air Force, Next Super Fighter Electronic Warfare
Apr 24, 2019 04:54 UTC
Contributing to NATO’s increased presence in the Baltic states, the UK deployed
five Boeing AH-64
Apache attack helicopters to the Amari Air Base in Estonia. The AH-64s are expected to participate in upcoming NATO military exercises and provide defense coverage for a military base near the Russian border. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson commented
on the deployment: “It's a very credible threat that we see from Russia and part of the reason that we're deploying five Apache attack helicopters is making sure that we're constantly adapting to a changing situation.“ According to the British Army, the Apaches will be working in tandem with the Wildcat battlefield reconnaissance helicopters to provide valuable training opportunities to NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm and to the UK-led battlegroup deployed on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.
AH-64 in Afghanistan
The AH-64 Apache will remain the US Army’s primary armed helicopter for several more decades, thanks to the collapse of the RAH-66 Comanche program, and the retirement sans replacement of the US Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH). Apaches also serve with a number of American allies, some of whom have already expressed interest in upgrading or expanding their fleets.
The AH-64E Guardian Block III (AB3) is the helicopter’s next big step forward. It incorporates 26 key new-technology insertions that cover flight performance, maintenance costs, sensors & electronics, and even the ability to control UAVs as part of manned-unmanned teaming (MUT). In July 2006, Boeing and U.S. Army officials signed the initial development contract for Block III upgrades to the current and future Apache fleet, via a virtual signing ceremony. By November 2011, the 1st production helicopter had been delivered. So… how many helicopters will be modified under the AH-64 Block III program, what do these modifications include, how is the program structured, and what has been happening since that 2006 award? The short answer is: a lot, including export interest and sales.
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Apr 23, 2019 05:00 UTC
Boeing won a $605 million modification for the production of the Air Force’s 11th Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) Communication Space Vehicle. The DoD uses the WGS system to communicate with warfighters across the globe. Ten Ka-band and 8 X-band beam can be positioned anywhere in the field of view of each satellite. WGS combines unique commercial spacecraft capabilities that Boeing has developed, including phased array antennas and digital signal processing technology, into a powerful, flexible architecture. United Launch Alliance ULA is scheduled to launch the 11th satellite aboard a Delta IV rocket in November 2023. Since 2001, Boeing has been the prime contractor of the WGS, which was first launched in 2008. GS 4, which was launched off in 2012, was the first Block II series. WGS-10 was meant to be the last of the constellation. But in March 2018, Congress added $600 million for the procurement of WGS-11 and WGS-12. Boeing will perform work under the modification in El Segundo, California and expects completion by November 20, 2023.
The US Army contracted General Atomics with $99 million in support of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS. The deal provides performance based logistics support services for the Unmanned Aircraft System. The Gray Eagle UAS addresses the need for a long-endurance, armed, unmanned aircraft system that offers greater range, altitude and payload flexibility over earlier systems. US Army Special Operations Forces and Intelligence and Security Command have two Gray Eagle Extended Range (ER) systems, which include 12 unmanned aircraft, six Universal Ground Control Stations, nine Ground Data Terminals, three Mobile Ground Control Stations, one Satellite Ground Data Terminal, an automated takeoff and landing system, LMTVs, and other ground-support equipment operated and maintained by a company of 165 Soldiers. Work will take place in Poway, California and is scheduled to be completed on April 23, 2024.
Middle East & Africa
According to defensenews.com, Turkey’s homemade drones have the potential to boost local industry by raising export numbers. The combat proven Turkish drones don’t need foreign export licenses unlike other military platforms such as helicopters and tanks. The Turkish military has used unmanned systems in its fight against Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast and in counterinsurgency operations in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Currently the Turkish military operates 75 TB2 drones. The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-range, tactical UAV system. It was developed by Kale-Baykar, a joint venture of Baykar Makina and the Kale Group. The UAV operates as a platform for conducting reconnaissance and intelligence missions. In January, Baykar Makina, a privately owned Turkish drone maker, won a contract to sell a batch of 12 of its Bayraktar TB2 UAVs to the Ukraine. Back in November, two Turkish companies – Tusas Engine Industries and Turkish Aerospace Industries – announced they had made significant progress toward building indigenous engines that would power locally made drones and armored vehicles. This would further independency from foreign engine suppliers. In February, it was reported that Tusas Engine Industries produced the first national UAV engine PD-170.
General Dynamics won a $269.3 million contract modification from the US Navy in support of the UK Dreadnought fleet and the US Navy’s Columbia Class fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). The modification includes the manufacturing of 42 missile tubes as well as missile tube outfitting material. The Dreadnought Class submarines, the future replacement for the Vanguard Class, will like their predecessors carry the Trident II D-5 missiles. The upcoming Columbia Class of nuclear submarines will replace the UGM-133 Trident II-armed Ohio Class. Work will take place in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania and is expected to be finished by May 2028.
According to local reports, India’s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has launched the country’s third Project 15B guided-missile destroyer. Imphal, the third ship under Project 15B was launched on 20 April at MDL’s facilities in Mumbai. The Project 15B warships are also referred to as the Visakhapatnam Class. 15 ships are to be build under this class. The first Project 15B ship, Visakhapatnam, was launched in April 2015, while the second ship of the type, Mormugao , took to the water in September 2016. The warships are propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. They are 163 meters long and have a displacement of 7.300 tonnes.
Local media reported that Elbit Systems has won a tender to deliver its ATHOS (Autonomous Towed Howitzer Ordnance System) 2052 to the Indian Army, in a deal estimated at over $1 Billion. The bid by Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems and its Indian partner Bharat Forge has emerged as the winner in the Indian Army’s 155 mm, 52 calibre towed artillery gun competition. The price point at which the Elbit-Bharat Forge gun is being offered is even lower than the indigenously developed Dhanush 155 mm, 42 calibre gun, which is being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board. According to Elbit Systems, ATHOS is capable of a range of more than 40km and utilizes a self-propelling capability and automatic laying mode. It is integrated with fully-computerized systems, achieving automatic control, accurate navigation, and target acquisition. The company has yet to command on the outcome of the Indian Tender.
Watch: U S Navy Has a Serious Problem Now Too Few Ships
Apr 23, 2019 04:58 UTC
Latest updates[?]: April 23/19: 11th WGS Communication Space Vehicle Boeing won a $605 million modification for the production of the Air Force’s 11th Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) Communication Space Vehicle. The DoD uses the WGS system to communicate with warfighters across the globe. Ten Ka-band and 8 X-band beam can be positioned anywhere in the field of view of each satellite. WGS combines unique commercial spacecraft capabilities that Boeing has developed, including phased array antennas and digital signal processing technology, into a powerful, flexible architecture. United Launch Alliance ULA is scheduled to launch the 11th satellite aboard a Delta IV rocket in November 2023. Since 2001, Boeing has been the prime contractor of the WGS, which was first launched in 2008. GS 4, which was launched off in 2012, was the first Block II series. WGS-10 was meant to be the last of the constellation. But in March 2018, Congress added $600 million for the procurement of WGS-11 and WGS-12. Boeing will perform work under the modification in El Segundo, California and expects completion by November 20, 2023.
The US military needs a bigger data firehose. In an era of streaming data from proliferating UAVs and other persistent surveillance platforms, and the need for control of those systems anywhere in the world, bandwidth is almost as important as fuel. Commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) can fill some of the gaps, but it’s expensive, and may not be available when needed. The Wideband Gapfiller SATCOM (now Wideband Global SATCOM) program began as a way to ease these problems in the near term, but went on to become one of the twin pillars of US military communications, alongside the hardened AEHF constellation. Both satellite types expanded their roles after the super-high bandwidth T-SAT program was canceled. Instead, the USA is adding WGS and AEHF satellites in space, even as it makes both programs multi-national efforts here on earth.
WGS is a set of 13-kilowatt spacecraft based on Boeing’s model 702 commercial satellite. These satellites will handle a significant portion of the USA’s warfighting bandwidth requirements, supporting tactical C4ISR(command, control, communications, and computers; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance); battle management; and combat support needs. Upon its 2007 launch into geosynchronous orbit, WGS Flight 1 became the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest capacity communication satellite. WGS F4, launched in January 2012, offers further improvements, as do satellites from WGS F8. The constellation is set to grow to 10, including international participation.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article covering the WGS program’s specifications, budgets, travails, international partnerships, and contracts, with links to additional research materials.
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