Lockheed Martin has been awarded a valued $712.5 million order by the US Navy to work on the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter. The Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions. Under the agreement Lockheed Martin will develop the aircraft’s Technology Refresh 3 (TR3) System, which will update the computer systems on board the F-35 Lightning II. The TR3 will be designed with full flightworthy certification, production readiness review and fleet release to support low-rate initial production of the 15th Lot of F-35 jets. Work will be carried out in Fort Worth, Texas and is scheduled to be over by March 2023. The F-35 is Lockheed Martin’s largest program, generating 27% of its total sales in the third quarter of 2018.
In order to improve the landing areas within Marine Corps Base Hawaii properties Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., Honolulu is awarded a $15,419,280 firm-fixed-price contract. The landing areas are used for training maneuvers by the MV-22 Osprey aircraft. Th V-22 Osprey is a multirole, tiltrotor combat aircraft combining the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. The Osprey uses two engines positioned on fixed wing tips housed in nacelles that rotate to allow the MV-22 to land and take off vertically, but achieve much faster flight than a helicopter by tilting the nacelles forward while in flight in a configuration similar to a fixed-wing aircraft. Work on the landing areas will take place in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. provides for the converting of the existing landing helicopter assault pad into a landing helicopter dock pad, the construction of a new landing platform dock pad, and the construction of four new concrete landing pads. Work is expected to be completed by August 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Jordanian Air Force announced that the second of four Mil Mi-26 ‘Halo’ heavy-lift helicopters has been delivered to Jordan from Russia, with two more set to arrive before the end of 2019. Originally developed to respond to containment work after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl in 1986, the Mil Mi-26T Halo is the largest helicopter in the world. Its maximum take-off weight is 56 tons and it carries up to 82 troops. Jordan ordered four of the current production-standard Mi-26T helicopters in September 2016.
Israel Aerospace Industries started production of the F-35 stealth fighter components for the outer wings, making the fighter jet invisible to radar. Deliveries of the outer wing sets are expected to start as soon as the beginning of 2019. The sets will be manufactured using a unique composite layer of materials called Automated Fiber Placement. The threads, which are three millimeters thick, are what give the wings the ability to escape detection by radar. The contract between IAI and Lockheed Martin to create this production line was signed in 2013. According to an 2016 statement by the company, the production line is scheduled to build a total of 811 pairs of F-35A wings by 2034.
French naval fighter squadron Flottile 17F has completed its transition to the Dassault Aviation Rafale M, Jane’s reports. Flottile 17F, nicknamed “La glorieuse“, previously operated the Super Étendard Modernisé (SEM) aircraft until it was withdrawn from service in 2016. Now the Flottile 17 F has officially joined the French Navy’s two other fighter squadrons, 11F and 12F, in operating the Dassault Aviation Rafale M. The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, multirole fighter aircraft. It has been tasked with fleet air defense, close air support, anti-ship strikes, and air-to-air refueling.
South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) has received a contract for the renovation and repair of three KDX-I class destroyers. The Gwanggaeto the Great Class (KDX-I) destroyers, Designed as multimission surface combatants, were built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN). Three destroyers replaced the older ex-US Navy ships of the ROKN. DSME also unveiled a contract for the construction of one LNG carrier for an unnamed Oceania company. The total value of the contracts is about $230 million.
HMAS Hobart, Australia’s first-of-class warfare destroyer demonstrated its ability to conduct co-operative fleet-area air defense operations. The destroyer, which was commissioned in September 2017, was deployed to the coast of San Diego to test its combat and weaponry system, including a series of at-sea trials known as the combat system qualification trials (CSSQT). The trials confirm the Royal Australian Navy’s capacity to cooperate with the US Navy in high-intensity combat operations.
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