The Navy awarded a $25.2 million contract modification to Raytheon for delivery of Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile spares. Under the modification Raytheon will provide All-Up-Round spares to support the recertification effort for the Tomahawk missile system. The company initially won a $303.7 million in 2016 from the military branch to supply Tomahawk Block IV missiles and spares. The Tomahawk is a long-range, subsonic cruise missile that can be launched from a ship or submarine and is able to fly into heavily defended airspace more than 1,000 miles away to conduct precise strikes on targets. The US and its allied militaries used the GPS-enabled precision weapon more than 2,300 times in combat, and flight-tested it 550 times. The recertification program of the Tomahawk will expand the missile’s service life until 2040. Work under the contract modification will take place in various places around the continental US, Canada and the UK. It is expected to be completed by October next year.
Strategic Systems Programs contracted Lockheed Martin with a $846 million modification for large diameter rocket motors, associated missile body flight articles and related support equipment for the Navy Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon System flight test demonstrations. The modification includes design, development, construction and integration. The system allows the US to strike targets anywhere within an hour. The CPGS weapons are not substitutes for nuclear weapons, but supplement US conventional capabilities and serve as an effort at deterrence. The Navy conducted the first test of the system in 2017 on the Ohio-class submarines. They are nuclear-powered submarines and form the sole class of ballistic missile submarines currently in service with the US Navy. Four Ohio-class underwater crafts have been converted to guided-missile submarines to carry conventional weapons by modifying missile tubes. Work under the contract modification will take place in Littleton, Colorado and is expected to be finished on January 1, 2024.
Northrop Grumman offers to replace the obsolete radar on the US Air Force (USAF) Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers with its AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) system. The USAF wants to upgrade the entire B-52 fleet with a new radar system. It is looking at several options to satisfy its Radar Modernization Program to replace the B-52’s now obsolete Northrop Grumman AN/APQ-166 mechanically-scanned radar. The AN/APG-83 system is also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). A version of SABR has been developed for the B-1B fleet. According to Northrop Grumman, SABR provides a reliable, cost-effective, off-the-shelf, low-risk radar upgrade solution for multiple platforms. The Air Force launched the Radar Modernization Program for its 76 aircraft bomber fleet in February 2016. A competition is set to be launched this year.
Middle East & Africa
The US Air Force contracted Cargo Transport System, Kuwait with a $10 million modification that provides continued stevedoring and related terminal services to the 595th Transportation Brigade. The modification includes vessel loading, vessel discharge, receipt of cargo, disposition of cargo, stuffing/unstuffing of cargo, intra-terminal transfer of cargo, inland transportation of cargo, customs clearance, yard management as well as management expertise. Cargo Transport operates as a freight forwarding and logistics company. It offers export services, such as freight forwarding and logistics, consulting, container stuffing, blocking and bracing, door to door service, export documentation and licenses, freight management, agent network, staging, inventory control, air and ocean charters, letter of credit processing and banking, and cargo insurance. Work will take place in ports of Kuwait from March 9 until September 8.
ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) won a contract with the Israeli Navy to supply four ELM-2248-Star radars for its four new Sa’ar-6 corvettes. The ELM-2248 MF-STAR Multi-Function Digital Radars are based on Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology. The Sa’ar-6 class corvettes are four German-made warships ordered for the Israeli Navy in 2015. They are tasked to protect Israel’s economic zone and secure its critical naval infrastructure, such as natural gas rigs against missiles, rockets and enemy aircraft. The MF-STAR is to be installed on the ship’s mast. It comprises four conformal phased array S-Band antennas providing 360 degrees coverage. The Israeli Navy expects the German-built corvettes to enter service by 2022.
BAE Systems delivered the first four BvS10 all-terrain vehicles to Austria. The delivery is part of a contract signed in 2016 for 32 armored personnel carriers. The vehicles were handed over during two ceremonies last week in the Austrian states Tyrol and Salzburg. Austrian Defense Minister Mario Kunasek attended the celebrations alongside representatives of the Swedish government and BAE Systems Hägglunds, the Sweden-based manufacturer of the BvS10. The first set of vehicles will be fielded by the Austrian Armed Forces’ 24th Infantry Battalion, a battalion of the 6th Mountain Infantry Brigade, which plays a leading role in the European Union Mountain Training Warfare Initiative as well as the 2nd Engineer Battalion, which can provide combat support in mountainous terrain. The BvS10 is an All Terrain Armored Vehicle. The Austrian APC variant of the BvS10 is fitted with a number of specific features including a 360 degree Observation Camera System with six Day/Infrared cameras and displays in the front and rear of the cabin for greater situational awareness. Also featured is the latest Remote Controlled Weapon Station, which can be operated by both the Gunner and the Commander. It is foldable to allow for swift transportation in the field. BAE Systems expects final deliveries to conclude later this year.
CHC Australia completed the roll-out of six new generation Leonardo AW139 aircraft in order of replacing the S-76 SAR helicopter fleet of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The AugustaWestland AW139 is a 5-seat medium-sized twin-engined helicopter purposed for several different roles, such as VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport, fire fighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical service, disaster relief, and maritime patrol. The AW139 aircraft are search and rescue configured with four-axis auto hover, allowing them to hover over water at night. The new AW139 aircraft will be in addition to the current AW139 night vision goggle capable, four-axis auto hover machine currently servicing the Australian Navy since May 2017.
Watch: US Army releases first image of new M1A2C tank with active protection systems
Latest updates[?]: BAE Systems delivered the first four BvS10 all-terrain vehicles to Austria. The delivery is part of a contract signed in 2016 for 32 armored personnel carriers. The vehicles were handed over during two ceremonies last week in the Austrian states Tyrol and Salzburg. Austrian Defense Minister Mario Kunasek attended the celebrations alongside representatives of the Swedish government and BAE Systems Hägglunds, the Sweden-based manufacturer of the BvS10. The first set of vehicles will be fielded by the Austrian Armed Forces’ 24th Infantry Battalion, a battalion of the 6th Mountain Infantry Brigade, which plays a leading role in the European Union Mountain Training Warfare Initiative as well as the 2nd Engineer Battalion, which can provide combat support in mountainous terrain. The BvS10 is an All Terrain Armored Vehicle. The Austrian APC variant of the BvS10 is fitted with a number of specific features including a 360 degree Observation Camera System with six Day/Infrared cameras and displays in the front and rear of the cabin for greater situational awareness. Also featured is the latest Remote Controlled Weapon Station, which can be operated by both the Gunner and the Commander. It is foldable to allow for swift transportation in the field. BAE Systems expects final deliveries to conclude later this year.
A Viking comes ashore
The BvS10 is the successor to the wildly popular Bv206, 11,000 of which have been sold to 40 countries around the world – including the USA (M978). Readers may have seen these vehicles elsewhere, too, as a number of Bv206s have post-military careers at ski resorts, in industries like mining and logging, etc. The new BvS-10 is larger and more heavily armored; it’s in use in Britain, France and the Netherlands as a key armored vehicle for their respective Marines, has been bought by Sweden, and is under evaluation elsewhere. International interest includes imitators: Singapore’s Bronco ATTC is a BVS10 competitor, and Finland and Norway have their own local Bv206 variants.
What makes this unusual-looking vehicle family and design so popular? They aren’t like Humvees or similar wheeled mainstays. They aren’t full armored personnel carriers, either – they’re armored, but Bv family vehicles can’t take the kind of punishment that a Bradley or LAV can absorb. Instead, the secret to their success lies in a remarkable all-terrain capability, and their ability to fill a rare and critical role: air-portable and amphibious infantry enhancement. These success factors are discussed below, along with contracts and key developments related to this vehicle family.
The US Navy awarded L-3 KEO a $19.3 million contract modification for the production of the Universal Modular Mast, which serves as a lifting mechanism for the Virginia class mast payloads. The Universal Modular Mast is standard equipment for above-water sensors on U.S. and international submarines. It is a non-hull penetrating mast for Navy Virginia-class fast-attack submarines and Ohio-class guided missile submarines that can host five different sensor configurations: the photonics mast, the multi-function mast, the integrated electronic mast, the high-data-rate-mast, and the photonics mast variant. The Virginia class or SSN-774 class are nuclear powered fast attack submarines. The submarines form the Navy’s new undersea warfare platform designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships as well as project power ashore. Work under the contract will take place in Italy as well as Massachusetts and is scheduled to be finished by August 2021.
The US Air Force contracted Rolls-Royce with a $19.5 million modification for C-130J Propulsion long-term sustainment. The C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft equipped with Rolls-Royce AE 2100 D3 turboprop engines with Dowty R391 composite scimitar propellers, digital avionics, and reduced crew requirements. This technology has improved performance over its C-130E/H predecessors, such as 40 percent greater range, 21 percent higher maximum speed, and 41 percent shorter takeoff distance. The delivery order provides for funding Option II flying hours. Work will take place at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia as well as various locations that support C-130J Propulsion long-term sustainment and is expected to be completed by the end of January next year.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli industrial drone maker Airobotics is moving its manufacturing to the US. The company will lay off at least 20 of its 140 employees in Israel and additional employees in its offices in Australia, where it has 60 employees. Airobotics laid off 25 employees in Israel last November, when it had 170 employees in Israel. Already then, Airobotics announced it was relocating most of its operations, including its global headquarters, to Scottsdale, Arizona. The company manufactures automated industrial drones that are used for inspection, surveying and mapping, and security and emergency response applications. The restructuring is supposed to meet growing demand in the US, Australia and other areas in Asia-Pacific. Airobotics’ research and development center will remain in Israel.
Britain awarded Rolls-Royce a $307 million contract to maintain nuclear submarines. Until 2022, Rolls Royce will provide support and advice for systems on board the fleet of Trafalgar, Vanguard and Astute class submarines. The new deal, known as the Nuclear Propulsion Lifetime Management (NPLM) contract, forms part of a wider suite of contracts with Rolls-Royce to provide naval reactor plant design, support, advice and components to the submarine build program and provide enabling services such as infrastructure and IT. The British Defense Ministry also revealed the name of the third Dreadnought submarine, which will be called the HMS Warspite. The name Warspite goes back to 1595 and was the last “great ship” to be built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The newest submarine is expected to see service in the early 2030s, and will be the eighth Royal Navy ship to carry the name Warspite.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) awarded French company Thales a contract to supply 70-mm rocket launchers to the Indian Armed Forces (IAF). The deal provides for 135 rocket launchers for 33 attack helicopters. Eighteen of the army’s advanced light helicopters and 15 of the Air Force’s light combat helicopters will be equipped with four 12-tube rocket launchers. The company produces the rocket launchers using composite material, making them an average of 50 percent lighter than metal launchers, and eliminating corrosion issues. The launchers are suited for use on both light and combat helicopters. Munitions available for use with the launchers range from conventional rockets to Thales’ laser-guided variant. Thales is present in India since 1953 with headquarters in New Delhi, including in defense, transport, aerospace and security markets.
China revealed a concept for a heavy infantry fighting vehicle (HIFV) based on the VT4 MBT, Jane’s reports. China North Industries Corporation presented the concept for the vehicle at the IDEX 2019. The model based on the VT4 export main battle tank includes engines relocated to the front of the hull from the rear, making space for infantry dismounts. The VT4 MBT is armed with a 125mm smoothbore cannon to engage armored personnel carriers, main battle tanks, infantry forces, military installation, light vehicles, and low-flying helicopters. The gunner and commander of the VT4 tank are provided with stabilized thermal imaging sights for identification and recognition of targets. An armament for the new HIFV is provided in the form of the turret from the tracked ZBD-04A IFV that is in service with China’s People’s Liberation Army.
Watch: Meet the T-Rex: The F-22 Raptor Transforms Into a Bomber
Latest updates[?]: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) awarded French company Thales a contract to supply 70-mm rocket launchers to the Indian Armed Forces (IAF). The deal provides for 135 rocket launchers for 33 attack helicopters. Eighteen of the army's advanced light helicopters and 15 of the Air Force's light combat helicopters will be equipped with four 12-tube rocket launchers. The company produces the rocket launchers using composite material, making them an average of 50 percent lighter than metal launchers, and eliminating corrosion issues. The launchers are suited for use on both light and combat helicopters. Munitions available for use with the launchers range from conventional rockets to Thales' laser-guided variant. Thales is present in India since 1953 with headquarters in New Delhi, including in defense, transport, aerospace and security markets.
How safe are the Indian Army’s aging fleets of Chetaks (Aerospatiale SA316 Alouette III) and Cheetahs (SA315B Alouette II/III mix)? These old designs have consistently proven themselves in high altitude operations, and remain useful as long as their airframes remain safe. The problem is that at their age, the safety margin is pretty slim. Or worse.
In 2003, India issued an RFP for 197 light helicopters estimating a deal worth between $500-$600 million to buy 60 helicopters outright, with the remaining 137 being built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Eurocopter’s AS550 C3 Fennec and Bell Textron’s 407 competed in the second and final round of summer trials, and as 2007 ticked toward a close, it looked like we had a winner. As often happens in India, however, the process ended up completely derailed. A new RFP out for a successor “Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter program” (RSH) went out in 2008, and testing was done in 2010. Has the RSH competition gone the way of the 1st aborted contract, even as India’s high altitude border posts struggle for adequate support?
The Navy contracted Harris Corp. a $168.8 million modification to build onboard jammer systems for the F/A-18 fighter planes. The modification exercises an option for the procurement of 78 full-rate production 78 AN/ALQ-214 A(V)4/5 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures Onboard Jammers for use on the F/A-18C/D/E/F models. The system is a next-generation radio frequency integrated countermeasure system, replacing the V3 variation. It combines receivers, as well as active countermeasures, to form an electronic shield around combat aircraft. The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine, carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The Super Hornet has a new, 25% larger airframe, larger rectangular air intakes, more powerful GE F414 engines based on F/A-18’s F404, and an upgraded avionics suite. The F/A-18C and D models are the result of a Hornet block upgrade in 1987, incorporating upgraded radar, avionics, and the capacity to carry new missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile and AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-84 Harpoon air-to-surface missiles. The countermeasure system responds to threats with a series of measures designed to protect the aircraft from detection, and responds to threats fired at the aircraft. Additionally, the option provides for the procurement of 16 weapon replacement assemblies, 1A(V)4 receiver/processors and 27 WRA2 A(V)4 modulators. Work will take place in New Jersey, California, and other locations in the USA and is expected to be finished in May 2022.
Raytheon will participate in a missile defense radar sense-off to test designs that could be included in the US Army’s integrated Air and Missile Defense System under development. With the sense-off the Army is resetting the approach for the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor, or LTAMDS, program that has struggled to bring about a new radar for over a decade. Raytheon revealed that its LTAMDS candidate is a new design, developed from scratch to meet latest defense requirements. Raytheon’s LTAMDS proposal features gallium nitride (GaN) components in its architecture. The GaN design allows for higher power throughput, with greater efficiency than some of the older circuit designs, such as those that used gallium arsenide (GaAs) components. The LTAMDS trial is scheduled to take place in the May or June this year.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSB) signed a contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for a Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project on Friday. The value of the contract was not disclosed. The helicopter, which may be designated T130, will have two engines driving a five-blade main rotor, with a tandem armored cockpit configuration for pilot and gunner. There will be a modular avionics package, which includes a four-axis autopilot and helmet-mounted displays for the crew. The Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project was launched to meet requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces in this field. It aims to design and produce an effective and advanced attack helicopter capable of carrying a large useful load, resistant to challenging environmental factors and equipped with state-of-the-art technology target tracking and imaging, electronic warfare, navigation, communications and weapon systems. The project will play an important role in reducing external dependency of Turkey’s defense sector.
The Belarusian Army handed four MiG-29 aircraft to the Serbian Army as part of military technical aid. The MiG-29 is twin-engine jet fighter aircraft. It has hydraulic controls and a SAU-451 three-axis autopilot. Belarus’ Aircraft Repair Plant will undertake repairs and upgrade of the MiGs according to Serbian Air Force needs. Primarily the navigation system will be modernized. The two countries engage in various military and economic projects together and Belarus’ military technical aid is very important to Serbia. This year the countries will perform in the Belarusian-Serbian-Russian exercise „Slavic Brotherhood“ in Serbia.
Germany’s Rheinmetall and Britain’s BAE Systems are creating a joint UK based military vehicle design, manufacturing and support business. The Joint Venture will be located at the BAE System’sTelford facility. Rheinmetall will purchase a 55% stake in the existing BAE Systems UK based combat vehicles business, with BAE Systems retaining 45%. Once approvals have been completed in the first half of 2019, the Joint Venture will be known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land. In addition to managing and growing the existing combat vehicle support business, the intent is for the new Joint Venture to play a major role in the delivery of the British Army’s new Mechanized Infantry Vehicle and other strategic combat vehicles programs.
Russia is ready to discuss deliveries of Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets to India. The Su-57 is stealth, single-seat, twin-engine, multirole, jet fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short distances and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities. It combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet. The use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature. While India displays interest in the Su-57, Russian company Rostec wants the Indian Air Force to determine how much the plane fits into their general concept and what they want to focus on.
Watch: U.S. Navy Makes Next Two Ford-Class Aircraft Carriers ‘More Lethal’
Latest updates[?]: Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSB) signed a contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for a Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project on Friday. The value of the contract was not disclosed. The helicopter, which may be designated T130, will have two engines driving a five-blade main rotor, with a tandem armored cockpit configuration for pilot and gunner. There will be a modular avionics package, which includes a four-axis autopilot and helmet-mounted displays for the crew. The Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project was launched to meet requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces in this field. It aims to design and produce an effective and advanced attack helicopter capable of carrying a large useful load, resistant to challenging environmental factors and equipped with state-of-the-art technology target tracking and imaging, electronic warfare, navigation, communications and weapon systems. The project will play an important role in reducing external dependency of Turkey’s defense sector.
Turkey has been looking to modernize its attack helicopter fleet since the mid-1990s, but the process has mostly served as an object lesson in how not to buy defense equipment. This competition faced many difficulties; after numerous snafus, technology transfer and production issues, and canceled competitions, all 3 invited American manufacturers had abandoned the competition entirely.
Even the “final” round seemed imperiled, following reports of the Turkish military’s deep dissatisfaction with the choices. Nevertheless, the competition survived long enough to pick a winner, and signed contracts with AgustaWestland. But Turkey didn’t just buy helicopters. They bought the A129 model – lock, stock, and rotor.
The US Air Force contracted Boeing with a $24.1 million modification for F-15 Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) engineering and manufacturing development. The EPAWSS is a program that upgrades F-15 aircraft electronic warfare capabilities to detect and identify air and ground threats, employ counter-measures, and jam enemy radar signals. It has fully integrated radar warning, geo-location, situational awareness, and self-protection solutions to detect and defeat surface and airborne threats in signal-dense contested and highly contested environments. The F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, tactical fighter aircraft with speed capability of 1,875 miles per hour. The aircraft has an all-metal semimonocoque fuselage with a large-cantilever, shoulder-mounted wing. The contract modification also includes operational test and evaluation and provides for the procurement of hardware and systems engineering program management for the F-15E Operational Test and Evaluation jets. Work will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be finished by June 1, 2021.
The US Army Contracting Command awarded Longbow LLC a $10.5 million contract modification for Laser and Longbow Hellfire engineering services. Hellfire missiles are the USA’s preferred aerial anti-armor missile, and are widely deployed with America’s allies. The AGM-114 Hellfire is an air-to-surface missile. It is a combat proven tactical missile system using multiple launch platforms. The Hellfire can be fired from rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, waterborne vessels and land-based systems against a variety of targets. Longbow LLC produces equipment for the aerospace and defense industry including electrical components for helicopters and other vehicles. Work under the modification will take place in Orlando, Florida and is scheduled to be completed by the end of February next year.
The Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $33.4 million contract modification in support of the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). The modification includes redesign, integration and test of radio frequency sensors as part of a cost reduction initiative. Lockheed secured a potential $322 million contract in 2016 to support the integration and testing of LRASM, which is designed to be launched from guided-missile destroyers and cruisers. The LRASM is a long-range precision guided missile designed to autonomously detect and engage enemy warships based on their image recognition, infrared, radar and other sensor profiles. The LRASM is expected to be integrated with the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet this year. Work under the modification will take place in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Florida and is expected to be completed by February 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Israel’s Aeronautics confirmed that it signed a deal to be acquired by defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense and businessman Avihai Stolero. Aeronautics, which manufactures unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for military surveillance and defense purposes as well as for the commercial sector, will become private and its shares delisted from the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Rafael and Stolero will pay $235 million for full ownership. The deal is still subject to approval from Aeronautics’ shareholders. In August 2017 the Israeli Ministry of Defense halted the company’s license to export a loiter munition UAV system to an unnamed client, leading to the launch of an investigation by Israeli Police and the Israel Securities Authority for suspected violations of the Israeli defense export controls law. This resulted in the company’s stock taking a big hit. According to Aeronautics the merger with Rafael will be completed within four to six months.
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) tested the Texan T1 training aircraft on Friday for the first time. The Beechcraft Texan T MK1 will take over the basic fast jet training role currently fulfilled by the Tucano. The aircraft, also known as the T-6A Texan II, is also used by the US Air Force, the US Navy and US Marine Corps for training. Continuing the precedent set by the Tucano for employing a tandem-seat turboprop basic trainer, the Texan II replaces the analogue cockpit of the earlier machine with a digital glass cockpit featuring modern avionics. The aircraft’s mission system is capable of generating simulated air-to-air targets and scoring against the release of simulated air-to-ground ordnance. The T1 can simulate missions in fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft, including the F-35 Lightning and Typhoon. Britain is investing $1.6 billion in fixed-wing aircraft training under the Military Flight Training System to train and prepare junior pilots for the frontline.
The Royal Australian Air Force along with Western Sydney University developed a camera that can track objects in space in real time. The so called Astrosite could help prevent satellites located beyond the Earth’s atmosphere smashing into each other. With the Astrosite, which is modelled off the human eye, it will be possible to see into space during the day, and during low observable periods.The camera could be mounted onto a plane, train or a ship. The technology’s development is part of the Plan Jericho, which is a strategy to transform the Royal Australian Air Force by capitalizing on future high technology systems.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing a trainer aircraft that can be used to train Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots before they start flying the Rafale. The Supersonic Omni Role Trainer Aircraft (SPORT) is based on Light Combat Aircraft frame and engine. SPORT will carry HMDS, LDP, cruise missiles, laser-guided bombs, anti-shipping missiles, smart weapons and drones. It can also be used as a combat aircraft during war. In the IAF training module, the first level of training is basic training, followed by intermediate and advanced. After this, the pilots go on to fly high performance aircraft Rafale or Mirage 2000. HAL has completed preliminary design and is about to get into actual development of the aircraft.
Watch: For the first time: Britain tests next generation training aircraft
The US Navy plans to test its new electronic warfare (EW) drone this fall. The drones are part of the „Remedy“ program by the Navy and Northrop Grumman that sees a small Class II unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) packed into a cluster munition canister that would then eject from a mothership and fly a programmed route ahead of stand-off jammers and strike aircraft. This could mean that electronic EW platforms like the EA-18G Growler could soon release swarms of drones from the aircraft, allowing the smaller vehicles to fly ahead to scout out for radar and other battlefield emitters. The drones could even take part in electronic attack missions themselves by jamming enemy sensor networks. During the trials in fall, Northrop Grumman plans to link the drone with an actual Growler as part of Fleet Tactical Grid 2019.
The US Naval Sea Systems Command issued a request for information for the proposed Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture (UMAA). In 2018, the Unmanned Maritime Program Office chartered a cross-organizational team to develop the Unmanned Maritime Autonomy Architecture with the goal of standardizing autonomy interfaces across its growing portfolio of unmanned vehicles. The intent of UMAA is to provide overarching standards that various unmanned undersea vehicles and unmanned service vehicles can be built to in order to avoid creating multiple conflicting systems in the future.The Naval Sea Systems Command’s Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants, Unmanned Maritime Systems Program Office is looking for government organizations and industry to participate in the development of the UMAA.
Middle East & Africa
Iran unveiled an indigenous submarine that reportedly is capable of firing cruise missiles several hundred miles and staying more than 650 feet underwater for five weeks. The vessel includes 412,000 pieces, utilizing 76 state-of-the-art technologies. 4.2 million working hours utilized 120 industrial centers, 80 knowledge-based companies, 57 universities and 195 research centers. The submarine includes surface-to-surface systems, a torpedo launcher, advanced sonar, electrically powered propulsion, battle management systems, integrated electronic security and communications technology.
Norwegian shipbuilder Vard Group AS ordered the 9LV Fire Control System (FCS) including the Ceros 200 fire control director from Saab for the Norwegian Coast Guard’s new Jan Mayen-class-vessels. The 9LV FCS is used to detect, monitor and combat threats with high accuracy. It provides rapid, reliable defense against any threat in any environment, including advanced sea-skimming missiles and asymmetric surface threats. Ceros 200 is one of its core components and is based on radar and optronic technology, which gives the system very high precision in all weather conditions. Vard Group is building the Jan Mayen class vessels with the first delivery planned for 2022. Saab will undertake the work in Järfälla, Sweden.
ZALA Aero, a subsidiary of Rostec’s Kalashnikov Group unveiled its new KYB-UAV loitering munition at the IDEX in Abu Dhabi. The drone, that could target enemy air defenses, is 1,210 mm long with a 950 mm wingspan. The new system precisely hits ground targets, delivering a specific payload to target coordinates. The target coordinates are specified manually or acquired from payload targeting image. Powered by an electric motor, it can carry a 3-kg payload, has a speed of 80-130 km/h, and an endurance of 30 minutes. The so called KYB-BLA is a small, slow and presumably inexpensive cruise missile.
The Australian Army contracted Saab to update the Wireless Audio Visual Emergency System (WAVES) for the counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) sense-and-warn systems. C-RAM is a set of systems used to detect or destroy rockets, artillery, and mortar round in the air before they hit their ground targets, or provide early warning. Australia’s C-RAM solution is built around the Saab Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam (AMB) radar which is part of a family of ground-based radars that can detect a range of incoming threats, from mortar and artillery rounds and rockets to small drones and fast moving aircraft. The WAVES equipment provides early warning audible and visual alerts when the C-RAM sensors detect and identify an incoming threat within an exclusion zone.
Japanese vehicle manufacturer Komatsu stopped developing new models of its Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JG SDF). This highlights the struggle the Japanese private sector faces in supporting the country’s armed forces, even though it is government policy to maintain the country’s defense industry. Komatsu supplies the SDF with armored personnel carriers, light armored vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles and high explosives. The company will continue producing its nuclear, biological, and chemical reconnaissance vehicles for the JGSDF.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is delivering 16 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to the Indian Air Force (IAF) operational fleet by the end of the year. HAL has already delivered 16 Tejas in the Initial Operation Clearance (IOC) configuration to the IAF. The HAL Tejas is an Indian single-engine, multirole light fighter. It features a tailless, compound delta wing and is able to guide air-to-surface and anti-shipping weapons to be integrated for multirole and multimission capabilities. The IAF has conveyed to HAL that it would require 83 more LCAs Mark 1 for its frontline bases. However, the government is yet to clear their cost for production.
Watch: Is the U.S. Air Force’s F-15X Buy a Mistake?
The US Air Force contracted United Launch Services with $441.8 million for launch services to deliver the Silent Barker, BIRS GEO-5, and SBIRS GEO-6 missions to their intended orbits. United Launch Services is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides launch services for aircrafts and missiles. Silent Barker is a classified space situational awareness program by the Air Force Space Command and the National Reconnaissance Office. SBIRS (Space Based Infra Red Sensor) GEO is the geostationary component of the SBIRS-High program. The SBIRS-High satellite program is a key component of the USA’s future missile alert system, designed to give maximum warning and monitoring of ballistic missile launches anywhere in the world. The current contract will include launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations/spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for Silent Barker and SBIRS GEO-5, with an option for an additional SBIRS GEO-6 launch service. Work will be performed at Centennial, Colorado; and Cape Canaveral, Florida. Silent Barker is expected to be completed by March 2022, and SBIRS GEO-5 is expected to be completed by March 2021. The Air Force divided $739 million in launch contracts between United Launch Services and SpaceX for six national security missions slated for 2021-2022.
The Navy tapped Lockheed Martin with $8.2 million to exercise options for ship integration and test of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS). The deal is a cost-plus-incentive-fee modification to a previously awarded contract and includes AWS Baselines through Advanced Capability Build 16. The Aegis Combat System is an advanced command and control and weapon control system that uses powerful computers and radars to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. The AWS is the heart of Aegis and comprises the AN/SPY-1 Radar, MK 99 Fire Control System, WCS, the Command and Decision Suite, and the SM-2 Standard Missile family of weapons. Work under the modification will take place in New Jersey, Mississippi, Virginia, Washington, California and Washington DC, and is scheduled to be finished by September 2024.
The US destroyer Donald Cook re-entered the Black Sea on Tuesday to conduct exercises with the Ukraine and other allies. It is the ship’s second visit to the Black Sea this year and comes amid escalating tensions and violence between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces. The USS Donald Cook or DDG-75 is an Alreigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer made a port stop last month in Batumi, Georgia, and conducted an exercise with two of that country’s coast guard vessels while the Russian navy watched. The destroyer’s last visit to the Black Sea was in late January. The ship will augment maritime security, help to ensure regional stability and boost the readiness and capability of its Black Sea partners through a multi-national exercise.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems developed a new air-to-surface long-range missile called „Rocks“. The new missile is equipped with a penetration or blast fragmentation warhead that is capable of destroying targets above the surface or deep underground in heavily surface-to-air defended areas. The new missile uses its INS/GPS for midcourse navigation. It can be used against quality targets, whether stationary or mobile, and even in areas where the enemy uses countermeasures against GPS systems. „Rocks“ performs a high velocity trajectory toward the target, reducing the exposure of the aircraft as well as improving the chances of successfully hitting targets. Rafael will present the missile at the Aero India Air Show in Bengaluru, India this week.
Britain will deploy the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to the Arctic next year in order of tackling the growing threat from Russian submarines. The proposed deployment is part of the so called Defence Arctic Strategy, which was launched in September to address the increasing opportunities and threats present in the region. As part of the Defence Arctic Strategy, British Royal Marines carry out cold weather training in collaboration with Norway. Nine Poseidon aircraft will be delivered to Royal Air Force Lossiemouth next year for reconnaissance patrols over a wide range including the High North and North Atlantic. The Poseidon is a military aircraft that conducts anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and shipping interdiction.
The Royal Danish Navy Frigate HDMS Niels Juel is en route to the Mediterranean Sea port of Toulon where it will join French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle for two months of training and operations. The Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate will operate with France’s sole aircraft from March 4 to April 27, providing air defense for the carrier and other ships from the task group. HDMS Niels Juel is deploying with a complement of 160 sailors and an embarked EH101 medium-lift helicopter. The Iver Huitfeldt class is a three-ship class of frigates that entered service with the Royal Danish Navy in 2012 and 2013. Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy and the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel. The Danish frigate will carry out air control tasks around the French Carrier Strike Group, including control of air traffic to and from the aircraft carrier. The vessel will operate in the eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the northern Indian Ocean down to the Seychelles and the Persian Gulf.
Lockheed Martin unveiled the F-21 fighter jet, which is a proposed tailor-made version of the F-16, at the Aero India show in Bengaluru. The company is pitching the new jet to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The US defense firm previously offered its F-16 fighter for the Indian Air Force’s ongoing competition for 114 planes to be made in India. Lockheed is competing with Boeing’s F/A-18, Saab’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and a Russian aircraft for the IAF order. The proposed F-21 plane has a retractable probe, similar to the kind used by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, that allowing them to take on fuel in flight via a hose-and-drogue system used by the Indian Air Force. Lockheed Martin’s illustrations show the place with a heavy weapon load and a Sniper targeting pod.
Watch: UK 19/2/19: RAF Tornado jets make final ’emotional’ aerial flypast before being retired.
Latest updates[?]: The US Air Force contracted United Launch Services with $441.8 million for launch services to deliver the Silent Barker, BIRS GEO-5, and SBIRS GEO-6 missions to their intended orbits. United Launch Services is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that provides launch services for aircrafts and missiles. Silent Barker is a classified space situational awareness program by the Air Force Space Command and the National Reconnaissance Office. SBIRS (Space Based Infra Red Sensor) GEO is the geostationary component of the SBIRS-High program. The SBIRS-High satellite program is a key component of the USA’s future missile alert system, designed to give maximum warning and monitoring of ballistic missile launches anywhere in the world. The current contract will include launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations/spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for Silent Barker and SBIRS GEO-5, with an option for an additional SBIRS GEO-6 launch service. Work will be performed at Centennial, Colorado; and Cape Canaveral, Florida. Silent Barker is expected to be completed by March 2022, and SBIRS GEO-5 is expected to be completed by March 2021. The Air Force divided $739 million in launch contracts between United Launch Services and SpaceX for six national security missions slated for 2021-2022.
The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)-High satellite program is a key component of the USA’s future missile alert system, designed to give maximum warning and monitoring of ballistic missile launches anywhere in the world. The new satellites will replace the existing Defense Support Program (DSP) fleet. Their infrared sensors have 3x the sensitivity of DSP and 2x the revisit rate, while providing better persistent coverage.
Unfortunately, the program has been beset by massive cost overruns on the order of 400%, technical challenges that continue to present problems, and uncertainties about performance. Despite these problems, the U.S. Air Force is proceeding with the program, and has terminated potential alternatives and supplements. However, as part of a January 2015 effort to institute cost reforms, the Air Force will weaken requirements for the program, and at least three other major procurement programs.