The US Navy awarded General Dynamics a $2 billion contract modification to provide additional materials required to build the Virginia Class submarines from fiscal 2019 through fiscal 2023. The deal includes additional Long Lead Time Material and Economic Ordering Quantity items for SSN-802 to SSN-811 underwater vessels. The SSNs 802 -811 Virginia Class submarine hull numbers have not been named yet. The Virginia Class is the Navy’s newest undersea warfare platform. Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces, carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. The modification falls under a previously awarded sole-source contract. General Dynamics is the lead contractor of the Virginia Class submarine program. In February 2017, General Dynamics won an initial $126.5 million contract by the US Navy for long lead time material for the first two Block V Virginia Class submarines, SSN-802 and SSN-803. The Block V submarines built from 2019 onward will have an additional Virginia Payload Module (VPM) mid-body section, increasing their overall length. Work under the contract modification will take place within the USA.
The Naval Sea Systems Command tapped Raytheon Missile Systems with a $97.8 million modification to obtain materials needed for fiscal 2019 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 low-rate initial requirements. The ESSM is a medium-range, surface-to-air missile that is currently in service with the US Navy and some of the 12 NATO Sea Sparrow consortium nations. Consortium members include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey and the US. The missile is equipped with a tail-control system to obtain high speed and maneuverability. It can operate in all weather conditions and has a length of about 3.64m, diameter of 254mm and a weight of 280kg. The Evolved SEASPARROW Missile program is an international cooperative effort to design, develop, test, and procure ESSM missiles. Work will take place in Canada, Germany, Australia, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico, Greece, Denmark, Turkey, Portugal as well as various sites within the US and is scheduled to be finished by March 2023.
The Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $14.6 million contract modification in support of the F-35 Program. The deal provides for 62 low-rate initial production Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) Helmet Display Units and spares for the F-35 Joint Strike Aircraft. The contract caters to the US Marine Corps and Navy. The F-35 Lightning is a supersonic, multi-role fighter jet used by the defense forces of the United States and 11 other nations. The F-35 is Lockheed Martin’s largest program that generates more than 25 percent of its total sales. OLED panels are made from organic materials that emit light when electricity is applied through them. Since OLEDs do not require a backlight and filters, they are more efficient, simpler to make, and much thinner and in fact can be made flexible and even rollable. Work related to the deal is scheduled to be over by February 2020 and will be carried out in Fort Worth, Texas.
The US Navy ordered thousands of Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) kits from BAE Systems, the company stated in a press release. The APKWS guidance kits are the US government’s sole program of record for 2.75-inch laser-guided rockets. They are available in all four military branches as well as to allied nations through Foreign Military Sales. The APKWS kits transform standard 2.75-inch Hydra rockets into guided munitions that provide warfighters with a precision strike capability with limited collateral damage. The APKWS II uses the Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker technology. This system allows a laser seeker to be located in the leading edge of each of the forward control canards, working in unison as if they were a single seeker. The company announced, it will continue to deliver APKWS guidance kits ahead of schedule and accelerate production rate to meet growing demand.
Middle East & Africa
According to reports, Egypt signed a $2 billion contract to buy more than 20 SU-35 multirole fighters from Russia. The delivery of the aircraft, including their weapon systems, will begin as early as 2020-2021. The deal is yet to be confirmed by official sources. The SU-35 is a single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable aircraft. With 12 to 14 weapon hardpoints, the SU-35 is able to use K-77M radar-guided missiles that reportedly have a range of almost 200km. The jet is also armed with a 30mm cannon with 150 rounds for strafing or dogfighting. The SU-35 can reportedly carry up to 8,000kg of air-to-ground munitions. It is Russia’s most advanced operational fighter. Its first foreign customer was China, which ordered 24 aircraft in November 2015. Indonesia also signed a contract for the SU-35 worth $1.1 billion with deliveries possibly beginning at the end of the year. Egypt has one of the biggest Armed Forces in the Middle East. Between 1982 and 2013, the Egyptian Air Force received 240 Lockheed Martin F-16s from the US. Egypt ordered and received in FY 2015-2017, 24 Dassault Rafale fighters from France, followed by the MiG-29Ms, which are currently being delivered.
The US Naval Sea Systems Command awarded RAM-System, Germany an €81.4 million ($92.4 million) and $1.1 million contract modification for the German Navy’s requirements for Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) MK49 guided missile launching systems. The RAM is a small, lightweight, infrared homing surface-to-air missile that together with the Mk 49 Guided Missile Launching System (GMLS) and support equipment, make up the RAM Mk 31 Guided Missile Weapon System (GMWS). It is designed to provide anti-ship missile defense for multiple ship platforms. The Federal Republic of Germany will fully fund the contract. The RAM MK 31 guided missile weapon system is an international cooperative development, production and in-service program between the U.S. and German governments. The participating governments operate under a series of memorandums of agreement/memorandums of understanding that establish the business principles for program execution along with contracting and financial agreements. The contract also includes associated shipboard hardware and spares. Work will take place in Germany as well as the US and is scheduled to be completed by December 2023.
Orbit Communication Systems received a $3 million order for Maritime TVRO Satcom Systems from a European Navy. Delivery of the spares for Orbit’s widely-deployed AL-7200 series of maritime TVRO is planned in 2019. Orbit’s maritime TVRO satcom systems provide uninterrupted reception of TV and data services for NATO and international naval vessels operating in extreme conditions. The framework agreement will extend the TVRO satcom system’s service life for multiple years. Orbit secured a well-stocked inventory of spares to allow the Navy to maintain its existing TVRO systems well into the future.
Taiwan requested more than 100 main battle tanks, designated as M1A2X, from the US. The M1A2X is a special configuration of the M1A2C, the latest variant of Abrams tanks in production. The M1 Abrams is a highly mobile main-battle tank for modern armored ground. Three main versions of the M1 Abrams have been deployed, the M1, M1A1, and M1A2, incorporating improved armament, protection, and electronics with each new model. These improvements and other upgrades to in-service tanks have allowed the vehicle to remain in front-line service. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense plans to acquire US-made Abrams tanks to replace some M60A3 Patton and CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks in service. Washington said it will make a decision on the tanks within 120 days of the application date.
Watch: UK begins integrating next gen weapons for F 35
Latest updates[?]: Australia will get four modified Gulfstream G550 business jets. The jets will be modified for the electronic warfare (EW) mission in the USA and the aircraft will be designated MC-55A Peregrine. The deal is worth $1.7 billion. The peregrine will be based at Royal Australian Air Force Edinburgh in South Australia alongside the RAAF’s P-8A Poseidons, and its incoming fleet of Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton UAVs. It will be integrated into Defense's joint warfighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms. In June 2017, the US State Department cleared a potential Australian acquisition for up to five G550’s. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency named L3 Technologies as the prime contractor for the Foreign Military Sales deal.
The US Navy is replacing its 2 NP-3D “Billboard” range monitoring aircraft with a new plane, which will use the same core design as the modern AWACS aircraft bought by Israel, Italy, and Singapore: “a Gulfstream G550 long-range business jet with the Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW) structural modifications.”
The aircraft needs to be ready by the end of September 2017. So, why the G550 CAEW?
The US Air Force contracted Boeing $250 million to integrate the Long Range Stand-Off (LRSO) Cruise Missile on the B-52H bomber platform. This contract provides for aircraft and missile carriage equipment development and modification, engineering, testing, software development, training, facilities, and support necessary to fully integrate the LRSO Cruise Missile on the B-52H bomber. The B-52H Stratofortress is a long-range, large-payload multirole bomber. It is the Air Force’s strategic nuclear and conventional weapons platform and supports the US Navy in anti-surface and submarine warfare missions. The US Air Force awarded a $750 million, ten-year engineering sustainment program contract to Boeing in June 2009 to provide engineering and technical support services for the B-52H and its components, as well as support and test equipment, and system integration laboratory. The LRSO is a nuclear-tipped air-launched cruise missile that is currently being developed to replace the subsonic air-launched cruise missile AGM-86 ALCM. It is being developed to penetrate and survive integrated air defense systems and strike its targets. Work under the contract will take place in Oklahoma City and is schedules to be completed by the end of December 31, 2024.
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center awarded Raytheon $21.2 million to retrofit the F-15 fleet. The deal provides for retrofitting the F-15 fleets current Identity Friend of Foe Units. Identification Friend or Foe enables military and civilian air traffic control interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator. The Units offer Mode 5 capability for the APX-114 and APX-119 on the F-15 models C/D/E via a hardware retrofit and software upgrade. Per the terms of the deal, these units will provide National Security Agency approved cryptography and robust anti-jam interrogation and reply encryption capabilities. The F-15 is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft designed to permit the Air Force to gain and maintain air supremacy over the battlefield. A multi-mission avionics system sets the F-15 apart from other fighter aircraft. It includes a head-up display, advanced radar, inertial navigation system, flight instruments, ultrahigh frequency communications, tactical navigation system and instrument landing system.
The Navy awarded Pratt & Whitney a $71.4 million task order in support of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Aircraft for the Air Force, Navy, non-Department of Defense participants and Foreign Military Sales customers. The United Technologies subsidiary will mature the F-35 propulsion system ahead of service operational use of the fighter aircraft. The company will provide non-recurring services to help address safety and durability challenges, maintain technical performance and advance the engine technology of F-35 jets. The F-35 is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a development and acquisition program intended to replace a wide range of existing, strike, and ground attack aircraft for the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Italy, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and their allies. Work under the order will take place in Connecticut and Indiana and is scheduled to be finished by December 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Sudan’s Military Industry Corporation revealed a new wheeled armored personnel carrier, the upgraded Russian BTR-70 8×8 called the Shareef-3, Jane’s reports. The new carrier replaces BTR-70’s original two ZMZ-4905 engines with a more fuel-efficient KAMAZ-7403 V8 water-cooled diesel developing 260hp at 2,600 rpm. This gives a maximum road speed of 80 km/h. The Shareef-3 has an amphibious water speed of 8- 10 km/h. The vehicle carries six dismounts seated on two bench seats in the middle of the troop compartment. Dismounts can exit via roof hatches or side hatches between the second and third road wheels. Additionally, Shareef-3 retains the launcher rail for the Russian 9M14 Malyutka anti-tank guided weapon.
The Israel Defense Forces Intelligence (IDF) Directorate inaugurated a new Targeting Center as part of the establishment of the General Staff Targeting Directorate at the Glilot base. The Center will serve as a focal point for all the units involved in the acquisition of emergency and routine targets in the IDF. The Directorate will enhance the connection with the operational edge in the various commands and branches. The goal is to enable an effective operational process alongside increasing the rate of target acquisition for all sectors according to their importance. The Military Intelligence Directorate’s technologies will be combined in the fields of data science and machine learning in order to acquire targets. The Targeting Center has been operating for about a month.
BAE Systems handed over the HMS Medway to the British Royal Navy. The HMS Medway is a Batch 2 River Class offshore patrol vessel. On November 6, 2013, the Royal Navy announced it had signed an Agreement in Principle to build three new offshore patrol vessels, based on the River Class design. The Medway is the second Batch 2 River Class vessel to be commissioned. Meanwhile, the Batch 2 River Class HMS Forth and her crew are in the final stages to resume trials and training. Medway will be a couple of months behind Forth in going to sea for a second time. The River Class is a class of offshore patrol vessels. The Batch 2 ships are fundamentally different in appearance and capabilities from the preceding Batch 1. Notable differences include the 90.5 meters (296 ft 11 in) long hull, a top speed of 24 knots, Merlin-capable flight deck, a displacement of around 2,000 tonnes and greatly expanded capacity for accommodating troops. The Batch 2 ships are the first Royal Navy ships fitted with BAE Systems Shared Infrastructure operating system.
The US State Department approved the sale of air-to-air missiles to Australia. The proposed deal for AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment is estimated at $240.5 million. The Government of Australia has requested to buy up to 108 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs, six AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM Air Vehicles Instrumented as well as six spare AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM guidance sections and associated parts, hardware, engineering support and training. This proposed sale is in support of the Australian Defense Force project LAND 19 Phase 7B for acquisition of a ground based air and missile defense capability.
Watch: The New F-15X Fighter Jet Will Complement the F-22 and F-35 in Aerial Battlefields
The US Air Force received a KC-46 Pegasus on March 11 after the aircraft passed a Foreign Object Debris inspection at Boeing’s production facility. The Pegasus is a military aerial refueling aircraft developed by Boeing. The Air Force selected the Pegasus to replace the KC-135 Stratotankers. The first Pegasus was scheduled to be delivered in August 2017 but was delayed until January 2019. Deliveries of the jets were halted last month after foreign object debris was found in one of the aircraft. Boeing had offered to inspect all the aircraft that were accepted by the Air Force. Loose tools and other items were found inside a completed airplane. Subsequent deliveries will occur as Boeing successfully completes each aircraft’s inspections and actions assigned from the review. Boeing plans to deliver 36 of the aircraft this year and about a dozen more are nearing completion.
The US Air Force on Tuesday unveiled a nearly $166 billion budget request for fiscal 2020. The Pentagon plans to buy eight Boeing F-15EX fighters FY 2020 as part of a purchase of 144 total aircraft over an undisclosed number of years. According to the budget request, it will cost $80 million per airframe. However, that cost will rise to approximately $125 million for each of the eight jets to set up the line and account for non-recurring engineering costs in the first year of procurement. The total deal will be priced at more than $1.1 billion and covers production of eight brand-new F-15EX fourth-plus generation fighters. The F-15EX is the latest version of the F-15 Eagle fighter jet. The Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter aircraft that has an all-metal semimonocoque fuselage with a large-cantilever, shoulder-mounted wing.
The USS Zumwalt arrived in British Columbia, Canada on March 11 after it left its homeport of San Diego for its first deployment that includes a trip up the West Coast. Zumwalt is the lead ship of the next-generation multi-mission destroyers. It has stealth capabilities with a radar cross-section similar to a fishing boat despite the large size of the ship. The Zumwalt Class was primarily designed to support ground forces in land attacks, in addition to the usual destroyer missions of anti-air, anti-surface, and antisubmarine warfare. The ship is equipped with two Advanced Gun Systems, which are designed to fire the Long Range Land Attack projectile. During the scheduled port visit in BC, Zumwalt will host Canadian Forces, Marine Forces Pacific Commander, Rear. Adm. Bob Auchterlonie, and US Consul General in Vancouver Katherine S. Dhanani.
Middle East & Africa
The US Army Corps of Engineers awarded ExpFederal Inc. an $11.3 million firm-fixed-price contract in support of the US Forces-Afghanistan. The deal includes electrical safety assessments, repairs program, materials management and control services. ExpFederal operates as an architectural company that provides engineering design, construction management, interior, landscape, urban design, surveying, and master planning services. Work will take place in Bigram, Afghanistan and is scheduled to be finished by March 11, 2021.
Germany’s chief defense staff, General Eberhart Zorn, reported improvements in the readiness of the country’s military equipment to German parliament defense committee. According to the report, which unlike the past years will from now on be classified as secret, 70 percent of the most important weapon systems of the Bundeswehr, the Unified Armed Forces of Germany, were operational in the past year. The general added that the low availability of Luftwaffe CH-53 helicopters and Tornado bombers was stabilized at the 2017 level, despite the deployment of the former to Afghanistan and the latter to Jordan. In comparison to previous years, Zorn sees the equipment readiness of 70 percent as a positive development.
German defense contractor Rheinmetall anticipates more sales and operating result growth for 2019, the company stated in a press release. This increase is primarily driven by continued dynamic development in the defense sector. The trend toward stepping up the modernization of Armed Forces linked to the rising budgets is already leaving its marks in Rheinmetall’s order books. The Rheinmetall Group generated sales of $6.9 million in fiscal 2018, an increase of 4.3 percent. The defense sector achieved an operating result of $287.3 million, 46 percent above the previous year’s figure of $196.9 million. Sales growth in the defense sector was due to increased deliveries of trucks for the major project Land 121 in Australia and to the fact that series production was being utilized to full capacity for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle for the German Armed Forces. In addition, the start-up of the major project Future Soldier System – together with the German Armed Forces – contributed to a significant increase in sales in the Electronic Solutions division. However, the Weapon and Ammunition division suffered a year-on-year drop in sales of approximately 10 percent or $134.6 million in 2018, owing to the loss of trading sales.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Defense is leaning towards a variant of the Danish Iver Huitfeldt Class in their plan to acquire two more frigates for the country’s Navy, Jane’s reports. Within the second phase of the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) modernization blueprint, Indonesia acquired two SIGMA 10514 vessels from Damen that now serve as the Martadinata Class. The country requires at least four more hulls in the longer term as part of wider MEF requirements. A piece of unclassified correspondence between the country’s defense minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu, and the cabinet secretary of President Joko Widodo made the case for the Iver Huitfeldt class. The Iver Huitfeldt Class is a three-ship class of frigates. Its main role is air defense. Most anti-air warfare sensors and equipment are similar to the German Sachsen Class frigates as well as the Dutch De Zeven Provincien Class destroyers. The Iver Huitfeldt class frigates have a modular mission payload system.
Watch: AC-130J Ghostrider Gunship Upgrade gives AFSOC Its Most Lethal Aircraft
The US Navy contracted Northrop Grumman Systems $89.5 million in support of the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The deal provides for sustainment and engineering services. The Triton is a high-altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicle that together with its associated ground control station is considered a UAS. The system provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions over ocean and coastal regions as well as continuous maritime surveillance, conduct search and rescue missions. They complement the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The drone can descend and ascend through harsh maritime weather environments in order of gaining a closer view of ships an other targets at sea. Last year the Navy announced plans to deploy Triton drones to Guam to assist with Surveillance in the South China Sea. The South China Sea is one of the most contested geopolitical regions on Earth. The current contract procures the technical expertise of field service representatives, logisticians and test support to ensure MQ-4C air vehicles and mission control and operator training systems are fully sustained and mission capable. Work under the deal will take place within the US as well as at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and is expected to be finished by March next year.
The Navy awarded General Atomics a $18.9 million delivery order to provide engineering and diagnostics support for the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS). The deal includes test and evaluation effort for EMALS test site operations, Failure Reporting Analysis and Corrective Actions System, prototype and testing, environmental qualification testing and remediation, electromagnetic interference testing, and training efforts. The EMALS is a type of aircraft launching system designed to replace the steam catapult systems currently used on the Navy aircraft carriers. The USS Gerald R. Ford is the first carrier to use EMALS. John F. Kennedy and Enterprise are also scheduled to install and use EMALS. EMALS can launch a wide variety of aircraft weights and can be used on a variety of platforms with differing catapult configurations. Work will take place in New Jersey, Mississippi, and California and is expected to be finished in January 2021.
The US Special Operationa Command (USSOCOM) tapped Barret Firearms Manufacturing with approximately $50 million for the purchase of advanced sniper rifles. Barrett Firearms Manufacturing is an American manufacturer of firearms and ammunition. It was founded in 1982 by Ronnie G. Barrett to build semi-automatic rifles chambered for the powerful .50 BMG (12.7x99mm NATO) ammunition, originally developed for and used in M2 Browning machine guns. Work will take place in Christiana and is scheduled to be finished by March 2024. Fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $387,234 are being obligated at the time of award.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey will start to deploy S-400 anti-aircraft missile defense systems in October this year. Turkey is acquiring S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems from Russia because of the urgent need to ensure the country’s security. The S-400 Triumf is a Russian anti-aircraft weapon system designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles. It can also be used against ground installations. In June 2018, it was announced that Turkey assigned defense enterprises the task of completing the production of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in May 2019 for their delivery to Turkey. Earlier this month, the United States threatened to cancel Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter jet program and also impose sanctions on it if Ankara persists on its planned purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems.
Raytheon partnered with German sensor specialist Hensoldt to provide integrated air surveillance radars to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) and the Deutsche Flugsicherung. The Royal Netherlands Air Force will receive one system that will provide both advanced air traffic control and wind-farm interference mitigation at De Kooy airfield. The Deutsche Flugsicherung, which is a German air navigation provider, will receive three systems to replace aging radars as part of Germany’s airspace modernization efforts. The radars will combine Hensoldt’s next-generation primary airport surveillance radar, the ASR-NG and Raytheon’s Mode S monopulse secondary surveillance radar, the Condor Mk 3. Hensoldt’s multibeam 3D S-band solid-state approach control primary surveillance radar combines fully digital Doppler detection and tracking solution with highly flexible and self-learning clutter and site optimization capabilities.
Norway will house the world’s first licensed service center to service F-16 fighter jets. Lockheed Martin together with AIM Norway will jointly establish the so called „Falcon Depot“ center for the Royal Norwegian Air Force and other regional F-16 customers. AIM Norway provides maintenance, repair and modification services for fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and field equipment for the Norwegian Armed Forces. Lockheed Martin continues to grow its F-16 customer base and sees new F-16 production opportunities totaling more than 400 aircraft. There are approximately 3,000 operational F-16s in service today with 25 countries.
The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) successfully test-fired an indigenously developed range smart weapon from JF-17 multi-role fighter aircraft. The JF-17 Thunder is a single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation of China. The PAF inducted its first JF-17 squadron in February 2010. The Thunder was part of media attention during recent hostility between Pakistan and India. It was recently reported by CNN that a JF-17 fighter jet brought down an Indian warplane in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The report contradicted Indian claims that Pakistan used F-16s to down Indian planes.
Watch: Say goodbye to the EA-6B Prowler — Here are 5 impressive facts about the EA-6B Prowler
The US Navy awarded Bell Boeing a $85.7 million contract modification to update the MV-22 Osprey aircraft. The joint venture of Boeing and Bell Helicopter will convert four MV-22s into a new configuration. The Osprey is a joint service multirole combat aircraft that combines the vertical performance of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. With its rotors in vertical position, it can take off, land and hover like a helicopter. Once airborne, it can convert to a turboprop airplane. Bell Boeing will modify Block B MV-22 Osprey units into Block C vehicles and support a maintenance interval effort for one aircraft through the Common Configuration Readiness and Modernization program. Block C configurations provide mission enhancements and upgraded inherent features onboard the Osprey. The main difference between Block B and C is that it moves the aircraft from a combat-capable aircraft with upgrades to improve maintainability to an aircraft that can be used in multiple combat roles such as those assigned to special operations. In January, the Defense Logistics Agency awarded Bell Boeing a $143.8 million to engineer and provide logistics services to the Osprey. Work under the modification will take place in Pennsylvania and Texas and is scheduled to be finished in March 2021.
The US Air Force awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. a $23.7 million modification to install an Airborne Mission Networking (AbMN) Program on the MC-130J Commando II tankers. The Commando II is an improved variant of the C-130J aircraft and can be deployed for missions requiring clandestine, single ship, formation, low-level in-flight refueling for helicopters and tilt-rotor aircraft of the US Special Operation Forces. The MC-130J features extended service life wings and additional elements to meet the requirements of special operations missions. Under the contract modification, Sierra Nevada provides additional hardware and labor necessary to support the AbMN program through flight test for the tankers used by Air Force Special Operations Command. Work will take place in Sparks, Nevada and is expected to be finished by November 16, 2021.
The US Air Force’s Valkyrie UAV demonstrator completed its first flight on March 5. The XQ-58A Valkyrie completed 76 minutes of flight time at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. The Air Force Research Laboratory and Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems developed the Valkyrie based on the „loyal wingman“ concept, which will have the drone accompany fighter aircraft in the future. The idea is, that the drone will fly next to a piloted vehicle that controls it. However, during the test flight, the drone flew on its own. The Valkyrie can carry a small payload of smart bombs, and has a range of just under 2,500 miles. This test flight was the first of five planned flights that will be carried out in two phases. The aircraft will be tested on system functionality, aerodynamic performance, and launch and recovery systems.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense electronic company Elbit Systems won a deal to supply combat suites and perform systems integration for three new patrol vessels of the Hellenic Coast Guard, the National Coast Guard of Greece. Systems to be supplied are electro-optic payloads, radars, navigation systems, Warship Automatic Identification System (W-AIS) as well as Remote Control Weapon Stations (RCWS) with full integration into a Command and Control software. The contract will be performed over a two-year period with warranty and logistic support continuing for an additional five-year period.
Dassault Aviation’s Rafale F4 will include an upgraded version of a Thales/MBDA Rafale Fire-Control Radar Protection and Avoidance System (SPECTRA) self-protection suite, Jane’s reports. The SPECTRA provides long-range detection, identification and accurate localization of infrared, electromagnetic and laser threats. It incorporates radar warning, laser warning and missile warning receivers for threat detection and a phased array radar jammer as well as a decoy dispenser for threat countering. In March 2017 the French government authorized development of the F4 configuration. Last month the French government awarded Dassault a contract to develop the Rafale F4. The F4 standard is part of the ongoing process to continuously improve the Rafale in line with technological progress and operating experience feedback. The Dassault Rafale is a twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike as well as nuclear deterrence missions.
Saab won a potential $10.1 million contract with the Finnish Defense Forces to deliver virtual simulators of marksmanship and basic combat training. Initial deliveries will take place this year and the simulators are scheduled to be in full-scale use in 2020. Saab’s newly developed Ground Combat Indoor Trainer is a modular and scalable system that is able to be combined in several configurations to cover a variety of weapons. The contract contains models of the weapons used in Finland, computers with software that creates the virtual environment and provides the basis for analysis after the training. Saab will also be responsible for maintaining the systems.
The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force commissioned its second Asahi-class Guided Missile Destroyer last month. The new destroyer was christened JS Shiranui. The Asahi-Class is based on the Akizuki-class, but focuses on anti-submarine warfare. Its ships measure 151 meters in length and reach speeds of 30 knots. Armament includes Mark 41 vertical launch systems for self protection, 62-caliber naval guns, close-in weapon systems and two Mark 32 surface vessel torpedo tubes. The lead ship of the class, the JS Asahi, was laid down in 2015 and commissioned in March 2018. The Shiranui was launched in October 2017 and began sea trials in July 2018. The commissioning ceremony was held at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagasaki City.
Watch: Northrop Grumman to Develop Next Generation Missile for Destroying Enemy Air Defenses
The US Navy contracted Northrop Grumman $322.5 million to develop new rocket motors for the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range (AARGM-ER). The deal provides for engineering and manufacturing development of the AGM-88G variant of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile. The AARGM is a supersonic, medium-range, air-launched tactical missile featuring an advanced, digital, anti-radiation homing sensor, millimeter wave radar terminal seeker, precise Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System guidance, net-centric connectivity, and Weapon Impact Assessment transmit. Work under the contract includes the design, integration and test of a new solid rocket motor for the AARGM-ER for use on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-35A/C aircraft platforms. Work will take place in California and is scheduled to be finished by December 2023.
The Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $23.9 million contract for support of the Black Hawk helicopter. The H-60 is a four-bladed, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter. More than 2,000 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter variants are in service with the US Military. The Black Hawk operates in the US Army since 1978, and variants are operational or have been ordered by 25 international customers: the Argentine Air Force, Royal Australian Army, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, Colombian Air Force, Egypt, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan Self Defense Force, Jordan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, People’s Republic of China, Royal Saudi Land Forces Army Aviation Command, the Turkish Jandarma, Spain, The Philippine Air Force, Taiwan, and Thailand. Work under the contract provides engineering, logistics, tooling management support and technical data services for sustainment, operation, maintenance, and training in support of all domestic and foreign H-60 variants. Work will take place in New York and Connecticut, and is scheduled for completion in March 2024.
Middle East & Africa
The US Navy awarded Harris Corp. a $43.3 million contract modification for additional Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures AN/ALQ-214 A(V)4/5 Onboard Jammer systems for the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter planes of the Royal Kuwaiti Air Force. AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures Onboard Jammer is a next-generation radio frequency (RF) integrated countermeasure system. The system is designed to counter RF guided threats with proven electronic countermeasure techniques that deny, disrupt, delay and degrade launch and engagement sequences. Each threat is identified, prioritized, countered and displayed to the aircrew for situational awareness as well as self-protection. The AN/ALQ-214 is currently deployed on the US Navy’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets. Boeing was awarded a $1.5 billion contract under the Foreign Military Sales program for the production and delivery of 22 F/A-18E and six F/A-18F Super Hornets for the Kuwaiti government. Work under the current modification will take place within the US and is scheduled to be completed by August 2022.
Thales will supply two Coastal Surveillance Radars for the French Defense Procurement Agency. The French company will manufacture two Coast Watcher 100 radars, which according to Thales offer optimal protection for tactical test areas, monitor maritime traffic in and around those areas and detect any intrusive threats. The radar is built around a Modular Solid-State Transmitter permitting high performances and availability. By performing a precise filtering of all environmental clutters, it allows for precise small target detection, discrimination and a low false alarm rate. About 30 of the systems are in service in several countries around the world. The company did not announce the terms of the contract.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will phase out its fleet of PC-9A turboprop training aircraft, Jane’s reports. The Pilatus PC-9 is a single-engine, low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft. The PC-9A are 67 two-seat trainers for the RAAF, the first of which flew on May 19, 1987. Pilot training for Army, Navy, and Air Force aircrew began in 1989. Full retirement of the fleet is expected by the end of the year. It will be replaced by the Pilatus PC-21, which is a turboprop advanced trainer with a stepped tandem cockpit. The RAAF’s acrobatic team undertook its final display in the PC-9A during the Avalon Airshow 2019.
India signed a $3 billion contract for the lease of an Akula-1 class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia for a period of ten years. The submarine will be ready by 2025 and the contract includes refurbishment of the submarine with Indian communication and sensor systems, spares support and technical infrastructure for its operations. This submarine will replace INS Chakra, a submarine taken on a ten-year lease from Russia in 2012. The existing lease will be extended until the new submarine becomes operational. The so called Chakra III will not be equipped with long-range nuclear missiles because of international treaties and because it is not meant for deterrence patrols. In November last year, India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, completed its first deterrence patrol. A second nuclear submarine, INS Arighat, will be commissioned later this year, with two more currently under construction.
Watch: HMS Duncan will be in the Mediterranean working alongside the French Navy.
Latest updates[?]: India signed a $3 billion contract for the lease of an Akula-1 class nuclear-powered attack submarine from Russia for a period of ten years. The submarine will be ready by 2025 and the contract includes refurbishment of the submarine with Indian communication and sensor systems, spares support and technical infrastructure for its operations. This submarine will replace INS Chakra, a submarine taken on a ten-year lease from Russia in 2012. The existing lease will be extended until the new submarine becomes operational. The so called Chakra III will not be equipped with long-range nuclear missiles because of international treaties and because it is not meant for deterrence patrols. In November last year, India’s first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, completed its first deterrence patrol. A second nuclear submarine, INS Arighat, will be commissioned later this year, with two more currently under construction.
SSN Akula Class
According to GlobalSecurity.org, India’s ATV (advanced technology vessel) program to build a nuclear-powered submarine began in 1974, and became a serious effort in 1985. The Federation of American Scientists’ December 1996 document “The Indian Strategic Nuclear Submarine Project: An Open Literature Analysis” remains one of the best single open sources on India’s program. Unfortunately, it was compiled over a decade ago and has become rather dated. That project has continued, and this DID Spotlight article continues to collect open source information on the ATV program.
More and more sources were claiming that a rented Russian Akula class boat would be operational as a training vessel by 2009. The concept was correct, but the date was not. A deadly accident during K-152 Nerpa’s sea trials delayed that project, and further complications pushed its hand-over date to 2012. As efforts to move the Nerpa into service continue, India has finally launched its indigenous nuclear sub Arihant, to begin sea trials and testing.
The US Navy contracted Huntington Ingalls Industries $118.4 million to perform modernization, repair and maintenance work on the USS Rushmore (LSD-47). LSD-47 is a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship that transports and launches loaded amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel in amphibious assaults by landing craft and amphibious vehicles. It can render limited docking repair service to small ships and craft. The Whidbey Island-class was scheduled to be decommissioned during FY 2013-2018, and the remaining ships of the class were scheduled to be retired before the end of their service lives. However, the Navy reversed its plan to decommission Whidbey Island and instead planned to modernize the ships to extend them each to a 44-year total service life. The current deal includes options, which could raise the total value of the contract to $154.2 million. Work will take place in San Diego, California, and is expected to be finished by May 2020.
The US Naval Warfare Center Weapons Division awarded Raytheon a $12.2 million for engineering test support services for the ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) currently in development for the Navy EA-18G aircraft. The US Navy selected Raytheon’s ALQ-249 in 2013 to replace ALQ-99 systems used on the EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft. The Boeing EA-18G Growler is a carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft that entered operational service in 2009. The Growler is able to perform escort jamming as well as the traditional standoff jamming mission. Services provided under the contract include software support for NGJ pod and integration, including requirements analysis, design, development, integration, testing, training, and tools related to and in support of ALQ-249 and advanced electronic warfare initiatives. Work will take place in California and is expected to conclude in March 2024.
The Missile Defense Agency awarded Raytheon with a $14.2 million contract modification to provide continued support and engineering for the Standard Missile SM-3 Block IB program. The SM-3 is a ship-based missile system used to intercept short and intermediate range ballistic missiles as a part of Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System. The SM-3 Block IB interceptor has an enhanced two-color infrared seeker and upgraded steering and propulsion capability that uses short bursts of precision propulsion to direct the missile toward incoming targets. It became operational in 2014. Work will take place in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled to be completed by October this year.
The Naval Sea System Command awarded Bath Iron Works (BIW) a $10.9 million contract modification for Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class lead yard services, including engineering and technical assistance for new-construction DDG-51 class ships. The USS Arleigh Burke is a guided missile destroyer designed to be able to fulfill a land strike role with Tomahawk missiles, antiaircraft warfare role with powerful Aegis radar and surface-to-air missiles, antisubmarine warfare (ASW), with towed sonar array, anti-submarine rockets, and ASW helicopter, and anti surface warfare with a Harpoon missile launcher. The modification provides for continued lead yard services for the DDG 51 Class Destroyer Program. Lead yard services include liaison for follow ship construction, general class services, class design contractor services, class change design services for follow ships, and ship trials and post-shakedown availability support. Work will take place in Maine and other locations and is expected to conclude in July this year.
Middle East & Africa
Yesterday, Germany extended a temporary ban on arms export to Saudi Arabia until the end of March. Back in October the country froze sales of military equipment to countries involved in the Yemen Conflict, following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. About 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Yemen war since March 2015. However, Germany’s arms export freeze faced criticism by EU partners, including France and Britain, because the ban has impacted joint defense projects such as the Eurofighter and Tornado jets. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas explained that not only will permits no longer be issued but products with permits already granted will not be delivered to Saudi Arabia. Maas said, the decision to extend the ban came after evaluation of the current developments in Yemen.
The US Air Force achieved full operational capability of the the MQ-9 Reaper at Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland. The General Atomics-developed remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) have been operating out of Poland since May. The UAV is capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations. It is the first hunter-killer UAV designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance. The Reaper is a larger, heavier, and more capable aircraft than its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator. It is planned to be in service into the 2030s. Air Forces in Europe christened a new set of facilities at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland on March 1 to help accommodate the Air National Guardsmen and contractors operating Reapers there. The Air Force chose Poland for the mission because of its strategic location in Europe. RPA aircraft are now operated by both contractors and US military personnel. The US military now shares control of the Reapers at Miroslawiec during takeoff, flight and aircraft recovery with the contractors.
The US Naval Sea Systems Command awarded Raytheon Missile Systems a $91.9 million option to a previously awarded contract for MK 44 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2 guided missile round pack and spare replacement components. RAM is a ship self-defense weapon designed to protect ships of all sizes, ranging from 500-ton fast attack craft to 95,000-ton aircraft carriers. The lightweight, supersonic, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget weapon is designed to attack enemy helicopters, aircraft, and surface craft. RAM Block 2 has a large rocket motor, advanced control section, and an enhanced RF receiver, which is able to detect quiet threat emitters. It is more maneuverable and has longer range than its predecessors. The MK 44 guided missile round pack and the MK 49 guided missile launching system, which hold 21 missiles, comprise the MK 31 guided missile weapon system. An International Cooperative Program between the US and Federal Republic of Germany’s governments co-developed and co-produced RAM Guided Missile Weapon System. Work will take place in Germany as well as various locations within the US and is scheduled to be completed by November 2021.
Northrop Grumman finished the 500th center fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II. Designated AU-18, the 500th F-35 center fuselage is for a conventional takeoff and landing variant for the Royal Australian Air Force. The center fuselage is a core structure of the F-35 and is designed and produced on Northrop Grumman’s integrated assembly line. While Lockheed Martin is the industry lead for the F-35 program, Northrop Grumman plays a key role in the development, modernization and sustainment of the F-35. Besides producing the center fuselage and wing skins for the aircraft, the company develops, produces and maintains several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission-planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies. Northrop Grumman began production on the AU-18 center fuselage in June 2018 and completed work on February 21st.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will likely adopt a land-based, mobile missile system, capable of firing Poly Defense’s CM-501GA precision-guided missile and CM-501XA loitering munition, a source told Jane’s. The system will reportedly be introduced into the Chinese military in two configurations: on a 6×6 armored personnel carrier, and on the CSK181 series of mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles. The 2 m-long CM-501GA is a non-line-of-sight missile. It is able to engage both stationary and moving targets at a distance between 5 and 40 km. The missile uses a combined TV/imaging infrared seeker for terminal guidance. The 2 m-long CM-501XA loitering munition is designed to engage stationary and moving targets at distances greater than 70 km.
Watch: U.S. Sent a B-52 Bomber Through the South China Sea for the First Time in Months
The US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a $92.9 million contract modification for engineering services on the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). The modification also includes interim logistics services, spares and associated material. MUOS is a narrowband military satellite communication system designed to secure ultra-high frequency satcom activities for mobile force. The system employs radio terminals built to link up with the Global Information Grid and support mobile and tactical operations on the ground, at sea or in the air. It supports a worldwide, multiservice population of users, providing modern netcentric communications capabilities while supporting legacy terminals. The MUOS satellite network is expected to achieve full operational capability in 2017 and ensure the availability of UHF narrowband communications for the US Navy past 2025. The MUOS is also expected to serve the Australian defense forces. Work under the modification is scheduled to be finished in October 2020 and will take place in Arizona and California.
The Navy contracted Northrop Grumman $23.3 million in support of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye System. The deal provides for repair coverage of eight items that are part of the Hawkeye. The Hawkeye is an airborne, all-weather, tactical, early-warning aircraft. The E-2D is the fourth version of the E-2 Hawkeye. The technology and gadgets fitted in this aircraft increase its visibility on targets far away. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye features an entirely new avionics suite including the new AN/APY-9 radar, radio suite, mission computer, integrated satellite communications, flight management system, improved T56-A-427A engines, a glass cockpit and later changes should enable aerial refueling by 2020. The award is a three-year contract with no option period. Work will take place in California and New York and is scheduled to conclude by December 2020.
Raytheon won a $63.3 million contract to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program. Work under this contract will be part of a joint development of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force. The program seeks to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile. The system enables longer ranges with shorter response times and enhanced effectiveness. A tactical-range boost glide weapon is five times the speed of sound. These systems could provide significant payoff for future US offensive strike operations, particularly as adversaries’ capabilities advance. In 2016, Raytheon won a $174 million contract for the United States for the hypersonic air-breathing weapon concept program.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli company UVision demonstrated two of its HERO systems to an unknown Asian customer. The HERO systems are a line of loitering munitions systems that can loiter above a target and strike precisely when the opportunity arises. The HERO systems enable forces in the front-line to independently locate time sensitive targets, track and attack to handle different missions ranging from light-weight static or moving targets to larger fortified or heavily armored targets such as Main Battle Tanks and other strategic objectives. The two systems presented to the customer were the multi-purpose warhead and extended-range Hero-400EC and the high-precision, light-weight man-pack portable Hero-30. According to the company the demonstration proved the high precision strike to the target, the tracking and lock-on capabilities of the system on a vehicle in various operational scenarios, mission-abort capabilities, and parachute recovery. UVision is looking to expand its customer base in Asia.
The Greek company Theon Sensors announced the opening of German subsidiary Theon Deutschland GmbH in Kempen. This is reportedly a response to the strong demand for night vision and thermal imaging systems in Germany and neighboring countries with the aim to expand business. Theon Sensors was founded in 1997 and has its head office in Athens as wells as offices in Abu Dhabi and Singapore. The company specializes in Night Vision Systems for military and security applications. Theon Deutschland GmbH is part of a phased approach to enhance Theon Sensors’ footprint in the European market. The first stage is a sales office that will establish presence close to customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Benelux region.
Safran Helicopters introduced the Belgian Air Force as its newest customer of the Expert Link, video assistance service. The Expert Link allows the customer to connect, through a secure, live video feed, with Safran Helicopter Engines experts to facilitate technical diagnosis or guide them through a maintenance task. The service was launched last year. Based on a proven video assistance application provided by Librestream, Expert link is available at two service levels. Essential, where Safran Helicopter Engines provides remote technical diagnosis and real-time interactive visual assistance, and Premium adds hands-free support on scheduled tasks using borescopes or smart glasses. The Belgian Air Force works together with Royal Netherlands Air Force for the support of the RTM322 engine. It will benefit from the Premium level of the new Expert Link service for the engine maintenance of its NH90 fleet. The NHIndustries NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multi-role military helicopter developed in response of NATO requirements for battlefield helicopters, which could also be operated in naval environments. In 2007, The NATO Helicopter Management Agency signed contract with NHIndustries to supply Belgium with a total of ten NH90 helicopters.
According to local news, Taiwan officials requested to buy 66 F-16V jets from the US for a total price of $13 billion. The Air Force confirmed it had made a request to the US regarding a purchase of new fighter jets, but declined to say which planes exactly it was hoping to buy. The F-16 Viper is a variant of the General Dynamics F-16 single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft. It features an AN7APG active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a new mission computer and electronic warfare suite, automated ground collision avoidance system, and various cockpit improvements. Taiwan is currently upgrading its 144 F-16 A/B jets to F-16Vs as part of a $3.68 billion project launched by the government in 2016.
Watch: U.K. Offers Cooperation in Building in Future Fighter Plane Technologies, Aircraft Carriers.