Lockheed Martin won a $13.9 million contract modification for AEGIS Speed to Capability Development. Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Speed to Capability (ASToC) initiative provides quick solutions to problems based on US Navy feedback. The ASToC team works together from kickoff to identify possible design changes, prototype new solutions, and recommend performance improvements. The ASToC process accelerates the pace of development maintaining the high engineering standards that are the hallmark of the Aegis Combat System. The modified contract provides for systems engineering, modeling and simulation, and design for AEGIS Speed to Capability cycles as well as the completion of the development and fielding of the AEGIS Baseline 9 AEGIS Weapon System and integrated AEGIS Combat System on AEGIS Technical Insertion (TI) 12 configured destroyers as well as TI 12 and TI 08 configured cruisers. Lockheed will perform work, which is expected to be finished by May 2020, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Air Force awarded Raytheon a $94.3 million modification to manufacture DAS-4 targeting systems. The company will provide an additional 54 new AN/DAS?4 Model B Multi?Spectral Targeting System turrets and convert one turret unit into the DAS?1A configuration. The AN/DAS-4 is the third generation of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System incorporating greater fire control and Target Location Accuracy technology for precise coordinates. The DAS-4 includes four high definition cameras covering five spectral bands, a three-color diode pump laser designator/rangefinder, laser spot search and track capability, automated sensor and laser bore sight alignment, three mode target tracker, and built in provisions for future growth. Raytheon will manufacture the systems for the US Air Force as well as the Netherlands. Work will take place in Texas and is scheduled to be complete by January 31, 2021.
Middle East & Africa
According to Russian reports, Turkey is interested in buying other weapons apart from the S-400. Aleksander Mikheev, the Head of Russian company Rosoboronexport, stated that Turkey was also looking into other Russian air defenses and anti-tank weaponry as well as other weapon stations. The two countries also have joint ventures aimed at developing jets and helicopters, modules for armored vehicles and maintenance for the equipment, previously sold to Turkey. Earlier this month it was reported that the US had halted component deliveries for the F-35 to Turkey due to Turkey’s plan to purchase the Russian S-400.
The US Navy tapped Lockheed Martin, Rotary and Mission Systems with a $9.1 million contract modification for the AEGIS Ashore Support and Ship Integration and engineering of the AEGIS Weapon System as well as on-site support in Romania an Poland. The modification also includes technical data package and test package/procedure development, technical documentation, feasibility studies, configuration management support, lifecycle and system engineering, environmental qualification testing, topside analysis, Ballistic Missile Defense engineering, combat system alignment and integration of Advanced Naval Weapon Systems on DDG 51 Class ships. Just recently it was reported that the Aegis Ashore in Romania was undergoing updates. During the updates the USA will temporarily deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Deveselu in Romania. The Polish AEGIS Ashore system has been hit with delays due to construction issues at Redzikowo military base that are unrelated to the system’s performance. It won’t be operational until 2020. Work under the current contract modification will take place in Deveselu and Redzikowo as well as various sites within the US. Scheduled completion date is in September this year.
Belarus will showcase two different military systems at the defense technology expo MILEX 2019 in Minsk, which starts on May 15. One of them is the Buk-MB3K system by OKB TSP. It is the company’s latest surface-to-air system and features a self-propelled firing unit equipped with a newly developed S-range solid state phased array AESA radar capable of detecting air targets at ranges up to 130 km. The radar can perform automatic target detection and tracking, measuring the primary data of an aerial target, including azimuth and range, and the radial speed in both active and passive modes. The Buk-MB3K system can detect and intercept all types of maneuvering aerodynamic targets ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles to cruise missiles. The other innovation showcased at the expo will be the Groza-P2 mobile Counter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (C-UAVs) jammer by Belarusian defense industrial group KB Radar. The portable rifle-style jammer is designed to prevent unauthorized access of small UAVs into the territory by location and neutralizing aerial threats.
The Royal Australian Air Force will equip an additional five of its C-130J Hercules airlifters with an upgraded satellite communications (satcom) suite, following a successful trial. The first Hercules aircraft was fitted with SATCOM in 2017. The system uses the Inmarsat Global Xpress Network to provide broadband internet connectivity for high-definition video and is able to support complex mission planning whilst in flight. The new system is in addition to the L-Band SATCOM voice and data system fitted to all 12 C-130Js. Installation of the Honeywell JetWave Ka-Band SATCOM antennas and associated systems will be completed during scheduled maintenance periods by Airbus and all five aircraft are expected to be completed by 2022.
Watch: U.S NAVY WILL HAVE ANTI TORPEDO TORPEDO – FULL ANALYSIS
Lockheed Martin won a $723.5 million contract modification to procure a variety of Hellfire II missiles for the US Army as well as three allies. The air-to-surface missiles will be produced for Lebanon, the Netherlands and France as part of Foreign Military Sales. All Hellfire II variants have been used successfully in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with more than 1,000 missiles fired to date. With more than 22,000 rounds delivered since production began in 1994, Hellfire II has been successfully integrated with a wide array of platforms, including the US Army’s Apache and Kiowa Warrior helicopters, the US Marine Corps’ Cobra, the US Navy’s Seahawk helicopter, the UK’s Apache attack helicopter, the Eurocopter Tiger and the US Air Force’s Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles. Lockheed Martin will perform work in Florida, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2022.
The US Navy awarded Boeing an $89 million contract to integrate various external stores and alternative mission equipment onto the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. The Super Hornet is a twin-engine, carrier-capable, multi-role fighter. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. Last month, Boeing won a $4 billion multi-year contract modification to build 78 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters. The Super Hornets would be the first new-build examples of the Block III variant of the F/A-18E/F. The Block III flies farther and carries more weapons than an older F/A-18E/F can and is stealthier than earlier Super Hornet models are. The Growler is a variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Work under the current contract will take place within the US and is expected to be complete in December 2022.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli Air Force is authorized to issue a Letter of Request for two Boeing KC-46 refueling tankers, IsraelDefense reports. After a new government has been established and the next Minister of Defense has been appointed, the Israeli Air Force will likely face some changes. The most pressing decision to make is what heavy-lift helicopter will replace the CH-53 Yas’ur. In the matter of choosing a new refueling tanker, it is very likely that IAF will decide on the KC-46 as it already has reviewed the aircraft and flown in it. The KC-46 Pegasus was developed by Boeing from its 767 jet airliner.
Poland signed for AugustaWestland AW101 helicopters. The European country signed an agreement worth $428 million with Leonardo on Friday to to satisfy its anti-submarine warfare and combat search-and-rescue requirement. Part of the production will take place in Poland, which will help boost the country’s economy and technological sector. In Poland, work on the helicopters will be carried out at the Leonardo unit PZL-Swidnik. While the order announced is for four helicopters, there may be a follow-on order for a further four at a later date. As noted by Leonardo, the AW101 is well suited to the overwater ASW and CSAR roles in that it benefits from three-engine safety: a full ice protection system for flight in known icing conditions, long range and endurance, a range of 1,300 km, and a proven 30-minute ‘run dry’ gearbox as well as multiple redundancy features in the avionic and mission systems.
The Indian Air Force plans to testfire the air-launched version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from a Su-30MKI next week. BrahMos or PJ-10 is a short-range, ramjet powered, single warhead anti-ship land attack missile. It was jointly developed and manufactured by India and Russia. The missile has a reported supersonic speed of between Mach 2.0-2.8, depending on the cruising altitude used. The BrahMos has a range of between 300-500 km depending on which variant and launch platform is used. It was first flight tested in July 2018 from a Su-30MKI. Sources in the IAF said they are very keen for a fast track development of the air-launched missile, which can be used for Balakot-type air strikes where the planes won’t have to cross enemy borders for the hit.
The Royal Australian Air Force received the first of three Falcon 7X trijets. The RAAF will use the jets for government VIP service. According to Dassault Aviation, the Falcon 7X was destined to be a revolutionary aircraft, introducing business aviation to the industry’s first Digital Flight Control System. Today, over 270 Falcon 7X aircraft are in service in 41 countries. In all, more than 120 Falcon jets—of which more than 50 are 7Xs—are operated in Australia and other Asia-Pacific countries.
Vigor Marine won a $14.3 million contract in support of the USNS Wally Schirra or T-AKE 8. The Lewis and Clark Class cargo ship has a length of 689 feet and was launched on March 8, 2009. The mission of Lewis and Clark Class ships is to deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to carrier battle groups and other naval forces, serving as a shuttle ship or station ship. The deal provides for regular overhaul and dry docking. Work will take place in Portland, Oregon and the estimated completion date is August 25, 2019.
The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $117.1 million contract modification for air vehicle initial spares to include a deployment spares package, afloat spares package, and associated consumables to support air vehicle delivery schedules for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. This contract comes after it was reported that the estimated total price for research and procurement in the F-35 program has increased by $22 billion in current dollars adjusted for inflation. The increase reflects for the first time the current cost estimates for a major set of upgrades planned in coming “Block 4” modifications. Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord and Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan have been pushing the program office and Lockheed to reduce projected operations and support costs. Work for the initial spares contract will take place within the US, the UK and the Netherland and is expected to be finished in August 2023.
Lockheed Martin announced in a press release that it had won a $362 million contract to recapitalize 50 of the US Army’s Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers. The US Army’s MLRS recapitalization effort will eventually upgrade its existing fleet of 225 MLRS M270A1 launchers, and 160 decommissioned M270A0’s slated for de-militarization, to M270A2s. The M270 is a 227mm Multiple Launch Rocket System designed to be used against troops and light equipment, air defense systems and command centers. In 1983, the first MLRS units entered service with the US Army. The MLRS M270 self-propelled launcher vehicle is a stretched version of the American M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. The Launcher Loader Module, mounted on the rear of the vehicle hull consists of a base, turret and cage.
Middle East & Africa
Raytheon won a $399.4 million contract from the US Missile Defense Agency to provide long lead hardware procurement and manufacturing, systems engineering and program management, obsolescence and reliability updates, maintenance planning, facility design support, country support and common software development to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Foreign Military Sales funds in the full amount will be used to fund the effort. Work will take place in Woburn, Massachusetts.
According to a leaked Russian government document, a Russian MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft was mistakenly shot down by “friendly fire” during a training flight near the Telemba proving ground in Siberia almost two years ago. The incident in question had happened on April 26, 2017. At the time, the Kremlin said that the plane had been on a training exercise, but offered no additional details about the mishap. Both of the Foxhound’s crew survived the incident. In the leaked report, investigators concluded that the crew in the plane that got shot down had improperly followed procedures, allowing them to stray into the potential line of fire during the live-fire exercise. It also faulted aviators flying the other Foxhound for turning on their Zaslon-AM’s fire control function at the wrong time, cueing an R-33 missile right at their wingman.
Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System (ROSY) will protect armored vehicles of the Portuguese and Belgian Armed Forces. Deliveries of 126 systems to Spanish defense contractor URO Vehículos Especiales (UROVESA) will start this month and will run through March 2020. Rheinmetall, acting as subcontractor for Jankel, will also begin pre-series delivery of the system for the Belgian Army’s Light Troop Transport Vehicle (LTTV). All 199 vehicles are being prepared for integration of the system, in addition to the supply of control units and launchers for 167 vehicles. According to Rheinmetall, ROSY offers light military and civilian vehicles protection from unexpected attacks, for example during patrols or when traveling in convoys. Unlike the conventional smoke protection systems in use, ROSY is able to generate dynamic smoke screens as well as spontaneous, large-area and multispectral interruption of the line of sight.
Australia deployed its Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, Jane’s reports. On April 21, four Australian Army Tiger helicopters were airlifted to the Royal Malaysian Air Force Air Base at Subang on a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter for joint training exercises with Malaysia. The Tiger is designed to perform armed reconnaissance, air or ground escort, air-to-air combat, ground fire support, destruction and anti-tank warfare, day or night and in adverse conditions. The exercises mark a major milestone for the helicopter given that until very recently Australian auditors were recommending that it not be operated aboard ships due to performance limitations.
Watch: RAF F-35B Jets Flying into RAF Marham Airbase
The Navy awarded Raytheon a $28 million contract modification for integration and production support for the Air and Missile Defense Radar AN/SPY-6(V). The AN/SPY-6(V) next-generation integrated radar will be featured on the Flight III Arleigh Burke Guided Missiles Destroyers. According to Raytheon, the SPY-6 is built with so called Radar Modular Assemblies, each of them a self-contained radar in a 2’x2’x2’ box. They can stack together to form any size array to fit the mission requirements of any ship, which would make the SPY-6 the Navy’s first truly scalable radar. In January, the radar completed an important milestone when it successfully tracked a ballistic missile target in the system’s final development test. The radar is on schedule for delivery to the Navy in 2020, replacing the SPY-1 radar. The contract includes support for continued combat system integration and testing, engineering, training, software and depot maintenance as well as field engineering services. Raytheon will perform work at various locations within the US. The estimated completion date is in December this year.
Raytheon successfully completed a static test of its new DeepStrike missile rocket motor. The next-generation, long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike missile will replace the Army Tactical Missile System. Raytheon won the $116.4 million contract to build the missile in June 2017 under the technology up-gradation and risk trimming phase of the Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF) program. The missile will be compatible with two launch systems of the US Army, the M270 multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and the M142 high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS). The rocket motor test brought the weapon one step closer to its maiden flight test, scheduled for this year. A previous milestone for the DeepStrike was the successful preliminary design review, in which the Army evaluated every aspect of the new missile’s design, from its advanced propulsion system and innovative lethality package to its guidance system.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli company Rafael dropped out of Switzerland’s $8 billion air defense tender. Rafael had initially offered its David’s Sling system. David’s Sling is an Israeli system developed with the United States that is designed to defend against short-range and theater ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles. However, the Israeli Department of Defense did not give the company the necessary permit to go further in the tender. Reasons for this decision are unclear. Companies still participating in the tender are Raytheon with the Patriot system and Eurosam with the SAMP/T.
Contributing to NATO’s increased presence in the Baltic states, the UK deployed five Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters to the Amari Air Base in Estonia. The AH-64s are expected to participate in upcoming NATO military exercises and provide defense coverage for a military base near the Russian border. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson commented on the deployment: “It’s a very credible threat that we see from Russia and part of the reason that we’re deploying five Apache attack helicopters is making sure that we’re constantly adapting to a changing situation.“ According to the British Army, the Apaches will be working in tandem with the Wildcat battlefield reconnaissance helicopters to provide valuable training opportunities to NATO allies on Estonia’s annual Exercise Spring Storm and to the UK-led battlegroup deployed on NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence.
The US and the Sri Lankan Navy ended the Cooperation Afloat and Readiness Training (CARAT) exercise four days earlier than scheduled due to the recent attacks in the Asian country. “All US personnel involved in CARAT are accounted for and redeployment is in progress,” it says in an updated news release. Several bombers carried out six coordinated attacks at churches and hotels on Sunday, killing at least 290 people. The government declared a state of emergency to take effect at midnight Monday. The declaration allows police and military forces to detain and interrogate potential suspects without a court order. The US-Sri Lanka CARAT exercise was slated to take place for a week and was based off the southern port city of Hambantota. Hambantota was not targeted in Sunday’s attacks, but the suspension of exercises will allow Sri Lanka to reallocate military resources should they become necessary in the aftermath. The CARAT is the US Navy’s oldest and longest continually-running regional exercise in South and Southeast Asia. Participants conduct partnered training focused on building interoperability and strengthening relationships.
According to reports, China’s Gas Turbine Research Institute designed and tested a prototype of a new turbofan engine for fighter aircraft within 18 months. The team of young engine designers will be given an award during China’s Youth Day on May 4. It took the development team only a year to design the engine, and just six months to finish testing the first prototype. No details of the engine, including its designation, have been revealed, but official statements claimed that the new engine would “rival advanced foreign fighter jets and represents China’s highest technical level in aero engines”. Until now, long-standing difficulties that have hampered China’s production of military aircraft engines forced it to import Russian-made engines for several of its major aircraft projects.
Watch: New Advanced Version of its F 15 Eagle for the US Air Force, Next Super Fighter Electronic Warfare
Latest updates[?]: Israeli company Rafael dropped out of Switzerland’s $8 billion air defense tender. Rafael had initially offered its David’s Sling system. David’s Sling is an Israeli system developed with the United States that is designed to defend against short-range and theater ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets, and cruise missiles. However, the Israeli Department of Defense did not give the company the necessary permit to go further in the tender. Reasons for this decision are unclear. Companies still participating in the tender are Raytheon with the Patriot system and Eurosam with the SAMP/T.
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David didn’t need high technology to defeat Goliath, just some stones and a sling. But in the modern world, David is getting some high-tech help from the likes of Raytheon and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, who are developing a missile defense system called David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS).
The DSWS is a joint short-range ballistic missile defense program between the US Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization. The system is designed to defeat short-range ballistic missiles, large-caliber rockets and cruise missiles in their terminal phase of flight.
Raytheon received 2 contracts from Rafael worth more than $100 million to build DSWS components.
Boeing won a $605 million modification for the production of the Air Force’s 11th Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) Communication Space Vehicle. The DoD uses the WGS system to communicate with warfighters across the globe. Ten Ka-band and 8 X-band beam can be positioned anywhere in the field of view of each satellite. WGS combines unique commercial spacecraft capabilities that Boeing has developed, including phased array antennas and digital signal processing technology, into a powerful, flexible architecture. United Launch Alliance ULA is scheduled to launch the 11th satellite aboard a Delta IV rocket in November 2023. Since 2001, Boeing has been the prime contractor of the WGS, which was first launched in 2008. GS 4, which was launched off in 2012, was the first Block II series. WGS-10 was meant to be the last of the constellation. But in March 2018, Congress added $600 million for the procurement of WGS-11 and WGS-12. Boeing will perform work under the modification in El Segundo, California and expects completion by November 20, 2023.
The US Army contracted General Atomics with $99 million in support of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle UAS. The deal provides performance based logistics support services for the Unmanned Aircraft System. The Gray Eagle UAS addresses the need for a long-endurance, armed, unmanned aircraft system that offers greater range, altitude and payload flexibility over earlier systems. US Army Special Operations Forces and Intelligence and Security Command have two Gray Eagle Extended Range (ER) systems, which include 12 unmanned aircraft, six Universal Ground Control Stations, nine Ground Data Terminals, three Mobile Ground Control Stations, one Satellite Ground Data Terminal, an automated takeoff and landing system, LMTVs, and other ground-support equipment operated and maintained by a company of 165 Soldiers. Work will take place in Poway, California and is scheduled to be completed on April 23, 2024.
Middle East & Africa
According to defensenews.com, Turkey’s homemade drones have the potential to boost local industry by raising export numbers. The combat proven Turkish drones don’t need foreign export licenses unlike other military platforms such as helicopters and tanks. The Turkish military has used unmanned systems in its fight against Kurdish militants in the country’s southeast and in counterinsurgency operations in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Currently the Turkish military operates 75 TB2 drones. The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude, long-range, tactical UAV system. It was developed by Kale-Baykar, a joint venture of Baykar Makina and the Kale Group. The UAV operates as a platform for conducting reconnaissance and intelligence missions. In January, Baykar Makina, a privately owned Turkish drone maker, won a contract to sell a batch of 12 of its Bayraktar TB2 UAVs to the Ukraine. Back in November, two Turkish companies – Tusas Engine Industries and Turkish Aerospace Industries – announced they had made significant progress toward building indigenous engines that would power locally made drones and armored vehicles. This would further independency from foreign engine suppliers. In February, it was reported that Tusas Engine Industries produced the first national UAV engine PD-170.
General Dynamics won a $269.3 million contract modification from the US Navy in support of the UK Dreadnought fleet and the US Navy’s Columbia Class fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN). The modification includes the manufacturing of 42 missile tubes as well as missile tube outfitting material. The Dreadnought Class submarines, the future replacement for the Vanguard Class, will like their predecessors carry the Trident II D-5 missiles. The upcoming Columbia Class of nuclear submarines will replace the UGM-133 Trident II-armed Ohio Class. Work will take place in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania and is expected to be finished by May 2028.
According to local reports, India’s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has launched the country’s third Project 15B guided-missile destroyer. Imphal, the third ship under Project 15B was launched on 20 April at MDL’s facilities in Mumbai. The Project 15B warships are also referred to as the Visakhapatnam Class. 15 ships are to be build under this class. The first Project 15B ship, Visakhapatnam, was launched in April 2015, while the second ship of the type, Mormugao , took to the water in September 2016. The warships are propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. They are 163 meters long and have a displacement of 7.300 tonnes.
Local media reported that Elbit Systems has won a tender to deliver its ATHOS (Autonomous Towed Howitzer Ordnance System) 2052 to the Indian Army, in a deal estimated at over $1 Billion. The bid by Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems and its Indian partner Bharat Forge has emerged as the winner in the Indian Army’s 155 mm, 52 calibre towed artillery gun competition. The price point at which the Elbit-Bharat Forge gun is being offered is even lower than the indigenously developed Dhanush 155 mm, 42 calibre gun, which is being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board. According to Elbit Systems, ATHOS is capable of a range of more than 40km and utilizes a self-propelling capability and automatic laying mode. It is integrated with fully-computerized systems, achieving automatic control, accurate navigation, and target acquisition. The company has yet to command on the outcome of the Indian Tender.
Watch: U S Navy Has a Serious Problem Now Too Few Ships
The US military needs a bigger data firehose. In an era of streaming data from proliferating UAVs and other persistent surveillance platforms, and the need for control of those systems anywhere in the world, bandwidth is almost as important as fuel. Commercial satellite communications (SATCOM) can fill some of the gaps, but it’s expensive, and may not be available when needed. The Wideband Gapfiller SATCOM (now Wideband Global SATCOM) program began as a way to ease these problems in the near term, but went on to become one of the twin pillars of US military communications, alongside the hardened AEHF constellation. Both satellite types expanded their roles after the super-high bandwidth T-SAT program was canceled. Instead, the USA is adding WGS and AEHF satellites in space, even as it makes both programs multi-national efforts here on earth.
WGS is a set of 13-kilowatt spacecraft based on Boeing’s model 702 commercial satellite. These satellites will handle a significant portion of the USA’s warfighting bandwidth requirements, supporting tactical C4ISR(command, control, communications, and computers; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance); battle management; and combat support needs. Upon its 2007 launch into geosynchronous orbit, WGS Flight 1 became the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest capacity communication satellite. WGS F4, launched in January 2012, offers further improvements, as do satellites from WGS F8. The constellation is set to grow to 10, including international participation.
This is DID’s FOCUS Article covering the WGS program’s specifications, budgets, travails, international partnerships, and contracts, with links to additional research materials.
Latest updates[?]: Local media reported that Elbit Systems has won a tender to deliver its ATHOS (Autonomous Towed Howitzer Ordnance System) 2052 to the Indian Army, in a deal estimated at over $1 Billion. The bid by Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems and its Indian partner Bharat Forge has emerged as the winner in the Indian Army’s 155 mm, 52 calibre towed artillery gun competition. The price point at which the Elbit-Bharat Forge gun is being offered is even lower than the indigenously developed Dhanush 155 mm, 42 calibre gun, which is being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board. According to Elbit Systems, ATHOS is capable of a range of more than 40km and utilizes a self-propelling capability and automatic laying mode. It is integrated with fully-computerized systems, achieving automatic control, accurate navigation, and target acquisition. The company has yet to command on the outcome of the Indian Tender.
FH-77Bs, Kargil War
India has marked over $4 billion worth of artillery projects to purchase several hundred new 155mm howitzers. They are intended to supplement India’s dwindling artillery stocks, while out-ranging and out-shooting Pakistan’s self-propelled M109 155mm guns. It seemed simple enough, and in the main towed artillery competition, BAE Systems Bofors had been competing against systems from Israel’s Soltam and Denel of South Africa.
Unfortunately, India’s 2 towed howitzer competitions, and its 2 self-propelled artillery procurements, have mostly served as cautionary tales. If the stakes weren’t so high, they’d qualify as farce. The simple process of buying off-the-shelf artillery guns has become a decades-long affair filled with legal drama, accusations of corruption, and multiple re-starts – but not one new gun. Competitions are declared, and canceled, again and again. One is on its 5th iteration. Another is on its 3rd. Meanwhile, India’s stock of operational 155mm FH77 howitzers has dwindled to around 200, and their last successful artillery buy was over 2 decades ago. Is there an end in sight to any of these competitions? Or a potential winner?
BAE Systems won a $23.9 million contract modification for post-shakedown-availability (PSA) of the Arleigh Burke Class destroyer USS Paul Ignatius. The post-shakedown-availability is accomplished within a period of approximately 16 weeks between the time of ship custody transfer to the Navy and the shipbuilding and conversion obligation work limiting date. The PSA comprises all of the manpower, support services, material, non-standard equipment and associated technical data and documentation required to prepare for and accomplish the PSA. Work will include correction of government responsible trial card deficiencies, new work identified between custody transfer and the time of PSA, and incorporation of engineering changes not incorporated during the construction period, which are not otherwise the building yard’s responsibility under the ship construction contract. Huntington Ingalls delivered the USS Paul Ignatius to the US Navy during a ceremony on February 25. It is the 67th ship in its class and and is scheduled to sail away from the shipyard in June. BAE Systems will perform work in Jacksonville, Florida, and the expected completion date is in May 2020.
The US Navy awarded Raytheon a $19 million modification for engineering and technical services on the Standard Missile-2 and Standard Missile-6. The SM-2 missile provides anti-air warfare and limited anti-surface warfare capability against advanced anti-ship missiles and aircraft out to 90 nautical miles. According to Raytheon, the SM-6 is the only missile considered a “triple threat,” with anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare and sea-based terminal ballistic missile defense enabling the US and its allies to cost-effectively increase the offensive might of surface forces. The missiles are deployed on cruisers and destroyers in the US Navy, as well as by international customers approved by the Defense Department. The combined contract is 90 percent for the Navy, with the rest under Foreign Military Sales for Australia, Germany, Denmark, Korea and Japan. Work will take pace in Tucson, Arizona and is scheduled to be completed by April 2020.
Middle East & Africa
According to local reports, the Israeli Defense Forces conducted a training exercise that involved the Patriot and the Iron Dome missile defense systems. Israel Air Force aerial defense personnel conducted interceptions of targets at various heights and distances. The drill was carried out at a base in central Israel and included a range of scenarios in order to test the capabilities of the Israel Air Force’s air defense fighters and technicians and their missile systems. Several missiles were launched against a combination of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. Military delegations from the US and Greece attended and observed the trial and were able to draw conclusions from its results.
MBDA together with the UK’s Ministry of Defense presented details on the development of the SPEAR-EW and SPEAR-Glide, Jane’s reports. They are prospective air-launched missile variants evolved from MBDA’s baseline SPEAR stand-off, air-to-surface developmental weapon system. SPEAR is a long-range missile powered by a Pratt & Whitney TJ-130 turbojet engine with a range of over 140 km. It is the MBDA’s solution for the UK Ministry of Defense’s 100 kg class Selective Precision Effects At Range Capability 3 (SPEAR Cap 3) requirement. The weapon is supposed to be used within the internal weapons bay of the UK Royal Air Force and Royal Navy F-35 Lightning multirole stealth aircraft. Integration of SPEAR onto the Eurofighter Typhoon is also a program of record for the RAF.
Ukrainian Company Kyiv Armored Plant has developed a new wheeled command post armored vehicle called BTR-3KS, based on a BTR-3 wheeled APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) chassis. Kyiv Armored Plant is part of the State Company Ukroboronprom. The new command vehicle is fully equipped with modern battle management system, secure digital communication system coupled to tactical computer and network. The vehicle has also its own unmanned aerial systems that can be used to perform reconnaissance missions. This UAV is attached to the right side of the tank when it is not in use. Ukroboronprom claims that this battle management system can combine and process all information transmitted from command stations, combat vehicles, counter-battery radars, and unmanned aerial vehicles via secured digital communications regarding the location of divisions and targets.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) inaugurated a repair and overhaul facility for its fleet of Russian-made Mil Mi-17 V5 ‘Hip’ medium-lift helicopters on April 17 at Chandigarh, north of New Delhi. Local reports say that the new facility comes in a boost to India’s self-sufficiency in carrying out defense repairs. The new facility will help repair Mi-17 V5 helicopter airframes and their aero engines. The Mil Mi-17 V5 is one of the world’s most advanced helicopters. It is designed to transport cargo inside the cabin and on an external sling. It can also be deployed in troop and arms transport, fire support, convoy escort, patrol, and search-and-rescue missions. India had acquired 151 twin-engine Mi-17-V5s between 2008 and 2016 for $2.87 billion.
In October 2006, the Indo-Asian News Service reported that the Indian Air Force will buy 80 medium lift multi-role Mi-17 1V helicopters from Russia. India’s Chief of Air Staff Marshal S.P. Tyagi reportedly told the news agency that the contractual detail would be finalized within a few months, that Russia will start delivering the helicopters in 2007, and that deliveries would finish within a year. MosNews estimated the deal’s value at approximately $662 million, with the exact value depending on ancillary equipment like avionics.
The deal is the result of a dance over time involving both Sikorsky and India’s HAL, and the Mi-17 1V incorporates a few changes to the well-known Mi-17 already in service with India. Of course, “a couple of months” in Indian procurement time turns out to be over 2 years – and in a now-familiar scenario, Russia ended up asking for about double the originally agreed deal terms. Nevertheless, a deal is now done.