L-3 Communications Integrated Systems won a fixed-price-incentive-firm contract for aircraft avionics upgrades on 176 C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft. The deal is worth $499.6 million. The contract covers engineering and manufacturing development, as well as training and logistics requirements. The Hercules was originally designed as a troop, medevac, and cargo transport aircraft and is able to user unprepared runways for takeoff and landing. It is now used for gunship, airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol and aerial firefighting. The 40 variants of the aircraft, which include the C-130J Super Hercules, are used by more than 60 countries. Work will primarily be performed at L-3 Communications’ Waco, Texas, facility, with an expected completion date of Sept. 30, 2029.
The US Air Force awarded Universal Propulsion a $92 million contract to supply the Modernized ACES II Electronic Sequencer for the ejection seat on US as well as Foreign Military Sales aircraft. ACES II is an ejection seat system that senses the conditions of the ejection, such as airspeed and altitude, and selects the appropriate drogue and main parachute deployments to minimize the forces on the occupant. It is used on Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, General Dynamis F-16 Fighting Falcon, Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, Rockwell B-1 Lancer, WB-57, and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit aircraft. Bahrain, Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates are the foreign military sales customers. Universal Propulsion will perform work in Fairfield, California, and is expected to be finished by August 2026.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will unveil the new tactical Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) of the Heron Family – the T-Heron – in the upcoming Paris Air Show. Ground Forces and Coast Guard as well as other protection forces will be able to use the T-Heron. It is designed for tactical missions on the battlefield and features a high level of flight safety and reliability. It reportedly is also resistant to extreme weather conditions. With its advanced, certified and proven Rotax engine, the drone can reach a maximum altitude of 24,000 feet and a top speed of 120 knots. The new UAV is capable of carrying several payloads simultaneously of up to 180 kg. The T-Heron will use the same automatic takeoff and landing capability as its family members, but will also be able to deploy from unprepared runways, so will not have to rely on being operated from airfields and can instead be forward deployed as required.
According to reports, the German Army finished its firing training for the Rafael Spike LR anti-tank guided missile. Spike is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance. It has an imaging infrared seeker. Rafael has sold over 30,000 Spike missiles to 31 countries around the world. The German training involved the firing of 54 live Spike missiles by gunners using the new Spike integrated control launch unit (ICLU) launcher. Complex firing scenarios, like beyond-line-of-sight engagements, retargeting mid-flight, firing in total darkness in infrared, as well as having to cope with adverse weather conditions, like intense rain and strong winds were part of the exercise.
An Apache Attack Helicopter landed on the deck of the UK Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, for the first time, to commence its preliminary ship integration testing on June 3. The Apache that conducted the first landing belonged to the British Army’s Attack Helicopter Force (AHF) and assigned to 656 Squadron Army Air Corps. Under Joint Helicopter Command, the Attack Helicopter will begin a series of tests and evaluations in a so called Platform Ship Integration Testing, or PSITs for short. The visit is also part of the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
China successfully launched its first sea-based rocket. A Long March-11 solid propellant carrier rocket blasted off at 12:06 pm from a mobile platform. It is China’s first space launch from a sea-based platform and the 306th mission of the Long March carrier rocket series. The rocket reportedly also carried two communications satellites courtesy of China 125, a Beijing-based technology company that plans to launch hundreds of satellites to provide global data networking services. About six minutes after the launch into space, five commercial satellites and a pair of “technical experiment” probes – called Bufeng, or Wind Catchers – reached their designated orbits.
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