Raytheon Tapped For FET Development Effort | Leonardo’s Xplorer Makes Maiden Flight | Greece Deploys Patriots To Saudi ArabiaJan 20, 2020 05:00 UTC
Raytheon won a $442.3 million deal for the force element terminal (FET) development effort. The contract provides for the design, development, testing, integration, and logistical support of a FET system that will transition the B-52 and RC-135 hardened communication terminals from the Military Strategic Tactical Relay satellite communications satellite constellation to the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite constellation. According to the US Air Force’s latest strategic bomber guidance document, the B-52H Stratofortress are no longer approved to carry nuclear gravity bombs. There have long been concerns that the B-52 lacks the capability to penetrate modern air defenses to deliver a nuclear strike with gravity bombs. The B-52 Stratofortress entered into service in the 1950s. With the Cold War in full swing, the bomber became an integral part of the US’ nuclear deterrent as a part of the Nuclear Triad, alongside intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed submarines. Decades later the aircraft is still integral in this role. Boeing RC-135 is a four engine, medium weight reconnaissance aircraft designed and manufactured by Boeing Defence and Integrated Systems for the USAF. Work will take place at Raytheon’s facilities in Marlborough, Massachusetts; and Largo, Florida, and is expected to be completed by August 2023.
Lockheed Martin won a $9.8 million contract modification for engineering services in support of the Hellfire Missile and Joint Air-to-Ground Missile. The Hellfire is an air-to-ground, laser guided, subsonic missile with significant anti-tank capacity. It can also be used as an air-to-air weapon against helicopters or slow-moving fixed-wing aircraft. Hellfire can be used as an air-to-air or an air-to-ground missile. The Air-to-Ground (AGM)-114 provides precision striking power against tanks, structures, bunkers and helicopters. The Hellfire missile is capable of defeating any known tank in the world today. It can be guided to the target either from inside the aircraft or by lasers outside the aircraft. Work will take place in Orlando, Florida. Estimated completion date is January 15, 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey’s Gokdogan (Peregrine) beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile has been test-fired for the first time, the Defence Industries Research and Development Institute (SAGE) of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey said in a video on January 10. The missile was fired from an F-16 wing on the ground, hitting its aerial target. It is scheduled to enter service with the Turkish Air Force Command in 2021, replacing the US-built Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
Leonardo’s Falco Xplorer has made its maiden flight from Trapani Air Force Base on January 15. The flight time was approximately 60 minutes. Xplorer is the largest variant of the Falco family. They design the Xplorer to support multiple missions such as persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), all-weather, maritime and theatre multispectral surveillance, border patrolling, law enforcement, illegal immigration prevention, and environment monitoring. Each Falco Xplorer unit comprises a ground control system, ground data terminal, support equipment, and two aircraft. For its maiden flight, Falco Xplorer S/N0001 took off from Trapani Air Force base on January 15, cruised over the Gulf of Trapani in a dedicated fly zone, for around 60 minutes and then returned to base, landing safely. The maiden flight is a significant milestone which has been achieved through technical and engineering support, at the test flight planning stages and with other related activities, by the Italian Air Force Test Flight Center.
A news report says Greece has agreed to deploy a Patriot air defense missile unit to Saudi Arabia. The deal apparently follows the agreement of the foreign ministries of Greece and Saudi Arabia a few weeks ago to boost the latter’s air defense in light of the recent strikes against the facilities of the state-owned Aramco oil company. It is reportedly also seen as a result of Washington’s pressure on Athens for a Greek presence in the Persian Gulf. Greece had twice responded negatively to previous American requests to send a frigate to join a naval force in the region under US leadership. Patriot (MIM-104) is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defense system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft. It is produced by Raytheon in Massachusetts and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Florida.
The US Department of State has approved a potential $1.5 billion Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Australia of long-lead items, engineering development activities and other defense services to support the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) Surface Combatant Program, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on January 15. The government in Canberra had requested to procure these items and services from the United States to support the program, which includes the modernization of the RAN’s three Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers and the construction of the first three of nine Hunter Class frigates, according to the DSCA.
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