L-3 Communications won a $38 million contract modification for contractor logistics support of the Air Force C-12 fleet. Originally developed by Beechcraft, the Raytheon C-12 is a short-range personnel and cargo lift aircraft for the US military. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines, the low-wing, all-metal aircraft is the military version of the civilian Super King Air 200 aircraft. The pressurized cabin is capable of an altitude of 35,000 feet and can be reconfigured to accommodate a mix of passengers, and cargo. The first C-12s were fielded to the US Army in 1974 and the aircraft has undergone a series of upgrades since then. Work will take place in Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, California, Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, Maryland, Kenya, Morocco, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand. Work is expected to be finished by December 31, 2021.
The Defense Department has a four-month supply of personal protective equipment as it anticipates an increase in COVID-19 cases, a statement released. The supplies include respirators, gloves and masks for use by military personnel and families, and was purchased and stockpiled by the Defense Logistics Agency. Much of it will be used for patient care at medical treatment facilities worldwide. The increase in supplies comes as the number of COVID-19 infections has risen sharply in the United States since September. On Monday, the Defense Department reported a total of 99,389 infections and 113 deaths among its military and civilian personnel, dependents and contractors. Last week it announced the award of a $6.18 million contract to Illinois-based Medline Industries Inc. to increase domestic production capacity of surgical masks.
Middle East & Africa
A detachment of US Air Force F-16 fighter planes moved from Germany to the United Arab Emirates, the US Central Command announced. Planes of the 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, deployed at Spangdahlem Air Base, arrived last week at Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE, the command said. Although CENTCOM did not offer specific information about the move, the UAE base has been the center of operations for planes patrolling the Persian Gulf to monitor activities by Iran’s military.
The French Defense Ministry seeks a drone capable of intercepting radio communications transmitters, a request for proposal indicates. A “call for projects for a mini-payload of electronic support on drones” was revealed by France’s Defense Innovation Agency for “an electronic support payload that can be integrated into drones with a maximum take-off mass of less than” 55 pounds. “This payload must be able to detect, locate, identify or even interact with or block telecommunications transmitters,” the agency said in a press release.
Lockheed Martin won a $12 million contract modification, which provides continued support required to establish the common reprogramming tool development network and selection of a service-oriented architecture for the development of enhanced reprogramming tools, which is essential for all standing labs in support of the F-35 aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the governments of Australia and Great Britain. The F-35 is an American family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather that is intended to perform both air superiority and strike missions. Work will take place in Texas and Florida. Estimated completion is in December 2021.
Complaints from local residents in South Korea has forced US Forces Korea (USFK) to cancel a live-firing exercise for its attack helicopters on November 16. The training was supposed to be conducted at the range in Pohang, North Gyeongsang Province. The helicopters had moved there for their training after the traditional training ground at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex in Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province was abandoned earlier this year, due to noise complaints as well.
General Dynamics won a $23.1 million deal for additional fiscal 2021 development studies, design efforts and material for Virginia Class submarines. The contract modification provides additional development studies and design efforts related to Virginia Class submarine design and design improvements. The contractor will continue development studies, design efforts and procurement of material required to fully evaluate new technologies for Virginia Class submarines. The Virginia Class attack submarine is an advanced stealth multimission nuclear-powered submarine for deep ocean anti-submarine warfare and littoral (shallow water) operations. The US Navy awarded several modification contracts to General Dynamics Electric Boat over the years in support of the Virginia-Class attack submarine programme.
Rockwell Collins Simulation won a $19.6 million modification, which is for the production and delivery of one 2F211 S/N 5 aircrew procedures trainer device, associated technical data and proposal preparation in support of the E-2D Hawkeye Integrated Training System program. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the latest version of the Hawkeye early warning aircraft and features a new radar system. It brings new capabilities including the new and powerful AN/APY-9 radar, which is a two-generational leap in technology. The APY-9 radar is an Ultra High Frequency (UHF) surveillance system that provides both mechanical and electronic scanning capabilities designed to “see” smaller targets as well as more of them at a greater range, particularly in coastal regions and over land.
Middle East & Africa
MD Helicopters won a $34 million contract modification for logistics support for the Afghanistan Air Force MD-530F aircraft fleet. The MD-530F is an evolution of the fabled OH-6 Cayuse light observation helicopter, known for speed, safety, agility and the ability to operate with ease in confined spaces, the Armed MD-530F Light Scout Attack Helicopter delivers increased operational capabilities, greater mission versatility and superior performance in the execution of a broad range of mission profiles. Work will take place in Arizona and Afghanistan. Estimated completion date is May 31, 2021.
Raytheon won a $51.1 million contract modification for the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) production program. This modification provides for the procurement and upgrade of test environment/equipment for AMRAAM production capacity. The AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) is a new generation all-weather, missile manufactured by Raytheon. The AMRAAM has been delivered to more than 36 countries. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales to Norway, Denmark, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, Slovakia, Poland, Netherlands, Kuwait, Qatar and Spain. Work will take place in Arizona. Expected completion is in January 2025.
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory won a $133.5 million modification to provide research into the applications of technologies to meet guidance requirements for operations on the Common Missile Compartment for the US Columbia Class program and the United Kingdom Dreadnought Class program; provide specialized technical knowledge and support for the hypersonic guidance, navigation and control application; and provide technical and engineering services to support the guidance, navigation and control system that will support the Navy’s hypersonic flight experiments. The Columbia Class is an upcoming class of nuclear submarines. The Columbia SSBN program consists of a minimum of 12 submarines to meet the requirements for U.S. strategic deterrent force structure as set forth in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. The Columbia Class program completed Acquisition Milestone B on January 4, 2017 and is in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development Phase. The British Navy has also planned to acquire Columbia-class submarine under the name of Dreadnought-class SSBN. This submarine will be armed with eight D-5 SLBMs, or half the number to be carried by the Columbia class. The modular design of the CMC (Common Missile Compartment) will accommodate this difference. The UK provided some of the funding for the design of the CMC, including a large portion of the initial funding. Work will take place in Massachusetts and California. Estimated completion date is September 30, 2021.
VAQ-131 has completed its first expeditionary deployment at NAF Misawa, Japan on November 6 and was relieved by VAQ-135. That was the unit’s first expeditionary deployment. But due to COVID-19, the EA-18Gs did not detach to any other places. As an expeditionary squadron, VAQ-131 deploys their EA-18G Growlers to air bases worldwide and fluidly integrates with US Air Force and foreign entities. While deployed to NAF Misawa, VAQ-131’s primary objective shifted from their previous mission of supporting combat operations while deployed to the Middle East, to supporting security and stability operations within the Indo-Pacific Area of Responsibility.
Watch: Meet The AIM-260: The Air Force And Navy’s Future Long-Range Air-To-Air Missile
Honeywell International won a $72.9 million deal for the repair of six weapon repairable assemblies in support of the V-22 aircraft. The V-22 Osprey aircraft, made by a joint venture between Boeing and Bell, is a multirole model designed for both vertical and short takeoff and landing. The V-22 operates as a helicopter when taking off and landing vertically. The nacelles rotate 90° forward once airborne, converting the aircraft into a turboprop aircraft. The Navy will use its annual working capital funds to finance task orders under the contract, as work runs through November 2025. Work will take place in California and Arizona. Estimated completion will by by November 2025.
AgustaWestland received a $171 million contract to build training helicopters for the US Navy. The deal is a contract modification for production and delivery of 36 TH-73A aircraft in support of the Navy’s Advanced Helicopter Training System program. It follows a January contract, for $175.5 million, for 32 similar helicopters and spare parts, with deliveries beginning in 2021. The Navy plans to procure a total of 130 TH-73As to replace its aging fleet of TH-57B/C Sea Ranger aircraft, in contracts potentially worth $648 million. The Philadelphia-based company is a division of the Italian defense contractor Leonardo, and markets the helicopter commercially as the AW119W. Work will take place in Pennsylvania and Texas. Estimated completion will be in December 2022.
Middle East & Africa
Qatari pilots will soon be training at Italy’s International Flight Training School following an agreement between the Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, and Italy’s minister of defense Lorenzo Guerini on November 11. In a release by the Italian Ministry of Defence, Guerini said, “The partnership between Italy and Qatar in the defence sector is confirmed as having a high strategic value. I am here to renew our commitment to deepen the ongoing collaboration that embraces all sectors.” Qatar currently operates the Pilatus PC-21 and PAC Super Mushshak aircraft in the training role. The country has also ordered nine BAE Systems Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers.
France selected MBDA’s MHT/MLP missile as its Future Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile (MAST-F) for the Tiger attack helicopter. The MHT/MLP (Missile Haut de Trame / Missile Longue Portée – high tier missile / long-range mobile missile) itself is based on the Missile Moyenne Portée, a man-portable anti-tank guided missile. The MHT/MLP is characterized by its high operational effectiveness. Weighing 20% less than other missiles in its category provides a weight saving of nearly 100 kg for the Tiger helicopter, which can carry up to eight missiles in combat configuration. Exploiting this weight saving increases the Tiger’s fuel capacity and so its combat endurance, with a significant gain in “playtime”.
NATO received the fifth and last NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance aircraft in its fleet at the Main Operating Base in Sigonella, Italy, this week. The RQ-4D aircraft took off from Palmdale Air Force base in California Wednesday night and landed at Sigonella Thursday afternoon. The drone took nearly 20 hours to reach its home. The arrival of the RQ-4D aircraft at its home base in Europe represents a new milestone in the NATO AGS Programme, completing the NATO AGS fleet. Following the arrival of RQ-4D Phoenix 5, the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Management Agency and the Italian Airworthiness Authorities will continue to wrap up the required documentation and hand-over the system to the NATO AGS Force in the coming months.
Up Media reports that the Teng Yun unmanned air vehicle from Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) might be armed with the TC-1 air-to-air missile. Under project Sky Blade, the research team will modify the TC-1 with features from the Sea Oryx naval point-defense system.
Watch: NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) – RQ-4D Phoenix
Latest updates[?]: France selected MBDA’s MHT/MLP missile as its Future Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile (MAST-F) for the Tiger attack helicopter. The MHT/MLP (Missile Haut de Trame / Missile Longue Portée – high tier missile / long-range mobile missile) itself is based on the Missile Moyenne Portée, a man-portable anti-tank guided missile. The MHT/MLP is characterized by its high operational effectiveness. Weighing 20% less than other missiles in its category provides a weight saving of nearly 100 kg for the Tiger helicopter, which can carry up to eight missiles in combat configuration. Exploiting this weight saving increases the Tiger’s fuel capacity and so its combat endurance, with a significant gain in “playtime”.
Tiger HAP & HAC
Eurocopter’s Tiger had always had a very odd setup in that it came in two seemingly incomplete versions (HAP scout and HAC/UHT anti-tank), whose respective deficiencies severely limited multi-role flexibility and hence exports. The new Tiger HAD (Helicoptere Appui Destruction) variant fixes those deficiencies, and looks set to become the default version for new-build EC665 Tiger exports.
The HAD project began in December 2005, as the EU’s OCCAR organization for armament cooperation signed a formal contract in Bonn, Germany and set out initial procurement numbers for Spain. This was followed by the French DGA’s announcing the restructuring of its own 80-helicopter order, and each customer has made its own choices as the new variant has gone from concept to initial delivery.
The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Agile Combat Support Directorate started the process of replacing its existing inventory of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), also known as Humvees, with the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The service has a need for 3,230 vehicles and they will be bought via an Army contract with Oshkosh Corporation. However, not all HMMWVs will be replaced, the current process is to swap out the up-armored variant. Air Force units are expected to start receiving the new JLTVs starting from September 2021, after having mission specific equipment installed at Naval Information Warfare Center. Developed by the Army based on the U.S. experience fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the JLTV is considered a major upgrade from Humvees currently in the field. It’s designed to achieve operational objectives in Performance, Payload and Protection against adversaries and provide better protection against improvised explosive devices.
Sig Sauer Inc. confirmed that it will produce a new scope for M4A1carbine rifles. The US Army Contract Command awarded the company a $77 million deal. Sig Sauer, headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire, will manufacture its TANGO6T optic for the branch. The TANGO6T is a variable-magnification Direct View Optic riflescope that allows close quarter and long-range target sightings with the ability to quickly switch between one and six times magnification, according to the company. The device is currently in use with the US Army Squad Designated Marksman and US Military Special Forces.
Middle East & Africa
Israel received a Lockheed Martin F-35I combat aircraft to be used for in-country development testing of specific national capabilities, the Israeli Air Force announced. The arrival saw the first non-US based testbed F-35I fly into the IAF Flight Testing Center (FTC) at Tel-Nof Airbase, south of Tel Aviv. The first new aircraft to be assigned to the FTC in 14 years, the F-35I, line number AS-15, IAF serial 924, was the 15th “Adir” to come off the production line at Fort Worth, Texas and was initially retained in the United States.
Austrian prosecutors upheld a decision to end a criminal probe into alleged fraud by aviation and defense group Airbus and Eurofighter in connection with a 2 billion-dollar (€1.7 billion) fighter jet purchase in 2003, the counsel for Austria said Wednesday evening. A criminal complaint brought by Austria’s Defense Ministry in 2017 prompted the investigation. A lower court ordered an end to the investigation in April, which the Vienna appeals court upheld on the grounds that Austria had not provided enough of its own evidence, the office of Austria’s chief legal counsel Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “With that, all criminal investigations in Austria that were initiated as a result of the criminal complaint in 2017 on suspicion of fraud in connection with the Eurofighter purchase have now been brought to an end,” Peschorn’s office said of the appeals court ruling dated November 4 and transmitted a week later.
According to the Russian Military, the Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters of the army aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces, involved in the peacekeeping mission to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, were prepared by the engineering and technical staff for operation after being transported by military transport aircraft. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an ethnic and territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russian helicopter pilots performed training flights and departed to base airfields to perform tasks in the interests of the peacekeeping contingent. On November 10 a ceasefire was established in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. A peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is being reportedly brought into the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin corridor to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire and military operations.
For the first time since the US and Taiwan ceased bilateral ties in 1979, Taipei on Monday announced the arrival of US marines to train Taiwanese soldiers. Taiwan’s Naval Command said a contingent of US marines, Marine Raiders, arrived upon the invitation of Taiwan’s military and will begin training Taiwanese troops for four weeks starting today, the daily Taiwan News reported. The US marines came about two weeks ago but were under quarantine to avoid coronavirus infection. Taiwanese soldiers will be trained by the US marines’ special operations troops in assault boat and speedboat infiltration operations at the Tsoying Naval Base in the port city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
Watch: Stealth on Steroids: Meet Israel’s F-35I Adir (An F-35 Like No Other)
A US Marine Corps AH-1W gunship now retired to Picatinny Arsenal. It will be used as a laboratory for the XM915 20mm Gatling gun. The Bell AH-1W Super Cobra was flown from NAS Joint Reserve Base New Orleans to Picatinny Arsenal by Marines Lt. Col. Mark Diss and Capt. Garrett Peirce. The US Army plans to fit the XM915 on its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. The Super Cobra, a twin-engine attack helicopter, is the first aviation aircraft to be housed on post for research and development purposes at the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center, also known as DEVCOM.
The US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) procured a logistics drone prototype to demonstrate long-range naval ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore cargo transport. The Blue Water Maritime Logistics UAS will be used to deliver electronics parts or assemblies that weigh less than 50 pounds to warships. NAWCAD will improve the drone by working on invasions like folding wings for better handling and ship storage, a dual propulsion system that runs on both electricity and JP-5. “The Blue Water logistics UAS will be further developed and tested by the Navy, for the Navy,” said NAWCAD Commander Rear Adm. John Lemmon. “NAWCAD has organic talent and facilities you can’t find anywhere else. Combined with increased acquisition freedom granted by Congress, this effort shows how we’re doing business differently.”
Middle East & Africa
Boeing won a $9.8 billion deal for F-15 support for Saudi Arabia. This contract provides for modernization and sustainment of the F-15 Saudi fleet to include such efforts as hardware, software, and interface design, development, integration, test, subsystem and structural component production and installation of future modifications and enhancements to the F-15 Saudi weapon system as well as product support. Per the contract, the ordering period for this contract is five years from the date of contract award plus an option for an additional five year ordering period. Saudi Arabia’s most modern F-15s are 88 new-build F-15SAs, with an average age of just 5.1 years. In addition to fly-by wire controls, the F-15SA has a digital electronic warfare suite, an infrared search and track system and a Raytheon APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array radar. The aircraft’s forward and aft cockpits feature advanced displays and joint helmet-mounted cueing systems. The new F-15 variant also has two additional wing weapons stations to boost its payload. Work will take place in St. Louis. Estimated completion will be by November 2025.
The US State Department cleared sales of F-35 fighter jets and MQ-9 unmanned systems for the United Arab Emirates, making official a potential sale still opposed by many congressional Democrats. The DoS formally approved a potential $23.4 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates, including up to 50 F-35s, 18 MQ-9s, and both air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions. In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the massive arms sale package, which includes up to 50 F-35 jets worth $10.4 billion, 18 MQ-9B drones worth $2.97 billion, and $10 billion of munitions. “The proposed sale will make the UAE even more capable and interoperable with US partners in a manner fully consistent with America’s longstanding commitment to ensuring Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge,” said the statement.
Defense company BAE Systems will reportedly receive a €1billion ($1.2 bn) windfall from the German government’s purchase of 38 Eurofighter jets, which german officials announced last week. According to the Times, BAE, which will make parts for the aircraft at its plant in Warton in Lancashire, would secure at least €1bn from the deal. However, the firm declined to comment on the report. BAE is Britain’s largest defense group and also part of the Eurofighter consortium. The German parliament had approved a 5.4 billion euro contract to buy 38 Eurofighter jets from Airbus. The selection of the Eurofighter over the Lockheed Martin F-35 will mean that the German Air Force will not be flying the American Jet in future.
The Japanese Navy demonstrated its latest Kawasaki P-1 submarine-hunting plane. On November 11, the Japan Maritime Self-Protection Drive 4th Air wing’s official Twitter account posted photos displaying 5 new Kawasaki P-1 plane on the Atsugi air base. The P-1 is a contemporary maritime patrol plane. It is developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Currently, all five new submarine-hunting aircraft are located at the Japanese air base Atsugi. The Japanese Kawasaki P-1 was developed solely for the purpose for which it is supposed to be used and there is no civilian counterpart to this aircraft.
The US Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command announced that it has test fired its Low-Cost Extended Range Air Defense (LOWER AD) missile interceptor. The LOWER AD is part of the Army’s roadmap to modernize its air defense system. The interceptor is design to defeat subsonic cruise missiles and unmanned aerial systems. It fills a capability gap between man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) and high-end Patriot interceptors. The CCDC Aviation & Missile Center is developing and demonstrating the Low-Cost Extended Range Air Defense (LOWER AD) missile interceptor technology that is smaller and less costly than larger systems.
L-3 Electron Devices won a $7.9 million delivery order for the repair of the guided traveling wave tube in support of the F/A-18 aircraft. The F/A-18 Hornet is a single- and two-seat, twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases. It has a digital control-by-wire flight control system which provides excellent handling qualities, and allows pilots to learn to fly the airplane with relative ease. Two type series of the original Hornet, the A/B and C/D preceded the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, a larger more capable version of the F/A-18 introduced in 1999. Since then the Super Hornet has been updated with “Block II” models and now there’s a “Block III” Super Hornet. Boeing signed a $4 billion contract with the Navy in May 2019 for 78 new-build Block III Super Hornets which should be delivered by spring 2024. Work under the delivery order will take place in California. Estimated completion will be by February 2021.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing awarded a $657.2 million contract action modification for the F-15Q Qatar program. The contract modification provides a comprehensive sparing program and contractor logistics support for the sustainment of the F-15QA aircraft. Back in April, Boeing successfully completed the first flight of the F-15QA fighter developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF). According to Boeing, the F-15QA brings to its operators next-generation technologies such as fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit and modernized sensors. Logistical support for training devices and administrative costs are also included in the modification. Work will take place at Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
ESG Aerosystems won a $64.8 million deal to develop a curriculum and facilitate training for P-3 aircrew positions including copilots, patrol plane commander, instructor pilot, flight engineer, instructor flight engineer, and flight currency training in support of Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity’s applicable field units and other program offices and stakeholders. The P-3 Orion is a land-based maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The contract includes a five-year ordering period with no options and is expected to be completed by November 2025. This effort is 100% funded by Federal Republic of Germany funds under the Foreign Military Sales program. In June 2020, Germany had put a halt to an ongoing midlife upgrade of its fleet of Lockheed Martin P?3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) as it shifted to examining potential replacements. The legacy fleet of eight P-3C Orions were purchased secondhand from Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) stocks in 2005. The first unit entered German service in April 2006 following upgrades to P-3C CUP standard conducted by Lockheed Martin at its facility in Greenville, South Carolina, under a prior contract with the Dutch government. Work under the current contract will take place in Florida. Estimated completion will be in November 2025.
Polish President Andrzej Duda signed an enhanced US-Poland defense cooperation agreement (EDCA) on November 9. He said, the union should grow despite political changes. The agreement calls for establishment of about 5,500 US troops on Polish soil on a revolving basis, and the forward deployment of the US Army’s V Corps in Poznan, Poland. It reinforces the US military presence in Eastern Europe and provides for expansion of Poland’s defense infrastructure and an increase in joint military exercises, Poland’s Presidential Palace announced. “The United States values our strong bilateral relationship with Poland. We look forward to Poland’s swift ratification of the EDCA, which will permit us to implement fully the enhanced defense cooperation envisioned by Presidents Trump and Duda“, the DoS said in a statement.
The first five of 16 Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters ordered for the Philippine Air Force back in 2019 arrived at Clark Air Base, north of Manila. The helicopters were flown from Poland by a Russian Antonov heavy transport plane last November 7 and unloaded at Clark Air Base in Pampanga on November 9.. There was a brief stop in Kuwait. A sixth unit was expected to arrive in December aboard a ship. The DND said the Antonov could carry only five units “and as a result a sixth was loaded on a ship.” The helicopters were part of the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) combat utility helicopters acquisition project. The Black Hawks were procured through a government-to-government transaction.
Watch: Philippine Air Force S-70i Black Hawk Helicopter Capabilities
The US Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $17.5 million contract modification to exercise options to provide design agent engineering services for the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) electronic systems and computer programs. The modification is for software design, systems engineering, ship/missile integration services, and depot operations services for the MK 41 VLS module electronics and launch control system. According to the DoD, these services include new missile integration into MK 41 VLS including launcher design, launcher integration into new ship classes and the new AEGIS shore based component, Life Cycle Support Facility depot operations, system product improvements, predictability enhancements, reliability enhancements, and failure investigations. The Mk 41 Vertical Launching System is a shipborne missile canister launching system. According to Lockheed Martin, MK 41 VLS is the only launching system that can simultaneously accommodate the weapon control system and the missiles of every warfighting mission area—anti-aircraft, anti-surface, anti- submarine and land attack. Work will take place in Maryland, Virginia, Washington and California. Estimated completion will be by July 2021.
The first two HH-60W “Jolly Green II” helicopters arrived at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia on November 5, 2020. The USAF expects the arrival of 112 of these helicopters. The first two aircraft arrived from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Training Academy in Stuart, Florida. Moody’s 41st Rescue Squadron and the 413th Flight Test Squadron and 88th Test and Evaluation Squadron flew the “Jolly Greens II“, The HH-60W is an improved variant of the combat-proven UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter, and will eventually replace the HH-60G Pave Hawk medium-lift, combat search-and-rescue helicopter, which entered service in 1982. The new helicopter is designed for deployment in casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, non-combatant evacuation missions, civil search-and-rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and insertion or extraction of combat forces. The USAF ordered the choppers in 2014.
Middle East & Africa
According to Israel’s Ministry of Defense, the Israeli Navy first Sa’ar 6 Class corvette, INS Magen, will arrive in Israel in December. Within the coming year, three more Sa’ar 6 ships will be transferred to Israel from thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Kiel shipyard, Germany. The ship will join the Israeli Navy’s fleet to reinforce the IDF’s naval assets, with an emphasis on defensive capabilities for important strategic assets and on offensive capabilities that have never been seen before in the eastern Mediterranean. The Sa’ar 6 Class corvette is a class of warships initially ordered for Israel’s Navy in 2015.
Lockheed Martin Overseas won a $14.3 million modification under the Poland Aegis Ashore Engineering Agent contract. Under this modification, the contractor will configure the Poland Aegis Ashore REU Integration Site (POL-AARIS) and perform integration, test, maintenance and upgrades of the Aegis Combat System prior to final installation within the Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense System. The Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense System is a program developed to provide missile defense against shirt to intermediate ballistic missiles. Work will take place in New Jersey and Poland. Estimated completion date is January 26, 2022.
Crimson Warrior, the largest military exercise to be run by the Royal Air Force in the UK for a decade has finished after three weeks of complex air activities. The exercise involved personnel and aircraft from the Royal Air Force as well as the Royal Navy, British Army, United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force. Exercise Crimson Warrior is a development of the regular Cobra Warrior exercises with the addition of missions to support the work up of F-35B Lightnings and helicopters that will form the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing during next year’s operational deployment of HMS Queen Elizabeth. According to the RAF, fast jets, multi-engine aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Air Systems operated from Stations across the country. In addition to the fast jets, the exercise incorporated a huge number or aircraft conducting Qualified Multi-engine Tactics Instructors.
Kazakhstan says it took delivery of new Su-30SM fighters. The jets arrived at Karaganda air base. “Under the agreement with the Russian Federation and the program of re-equipment of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan, the Air Force received multifunctional Su-30SM aircraft“, the Ministry of Defense said. The aircraft have been imported from the Irkutsk Aircraft Plant since 2015. Su-30SM is a multirole fighter aircraft developed by JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau for the Russian Air Force. It is an advanced derivative of the Su-30MK combat aircraft family. The Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter was designed in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force. It is being manufactured by IRKUT, a company based in Russia.
Watch: HH-60W Jolly Green II Helicopters Arrive At Moody
The US Navy awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $9.5 billion contract modification for the construction and test of the lead and second ships of the Columbia Class. The contract modifies a $5 billion deal awarded in 2017. It exercises an option to test the ships and to provide design and engineering support. „This modification to the integrated product and process development (IPPD) contract supports the fiscal 2021 construction start of the lead ship (SSBN 826) and advance procurement, advance construction, coordinated material buys and full construction of the follow hull (SSBN 827) in fiscal 2024“, the Pentagon said in a statement. The original contract was for design completion for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, which are meant to replace the Navy’s current force of 14 aging Ohio Class boats. The Columbia Class is an upcoming class of nuclear submarines. General Dynamic subsidiary Electric Boat in collaboration with Newport News Shipbuilding are construction the Columbia Class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) for the US Navy. Work under the contract modification will take place in Connecticut, Virginia and Rhode Island. Estimated completion will be by April 2030.
Raytheon won a $94 million deal to exercise options and realign funding for DDG 1000 ship class integrated logistics support and engineering services. The Zumwalt Class is a class of three guided missile destroyers. The multi-role class was designed for secondary roles of surface warfare and anti-aircraft warfare. DDG 1000 Zumwalt was the first vessel built under the US Department of Defense’s DD(X) programme. The US Navy received the vessel in May 2016. The ship was commissioned for service in October 2016. According to Raytheon, Zumwalt Class ships are designed to incorporate computing, undersea warfare, vertical launcher and electronic modular enclosure systems from Raytheon Technologies’ missiles and defense business. Work will take place in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California, Indiana, Maine and New Hampshire. Work is expected to be finished by October 2021.
The US State Department approved a possible $500 million deal to sell Standard Missile 2 Block IIIC missiles and related equipment to Canada, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. Canada’s government wanted to buy 100 SM-2 Block IIIC missiles and 100 MK 13 vertical launch systems. According to the DSCA, obsolescence engineering; integration and test activity associated with production of subject missiles; canister handling and loading/unloading equipment and associated spares; training and training equipment/aids; technical publications and data; US Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support; and other related elements of logistical and program support are also included in the request. The prime contractor on this deal would be Raytheon. The company has received a $19 million contract for engineering and technical services on the Standard Missile-2 and Standard Missile-6 in 2019. According to Raytheon, 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. The SM-2 “gives warfighters a greater reach in the battlespace,”
Middle East & Africa
CNN reported on November 6, that the US State Department sent Congress an informal notification of plans to sell $10 billion of defense equipment, including precision-guided munitions, non-precision bombs and missiles to the United Arab Emirates. This was told to CNN by a congressional aide. The informal notification about the ordnance came just after President Donald Trump’s administration informed Congress it planned to sell sophisticated armed aerial drones (MQ-9Bs) to the UAE. Reuters had first reported on this. According to the news agency, a State Department spokesman declined comment, saying its policy was not to confirm or comment on proposed defense sales until Congress is formally notified. Both of the recent informal notifications came after last week’s notification of a potential sale of F-35 fighter jets to the Middle East country.
According to local media, the Ukrainian design office KB “Lucz” presented the “Sokol-300” reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicle. The UAV was to be premiered during the Arms and Security 2020 exhibition in Kiev. The exhibition however, was canceled due to the pandemic. The machine is reportedly armed with 4 Barier-W guided missiles produced by the same company. The prototype flight is planned in about eight to nine months. The presentation of the full-size model of the Sokol-300 drone took place at the “WIZAR” plant in Wiszniewo near Kielce.
Lockheed Martin won a $53.2 million contract modification for miscellaneous support for 50 retrofit aircraft to the Taiwan F-16 Peace Phoenix Rising program. Under the Phoenix Rising program, Taiwan is upgrading its fleet of 144 Lockheed Martin F-16 A/B Block 20 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to the F-16V configuration. The modification provides for contractor over and above support and acquisition of legacy aircraft hardware and equipment. Work will take place in Texas and Taiwan. Expected completion date is December 31, 2023.
In an interview with Air Force Magazine, Boeing’s Vice President and F-15 Program Manager Prat Kumar commented on the status of the F-15EX program for the US Air Force. He said that Japan would be planning to incorporate many of the EX features except the fly-by-wire system. However, it is unknown if Kumar was talking about features that Japan plans to have in new aircraft purchases or those features that will be incorporated in the F-15JSI upgrade program. Boeing signed a Direct Commercial Sale agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to upgrade Japan’s F-15J to the F-15JSI in July this year. Kumar said the Air Force’s adoption of the F-15EX will potentially expand the number of countries that might buy the jet, including current users Israel, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. “The world watches what the US Air Force buys,” he said. “So clearly there’s interest in our existing customer base across the world.” Israel is “taking a look” at the new F-15, he said, while Japan is planning to incorporate many of the EX features except the fly-by-wire system.
Watch: Watch: Everything You Need to Know About the Air Force’s New F-15EX
Latest updates[?]: The US Navy awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $9.5 billion contract modification for the construction and test of the lead and second ships of the Columbia Class. The contract modifies a $5 billion deal awarded in 2017. It exercises an option to test the ships and to provide design and engineering support. „This modification to the integrated product and process development (IPPD) contract supports the fiscal 2021 construction start of the lead ship (SSBN 826) and advance procurement, advance construction, coordinated material buys and full construction of the follow hull (SSBN 827) in fiscal 2024“, the Pentagon said in a statement. The original contract was for design completion for the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, which are meant to replace the Navy's current force of 14 aging Ohio Class boats. The Columbia Class is an upcoming class of nuclear submarines. General Dynamic subsidiary Electric Boat in collaboration with Newport News Shipbuilding are construction the Columbia Class ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) for the US Navy. Work under the contract modification will take place in Connecticut, Virginia and Rhode Island. Estimated completion will be by April 2030.
The US Navy needs new SSBN nuclear missile submarines. Their existing Ohio Class boats will begin to retire at a rate of 1 hull per year, beginning in 2027, as they reach the end of their 42-year operational lifetimes. Hence SSBN-X, also known as the Ohio Replacement Program for now.
The first step toward recapitalization involved a new Common Missile Compartment and Advanced Launcher for current and future nuclear missiles. The next step involves finalizing a design that can serve effectively to 2080, without destroying the US Navy’s shipbuilding budget in the process. Good luck with that one, but they have to to try. The maintenance of the USA’s nuclear deterrent is too important, in a world where nuclear weapons are proliferating.