Lockheed Martin won a $191.2 million contract modification for the US and United Kingdom to provide strategic weapon system Trident SSI Increment 8 production of inertial navigation systems and associated inertial spares for the Ohio and Columbia ballistic missile submarine shallow water submersible platforms for the fleet ballistic missile program. The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the USN’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles. First deployed in 1990, the Trident II D5 missile is currently onboard the US Ohio Class and UK RN Vanguard Class submarines. Work will take place in Ohio, California, New York and Virginia. Estimated completion date is February 28, 2028.
The US Air Force has revised upwards the money required to re-engine the B-52H bomber. The program will now cost $11 billion. Acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth told lawmakers that this represents a 9 percent jump, he also refuted recent press reports of a 50 percent increase as incorrect. Gen. Timothy M. Ray of Air Force Global Strike Command revealed that depending on the scenario, the new engines would reduce the requirement for aerial refueling by up to 50 percent.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey conducted the last test firing of its homegrown Atmaca long-range anti-ship missile on June 18. “The anti-ship missile Atmaca, our homeland’s steel sword, has hit a target ship during the last test today before it will enter service,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan posted on Twitter, attaching a 58-second video showing the test firing of the Atmaca missile. The Atmaca project seeks to replace the U.S.-built Harpoon missile from the military’s arsenal as part of a campaign to wean Turkey’s defense infrastructure from overt dependence on US and NATO equipment.
Rheinmetall announced the release of the Mission Master XT, the latest member of its successful Mission Master family of Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles (A-UGVs). Unlike the Mission Master SP platform, which is already introduced to the market, the Mission Master XT has a diesel-powered engine. It was developed by Rheinmetall Canada.
Kyodo News says Japan will drop the AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) from the list of items it wants to integrate on the F-15JSI. Anonymous officials say this is to reduce costs but no official decision has yet been made. The same article suggests that the AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) will be retained.
Australia has grounded its MRH-90 transport helicopter fleet as a safety precaution, ABC news reports. A defense spokesperson told ABC that the issue was releated “to the application of the helicopter’s maintenance policy in the helicopter’s IT support system.”
Watch: MRH-90 Taipan – Australia’s High Performance Multi Role Helicopter
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin won a $191.2 million contract modification for the US and United Kingdom to provide strategic weapon system Trident SSI Increment 8 production of inertial navigation systems and associated inertial spares for the Ohio and Columbia ballistic missile submarine shallow water submersible platforms for the fleet ballistic missile program. The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the USN’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles. First deployed in 1990, the Trident II D5 missile is currently onboard the US Ohio Class and UK RN Vanguard Class submarines. Work will take place in Ohio, California, New York and Virginia. Estimated completion date is February 28, 2028.
Trident II D5 Test Launch
Nuclear tipped missiles were first deployed on board US submarines at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, to deter a Soviet first strike. The deterrence theorists argued that, unlike their land-based cousins, submarine-based nuclear weapons couldn’t be taken out by a surprise first strike, because the submarines were nearly impossible to locate and target. Which meant that Soviet leaders could not hope to destroy all of America’s nuclear weapons before they could be launched against Soviet territory. SLBM/FBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile/ Fleet Ballistic Missile) offered shorter ranges and less accuracy than their land-based ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) counterparts, but the advent of Trident C4 missiles began extending those ranges, and offering other improvements. The C4s were succeeded by larger Trident II D5 missiles, which added precision accuracy and more payload.
The year that the Trident II D5 ballistic missile was first deployed, 1990, saw the beginning of the end of the missile’s primary mission. Even as the Soviet Union began to implode, the D5’s performance improvements were making the Trident submarine force the new backbone of the USA’s nuclear deterrent – and of Britain’s as well. To ensure that this capability was maintained at peak readiness and safety, the US Navy undertook a program in 2002 to replace aging components of the Trident II D5 missile called the D5 Life Extension (LE) Program. This article covers D5 LE, as well as support and production contracts associated with the American and British Trident missile fleets.
Latest updates[?]: The US Air Force has revised upwards the money required to re-engine the B-52H bomber. The program will now cost $11 billion. Acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth told lawmakers that this represents a 9 percent jump, he also refuted recent press reports of a 50 percent increase as incorrect. Gen. Timothy M. Ray of Air Force Global Strike Command revealed that depending on the scenario, the new engines would reduce the requirement for aerial refueling by up to 50 percent.
B-52H: flyin’ low,
Officially, it’s the B-52H Stratofortress. Unofficially, it’s the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat F–cker). Either way, this subsonic heavy bomber remains the mainstay of the U.S. strategic fleet after more than 50 years of service. A total of 102 B-52H bombers were delivered from FY 1961-1963, and 94 were still on the books as of May 2009, flying mostly from Barksdale AFB, LA and Minot AFB, ND. Of these, 18 are slated for retirement, leaving a planned fleet of 76. By the time that fleet retires in the 2030s, many will be around 70 years old.
The B-52H can’t be flown against heavy enemy air defenses, but a steady array of upgrades have kept the aircraft relevant to follow-on strikes and current wars, where its long time on station and precision weapons have made the BUFF beautiful. Those changes have included advanced communications, GPS guided weapons, advanced targeting pods, and more. The USAF isn’t done yet adding new features, and maintenance remains a challenge for an aircraft fleet that’s always older than its pilots. All of these things require contracts, and the B-52H fleet has several of them underway. So, how does 2010’s 8-year, $11.9 billion umbrella contract fit in…?
The US Army declared that it has tested an autonomous variant of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) on June 16. The Autonomous Multidomain Launcher was tested at Yuma Proving Ground and two other islands during a 1.25-hour mission.
The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) land-based intercontinental ballistic missile system (ICBM)is expected to make its first flight in 2023, GBSD program manager Col. Jason Bartolomei disclosed on June 14. He foresees the system reaching initial operational capability in 2029. Full operational capability will be 2036.
Middle East & Africa
Last month, the US Air Force’s 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron carried out a demonstration to covert commercial-grade aircraft fuel (Jet A-1) into military-grade aircraft fuel (JP-8) at King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia.
Ukrainian firm LUCH unveiled a concept of a new mid-range air defense system, called the SD-300, at the Arms and Security exhibition being held in Kyiv from June 15-18. The SD-300 surface-to-air missile system is designed to intercept various threats such as air-to-ground missiles, helicopters, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), guided bombs, and tactical ballistic missiles up to 100km. It can be used to destroy ground (surface) radar-contrasting moving targets, Defence Blog reported.
Pakistan’s state-owned Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KSEW) has cut the first steel for what will be the country’s fourth Milgem Class corvette. A ceremony to mark the milestone was carried out at KSEW’s premises in Karachi. While fourth-in-class overall, the vessel that is being worked upon would be the second Pakistani Milgem corvette to be constructed in-country.
Indonesia reportedly signed a ‘Coming into force’ contract with France/Dassault Aviation for 36 Rafale jets on June 7 which will go into effect in December 2021. Airspace Review reported quoting its sources said that the contract was signed in Jakarta but did not mention who were the officials involved in signing the contract on either side. The “Coming into force” contract will then become the basis for an Effective Contract after all agreements between Indonesia and France are reached and Indonesia has paid an advance for the purchase of 36 Rafales, it said.
Watch: Russian Su-35 “flew”: Indonesia chose French Rafale fighters
For 50 years, land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) have been part of the US primary strategic deterrence capability, the nuclear-armed triad that also includes submarine-launched ballistic missiles and long range heavy bombers.
Although the main target for the US deterrent – the Soviet Union – imploded in 1991, other threats – such as nuclear-armed rogue states and non-state actors – have emerged. To address these new threats, the US Air Force undertook a major ICBM modernization program.
To carry out this program, the USAF awarded a 15-year ICBM Prime Integration Contract (F42610-98-C-0001) in 1997 to a team led by Northrop Grumman. Since then, the team, which includes Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and ATK, has been carrying out a major modernization of the ICBM system to ensure its readiness.
Will Dassault’s fighter become a fashionably late fighter platform that builds on its parent company’s past successes – or just “the late Rafale”? It all began as a 1985 break-away from the multinational consortium that went on to create EADS’ Eurofighter. The French needed a lighter aircraft that was suitable for carrier use, and were reportedly unwilling to cede design authority over the project. As is so often true of French defense procurement policy, the choice came down to paying additional costs for full independence and exact needs, or losing key industrial capabilities by partnering or buying abroad. France has generally opted for expensive but independent defense choices, and the Rafale was no exception.
Those costs, and associated delays triggered by the end of the Cold War and reduced funding, proved to be very costly indeed. Unlike previous French fighters, which relied on exports to lower their costs and keep production lines humming, the Rafale has yet to secure a single export contract – in part because initial versions were hampered by impaired capabilities in key roles. The Rafale may, at last, be ready to be what its vendors say: a true omnirole aircraft, ready for prime time on the global export stage. The question is whether it’s too late. Rivals like EADS’ Eurofighter, Russia’s Su-27/30 family, and the American “teen series” of F-15/16/18 variants are all well established. Meanwhile, Saab’s versatile and cheaper JAS-39 Gripen remains a stubborn foe in key export competitions, and the multinational F-35 juggernaut is bearing down on it.
DigiFlight won a $13.8 million contract modification for programmatic support for the Apache Attack Helicopter. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a twin-turboshaft attack helicopter. It is equipped with two turboshaft engines, each providing 1,265kW. The American AH-64D has General Electric T700-GE-701 engines and the UK Apache is fitted with RTM322 engines from Rolls-Royce / Turbomeca. Work will take place in Maryland. Estimated completion date is May 23, 2022.
The US Army’s 4th Infantry Division participated in a Counter-Small UAS home-station training session at Fort Carson, Colorado, from April 19-May 7. This is the first time such training was held at home-station. Soldiers learn to operate the Mobile-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defeat System (M-LIDS). This will prepare the soldiers ahead of their deployment to the US Central Command region.
Middle East & Africa
Israel’s BlueBird Aero Systems completed delivery of 100 WanderB-VTOL UAVs to a European customer. The vertical takeoff and landing UAVs are part of a transaction involving over 150 WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL UAVs. This is the world’s largest number of VTOL UAVs delivered to any customer at one time, and was completed within the agreed timetable despite COVID-19 conditions, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) that owns 50% shares of the BlueBird Aero systems said in a statement.
The Netherlands MoD approved the purchase of 179 small all-terrain patrol vehicles for the Marine Corps to replace some of the current BV206D, Viking and Landrover vehicles which are at the end of their lifespan. The project will start this year and will last until 2028. The first vehicles are expected to arrive in 2025.
The Polish Air Force celebrates 100,000 flight hours of its F-16 aircraft fleet in May. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of Poland’s decision to buy the F-16. The F-16 is a leading multinational aircraft that has allowed the Polish Air Force to engage in multiple multinational exercises and operational deployments to include Baltic Air Policing and Operation Inherent Resolve.
The Indian Army tested the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) developed by the Indian Railways for faster movement of freight across the country. The army conducted a successful trial by moving a military train loaded with vehicles and equipment from New Rewari to New Phulera validating the efficacy of the DFC. The intricate and synchronised coordination by the Indian Army with Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) and Indian Railways will significantly enhance the mobilization capability of the Armed Forces.
Watch: BlueBird Aero Systems – ThunderB & WanderB VTOL UAS
Latest updates[?]: DigiFlight won a $13.8 million contract modification for programmatic support for the Apache Attack Helicopter. The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a twin-turboshaft attack helicopter. It is equipped with two turboshaft engines, each providing 1,265kW. The American AH-64D has General Electric T700-GE-701 engines and the UK Apache is fitted with RTM322 engines from Rolls-Royce / Turbomeca. Work will take place in Maryland. Estimated completion date is May 23, 2022.
Latest updates: Total rises to 68.
War takes its toll on equipment, as well as men. In some cases, it wears out. In other cases, enemy fire or accidents destroy equipment. The USA has recognized this fact by funding wartime replacement expenditures as supplemental funding, which is outside the normal budgetary process. The intent is that this money will be spent on replacing equipment that has been worn out, damaged or destroyed, or will be used to provide specialized capabilities like MRAP mine-resistant vehicles that are directly related to front-line demands.
Admittedly, this hasn’t always been true. Politicians are what they are, and so are large organizations like the military. One area where this ethic has undoubtedly been honored, however, has been the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet. This article covers US Army Wartime Replacement Aircraft (WRA) AH-64D Longbow buys, which are the only truly new attack helicopters in the America’s inventory. That will change with the new Block III model, which is more advanced than the WRAs.
Leonardo Helicopters handed over the keys to the first operational TH-73A helicopter to the US Navy at its AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corporation (Leonardo) plant in Philadelphia on June 10. Vice Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, Commander, Naval Air Forces, accepts the keys accepted the keys on behalf of the Navy from Bill Hunt, CEO of Leonardo Helicopters. The service placed an order for 130 helicopters with Leonardo in January 2020.
Boeing won an $18.4 million delivery order modification to an existing contract (W91215-16-G-0001) for the procurement of long-lead components and parts in support of the MH-47G Chinook Block II production program. Fiscal 2021 Army aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $18,372,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The majority of the work will be performed in Ridley Park. The Boeing MH-47G is a special operations variant of the CH-47 Chinook multi-role, heavy-lift helicopter. It is in service with the US Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOC).
Middle East & Africa
Raytheon won a $78.1 million contract modification for contractor logistic support for the Qatar Early Warning Radar for a period of five years. Raytheon had won a $1.06 billion deal to provide an early warning radar (EWR) to Doha in February 2017. The Qatari radar is supposed to add long-range detection to the country’s layered Integrated Air and Missile Defense architecture, which includes Patriot systems and an Air Defense Operation Center. Work will take place in Massachusetts and Doha, Qatar. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2026.
Iranian Navy inducted locally-manufactured ‘Dena’ destroyer and ‘Shahin’ minesweeper at an event in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. Dena is the fourth Jamaran Class destroyer manufactured by the Defense Ministry’s naval industries. The Iranian destroyer is “capable of detecting, tracking, and hitting various aerial, surface, and submarine targets. It can carry helicopters on its deck.” the navy said in a statement.
A new training facility that according to the British Defense Ministry will “secure HMNB Clyde as the central base for submariners in the UK” is taking shape at HMNB Clyde. Last year the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) awarded a contract to Kier Graham Defence Ltd to deliver the works, which are expected to be completed in early 2023. HMNB Clyde in Scotland will host the Submarine Training Facility for the personnel on board the future Dreadnought Class nuclear submarines yet to enter service.
France’s Naval Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) to jointly explore new technologies such as additive manufacturing for naval applications. Under the agreement, the organisations will jointly identify potential use cases of harnessing additive manufacturing. This includes the sharing of production methodology, certification and qualification of additive manufactured components for naval platforms.
Latest updates[?]: Boeing won an $18.4 million delivery order modification to an existing contract (W91215-16-G-0001) for the procurement of long-lead components and parts in support of the MH-47G Chinook Block II production program. Fiscal 2021 Army aircraft procurement funds in the amount of $18,372,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The majority of the work will be performed in Ridley Park. The Boeing MH-47G is a special operations variant of the CH-47 Chinook multi-role, heavy-lift helicopter. It is in service with the US Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOC).
CH-47Fs take off
DII FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record; this FOCUS Article covers the CH-47F/MH-47G Chinook helicopter programs, in the USA and abroad. These helicopters’ distinctive “flying banana” twin-rotor design stems from the brilliant work of aviation pioneer Frank Piasecki. It gives Chinooks the ability to adjust their positioning very precisely, while carrying a large airframe whose load capacity has made it the world’s most popular heavy-lift helicopter. The USA expects to be operating Chinooks in their heavy-lift role past 2030.
The CH-47F looks similar to earlier models, but offers a wide range of improvements in almost every aspect of design and performance. While the related HH-47’s $10-15 billion CSAR-X program win was terminated, delivery orders continue for CH-47Fs and for MH-47G Special Forces configuration helicopters. International orders or formal requests have also come in from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the UAE, with India and other countries expected to follow.