Boeing won an $11.6 million contract modification, which adds scope for engineering services in support of Next Generation Jammer software development. Next Generation Jammer, an external jamming pod, will address advanced and emerging threats alike, as well as the growing numbers of threats. NGJ uses the latest digital, software-based and Active Electronically Scanned Array technologies and will provide enhanced airborne electronic attack capabilities to disrupt and degrade enemy air defense and ground communication systems. Work will take place in St. Louis, Missouri. Expected completion will be in December 2021.
The first Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) pod has been delivered to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base. AFRL scientists and engineers can now begin the integration of the complete system, to include pod, laser, and beam control, and signals. The main subsystems will be integrated this month while the laser system and the beam control systems will be delivered in July. Testing is scheduled for FY24.
Middle East & Africa
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on February 23 and one of the topics both men discussed was Egypt’s purchase of the Su-35 fighter from Russia. Blinken expressed his concerns over Cairo’s potential purchase of Russia’s Su-35 aircraft, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “The Secretary raised concerns over… Egypt’s potential procurement of Su-35 fighter aircraft from Russia,” Price said in a statement.
Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has signed a government-to-government agreement with the Israel Ministry of Defense (MoD) for Rafael’s Trophy active-protection system (APS) for installation in German Leopard 2 tanks, the MoD and Rafael announced in separate press releases. The Israel Ministry of Defense said the programme, which is led by its Directorate of Defense R&D (MAFAT) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, covers the supply of systems for a tank company, interceptors, spare parts, and operational and technical training. The systems will be delivered over the next several years, the ministry added.
Taiwan’s Oceanic Affairs Council has proposed to the government that the Coast Guard Administration set up a aviation unit. The proposal was to buy four C-130Js and eight Beechcraft King Air 350ER aircraft along with eight helicopters, Up Media reports. The news report said that the proposal was opposed by the executive yuan, the National Airborne Service Corps and Ministry of Transportation and Communications. All parties then decided to postpone the discussions for three months. It is expected to cost Taiwanese taxpayers $900 million to purchase and modify the fixed-wing and rotor-wing aircraft.
The head of Pacific Air Forces, Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach, told reporters during a virtual call that he is pushing to have E-7 airborne early warning aircraft procured immediately to replace the E-2 AWACS. Wilsbach said the E-3 is “harder and harder to get airborne” due to maintenance issues with the aging platform.
Watch: Next Generation Jammer Mid Band takes to the skies for Growler flight testing
Naval Air Force Atlantic tested a long-range aerial drone last weekend, the Navy announced. The long-range cargo transport, dubbed Blue Water UAS, is designed to operate with Naval Forces that typically operate in heavy winds over open water and require aircraft to land on vessels that are moving rapidly at sea. The proof-of-concept test was conducted last Sunday by transporting lightweight logistical equipment from the mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center at Naval Station Norfolk on board USS Gerald R. Ford while the carrier was in-port.
Boeing announced that its T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer has entered production at its plant in St. Louis. Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president of T-7 Programs, says technicians will assemble the aircraft with minimal tooling and drilling thanks to the use of full-size determinant assembly. The jet was fully designed using 3D model-based definition and data management systems developed at Boeing during the last 20 years, Boeing said in a press release.
Middle East & Africa
The Egyptian Navy will be the first international customer for the VL MICA NG (New Generation) air defense system. MBDA says the missile will be used to arm Egyptian corvettes. The VL MICA NG system offers improved capabilities to handle atypical targets (UAVs, small aircraft), as well as future threats characterized by increasingly low observable infrared and radio frequency signatures. Additionally, VL MICA NG will be able to intercept ‘conventional’ targets (aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles) at longer distances.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Matrix have signed an agreement to establish a joint AI excellence centre. The two companies will co-develop AI, machine learning (ML) and Big Data-driven solutions to be integrated into IAI’s: satellite and space systems, defense and attack systems, missiles, homing heads, electro-optical payloads. IAI has been using AI capabilities in its various systems for many years. It will now leverage the development center to work with Matrix Defense on scaling existing capabilities and developing new ones.
The Royal Navy announced that HMS Spey has left Portsmouth, beginning the journey to joining her sisters as fully-fledged members of the Overseas Patrol Squadron. When Spey becomes operationally active she will be the eighth Offshore Patrol Vessel vessel in the Royal Navy fleet with HMS Forth, Medway currently on operations in the South and North Atlantic and Mediterranean respectively. The other patrol vessels are active in UK waters.
South Korea’s defense project promotion committee has approved a plan to acquire a new “counter-artillery detection radar-III” to replace the aging AN/TPQ-36/37 weapon-locating radars. The new radar will be develop locally. AN/TPQ-36 is a weapon-locating radar, designed to detect and track incoming mortar, artillery and rocket fire to determine the point of origin for counterbattery fire.
Watch: USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) Super Aircraft carrier in action
Raytheon won a $14.9 million contract modification, which increases the scope and provides updates to the CV-22 mission planning system to support the suite of integrated radio frequency countermeasures. Additionally, this modification provides capability defect package problem reports in support of the V-22 software support activity. The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multimission tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Boeing and Bell Helicopters. The US Air Force and US Navy variants are equipped with a Raytheon AN/APQ-186 terrain-following, multimode radar. Work will take place in Indiana and estimated completion will be in September 2022.
The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis is to undergo a four-year overhaul at a cost of $2.9 billion. According to the Defense Department, “this effort refuels, overhauls and modernizes USS John C. Stennis to support the second half of its 50-year service life. The ship will be the seventh US aircraft carrier to undergo the Refueling and Complex Overhaul. Plans for the rebuilding began in 2018, when Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding received a $187 million contract to begin engineering-pre-overhaul inspections. The overhaul includes removal of the flight deck and most of the shup’s computer and combat systems, the renovation of tanks and other spaces and refueling its two nuclear reactors, followed by a total reconstruction.
Middle East & Africa
HALCON, a subsidiary of Edge Group, has unveiled its HALCON AntiShip-250 (HAS-250) cruise missile at the International Defense and Exhibition Conference (IDEX) 2021. The missile is guided by Global Navigation Satellite and Inertial Navigation Systems (GNSS + INS) over a range of 250km while flying at Mach 0.8. It is equipped with an active/passive terminal seeker.
The Russian Ministry of Defense has signed a contract with the Ural Civil Aviation Plant to produce the initial batch of Altius-RU Unmanned Air Vehicles. Altius will reportedly be capable of fulfilling a wide spectrum of reconnaissance missions using optical, radio and radar tools. According to reports, the drone will be equipped with a satellite communications system and artificial intelligence, and will be capable of interacting with manned aircraft.
According to the French defense procurement agency, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has launched the Sous-marin Nucléaire Lanceur d’Engins de 3e Génération (SNLE 3G) third-generation strategic ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) programme, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA). The DGA expects the first contract to be awarded in 2021, covering development studies lasting until 2025, the production of the first elements of the SNLE 3G’s hull and nuclear boiler room, and the preparation of Naval Group’s production facilities to build the SSBN. The SNLE 3G program is being conducted by the French armed forces and the DGA, which is responsible for overall project management. It is the subject of a framework agreement with the industry for the development, industrialization, logistics and production of the four SSBNs.
Airbus has confirmed that it will be participating in Malaysia’s maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) tender by offering the C-295 MPA variant. The C-295 is a stretched variant of the C-235 with new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G engines, Malaysia is an operator of the C-235.
Watch: French MoD Announces Project to Launch 4 Third-Gen Nuclear Submarines
The US Navy seeks to upgrade its fleet of autonomous underwater sensor gliders, devices used to provide data to attack submarines. The system would improve the current Littoral Battlespace Sensing Glider, which generally deploy from oceanographic survey ships and would measure water conditions in areas to help fleet operational planning or hunt enemy submarines. The request of proposals was announced this week. The new LBS-G drone will be expected to operate for 90 days at a time, dive to 657 feet, spend much of its time at the bottom of the sea, surface when it needs to transmit data to a satellite and take water samples every two seconds.
The first of 17 B-1B bombers to be retired this year took its final flight, to Davis-Monahan Air Force Base, in Arizona last week. It was given to the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group at a section of the base known as “the boneyard,” intact but covered in protective coatings pending further disposition, which means it likely will be cannibalized and used for spare parts. Not all 17 Lancers will go to the boneyard, once they retire. One will go to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., for testing, although AFGSC did not say if the jet will conduct air or static ground tests.
Middle East & Africa
Saab announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has received its third Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The delivery of the third of the five Bombardier Global 6000 business jet-based platforms that were contracted to the UAE Air Force and Defense (AF&D) under the Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSS) programme came about 10 months after the first was handed over in late April 2020 and five months after the second was delivered in September 2020. The GlobalEye platform is built around the Saab Erieye Extended Range (ER) S-band (2–4 GHz) radar that is housed in the same external dorsal ‘plank’ as the company’s original Erieye system.
Israel inked a letter of acceptance (LOA) with the United States for the procurement of two Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker aircraft, and plans further similar agreements to enhance its qualitative military edge (QME) in the region. According to the Ministry of Defense, the LOA for the tankers was signed over the previous weekend. It added that it intends to enter into similar agreements for the standing up of a third squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir combat aircraft, the replacement of its Sikorsky CH-53D Yasur heavy-lift helicopters, the procurement of advanced munitions, “and more”.
According to Jane’s, the Italian Air Force has showcased for the first time the new multirole mission of its Eurofighter combat aircraft. The service showed a Eurofighter from 36 Wing laden with a mix of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry. This loadout comprised a pair of IRIS-T short-range and four AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles in the air-to-air role, as well as two Paveway II precision-guided bombs and a Litening targeting pod for the air-to-surface role.
India reportedly started reinforcing its defenses along its north-eastern border with China as military tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors continue in the Himalayas. India is bolstering defenses in the North East with reorientation of existing troops, raising of new armored units to take on the Chinese challenge and a fresh focus on increasing connectivity to ASEAN neighbors.
Latest updates[?]: Saab announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has received its third Saab GlobalEye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The delivery of the third of the five Bombardier Global 6000 business jet-based platforms that were contracted to the UAE Air Force and Defense (AF&D) under the Swing Role Surveillance System (SRSS) programme came about 10 months after the first was handed over in late April 2020 and five months after the second was delivered in September 2020. The GlobalEye platform is built around the Saab Erieye Extended Range (ER) S-band (2–4 GHz) radar that is housed in the same external dorsal ‘plank’ as the company’s original Erieye system.
In November 2009, Saab announced a 1.5 billion SEK (about $220 million) contract from the United Arab Emirates for 2 of its Saab 340 regional turboprops, equipped with Erieye active-array radars that can scan large airspace volumes, and with related command and control systems. The Saab 340 AEW contract also includes ground equipment, initial spares, and support services.
The UAE is just the latest buyer of Saab’s Erieye system.
General Atomics won an $11.2 million contract modification, which exercises options to procure Group 5 Unmanned Air System (UAS) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance support for outside the continental US (OCONUS) Task Force Southwest and Marine Corps operations using contractor-owned/contractor-operated MQ-9 Reaper UAS. The MQ-9 Reaper has an operational ceiling of 50,000ft, a maximum internal payload of 800lb and external payload exceeding 3,000lb. It can carry up to four Hellfire II anti-armor missiles and two laser-guided bombs (GBU-12 or EGBU-12) and 500lb GBU-38 JDAM (joint direct attack munition). Work will take place in Arizona and California. Estimated completion will be in May 2021.
Raytheon won a $74.2 million deal, which provides 23.4 APY-10 radar system production kits and related support for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft for Navy and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. The AN/APY-10 RADAR system is a multi-mission maritime and overland surveillance RADAR. It is capable of performing long-range surface search and target tracking, periscope detection, ship imaging and classification using synthetic aperture radar and inverse synthetic aperture radar. Work will take place in Texas, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ontario, Florida and Connecticut. Estimated completion will be in August 2025.
Middle East & Africa
Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias says his country is close to signing a Status of Forces Agreement that will allow Greek Patriot air defense missile unit to deploy in Saudi Arabia. The agreement was concluded during a meeting in Athens between Dendias and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud in January last year. But the deployment was delayed by the COVID pandemic.
The 25th Attack Group began flying the first active-duty operated US Air Forces in Europe MQ-9 Reaper sorties in Romania via remote-split operations as of February 1. Until now, the 25th ATKG specialized in counter-terrorism missions in United States Central Command area of operations. They are now building capacity in the United States European European Command area of responsibility to support great power competition while maintaining a persistent presence in USCENTCOM.
BAE Systems announced that it has received a $50 million order from the Norwegian Army for 20 additional CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, bring its total fleet to 164 vehicles. According to BAE, the order includes a request for 12 engineering and eight multi-carrier CV90 variants which are scheduled for delivery in 2023. Norway is one of seven European countries that uses the CV90. It’s also the latest customer to enhance its fleet of combat-proven CV90s following significant life extension and mid-life upgrade contracts from Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Philippine’s Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says he hopes to sign the contract to buy 2 C-130J cargo aircraft by end of this year. The request was for five aircraft but the COVID pandemic took away funds for the purchase. Lorenzana also said he hoped to sign a deal for more Black Hawk helicopters, but he did not elaborate.
The US Air Force has awarded a contract to Silver Arrow to scale down its GD-2000 cargo delivery unmanned air system (UAS). This Small Business Innovation Research contract is to meet specific Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) operational requirements. The glider will deploy from the cargo ramp of the CV-22 and side-door of small fixed-wing aircraft. Silver Arrow says the final product will a eventually be procure on a sole-source basis by the United States government for special operations and tactical resupply as well as humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
BAE Systems announced a $247 million contract with the US Space Force to manufacture an advanced global positioning system (GPS) receiver. The Space and Missile Systems Center of the USSF seeks smaller and lighter receivers capable of jam-resistant M-code, or military code, GPS signals. The technology is designed to provide positioning, navigation and timing capabilities to warfighters to execute missions in challenging electromagnetic environments, BAE Systems.
Middle East & Africa
American destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill has seized illicit shipments of weapons and weapons components from two stateless dhows during a maritime security operation in international waters off the coast of Somalia. Thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and crew served weapons were found. Other weapon components included barrels, stocks, optical scopes and weapon systems.
The sale of multiple launch rocket systems to Finland was approved by the State Department. The potential $91.2 million deal, with Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control as its sole contractor, however still requires approval by the US Senate. The sale would include M30A2 and M31A2 Extended Range Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, quality assurance testing services, and technical and logistical support.
British minehunter HMS Blyth is joining NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Group One. According to the Royal Navy, the hi-tech minehunter has left her native Clyde to take her place with a small force of like-minded warships from across the alliance: Standing Mine Countermeasures Group One. Blyth completed a 6,500 nautical mile voyage home from the Gulf last summer and underwent an extensive maintenance period through the autumn and winter after her three years in the punishing heat/sand/dust of the Middle East.
According to South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, the the US military is preparing for a possible North Korean missile test next month by relocating its missile tracking assets in the north Pacific. A RC-135S Cobra Ball missile tracking aircraft has been deployed from Offutt Air Force Base to Kadena Air Base, Japan. Similarly, USNS Howard O. Lorenzen has been underway in the Yellow Sea this week. The missile range instrumentation ship was previously involved in tracking North Korea long-range missile testing in 2016 and 2017.
Watch: Big Beautiful Aircraft: Boeing RC-135s And An E-4B Taxiing At Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha
Northrop Grumman announced on February 16 that it has carried out the first major design review event for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). The GBSD is being develop to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. The review took place in November, 2020 over a period of three-days by a team from Northrop Grumman and the US Air Force.
The US Marine Corps 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit declared that the air wing on board amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) has air operations in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from February 13. VMM-164 (Reinforced) is providing close air support operations and defensive counter air support operations while F-35Bs from VMFA-122 are executing long-range strike.
Middle East & Africa
General Dynamics Land Systems won a $20.7 million contract modification for Abrams systems technical support. Abrams is an American Main Battle Tank. The first M1 Abrams battle tanks were delivered to the US Army in 1980. A total of 3,273 M1 tanks were produced for the US Army, 4,796 M1A1 tanks were built for the US Army, 221 for the US Marines and 880 co-produced with Egypt. In 2016, the DoS approved a foreign military sale to Kuwait for the recapitalization of that country’s 218 M1A2 main battle tanks. Work under the contract modification will take place in Michigan. Estimated completion date is June 22, 2022.
The US State Department agreed to sell 168 RIM?116C Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) Block 2 tactical missiles to Egypt to equip them on Navy’s Fast Missile Craft ships. The contract is estimated to cost $197 million, and it includes RAM Guided Missile Round Pack Tri-Pack shipping and storage containers; operator manuals and technical documentation; US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. Egypt already operates previously procured RAM Block 1A missiles. The Biden administration however, has also vowed a tougher stance on human rights after his predecessor Donald Trump courted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whom he reportedly called “my favorite dictator”, in part for his cooperation with Israel. The current arms sale comes amid continued concerns about Egypt’s human rights record, particularly after Egyptian authorities raided the homes of relatives of Egyptian American activist Mohamed Soltan. According to Soltan’s nonprofit organization the Freedom Initiative, two of his cousins were arbitrarily detained. The State Department was looking into reports of the detentions. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press briefing: “We have and we continue to engage the Egyptian government on human rights concerns and we take seriously all allegations of arbitrary arrest or detention,” Price said. “We will bring our values with us into every relationship that we have across the globe. That includes with our close security partners. That includes with Egypt.”
As a subcontractor for Babcock International Group, Hamworthy Pumps will supply the pump solutions for five Type 31 Frigates. By 2028, Babcock International Group will have built five new Type 31 frigates for the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, and Hamworthy Pumps will supply the pump solutions. The Babcock International Group deal includes the delivery of a total of 235 pumps over a five-year period.
The Asahi has disclosed that the two new Aegis warships that Japan plans to build as the alternative to land-base Aegis Ashore sites are only able to be on station to defend the country for up to 126 days a year. The land-based solution is capable of being operational for 365 days a year. A report by the Ministry of Defense stated that the ship would require three months of maintenance each year. The crew would need refresher training after that before they can be declared ready for duty.
Watch: The Next-generation of Royal navy Type 31 Super Frigate Capability!
Latest updates[?]: General Dynamics Land Systems won a $20.7 million contract modification for Abrams systems technical support. Abrams is an American Main Battle Tank. The first M1 Abrams battle tanks were delivered to the US Army in 1980. A total of 3,273 M1 tanks were produced for the US Army, 4,796 M1A1 tanks were built for the US Army, 221 for the US Marines and 880 co-produced with Egypt. In 2016, the DoS approved a foreign military sale to Kuwait for the recapitalization of that country’s 218 M1A2 main battle tanks. Work under the contract modification will take place in Michigan. Estimated completion date is June 22, 2022.
America’s M1 Abrams tanks come in a number of versions. In addition to the M1A1 that is now standard, the US Army is beginning to field its M1 TUSK for urban warfare. It also operates the M1A2 System Enhancement Program (SEP), currently the most advanced standard variant.
This Spotlight article covers the M1A2 Abrams SEP upgrade program, and will be updated and backfilled as new contracts are issued and key events take place.
F-35 fighter plane engines are in short supply, with the solution months away, causing the Defense Department to reduce its schedule of exhibition flights and to start planning for a shortage as soon as 2022. The Defense Department’s F-35 office has advised that about five to six percent of the US. F-35 fleet could be without useable engines by 2022, and up to 20 percent of the plane’s fleet could be sidelined by 2025. According to Defense News, the F-135 Heavy Maintenance Center, located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, has been unable to process engines for repairs and maintenance, and catching up will take months.
According to Lockheed Martin, the company will soon begin supporting formal integration and testing of the US Army’s combat vehicle protection system intended to keep warfighters safer and more secure from battlefield threats. Under a new contract, the company will provide its Modular Active Protection System (MAPS) base kit, which includes an open-architecture processor that integrates vehicle sensors and countermeasures in a common framework to detect, track and defeat rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. Lockheed Martin will deliver five production-ready base kits with an option for up to 20, and support Army integration and testing on Abrams, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Bradley and Stryker vehicles.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli ministerial committee for military acquisitions signed off on the purchase of another squadron’s worth of F-35 fighter jets, as well as four Boeing KC-46 refueling planes and advanced missiles and bombs on Tuesday, following government approval last week for a contentious funding scheme to pay for the equipment involving massive loans from the United States, the government said.
Turkish companies Ares Shipyard and Meteksan Defense launched the first prototype of their ULAQ weaponized unmanned surface vehicle (USV) in early February, according to a joint statement released by both firms. The prototype USV was launched in Antalya, where Ares Shipyard is located, and an intensive period of sea trials has been initiated. While the companies did not disclose further details at the launch event it is understood that initial testing will focus on sea keeping, maneuverability, and other navigational matters.
The British Army says that the Urban Training Facility boasts “moveable walls; interactive smoke, light, and sound effects; and a video monitoring system for soldiers to be able to review their performance”. It is designed to let troops, armed with rifles adapted to use paint marker ammunition, practice entering and moving through buildings, clearing the enemy as they go.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense has signed a contract with Czech’s OMNIPOL for 12 L-39NG aircraft. The jets will be delivered between 2023 to 2024. The value of the contract was not given but includes the training of pilots, instructors, ground crew and mechanics. Vietnam had previously ordered 31 L-39s.