Lockheed Martin won a $67.5 million contract modification to exercise an option for the Advanced Electronic Guidance and Instrumentation System (AEGIS) — Combat System Engineering agent efforts for the design, development, integration, test, and delivery of the Advanced Capability Build 20. The Aegis Combat System is an American integrated naval weapons system developed by the Missile and Surface Radar Division of RCA, and now produced by Lockheed Martin. Work will take place in New Jersey. Estimated completion date is December 31, 2021.
Rolls-Royce won a $26.5 million modification, which exercises an option that provides for the production and delivery of eight AE1107C engines for the Navy and four for the Air Force in support of the V-22 Osprey. The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multimission tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Boeing and Bell Helicopters. Boeing is responsible for the fuselage, landing gear, avionics, electrical and hydraulic systems, performance and flying qualities. Work will take place in Indiana. Estimated completion will be in December 2022.
Middle East & Africa
According to Defense News, Lebanon is putting up five Hawker Hunters for sale and Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC) is one of the three companies that have indicated their interest. These jets have been withdrawn from service since 2010. Brig. Gen. Ziad Haikal, told Defense News that the sale is to restructure the training fleet.
The Royal Air Force has temporarily halted Hawk T1 operations while an investigation is carried out into a recent crash. The MoD said the pause in operations was a “precautionary measure while investigations were ongoing”. Earlier this week it was announced the RAF would retire its fleet of 76 T1 jets as part of a defence review.
Taiwan will resume flights for the Northrop F-5 fighter next week, Air Force chief of staff Huang Chih-Wei told legislators. The fleet was grounded after two jets collided in mid-air on March 22.
Airbus has delivered Singapore’s first H225M helicopter and flight tracking information shows the rotorcraft arrived at Paya Lebar airbase on the morning of March 22. It was loaded on board the cargo plane at Marseille on March 20 and made a stop in Mumbai before proceeding to Singapore.
Watch: Autonomous vessel ‘Madfox’ joins Royal Navy
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control won a $2.8 billion contract for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) Alternative Warhead rocket pods, GMLRS Unitary Warhead rocket pods, Low-Cost Reduced Range Practice rocket pods, cybersecurity services, integrated product support and other services. The company describes the Guided MLRS as a “rapidly-deployable, long-range, surface-to-surface, precision-strike capability.” It is fired from both the MLRS M270 family of launchers and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers. Six Guided MLRS rockets per launch pod, with 2 pods carried by the M270 launchers and 1 pod carried by the HIMARS launchers. Estimated completion date for work under the contract is October 31, 2024.
Northrop Grumman Systems won a $98.9 million contract modification, which increases the scope and provides for one additional low rate initial production Lot Five MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system. The order brings LRIP Lot 5 to three Tritons and, counting orders of the four previous LRIP lots, the Navy has ordered a total of 15. The service plans to procure a total of 68 production Tritons. The Navy has taken delivery of three LRIP 1 Tritons so far, in addition to its two prototypes used for development and testing. Work will take place in California, Texas, Maryland, Utah, West Virginia, Mississippi and North Dakota. Estimated completion will be in January 2025.
Middle East & Africa
Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) Tornado fighters have deployed to Pakistan for exercise Aces Meet 2021-1. The US Air Force will participate in the exercise, which takes place over a two-week period at Mushaf air base.
The final Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft acquired by Romania from Portugal was delivered to the eastern European nation on March 25. NATO’s Allied Air Command announced that the 17th aircraft was delivered to Borcea Air Base. This completed an order that commenced in 2016 when Romania acquired 12 F?16AM/BM Block 15 fighters (nine single-seat and three twin-seat), with a further five F-16s (four single-seat and one twin-seat) following for a final tally of 17.
The Italian Air Force is arming its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets with new GBU-48 bombs, AMRAAM 120 missiles, and IRIS-T missiles, as well as Litening pods made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, to locate targets and direct guided munitions. The Aviationist website reported that the GBU-48 Paveway is a new 454kg GPS and laser-guided munition. Italian Air Force commanders said that Eurofighter Typhoons were originally intended mainly for missions to maintain aerial superiority, but starting from last year the planes were equipped with new and advanced software enabling them to carry out air-to-ground attacks.
Indian Air Force fighters participated in a Passage Exercise between the Indian Navy and Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) on March 28. “In a first, enhancing Jointmanship, Indian Air Force fighters were also included in the Exercise affording IAF an opportunity to practice Air Interception / Air Defence with US Navy close to Indian Coast,” Indian Navy said.
Latest updates[?]: The final Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft acquired by Romania from Portugal was delivered to the eastern European nation on March 25. NATO’s Allied Air Command announced that the 17th aircraft was delivered to Borcea Air Base. This completed an order that commenced in 2016 when Romania acquired 12 F?16AM/BM Block 15 fighters (nine single-seat and three twin-seat), with a further five F-16s (four single-seat and one twin-seat) following for a final tally of 17.
The MiG-21 is reaching the end of its service life, but it can still be effective for a little while. India’s refurbished MiG-21 ‘Bisons’ combined Russian, Indian and Israeli technology to excellent effect in the COPE India 2004 and 2005 exercises with the USAF, and there’s even a Russian-Israeli MiG-21 2000 variant that exists for general sale. Israeli companies have made something of a specialty of refurbishing both Western and Soviet fighters with modern radars, avionics, and Israeli weapons like the Python air-air missile, giving the systems new life. An all-Israeli effort was undertaken for Romania, in order to create Romania’s MiG-21 ‘Lancers’ via upgrade.
The question is what comes next. In 2005, rumor had it that the success of those efforts had led to a more ambitious fighter deal between Israel and Romania for upgraded Cheyl Ha’Avir F-16A/Bs – but that deal appears to have fizzled for unknown reasons. Other firms entered the mix, including Saab with its JAS-39 Gripen and, surprisingly, EADS’ Eurofighter. Then the USA appeared to have flown away with the fighter replacement deal – but, not so fast.
Sikorsky won a $94.3 million deal to support an option exercise of six Program Year 5, Lot 45 HH-60M aircraft. The HH-60M Black Hawk features an integrated MEDEVAC equipment package kit intended to support casualty evacuation missions at daytime or nighttime or even in extreme weather conditions, according to the service branch. The branch exercised an option under a previously awarded contract to procure lot 45 HH-60M choppers for the fifth year of the aircraft procurement effort. Work will take place in Connecticut. Estimated completion date is July 31, 2022.
Rockwell Collins won a $16.9 million order, which upgrades the E-6B Mercury mission computer from a 32-BIT to a 64-BIT Linux-based operating system, resulting in an increase to capability and reduced threat vulnerabilities. The principle mission of the E-6 Mercury is to connect the national command authority with the US Navy’s nuclear missile force carried aboard at-sea ballistic missile submarines. The E-6 is a militarized version of the commercial 707 civilian airliner and carries a very low frequency communication system with dual trailing wire antennas. Work will take place in Richardson, Texas and is expected to be finished in March 2023.
Middle East & Africa
A video circulating online shows a JF-17 being unloaded from a Pakistan Air Force Il-76. The fighter is believed to have been delivered to Makurdi. The Nigerian Air Force has ordered three JF-17s from Pakistan and these have been manufactured, with registrations NAF-720, NAF-721 and NAF-722. In 2018 Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved a $184.3 million sovereign guarantee for the production of three Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC)/Chengdu JF-17 fighters, according to the Pakistan Express Tribune.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said Friday that Eritrean forces agreed to withdraw troops from the Ethiopian border after five months of conflict. “The Ethiopian National Defense Force will take over guarding the border areas effective immediately,” he wrote in an official statement posted on Twitter. “Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray state systematically killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in the northern city of Axum on 28-29 November 2020, opening fire in the streets and conducting house-to-house raids in a massacre that many amount to a crime against humanity,” reported Amnesty International in February.
The Royal Navy has officially welcomed a new autonomous vessel named Madfox into the fleet. The vessel is operated by ‘NavyX’, the Royal Navy’s experimentation group. Over the next few months, the Royal Navy says that NavyX will carry on its work with the Uncrewed Surface Vessel, while also examining how these vessels can deliver across the range of military operations including surveillance and force protection.
Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement late on March 27 that he will be sending the FA-50 to fly over hundreds of Chinese vessels anchored at Whitsun Reef in South China Sea. “Our air and sea assets are ready to protect our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” Lorenzana said.
Watch: Autonomous vessel ready for operations | Royal Navy
Latest updates[?]: Rockwell Collins won a $16.9 million order, which upgrades the E-6B Mercury mission computer from a 32-BIT to a 64-BIT Linux-based operating system, resulting in an increase to capability and reduced threat vulnerabilities. The principle mission of the E-6 Mercury is to connect the national command authority with the US Navy’s nuclear missile force carried aboard at-sea ballistic missile submarines. The E-6 is a militarized version of the commercial 707 civilian airliner and carries a very low frequency communication system with dual trailing wire antennas. Work will take place in Richardson, Texas and is expected to be finished in March 2023.
The USA’s E-6 Mercury (aka. TACAMO, as in TAke Charge And Move Out) “survivable airborne communication system” airplanes support their Navy’s SSBN ballistic missile submarine force and overall strategic forces. With the advent of the new “Tactical Trident” converted Ohio Class special operations subs, their unique capabilities become even more useful. The E-6B version also has a secondary role as a “Looking Glass” Airborne National Command Post, and in recent years they have seen use as communications relay stations over the front lines of combat.
Delivery of the first production E-6 aircraft took place in August 1989, with delivery of the 16th and final airplane coming in May 1992. This is DID’s FOCUS Article concerning the E-6 system, which includes details concerning the capabilities and associated contracts. The latest contracts involve important fleet upgrades, as the Navy tries to drag the jet’s systems into the 21st century.
HMX-1 and the White House Military Office is testing the VH-92A at Joint Base Charleston this week. The military says this is part of operational testing for Marine Helicopter Squadron One. It is unknown how much longer the process will last. The new Marine One, also referred to as VH-92A, is the next-generation presidential transport helicopter being developed for the US Marine Corps (USMC). Scheduled to enter service this year, the VH-92A helicopter will provide safe and reliable helicopter transportation for the US president and vice president.
Raytheon won a $35.9 million deal, which provides for the procurement of follow-on software system architecture and design, software analysis, coding, integration and testing, and associated software and systems engineering in support of the MQ-8 tactical control system. The Fire Scout air vehicle is a Schweitzer 333 helicopter based on the proven design of the Schweitzer 330 commercial lightweight manned utility helicopter. A benefit of selecting the commercially available design is that Schweitzer company based in Elmira, New York has an established worldwide spares and support infrastructure. Work will take place in Virginia and California. Estimated completion is in March 2026.
Middle East & Africa
Sikorsky won a $99.9 million contract modification for 25 modified UH-60M Black Hawk aircraft in support of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. As with a previous order for 17 UH-60Ms for the SANG and Royal Saudi Land Forces Airborne Special Security Forces (RSLFASSF) announced in January 2018, it is unclear if this deal represents additional or previously announced platforms. Work will take place in Connecticut. Estimated completion date is October 31, 2024.
France will offer its anti-air frigate Jean Bart and anti-submarine destroyer Latouche-Tréville if the French naval industry is select by Greece to build new warships for the Hellenic Navy. This will be a stop-gap solution that Team France – Naval Group, Thales, MBDA – is offering to Greece while it waits for the new frigates to be built.
According to Defense News, the Czech Air Force has selected the Airborne Missile Protection System from Bird Aerosystems to protect its Mi-17 fleet. Under the contract, of which the value was not disclosed, Bird Aerosystems will provide additional AMPS missile verification systems with the MACS. The contract builds on a different deal announced in September 2020 for the company to upgrade the AMPS previously provided to the Czech Air Force and prepare it for future installation of the MACS.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) commissioned its 12th and final Soryu Class diesel-electric attack submarine (SSK) in a ceremony held on March 24 in Hyogo Prefecture in west-central Japan. Named JS Toryu (with pennant number SS 512), the 84-m-long boat was inducted into the Escort Division 6 of Escort Flotilla 2, which is homeported at the Yokosuka naval base in Kanagawa Prefecture, shortly after being handed over by shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) at its facility in Kobe.
Watch: Kawasaki Presents the Twelfth Soryu Class Submarine to the Japanese Navy!
The Department of Defense awarded contract options this week to two companies to create a final prototype for a transportable advanced nuclear microreactor. BWXT Advanced Technologies and X-energy, both of which won contracts last year to develop portable nuclear reactors, will continue that work under the new options, according to a Pentagon press release. The teams are working under a Strategic Capabilities Office initiative called Project Pele. One of the two companies may be selected by the Pentagon to build and demonstrate a prototype once design review and environmental analysis are finished early next year, according to the Pentagon.
The Missile Defense Agency on March 23 awarded Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin contracts worth a total of $7.6 billion to develop technology for the Next Generation Interceptor, which will replace aging ground-based interceptors and serve as the first layer of defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the homeland. Lockheed Martin received a total of $3.693 billion with a performance period through August 2025, while Northrop Grumman was awarded a total of $3.932 billion with a performance period through May 2026. The funding for the contract is limited to $1.6 billion through fiscal 2022.
Middle East & Africa
According to Defense News, two Saudi companies, Intra Defense Technologies and Advanced Electronics Company, are developing the medium-altitude, long-endurance drone under license from the Ankara-based defense company Vestel Savunma. EurAsian Times could not independently confirm the reports. Karayel is a surveillance, reconnaissance, and combat UAV system designed and developed by Vestel for the Turkish Armed Forces. After the co-production, the Karayel drones will be renamed ‘Haboob’ in Saudi Arabia.
Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation has awarded the development of the SAMP/T NG (New Generation) for France and Italy. The new ASTER Block 1 NT missile which as a new seeker and computer will be used. It will be fired from a new launcher and the system will use a new multifunction rotating Active Electronically Scanned Array radar for detection. OCCAR has awarded the contract, by delegation of DGA and SGD, to the Franco-Italian consortium eurosam; backed by its three shareholders MBDA France, MBDA Italy and Thales.
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has denied that it had informal talks with the British government on the transfer of aircraft carrier technology. The Telegraph had earlier reported that Babcock, BAE Systems and Thales held informal talks on the transfer of Queen Elizabeth-class technology to South Korea to help Seoul build its first aircraft carrier. Another anonymous official to Yonhap that the talks could have been between companies from both countries. He added that the carrier project is yet to select companies to participate.
Japan is preparing to have its F-35A fleet take up scramble duty. A pair of F-35As were seen entering the alert shed that is located next to Misawa airport on March 22, according to news reports. #09-8722 and #89-8708 landed after their flight and both taxi to the shelter on a YouTube video that was taken on March 15.
Watch: Protecting the Nation | Layered Missile Defense
Boeing won a $9 million deal, which provides correction of deficiency software builds for increment three acoustics integration and testing for the P-8A aircraft. The P-8A Poseidon, the US Navy’s maritime patrol aircraft, is capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations, and is also successful at search and rescue. Equipped with state of the art radars, sensors and a new air-to-air refuel capability, the P-8A is scheduled to receive periodic future enhancements to keep pace with the ASW threat. The P-8A Poseidon is responsive and interoperable with traditional manned forces and evolving unmanned sensors. Work under the new contract will take place in California and Maryland. Estimated completion will be in February 2024.
Sikorsky Aircraft won a $90,7 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for engineering, analysis, test, and technical support services for the H-60 product line. Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. The Black Hawk is the Army’s front-line utility helicopter used for air assault, air cavalry, and aeromedical evacuation units. It is designed to carry 11 combat-loaded, air assault troops, and it is capable of moving a 105-millimeter howitzer and 30 rounds of ammunition. Work locations as well as funding will be determined with each order. Estimated completion date is March 25, 2026.
Middle East & Africa
Jordan made public a defense agreement with the United States that allows free entry of US forces, aircraft and vehicles onto the kingdom’s territory. Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told parliament that the defense accord was “the fruit of long negotiations”, according to AFP. The agreement was signed in January and the government approved it last month, but in an exceptional move it bypassed parliament. The royal decree was published in the official journal this week. The terms of the agreement, published on Jordanian news site Ammon, stipulate that “US forces may possess weapons and circulate with them on Jordanian territory while exercising their duties”.
The UK Royal Air Force will retire its fleet of Lockheed Martin C-130J/C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft earlier than planned, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) disclosed on March 22. According to the Defense Command Paper released the week after the UK’s Integrated Review, the RAF’s one remaining short-bodied C-130J C5 and 13 long-bodied C-130J-30 C4 variant Hercules airlifters are to be withdrawn from service in 2023, some 12 years earlier than planned.
Taiwan disclosed on March 22 that it will be fitting teh Martin Baker Mk16 ejection seat on its F-5 Tiger fleet. The information was given to local reporters during a press briefing by the Air Force on the fatal collision of two F-5Es that day. Maj. Gen. Lin Chih-Hung, head of Air Force Logistic Command, said the new seats will be arriving to the island by end of the year. Media outlets in Taiwan also reported that one of the F-5E pilots who ejected during the Mar. 22 accident had suffered head injuries which lead to internal bleeding. An earlier crash of the F-5E in October last year killed Capt. Lo Shang-hua. It was found that he had suffered injuries from the ejection. This lead to calls to replace the ejection seat on the F-5.
According to local media, the Indian Navy commissioned its eighth and final Mk IV landing craft utility (LCU) platform ordered from state-owned shipyard Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) in September 2011. Named IN LCU L58, the 62.8 m vessel entered service in a ceremony held on 18 March at Port Blair, the capital of India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands and headquarters of the IN-headed tri-service command.
Watch: Made In India Landing Craft Utility Ship Commissioned Into Indian Navy At Port Blair| Defence Update
General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. won a $2.4 million contract modification to exercise an option for the construction of one Block V Virginia Class submarine with Virginia Payload Module. Electric Boat Corp. will continue to subcontract with Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding. The Virginia-class is a nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines (NSSN New SSN), currently in service in the United States Navy. Designed by General Dynamics’s Electric Boat (EB) and Huntington Ingalls Industries. The US Navy has been procuring Virginia (SSN-774) class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) since FY1998, and a total of 34 have been procured through FY2021 (FY Fiscal Year). Since FY2011, Virginia-class boats have been procured at a rate of two per year. Contract work will occur in Virginia, Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania and other areas within and outside the US through February 2030.
Boeing has inducted the first US Navy (USN) EA-18G Growler electronic attack (EA) aircraft earmarked for the Block 2 upgrade process. Announced by the manufacturer on 19 March, the milestone saw the first Growler enter the modernization programme at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island in Washington state. Previously known as the Advanced Growler, the Growler Block 2 enhancement is based on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block 3 upgrade that is now in its early stages. Features common to both aircraft comprise 10 × 19 inch large-area display (LAD) cockpits and conformal fuel tanks (CFTs), while the Growler will also receive enhancements to the mission systems including the Next-Generation Jammer (NGJ) and EA sensors improvements related to the Electronic Attack Unit (EAU) Surrogate Processor (ESP), AN/ALQ-218(V)4 RF receiver system, and AN/ALQ-227(V)2 communication countermeasures. There will also be networking and crew-interface improvements.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) completed a series of successful live-fire tests of the Barak air defense system. The tests were carried out to evaluate the system’s capability to deal with a range of scenarios and threats, including the interception of a ballistic target by the Barak ER (extended range) interceptor. The Barak ER missile, part of the Barak family of interceptors developed by IAI, is capable of intercepting ballistic and non-ballistic threats at a range of 150 kilometers. The extended range is made possible in part by adjusting the interceptor and the missile system’s MMR radar to a 150 km range, according to the company.
The size of the British Army will be reduced as part of a move towards automation and cyber warfare. The downsizing will leave the British Army at 70,000 troops. Numbers in the regular Army will be reduced to about 70,000 soldiers, but it is understood that this will be achieved as people leave the forces, rather than redundancies. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show he was making decisions in the context of an increased defense budget. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said overhauling the armed forces would make them “more valuable” to the UK’s allies and act as a deterrent to the nation’s “foes”.
The Telegraph reports that Babcock, BAE and Thales are hoping to sell their aircraft carrier technology to South Korea. According to the article, officials from the UK’s Department for International Trade have begun informal discussions with their South Korean counterparts on which areas Britain could participate in. The Aircraft Carrier Alliance is a partnership of BAE, Babcock, Thales and British Ministry of Defense which built the two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.
Two F-5Es had a mid-air collision off Taiwan’s Pingtung County at around 15:06 local time on March 22. The crash on Monday was the third such incident in the past half-year, at a time when the island’s armed forces are having to intercept Chinese aircraft on an almost daily basis. One of the pilots was found unconscious in the sea but could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Rescuers were still searching for the remaining pilot.
Watch: Virginia-Class Attack Submarines: Now a Spy Sub?
Latest updates[?]: Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) completed a series of successful live-fire tests of the Barak air defense system. The tests were carried out to evaluate the system’s capability to deal with a range of scenarios and threats, including the interception of a ballistic target by the Barak ER (extended range) interceptor. The Barak ER missile, part of the Barak family of interceptors developed by IAI, is capable of intercepting ballistic and non-ballistic threats at a range of 150 kilometers. The extended range is made possible in part by adjusting the interceptor and the missile system's MMR radar to a 150 km range, according to the company.
Over a development timeline measured in decades, India’s indigenous “Akash” and “Trishul” programs for surface to air missiles have failed to inspire full confidence. Trishul was eventually canceled entirely. Akash had a a long, difficult development period, but seems to have found customer acceptance and a solid niche in the rugged terrain of the northeast. India still needed longer-range advanced SAMs to equip its navy and army, however, and decided to try to duplicate the success of the partnership model that had fielded the excellent Indo-Russian PJ-10 BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.
In February 2006, therefore, Israel and India signed a joint development agreement to create a new Barak-NG medium shipborne air defense missile, as an evolution of the Barak-1 system in service with both navies. In July 2007 the counterpart MR-SAM project began moving forward, aiming to develop a medium range SAM for use with India’s land forces. Both missiles would now be called Barak-8. In between, “India to Buy Israeli “SPYDER” Mobile Air Defense System” covered India’s move to begin buying mobile, short-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems for its army, based on the Python and Derby air-to-air missiles in service with its air force and naval aircraft. These projects offer India a way forward to address its critical air defense weaknesses, and upgrade “protection of vital and strategic ground assets and area air defence.” This DID FOCUS article will cover the Barak-8 and closely related programs in India, Israel, and beyond.