L3 Communications Integrated Mission Systems won an $18.9 million contract, which provides non-recurring engineering and material to develop and qualify the degraded visual environment helmet mounted display and processor capability for integration into the Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey aircraft. The MV-22 Osprey’s mission for the US Marine Corps is the transportation of troops, equipment, and supplies from ships and land bases for combat assault and assault support. Work will take place in Texas, Illinois, California and Alabama. Expected completion will be in December 2024.
The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has announced a decision to reduce the number of KC-390 transport aircraft it has ordered. The initial order was for 28 airframes, the FAB said it will now only take deliveries of two KC-390s a year. The final number of aircraft reduced was not disclosed. Air Data News reports that based on the schedule to deliver all aircraft till 2027, the final number will be less than 20 aircraft.
Middle East & Africa
Leidos won a $17.6 million contract modification for contractor logistics support services for the Afghan Air Force Special Mission Wing. Fiscal 2010 Pseudo Foreign Military Sales (Afghanistan) funds in the amount of $17,635,011 were obligated at the time of the award. Pseudo-FMS is a type of foreign security cooperation in which the United States, instead of selling arms or services to a foreign country, procures them from defense contractors using US-appropriated funds and transfers the arms to allies. Work will take place in Kabul, Afghanistan. Estimated completion date is August 31, 2021.
The UK’s Royal Navy is using artificial intelligence for the first time at sea in an effort to help defeat missile attacks. According to the Navy, leading-edge software is being tested at sea against live missiles during the largest exercise of its type off the coasts of Scotland and Norway.
A missile traveling at about 5,000 miles per hour was destroyed recently by a French frigate during NATO exercises off the Scottish coast, the US Navy 6th Fleet and French navy said. The French anti-missile ship FS Forbin fired an Aster 30 combat missile, destroying the target skimming the water’s surface, on May 21, the nations said in a statement this week.
Documents obtained by Asahi Shimbun revealed that Japan’s Aegis Ashore alternative sea-based proposal is likely to cost $9 billion in the long run. The undisclosed figures are for the repair and maintenance of equipment plus testing of the missile system.
Watch: Embraer KC-390 Impressive Take off (Paris Air Show 2019)
Latest updates[?]: The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has announced a decision to reduce the number of KC-390 transport aircraft it has ordered. The initial order was for 28 airframes, the FAB said it will now only take deliveries of two KC-390s a year. The final number of aircraft reduced was not disclosed. Air Data News reports that based on the schedule to deliver all aircraft till 2027, the final number will be less than 20 aircraft.
KC-390 refuels AMXs
Global competition in the 20-ton air transport segment continues to intensify, with Brazil’s launch of its KC-390 program. Embraer figures reportedly place the global C-130 replacement market at around 700 aircraft. In response, it will develop a jet-powered rival to compete with Lockheed Martin’s C-130J, the larger Airbus A400M, Russia’s AN-12 and its Chinese copy the Yun-8/9, and the bi-national Irkut/HAL MRTA project. Smaller aircraft like the EADS-CASA C-295M, and Alenia’s C-27J, represent indirect competition.
Embraer is extending its efforts and markets by crafting a jet-powered medium transport with a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, that can be refueled in the air, and can provide refueling services to other aircraft by adding dedicated pods. The KC-390 has now become a multinational program, and may be shaping up as the C-130’s most formidable future competitor. A tie-up with Boeing underscores the seriousness of Embraer’s effort, which is now a production program…
The US Air Force’s Golden Horde Vanguard program successfully completed the three objectives of the final flight test on May 25. Six Collaborative Small Diameter Bombs (CSDBs) were released during this test with four from one jet and the other two from another F-16. One objective of the test was to expand the coverage of the L3Harris Banshee 2 radio network to six weapons and to include a ground station into the testing. The ground station was able to send an In-Flight Target Update to the weapons while they were in flight, completing the second objective.
The US Army has taken delivery of eight Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) prototypes that will be used in a series of Soldier Touchpoints to further the Army’s Campaign of Learning. The fourth and final RCV (Medium) prototype was delivered to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), which is based at the Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, on May 13th. GVSC previously took delivery of four RCV (Light) prototypes in December 2020, reports DVIDS, an operation supported by Defense Media Activity (DMA), a US DoD field activity.
Middle East & Africa
The Turkish military has received the sixth F-16 fighter modernized by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). “Structural improvements of the F-16 Block-30 aircraft are in progress. Within the scope of the F-16 Structural Improvement Project, we delivered the sixth F-16 Block-30 aircraft, whose structural improvement was completed, to the Air Force Command,” Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) tweeted.
Lockheed Martin Overseas won a $30.6 million contract modification, which increases the total cumulative contract value by $30,612,010 from $99,037,697 to $129,649,707. Under this modification, the contractor will provide Poland AAEA engineering and security support, AAEA test and site updates, risk mitigation support, and continued completion effort for the Aegis Ashore Poland site. Aegis Ashore in Poland uses a defensive system almost identical to that used on US Navy Aegis-capable guided-missile destroyers and cruisers at sea. The system is designed to detect, track, engage and destroy ballistic missiles in flight. The complex at Redzikowo will consist of a fire-control radar “deckhouse” with an associated Aegis command, control and communications suite. Separately, it will house several launch modules containing Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors. Work will take place in New Jersey and Poland. Estimated completion date is June 30, 2023.
Saudi F-15s and Hellenic F-16s have commenced exercise Falcon Eye 2 at King Faisal Air Base on May 25. The main objective of “Falcon Eye” exercises is to upgrade the skills of the air, technical and backup crews and reinforce their readiness, in addition to military experiment exchange to the best interest of the two countries.
South Korea can now develop ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets far beyond the Korean Peninsula, following the United States’ approval to lift a 42-year-old restriction on its ally’s missile development program. South Korean and US leaders announced the termination of missile guidelines imposed on Seoul in 1979. At the time, South Korea wanted to acquire American technology to develop its own missiles, and in return, the Asian nation agreed to limit the range of its missiles to 180 kilometers with a maximum payload of 500 kilograms.
A US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II from the Idaho Air National Guard was given a heritage paint scheme to celebrate the unit’s 75th anniversary and to pay homage to its lineage from the 405th Fighter Squadron during the Second World War. The “8N” painted on the side of the aircraft indicates the aircraft code of the 405th Fighter Squadron.
Boeing won a $101.7 million contract modification for KC-46 engineering, manufacturing, and development contract. This modification provides for the exercise of Option Five for interim contractor support and the exercise of the options for logistics service representatives/field service representatives support for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Work will take place in Seattle, Washington and Seymour Johnson AFB. Estimated completion date is June 27, 2022.
Middle East & Africa
An Iron Dome battery of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reportedly shot down its own Surveillance UAV during the 11-day conflict with Hamas while in another incident, the battery malfunctioned allowing rockets from Gaza to rain down on Ashkelon city. According to the Haaretz newspaper, in the first incident, IDF personnel operating the Iron Dome air defense system mistook the drone for a hostile aircraft. In the second incident, an Iron Dome battery guarding Ashkelon city malfunctioned allowing a barrage of Hamas-fired rockets on Ashkelon, resulting in failure to intercept some rockets.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) developed SatGuard an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered system for operating and managing observation and communication satellites. The new SatGuard system is designed to extend the life of satellites deployed into orbit. Powered by AI, big data and machine learning, the system detects anomalies and other irregularities in the satellite’s operations. SatGuard’s development is based on years of focus and experience in space, accumulated by IAI’s Systems, Missiles and Space Group, and as part of IAI’s internal Innovation Center.
HMS Prince of Wales tested her three Phalanx guns as part of efforts to make the vessel operational, it says in a tweet. Phalanx CIWS is a rapid-fire, computer-controlled radar and 20mm Gatling gun system and is the Royal Navy’s primary defence for ships against the threat of anti-ship missiles.
The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Spain of Follow-on Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) for GA-ASI MQ-9A Blk 5 Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $110 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale. Spain’s MQ-9A aircraft fleet provides Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance support that directly supports US and coalition operations around the world. The Government of Spain has requested to buy follow on Contractor Logistics Support to include contractor provided MQ-9A Blk 5 aircraft components, spares, and accessories; repair and return; software and software support services; simulator software; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; US Government and contractor provided engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.
The Indonesian Ministry of Defense has made further progress in its effort to procure 36 Rafale multirole fighter aircraft from Dassault Aviation but a formal contract may be delayed by a lack of clarity over funding sources. In a bid to modernize the Indonesian Air Force, Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto has been visiting various countries looking for a good deal to replace the F-5s. In February, the service finally released a big-ticket list of aircraft it is going to procure in the next four years.
Watch: ArmA 3 – C-RAM in Action – Shooting Down Hostile Jet – Phalanx CIWS – C RAM – GAU-8 – Simulation
Boeing won a $24.1 million contract modification, which exercises an option to procure additional software builds to provide correction of deficiencies, to include software enhancements or improvements, engineering analyses and evaluations, and integration and test activity in support of the P-8A Increment 3 Acoustics Multi-static Active Coherent Enhancements program. The Poseidon’s increment 3 focuses on a network-ready open-systems electronics architecture and network-enabled weapons for existing P-8A aircraft. The Poseidon is a militarized version of the Boeing 737 single-aisle jetliner, while the much-older P-3 is a militarized version of the Lockheed Martin L-188 Electra four-engine turboprop passenger plan, which has been flying since the late 1950s. Work will take place in California and Maryland. Estimated completion date is in February 2024.
According to the US Army, a National Guard artillery unit was the first to conduct a live-fire test with the new M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer System last week. The 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team worked with the newly-fielded artillery at Fort Bragg, NC, for two weeks before a demonstration of the weapon, known in various iterations as the Paladin. The howitzers resemble lightly-armored tanks, and specialize in long-distance aerial bombardment. All systems can be controlled by a crew of four.
Middle East & Africa
Vectrus Systems won a $9.3 million contract modification for the incorporation of additional services for base period through option period seven under the base operating services (BOS) contract at Isa Air Base (ISA). The work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, all management, supervision, tools, materials, supplies, labor and transportation services necessary for BOS at ISA, Kingdom of Bahrain. Performance period is from December 1, 2020 to November 30, 2021.
Saab is poised to upgrade the Radar warning equipment on the Tornado aircraft operated by the German Air Force, following an order from Panavia Aircraft GmbH. According to Saab, the company will supply modern digital components, which will enhance the processing power and extend the lifetime of the Tornado’s radar warning equipment. Deliveries will take place between 2021 and 2025. Saab will carry out the work at its sites in Nuremberg, Germany and Järfälla, Sweden. The Panavia Tornado is a family of twin-engine, variable-sweep wing multirole combat aircraft, jointly developed and manufactured by Italy, the United Kingdom and West Germany. Saab received the initial order for radar warning equipment for Germany’s Tornado fighters in 1999.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told Philippine News Agency (PNA) that six T129B attack helicopters would be delivered in third quarter of this year. PNA reported that the budget for the helicopter program is $287 million.
Leonardo announced on Twitter that it supplied two AW139 helicopters for use by the Australian Army. “We are proud to announce that we have successfully delivered the first of two AW139 helicopters to Toll Group. The two helicopters will be operated by the Australian Army and will be based at the Army base located in Townsville,” the company tweeted. The AW139 is a 15-seat medium-sized twin-engined helicopter marketed at several different roles, including VIP/corporate transport, offshore transport, fire-fighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical service, disaster relief, and maritime patrol.
Watch: U.S National Guard brigade receives new M109A7 Paladin howitzer!
Latest updates[?]: According to the US Army, a National Guard artillery unit was the first to conduct a live-fire test with the new M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer System last week. The 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery Regiment, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team worked with the newly-fielded artillery at Fort Bragg, NC, for two weeks before a demonstration of the weapon, known in various iterations as the Paladin. The howitzers resemble lightly-armored tanks, and specialize in long-distance aerial bombardment. All systems can be controlled by a crew of four.
Before: M109 & M992
The USA’s 155mm M109 self-propelled howitzers (SPH) were first introduced in 1962, as a form of armored mobile artillery that could stand up to the massed fire tactics of Soviet heavy artillery and rockets. They and their companion M992 Armored Ammunition Resupply Vehicles (AARV) have been rebuilt and upgraded several times, most recently via the M109A6 Paladin upgrade.
In the meantime, the Army has re-learned a few home truths. Artillery arrives in seconds rather than minutes or hours, is never unavailable due to bad weather, and cheaply delivers a volume of explosive destruction that would otherwise require hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bombers and precision weapons. Most combat casualties in the gunpowder age have come from artillery fire, and the US Army will need its mobile fleet for some time to come. So, too, will the many countries that have bought the M109 and still use it, unless BAE wishes to cede that market to South Korea’s modern K9/K10 system, or new concept candidates like the KMW/GDLS DONAR. What to do? Enter the Paladin PIM program.
With a backorder for 128 jets, the Lockheed Martin F-16 could be flying in 2070s, Air Force Magazine reports. The last aircraft in this order is not expected to be delivered until 2026, with a service of more than 40 years, this last aircraft could be flying well into 2070. To be manufactured at Greenville, South Carolina, these aircraft are destined for Bahrain, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Taiwan and an unnamed customer. These customers have indicated they are keen to follow on with new orders.
The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit is the first to deploy the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from the East Coast, a Marines statement said. The amphibious attack unit, regarded as a fast-response air-and-ground task force and garrisoned at Camp Lejeune, NC, was assigned a HIMARS, a wheeled, multiple rocket launching system, in September 2020.
Middle East & Africa
A huge explosion and fire that injured 9 persons was reported Sunday near an arms factory that manufactures some of Iran’s drones in Isfahan, Central Iran. However, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported that fire incident relates to a private sector’s factory producing incendiary materials. “The reason for the explosion at the Sepahan Nargostar chemical industry is under investigation while nine injured people have been transferred to hospital,” spokesman Abbas Abedi of the province’s medical emergency centre was quoted as saying by the Mehr state news agency.
A Boeing F-15QA Advanced Eagle combat aircraft destined for Qatar suffered a mishap when two US Air Force (USAF) pilots ejected while the aircraft was on the ground during pre-delivery trials in the United States. The incident occurred at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Illinois on 18 May. Images posted of the aircraft afterwards show it to have suffered little to no visible damage, with only the two ejection seats and canopy missing.
UK’s Minister for Defense Procurement Jeremy Quin has formally opened a new manufacturing plant in the North West of England which will play a significant role in building the British Army’s latest armored vehicle – the Boxer. During his visit to WFEL in Stockport, Mr Quin saw first-hand the newly built facility which will fabricate all the armored hulls and assemble the finished Boxer vehicles for delivery to MoD.
BAE Systems Australia will build additional electronic controls for Joint Strike Missiles made by Norway’s Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace. The contract for 180 Passive Radio Frequency Sensors, or PRS, completes the first full rate of production order for elements of the fifth-generation, long-range, precision-guided stand-off missile system used by ships, where it is known as the Naval Strike Missile, and carried by F-35 fighter planes.
Watch: Insane Battle with Aggressive Fire TOS-1 MLRS VS M142 HIMARS MLRS
Boeing won an $18.9 million order, which provides for the production and delivery of 48 automatic backup oxygen system retrofit kits for the T-45 aircraft, to include installation tooling, engineering reach back, spares and support equipment. The T-45A Goshawk is a tandem-seat, carrier capable, jet trainer whose mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots. Work will take place in Texas and Missouri. Expected completion is in September 2022.
Sikorsky won a $25.8 million deal for the repair/overhaul of the refueling probes on the HH-60G helicopter. The HH-60G Pave Hawk is the US Air Force’s primary combat search and rescue helicopter used by Air Force special tactics teams and pararescuemen. The Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the Army Black Hawk helicopter which features an upgraded communications and navigation suite that includes integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, satellite communications, secure voice, and Have Quick communications. Work will take place in Connecticut. Expected completion is in May 2026.
Middle East & Africa
The US Navy has contracted MAN Diesel and Turbo LLC, Dubai, and US company Fairbanks Morse LLC, for supplies and services in support of Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) diesel engines aboard the command’s fleet of ships. The contract valued $170 million will provide parts and services from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for these diesel engines, and OEM authorized parts and service technicians in order to maintain the diesel engines aboard multiple classes of ships including MSC’s submarine tenders, hospital ships, dry cargo ammunition ships, fleet replenishment oilers, expeditionary mobile bases, expeditionary transfer docks, large, medium speed roll-on/roll-off ships and the Kocak class of roll-on/roll-off container ships, a US DoD release today said.
The Polish Air Force’s aerobatic team Bialo-Czerwone Iskry will make its final demonstration flight in August. The team’s aircraft, the TS-11, is being retired and replaced by the M346 in Poland. The final performance will be on August 15 during Army Day.
Croatian daily Jutarnji says the country has decided to select the Rafale F3R as the winner of the fighter competition. These are second-hand jets that France has offered to Croatia. A total of 12 jets are to be sold. The oldest aircraft in the package is 10 years-old. Delivery is to start in 2024.
A Spanish Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter had to make an emergency landing near Brestanica, Slovenia after it hit a power line on May 20. The helicopter was taking part in exercise Adriatic Strike 2021. The crew on board were not injured.
ADSB, the regional leader in the new build, repair, maintenance, refit and conversion of naval and commercial vessels, won an $952.9 million contract by the Ministry of Defense and UAE Navy, to build four Falaj 3 Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs). The contract is the largest-ever order received by ADSB and reinforces the company’s vision of becoming the leading regional shipyard through delivering innovative and dependable solutions that add value to clients and other stakeholders, both military and civilian.
Watch: ADSB awarded AED3.5bn contract with the UAE Navy to build Falaj 3-class Offshore Patrol Vessels
Latest updates[?]: Sikorsky won a $25.8 million deal for the repair/overhaul of the refueling probes on the HH-60G helicopter. The HH-60G Pave Hawk is the US Air Force’s primary combat search and rescue helicopter used by Air Force special tactics teams and pararescuemen. The Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the Army Black Hawk helicopter which features an upgraded communications and navigation suite that includes integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, satellite communications, secure voice, and Have Quick communications. Work will take place in Connecticut. Expected completion is in May 2026.
In 2006 the US Air Force awarded Boeing a contract worth north of $10 billion for 141 HH-47 combat search-and-rescue helicopters, but by mid-2009 the CSAR-X program was cancelled during its System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase by the Pentagon. At the time Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote that this program had “a troubled acquisition history and raises the fundamental question of whether this important mission can only be accomplished by yet another single-service solution.”
That cancellation may have been warranted, but the underlying operational constraints are increasing as years go by, with a tentative replacement for aging helicopters that keeps slipping. In 2012, the Air Force got the green light to take another crack at it. The competition narrowed to a single bidder, and after wobbly budgetary announcements, the program was greenlighted. By the end of 2014 it was officially designated as HH-60W.
Boeing won a $7.6 million contract modification for integration of the legacy strap pack assembly for remanufactured AH-64E aircraft. The AH-64 Apache is a twin-engine, four bladed, multi-mission attack helicopter designed as a highly stable aerial weapons-delivery platform. The AH-64E features improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power, capability to control UAVs, full IFR capability, and improved landing gear. Work will take place in Mesa, Arizona. Estimated completion date is January 31, 2024.
An exoskeleton, worn by US Air Force aerial porters to assist in lifting objects with reduced strain, will make its debut at Travis Air Force Base, California, the branch announced. The device, designed by Arizona State University and the Air Force Life Cycle Management and Air Mobility Command, will be used in an official capacity for the first time this week. The Aerial Port Exoskeleton, still in its prototype phase of development, is an element of the uniform worn by those in the classification of aerial port, which involves lifting of materials and moving materials on and off aircraft.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish firm Aselsan announced that test flights of the Saka micro UAV for surveillance operations have been successful. The Saka system weighs around 600 grams and utilizes a 3-axis gimbal. It was developed for exploration and surveillance purposes, Yusuf Ziya Kotil, a project manager from Aselsan, told state-owned Anadolu Agency earlier this week.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible sale of support services for Foreign Military Sales Order II (FMSO II) and Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Arrangement (CLSSA) to Greece. Approved by the US State Department, the total estimated cost of the FMS and associated equipment is $165 million. The sale package will include US Government, technical, and logistics support services, as well as other requests for FMSO II and CLSSA support.
The names of five next-generation Type-31 frigates for the Royal Navy have been announced by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin. The Rosyth built Type 31 Frigates will be named HMS Active, HMS Bulldog, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Formidable and HMS Venturer.
Taiwan has successfully tested AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) locally for the first time. On May 10, the F-16D Block 70 Viper aircraft successfully destroyed target drones in tests. Each RoCAF F-16V was reportedly armed with two AMRAAMs and two short-range AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, with the first and third aircraft each launching an AMRAAM which successfully engaged target drones.