BAE Systems won a $15.7 million contract modificationfor spare parts necessary for initial training and fielding for Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles. The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) is a family of next generation, highly survivable vehicles essential to the future of the US Army. The AMPV is to replace the Vietnam War-era and legacy M113 Family of Vehicles. The program is a part of the future of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). The AMPV will be integrated with the ABCT and is required to operate alongside the M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley infantry vehicle. Work will take place in Pennsylvania. Estimated completion date is January 1, 2023.
The US Air Force completed the Project Strike Rodeo (PSR) munitions proof-of-concept that validated loading five Lockheed Martin AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missiles (JASSMs) on a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle, according to a service statement. The proof-of-concept performed by the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron started in January. A team of expert tacticians worked through a specific scenario that relied on the ability to escort a bomber loaded with stand-off munitions to a release point in a highly contested environment.
Middle East & Africa
While the Israel Gaza conflict is still ongoing, the Iron Dome proves successful against Gaza rockets. The Israeli-made and US-funded anti-rocket Iron Dome intercept system has reportedly stopped 90 percent of the missiles fired into Israel since the beginning of the conflict in early May. Israel has been using the Iron Dome since 2011. A battery consists of a radar unit and a control center that can detect projectiles soon after their launch and calculate their trajectory and target. It takes seconds for an approaching projectile to be detected.
Northrop Grumman won a $17.7 million order, which provides technical and sustainment support for E-2C/D aircraft common and unique requirements for the Governments of France and Japan. The E-2C Hawkeye aircraft supplied by Northrop Grumman is an all-weather airborne early warning aircraft to the naval task force. The next-generation E-2D Advanced Hawkeye has a new radar system, theatre missile defence capabilities, multi-sensor integration and a Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems tactical glass cockpit. Work will take place in Florida, Japan, and Ohio. Expected completion will be in April 2022.
German company Rheinmetall announced that it signed a contract worth $359 million with the country’s defense procurement agency for the supply of 44 Kodiak armored engineering vehicles (AEVs) for the German Army. Production will begin in 2023, with delivery scheduled to be completed by 2029, said the company. According to Rheinmetall, the Kodiak is an AEV and mine clearance tank that can meet the technical and tactical needs of modern combat engineers. It features a bulldozer blade with adjustable cutting and tilt angles. The Kodiak vehicle is known as the “Pionierpanzer 3 Kodiak” in German. It is based on the Leopard 2 main battle tank that was developed by German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s Xinjiang Military Command has taken delivery of three new advanced weapon systems – armored vehicles, howitzers and self-propelled rocket launchers – over the past week. The unit deployed in a snowy plateau region at an elevation of more than 4,500 meters inducted dozens of Type 08 eight-wheeled armored vehicles of different variants.
Watch: MQ-4C Triton drone deploy in japan by usa | Latest Military News Today World Defence Update
“Array of Aging American Aircraft Attracting Attention” discusses the issues that accompany an air force whose fighters have an average age of over 23.5 years – vs. an average of 8.5 years in 1967. One of the most obvious consequences is the potential for fleet groundings due to unforseen structural issues caused by time and fatigue. That very fear is responsible for the #1 priority placed on bringing new KC-X aerial tankers into the fleet to complement the USA’s 1960s-era KC-135 Stratotankers.
It can also affect the fighter fleet more directly.
Following the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C aircraft Nov 2/07 (see crash simulation), the US Air Force suspended non-mission critical F-15 flight operations on Nov 3/07. While the cause of that accident is still under investigation, preliminary findings indicate that a structural failure during flight may have been responsible. In response, Japan suspended its own F-15 flights, which left them in a bit of a bind – even as Israel’s F-15s joined them on the tarmac. As the effects continue to spread and the USAF and others continue to comment on this situation, DID continues to expand its coverage of this bellwether event. A conditional restoration of the American F-15A-D fleet to flight status was soon overturned by the re-grounding of that fleet as a result of the report’s conclusions – a status that remains only been partially lifted. Meanwhile, the accident report has been released (compete with video dramatization) and the status of the remaining aircraft will have significant implications for the USAF’s future F-15 fleet size. Not to mention its other procurement programs.
Then, too, this is America. Now there’s a lawsuit.
Latest updates[?]: Northrop Grumman won a $17.7 million order, which provides technical and sustainment support for E-2C/D aircraft common and unique requirements for the Governments of France and Japan. The E-2C Hawkeye aircraft supplied by Northrop Grumman is an all-weather airborne early warning aircraft to the naval task force. The next-generation E-2D Advanced Hawkeye has a new radar system, theatre missile defence capabilities, multi-sensor integration and a Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems tactical glass cockpit. Work will take place in Florida, Japan, and Ohio. Expected completion will be in April 2022.
Northrop Grumman’s E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft, designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. Secondary roles include strike command and control, land and maritime surveillance, search and rescue, communications relay, and even civil air traffic control during emergencies. E-2C Hawkeyes began replacing previous Hawkeye versions in 1973. They fly from USN and French carriers, from land bases in the militaries of Egypt, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan; and in a drug interdiction role for the US Naval Reserve. Over 200 Hawkeyes have been produced.
The $17.5 billion E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program aims to build 75 new aircraft with significant radar, engine, and electronics upgrades in order to deal with a world of stealthier cruise missiles, saturation attacks, and a growing need for ground surveillance as well as aerial scans. It looks a lot like the last generation E-2C Hawkeye 2000 upgrade on the outside – but inside, and even outside to some extent, it’s a whole new aircraft.
Textron Systems won a $15.8 million contract for a one-time mid-life upgrade engineering change proposal for the advanced boresight equipment (ABE) system to modernize and bring 100 fielded domestic and Foreign Military Sales units up to the current commercial off the shelf configuration. Additionally, this contract procures depot repair and upgrade support for the ABE currently installed on AH-1Z, AH-1W and MH-60R combat aircraft, ashore and afloat. Depot repair and upgrade support includes tear down and evaluation of ABE, as well as restoration, modification, and procurement of spare parts in support of ABE component and assembly repairs and upgrades. Work will take place in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Expected completion date is in May 2026.
Raytheon won a $9.4 million order to support the Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 life, parts, and ESSM Block 1 test equipment supplies. The ESSM is a medium-range, surface-to-air missile developed to protect warships from advanced anti-ship cruise missiles. Work will take place in California and Arizona. Estimated completion will be by September 2022. The order combines purchases for the US Navy, international consortium nation navies, and the government of Japan under the Foreign Military Sales program.
Middle East & Africa
Nigeria will induct its three JF-17 fighters into service on May 20 at Airforce Base Makurdi. The three jets were delivered there in March. The base is also home to the Tactical Air Command (TAC).
Georgia’s Minister of Defense Juansher Burchuladze revealed that the country is in talks to buy mobile anti-air missile defense systems from Rafael. The negotiations are to be concluded by end of the year and the new systems will protect manoeuvring forces.
Leonardo is pitching its M-346FA as a potential replacement for Poland’s ageing fleet of Sukhoi Su-22 ‘Fitter’ aircraft, the company announced on May 14. Declaring its intention to bid its M-346FA light attack aircraft as a replacement for the Polish air force (Inspektorat Si? Powietrznych: ISP) fleet of nearly 30 Warsaw Pact-era Su-22M4 aircraft that have been in service since 1985, Leonardo noted the synergies that the ISP could reap given that it already operates the baseline M-346 Master trainer version.
The Malaysian government has decided to retain state-affiliated Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) as the shipbuilder for the country’s troubled Maharaja Lela (Gowind)-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) programme. The decision was made in early May by a ministerial committee that was convened to examine options for the long-delayed programme, the country’s defense minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, said in a statement.
Latest updates[?]: Textron Systems won a $15.8 million contract for a one-time mid-life upgrade engineering change proposal for the advanced boresight equipment (ABE) system to modernize and bring 100 fielded domestic and Foreign Military Sales units up to the current commercial off the shelf configuration. Additionally, this contract procures depot repair and upgrade support for the ABE currently installed on AH-1Z, AH-1W and MH-60R combat aircraft, ashore and afloat. Depot repair and upgrade support includes tear down and evaluation of ABE, as well as restoration, modification, and procurement of spare parts in support of ABE component and assembly repairs and upgrades. Work will take place in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Expected completion date is in May 2026.
UH-1Y and AH-1Z
by Neville Dawson
The US Marines’ helicopter force is aging at all levels, from banana-shaped CH-46 Sea Knight transports that are far older than their pilots, to the 1980s-era UH-1N Hueys and AH-1W Cobra attack helicopters that make up the Corps’ helicopter assault force. While the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey program has staggered along for almost 2 decades under accidents, technical delays, and cost issues, replacement of the USMC’s backbone helicopter assets has languished. Given the high-demand scenarios inherent in the current war, other efforts are clearly required.
Enter the H-1 program, the USMC’s plan to remanufacture older helicopters into new and improved UH-1Y utility and AH-1Z attack helicopters. The new versions would discard the signature 2-bladed rotors for modern 4-bladed improvements, redo the aircraft’s electronics, and add improved engines and weapons to offer a new level of performance. It seemed simple, but hasn’t quite worked out that way. The H-1 program has encountered its share of delays and issues, but the program survived its review, and continued on into production and deployment.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This article covers the H-1 helicopter programs’ rationales and changes, the upgrades involved in each model, program developments and annual budgets, the full timeline of contracts and key program developments, and related research sources.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon won a $9.4 million order to support the Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 life, parts, and ESSM Block 1 test equipment supplies. The ESSM is a medium-range, surface-to-air missile developed to protect warships from advanced anti-ship cruise missiles. Work will take place in California and Arizona. Estimated completion will be by September 2022. The order combines purchases for the US Navy, international consortium nation navies, and the government of Japan under the Foreign Military Sales program.
The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) is used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft, and is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. Compared to the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, ESSM is effectively a new missile with a larger, more powerful rocket motor for increased range, a different aerodynamic layout for improved agility, and the latest missile guidance technology. Testing has even shown the ESSM to be effective against fast surface craft, an option that greatly expands the missile’s utility. As a further bonus, the RIM-162 ESSM has the ability to be “quad-packed” in the Mk 41 vertical launching system, allowing 4 missiles to be carried per launch cell instead of loading one larger SM-2 Standard missile or similar equipment.
This is DID’s FOCUS article for the program, containing details about the RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missile family, and contracts placed under this program since 1999. The Sea Sparrow was widely used aboard NATO warships, so it isn’t surprising that the ESSM is an international program. The NATO Sea Sparrow Consortium includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and the USA – as well as non-NATO Australia. Foreign Military Sales ESSM customers outside this consortium include Japan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
Huntington-Ingalls Industries won a $115 million contract modification for engineering and technical support for USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79). The USS John F. Kennedy is the second Gerald R. Ford Class aircraft carrier. The ship was launched on October 29, 2019. Work will take place in Newport News, Virginia. Expected completion will be by June 2024. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC, is the contracting activity.
According to Defense News, the Missile Defense Agency aims to get the first one Next Generation Interceptor by 2028. It will replace the current ground-based interceptors that make up the ballistic missile defense system of the United States’ homeland, but the director of the agency expects to be able to move faster. “If you look at the timeline to get to the first emplacement in 2028,” which is the government’s schedule, “through competition, we know that date is going to come to the left,” Vice Adm. Jon Hill, said at the McAleese and Associates conference May 12.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Shipyards announced that it has won a tender to supply Shaldag Mk V fast patrol boats to the navy of an East Asian country. The agreement was signed between Israel Shipyards, the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and the customer. According to Israel Shipyards, the deal includes a knowledge transfer and training regarding the construction and maintenance of the 32.65 m-long vessels, as well as an upgrade of the customer’s shipyard for this purpose.
A Litening III targeting pod on a Royal Air Force Eurofighter was damaged beyond repair after it dropped from the jet during testing. The Telegraph reported on the news, but did not mention if the accident happened in the air or on the ground. The damage was worth $847,260.
The UK signed a contract worth $1.9 billion for the purchase of 14 new Chinook aircraft over the next 10 years. According to a press release by the Royal Air Force, the helicopter can operate in a diverse range of environments, from the desert to the arctic, and transport up to 55 personnel or ten tonnes of cargo.
Exercise Arnhem Thunder 21 is taking place at RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal with the F-35A deploying to Darwin for the first time. Approximately 40 aircraft, and over 500 personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force will be participating in the largest air exercise in Australia for 2021.
Watch: Shaldag MK V FAIC with a high firepower-to-displacement ratio | Philippine Navy
Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.
Nimitz Class cutaway
As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.
DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.
Latest updates[?]: The UK signed a contract worth $1.9 billion for the purchase of 14 new Chinook aircraft over the next 10 years. According to a press release by the Royal Air Force, the helicopter can operate in a diverse range of environments, from the desert to the arctic, and transport up to 55 personnel or ten tonnes of cargo.
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.
Sikorsky won a $17.3 million contract modification, that adds scope to provide production system engineering and program management support in support of CH-53K aircraft low-rate initial production. The CH-53K is the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E. The CH-53K is a new-build helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material, more rapidly throughout the area of responsibility using proven and mature technologies. Work will take place in Stratford, Connecticut and is expected to be finished in June 2022.
The US Navy issued Northrop Grumman with a prototype and risk reduction contract for the development of a sense-and-avoid (SAA) capability for the MQ-4C Triton high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV. SAA is geared at enabling the Triton to operate in controlled airspace and is a focus of the next developmental increment of the co-operative development programme for the USN and RAAF.
Middle East & Africa
According to Africa News, the defense ministers of Burkina Faso and neighbouring Ivory Coast said they would step up their fight against Islamists ravaging the region. A jihadist conflict in the Sahel nations of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso has left vast swathes of territory outside of state control, and thousands of people dead. More than 1,300 people have been killed in Burkina Faso and one million have fled violence since 2015, when jihadists emerged in the formerly tranquil West African nation.
According to a notice by the Ministry of Defense, it is launching a competition that aims to develop alternative future concepts for the Early Warning systems currently deployed in Maritime Task Groups. Current early warning maritime capabilities are delivered by sensors mounted aboard airborne platforms, with the current assumption for a follow-on for Crowsnest (an airborne early warning system fitted to the Merlin Mk2 helicopter) being a singular large radar sensor mounted on an uncrewed air platform. According to the notice, the Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA) “welcomes alternatives that are not based on this approach and match or exceed current airborne capabilities. We are seeking a potential successor to Crowsnest, which has a planned out-of-service date of 2029.”
Japanese ground troops joined American and French counterparts in their first three-way exercise on Japanese land, as they seek to strengthen military ties amid growing Chinese assertiveness in the region. The “ARC21” exercise started on May 11 at the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Ainoura base in Nagasaki prefecture. Japan is seeking to expand its military ties beyond its alliance with the United States to include “like-minded” countries such as France, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters.
Chengdu J-10 jets powered by indigenous engines have entered operational service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. This represents China’s confidence in the local technology to equip the single-engine, multirole aircraft. According to Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation officials the J-10 uses a multi-mode fire-control radar designed in China. The radar has a mechanically scanned planar array antenna and is capable of tracking 10 targets.
Watch: CH 53E Super Stallion Big Helicopter in Action at Japan • Hagåtña Fury 21