Boeing won a $128.8 million contract for the F-15 Mission Training Center (MTC) simulation services to support the Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces and Air Force in Europe locations. The contractor will provide all personnel, equipment, supplies, transportation, tools, materials, supervision and other items to perform all MTC services. These services will provide simulation capability to train F-15 pilots and system operators in high-fidelity training devices. Work will take place in Missouri, Japan, Idaho, Nevada, the UK and North Carolina. Estimated completion will be in December 31, 2021.
The US Air Force’s multi-intelligence reconfigurable pod – AgilePod – recently demonstrated Precision, Navigation and Timing (PNT) concept of operations during six Phase I flights in Colorado. Three PNT technologies, the Vision Navigation (VisNav), Signals of Opportunity (SoOP) and magnetic anomaly navigation (MAGNAV), were demonstrated. The Vision Navigation (VisNav) and Signals of Opportunity (SoOP) technology were fused into a single system and the experiments proved that the idea can work in a wide range of aircraft and environmental conditions.
Middle East & Africa
Three Royal Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft supported the British Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade on exercise in the Middle East. The sortie included dispatching between 70 and 80 paratroopers from two separate Hercules aircraft. A third C-130J dispatched a Container Delivery System.
General Atomics won a $79.4 million deal for the France MQ-9 Block 5 aircraft procurement program. The MQ-9 Reaper is the primary offensive strike unmanned aerial vehicle for the US Air Force. The Reaper is part of a remotely piloted aircraft system. Work will take place in California. Estimated completion date is March 29, 2024.
A detachment of German Air Force Eurofighter fighters were in Romania to undertake combined Quick Reaction Alert training alongside the British Typhoon fast jets already deployed there, according to the RAF. This was the third time since 2020 that both air forces have joined forces on active deployments as part of the bi-lateral Eurofighter Interoperability Enhancement programme.
South Korea’s defense project promotion committee headed by defense minister Suh Wook approved a $2.6 billion project to develop its own interceptor system similar to Israel’s Iron Dome. Work on the project is expected to begin next year. Last year, the defense ministry pledged to build such an air defense system as a longer-term plan. The Iron Dome is designed to detect, identify and destroy incoming threats, such as short-range missiles, artillery shells and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Watch: The Might Of USAF F-15 Eagle Fighter Aircraft | Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag | Spark
Members of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade got a look at development of the SB-1 Defiant vertical lift helicopter, the Army said. The active duty and National Guard soldiers of the brigade, headquartered at Fort Campbell, visited the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida., to learn about the design of the medium-lift helicopter destined to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk, which first saw service in 1974.
Northrop Grumman will install an upgraded Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasure (LAIRCM) system that includes the new Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM) on aircraft and helicopters under a $146 million order from the US Air Force. The award is part of an existing contract to Northrop Grumman for LAIRCM upgrades, modifications and installations on a wide range of aircraft, including the C-17, C-5, C-130J, P-8, CH-53K, KC-46 and platforms operated by international customers.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish automotive manufacturer, BMC has received a contract to export 41 Kirpi (Hedgehog) mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles and five Kirpi 4×4 ambulances to Tunisia. Shipments of the vehicles will be made in batches in the coming months. With this deal, the number of vehicles that BMC has recently put into use in Tunisia will reach 92. Tunisia will become the country with the largest Kirpi fleet after Turkey, Anadolu agency reported.
ARTEC GmbH, on behalf of its parent companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall, officially handed over the last of the Boxer armoured transport vehicles (GTK) ordered to date by the Bundeswehr to representatives of the Federal procurement agency (BAAINBw) and the Ministry of Defense. The contract CCG 2nd batch, which was concluded in December 20015, comprised 131 GTK Boxers and was worth EUR 478 million. All the experience gained with modifications from the successful Afghanistan mission have been incorporated into this A2 version.
A long-range standoff missilebeing developed by Japan could be an option to replace the AGM-158C LRASM that Tokyo had wanted to mount on the F-15. Spiraling costs of the F-15JSI program has forced Japan to consider other options to have an anti-ship missile with standoff range.
Northrop Grumman announced the first flight of Japan’s second RQ-4B Global Hawk high-altitude, remotely-piloted, surveillance aircraft. Global Hawk is the only high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to deliver near real-time on demand data around the clock. Once fielded, Global Hawk will integrate with other Japanese intelligence assets, including ground-based command and control units. The capability will provide solutions to monitor and deter regional threats.
Wheeled armored vehicles have become much more common, but the Dutch-German Boxer stands out from the crowd. Its English acronym is “Multi Role Armoured Vehicle” (MRAV), but rather than being a family of different vehicles, the Boxer will use a single chassis, with snap-in modules for different purposes from infantry carrier to command, cargo, ambulance, etc.
The base vehicle has a maximum road speed of 100 km/h (60 mp/h) and an operational range of 1,000 km (600 miles). In its troop carrying configuration, it has a crew of 2 and can carry 10 fully equipped troops. The MRAV is fighting for space in a crowded market, but its principal countries are beginning to give it the front-line credibility it needs to succeed.
Sikorsky won a $735.9 million modification, which increases the scope for nine Lot Five low rate initial production CH-53K heavy-lift aircraft and associated aircraft, programmatic and logistical support. The Lot 5 contract contains an option for Lot 6 award for another nine helicopters. While each helicopter cost $97.6 million under the Lot 5 contract, the price will decrease to $94.7 under Lot 6. Work will take place in Connecticut, Kansas, Utah, Missouri, West Virginia, Washington, Canada, the UK, Wisconsin and Florida. Estimated completion date will be in December 2024.
A Canadian board of inquiry has released its report into the crash of a CH-148 off Greece in April 2020. Six onboard the helicopter died. The pilot was performing a turning maneuver called “return to target” when the helicopter’s autopilot took control of the aircraft at the end of the turn. The pilot realized too late that the autopilot was flying the aircraft into the sea and pulled back the cyclic. He had overridden the autopilot for an extended period of time while executing the maneuver. The board of inquiry found that the autopilot software accumulates commands when it is not turn off. This could reduce pilot’s control of the helicopter in special cases. During the certification of the CH-148, this scenario whereby the autopilot was overridden for extended time was not tested.
Middle East & Africa
A Kenya Air Force Mi-171E helicopter has crashed twenty minutes after it took off from Moi airbase at 8.10 am local time on June 24. A number of people onboard did not survive.
Two MiG-31Ks, which can carry the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile, have been deployed to Syria. The deployment was made possible due to the availability of a second runway at Khmeimim airbase.
The State Department has approved the potential sale of F-16 jets, AGM-84 Harpoon missiles, and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles, along with other equipment, to the Philippines, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced June 24. All told, the sales would total up to nearly $2.9 billion, with the majority of those funds going to the sale of a dozen F-16 aircraft and accompanying weaponry and equipment. Two of the jets will be two-seat F-16Ds, and 10 will be F-16Cs. However, one day after the DoS. cleared the sale of 12 F-16s to Philippines, the country’s Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says the price of the foreign military sales package is too high. Lorenzana told media that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) “is evaluating others.” He had previously said the two options are under consideration, the F-16 and the Saab JAS29.
India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired extended range version of indigenously developed Pinaka rocket from a Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL). The tests were conducted on 24-25 June 2021 at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha in Eastern India, a Ministry of Defence release said. Twenty-five Enhanced Pinaka Rockets were launched in quick succession against targets at different ranges. All the mission objectives were met during the launches. The enhanced range version of Pinaka Rocket System can destroy targets up to a distances of 45 kms.
Latest updates[?]: A Canadian board of inquiry has released its report into the crash of a CH-148 off Greece in April 2020. Six onboard the helicopter died. The pilot was performing a turning maneuver called “return to target” when the helicopter’s autopilot took control of the aircraft at the end of the turn. The pilot realized too late that the autopilot was flying the aircraft into the sea and pulled back the cyclic. He had overridden the autopilot for an extended period of time while executing the maneuver. The board of inquiry found that the autopilot software accumulates commands when it is not turn off. This could reduce pilot’s control of the helicopter in special cases. During the certification of the CH-148, this scenario whereby the autopilot was overridden for extended time was not tested.
Canada’s Maritime Helicopter Replacement Program has been a textbook military procurement program over its long history. Unfortunately, it has been a textbook example of what not to do. While Canada’s 50-year old Sea King fleet aged and deteriorated to potentially dangerous levels, political pettiness and lack of concern turned a straightforward off-the-shelf buy into a 25+ year long odyssey of cancellations, lawsuits, rebids, and more. Eventually, the Canadian military settled on Sikorsky’s H-92 Superhawk as the basis of its new CH-148 Cyclone Maritime Helicopter, which will serve from the decks of Canada’s naval ships and bases.
The civilian S-92 has gone on to some commercial success. To date, however, Canada has been the H-92’s only military customer – with all of the associated systems integration and naval conversion burdens that one would expect. After a long series of badly missed milestones and delivery delays, there are also deeper questions being raised concerning both the machines’ fitness, and DND’s conduct of the program as a whole. This article covers the rationale for, history of, and developments within Canada’s Maritime Helicopter Program.
Raytheon won a $136.4 million deal for MK 15 close-in weapon system upgrades and conversions, system overhauls and associated hardware. MK 15 Phalanx CIWS provides ships of the US Navy with an inner layer point defense capability against anti-ship missiles, aircraft and littoral warfare threats that have penetrated other fleet defenses. Phalanx automatically detects, evaluates, tracks, engages and performs kill assessment against ASM and high-speed aircraft threats. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (85%); and the government of South Korea (15%), under the foreign military sales program. If all options are exercised, work will continue through September 2026.
The 325th Fighter Wing’s Formal Training Unit, which trains pilots to fly the F-22, will be permanently located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The unit is currently located at Eglin Air Force Base. It was forced to settle in Florida after Hurricane Michael damaged its original home at Tyndall in 2018. The move will bring 28 F-22s and 16 T-38s to Virginia.
Middle East & Africa
According to reports, the Biden administration is sharply reducing the number of US antimissile systems in the Middle East in a major realignment of its military footprint there as it focuses the armed services on challenges from China and Russia, administration officials said. The Pentagon is pulling about eight Patriot antimissile batteries from countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, according to officials. Another antimissile system known as a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad system, is being withdrawn from Saudi Arabia, and jet fighter squadrons assigned to the region are being reduced, those officials said.
An experiment by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Boundary Layer Transition (BOLT) flight experiment team will soon determine whether the boundary layer transition of a hypersonic vehicle is laminar or turbulent. The team is targeting a late-June launch of the vehicle from the Esrange Space Center (SSC) in Kiruna, Sweden. Understanding the transition provides valuable information in the design of hypersonic aircraft and missiles.
Duqm Naval Dockyard, the Joint Venture between Babcock International and the Oman Drydock Company, has completed a first of its kind double engine replacement for the Royal Navy in the Middle East. Undertaken at Asyad dry dock facility at Duqm, in Oman, the operation to replace the Forward Auxiliary Machinery Room generators was a package of more than 500 items, and enabled the Royal Navy to sustain operations within the region as the latest example of Babcock’s global reach.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s first Type 075 Yushen Class amphibious assault ship Hainan recently conducted helicopter takeoff and landing training. The ship has a two-digit number 31 on its hull, indicating its likely role as a small aircraft carrier. Several 13 ton-class Z-8 transport helicopters could be seen landing on the large, straight flight deck of the newly commissioned warship, local news reported.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon won a $136.4 million deal for MK 15 close-in weapon system upgrades and conversions, system overhauls and associated hardware. MK 15 Phalanx CIWS provides ships of the US Navy with an inner layer point defense capability against anti-ship missiles, aircraft and littoral warfare threats that have penetrated other fleet defenses. Phalanx automatically detects, evaluates, tracks, engages and performs kill assessment against ASM and high-speed aircraft threats. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (85%); and the government of South Korea (15%), under the foreign military sales program. If all options are exercised, work will continue through September 2026.
The radar-guided, rapid-firing MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS, pron. “see-whiz”) can fire between 3,000-4,500 20mm cannon rounds per minute, either autonomously or under manual command, as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles and other targets. Phalanx uses closed-loop spotting with advanced radar and computer technology to locate, identify and direct a stream of armor piercing projectiles toward the target. These capabilities have made the Phalanx CIWS a critical bolt-on sub-system for naval vessels around the world, and led to the C-RAM/Centurion, a land-based system designed to defend against incoming artillery and mortars.
This DID Spotlight article offers updated, in-depth coverage that describes ongoing deployment and research projects within the Phalanx family of weapons, the new land-based system’s new technologies and roles, and international contracts from FY 2005 onward. As of Feb 28/07, more than 895 Phalanx systems had been built and deployed in the navies of 22 nations.
The 5th-generation F-22A Raptor fighter program has been the subject of fierce controversy, with advocates and detractors aplenty. On the one hand, the aircraft offers full stealth, revolutionary radar and sensor capabilities, dual air-air and air-ground SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) excellence, the ability to cruise above Mach 1 without afterburners, thrust-vectoring super-maneuverability… and a ridiculously lopsided kill record in exercises against the best American fighters. On the other hand, critics charged that it was too expensive, too limited, and cripples the USAF’s overall force structure.
Meanwhile, close American allies like Australia, Japan and Israel, and other allies like Korea, were pressing the USA to abandon its “no export” policy. Most already fly F-15s, but several were interested in an export version of the F-22 in order to help them deal with advanced – and advancing – Russian-designed aircraft, air-to-air missiles, and surface-to-air missile systems. That would have broadened the F-22 fleet in several important ways, but the US political system would not or could not respond.
This DID FOCUS Article tracks continuing maintenance and fleet upgrade programs, contracts, and timely news. A separate public-access feature offers a profile of the USAF’s most advanced fighter, and covers both sides of the F-22 Raptor program’s controversies.
The Pentagon launched Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Acceleration (ADA) initiative, goal of which is to rapidly advance data and AI dependent concepts, like joint all-domain command and control. Speaking virtually to the opening of the Defense Department’s Artificial Intelligence Symposium and Tech Exchange, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks said DOD’s operators must come to trust the outputs of AI systems; its commanders must come to trust the legal, ethical and moral foundations of explainable AI; and the American people must come to trust the values DOD has integrated into each of its applications.
Northrop Grumman has successfully flight demonstrated its new Terracotta sensor. The sensor is a digital open mission systems (OMS)-compliant wideband active electronically scanned array (AESA). Terracotta’s nearly 200 wideband digital channels can be molded cooperatively or segmented for unique purposes, including electronic warfare, airborne early warning radar, active and passive sensing, and communications. This most recent flight verified Terracotta’s ability to simultaneously perform active and passive radio frequency capabilities. The flight test was a follow-on to successful ground and flight demonstrations of Terracotta conducted last fall.
Middle East & Africa
Nordic Monitor has obtained and published a technical agreement document between Qatar and Turkey. While the agreement is to permit Qatar to send up to 36 military aircraft and not more than 250 personnel to Turkey for training. The agreement also allows Qatar to transport Turkish military equipment, material, dangerous goods, ammunition, personnel or humanitarian aid materials inside and outside of Turkey. Under point 10, “in case of a support requirement of (Turkey), (Qatar) is to avail of its other type of aircraft in (Qatar’s) inventory for transportation of (Turkey’s) military equipment, material, dangerous goods, ammunition, personnel or humanitarian aid materials, if it is deemed suitable by competent authority of Qatar.”
Boeing won a $580.6 million delivery order for 14 Chinook H-47 extended range rotary wing aircraft that satisfy the United Kingdom’s requirement for heavy assault, rotary wing aircraft. This modification exercises an option that was awarded on an existing delivery order. Foreign Military Sales funding from the United Kingdom in the amount of $580.6 is being obligated at the time of award. The United Kingdom will be the first international operator of a Block II Chinook. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2026. The Block II variant was officially launched in 2017. Block II Chinook improvements are applicable to “regular” CH-47Fs, and Boeing began flying a Block II CH-47F trials aircraft on March 28, 2019, albeit initially lacking the new rotors. Work will take place in Pennsylvania. Expected completion will be by July 2026.
Damen Naval and German ship classification society DNV, signed a contract for the comprehensive classification and verification of the new F126 frigates that a Damen-led team is building for the German Navy. Following the signing of the contract on June 7 at the DNV Maritime headquarters at its German office, DNV will carry out extensive work and conduct in-depth ship verifications and surveys in Hamburg, Wolgast and Kiel throughout the duration of the project.
Malaysia published the tender for the supply of eighteen Fighter Lead In Trainer-Light Combat Aircraft for the Royal Malaysian Air Force on June 22. Closing date for the tender is September 22. Currently, the tender website is offline.
Watch: Here Comes the New MH-47G Chinook Helicopter
Sikorsky won a $73.2 million modification, which adds scope to procure 362 spare parts and support required for the repair and maintenance of the CH-53K low rate initial production configuration aircraft. The CH-53K is the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E. The Super Stallion can be fielded from amphibious assault ships for the transportation of personnel and equipment. It will also be used to carry external cargo loads. Work will take place in Connecticut, Canada, Washington, Pennsylvania, the UK, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas and Massachusetts. Estimated completion date will be in December 2026.
Raytheon won a $17 million contract modification, which exercises an option to provide software engineering and testing, avionics integration and testing and avionics acquisition support to include classified and unclassified laboratories, configuration and data management and release of avionics software products and related systems in support of V-22 Software Support Activity systems. Work will take place in Indiana. Estimated completion will be in December 2023.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD)’s research organization, Mafat, Elbit Systems and the Air Force have completed a series of experiments during which UAVs were intercepted at different ranges and flight altitudes using an aerial laser system installed on an aircraft. The ability to destroy air threats from the air is an innovative capability with the potential for a strategic change in the air defense capability of the State of Israel, the Israeli MoD announced.
Saab has signed a contract for the delivery of live training systems and services to the Dutch armed forces. The order comprises the supply of new equipment and functionality at $85.1 million, with a 10-year support contract with an annual value of $7.8 million. The total order over the ten year period is valued approximately $163.9 million. The contract also has an option for five years additional support following the initial 10-year period.
The third and final Royal Navy autonomous minehunting boat has been delivered to Clyde Naval Base. “RNMB Hebe, named after the ancient Greek goddess of youth, has now joined sister vessels Harrier and Hazard as part of the Royal Navy’s crewless minehunting programme Project Wilton. Hebe, four metres longer than her sisters and with more technology on board, is able to work in isolation on operations but also integrated with existing equipment, the Royal Navy said in a press release.
Jane’s reports that the Indonesian Ministry of Finance has given the green light to seek foreign loans up to $700 million for the acquisition of two aerial tankers for the Indonesian Air Force. It added that the tanker must be able to employ both the probe-and-drogue and flying boom aerial refueling methods.
Watch: CH-53K King Stallion Takes Flight at MCAS New River