Raytheon Missiles and Defense won a $77.1 million contract modification for Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) Production Lot 35 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM) and CATM guidance sections. This Captive Air Training Missile is an inert store that is captive carried on the aircraft and simulates the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile for training purposes. Work will take place in Arizona. Estimated completion date is April 30, 2024.
According to Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division, the US Navy’s guided missile destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) completed builder’s trials. The Arleigh Burke Class destroyer spent three days in the Gulf of Mexico testing the ship’s combat system, which included firing a missile.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Shipyards announced the signing of an agreement for the detailed design phase for the construction of the Reshef Class Vessel for the Israeli Navy. The agreement was signed with the Ministry of Defense as a final step before the ship’s production phase. During this phase, Israel Shipyards will present an engineering plan, adapted to the needs of the Navy.
Bryan 77 Construction JV won a $9.2 million task order for repair of the Scorpion Gate at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. The task order also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised, would increase cumulative task order value to $9.3 million. The work to be performed provides for the repair and replacement of the Scorpion Gate at Camp Lemonnier to meet current anti-terrorism force protection requirements. The project consists of demolition of six existing structures, construction of a new pedestrian screening building, five prefabricated guardhouses, and re-configuration of the gate access. The contractor is to provide all labor, supervision, engineering, materials, equipment, tools, parts, supplies and transportation to perform all work described in the request for proposal. The option, if exercised, provides for the relocation of an existing guard tower. Work will take place in Djibouti, Africa. Estimated completion will be by February 2023.
Norway plans to deploy the P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft in the Arctic in 2022. According to Defense News, this represents a major advance in the country’s long-term efforts to enhance defense capabilities and readiness in the region. The Department of Defense unveiled the schedule on August 13, after it had already approved Ivins Air Station as the home base for its future Boeing-built fleet. The Royal Norwegian Air Force has ordered five P-8A Poseidons to replace its in-service fleet of six Lockheed Martin P-3C/N Orion maritime patrol aircraft and two Dassault Falcon 20 special mission aircraft. The P-3 Orions service operates from Andoya Air Force Station, which is located 190 miles inside the Arctic Circle.
According to Reuters, Taiwan will allocate $1.4 billion to purchase new warplanes next year to bolster the island’s defense capabilities amid increasing pressure from China. The money is part of the $16.8 billion defense budget for 2022 approved by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s cabinet on Thursday. It is the country’s greatest defense expenditure to date.
Watch: Nothing Can Kill the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer
Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles, and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. It was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind, and of local air combat exercises like ACEVAL and Red Flag. This DID FOCUS article covers successive generations of AMRAAM missiles, international contracts and key events from 2006 onward, and even some of its emerging competitors.
One of the key lessons learned from Vietnam was that a fighter would be likely to encounter multiple enemies, and would need to launch and guide several missiles at once in order to ensure its survival. This had not been possible with the AIM-7 Sparrow, a “semi-active radar homing” missile that required a constant radar lock on one target. To make matters worse, enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own. Pilots who weren’t free to maneuver after launch would often be forced to “break lock,” or be killed – sometimes even by a short-range missile fired during the last phases of their enemy’s approach. Since fighters that could carry radar-guided missiles like the AIM-7 tended to be larger and more expensive, and the Soviets were known to have far more fighters overall, this was not a good trade.
In April 2009 Bath and Ingalls agreed to the Navy’s surface combatant plans, thus heralding a significant restructuring within the American naval shipbuilding community. Under the agreements, the USA would end production at 3 Graf Spee sized DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class “destroyers,” but shift all production from the Congressionally-mandated joint arrangements to General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine, which had already made program-related investments in advanced shipbuilding technologies.
Northrop Grumman (now Huntington Ingalls Industries) would retain its DDG-1000 deckhouse work, but their main exchange was additional orders for DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers. Their Ingalls yard in Pascagoula, Mississippi would continue building the DDG-51 destroyers, beginning with 2 ordered in FY 2010-2011.
Latest updates[?]: Norway plans to deploy the P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft in the Arctic in 2022. According to Defense News, this represents a major advance in the country’s long-term efforts to enhance defense capabilities and readiness in the region. The Department of Defense unveiled the schedule on August 13, after it had already approved Ivins Air Station as the home base for its future Boeing-built fleet. The Royal Norwegian Air Force has ordered five P-8A Poseidons to replace its in-service fleet of six Lockheed Martin P-3C/N Orion maritime patrol aircraft and two Dassault Falcon 20 special mission aircraft. The P-3 Orions service operates from Andoya Air Force Station, which is located 190 miles inside the Arctic Circle.
Maritime surveillance and patrol is becoming more and more important, but the USA’s P-3 Orion turboprop fleet is falling apart. The P-7 Long Range Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Capable Aircraft program to create an improved P-3 began in 1988, but cost overruns, slow progress, and interest in opening the competition to commercial designs led to the P-7’s cancellation for default in 1990. The successor MMA program was begun in March 2000, and Boeing beat Lockheed’s “Orion 21” with a P-8 design based on their ubiquitous 737 passenger jet. US Navy squadrons finally began taking P-8A Poseidon deliveries in 2012, but the long delays haven’t done their existing P-3 fleet any favors.
Filling the P-3 Orion’s shoes is no easy task. What missions will the new P-8A Poseidon face? What do we know about the platform, the project team, and ongoing developments? Will the P-3’s wide global adoption give its successor a comparable level of export opportunities? Australia and India have already signed on, but has the larger market shifted in the interim?
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) cut the first steel plate for use on the US Navy’s fourth ship of the Gerald R. Ford Class aircraft carrier Doris Miller (CVN 81) on Wednesday at its Newport News Shipbuilding division, marking the beginning of its construction. Doris Miller is the second ship of the two-carrier contract award HII received in January 2019 for the detail design and construction of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers; Enterprise (CVN 80) being the first ship of the contract.
The head of US Space Force says the nascent military branch has grown into a “warfighting force” after meeting key milestones. Army Gen. James Dickinson, US Space Command commander, said in a press release that the command has achieved initial operational capability on Monday, two years after it was founded.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing formally rolled out its new F-15QA fighter for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF). The first set of F-15QA jets will ferry to Qatar later this year following the completion of pre-delivery pilot training. Boeing has been providing maintenance and logistics support for the QEAF during pre-delivery pilot training, which began earlier this year. In addition, Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew and maintenance training center for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024 while also providing in-country spares and logistics support once aircraft are delivered.
General Atomics won a $42.6 million contract for MQ-9 Reaper contractor logistics support. The company was also awarded a $8.1 million option. In both cased, the contractor will provide an additional period of support for the United Kingdom Royal Air Force. Work for both deal will take place in Poway, California.
The SkyGuardian drone will soon be conducting trials from RAF Waddington in England and RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. In July the UK government announced the order of a further 13 Protector UAVs to add to the three already contracted, bringing the total number to 16 (the UK had an earlier stated requirement for 20 air vehicles, although a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification of the proposed Protector sale has put the number at 26). The RAF is scheduled to declare the capability operational in 2023/2024.
The US State Department has OK’d a sale of precision-guided weapons worth about $258 million to South Korea. The sale, announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Wednesday, will help South Korea address threats on the Korean Peninsula and progress the transfer of wartime operational control to the country, the agency said.
Latest updates[?]: Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) cut the first steel plate for use on the US Navy’s fourth ship of the Gerald R. Ford Class aircraft carrier Doris Miller (CVN 81) on Wednesday at its Newport News Shipbuilding division, marking the beginning of its construction. Doris Miller is the second ship of the two-carrier contract award HII received in January 2019 for the detail design and construction of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers; Enterprise (CVN 80) being the first ship of the contract.
USA’s Nimitz Class &
UK’s Invincible Class
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[?]: Boeing formally rolled out its new F-15QA fighter for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF). The first set of F-15QA jets will ferry to Qatar later this year following the completion of pre-delivery pilot training. Boeing has been providing maintenance and logistics support for the QEAF during pre-delivery pilot training, which began earlier this year. In addition, Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew and maintenance training center for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024 while also providing in-country spares and logistics support once aircraft are delivered.
F-15C over DC
“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.
The US Navy announced, that it has finished a test of its first littoral combat ship-based unmanned mine detection system. The Unmanned Influence Sweep System designed for the LCS has a mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle, or MCM USV, and a towed minesweeping payload to sweep magnetic or acoustic mines, the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford has departed from Norfolk Naval Station to Newport News Shipyard for planned maintenance. According to a statement, the six-month maintenance period, called a Planned Incremental Availability, which includes modernization, maintenance and repairs, was slated to serve as the final maintenance phase prior to the warship’s anticipated inaugural deployment next year.
Middle East & Africa
Russian claims of Turkey being in the ‘final stages’ of a deal to buy a second batch of S-400 air defense system is false, a Turkish official has said. Russian state arms supplier Rosoboronexport General Director Alexander Mikheev reportedly told Russian state media on Monday that the consultations between Turkey and Russia on a new supply of the S-400s were at the “final stage.”
The German Bundeswehr ordered a tethered balloon-based area reconnaissance system worth $24.7 million for protecting a forward operating base in Niger. The Ka-52M is considered a competitor to the US-made Apache. First of these helicopters will be handed over to the Russian military in 2022. Deliveries of the upgraded helicopters will begin after passing state joint tests, which started in August, the company said in a statement.
The Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract for Kamoc Ka-52M Alligator combat helicopters with Russian Helicopters Holding today during the Army 2021 Forum. The Ka-52M is considered a competitor to the U.S.-made Apache. First of these helicopters will be handed over to the Russian military in 2022. Deliveries of the upgraded helicopters will begin after passing state joint tests, which started in August, the company said in a statement.
A joint fighter exercise between the Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) will proceed this year, the Sankei reports. The exercise was supposed to take place at Komatsu base with JASDF F-15s in June last year but postponed due to the pandemic. It was rescheduled to July this year and India’s Su-30MKIs were supposed to train with F-2s Hyakuri. That event was canceled due to the spread of the Delta variant.
Watch: The Russian Ministry of Defense Orders Ka-52M Helicopters at Army 2021
Latest updates[?]: The US Navy announced, that it has finished a test of its first littoral combat ship-based unmanned mine detection system. The Unmanned Influence Sweep System designed for the LCS has a mine countermeasures unmanned surface vehicle, or MCM USV, and a towed minesweeping payload to sweep magnetic or acoustic mines, the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants.
Trimaran LCS Design
(click to enlarge)
Exploit simplicity, numbers, the pace of technology development in electronics and robotics, and fast reconfiguration. That was the US Navy’s idea for the low-end backbone of its future surface combatant fleet. Inspired by successful experiments like Denmark’s Standard Flex ships, the US Navy’s $35+ billion “Littoral Combat Ship” program was intended to create a new generation of affordable surface combatants that could operate in dangerous shallow and near-shore environments, while remaining affordable and capable throughout their lifetimes.
It hasn’t worked that way. In practice, the Navy hasn’t been able to reconcile what they wanted with the capabilities needed to perform primary naval missions, or with what could be delivered for the sums available. The LCS program has changed its fundamental acquisition plan 4 times since 2005, and canceled contracts with both competing teams during this period, without escaping any of its fundamental issues. Now, the program looks set to end early. This public-access FOCUS article offer a wealth of research material, alongside looks at the LCS program’s designs, industry teams procurement plans, military controversies, budgets and contracts.
Boeing won a $49.7 million deal for the inspection and overhaul of the CH-47 Chinook mechanical transmission. The CH-47D Chinook helicopter transports troops, artillery, supplies and equipment to the battlefield with other applications ranging from medical evacuation, aircraft recovery, parachute drop, search and rescue to disaster relief, firefighting and heavy construction. Work is estimated to be completed by August 23, 2025.
The US Army, together with the Israeli Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) announced the successful first life fire of its Iron Dome air defense system engaging eight cruise missile targets. Soldiers from the Army’s 3-43 Air Defense Artillery (ADA) successfully engaged eight cruise missile surrogate targets as part of a coordinated performance test and live fire event. The 3-43 Battalion (BN) is the first unit to undergo New Equipment Training, and execute live fire tests with the newly acquired interim cruise missile defense system.
Middle East & Africa
Negotiations for the sale of an additional battery of Russian S-400 Air Defense System (ADS) to Turkey are in the final stages. Discussions between Russia’s arms export agency, Rosoboronexport and Turkey on the S-400 were held during the recent IDEF exhibition where the negotiations were brought to fruition, the head of Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheev told reporters during the ARMY-2021 event.
Japan is dispatching one C-2 and two C-130s to Afghanistan for the evacuation of its citizens there. The first aircraft, the C-2, will depart Japan tonight. The C-130s will follow the next day.
AERALIS, a British modular military jet developer, will be showcasing its modular jet design at the DSEI 2021 defence industry show. DSEI is taking place from September 14 to September 17 at the ExCel exhibition centre in London, and AERALIS will be exhibiting at its Stand H7-440 in the Aerospace Zone.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) said it inked a contract with Pakistan’s National Engineering and Science Commission (NESCOM) to produce components for TAI’s medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) combat drone, Anka. TAI opened its first office in Pakistan in December 2019 at the country’s National Science & Technology Park.
Watch: Gray Eagle VS Anka Drone | America’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle VS Turkish TAI Anka Combat Drone