Northrop Grumman won a $8.4 million delivery order for support of the E2-D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft program avionics flight management computers. The E-2D provides broad area coverage resulting in broader range capabilities. With the E-2D’s enhanced ability to work in the littoral and over land, the platform provides a critical capability to protect our nation’s interests. Work will take place in California. Estimated completion date is February 5, 2025.
Great Eastern won a $9.1 modification to exercise and fund the second 12-month option on a firm-fixed-price contract with reimbursable elements for the offshore support vessel Hercules. This vessel will be utilized to support refueling and resupply of the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1). The contract includes a 12-month base period, three 12-month option periods, and one 11-month option period. Work will take place in the US Pacific Command’s area of responsibility. Estimated completion date is July 15, 2024.
Middle East & Africa
Ukrainian firm Practika reportedly delivered a batch of Kozak-5 lightweight armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia this year. The Kozak-5 armored vehicle based on 4×4 truck Ford F550, chassis specially enforced (front axle strengthening, suspension and brakes enforcing, bigger wheels installing for armored vehicle building).
QinetiQ supported and hosted ‘At Sea Demonstration/ Formidable Shield’ (ASD/FS), the latest US-led NATO training exercise at MoD Hebrides, Scotland. Responsible for modernizing the base to enable the exercise to take place, QinetiQ say they worked closely with international partners within NATO and made a significant contribution to allies’ abilities to deliver against future threats.
The Tejas Mk1A is to fly by March next year, in a new deadline set by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). HAL’s chairman R Madhavan said the critical design reviews for the mission computer, digital map generator and digital flight control systems are completed.
In its budget proposal for 2022, the Japan’s Ministry of Defense will budget $912 million to acquire 10 F-35 fighters from the US. This is nearly double of what the ministry had budget in 2021 for six aircraft. Japan’s mid-term defense plan is to acquire 27 F-35As and 18 F-35Bs.
Watch: Here Comes the New Upgrade E-2D Hawkeye Cockpit (And Much More)
Latest updates[?]: Great Eastern won a $9.1 modification to exercise and fund the second 12-month option on a firm-fixed-price contract with reimbursable elements for the offshore support vessel Hercules. This vessel will be utilized to support refueling and resupply of the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1). The contract includes a 12-month base period, three 12-month option periods, and one 11-month option period. Work will take place in the US Pacific Command’s area of responsibility. Estimated completion date is July 15, 2024.
SBX-1, Pearl Harbor
As rogue state proliferation by the likes of North Korea made missile defense a growing priority for nations including the USA, Japan, and Israel, the USA began to look at the linchpin of any defense: powerful radars that could both track ballistic missiles, and guide interceptors. The USA has its BMEWS tracking system, but that would not serve. America’s Safeguard ABM system was dismantled long ago – though Russia still maintains its counterpart System A-135 network around Moscow. Something new would be needed.
Enter Raytheon’s new XBR radar, based on an SBX-1 platform that looks a lot like a mobile oil drilling rig. Basing the radar at sea offers numerous advantages. One is the obvious ability to move the radar as threats materialize, allowing much greater coverage with fewer radars. Another is the ability to protect allies, without having to invest in expensive systems whose regional capabilities and value to the USA could be put at risk by the decisions of a single foreign government. In exchange for this freedom from political interference, of course, the designers must contend with nature’s interference in the stormy Pacific.
Boeing SBX system is linked to its land-based GMD (Ground-based Mid-course Defense) missile system but can also operate with other naval and land elements.
Textron Systems won an $11.3 million deal for the logistics and repair support of MV-22B, CMV-22 (Navy) and CV-22 (Air Force) Osprey components in support of the Joint Service Electronic Combat Systems Tester system. The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multimission tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Boeing and Bell Helicopters. Work will take place in Maryland. Estimated completion will be by August 2026.
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test re-entry vehicle was launched by Airmen from the Global Strike Command on August 11. During this launch, a Hi Fidelity Joint Test Assembly re-entry vehicle that detonated conventional explosives prior to hitting the surface of the water was used. The vehicle landed downrange near Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Middle East & Africa
According to Defense News, Canadian company Lortie Aviation is entering negotiations to buy five of Lebanon’s Hawker Hunter fighter jets after the Ministry of National Defense held three auctions for the aircraft. The ministry authorized the Lebanese Armed Forces to issue an agreement of consent with the Canadian firm for the sale of the five Hawker Hunters and spare parts.
According to the UK Royal Navy, a new robotic vessel has begun trials with the Royal Navy. The Otter Pro has been put through its paces at the Defense Diving School, on Horsea Island, Portsmouth. The next stage of the trials will see the Otter Pro, from RS Aqua Ltd, tested in a more complex environment and its near-real time data processing will be refined
Unlike global trends where attack drones are equipped primarily with guided weapons, Russia is developing a series of unguided rockets and bombs for use on the aircraft. The project to develop the weapons has received the green light from the Russian Ministry of Defense, Izvestia reported.
Japan reportedly plans to deploy missile units next year on an island that is merely 300 kilometres off the coast of Taiwan. The move is aimed at countering Beijing’s increasing naval presence in an area that carries a history of military disputes, reported Japanese media, adding that the nukes will also help defend against a potential Chinese attack
Watch: US Army Test a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System Capabilities
$1 million in funding from the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (AvMC) has been awarded to RE2 Robotics to develop a robotic system that can autonomously refuel AH-64 Apache helicopters in the field. Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, California, is managing the project entitled Remote Robotic Refueling for Extended Missions (R3EM), which is part of the Autonomous and Robotic Remote Refueling Point (AR3P) program.
Lockheed Martin won a $11 million unpriced letter contract for long-lead material and the labor, planning, and scheduling necessary to support the fiscal 2022 Trident II (D5) missile production schedule. This unpriced letter contract will be definitized on or about October 1, 2021, as a fixed-price-incentive contract. The Trident II D5 fleet ballistic missile is a three-stage, solid-propellant, inertial-guided ballistic missile developed by Lockheed Martin. Work will take place in Florida. Estimated completion date is September 30, 2026.
Middle East & Africa
According to Jane’s, Emirati company Milanion Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukrainian Armor to give the latter distribution rights of unmanned ground vehicle Agema. Agema is designed to support a range of missions, including national and civil defense and security; fire and rescue; logistical support; fire support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; anti-tank support; medevac; and route inspection and clearance. The platform can also provide encrypted communications.
Rheinmetall and Escribano Mechanical & Engineering (EM&E) demonstrated new modules carrying EM&E sensors and weapons systems for the Mission Master SP Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles (A-UGVs). The demonstrations that took place at EM&E’s new facilities in San Juan del Viso in Spain involved two Mission Master A-UGVs.
According to a news release, the defense Science and Technology Laboratory has awarded a $13.1 million contract to In-Space Missions Ltd for the build of the Titania satellite, which will undertake research on the next-generation of communications technology
The Australian government has selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Northrop Grumman Australia to progress to the next round of its fifth-generation Joint Air Battle Management System (JBAMs) competition, to be delivered under the $2 billion Air 6500 Phase 1 project.
Watch: Rheinmetall demonstrates new Mission Master SP modules developed in collaboration with Escribano
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford has successfully completed its third and final round of Full Ship Shock Trials. According to the Naval Sea Systems Command statement. The third explosive event was conducted Sunday off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.
A research paper by a team from the US Air Force Institute of Technology describes how a tanker-centric stereo vision system can be used for automated aerial refueling (AAR). Currently, differential GPS is used so that the tanker and receiver are on a stable flight path for the transfer of fuel. The authors argued that by having a vision-based system can improve the integrity of the process.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli Air Force engineers can now repair damaged runways with Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) mats and anchoring systems thanks to training by US Air Force and Army engineers. The US Air Force’s Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery concept uses the same type of technologies. This was the first time FRP kits were used in such a large crater configuration and the first time the kits were tested using F-35s.
Two British minehunters were decommissioned in Rosyth, Scotland this week. According to the Royal Navy, both Sandown-class mine countermeasures vessels have served extensively during careers spanning 21 years and 175,000 miles for Ramsey, 185,000 miles over 20 years for Blyth, supporting operations in the Middle East, around the UK or on NATO duties in northern European and Mediterranean waters. Dozens of affiliates and friends joined the crews, RN leaders and Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet Reverend Martin Evans, with music provided by the Band of HM Royal Marines Plymouth.
China’s Hudong Zhonghua shipyard launched the third Type 054 A/P Frigate destined to serve in the Pakistan Navy. “The Launching ceremony of 3rd state-of-the-art Type-054 Class frigate constructed for Pak Navy, was held at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard, China. The technologically advance platform is fitted with latest surface, subsurface, anti-air weapons, combat management system & sensors,” the Pakistan Navy tweeted last week.
During a recent voyage of the Chinese Liaoning aircraft carrier, a batch of Instructor-Pilots were certified for night operations paving the way for rapid induction of naval aviators into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy. In a test conducted on a windy night with fierce sea waves in the Bohai Sea, several pilot instructors from PLA Naval Aviation University steered J-15 fighter jets and landed on the flight deck of Liaoning.
Latest updates[?]: Israeli Air Force engineers can now repair damaged runways with Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) mats and anchoring systems thanks to training by US Air Force and Army engineers. The US Air Force’s Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery concept uses the same type of technologies. This was the first time FRP kits were used in such a large crater configuration and the first time the kits were tested using F-35s.
In an exclusive June 2006 interview, Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief procurement officer Brigadier-General Ze’ev Snir told Israeli media that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was a key part of their IAF recapitalization plans, and that Israel intended to buy over 100 of the fighters to replace their fleet of over 300 F-16s.
Since then, however, the expected cost of that purchase has more than doubled. Israel’s F-35 contract had to deal with that sticker shock, with issues like the incorporation of Israeli technologies and industrial work, and with major schedule slips in the core F-35 program. Israel was even contemplating delaying its purchase, which would have removed an important early adopter for the Lightning II. In the end, however, Israel decided to forego other fighter options, and became the first foreign buyer of operational F-35s. So, how is the “F-35i Adir” shaping up?
Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s (NAWCAD) UX-24 Unmanned Test Squadron, teamed up with Military Sealift Command and the crew of MSC’s fleet replenishment oiler USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO 188) to test a new concept in material transportation, while the ship was underway in the Atlantic Ocean, July 15-16. The Blue Water logistics Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) carried out three test flights by transporting an internal cargo consisting of simulated repair parts.
AeroVironment, Inc. introduced standardized modular payload interface kits for RQ-20B Puma tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) recently. The Modular Payload Standard was established by US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in order to create a modular architectural standard for a wide variety of payloads on Groups 1 through 3 UAS. The kits enable third-party payload manufacturers, as well as United States Department of Defense and international partners, to quickly and easily develop and integrate payloads onto RQ-20B Puma.
Middle East & Africa
The Kuwaiti Army will start to receive the upgraded M1A2 Abrams main battle tank (MBT), known as M1A2K, almost two years behind the initial schedule. In its announcement of the news via social media in late July, the army claimed the M1A2K will enter operational service “soon” and boost the combat efficiency of the Kuwaiti land forces. Kuwait plans to upgrade all 218 of its Abrams MBTs to the M1A2K configuration, but the program’s timeframe seems to have been revised after it encountered delays for undisclosed reasons.
Belarus wants to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system (ADS) on liberal loan from Russia, said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. According to Lukashenko, the funds of the Russian state loan, which was previously issued for the construction of the BelNPP, (nuclear power plant) can be used to purchase the S-400 air defense system and other modern weapons of the Russian Federation. “We saved a lot of money at the nuclear power plant.
Roscosmos space agency’s top boss has revealed that Russia’s Sarmat advanced silo-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) completed ground trials. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said last week that flight trials of Sarmat ICBM will start this year and finish in 2022.
Japan’s Ministry of Defense revealed on August 7 that they are considering using unmanned aerial vehicles for early detection of hypersonic missiles flying at Mach 5 and faster. Japan intends to use an infra-red sensor to detect these weapons, such a sensor had been verified to be working back in 2019. Existing missile defense systems find it difficult to detect hypersonic missiles. Unmanned aerial vehicles may be able to overcome this challenge.
According to Jane’s, the US Navy is not keen to use the MQ-4C in an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) role. The Hudson Institute’s senior fellow, Bryan Clark, had told Janes that the new sensors onboard IFC-4 variant of the MQ-4C have passive sensing capability to be used for AEW&C. Doug Shaffer, Northrop Grumman vice-president and program manager for Triton programs, also revealed that the company is thinking about having the E-2D and MQ-4C share each other’s pictures in demonstrations. But the mission set has been ruled out by Captain Dan Mackin, the maritime UAS manager. Mackin wants the unmanned air vehicle to focus on maritime surveillance.
On August 5, US Air Mobility Command commander Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost approved a second Interim Capability Release (ICR) mission for the KC-46A Pegasus. The first ICR decision approved the KC-46A’s Centerline Drogue System mission set on July 9. Transportation Command can now task the KC-46 for the C-17, the B-52H, and the KC-46 receivers. This is the first ICR decision regarding the air refueling boom mission set. As a result, the Pegasus aircraft and crews can now accept operational tasks that would otherwise be filled by KC-135s and KC-10s.
Middle East & Africa
Sailors from the navies of Ghana and Nigeria joined the US Navy’s USS Hershel “Woody” Williams for maritime security training this week. The vessel, an expeditionary sea base, returned to West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea after participating in the 32-nation Obangame Express 2021 exercises in March.
In a bilateral contract worth close to $354 million, Eurofighter and NETMA, the NATO Eurofighter & Tornado Management Agency, have defined the next steps in the development of the Eurofighter Typhoon. Consolidation Package Step Two and Three, Phase 1 Contract’s most important features will enable Typhoon to operate the Meteor beyond-visual-range, air-to-air missile while transferring the capability from the existing M-Scan radar to the new E-Scan radar.
Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) laid down keel for the Indian Navy’s first anti-submarine warfare (ASW) shallow water craft. GRSE has delivered three P-28 class ASW corvettes (NS Kamorta, INS Kadmat and INS Kiltan) to the Indian Navy. The warships have around 90% indigenous content and tonnage of 3250 tonnes.
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) will start testing its new Grenade-Launching Drones and Small Modularized Drones next year. DAPA’s Grenade Launching Drone is an attack drone that is equipped with six 40mm class grenade and can remotely control fire to a short-range target (within 2km). The drone is equipped with a two-axis gimbal and recoil absorber to offset the impact of the drone’s movement and grenade launch. It is fitted with an optical and thermal imaging camera and laser range finder. This kind of drone has high utility as an offensive weapon.
Watch: Dream Realized: The Air Force’s New Multi-Mission KC-46 Tanker Is Ready
Lockheed Martin won a $35.6 million contract modification for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system. Under this contract modification, Lockheed Martin will provide 36 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTTs) A2 as a lifetime buy to support the THAAD weapon system. Work will take place in California, Texas and Wisconsin. Estimated completion date is August 4, 2021.
Skydweller Aero has been given $5 million by the US Navy to demonstrate its unmanned air vehicle (UAV) that is based on the Solar Impulse 2. The US-Spanish startup has tested and flown autonomous flight software on the Solar Impulse 2. The company hopes to fly the plane at the stratosphere while carrying an 800lb payload. It can remain airborne for 90 hours.
A Boeing E-3D Sentry has returned to its home base at RAF Waddington following its final mission on Operation SHADER, bringing to a close 30 years of operational service. According to the Royal Air Force, the period between retirement and the Wedgetail becoming operational, the Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance requirements will be covered by a combination of other aircraft and E-3s from the NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Force.
The US government is selling another batch of RIM-116C Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) Block 2 missiles to Japan. This time, the $61.5 million Foreign Military Sale package is for 44 missiles. The country bought 51 missiles in September 2020.
The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the government of Japan of AEGIS Class Destroyer Support and related equipment for an estimated cost of $134 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.
Latest updates[?]: The US State Department signed off on a deal worth $82 million to supply Harpoon Joint Common Test Set (JCTS) and related equipment to the Government of India. The Government of India had requested to buy one Harpoon Joint Common Test Set (JCTS). Also included is one Harpoon Intermediate Level maintenance station; spare and repair parts, support, and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training; US Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) release said.
Harpoon in flight
The sub-sonic, wave-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile, with the minor exception of small helicopter-borne AGM-119B Penguin missiles. The Harpoon has been adapted into several variants, and exported to many navies around the world. At present, the Harpoon family includes AGM-84 air, RGM-84 sea/land, and UGM-84 submarine-launched versions. Variants such as the Joint Standoff Land Attack Missiles and the upgraded AGM-84K SLAM – Expanded Response will also be covered in this DID FOCUS Article. It describes the missiles themselves, and covers global contracts involving this family.
The Harpoon family’s best known competitor is the French/MBDA M38/39/40 Exocet, but recent years have witnessed a growing competitive roster at both the subsonic (Israel’s >Gabriel family, Russia’s SS-N-27 Klub family, Saab’s RBS15, Kongsberg’s stealthy NSM, China’s YJ-82/C-802 used by Hezbollah in Lebanon), and supersonic (Russia’s SS-N-22 Sunburn/Moskit, SS-N-26 Yakhont, and some SS-N-27 Klub variants, India’s SS-N-26 derived PJ-10 BrahMos) tiers.