Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division launched the amphibious transport dock Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD 29) being built for the US Navy. Richard M. McCool Jr., the 13th LPD in the San Antonio class of amphibious assault force ships, will support US amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.
The Argentinian Ministry of Defense has approved the purchase of two Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King helicopters for the Argentinian Navy. The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (company designation S-61) is an American twin-engined anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter designed and built by Sikorsky Aircraft. ASW equipment used on Sea Kings has included the AQS-13A/B/E dipping sonar which included specialized computers for processing sonar and sonobuoy data, various models of sonobuoys, ARR-75 Sonobuoy Receivers, and the ASQ-81 Magnetic Anomaly Detector.
Middle East & Africa
Smart Shooter has unveiled SMASH Dragon, an armed drone system incorporating company-developed SMASH Technology for precise target elimination. SMASH Dragon is an advanced robotic weaponry payload that can be mounted on different drones and other unmanned aerial platforms. It can incorporate various types of assault rifles, sniper rifles, 40mm, and other ammunition with great precision. Extremely lightweight and therefore allowing long mission endurance, SMASH Dragon integrates a unique stabilization concept with the SMASH technology that enables the system to accurately hit static and moving targets while flying.
Raytheon Systems was awarded a $13.5 million contract by the UK Ministry of Defense for in-service support for the AMRAAM missile system. The AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), also designated AIM-120, has a 30 to 40 mile range and can reach a speed of Mach 4. The system is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operation.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is confident that the first Tejas MK-2 prototype will be rolled out by end of this year or early next year. R. Madhavan, Chief Managing Director, said that the design has been finalized and some manufacturing activities have started.
Pakistan has decided not to purchase the T129 attack helicopter from Turkey, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has disclosed. Instead, the country will explore buying the Z-10 attack helicopter from China. The US government had refused to grant an export license for the T129 LHTEC T800 turboshaft engine to Pakistan.
Watch: Smart Shooter SMASH 2000 system – ‘smart rifle’ that only shoots if the bullet will hit an enemy
LPD-17 San Antonio class amphibious assault support vessels are just entering service with the US Navy, and 11 ships of this class are eventually slated to replace up to 41 previous ships. Much like their smaller predecessors, their mission is to embark, transport, land, and support elements of a US Marine Corps Landing Force. The difference is found in these ships’ size, their cost, and the capabilities and technologies used to perform those missions. Among other additions, this new ship is designed to operate the Marines’ new MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, alongside the standard well decks for hovercraft and amphibious armored personnel carriers.
While its design incorporates notable advances, the number of serious issues encountered in this ship class have been much higher than usual, and more extensive. The New Orleans shipyard to which most of this contract was assigned appears to be part of the problem. Initial ships have been criticized, often, for sub-standard workmanship, and it took 2 1/2 years after the initial ship of class was delivered before any of them could be sent on an operational cruise. Whereupon the USS San Antonio promptly found itself laid up Bahrain, due to oil leaks. It hasn’t been the only ship of its class hurt by serious mechanical issues. Meanwhile, costs are almost twice the originally promised amounts, reaching over $1.6 billion per ship – 2 to 3 times as much as many foreign LPDs like the Rotterdam Class, and more than 10 times as much as Singapore’s 6,600 ton Endurance Class LPD. This article covers the LPD-17 San Antonio Class program, including its technologies, its problems, and ongoing contracts and events.
Latest updates[?]: Raytheon Systems was awarded a $13.5 million contract by the UK Ministry of Defense for in-service support for the AMRAAM missile system. The AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), also designated AIM-120, has a 30 to 40 mile range and can reach a speed of Mach 4. The system is a beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operation.
AIM-120C from F-22A
(click for test missile zoom)
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.