The Pentagon’s blue-sky research agency recently announced that it selected 10 organizations to develop enhanced, less bulky night vision goggles to keep the crimp out of servicemembers’ necks. And so they can see better at night. The program, dubbed Enhanced Night Vision in Eyeglass Form (ENVision), will be divided to solve those problems in two separate technical areas. The five organizations selected in the first technical area will try to reduce the size and volume of night vision goggles.
The Netherlands will base its soon-to-be received MQ-9A Reaper medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles in the Caribbean region. The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is due to receive four MQ-9A Block 5 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from US manufacturer General Atomics next month.
Middle East & Africa
The United Arab Emirates inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea for the purchase of M-SAM advanced air defense systems for $3.5 billion. The MoU for the surface-to-air missiles was signed on Sunday after the meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Emirati Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai.
Reportedly three people were killed when drones attacked the Adnoc storage tanks in Abu Dhabi on January 17. A separate attack in the new construction area of Abu Dhabi International Airport caused a minor fire. Houthis rebels from Yemen have claimed responsibility for the attack. Adnoc says the attack took place at approximately 10.00 a.m. local time and six others were wounded when the three transport tankers caught fire.
Dassault Aviation delivered 55 airplanes in 2021, up from 47 the year before, the French aerospace manufacturer announced. Dassault provided 25 Rafale multirole fighters to export customers in 2021, which met expectations and was up from 13 the previous year. The company also delivered 30 Falcon business jets, up five from an earlier forecast but down four from the previous year.
MD Helicopters (MDHI) has shipped six MD 530G Light Scout Attack helicopters for the Malaysia Ministry of Defense (MoD) via their agent Halaman Optima/ Destini Prima. The 530G for Malaysia is integrated with the Wescam L3 MX10D sensor and the Pathfinder Ares Weapons Management System from Tek Fusion which are used to support the Dillion M134 Mini Gun, FN Herstal Heavy Machine Gun and Rocket Machine Gun pods, and 2.75-inch Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets (guided and unguided).
General Electric won a $12 million deal for maintenance and overhaul of the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. The UH-60 Blackhawk is a multi-mission medium lift helicopter. The primary mission of the Blackhawk helicopter is as a troop carrier and logistical support aircraft. The helicopter can also be configured to carry out medical evacuation, command-and-control, search-and-rescue, armed escort, electronic warfare and executive transport missions. Estimated completion date is January 14, 2027.
The Air Force awarded L-3 Communications Integrated Systems a $24 million deal for C-130H program depot maintenance. The deal provides for the services required to complete C-130H PDM actions, perform required aircraft modifications and all transactional sustainment actions associated for the C-130 Foreign Military Sales Directorate. Work will take place in Waco, Texas. Expected completion date is January 31, 2027.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey’s first intelligence ship, TCG Ufuk, was put into service in Istanbul on Friday as part of the country’s efforts to increase its naval power with a warship program. The ship was produced with national resources. Speaking at the delivery ceremony in Istanbul Shipyard, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the ship was built with national engineering capabilities, putting Turkey among the 10 countries in the world that can domestically design, construct and maintain a warship.
HENSOLDT has won approximately $57 million to equip the German-Norwegian submarine project U212 CD with a fully digital sensor suite. The optronics division of HENSOLDT has now received a corresponding order worth over €50 million from kta naval systems, a consortium of Kongsberg, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systeme (TKMS) and Atlas Elektronik. TKMS was awarded €5.5 billion in July 2021 to build two 212CD submarines for Germany and another four for Norway.
Leonardo has signed over $297 million worth contracts with HENSOLDT to help in the development of the Eurofighter Typhoon Jet’s ECRS Mk1 (European Common Radar System Mk1) E-scan radar, ordered by Germany and Spain. According to a press release, Leonardo will conduct development work on new wideband capabilities and provide core parts of the new radar’s antenna, APSC (Antenna Power Supply & Control) and its processor.
The Philippine government will acquire another 32 S-70i helicopters. A Notice of Award (NOA) has been issued to PZL Mielec of Poland on December 28. The amount of the purchase is valued at $623 million and it comes with training and logistical support. The first five helicopters are to be delivered from 2023. The last aircraft is supposed to be handed over in 2026.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will soon start testing unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) on par with human-piloted vehicles being built under the Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER) program. The DARPA RACER program will develop and demonstrate autonomy technologies that enable unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to maneuver in unstructured off-road terrain at the limit of the vehicle’s mechanical systems and at, or beyond, human-driven speeds and efficiencies.
The US Space Development Agency is planning to deploy 144 transport layer satellites and 28 tracking satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) by 2024 to detect maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicles during flight. Speaking today at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Schriever Spacepower Forum, Derek Tournear said satellites in LEO will make up the tracking layer that will be able to detect hypersonic threats by their heat signatures, eventually on a global scale.
Middle East & Africa
Dyncorp International won a §28.8 million contract modification aviation maintenance support services. Work will take place in Saudi Arabia. Estimated completion date is July 31, 2022.
A new contract has been signed between Artem State Joint-Stock Company, a subsidiary of Ukroboronprom and the Ukrainian defense ministry for the production of a large batch of unguided RS-80 air-to-air missiles. Under the current contract, the number of missiles is five times higher than the order that Artem fulfilled last year. This volume will allow to load own capacities of the enterprise and its co-executors, the company said in a release.
The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to France of MQ-9 Communications Intelligence Sensor Pod Suites and related equipment. The Government of France has requested to buy up to eight Communications Intelligence Sensor Pod Suites, that will be added to a previously implemented case. The original FMS case and amendments, valued at $71 million, included five Communications Intelligence Sensor Pod Suites, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a release.
According to Defense News, the Republic of China Navy commissioned two new rapid minelaying boats at Zuoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung city. The two boats were delivered in late 2021 but were put into active service on January 14. They will form the first and second Mine Boat Squadrons of the Navy’s 192nd Fleet (Minesweeper Fleet).
Watch: America DARPA Testing Robotic Autonomy in Complex Environments with Resiliency (RACER)
A US Navy MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter made a crash landing in coastal Virginia. The incident took place shortly before 11:30 am on January 12. Virginia State Police said the aircraft hit several trees on the way down. The MH-60S was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26, based out of Naval Station Norfolk, roughly 30 miles southeast of Smithfield.
Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division achieved the Aegis light-off milestone on the US Navy’s first Flight III Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125). The Flight III upgrade incorporates a number of design modifications that collectively provide significantly enhanced capability. Aegis light-off is an important milestone for integrating and activating all of the new electric plant equipment and combat systems.
Middle East & Africa
An Israeli company’s subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates inked a $53 million deal to supply direct infrared countermeasures and airborne electronic warfare systems for A330 tanker aircraft. According to reports, this is the first public deal for the recently established Elbit Systems Emirates Limited. Elbit Systems said the project will take five years.
The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Greece of Follow-on Support for F-16 Engine Maintenance and related equipment for an estimated cost of $233 million. Greece had requested to buy parts and services to support follow-on depot level maintenance and sustainment of F100-PW-229 engines to include spare, repair parts, and accessories; repair and return services; publications and technical documentation; US Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.
Saab will be delivering MS20 Block 2 capability upgrades to Hungary’s Gripen fighter aircraft which includes upgrading their radars, enhancing Link 16 functionality and enabling them to carry more weapons, the company announced. Saab said the Hungarian Government Commissioner Office responsible for defence development and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) successfully completed the negotiations for the MS20 Block 2 capability upgrade to the Hungarian fleet of Gripen jets.
Thailand’s cabinet approved a plan to buy four fighter jets starting in the next fiscal year, an air force spokesman said on Wednesday, with a budget of $413.67 million set aside for the procurement. The approval follows a recent expression of interest by the air force chief, Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya, in procuring eight F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.
Watch: Nothing Can Kill the Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer
The Pentagon has assigned BAE Systems to produce and install a new airborne high frequency radio to replace the AN/ARC-190 on various types of aircraft. The press release says approximately 2,500 radios will be installed on Air Force’s HC-130J, KC-135, C-130H, C-130J, C-17, C-5, B-1, B-52, and E4-B, as well as the Navy’s E6-B, the Marine Corps’ KC-130J, and the Coast Guard’s C-130 and C-130J. BAE Systems will be tasked to install 2,000 radios.
The US Army is moving a step towards developing a new wheeled 155 mm howitzer and is asking companies to participate in a multi-year assessment that could lead to the design of a new weapon system. The US Army Contracting Command said that the request would help to do market research and pick candidates for the multiyear capability assessment program.
Middle East & Africa
Algeria has acquired a 120mm Chinese self-propelled mortar, according to information shared on twitter. The new Chinese 120-mm mortar, manufactured by Chengdu Lingchuan Special Industry, is mounted on a Dongfeng Mengshi CSK131 with a 6 × 6 wheel formula. The machine is reportedly equipped with an inertial navigation system and a battlefield control system. The process of aiming by calculating the coordinates of the target, which will be hit by mortar fire, according to the developers, takes 30 seconds.
Russia’s Tu-160M strategic bomber, the heavily modernized version of the Soviet era Tu-160 long range bomber, today undertook its first flight marking the potential of the aircraft to carry latest weapons such as hypersonic missiles. The aircraft took off from the airfield of the Kazan Aviation Plant, a Tupolev branch of the United Aircraft Corporation. The flight took place at an altitude of 600 meters and lasted about 30 minutes. The crew of test pilots of PJSC “Tupolev” performed maneuvers to check the stability and controllability of the aircraft in the air, Rostec said in a release.
France and Spain has successfully controlled an MQ-9 Reaper drone from the 02/33 “Savoie” drone squadron in the same airspace as commercial aircraft in December of 2021. Since January 2017, the French civil and military authorities have been carrying out an experimentation campaign to explore the operational framework and the changes necessary for the continued integration of MALE (medium altitude long endurance) drones into civil air traffic.
South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD) tested a counter missile system for military aircraft to help dodge enemies’ portable surface-to-air missiles. The directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system enables aircraft to dodge missiles by emitting a laser beam to the ground, blinding missiles that rely on heat to track targets, the ADD said in a statement Wednesday.
United States Force in South Korea, is being outfitted with newest AH-64 Version 6 (V6) helicopter. “The upgraded aircraft integrates modern technology for both the aviator and maintainers in our battalion,” Capt. Timothy Luchs, D Company commander, said. “For our maintainers, the new systems onboard allows them better diagnostic capability and decreases the downtime of the aircraft. While for the aviator, AH-64E provides an overall increased situational awareness with an upgraded sensor suite, level 4 manned-unmanned teaming, and an upgraded drive system which is a vast improvement over the Delta variant of the model.”
The US Air Force is passing targeting information from A-10 Thunderbolts to the F-35B jets in order for the latter to destroy them. Last week, the Idaho Air National Guard welcomed US Marines from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 225, who fly the F-35B Lightning II, to Gowen Field. The squadron brought four of the fifth-generation fighters to train with A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 124th Fighter Wing’s 190th Fighter Squadron.
Middle East & Africa
Turkey’s Naval Forces Command will receive the country’s first domestically developed intelligence collection ship A-591 Ufuk on January 14. The delivery ceremony to be held in Istanbul Shipyard is expected to be attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, local media reported.
BAE Systems announced it signed a new support, sustainment, and readiness agreement with the Norwegian Army for its fleet of 144 CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicles, securing a new contract model to support the availability and continuous modernization of the fleet. The seven-year agreement with the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation governs the purchase of components and equipment, as well as management and engineering work. It includes maintenance of the System Integration Lab, which ensures that both the customer and BAE Systems can monitor vehicles’ current conditions and state of readiness to optimize vehicle performance and capabilities across the fleet.
The United Kingdom has received its ninth and final Boeing P-8A Poseidon MRA1 maritime multimission aircraft (MMA), with ZP809 arriving at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lossiemouth in Scotland on January 11. This brings a two-year delivery run that began with the arrival of ZP801 Pride of Moray in February 2020 to an end. Since then, ZP802 City of Elgin, ZP803 Terence Bulloch DSO DFC, ZP804 Spirit of Reykjavik, ZP805 Fulmar, ZP806 Guernsey’s Reply, ZP807 William Barker VC, and ZP808 have all been received.
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) flight tested the final deliverable configuration of Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM). The present test was to prove the consistent performance for the minimum range. The missile performance has been proven for the maximum range in earlier test trials.
Watch: Defence Insights: INS Vikrant Sea Trials, Turkish A591 Ufuk, AH-64E in RoK and US F-35 Integration
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.
Bell Boeing won a $1.6 billion deal for the repair, replacement, required availability, configuration management, and inventory management for supply support for 228 MV-22B (Marine); CMV-22 (Navy); and CV-22 (Air Force) Osprey aircraft components. The V-22 Osprey is a family of multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft with both vertical as well as short takeoff and landing capabilities. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft. Work will take place e in Texas and Pennsylvania. Estimated completion will be by December 2026.
Peraton Inc., a company that provides satellite and terrestrial communication, network optimization, and managed security services, was awarded a $18 million contract by the US Air Force to sustain engineering services support for the B-1B Reprogrammable Electronic Warfare Systems test and B-52 Bomber Electronic Attack Systems test facilities and special test equipment. The B-1B Lancer is the US Air Force long-range strategic bomber developed by Rockwell International, now Boeing Defense And Space Group. The B-52H is the US Air Force’s long-range, large-payload multirole bomber and is known as the Stratofortress. Work will take place in Eglin Air Force Base, Florida Estimated completion date is January 10, 2027.
Middle East & Africa
Morocco and Israel Aerospace Industries discussed buying the latter’s Barak-8 MR air defense missile system. IAI sent marketing director Sharon Biton to lead the negotiations, Jerusalem Post reports. The Barak-8 MR-SAM system is able to shoot down enemy aircraft at a range of 50-70 kilometers and is designed to defend naval vessels against a myriad of short-to-long-range airborne threats.
The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the France. The sale would be for the MQ-9 Follow-on Contractor Logistics Support and related equipment for an estimated cost of $300 million. France had requested to buy follow-on Contractor Logistics Support to include contractor provided MQ-9 aircraft components, spares and accessories; repair and return; software and software support services; simulator software; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; US Government and contractor provided engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total cost is $300 million, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a release Friday.
Turkish Aerospace Inc. (TAI) is said to have delivered two T129 attack helicopters to the Philippines on January 8. The South East Asian country has ordered six helicopters and two more are set to arrive next year while the last two will reach home in 2024. In November, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) commander Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes disclosed that the six helicopters would be in the country as soon as December. The T129 is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
The United States and Japan will soon sign a deal on collaborating more closely in R&D of defense-related technologies, including ways to counter threats from hypersonic weapons. This was announced ahead of January 6-7 virtual US-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting between Secretary of State Blinken, Secretary of Defense Austin, Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi, and Minister of Defense Kishi. Blinken said the two countries would sign a new deal designed to counter emerging threats such as hypersonic and space-based weaponry, days after North Korea tested what it claimed to be a hypersonic missile. Some Japanese media reports said the projectile fell close to its Exclusive Economic Zone.
Watch: T129 ATAK – Turkish Attack Helicopter in Action