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
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
One of two missile tracking ships operated by the Military Sealift Command was recently retired at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on December 15, 2021. The white hulled-ship was used previously to track ballistic missile activity in the Middle East using the GRAY STAR radar. The radar system will be repurposed by the Air Force Research Laboratory to conduct testing and evaluation of advanced radar technologies, says Air Force Technical Applications center.
Elbit Systems’ Brazilian subsidiary, AEL Sistemas S.A. won a contract to supply additional Hermes 900 UAS to the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira). The contract is in an amount that is not material to Elbit Systems and will be performed over a period of 16 months.
Middle East & Africa
Aselsan has been adapting the Sarp remote weapon station (RWS) with the capability to fire the Atom 40 mm high-velocity airburst munition, the company reported in its January 2022 bulletin. Atom Sarp was test-fired in June 2021 against dummies representing dispersed insurgents under cover, inside buildings, and in the field.
The Hellenic Air Force will begin operating its Rafale fighters after January 19 when six aircraft arrive home at Tanágra airbase.Two dual-seat Rafales will be joined by four single-seat Rafales for the ferry flight home.
Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services (KAMS) signed an agreement with Leonardo to provide maintenance services for the Norwegian fleet of SAR Queen / AW101 Search & Rescue helicopters. The contract will be performed in the period 2022-2026.
North Korea said it conducted tests of a hypersonic missile on Wednesday, three months after it launched a similar missile. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party expressed “great satisfaction” at the results of the missile test observed by leading weapons officials. The KCNA had reported in September that the North fired a “hypersonic gliding warhead” which made a 120km-long lateral movement before hitting a target 700km away. It wasn’t immediately known if both are the same type of hypersonic missile.
BAE Systems won a $24.6 million deal for the Military Global Positioning System User Equipment (MGUE) Increment 2 Miniature Serial Interface (MSI) contract. The modification incorporates MSI Engineering Change Proposal-1 into the baseline and provides continued MSI with Next Generation Application-Specific Integrated Circuit Technology Development capabilities. The goal of MGUE Inc 2 is to develop, integrate, and produce M-Code capable, GPS receivers for the service requirements specified in the Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved MGUE Inc 2 Capability Development Document. Work will take place in Iowa. Estimated completion date is August 31, 2025.
The MQ-8C is now in the US 7th Fleet area of operations, which spans from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Langholf posted photos of the unmanned aerial vehicle on the flight deck of USS Jackson (LCS 6) while they were in Guam on December 22. The helicopter is assigned to HSC-23.
Middle East & Africa
The Qatar Air Force took delivery of the first NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) recently, manufacturer Leonardo has announced. The first TTH version helicopter for land-based tasks was delivered on 11 December, in line with contractual commitments, and will be followed in the coming months by the first NFH, dedicated to naval operations, after qualifications. Deliveries will continue until 2025.
The British Ministry of Defense announced, that a logistics system critical to British military operations around the world will be supported under a new five-year, $625 million contract with Boeing Defence UK. The contract supports implementation of the Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper, published last year, which placed an emphasis on more productive, active and globally deployed Armed Forces.
Leonardo completed the acquisition of 25.1 per cent of the shares in HENSOLDT AG, a leading German player in the field of sensors for defense and security applications, with an expanding portfolio in sensors, data management and robotics, for a cash consideration of €606 million. According to a news release, the transaction is a step forward in helping to achieve Leonardo’s strategic objective of acquiring a leadership position in the European Defence Electronics market, as defined by the “Be Tomorrow – Leonardo 2030” Plan, and reflects Leonardo’s determination to play an active role in the consolidation process underway, also in the light of future cooperation programmes in continental Europe.
North Korea has carried out its possible first ballistic missile test in 2022 by launching one into the East Sea shortly after 8 am local time today. The country has fired an unidentified projectile into waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. According to the Japanese government, the projectile may have been a “ballistic missile”.
Watch: The Qatar Air Force Takes Delivery of First NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter!
Latest updates[?]: The Qatar Air Force took delivery of the first NH90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) recently, manufacturer Leonardo has announced. The first TTH version helicopter for land-based tasks was delivered on 11 December, in line with contractual commitments, and will be followed in the coming months by the first NFH, dedicated to naval operations, after qualifications. Deliveries will continue until 2025.
NH90: TTH & NFH
The NH90 emerged from a requirement that created a NATO helicopter development and procurement agency in 1992 and, at almost the same time, established NH Industries (62.5% EADS Eurocopter, 32.5% AgustaWestland, and 5% Stork Fokker) to build the hardware. The NATO Frigate Helicopter was originally developed to fit between light naval helicopters like AW’s Lynx or Eurocopter’s Panther, and medium-heavy naval helicopters like the European EH101. A quick look at the NFH design showed definite possibilities as a troop transport helicopter, however, and soon the NH90 project had branched into 2 versions, with more to follow.
The nearest equivalent would be Sikorsky’s popular H-60Seahawk/ Black Hawk family, but the NH90 includes a set of innovative features that give it some distinguishing selling points. Its combination of corrosion-proofing, lower maintenance, greater troop or load capacity, and the flexibility offered by that rear ramp have made the NH90 a popular global competitor.
As many business people discover the hard way, however, success can be almost as dangerous as failure. NH Industries has had great difficulty ramping up production fast enough to meet promised deliveries, which has left several buyers upset. Certification and acceptance have also been slow, with very few NH90s in service over a decade after the first contracts were signed. Booked orders have actually been sliding backward over the last year, and currently stand at around 500 machines, on behalf of 14 nations.
Bell-Boeing won a $7.9 million contract modification, which provides for additional post-production repairs and related system engineering and program management support for the MV-22B Common Configuration Readiness and Modernization retrofit program. The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multimission tilt-rotor aircraft. The Marine Corps variant, MV-22B, provides reliable and safe transportation of personnel, supplies, and equipment. Work will take place in Pennsylvania and Texas. Estimated completion will be in March 2023.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is underway for a patrol of the Indo-Pacific and this deployment notes a number of firsts. The Marine Corps is sending its F-35C out to sea for its first operational deployment by bringing VMFA-314 aboard the carrier. VRM-30 will also deploy for the first time along with its CMV-22B. The squadron was established at NAS North Island in 2018.
Middle East & Africa
According to Elbit Systems, the UAE Air Force’s Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft will soon be fitted with Direct Infrared Countermeasures and airborne Electronic Warfare systems supplied by Elbit Systems Emirates Limited in a $53 million contract. The contract runs for five years.
Norwegian F-16s will fly their last mission out of Bodø Air Base on January 6 and the base will end all fighter operations after that. Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duties in the Artic area will be taken over by fighters stationed at Evenes Air Station. Two F-16s will launch from Bodø on Jan. 6 but one will land back at the base to be retired as an exhibit in the local museum.
South Korea started constructing the second KSS-III Batch-II submarine. The boat, built by local shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), will be completed by 2026 and delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) in 2028 after undergoing sea trials.
According to local news, an F-35A fighter operated by the Republic of Korea Air Force made an emergency landing during a training session Tuesday due to avionic system issues. The radar-evading jet made the belly landing on a runway at an air base in Seosan, 151km south of Seoul, at 12:51 pm after the issues caused the landing gear to momentarily malfunction, officials were quoted as saying by Yonhap News Agency.
Watch: Airbus A330 SMART MRTT Reveal | Next Level Multi Role Tanker Transport Aircraft