Boeing won a $16 million delivery order for the repair of various avionics equipment used on the F/A-18 aircraft. The F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather jet aircraft that is used by the US Navy and Marine Corps as both a fighter and attack platform. In its fighter mode, the F/A-18 is used primarily as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense; in its attack mode, it is used for force projection, interdiction and close and deep air support. The single-seat F/A-18/E and the two-seat F/A-18/F fly greater ranges with heavier payloads, have more powerful engines and provide greater survivability than its predecessor. Work will take place in California and Pennsylvania. Estimated completion date is March 2022.
Columbia Helicopters won a $8.8 million deal for overhaul/repair of the rotary wing head for the CH-47 Chinook. The Chinook CH-47F is an advanced multi-mission helicopter manufactured by American aerospace and defense firm Boeing for the US Army and international defense forces. Estimated completion date is October 31, 2024.
Middle East & Africa
Globes reports that Bahrain and UAE are keen on acquiring the IAI Arrow 3 ballistic missile defense system. The potential purchase was discussed at the Negev Summit in Israel. Besides the Arrow 3, both countries and Morocco are keen on purchasing the Iron Dome as well.
The State Department has approved a potential $368.5 million Foreign Military Sale, which could provide follow-on support services and related equipment for the UK’s Tomahawk Weapon System. Raytheon’s missile and defense business in Tucson, Arizona, will be the prime contractor on the proposed sale, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. The deal will cover all three TWS segments: all-up-round missiles, the tactical Tomahawk weapon control system and the theater mission planning center.
Joint Expeditionary Force naval vessels escorted Danish and British supply ships as they delivered military vehicles and equipment to resupply the UK-led NATO Battlegroup in Estonia. The Ministry of Defense, that Royal Navy vessels have joined ships, aircraft and personnel from six Joint Expeditionary Force nations to provide support to NATO and bolster security in the Baltic Sea.
The Philippine Air Force’s first C295 transport aircraft that it ordered has arrived home after a ferry flight from Spain. The aircraft landed at Clark Air Base just before sunset on March 28. The Philippines has ordered a total of three C295s. The three aircraft will join four other C295s that were ordered in the last decade and enter service with the 220th Airlift Wing.
Latest updates[?]:Globes reports that Bahrain and UAE are keen on acquiring the IAI Arrow 3 ballistic missile defense system. The potential purchase was discussed at the Negev Summit in Israel. Besides the Arrow 3, both countries and Morocco are keen on purchasing the Iron Dome as well.
Arrow test concept
In a dawning age of rogue states, ballistic missile defenses are steadily become a widely accepted necessity. Iran is widely believed to be developing nuclear capabilities, and Israeli concerns were heightened after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged that Israel be “wiped off the map” (the fact that America was also placed in that category went largely uncovered).
Because missile defenses are so important, states like India and Israel have taken steps to ensure that they have the ability to build many of the key pieces. The Arrow project is a collaboration between Boeing and IAI to produce the missile interceptors that accompany the required radars, satellites, command and control systems.
NOTE: Article capped and coverage suspended in 2011.
Latest updates[?]: The State Department has approved a potential $368.5 million Foreign Military Sale, which could provide follow-on support services and related equipment for the UK’s Tomahawk Weapon System. Raytheon’s missile and defense business in Tucson, Arizona, will be the prime contractor on the proposed sale, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. The deal will cover all three TWS segments: all-up-round missiles, the tactical Tomahawk weapon control system and the theater mission planning center.
Block IV Cutaway
Block IV Tomahawk is the current generation of the Tomahawk family of cruise missiles. The BGM-109 Tomahawk family began life in the 1980s as sub-sonic, low-flying nuclear strike weapons, before being developed into long-range RGM/UGM-109 conventional attack missiles. They’re most frequently launched from submarines and surface ships, and have been the US Navy’s preferred option for initial air strikes in Iraq, Libya, et. al. Britain has also bought Tomahawk missiles, and launches them exclusively from submarines.
Block IV is the latest variant. It adds innovative technologies that improve combat flexibility, while dramatically reducing the costs to buy, operate, and support these missiles. That’s why the Block IV program, under US Navy PMA-280, has been one of the USA’s defense acquisition success stories over the last decade.
Lockheed Martin won a $92.5 million contract modification for Aegis Combat System Engineering Agent efforts for the design, development, integration, test and delivery of Advanced Capability Build 20. The Aegis Combat System is an American integrated naval weapons system. It uses powerful computers, radar and digital signal processing algorithms to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets. Work will take place in New Jersey. Expected completion is by December 2022.
The Canadian government has decided that it will buy the Lockheed Martin F-35 to replace its CF-18s, in a joint announcement by Public Services and Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi and Defense Minister Anita Anand. Opposition Conservatives pour cold water on the announcement as the ruling Liberal government had pledged back in 2015 not to buy the F-35.
Middle East & Africa
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the aeronautics sector was inked during the meeting between the Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Ryad Mezzour, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Mr. Amir Peretz. This partnership is part of the implementation of the Joint Declaration between Morocco and Israel signed on December 22, 2020 in Rabat, in which the two countries expressed their willingness to promote dynamic and innovative bilateral economic cooperation in the fields of investment and technology.
According to the British Army, ‘Wildcat’ reconnaissance helicopters arrived at Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania earlier this month. The 1,500-mile journey from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset took the four Wildcat Mk1 helicopters over some notable landmarks including the airfield and camp in Gutersloh, where 1AAC had been stationed 1993-2016.
The Indian Navy commissioned the Indian Naval Air Squadron 316 (INAS 316), the service’s second P-8I aircraft squadron. A ceremony was held at INS Hansa, Goa on 29 March 2022. INAS 316 has been christened ‘Condors’ which are one of the largest flying land birds with a massive wingspan. The insignia of the squadron depicts a ‘Condor’ searching over the vast blue expanse of the sea.
The Thai government is planning to relocate Royal Thai Air Force fighters and Singapore F-16s based at Udon Thani airbase to Nam Phong airbase in the south. Bangkok Post quoted Gp Capt Wisarut Chanthapradit as saying that the relocation of training to Nam Phong will take place in the next three to four years.
WATCH: British Army Deploy Four Super-Wildcat in Lithuania
Latest updates[?]: The Indian Navy commissioned the Indian Naval Air Squadron 316 (INAS 316), the service’s second P-8I aircraft squadron. A ceremony was held at INS Hansa, Goa on 29 March 2022. INAS 316 has been christened ‘Condors’ which are one of the largest flying land birds with a massive wingspan. The insignia of the squadron depicts a 'Condor' searching over the vast blue expanse of the sea.
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?
Following the closure of the F-15C Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, the Eagles assigned to the base have started to depart for other bases. The final course, Weapons Instructor Course 21-B, flew its last flights on December 8, 2021.
Sikorsky won a $25.6 million order, which provides non-recurring engineering efforts to integrate, test, and qualify re-designed data concentrator and blade fold distributor units that will mitigate component obsolescence and outdated test equipment used for the CH-53K aircraft. The CH-53K is the United States Marine Corps’ heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E. It can be fielded from amphibious assault ships for the transportation of personnel and equipment. It will also be used to carry external cargo loads. The aircraft can be operated from austere and remote forward operating bases. Work will take place in California, Connecticut, Texas and New York. Estimated completion will be in June 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Elbit Systems was awarded contracts with an aggregate value of approximately $130 million to deliver an artillery munitions production line in a country in Asia-Pacific. The contracts will be performed over a period of 2.5 years, the company said. Under the contracts, Elbit Systems will build an industrial complex for enhanced manufacturing of artillery munitions.
Serbian Armed Forces recently inducted new Nora self-propelled howitzers as well as two different types of armored vehicles- Lazars and Miloš. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanovi?, PhD, visited the “Complex Combat Systems” factory in Velika Plana on March 23. He said the military would induct six Nora howitzers as well as six Lazar and few more Milos armored vehicles in that week.
Berlin is reportedly looking at the possibility of acquiring the IAI Arrow 3 exoatmospheric anti-ballistic missile system to defend the country from potential ballistic missile attacks from Russia. The discussions took place when chief of defense, Gen. Eberhard Zorn, spoke to Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week. According to German media, the system will costs $2.2 billion and three Green Pine radars will provide all-round coverage. The radar coverage is wide enough that neighboring countries such as Poland will need only to buy Arrow 3 interceptors and Germany’s radars can supply the necessary targeting information.
India has announced the opening of a Flight Control System integration facility to support research and development for a new range of military aircraft. The new facility, constructed at the Aeronautical Development Establishment in Bengaluru, will help centralize the integration of avionics and hardware, which has been scattered across multiple manufacturers and research centers across the country.
WATCH: Why Israel’s Arrow 3 Anti-Ballistic Missile System Test Is A Big Boost Amid Threat From Iran
“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.
Boeing won a $71.8 million contract modification, which adds scope to provide segregable effort support, unknown obsolescence, Class I change assessments and obsolescence monitoring in support of the P-8A Multi-mission Maritime aircraft Lot 12 production line. Work will take place in Washington, California and Colorado. Estimated completion will be by April 2025.
Raytheon won a $40.4 million contract modification. This modification exercises an option to integrate, produce, qualify, test and field 29 Lot Two low-rate production Maritime Strike Tomahawk seeker suites and all subsystems required to provide midcourse and terminal guidance to a modernized Tactical Tomahawk missile for prosecution of maritime targets from surface and subsurface platforms. The seeker suites will be installed in recertified Tomahawk missiles for the Navy. Work will take place in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Utah and Michigan.
Middle East & Africa
Contrack won a $34 million deal for the design bid-build construction of an electrical system upgrade at the Naval Support Activity in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Work will take place in Bahrain. Estimated completion date is October 19, 2024. The US State Department also has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Bahrain of M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) Upgrade and related equipment for an estimated cost of $176 million. Bahrain had requested to buy upgrades to 9 M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) to a M270 A1 minimum configuration. The upgrade will include: the Common Fire Control System (CFCS); Improved Launcher Mechanical System (ILMS); 600h Engine and associated engine compartment modifications; Improved Electronics Distribution Box (IEDB); fan speed control valve; cables and mounting hardware, Power Take Off (PTO) and BOO series transmission; the Digital Communication Systems (DCOMMS); Vehicular Intercom System (AN/VIC-3); and related support and equipment.
American International Contractors won a $24.8 million deal to construct an F-16 maintenance hangar at Marsa Matrouh Air Base in Egypt. US Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District, is the contracting activity. Work will take place in Egypt. Estimated completion date is September 30, 2024.
Greece signed a deal for the procurement of six additional Rafale combat jets and three Belharra frigates with France. Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Vice-Admiral Aristidis Alexopoulos, Director General of Armaments and Investments of the Greek Ministry of Defence, signed in Athens, in the presence of Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces, and Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Greek Minister of National Defence, a contract for the acquisition of six additional new Rafale aircraft, Dassault Aviation confirmed.
South Korea’s Defense Project Promotion Committee has approved a $580 million project to buy new transport planes by 2026. Yonhap reports that the contenders are likely to be the Airbus A400M, Embraer C390 and Lockheed Martin C-130J. The committee also approve the upgrade of the Cheolmae-2 air defense interceptor with $591 million of funding. The upgrade will take place next year and runs till 2029. The Cheolmae-2 will have the ability to intercept ballistic missiles after the upgrade.
Latest updates[?]: Greece signed a deal for the procurement of six additional Rafale combat jets and three Belharra frigates with France. Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Vice-Admiral Aristidis Alexopoulos, Director General of Armaments and Investments of the Greek Ministry of Defence, signed in Athens, in the presence of Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armed Forces, and Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Greek Minister of National Defence, a contract for the acquisition of six additional new Rafale aircraft, Dassault Aviation confirmed.
(click for cutaway view)
Will Dassault’s fighter become a fashionably late fighter platform that builds on its parent company’s past successes – or just “the late Rafale”? It all began as a 1985 break-away from the multinational consortium that went on to create EADS’ Eurofighter. The French needed a lighter aircraft that was suitable for carrier use, and were reportedly unwilling to cede design authority over the project. As is so often true of French defense procurement policy, the choice came down to paying additional costs for full independence and exact needs, or losing key industrial capabilities by partnering or buying abroad. France has generally opted for expensive but independent defense choices, and the Rafale was no exception.
Those costs, and associated delays triggered by the end of the Cold War and reduced funding, proved to be very costly indeed. Unlike previous French fighters, which relied on exports to lower their costs and keep production lines humming, the Rafale has yet to secure a single export contract – in part because initial versions were hampered by impaired capabilities in key roles. The Rafale may, at last, be ready to be what its vendors say: a true omnirole aircraft, ready for prime time on the global export stage. The question is whether it’s too late. Rivals like EADS’ Eurofighter, Russia’s Su-27/30 family, and the American “teen series” of F-15/16/18 variants are all well established. Meanwhile, Saab’s versatile and cheaper JAS-39 Gripen remains a stubborn foe in key export competitions, and the multinational F-35 juggernaut is bearing down on it.
The United States aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk headed to a scrapyard in Texas and too large to slip through the Panama Canal, reports MercoPress. The ship must sail around South America. In her 16,000-mile trip this weekend the impressive vessel “rested” for a few hours in Punta Arenas, extreme south of Chile as she was crossing the Magellan Strait towed by a couple of tugs.
Jane’s reported, that the Brazilian Navy is in the process of receiving its seventh and final modernised Skyhawk fighter jet. The acceptance of the AF-1B jet, tail number N-1004, was initiated on March 7 and is expected to take three to four weeks. Five AF-1 single-seat and two AF-1A twin-seat aircraft from Squadron Falcão based at the Naval Air Base of São Pedro da Aldeia were modernised to the AF-1B and AF-1C standard, respectively, since 2015. One AF-1B crashed in July 2016.
Middle East & Africa
Pakistan Navy’s Agosta 90B Class Submarine PNS/M HAMZA (S-139), modernized by Turkish firm STM managed to hit and sink a decommissioned frigate with a single torpedo shot. The trial was conducted during the SEASPARK-2022 Tactical Exercise, which was held biennially by the Pakistan Naval Forces Command. PNS/M HAMZA (S-139) destroyed a TARIQ class ship (Type 21 frigate) decommissioned with a DM-2A4 torpedo shot.
Lockheed Martin won a $16.6 million contract modification, which adds scope to provide for the development, integration, and testing of the Israel unique software data load in support of integration of Technology Refresh 3 (TR3) onto the F-35 Lot 15 Israel production aircraft. The integration efforts will include reverification of a select subset of the 3F+ software capability captured in the Israel System Development and Demonstration TR-3 reverification systems requirements document, airworthiness related flight testing of 3F+ software on TR-3 enabled aircraft, and weapons certification updates for use with TR-3 aircraft. Work will take place in Texas, California, Missouri, Arizona, Florida and Israel. Expected completion date is in March 2024.
The US State Department gave the green light for a potential Foreign Military Sale to the government of the United Kingdom of Ballistic Missile Defense Radar (BMDR) and Command and Control Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $700 million. The government of the United Kingdom (UK) had requested to buy one (1) Ballistic Missile Defense Radar (BMDR); and two (2) Command and Control Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) user nodes (with network capability required to connect to the C2BMC System to support radar operations). Also included are design and construction of a combined radar-equipment shelter; encryption devices, secure communication equipment, and other required COMSEC equipment to support radar operations; spare and repair parts, support and testing equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.
According to the website “Soldat und Technik”, German small arms manufacture Heckler & Koch recently received a number of orders from the Baltic States. The Latvian Army ordered additional HK417 sniper rifles worth 3,433,878 euros. Latvia already uses the HK417 in a semi-automatic version as a sniper rifle, equipped with a Schmidt & Bender ZF 3-20 x 50 PMII.
Pakistan showcased its latest defense equipment at its annual Pakistan Day Parade on Wednesday. This highlighted ongoing efforts to maintain a credible conventional deterrent against India. One notable element of the parade including aerial displays, which this year began with an F-16C Block 52 escorted by a pair of newly inducted Chinese J-10C Firebird fighters.