During an Employment Concept Exercise in Spain, the US Air Force’s KC-46A carried out the first operational refueling of a foreign aircraft on April 18. The aerial refueling tanker passed fuel to Spanish Hornets during the flight. Four KC-46A tankers are deployed to Moron Air Base for this Employment Concept Exercise.
The US Air Force announced on April 26 that it had selected the Boeing E-7 Wedgetail to replace its Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. The USAF plans to award a contract in fiscal year 2023 and requested $227 million in research, development, test, and evaluation funds for the programme starting in its FY 2023 budget.
Middle East & Africa
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said that the bloc will wind down some of its training of Mali’s forces. This casts further doubt on the future of EU and UN peacekeeping missions in the region. Borrell grounded the decision in the lack of guarantees from the transitional Malian authorities that Russian Kremlin-linked mercenaries would not interfere with EU operations.
In a historic move, lawmakers in Germany have given the official green light to send “heavy weapons and complex systems” to Ukraine. But many of them also criticized Chancellor Olaf Scholz for not being in Berlin. The petition passed on Thursday, with with 586 votes in favor, 100 against, and seven abstentions.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said, he was not “rattled” by Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats Thursday because NATO allies “outgun” and “outnumber” the Russian president. “I don’t feel rattled,” Wallace said, speaking to LBC radio. “We have strong armed forces and a nuclear deterrent and we’re part of a NATO partnership of 30 nations who outgun him, outnumber him and have potentially all the capabilities at our disposal.”
The Philippine Air Force accepted the Spyder Philippines Air Defense System (SPADS) Simulator – Training Center at Basa Air Base on April 26. The training center will help prepare future missile operators to handle real-world challenges.
WATCH: Finally! US Air Force to buy E-7 Wedgetail to replace E-3 Sentry or AWACS.
Latest updates[?]: The US Air Force announced on April 26 that it had selected the Boeing E-7 Wedgetail to replace its Boeing E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft. The USAF plans to award a contract in fiscal year 2023 and requested $227 million in research, development, test, and evaluation funds for the programme starting in its FY 2023 budget.
over New South Wales
The island continent of Australia faces a number of unique security challenges that stem from its geography. The continent may be separated from its neighbors by large expanses of ocean, but it also resides within a potential arc of instability, and has a number of important offshore resource sites to protect. Full awareness of what is going on around them, and the ability to push that awareness well offshore, are critical security requirements.
“Project Wedgetail” had 3 finalists, and the winner was a new variant of Boeing’s 737-700, fitted with an MESA (multirole electronically scanned array) radar from Northrop Grumman. That radar exchanges the traditional AWACS rotating dome for the E-7A’s “top hat” stationary antenna. That design, and the project as a whole, have run into severe turbulence, creating problems for Boeing earnings, the ADF, and other export orders for the type. DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This one covers contracts, events, and key milestones within Australia’s E-7A program, from inception to the current day.
Walsh Federal won an $184.8 million deal for construction of an aircraft maintenance hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. The work provides for the construction of a two-story, low rise, two squadron maintenance hangar for the F-35B Lightning II aircraft, including a high bay space, crew and equipment space, and administrative space. The deal also contains seven unexercised options, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $206,064,819. Work will take place in North Carolina and is expected to be completed by June 2025.
General Atomics has flown the Leonardo Seaspray 7500E V2 AESA radar on the MQ-9A unmanned air vehicle on April 14. The same radar is being fitted for the MQ-9B SeaGuardian as well. It has a range of 320nm and can scan for both air and surface targets.
Middle East & Africa
Swiftships LLC won a $22.1 million contract action for six 28-meter Coastal Patrol Craft material production kits, Zodiac Rigid Inflatable Boats, Forward Looking Infrared Systems, personal computer packages, associated contractor engineering technical services, and provisioned item orders. This contract includes options, which if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $26,357,027. This contract involves Foreign Military Sales to Egypt. Work will take place in Louisiana and is expected to be finished bay November 2023.
Poland’s prime minister has confirmed the country supplied its Soviet-designed T-72 tanks to Ukraine to support the fight against Russia, which invaded Ukraine February 24. The announcement came shortly after his British prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans to supply an undisclosed number of Challenger 2 tanks to Poland to “backfill” the operational needs of its military.
The L3Harris Technologies Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System (ARES) demonstrator for the US Army has been flown to the Indo-Pacific. The US Army said the aircraft departed over the weekend, the bombardier Global 6500 business jet “will support real-time intelligence collection and processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED) operations while in the US Army Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility.” The Army wishes to use ARES to inform future sensor and system requirements for the Multi-Domain Sensing System. L3Harris announced the aircraft made its first flight in August 2021 and ARES can fly above 40,000 feet and use Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) to counter long-range threats. Mission endurance is 14 hours.
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Central Biological Chemical Weapons Defense Unit carried out a joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear decontamination study with the US Air Force at Yokota Air Base, Japan on April 18. The study was a two-day event involving familiarization briefings from Airmen assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing and a demonstration of the skills utilized in a CBRN rescue for mass causalities from aircraft such as the C-130, the service said in a press release.
Huntington Ingalls Industries won a $20.2 million contract modification to exercise options for the accomplishment of the planning yard services for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in-service ships. Work will take place in Virginia, Mississippi, California and Jacksonville. Expected completion will be by April 2023.
The first Trial Kit Installation (TKI) onto a C-130H for the Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) Increment 2 program has been completed. 124 C-130Hs and 10 LC-130Hs will undergo this upgrade under a $690 million project. The next step is low rate initial production after the aircraft successfully completes testing.
Middle East & Africa
Uganda is apparently catching up with Kenya on military spending. Uganda’s military expenditure reached $1.6 billion last year, an 8.3 percent increase from $984.7 million in 2020, according to the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) an independent global security think tank. Meanwhile, Kenya’s military expenditure reached $1.113 billion last year, a 0.1 percent drop from $1.1 billion in 2020.
According to a report by Spiegel, Germany intends to transfer its Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) to Ukraine. Spiegel added that an announcement will be made at Ramstein Air Force Base today regarding the transfer and training of Ukrainians to operate the PzH 2000 155 mm self-propelled howitzer that the Netherlands is donating to Ukraine. KraussMaffei Wegmann, the manufacturer of the Gepard, had indicated in February that 50 units is ready for transfer after undergoing some repairs.
More than a dozen European allies will get nearly $400 million in new US grants to buy American military hardware to backfill weapons the have donated to Ukraine from their own stockpiles, the State Department announced Monday. Of more than $700 million in newly announced aid for Ukraine, $391 million in Foreign Military Financing is for 15 allies in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, while another $322 million is for Ukraine forces to “transition to more advanced weapons and air defense systems,” State Department Ned Price said in a statement.
European aerospace firm Airbus has announced that it will supply the Philippine Air Force with two additional C295M medium tactical transport aircraft beginning later this year. The delivery is expected to boost the country’s airlifting capability and support other maritime security needs.
WATCH: Essential for Pakistan Navy. Turkey’s New UCAV AKINCI Engages Sea Target For The 1st Time.
Northrop Grumman won a $38 million contract modification, which increases the contract ceiling to procure an additional 173 Tech Refresh Mission Computers (TRMC) and an additional 173 TRMC trays in support of the Army’s domestic production UH-60V aircraft. The UH-60V is an upgraded version of the current UH-60L aircraft. Instead of the UH-60L’s legacy cockpit, the newer version features a fully open, digital and integrated avionics suite. The changes increase the life and mission capabilities of the UH-60 platform. Work will take place in Utah and California. Expected completion date is December 2023.
The US Navy has disclosed its plan to deactivate five expeditionary electronic attack squadrons and send 25 EA-18Gs to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Montham Air Force Base from 2024. These five squadrons, VAQ-131, 132, 134, 135, and 138, do not deploy on board aircraft carriers and are sent out to oversea bases to provide electronic attack capabilities to the joint force.
Middle East & Africa
Mali has taken delivery of two Mi-24P attack helicopters from Russia on April 18. The rotorcraft arrived at Modibo Keita international airport. According to the news report, the 59N6-TE mobile radar was delivered as well. Flight tracking data showed that the cargo was flown to Africa via Turkey. Avoiding Greek and Italian air space to enter Tunisia.
Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper has reported that Germany will be buying 60 CH-47F helicopters for $5.4 billion. Boeing beat Sikorsky to the contract due to pricing, according to the report. Germany will only be able to acquire 40 CH-53Ks for the same budget. Another advantage for Boeing is that the helicopter is being used by members of NATO.
The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Ukraine. The sale includes various rounds of non-standard ammunition for an estimated cost of $165 million. The Government of Ukraine has requested to buy various rounds of non-standard ammunition to include, but not limited to, the following: 152mm rounds for 2A36 Giatsint; 152mm rounds for D-20 cannons; VOG-17 for automatic grenade launcher AGS-17; 120mm mortar rounds (non-NATO); 122mm rounds for 2Sl Gvozdika; BM-21 GRAD Rockets; 300mm rounds/rockets for MLRS “Smerch;” VOG-25 grenades for under barrel grenade launcher GP-25; 82mm mortar rounds; 125mm HE ammunition for T-72; 152mm rounds for 2A65 Msta; transportation; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $165 million. On their trip to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyj,, US Secretary of State Antony Binken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin promised Ukraine $322m in US military aid.
Multinational defense manufacturer Thales has completed the development of 1,000 Hawkei protected mobility vehicles – light (PMV-L) for the Australian armed forces. The project is part of a $980-million contract signed between Australia and Thales in 2015 for the purchase of 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and 1,058 trailers delivered by 2022.
WATCH: Essential for Pakistan Navy. Turkey’s New UCAV AKINCI Engages Sea Target For The 1st Time.
Northrop Grumman won a $24.7 million contract modification, which exercises options to provide in service and technical support in support of E-2C/D aircraft common and unique requirements for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will take place in Florida, Japan, Ohio and various locations within the continental US. Expected completion will be in April 2023.
HMLA-367 was deactivated at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii on April 22. All 27 AH-1Z and UH-1Y helicopters will be relocated to California and the squadron will be reactivated by end of the year at MCAS Camp Pendleton.
Middle East & Africa
According to Jane’s, the Iranian military displayed a previously unseen air-defense system and at least two new types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during its Army Day parade in Tehran on April 19. The towed air-defense system had a launcher for three surface-to-air missiles and a phased-array radar mounted on a rotating platform. The launcher tilts backwards so the radar can fold forward to search and track targets when deployed.
The Italian Air Force is getting ready to deploy 4 F-35As to Keflavik Air Base, Iceland from Amendola Air Base next month. The two-month deployment will commence in May and more than 130 personnel will be heading to Iceland.
The US Air Force will be deploying its MQ-9 unmanned air vehicle to Greece’s Larissa Air Base in the coming weeks, news reports from Greece say. MQ-9s have previously been deployed to Larissa, which is home to the 110th Combat Wing of the Hellenic Air Force. However, this time, the faculties that the Americans are to utilize have been upgraded under the US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA). $33.5 million was spent improving the base.
Taiwan is in the process of standing up between 20 to 25 squadrons in its navy to operate three types of anti-ship missiles. Media reports in Taiwan say these units will be equipped with Hsiung Feng II, Hsiung Feng III, extended-range Hsiung Feng III, and Harpoon missiles in the future. To support these units, new facilities such as ammunition depots, a driver training center, a maintenance center, and garages, will be built over the next few years.
WATCH: 10 Most Advanced Military Drones in the World
An AC-130J Ghostrider assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing recently underwent Benefield Anechoic Facility (BAF) testing at Edwards Air Force Base for its new radio frequency countermeasures system. Back in 2017, the US Air Force selected BAE Systems to provide new radio frequency countermeasures equipment for the AC/MC-130J fleet.
Raytheon won a $482.7 million deal for DDG 1000 Class Combat System activation, sustainment and modernization support for Mission Systems and Total Ship Computing Environment infrastructure (TSCEi) hardware/equipment, in addition to non-recurring engineering services supporting combat system installation, integration, development, testing, correction, maintenance, and modernization of Zumwalt Class Mission Systems and Mission System equipment. Work will take place in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California, New Hampshire, Mississippi and Indiana. Estimated completion will be by April 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Palestinian militants fired volleys of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel responded with air strikes on April 21 in the biggest escalation since an 11 day war last year. According to police, a rocket from Gaza on Wednesday evening fell harmlessly in a garden in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. Israel struck back in central Gaza after midnight, witnesses and security sources said, prompting further launches of at least four rockets by militants in the besieged territory.
Hungary’s National Armament Director, Dr. Gáspár Maróth, announced that his country will buy 12 L-39NG aircraft. Four of those jets will be used for reconnaissance mission while the rest of the eight will be used to train pilots before they move on to the Gripen.
The Russian military said Wednesday it successfully performed the first test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, a weapon President Vladimir Putin said would make the West “think twice” before harboring any aggressive intentions against Russia. The test launch of the Sarmat missile comes amid soaring tensions between Moscow and the West over the Russian military action in Ukraine and underlines the Kremlin’s emphasis on the country’s nuclear forces.
India has test-fired the anti-ship variant of its BrahMos cruise missile, striking and creating a massive hole in an abandoned Indian Navy ship. Demonstrating its integrated Network-Centric strike capabilities, the cruise missile was fired without a warhead from the guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi.
Breeze-Eastern won a $8 million deal for the overhaul and upgrade of the Winch, Aircraft Mounted for the UH-60 Medical Evacuation Aircraft. HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter is a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) version of the UH-60M Black Hawk multi-mission helicopter. Built by Sikorsky Aircraft for the US Army, the helicopter is designed to evacuate wounded troops from the battlefield.
Lockheed Martin Space won a $396.7 million contract modification for Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed systems support. The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the US Navy’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles, following the highly successful Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident I C4 programs. First deployed in 1990, the Trident II D5 missile is currently aboard OHIO-class and British VANGUARD-class submarines.Work will take place in Utah, Colorado, Florida, California, Arkansas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Georgia, Illinois, Main, Maryland, New York and various other locations. Estimated completion date is September 30, 2026.
Middle East & Africa
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. will participate at the IT²EC Exhibition in London conducting a first-ever live demonstration of its sophisticated ABS System – a Live Virtual Constructive (LVC) solution which is also being unveiled for the first time at a global exhibition. In addition, Rafael will present its advanced air defense training and simulation tools, most notably the Air Defense Optimizer (ADO). Both the ABS System and the ADO have a long-standing operational legacy.
The first shipments of the latest round of US military assistance to Ukraine, which includes heavier weapons systems, started arriving in the region over the weekend, according to the Pentagon. The recently approved $800 million in security assistance includes Howitzer artillery systems, 40,000 artillery rounds, armored personnel vehicles and other weapons.
Ukraine’s allies have pledged to send more weapons to help it defend against a renewed Russian offensive. The US and others vowed to send artillery, anti-tank and air defence aid to Kyiv during a 90-minute video call April 19. Ukraine says it needs the weapons to help defend itself as Russia launched a new campaign in the country’s east.
The State Department has decided to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Australia of Defense Articles Related to Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems and related equipment for $42 million. Australia has requested to buy 106 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) terminals; 15 MIDS JTRS, six terminals; and seven Multifunctional Information Distribution System MIDS-Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT).
WATCH: Blackhawk HH-60 MEDEVAC startup and departure.
DRS Laurel Technologies won an $11.4 million deal for Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) Technical Insertion 2016 (TI-16) hardware production and engineering services. Work will take place in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Expected completion date is in April 2023. This contract was competitively procured via the System for Award Management website, with four offers received.
Tech Ord, a division of AMTEC Corp., won a $35 million contract for the BBU-35A/B impulse cartridge. This contract provides an impulse cartridge comprised of a cylindrical aluminum case containing a firing electrode, bridge-wire, and propellant. Work will take place in Clear Lake, South Dakota and Grand Junction, Colorado. Expected completion date is April 30, 2028.
MilSup LLC won a $10.5 million contract modification for the RC/OC/WC-135 and E-4B Aircrew Training and Courseware Development Contract. This modification exercises Option Year One. Work will take place in Nebraska. Expected completion date is in April 30, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli Air Force has attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Tuesday morning, following a rocket launch by the terrorist group last night, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome. The rocket launch is perceived as another attempt to fan the flames in the area, following several days of unrest in the Temple Mount (Al Aqsa). While Monday was a relatively calm day as far as riots and disturbances – the political / diplomatic front was on fire.
The president of the European Commission has urged member states to supply Ukraine with weapons systems “quickly” and suggested that a next round of EU sanctions could target Russia’s powerful Sberbank and include an embargo on Russian oil. “It applies to all member states: those who can should deliver quickly, because only that way Ukraine can survive in its acute defensive battle against Russia,” Ursula von der Leyen told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Several European nations appear to be vacillating over the export of heavy weapons such as tanks or fighter jets, amid concerns that such a move could formally escalate the war in Ukraine into a direct conflict between Russia and Nato member states. Von der Leyen urged European leaders not to delay decisions over category differences. “I don’t distinguish between heavy and light weapons,” she said. “Ukraine has to get whatever it needs to defend itself and what it can handle.”
North Korea has test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon designed to boost its nuclear fighting capability, a day before its chief rivals the United States and South Korea begin annual drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal. The 13th weapons test this year came amid concerns that North Korea may soon conduct an even larger provocation.
During the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to attend the 8th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) meeting in March in Colombo, India and Sri Lanka signed several agreements including a defense-related pact to expand maritime security. As such, a joint Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) will be set up to strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacities in its search and rescue region with a $6 million grant funded by the Indian government.
WATCH: Inside The Military’s $223 Million ‘Doomsday Plane’
In December 2005, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a contract as Product Support Integrator (PSI) for the USAF’s E-4 National Airborne Operations Center fleet. These 4 modified 747-200s were introduced in 1974, and serve as complete flying command posts for national and military authorities. As one might imagine, they are hardened to resist the side-effects of nuclear attack, such as electro-magnetic pulse effects.
The 2005 contract was a 5-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract vehicle, with one 5-year option and a $2 billion cost cap. That’s a lot of money for a small fleet, but the E-4’s plays a military and civil role that gives the program enough leverage to justify it. A long history of support from Boeing includes a number of modernizations, and those continue for various systems within the fleet. DID looks at the aircraft, the program, and ongoing awards.