Argon ST won a $21 million delivery order under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement for the procurement of nine amplifier chassis for the support of operations of the MQ-4C Triton with the first deployment of IFC 4-configured unmanned aircraft system. Work will take place in Virginia. Expected completion will be by March 2025.
Sikorsky won a $17.2 million order, which provides non-recurring engineering in support of incorporating a one-second or less Engine Fuel Firewall Shutoff Valve into the CH-53K aircraft. The CH-53K is the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E. The most powerful helicopter in the Department of Defense, the CH-53K is a new-build helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material, more rapidly throughout the area of responsibility using proven and mature technologies. Work will take place in Connecticut, England and Maryland. Expected completion will be in April 2027.
Middle East & Africa
A US Air Force F-15 fighter shot down an Iranian Mojer-6 unmanned aircraft over Iraq on September 28. USCENTCOM said in a statement that the drone was heading towards American troops in Erbil.
The road runway in Jousta, Finland was reactivated for the first time in decades in order for the Finnish Air Force to practice landing and take-offs on the highway. The Nordic country, which is applying for NATO membership following neighbouring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has a dozen similar reserve runways designed for wartime use around the country.
Jane’s reports, that the NATO enhanced Vigilance Activity (eVA) battlegroup in Slovakia was declared combat-ready following exercise ‘Strong Cohesion’ in Leš?, held from 20 to 22 September. A spokesperson said that the declaration was made after evaluation by an in-theatre readiness inspectionteam led by Czech Major General Petr Procházka, deputy commander of the Army of the Czech Republic’s operations command.
The vice commander of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) Maj. Gen. Arthur Cordura told senators during a hearing that only five out of twelve FA-50PH fighters are operational. Cordura explained that two jets are undergoing routine maintenance while the rest are waiting for spare parts. Delivery of spares are delayed by the COVID pandemic. He added that 10 jets will be serviceable by the end of the year.
The world’s P-3 Orion fleets have served for a long time, and many are reaching the end of their lifespans. In the USA, and possibly beyond, the new P-8 Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft will take up the P-3’s role. While the P-8’s base 737-based airframe offers strong service & maintenance arguments in its favor, the airframe is expensive enough that the P-3s cannot be replaced on a 1:1 basis.
In order to extend the P-8 fleet’s reach, and provide additional capabilities, the Poseidon was expected to work with at least one companion UAV platform. This DID FOCUS Article explains the winning BAMS (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance) concept, the program’s key requirements, and its international angle. We’ll also cover ongoing contracts and key events related to the program, which chose Northrop Grumman’s navalized MQ-4C Triton Global Hawk variant.
Latest updates[?]: Sikorsky won a $17.2 million order, which provides non-recurring engineering in support of incorporating a one-second or less Engine Fuel Firewall Shutoff Valve into the CH-53K aircraft. The CH-53K is the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) heavy lift replacement for the CH-53E. The most powerful helicopter in the Department of Defense, the CH-53K is a new-build helicopter that will expand the fleet’s ability to move more material, more rapidly throughout the area of responsibility using proven and mature technologies. Work will take place in Connecticut, England and Maryland. Expected completion will be in April 2027.
The U.S. Marines have a problem. They rely on their CH-53E Super Stallion medium-heavy lift helicopters to move troops, vehicles, and supplies off of their ships. But the helicopters are wearing out. Fast. The pace demanded by the Global War on Terror is relentless, and usage rates are 3 times normal. Attrition is taking its toll. Over the past few years, CH-53s have been recalled from “boneyard” storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, in order to maintain fleet numbers in the face of recent losses and forced retirements. Now, there are no flyable spares left.
Enter the Heavy Lift Replacement (HLR) program, now known as the CH-53K. It aims to offer notable performance improvements over the CH-53E, in a similar airframe. The question is whether its service entry delay to 2018-2019 will come too late to offset a serious decline in Marine aviation.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics won an $115.4 million deal, which provides diminishing manufacturing sources parts for F-35 Lightning II program for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, non-US Department of Defense participants, and Foreign Military Sales customers. Work will take place in Texas. Expected completion will be in September 2023. Just recently, the US Navy, in collaboration with Raytheon, carried out two StormBreaker smart weapon-guided test vehicle releases from an F-35B Lightning II at .9 Mach, bringing the F-35 one step closer to receiving a major weapons upgrade.
Huntington-Ingalls Industries won a $23.6 million modification for the procurement of material and labor associated with contractor-furnished on board repair parts for the outfitting of CVN-79. Work will take place in Virginia. Expected completion will be by June 2024. John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the second aircraft carrier in the Ford Class. It is also the second aircraft carrier built by Newport News Shipbuilding named for JFK.
Middle East & Africa
Iraq will take delivery of two GM403 air defense radars from Thales this month, Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Inad Saadoun has disclosed. “The Ministry of Defense has received French-made GM403 radars, two out of four, while they will arrive successively in Iraq at the end of this month,” Saadoun was quoted as saying. The last radar will arrive in the first quarter of next year. Thales said in July that it will supply Iraq with four GM403 air defense radars under a contract that will include a command and operations center.
The Royal Navy’s Duke-class Type 23 frigate HMS Kent has completed weapon and naval combat tests after undergoing maintenance and upgrades. The assessment prepares the frigate to join future deployments and drills, such as the Joint Warrior military exercise in Scotland next month.
The Lithuanian government has delivered a total of 50 M113 armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas announced. In a September 26 press briefing, Anusauskas said Lithuania plans to continue providing military assistance to its war-stricken European neighbor, pending consultation with NATO allies. “Our armed forces are NATO’s armed forces and our capability is also important for our allies who are here,” the minister said. “This is why every time we consider a reduction of our capability … we have to discuss with our allies how we are going to compensate for this.”
Australia has started the construction of its fifth Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) intended to enhance the country’s maritime awareness. A keel laying ceremony was held at the Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia, with representatives from shipbuilder Luerssen Australia in attendance. The event marked a “major milestone” in the design, development, and delivery of another OPV for the Royal Australian Navy, Deputy Secretary of National Naval Shipbuilding Tony Dalton said.
WATCH: Building The Unsinkable | USS John F. Kennedy CVN 79 | Aircraft Carrier – Mega Machines ?10
Latest updates[?]: Huntington-Ingalls Industries won a $23.6 million modification for the procurement of material and labor associated with contractor-furnished on board repair parts for the outfitting of CVN-79. Work will take place in Virginia. Expected completion will be by June 2024. John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is the second aircraft carrier in the Ford Class. It is also the second aircraft carrier built by Newport News Shipbuilding named for JFK.
USA’s Nimitz Class &
UK’s Invincible Class
Some nations have aircraft carriers. The USA has super-carriers. The French Charles De Gaulle Class nuclear carriers displace about 43,000t. India’s new Vikramaditya/ Admiral Gorshkov Class will have a similar displacement. The future British CVF Queen Elizabeth Class and related French PA2 Project are expected to displace about 65,000t, while the British Invincible Class carriers that participated in the Falklands War weigh in at just 22,000t. Invincible actually compares well to Italy’s excellent new Cavour Class (27,000t), and Spain’s Principe de Asturias Class (17,000t). The USA’s Nimitz Class and CVN-21 Gerald R. Ford Class, in contrast, fall in the 90,000+ tonne range. Hence their unofficial designation: “super-carriers”. Just one of these ships packs a more potent air force than many nations.
Nimitz Class cutaway
As the successor to the 102,000 ton Nimitz Class super-carriers, the CVN-21 program aimed to increase aircraft sortie generation rates by 20%, increase survivability to better handle future threats, require fewer sailors, and have depot maintenance requirements that could support an increase of up to 25% in operational availability. The combination of a new design nuclear propulsion plant and an improved electric plant are expected to provide 2-3 times the electrical generation capacity of previous carriers, which in turn enables systems like an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS, replacing steam-driven catapults), Advanced Arresting Gear, and integrated combat electronics that will leverage advances in open systems architecture. Other CVN-21 features include an enhanced flight deck, improved weapons handling and aircraft servicing efficiency, and a flexible island arrangement allowing for future technology insertion. This graphic points out many of the key improvements.
DID’s CVN-21 FOCUS Article offers a detailed look at a number of the program’s key innovations, as well as a list of relevant contract awards and events.
Boeing won a $191.8 million delivery order for the repair of multiple flight control surfaces used on the F/A-18E/F and E/A-18G aircrafts. The delivery order does not include an option period. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida; various other locations within the continental US that cannot be determined at this time and St. Louis, Missouri, and work is expected to be completed by July 2025.
Mood Inc. won a $8.6 million deal for the spare of the Planetary Blade Fol used on the V-22 aircraft. The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multimission tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Boeing and Bell Helicopters. Boeing is responsible for the fuselage, landing gear, avionics, electrical and hydraulic systems, performance and flying qualities. All work will be performed in Torrance, California, and is expected to be completed by March 2026. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity
Middle East & Africa
Boeing won a $16.4 million contract modification to Foreign Military Sales (Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom) for improved drive system-enhancement on the Apache attack helicopter, production line and for the Apache Longbow crew trainers. Work will take place in Arizona. Estimated completion date is August 30, 2024.
The Army is dispatching two High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to Latvia for the country’s national combat readiness exercises, according to a statement from US Army Europe and Africa. Approximately a dozen personnel will be deployed with the rocket systems to the exercise, called Namejs 2022. US soldiers are practicing rapidly deploying long-range “precision fires capabilities in coordination with our allies and partners,” the statement said.
British engineering firm Supacat says it has completed the integration of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) sensing technology into the country’s Fox armored vehicles. In a press release last week, the company revealed that the first batch of upgraded vehicles has already been delivered to the manufacturer, Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).
The US government has agreed to let Taiwan buy the NASAMS air defense missile system, Up Media reports. The offer from the Americans were made during the annual Monterey Talks security meeting by both sides in Annapolis on June 20. According to the news report, the Taiwanese will be allowed to buy the latest variant of NASAMS which can fire the AIM-9X, AMRAAM, and AMRAAM-ER missiles.
Latest updates[?]: Boeing won a $191.8 million delivery order for the repair of multiple flight control surfaces used on the F/A-18E/F and E/A-18G aircrafts. The delivery order does not include an option period. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida; various other locations within the continental US that cannot be determined at this time and St. Louis, Missouri, and work is expected to be completed by July 2025.
The US Navy flies the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighters, and has begun operating the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare & strike aircraft. Many of these buys have been managed out of common multi-year procurement (MYP) contracts, which aim to reduce overall costs by offering longer-term production commitments, so contractors can negotiate better deals with their suppliers.
The MYP-II contract ran from 2005-2009, and was not renewed because the Pentagon intended to focus on the F-35 fighter program. When it became clear that the F-35 program was going to be late, and had serious program and budgetary issues, pressure built to abandon year-by-year contracting, and negotiate another multi-year deal for the current Super Hornet family. That deal is now final. This entry covers the program as a whole, with a focus on 2010-2015 Super Hornet family purchases. It has been updated to include all announced contracts and events connected with MYP-III, including engines and other separate “government-furnished equipment” that figures prominently in the final price.
Latest updates[?]: Mood Inc. won a $8.6 million deal for the spare of the Planetary Blade Fol used on the V-22 aircraft. The V-22 Osprey is a joint-service, medium-lift, multimission tilt-rotor aircraft developed by Boeing and Bell Helicopters. Boeing is responsible for the fuselage, landing gear, avionics, electrical and hydraulic systems, performance and flying qualities. All work will be performed in Torrance, California, and is expected to be completed by March 2026. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity.
In March 2008, the Bell Boeing Joint Project Office in Amarillo, TX received a $10.4 billion modification that converted the previous N00019-07-C-0001 advance acquisition contract to a fixed-price-incentive-fee, multi-year contract. The new contract rose to $10.92 billion, and was used to buy 143 MV-22 (for USMC) and 31 CV-22 (Air Force Special Operations) Osprey aircraft, plus associated manufacturing tooling to move the aircraft into full production. A follow-on MYP-II contract covered another 99 Ospreys (92 MV-22, 7 CV-22) for $6.524 billion. Totals: $17.444 billion for 235 MV-22s and 38 CV-22s, an average of $63.9 million each.
The V-22 tilt-rotor program has been beset by controversy throughout its 20-year development period. Despite these issues, and the emergence of competitive but more conventional compound helicopter technologies like Piasecki’s X-49 Speedhawk and Sikorsky’s X2, the V-22 program continues to move forward. This DID Spotlight article looks at the V-22’s multi-year purchase contract from 2008-12 and 2013-2017, plus associated contracts for key V-22 systems, program developments, and research sources.
War takes its toll on equipment, as well as men. In some cases, it wears out. In other cases, enemy fire or accidents destroy equipment. The USA has recognized this fact by funding wartime replacement expenditures as supplemental funding, which is outside the normal budgetary process. The intent is that this money will be spent on replacing equipment that has been worn out, damaged or destroyed, or will be used to provide specialized capabilities like MRAP mine-resistant vehicles that are directly related to front-line demands.
Admittedly, this hasn’t always been true. Politicians are what they are, and so are large organizations like the military. One area where this ethic has undoubtedly been honored, however, has been the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter fleet. This article covers US Army Wartime Replacement Aircraft (WRA) AH-64D Longbow buys, which are the only truly new attack helicopters in the America’s inventory. That will change with the new Block III model, which is more advanced than the WRAs.
Rockwell Collins won a $15.6 million modification, which adds additional in-scope work to provide a virtual reality trade study, aircraft common equipment replacement/virtualization, aircraft flight management computer functional equivalent unit card development, and Beyond Line Of Sight (BLOS) chat software enhancements in support of the E-2D Hawkeye Integrated Training System devices, as well as provides associated technical data, computer software, and computer software documentation for BLOS chat software enhancement efforts. Additionally this modification exercises an option to procure coupled mode capability in support of E-2D Aircrew Procedures Trainer Device 2F211 S/N 4 and E-2D Distributed Readiness Trainer. Work will take place in Virginia and Florida. Estimated completion will be in February 2024.
The US Marine Corps has contracted Stratom to develop an uncrewed ground vehicle that integrates a range of capabilities in one platform. The Remote Expeditionary Autonomous Pioneer (REAPr) System is expected to possess “material handling, construction, path/trail clearance, explosive hazard defeat and refueling” capabilities, according to the Small Business Innovation Research solicitation.
Middle East & Africa
Iran unveiled a new medium-range ballistic missile on Thursday during a military parade commemorating the Iran-Iraq war, state television said. “The liquid-fuelled Rezvan ballistic missile has an operational range of 1,400 kilometers (870 miles),” said the station, which aired images of the missile mounted on a military vehicle.
Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) has contracted Elbit Systems UK to provide 150 Elbit Laser Warning Systems (ELAWS) for the Challenger 3 (CR3) Program. The ELAWS provides 360-degree coverage with a precise and timely warning against laser-guided threats such as missiles.
Singapore plans to build a new building at Ebbing Air National Guard Base to house an F-35 simulator, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has disclosed. This confirms that the island intends to bring its F-35s to the Ebbing ANG base to join its F-16 fleet. The EIS also noted that F-35Bs would not operate in STOVL mode due to noise concerns. Singapore has bought four F-35Bs with options for eight.
According to Jane’s, the Indian Army has selected Larsen & Toubro (L&T) to co-develop the country’s first light tank project along with the Defence Research and Development Organisation. The army selected the Mumbai-headquartered multinational to develop a 25-ton tank for mountain warfare under project Zorawar, L&T’s senior executive vice-president for defense Jayant D Patil told the outlet.
WATCH: British Army’s Next Generation Challenger 3 Tank Is Now Under Construction