Boeing won an $11.4 million contract modification, which exercises an option to provide for installation of 25 previously procured A-kits in support of the Increment 3 Block 1 retrofit requirements for the P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Florida, and is expected to be completed in December 2023.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has completed a flight test of its air-to-air laser communication system at Montgomery Field in Kearney Mesa, California. The laser system was trialed to enable General Atomics-built drones to perform beyond-line-of-sight communications in multi-domain operations and other air-to-space communication applications.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will exhibit at the Bahrain International Airshow, taking place November 9-11th. IAI will showcase a variety of its state-of-the-art aviation products, including civil aviation, radars and avionics, air defense systems, coastal guard and drone guard systems. This is the first time that an Israeli company is participating in the event.
Germany has declared success in destroying drones with a high-energy laser weapon system installed on board frigate Sachsen. The test was carried out on August 30 in the Baltic Sea near Putlos Major Training Area. The drones were taken out at short and very short range, Rheinmetall said in a press release. Additional tests will be carried out till the middle of next year in order to hone the system into a fully functional, operational laser weapon.
Bulgaria’s government has decided to buy a follow-on batch of eight F-16 fighters from Lockheed Martin. The order will split equally between the C and D models. It would be the second batch acquired by Bulgaria, which contracted to buy eight multi-role F-16 Block 70 aircraft in July 2019 for $1.3 billion. Plans initially called for the first planes to arrive in Bulgaria in 2023 and the last ones in 2024, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed delivery until 2025.
Japan is looking into buying US-developed Tomahawk cruise missiles as it seeks to counter growing regional threats, including from North Korea, the government said Friday. The purchase would likely be controversial in a nation whose military is not officially recognized under its post-World War II constitution.
WATCH: P-8 Poseidon | The new submarine hunter of the West
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?
The US Air Force’s Special Operations Command (AFSOC) has taken the Agile Combat Employment (ACE) concept one step further by having the MQ-9 operate in a simulated base situated behind enemy lines. Field 6 at Eglin Air Force Base was used for the simulation. A team of airmen secured Field 6 after arriving on board an MC-130J and cleared it for the MQ-9 to land and take off. The flight operations of the MQ-9 were carried out using Satellite Communications Launch and Recovery so that no Launch and Recovery Element was required at the site. “We did this by using a small team, landing at a simulated forward operating base, refueling and continuing to fly the mission. All of this was accomplished with an extremely small footprint which opens up the possibility for using MQ-9s in places we could not reach previously,” according to a MQ-9 pilot from the 2nd SOS.
The B-52H bomber will no longer require an external cart nor gunpowder cartridges for starting up its engines in future. Boeing is said to have selected Honeywell’s 36-150 auxiliary power unit (APU) as part of the Commercial Engine Replacement Program. “The B-52 is one of the most enduring USAF aircraft ensuring force readiness against emerging threats,” said Dave Marinick, president, Engines and Power Systems, Honeywell Aerospace,” said Dave Marinick, president, Engines and Power Systems.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli and Lebanese leaders finalized a US-brokered maritime demarcation deal on Thursday, bringing a measure of accommodation between the enemy states as they eye offshore energy exploration. Leaders from Lebanon, Israel and the United States have all hailed the deal as “historic” but the possibility of a wider diplomatic breakthrough remains slim. As a result, there was no joint signing ceremony: Lebanese President Michel Aoun signed a letter approving the deal at his palace in Baabda in the presence of the U.S. official who mediated the accord, Amos Hochstein.
RAM-System won a $277.8 million deal for fiscal 2023 procurements for Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2B Guided Missile Round Pack (GMRP) and spare replacement components for RAM Block 2 recertification. This contract is a 100% purchase for the German navy under a cooperative memorandum of understanding (MOU). Work will take place in Arizona and Germany. Expected completion date will be in March 2029.
An engine designed by the Austrian company Rotax was discovered installed in one of Russia’s Iranian-made Mohajer-6 drones that went down over the Black Sea earlier this month. Rotax says it has launched an investigation into its engines powering Iranian drones. The delivery of such hardware to Iran violates violates European Union sanctions banning the export of items with both civilian and military purposes, such as vehicle parts. Identical sanctions are imposed by the European Union against Russia, as well. Rotax is an Austrian subsidiary owned by the Canadian company Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which is known for producing engines for snowmobiles, boats, motorcycles, airplanes and a significant number of drones. BRP’s Rotax jet engines are known to power the advanced US MKU-1 Predator drone and Israel’s Heron drones.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines led the first-ever simultaneous joint maritime exercises with the US Navy and Royal Australian Navy. A total of 742 sailors from the three nations participated in the eight-day drills, including representatives from the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Canada, Brunei, and Malaysia attending as observers. The exercises, held in the Philippines’ Visayas region, enhanced the participating navies’ warfighting capabilities in territorial defense, terrorism, and transnational crime.
Latest updates[?]: The B-52H bomber will no longer require an external cart nor gunpowder cartridges for starting up its engines in future. Boeing is said to have selected Honeywell’s 36-150 auxiliary power unit (APU) as part of the Commercial Engine Replacement Program. “The B-52 is one of the most enduring USAF aircraft ensuring force readiness against emerging threats,” said Dave Marinick, president, Engines and Power Systems, Honeywell Aerospace,” said Dave Marinick, president, Engines and Power Systems.
B-52H: flyin’ low,
Officially, it’s the B-52H Stratofortress. Unofficially, it’s the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat F–cker). Either way, this subsonic heavy bomber remains the mainstay of the U.S. strategic fleet after more than 50 years of service. A total of 102 B-52H bombers were delivered from FY 1961-1963, and 94 were still on the books as of May 2009, flying mostly from Barksdale AFB, LA and Minot AFB, ND. Of these, 18 are slated for retirement, leaving a planned fleet of 76. By the time that fleet retires in the 2030s, many will be around 70 years old.
The B-52H can’t be flown against heavy enemy air defenses, but a steady array of upgrades have kept the aircraft relevant to follow-on strikes and current wars, where its long time on station and precision weapons have made the BUFF beautiful. Those changes have included advanced communications, GPS guided weapons, advanced targeting pods, and more. The USAF isn’t done yet adding new features, and maintenance remains a challenge for an aircraft fleet that’s always older than its pilots. All of these things require contracts, and the B-52H fleet has several of them underway. So, how does 2010’s 8-year, $11.9 billion umbrella contract fit in…?
General Dynamics won a $122.8 million contract modification for lead yard support and development studies and design efforts related to Virginia Class submarines. This contract modification includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of the modification to $164,071,626. Work will take place in the continental US. Expected completion will be by August 2025.
Raytheon Intelligence and Space won a $12.1 million deal or non-personal and non-commercial services for operations and maintenance services of the Cobra King radar system. Work will be performed at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida; and various overseas locations on board the US Naval Ship Howard O. Lorenzen, and is expected to be completed by October 31, 2023. Comprising S and X-band phased radars, the Cobra King is a new, mobile radar system that enables the USAFTAC to offer high-quality, high-resolution and multi-wavelength radar data to the Department of Defense’s strategic community, the Missile Defense Agency and other government agencies.
Middle East & Africa
Twenty-two countries have requested to purchase Iranian drones, one of the country’s top military commanders proclaimed recently. Special military adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, revealed the development while addressing a military academy in Tehran. Highlighting the country’s employment of science and technology in the military domain, the former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief said that drones were deployed to monitor the recent missile and artillery strikes against terrorist groups in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday surveyed drills carried out by his nuclear-capable forces as Moscow pressed unfounded claims to India and China that Ukraine was developing a “dirty bomb”. The drills are the latest in a series of escalatory comments from Moscow and Putin — who observed the drills from a control room — that the eight-month conflict in Ukraine could turn nuclear.
The US and Spain will begin negotiations to renew a 1988 bilateral pact to expand the US naval presence at the Rota naval base in southern Spain, Spanish foreign minister Angeles Moreno revealed to parliament last week. The statement comes months after White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan disclosed the plan in June to expand the number of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers stationed at the base from four to six.
Australian technology firm DroneShield has been awarded a nearly $1 million deal to supply a portable counter-drone system to an unspecified country in the Asia-Pacific. The company said that the country is an ally of the West. Delivery of the counter-drone system is expected in March 2023.
WATCH: $3.6 Billion US Gigantic Submarine – Virginia Class Submarine
Raytheon won an $8.4 million deal, which provides for software product updates and qualification testing for the CV-22 Silent Knight Radar (SKR) Joint Services Vertical Lift Aircraft Experimental (JVX) Avionics System Software (JASS) instrumentation build, the SKR JASS Functional Requirements Document (FRD) 8 port forward, and the SKR JASS FRD 9 port forward in support of the V-22 Joint Program Office. Work will take place in Indiana. Expected completion will be in May 2024.
The Canadian Ministry of National Defence has contracted Quebec-based Logistik Unicorp to deliver operational clothing and footwear to the Canadian Armed Forces. The agreement covers more than 1,000 items, including badges and insignias, personal equipment, combat boots, winter gear, and uniforms with Canadian Disruptive Pattern camouflage.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense giant Elbit Systems signed an agreement with Garuda Aerospace, a top Indian drone start-up, to provide its Skylark 3 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) drones to commercial and government agencies. According to South Asian news agency ANI, Garuda Aerospace said that the drones would be put to use in the Survey of India national projects, run by the Department of Science and Technology, to implement large-scale surveying and mapping of villages under its SVAMITVA Scheme.
The British Royal Navy HMS Tamar has completed a series of mine-hunting operations at the Mine Warfare Exercise off the coast of South Korea. During the drill, Tamar carried a Guam-based US Navy mobile diving/explosive ordnance disposal crew that launched Remus sub-surface drones 100 meters underwater to gather data for analysis.
The US Air Force’s 319th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron recently held an assumption of command ceremony at Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Kanoya Air Base on October 23. The unit is responsible for operating the MQ-9 unmanned air vehicle while at Kanoya.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on October 20 that the State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan of Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this sale. The Government of Japan has requested to buy up to thirty-two (32) Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles (in two tranches of 16). Also included are Mk 21 Vertical Launch System (VLS) canisters; obsolescence engineering, integration and test activity; canister handling equipment, spares, training and training equipment/aids; technical publications/data; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total program cost is $450 million.
WATCH: CV-22 Osprey | Flying the Spec Ops Tiltrotor Aircraft
Latest updates[?]: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on October 20 that the State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Japan of Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this sale. The Government of Japan has requested to buy up to thirty-two (32) Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) Block I missiles (in two tranches of 16). Also included are Mk 21 Vertical Launch System (VLS) canisters; obsolescence engineering, integration and test activity; canister handling equipment, spares, training and training equipment/aids; technical publications/data; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total program cost is $450 million.
SM-2 Launch, DDG-77
(click to view larger)
Variants of the SM-2 Standard missile are the USA’s primary fleet defense anti-air weapon, and serve with 13 navies worldwide. The most common variant is the RIM-66K-L/ SM-2 Standard Block IIIB, which entered service in 1998. The Standard family extends far beyond the SM-2 missile, however; several nations still use the SM-1, the SM-3 is rising to international prominence as a missile defense weapon, and the SM-6 program is on track to supplement the SM-2. These missiles are designed to be paired with the AEGIS radar and combat system, but can be employed independently by ships with older or newer radar systems.
This article covers each variant in the Standard missile family, plus several years worth of American and Foreign Military Sales requests and contracts and key events; and offers the budgetary, technical, and geopolitical background that can help put all that in context.
Lockheed won a $12 million contract modification, which adds scope to procure Lot 15-16 gun pod containers in support of F-35 Lightning II aircraft ancillary mission equipment for the Navy, Marine Corps, non-US Department of Defense (DOD) partners, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2026.
The US Air Force has integrated a new engine for the ski-equipped LC-130 transport aircraft to boost its capabilities in the Arctic and Antarctica. Seven airmen conducted a test flight of the new NP2000 T56-A-15A turbo-prop 3.5 engine at Stratton Air National Guard Base in New York. The new engine’s propellers have eight blades instead of four, increasing torque for takeoffs on ice and snow.
Middle East & Africa
Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd. and Hensoldt have inked an exclusive teaming agreement to provide the German Air Force with electronic warfare capabilities in Tel Aviv. The collaboration will combine Rafael’s Sky Shield airborne electronic warfare pod with Hensoldt’s latest airborne electronic attack technology “Kalætron Attack.”
Eight Royal Air Force fighter squadrons fired a total of 53 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles (ASRAAM) over a period of 10 days in September. It was the largest ever mass firing of ASRAAMs by the RAF. The missiles were fired from the Eurofighter and F-35B out in the sea at the Hebrides Air Weapon Ranges.
Spain has announced plans to send six Eurofighters to Bulgaria and eight Hornets to Romania starting from next month. The Eurofighters will leave for Bulgaria in the middle of next month while the F-18s will depart from December.
Indian conglomerate Kalyani Group announced that it would construct the world’s largest artillery manufacturing facility in India on Tuesday. The Hindu Business Line quoted company chairman Baba Kalyani as saying that the plant would be ready in three years, producing one gun per day, a five-fold increase over the current production rate.
WATCH: USAF Ski Equipped LC 130 Transport Aircraft Receives New Engine
The multi-national Eurofighter Typhoon has been described as the aerodynamic apotheosis of lessons learned from the twin engine “teen series” fighters that began with the F-14 and F-15, continued with the emergence of the F/A-18 Hornet, and extended through to the most recent F/A-18 Super Hornet variants. Aerodynamically, it’s a half generation ahead of all of these examples, and planned evolutions will place the Eurofighter near or beyond parity in electronic systems and weapons.
The 1998 production agreement among its 4 member countries involved 620 aircraft, built with progressively improved capabilities over 3 contract “tranches”. By the end of Tranche 2, however, welfare state programs and debt burdens had made it difficult to afford the 236 fighters remaining in the 4-nation Eurofighter agreement. A 2009 compromise was found in the EUR 9 billion “Tranche 3A” buy, and the program has renewed its efforts to secure serious export sales. Their success will affect the platform’s production line in the near term, and its modernization plans beyond that.
Northrop Grumman won a $31.6 million deal, which provides for the inspection and teardown of the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye fatigue test article to identify fatigue critical locations and demonstrate that the E-2D aircraft structure satisfy the program’s service life requirement. Work will take place in Florida, New York and California. Expected completion will be in June 2027.
BAE Systems won an $11.2 million contract to provide systems engineering and integration in support of US Trident II (D5) Strategic Weapons System Program D5 Life Extension 2 Strategic Systems Programs Alteration. Tasks to be performed include technical planning, requirements management and integration of Strategic Systems Programs subsystems including interface with the Columbia common missile compartment; configuration management, system security engineering, safety engineering support and infrastructure operations model-based engineering and information systems program acquisition. Work will take place in Maryland, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Maryland and Florida. Work will be finished by October 20, 2024.
Middle East & Africa
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has deployed its first Barak air defense system from Israel, according to a report by Breaking Defense, citing defense sources. The development comes a few months after Abu Dhabi quietly reached out to Jerusalem following a drone and missile attack by the Houthis on some of the country’s critical infrastructure.
Poland will lease a number of MQ-9A unmanned air vehicles from General Atomics while it prepares to acquire the MQ-9B. The country’s Armaments Agency concluded the $70 million contract on October 20. The planned acquisition of an undisclosed number of aircraft is poised to make the Polish Armed Forces the first military on NATO’s eastern flank to purchase the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) drone.
Lithuania says that it has placed an order unspecific number of Bolide and MK-2 missiles for the RBS 70 air defense system. The contract is worth $45 million and will Lithuanian Defense Ministry says it will help to achieve a “more effective execution of air defence tasks.”
Lockheed won a $49.6 million modification, which provides non-recurring engineering and add/delete efforts to bring 12 MH-60R aircraft from standard Foreign Military Sales configuration to a unique configuration for the government of Australia. Additionally, this modification procures 12 Australian unique modification one kits and 10 embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation Systems spares. Work will take place in New York, Connecticut and Alabama. Expected completion will be in December 2026.
WATCH: The Indo Israeli Barak 8 Air Defense System