General Atomics won a $46.9 million contract modification by the US Navy, which exercises an option to provide spares necessary for the successful operational capability of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Unmanned Aircraft System Expeditionary Medium Altitude Long Endurance MQ-9A Block 5 Reaper air vehicles, ground control stations, and ancillary equipment. Work will take place in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Virginia, Ohio, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina.
The US Navy awarded Sikorsky a $14.1 million modification, which exercises an option to provide non-recurring engineering, supplies and support necessary for the low rate initial production Lot 1 deployable configuration updates for the CH-53K heavy lift replacement aircraft for the Navy. Work will take place in Florida. Expected completion is in December 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems has received a $72-million contract to supply an undisclosed international customer with Hermes 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Under the two-year agreement, Elbit will deliver Hermes 900 drones equipped with the company’s electro-optical system, including a wide area persistent surveillance system, multi-spectral electro-optical payload, satellite communication, and signal intelligence payloads.
The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Switzerland of PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC) 3 Missile Segment Enhanced (MSE) missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $700 million. The proposed sale of the PAC-3 MSE missiles will enhance the capability of Switzerland’s PATRIOT missile defense system. The proposed sale supports Switzerland’s goal of improving national and territorial defense as well as interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces. Switzerland will use the PATRIOT system and missiles to defend its territorial integrity and for regional stability. The prime contractor will be Lockheed-Martin, Dallas, Texas.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that an offer to cooperate with Australia on submarines still stood, after a bitter row over a cancelled contract last year threatened to torpedo relations. Macron was left furious when Australia’s previous prime minister Scott Morrison abruptly tore up a contract for France to build a dozen diesel-powered submarines and announced a deal to buy US or British nuclear-powered subs.
The New Zealand government has enhanced its defense commitments to Ukraine, boosting military equipment funding and extending training for Ukrainian warfighters. Prime Minister Jacina Ardern on Monday announced an undisclosed amount of additional military support to improve Ukraine’s self defense nine months into Russia’s invasion.
WATCH: Elbit Systems / HERMES™ 900 – Next Gen Multi-Role MALE UAS
Sikorsky won a $98.9 million deal for UH-60M Black Hawk aircraft. UH-60 Black Hawk is a multi-mission helicopter developed by Sikorsky that has been operational in the US Army since 1978. The export version of the UH-60 Black Hawk is designated as S-70A. Work will take place in Connecticut. Estimated completion date is June 30, 2027.
The US Navy is seeking proposals to build a low-cost unmanned vessel capable of towing and launching many unmanned vessels into contested environments. A design and construction contract could be awarded by mid-2026, with expected vessel delivery beginning within two years.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli government is asking local defense manufacturers to design and produce longer-range, more stealthy armed drones for use against Iran. Defense sources told Breaking Defense that the new unmanned systems would provide the country with more attack options in the event of a conflict with its arch-foe.
Sweden will deliver new military aid worth $287 million to Ukraine. “It’s a bigger military support package than all eight previous packages combined,” Kristersson told a news conference. “It’s the single largest we’ve done, and we follow exactly the Ukrainian priority list of what they themselves think they need just now,” the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said at a press conference. Kristersson also noted the government was closely following developments concerning the explosion in Poland near the Ukrainian border on Tuesday and that more information was needed to gain a clearer picture of what happened. On Tuesday an explosion in the eastern part of Poland, close to the Ukrainian boarder, led to an emergency meeting of the NATO ambassadors. It is still unclear wether the explosion came from Russian missile. NARO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg however said on Wednesday that the explosion was most likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile.
The armaments group Rheinmetall has set itself higher financial targets for the medium term because of the armament in many NATO countries. In 2025, the Düsseldorf group wants to achieve sales of between 10 and 11 billion euros, as it announced on Wednesday at an investor event in Vienna. The operating profit margin, which Rheinmetall uses to measure its profitability, is expected to increase to around 13 percent.
Rheinmetall AG will soon dispatch main battle tanks and other military hardware to Slovakia, a move that will allow the country to transfer equipment to Ukraine as NATO continues to support Kyiv in its fight against Russian forces. The German defense company said Wednesday that it would be sending 15 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and ammunition to Slovakia as well as a service package including training and spare parts. The first vehicle is expected to be shipped in December and the company aims to complete deliveries by the end of 2023. The vehicles that Rheinmetall will be providing were formerly in the inventories of various states, the company said.
Taiwan has introduced its new single-rotor drone for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The unmanned system was unveiled by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCIST) during a demonstration conducted on Tuesday. According to local media outlets, the drone features a larger payload capacity than other unmanned aerial vehicles in Taiwan’s arsenal.
WATCH: US intelligence believes Ukraine fired missile that landed in Poland
BAE Systems Land & Armaments won a $32 million contract modification, for M2A4 and M7A4 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of August 23, 2023. M2A4 is designed to provide protected transport of soldiers and direct fires to support dismounted infantry, disrupt or destroy enemy military forces, and control land areas. The Bradley Engineering Change Proposal (ECP), termed M2/M7A4, includes changes intended to restore ground clearance, suspension reliability, and lost mobility, and to improve situational awareness. The M2/M7A4 maintains the survivability enhancement features found on legacy vehicles, to include the Bradley Urban Survivability Kits, Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles, and Add-on Armor Kit that the Army developed and fielded based on lessons learned during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Huntington Ingalls Industries won a $36 million modification for work previously authorized and completed, related to the various warfare system installations and testing necessary to support the completed construction for USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is the lead ship of her class of. The Gerald R. Ford class is a class of nuclear powered aircraft carriers. Work is already completed and took place in Virginia.
Middle East & Africa
Spain has once again extended the deployment period of a Patriot air defense missile unit in Turkey. This time, the soldiers and their equipment will remain till June 2023. Deployed in Adana, the Spanish Patriot unit has been stationed there since 2015. Taking over from the Netherlands, which arrived in January 2013 to protect Turkey from possible attacks by Syria.
Iran unveiled the longer-range Sayyad 4B surface-to-air missile for its Bavar-373 air defense system earlier this month. The latest in the Sayyad series of solid-fuel missiles struck a target at 300 kilometers (186.41 miles) in an October test, an increase of 100 kilometers (62 miles) over earlier versions, state-backed Tasnim News reported.
Germany and Spain are planning to train thousands of Ukrainian troops under an EU program to help bolster Kyiv’s fightback against Russia, officials said Tuesday. Their assistance adds to announcements already given by other EU countries that they will train Ukrainian soldiers on their territories.
South Korea has embarked on a new $38-million project to upgrade its K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers. The country’s Agency for Defense Development will reportedly invest in a super long-range cannon to double the shooting range of the weapon system. The upgrade comes amid rising demand for increased shooting range due to increased artillery threat from North Korea and the rising capabilities of rival products.
Latest updates[?]: BAE Systems Land & Armaments won a $32 million contract modification, for M2A4 and M7A4 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Work will be performed in York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of August 23, 2023. M2A4 is designed to provide protected transport of soldiers and direct fires to support dismounted infantry, disrupt or destroy enemy military forces, and control land areas. The Bradley Engineering Change Proposal (ECP), termed M2/M7A4, includes changes intended to restore ground clearance, suspension reliability, and lost mobility, and to improve situational awareness. The M2/M7A4 maintains the survivability enhancement features found on legacy vehicles, to include the Bradley Urban Survivability Kits, Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles, and Add-on Armor Kit that the Army developed and fielded based on lessons learned during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
M3A3 Bradley CFV: Charge!
In the 1970s, middle eastern wars demonstrated that tanks without infantry screens were vulnerable to infantry with anti-tank missiles. Unfortunately, armored personnel carriers were easy prey for enemy tanks, and sometimes had trouble just keeping up with friendly tanks like America’s 60+ ton, 50+ mph M1 Abrams. In response, the Americans rethought the armored personnel carrier, taking a page from the Soviet book. They created a more heavily armored, faster “Infantry Fighting Vehicle” named after WW2 General Omar “the soldier’s general” Bradley, and gave it an offensive punch of its own. M2/M3 tracked, armored IFVs can carry infantry – but they also have 25mm Bushmaster cannons, networked targeting sensors, and even TOW anti-armor or Stinger anti-aircraft missiles at their disposal.
Bradley puts on wear
Even well-serviced vehicles must suffer the pangs of age and wear, however, and the pace of electronics breakthroughs is far faster than the Army’s vehicle replacement cycle. The US Army plans to keep its Bradley fleet for some time to come, and new technologies have made it wise to upgrade part of that fleet while renewing the vehicles. Hence the remanufacture program, which complements the restore-only RESET programs.
This free-to-view DII Spotlight article explains the differences between the Bradley variants involved, details the re-manufacture process, offers additional research sources, and covers associated contracts from FY 1999 to the present.
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.
BAE Systems has finished a successful test of its APKWS laser-guidance kits, showcasing the weapon’s versatility and accuracy in engaging a broad set of targets. The rockets went “three on three against fortified targets,” firing direct shots and defeating well-armored targets such as a steel plate and an armored military vehicle. “We’re giving our customers more in-mission options for precision strikes against tougher targets,” BAE program manager Sam Kirsh said.
The US Air Force has contracted Northrop Grumman to outfit two more E-11A Bombardier business jets with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) system. The service already operates three such aircraft, facilitating “secure” data collection for a range of missions, including “airdrops, close air support operations, humanitarian assistance, and personnel recovery,” Northrop explained in a statement.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Bahrain Air Force (RBAF) will receive its first Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 jet fighters by the first half of 2024, according to a Breaking Defense report, citing an air force official. The delivery, part of a $1.1-billion contract signed in 2018, was originally scheduled to begin between mid-2022 and late 2023.
Elbit Systems has been awarded a follow-on contract worth $19.9 million to produce and deliver additional night vision goggles (NGVs) to the British Army. As part of the agreement, the company will supply the lightweight micro binocular XACT nv33 NVGs in a helmet-mounted configuration.
South Korea’s National Assembly has added nearly $200 million to the defense budget proposal due to an increase in number of missile launches from North Korea. A total of $4.17 billion will now go towards the domestic “three-axis” defense system. The three are: Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR), the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike platform and the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system.
Collins Aerospace will supply seven additional shipsets to the Chinese Harbin Aircraft Industries Corporation’s (HAIG) AC312 series helicopter fleet. The American firm’s delivery of its latest helicopter cockpit display system, communication, navigation, and surveillance equipment is expected to bolster the aircraft’s situational awareness and safety.
WATCH: F-16 Fighter Jet Demo Next to Bahrain – Sakhir F1 Circuit
Latest updates[?]: BAE Systems has finished a successful test of its APKWS laser-guidance kits, showcasing the weapon’s versatility and accuracy in engaging a broad set of targets. The rockets went “three on three against fortified targets,” firing direct shots and defeating well-armored targets such as a steel plate and an armored military vehicle. “We’re giving our customers more in-mission options for precision strikes against tougher targets,” BAE program manager Sam Kirsh said.
Hydras & Hellfires
The versatile Hydra 70mm rocket family is primed for a new lease on life, thanks to widespread programs aimed at converting these ubiquitous rockets into cheap laser-guided precision weapons. Conversion benefits include cost, use on both helicopters and fighters, more precision weapons per platform, low collateral damage, and the activation of large weapon stockpiles that couldn’t be used under strict rules of engagement.
Firms all over the world have grasped this opportunity, which explains why strong competition has emerged from all points of the compass. America’s “Advanced Precision-Kill Weapon System (APKWS)” is one of those efforts, but the road from obvious premise to working weapon has been slow. After numerous delays and false starts since its inception in 1996, an “APKWS-II” program finally entered System Design and Development (SDD) in 2006. In 2010, it entered low-rate production, and it was fielded to the front lines in 2012. That date will still put APKWS on the cutting edge of battlefield technology, as a leading player in a larger trend toward guided air-to-ground rockets.
The X-37B has landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on November 12 after spending 908 days in space. Orbital Test Vehicle-6 (OTV-6) was installed with a service module-a ring for the first time and the module detached from the OTV before landing.
An F-15C assigned to the 144th Fighter Wing was forced to make an emergency landing at Fresno Yosemite International Airport after the fighter started venting fuel in flight. The incident took place on the morning of November 10 and the fighter wing says the incident poses no hazard to the public.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has unveiled a compact, lightweight electronic support measures system, deployable on a range of ground, sea, and air platforms. An unnamed customer has placed the first order for tens of the system, named TacSense, the Israeli defense technology firm revealed. The system’s small size allows discreet installation on ground-based military assets, while individual ground soldiers can carry the manpack version easily, even in challenging terrain.
Airbus A400M MSN4 has been retired at Bremen after flying for 12 years and more than 2,000 flight hours. During this period, the transport aircraft was instrumental in the development A400M program, participating in tests to develop new capabilities such as air-to-air refueling. It served as a tanker and a receiver.
Lockheed Martin won an $11.5 million contract modification, which exercises an option to extend services to provide ongoing sustainment services and outcomes, to include supporting daily flight operations with the Freedom of Action specific capabilities required at various F-35 operating sites for the government of the United Kingdom. Work will take place in Fort Worth, Texas. Expected completion date will be in March 2023.
India’s last Rafale fighter that is still in France will return home to India around December 15. It has been in France as a platform for developing India-specific enhancements. The Rafale is a 4.5-generation aircraft and has helped India regain its supremacy over Indian sub-constituent skies with long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles along with advanced radar and electronic warfare capabilities.
WATCH: Meet The X-37B: NASA’s Most Extreme Aircraft
AeroVironment won an $86.4 million deal for the RQ-20B All Environment 3 and the Long Endurance Puma unmanned aircraft systems. RQ-20B is a block 2 upgrade of the Pointer Upgraded Mission Ability-All Environment (Puma AE) small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) designed and built by AeroVironment. Work will take place in California. Estimated completion date ist September 29, 2023.
The 40th Flight Test Squadron has taken delivery of the first of two government-owned Kratos XQ?58A unmanned aircraft. The Autonomous Aircraft Experimentation team will take use the aircraft for developmental ground and flight testing. The first flight is scheduled later this month. The XQ-58A Valkyrie is a low cost, high performance unmanned air vehicle developed through an Air Force Research Laboratory partnership with Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.
Middle East & Africa
The US State Department has approved the potential sale of Joint Stand Off Weapons (JSOW) and related equipment to Oman for an estimated cost of $385 million, the Defense Department said on Wednesday. The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missiles and Defense Company of Tucson, Arizona, the Pentagon said.
The US State Department has greenlighted the foreign military sale of AIM-120C-8 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs) to Belgium. Belgium requested the $380 million deal to arm its F-16 Fighting Falcons and future F-35 Lightning II fleet. According to the US Defense Security Agency (DCSA), the approval allows Belgium to buy up to 120 AIM-120C-8 AMRAAMs and 10 C-8 Guidance Sections.
The US State Department has approved a potential sale of M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and related equipment to Lithuania for an estimated $495 million. The principal contractor was listed as Lockheed Martin Corp. The proposed sale is expected to help the nation update its armed forces to fight regional threats.
Indian defense firm Kalyani Strategic Systems Limited has received a $155.5-million order from a “friendly” nation to supply 155-millimeter artillery guns. The company has not revealed the name of its latest foreign client but said that the customer is from a “non-conflict zone.” Kalyani also has not specified how many weapon systems it would provide.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has launched a multi-party project to ramp up its hypersonic weapons testing capacity. The Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonics Test Bed (MACH-TB) project will develop an affordable ground and flight test bed that leverages “commercially-available launch vehicles for hypersonic payloads,” contractor Dynetics said.
The US Air Force has completed a series of ground and flight acoustic tests for its F-15EX fighter aircraft at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The trial was the first for the air force’s F-15 with the GE-129 engine. Test administrators aimed to establish a baseline of sound data to update the information on noise level predictions and models where the aircraft will be deployed.
Middle East & Africa
EDGE Group subsidiary Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) has unveiled the largest military boat it has produced to date: a 51-meter (167-foot) offshore patrol vessel. Called the 510 OPV, the ship was introduced at the Indo Defense Expo & Forum 2022 in Jakarta.
British and Estonian officials have inked a road map for beefing up their military ties that will boost the remaining UK contingent in the Baltic nation with short-range air defense weapons and multiple-launch rocket systems, the two governments announced Tuesday. The agreement, signed in London by British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and his Estonian counterpart, Hanno Pevkur, aims to implement NATO plans approved in Madrid, Spain, over the summer for hardening the alliance’s eastern front.
The Indonesian Air Force has sent a contingent of pilots and engineers to France to learn how to operate the Rafale. Six pilots and eight engineers are currently there, Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo disclosed. In February, Defense Minister Prabowo Sugianto had signed a cooperation contract for the purchase of six French-made 4.5-generation Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft.
The Nikkei has reported that Tokyo is giving consideration into the export of used armored vehicles and missiles from its Self-Defense Force to other nations. The report said these weapons will be transferred free of charge to Asian countries. The change in policy could be indicated in the National Security Strategy that is being published by end of this year. The Nikkei says once this new policy is accepted, it will be put into practice next year.
WATCH: Why US is Testing This Mysterious Super Advanced Hypersonic Drone Aircraft