Sikorsky won a $12 million modification, which provides production systems engineering and program management support for CH-53K full-rate production. The CH-53K is a type of helicopter used by the military. The “K” in CH-53K stands for “King Stallion. It is specifically engineered to perform heavy-lift missions that surpass the capabilities of other helicopters. With its robust design and powerful engines, the CH-53K can efficiently carry heavy loads, including equipment, supplies, and even vehicles, over significant distances. Work will take place in Connecticut. Expected completion will be in May 2024.
Lockheed Martin Space won a $27.1 million modification to provide services and support for Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed systems support. The Trident II (D5) is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system developed for the United States Navy’s Ohio-class submarines. Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. Work will take place in Utah and is expected to be finished by September 30, 2027.
Middle East & Africa
Elsight, an Israeli drone connectivity solutions company, has won a multi-year public tender to supply the Israeli police and other government departments with solutions for Communication-on-the-Move (COTM). The solutions will be provided to border patrol, drone, K9 and SWAT police units. According to the company, Elsight’s Halo platform is the first AI-powered connectivity solution for unmanned vehicles to market and ensures businesses have continuous and reliable service and communication with their drones. The difference between regular drone connections and Elsight’s hardware is its beyond-visual line of sight (BVLOS) capability, meaning increased range for long distance applications.
Ukraine has asked Berlin to provide it with Taurus air-to-surface missiles that have a range in excess of 500 kilometers (310 miles), Germany’s defense ministry told AFP on Saturday. The missiles, produced by a Germany-Swedish joint venture Taurus Systems, would allow Ukraine to strike well inside Russia with their range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).
The Romanian parliament has given the approval for the purchase of two new submarines and two second-hand minehunters for the Romanian Navy as well as modernization of the service’s corvettes, local media reported. The Romanian parliament approved a request from the Ministry of National Defence for the procurement of two Scorpène-class conventionally powered diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) from French shipbuilder Naval Group. The programme is estimated at EUR2 billion (USD2.14 billion) and is expected to take place over a period of eight years.
Australia has launched a research center to support warfighters operating in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear environments (OCE). Established at the University of Melbourne, the Center for Advanced Defense Research and Enterprise (CADRE-OCE) will focus on next-generation technologies and concepts to ensure the Australian Defense Force’s safety during hazardous missions.
WATCH: The Sikorsky CH-53: US Biggest Helicopter Ever Built
Latest updates[?]: Sikorsky won a $12 million modification, which provides production systems engineering and program management support for CH-53K full-rate production. The CH-53K is a type of helicopter used by the military. The "K" in CH-53K stands for "King Stallion. It is specifically engineered to perform heavy-lift missions that surpass the capabilities of other helicopters. With its robust design and powerful engines, the CH-53K can efficiently carry heavy loads, including equipment, supplies, and even vehicles, over significant distances. Work will take place in Connecticut. Expected completion will be in May 2024.
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.
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin Space won a $27.1 million modification to provide services and support for Trident II (D5) missile production and deployed systems support. The Trident II (D5) is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system developed for the United States Navy's Ohio-class submarines. Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. Work will take place in Utah and is expected to be finished by September 30, 2027.
Trident II D5 Test Launch
Nuclear tipped missiles were first deployed on board US submarines at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s, to deter a Soviet first strike. The deterrence theorists argued that, unlike their land-based cousins, submarine-based nuclear weapons couldn’t be taken out by a surprise first strike, because the submarines were nearly impossible to locate and target. Which meant that Soviet leaders could not hope to destroy all of America’s nuclear weapons before they could be launched against Soviet territory. SLBM/FBM (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile/ Fleet Ballistic Missile) offered shorter ranges and less accuracy than their land-based ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) counterparts, but the advent of Trident C4 missiles began extending those ranges, and offering other improvements. The C4s were succeeded by larger Trident II D5 missiles, which added precision accuracy and more payload.
The year that the Trident II D5 ballistic missile was first deployed, 1990, saw the beginning of the end of the missile’s primary mission. Even as the Soviet Union began to implode, the D5’s performance improvements were making the Trident submarine force the new backbone of the USA’s nuclear deterrent – and of Britain’s as well. To ensure that this capability was maintained at peak readiness and safety, the US Navy undertook a program in 2002 to replace aging components of the Trident II D5 missile called the D5 Life Extension (LE) Program. This article covers D5 LE, as well as support and production contracts associated with the American and British Trident missile fleets.
Boeing won a $14.2 million order against a previously issued basic ordering agreement. This order provides manufacturing, assembly and delivery of various peculiar support equipment in support of the F/A-18E/F program. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed in December 2026.
Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems won a $7.5 million deal for B-2 countermeasure receivers. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.301-1. This is a two-year, nine-month contract with no option periods. The performance completion date is February 1, 2026. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Middle East & Africa
Moroccan defense website FAR-MAroc has published images of Elbit System’s PULS (Precise & Universal Launching Systems) artillery rocket systems, purchased by Morocco. Apparently, the Moroccan Army selected Tatra Trucks, a Czech vehicle manufacturer, to carry the rocket launchers – which are capable of launching multiple ammunition types to distances of up to 300 km. According to the publication, Morocco ordered the PULS launchers with Elbit’s Combat NG system, a fully-integrated modular artillery solution.
The US State Department has approved the sale of a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) to Ukraine. The potential $285 million sale includes one AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel Radar, a Fire Distribution Center, and canister launchers. Ukraine requested the Raytheon system to bolster its defenses against Russian aerial attacks, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated.
The Czech Republic has finalized negotiations to procure CV90 infantry fighting vehicles from BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik. The decision builds on a memorandum inked in 2022 to purchase tracked combat vehicles from the government of Sweden. The agreement its valued $2.2 billion and will deliver 246 CV90 MkIVs in seven different variants.
Boeing won an $9 million deal for new-build peculiar ground support equipment. Work will be performed in Mesa, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of December 31, 2027. Fiscal 2023 Foreign Military Sales (Australia) in the amount of $8,791,474 were obligated at the time of the award.
WATCH: B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber in Action | Training
Latest updates[?]: Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems won a $7.5 million deal for B-2 countermeasure receivers. This was a sole-source acquisition using justification 10 U.S. Code 2304 (c)(1), as stated in Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.301-1. This is a two-year, nine-month contract with no option periods. The performance completion date is February 1, 2026. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
All together now…
Britain’s practice of “contracting for availability” for key equipment, rather than paying for spare parts and maintenance hours, may be its most significant defense procurement reform. In a world where older air, sea, and ground vehicle fleets are growing maintenance demands beyond countries’ available budgets, it’s an approach whose success could have global significance.
Across the pond, the USA is significantly behind in this area. Fortunately, they have not ignored the model entirely. Recent changes to the contracts covering their B-2 Spirit stealth bomber fleet demonstrate that some progress is being made, via a $9+ billion commitment from 1999-2014, and 2 parallel development programs that are changing key sub-systems.
Latest updates[?]: Rolls-Royce won a $21.5 million modification, which exercises an option for the production and delivery of eight AE1107C engines in support of the V-22 Osprey for the Navy. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed in November 2024. Fiscal 2023 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $21,473,824 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, 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.
Rolls-Royce won a $21.5 million modification, which exercises an option for the production and delivery of eight AE1107C engines in support of the V-22 Osprey for the Navy. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed in November 2024. Fiscal 2023 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $21,473,824 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
Lockheed Martin won a $194.8 million contract for MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) modules and ancillary hardware in support of fiscal 2022-2027 MK 41 VLS production requirements. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $642,909,326. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (71%) and the governments of Canada (18%) and Australia (11%) under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Work is expected to be completed by June 2027. If all options are exercised, work will continue through July 2030.
Middle East & Africa
According to Jane’s, Spain’s Escribano Mechanical and Engineering (EM&E) announced on May 22 that it has signed a contract to deliver its Guardian 30 remotely operated weapon stations (ROWSs) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces. A deal was inked at the beginning of this year covering 516 Guardian 30s to upgrade wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles in service with the UAE Armed Forces over an initial three-year period,
Poland is set to acquire early warning aircraft from Sweden, marking a significant step in enhancing the country’s air defense. Minister of National Defense Mariusz B?aszczak announced the decision, emphasizing its importance in fortifying Poland’s defense infrastructure. Poland’s acquisition of early warning aircraft signifies a strong commitment to bolstering its air defense. Detailed negotiations between Poland and Sweden, led by Minister B?aszczak, have been progressing well. The positive outcome of discussions held during the Northern Group Meeting in Legionowo, where Minister B?aszczak met with Swedish Minister of Defense Pale Jonson, highlights the shared dedication to enhancing defense cooperation.
The United States said Wednesday it had reached a deal with Micronesia to extend decades-old political and security ties, forestalling Chinese efforts to build influence in the region. State Department officials said three documents were signed in Pohnpei, signaling the extension of a 20-year-old arrangement that gives the island nation security and budget guarantees.
Japan held a ceremony on Wednesday marking its planned donation of about 100 military vehicles to Ukraine, as Tokyo seeks to provide equipment that can be of broader military use than its earlier shipments of helmets and hazmat suits. In a ceremony at the Defense Ministry at which two half-ton trucks were on display, Japanese Vice Defense Minister Toshiro Ino handed a document to Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Korsunsky listing the three types of vehicles included in the donation.
WATCH: The V-22 Osprey: US Most Advanced Hybrid Aircraft Ever Built
Austal USA has received a $113.9 million deal to design the US Navy Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship (T-AGOS 25). The agreement includes a $3.2 billion option for the design and construction of up to seven T-AGOS vessels. Work on the first T-AGOS will take place at various US locations in partnership with L3Harris Technologies, Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors, TAI Engineering, and Noise Control Engineering.
The Vuzix Corporation won contracts to deliver augmented reality (AR) solutions and related engineering services for two defense customers. The first agreement is with a US-based partner specializing in situational awareness and personal protection solutions for defense forces. It seeks projectors and waveguides to integrate “smart” heads-up display technology with the customer’s helmet capability.
Middle East & Africa
Iran said on Sunday it is capable of ensuring the safety of the vital Gulf waters in cooperation with neighboring countries, following maritime tensions with the United States. “The Islamic Republic of Iran and the countries south of the Persian Gulf are capable of cooperating to ensure the security of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Sea of Oman,” Iran’s Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri said on Sunday.
According to Jane’s, the Portuguese Air Force (FAP) formally activated its new transport squadron on May 20. Five Embraer KC-390 Millennium multimission transport aircraft will be operated by 506 Squadron at Beja Air Base No 11. The aircraft were acquired in August 2019 under an $894 million contract to replace the C-130H Hercules aircraft of 501 Squadron. The first aircraft, which is undergoing final certification by the Portuguese National Aeronautical Authority, will be formally received in 2023. The final aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2027.
The UK Royal Navy (RN) has revealed plans to install the Lockheed Martin Mk 41 vertical launching system (VLS) into its five new Type 31 Inspiration-class general-purpose frigates. The fit will expand the range of missiles and capabilities the ships can deliver. The Type 31s are already being built with the foundation structural seats for four 8-Cell Mk41 Strike-Length VLS modules.
Thailand’s Defense Technology Institute (DTI) has delivered an unknown number of locally developed 8×8 amphibious armoured personnel carriers (AAPCs) to the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC). The DTI, a research and development (R&D) agency under the Thai Ministry of Defence (MoD), said in a social media post on 19 May that the vehicles were delivered during the RTMC’s Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) at a Royal Thai Navy (RTN) base in Ban Chanthaklem in Chanthaburi’s Khao Kitchakut district. The DTI has named the amphibious vehicle ‘Sea Tiger’.
WATCH: 4K – Embraer KC 390 – Portuguese Air Force – OPO/LPPR
Latest updates[?]: According to Jane’s, the Portuguese Air Force (FAP) formally activated its new transport squadron on May 20. Five Embraer KC-390 Millennium multimission transport aircraft will be operated by 506 Squadron at Beja Air Base No 11. The aircraft were acquired in August 2019 under an $894 million contract to replace the C-130H Hercules aircraft of 501 Squadron. The first aircraft, which is undergoing final certification by the Portuguese National Aeronautical Authority, will be formally received in 2023. The final aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2027.
KC-390 refuels AMXs
Global competition in the 20-ton air transport segment continues to intensify, with Brazil’s launch of its KC-390 program. Embraer figures reportedly place the global C-130 replacement market at around 700 aircraft. In response, it will develop a jet-powered rival to compete with Lockheed Martin’s C-130J, the larger Airbus A400M, Russia’s AN-12 and its Chinese copy the Yun-8/9, and the bi-national Irkut/HAL MRTA project. Smaller aircraft like the EADS-CASA C-295M, and Alenia’s C-27J, represent indirect competition.
Embraer is extending its efforts and markets by crafting a jet-powered medium transport with a cargo capacity of around 23 tons, that can be refueled in the air, and can provide refueling services to other aircraft by adding dedicated pods. The KC-390 has now become a multinational program, and may be shaping up as the C-130’s most formidable future competitor. A tie-up with Boeing underscores the seriousness of Embraer’s effort, which is now a production program…
Sierra Nevada won a $56 million modification for the MC-130J Airborne Mission Networking program’s low-rate initial production. This modification provides for the procurement of production kits, spares, interim-contractor support, program management, and provisioning support. Work will be performed in Centennial, Colorado, and is expected to be completed May 19, 2023. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity.
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center is nearing the flight certification of a rejuvenated F/A-18D aircraft, set to play a pivotal role in tracking the supersonic X-59 and capturing stunning visuals. This aircraft, NASA 862, underwent an impressive transformation at the US Air Force Corrosion Control Facility, known as the Paint Barn, before joining NASA Armstrong’s esteemed fleet. Under the guidance of Troy Asher, Director for Flight Operations, NASA Armstrong sought to replace older models with more advanced aircraft. After careful evaluation, the F/A-18D emerged as the perfect candidate due to its modern features and availability of parts.
Middle East & Africa
Regulus Cyber, an Israeli expert in software-based GPS/GNSS security, launched the fully-functional Ring ARM-V specifically designed to protect armored vehicles, convoys and deployed troops from drone attacks, including multirotor, fixed-wing, swarm and dark drones. The company announced that the Ring ARM-V system has recently been installed, integrated and certified in an armored vehicle.
BAE Systems and Iveco Defence Vehicles have introduced the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) to international customers at a defense and security fair in Madrid, Spain. The companies displayed the platform’s base platform, the Personnel variant (ACV-P), at the event. “This is the first time the Amphibious Combat Vehicle has been shown outside the United States, and it is a point of pride that it is here in Spain, an important, long-term US and NATO ally,” BAE Systems Amphibious Programs Vice President Garrett Lacaillade said.
The Australian government said it would provide surveillance drones and other high-tech equipment to the Philippines to boost its maritime patrol capabilities. The announcement was made following the visit to Manila of Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong to meet with her Filipino counterpart Enrique A. Manalo. The military aid package builds on the already deep and wide-ranging maritime security ties between the two allied countries, Wong said.
The Taiwanese government announced the acquisition of 18 additional M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers to bolster its precision strike capabilities. The procurement is on top of the 11 launchers the island nation requested from the US in 2021, bringing the total to 29. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence, the additional order is covered by the Long-Range Precision Fire Strike System procurement project of the Taiwanese Army.
WATCH: Meet the U.S. Air Force Special Ops MC-130J Commando II