AIM 120 AMRAAM
June 14, 2024

AMRAAM: Deploying & Developing America's Medium-Range Air-Air Missile

AIM-120C from F-22A (click for test missile zoom) Raytheon’s AIM-120 Advanced, Medium-Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM) has become the world market leader for medium range air-to-air missiles, and is also beginning to make inroads within land-based defense systems. It was designed with the lessons of Vietnam in mind, and of local air combat exercises like ACEVAL and Red Flag. This DID FOCUS article covers successive generations of AMRAAM missiles, international contracts and key events from 2006 onward, and even some of its emerging competitors. One of the key lessons learned from Vietnam was that a fighter would be likely to encounter multiple enemies, and would need to launch and guide several missiles at once in order to ensure its survival. This had not been possible with the AIM-7 Sparrow, a “semi-active radar homing” missile that required a constant radar lock on one target. To make matters worse, enemy fighters were capable of launching missiles of their own. Pilots who weren’t free to maneuver after launch would often be forced to “break lock,” or be killed – sometimes even by a short-range missile fired during the last phases of their enemy’s approach. Since fighters that could carry radar-guided missiles like […]
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June 14, 2024

Raytheon Tapped For Silent Knight Support | DoS Cleared AMRAAM Sale To Norway | Boramae Future Uncertain

Americas Raytheon won a $293 million deal with a $33,700,000 initial task order for sustainment, support, research, development, and supplemental objectives related to the Silent Knight radar systems in support of US Special Operations Command Program Executive Office-Fixed Wing, Special Operations Forces Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics-KF. Fiscal 2024 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $977,000 are being obligated at time of award to the initial task order. The work will be performed in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by June 14, 2030. NATO countries have “comfortably exceeded” a target of placing 300,000 troops on high-readiness as the alliance grapples with the threat from Russia, a senior alliance official said Thursday. NATO leaders agreed in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 to massively ramp up the number of forces that alliance commanders can deploy within 30 days. “The offers on the table from allies comfortably exceed the 300,000 that we set,” the official said on condition of anonymity. Middle East & Africa Iraq’s foreign minister on Thursday, receiving his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad, warned of the dangers of conflict expanding in southern Lebanon and its repercussions across the Middle East. Near-daily cross-border fire between […]
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June 13, 2024

Timely Defenders: Keeping Patriots in Shape

DID's FOCUS Article covering the Patriot anti-air missile system, including all development & contracts during the FY 2007 time frame...
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A Harpoon missile at the USS Bowfin museum at Pearl Harbor
June 13, 2024

Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family

Harpoon in flight (click to view full) The sub-sonic, wave-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile, with the minor exception of small helicopter-borne AGM-119B Penguin missiles. The Harpoon has been adapted into several variants, and exported to many navies around the world. At present, the Harpoon family includes AGM-84 air, RGM-84 sea/land, and UGM-84 submarine-launched versions. Variants such as the Joint Standoff Land Attack Missiles and the upgraded AGM-84K SLAM – Expanded Response will also be covered in this DID FOCUS Article. It describes the missiles themselves, and covers global contracts involving this family. The Harpoon family’s best known competitor is the French/MBDA M38/39/40 Exocet, but recent years have witnessed a growing competitive roster at both the subsonic (Israel’s >Gabriel family, Russia’s SS-N-27 Klub family, Saab’s RBS15, Kongsberg’s stealthy NSM, China’s YJ-82/C-802 used by Hezbollah in Lebanon), and supersonic (Russia’s SS-N-22 Sunburn/Moskit, SS-N-26 Yakhont, and some SS-N-27 Klub variants, India’s SS-N-26 derived PJ-10 BrahMos) tiers.
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June 13, 2024

US Sends Another Patriot To Ukraine | DoS Approved AIM-120C Sale To Denmark | Warning Shots From South Korea As NK Soldiers Cross Border

Americas Boeing won $81 million modification, which definitizes the order and adds scope to provide continuing non-recurring engineering in support of configuration efforts for the Harpoon Coastal Defense System (HCDS), to include the Harpoon Block II Update Grade B Canister Launch All Up Round Missiles, the HCDS launch system, and Harpoon weapon station test and production equipment in support of the HCDS for Taiwan. Work will be performed in St. Charles, Missouri; Randolph, Vermont; Baltic, South Dakota; Pontiac, Michigan; Black Mountain, North Carolina; St. Louis, Missouri; Norcross, Georgia; various locations within the continental US; and various locations below and is expected to be completed in August 2026. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. The United States will send another Patriot missile air defense system to Ukraine in the coming days, US media reported, citing unnamed administration and military officials. News of the decision to provide the advanced system came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded on Tuesday for more air defenses at the start of an intense week of diplomatic meetings with Western partners. Middle East & Defense Lebanon’s Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone on Monday, while the Israeli military confirmed a drone had […]
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B-52 bomber
June 12, 2024

Up to $11.9B for B-52H Maintenance & Modernization

B-52H: flyin’ low, dyin’ slow… (click to view full) 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 […]
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June 12, 2024

L3Harris To Upgrade B-52H | IDF Fielded Roem/Sigma | Saab Unveiled Giraffe 1X Upgrade

Americas L3Harris Technologies has secured a $34-million contract to upgrade the US Air Force B-52H bomber cockpit. It is part of the air force’s Global Strike Command B-52 Quad Crew Program to consolidate the functions of the electronic warfare officer and navigator. The aircraft’s five-person crew comprises two pilots, two navigators, and an electronic warfare officer. The US Army has begun awarding contracts to AM General to build its Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) previously manufactured by Oshkosh Defense. The firm recently received $11.6 million to manufacture and deliver an undisclosed number of JLTVs. According to a Pentagon announcement, the work will be performed in South Bend, Indiana, with an estimated completion date of February 2033. Middle East & Africa The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has fielded the Roem/Sigma self-propelled howitzer following a series of tests. Touted as the world’s first fully automatic artillery, the 155mm/52 caliber Elbit Systems gun is intended to be a replacement for hundreds of M109s in the Israeli Artillery Corps. “The relevance and dominance of artillery fire are evident in warfare,” IDF’s chief artillery officer Brig, Gen. Yair Natans said. Europe Saab has unveiled a significant upgrade to its Giraffe 1X radar system with the introduction of […]
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Zumwalt Destroyer
June 11, 2024

The USA's DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class Program: Dead Aim, Or Dead End?

67% of the fleet (click to view full) DID’s FOCUS Article for the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class “destroyer” program covers the new ships’ capabilities and technologies, key controversies, associated contracts and costs, and related background resources. The ship’s prime missions are to provide naval gunfire support, and next-generation air defense, in near-shore areas where other large ships hesitate to tread. There has even been talk of using it as an anchor for action groups of stealthy Littoral Combat Ships and submarines, owing to its design for very low radar, infrared, and acoustic signatures. The estimated 14,500t (battlecruiser size) Zumwalt Class will be fully multi-role, however, with undersea warfare, anti-ship, and long-range attack roles. That makes the DDG-1000 suitable for another role – as a “hidden ace card,” using its overall stealth to create uncertainty for enemy forces. True, or False? (click to view full) At over $3 billion per ship for construction alone, however, the program faced significant obstacles if it wanted to avoid fulfilling former Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter’s fears for the fleet. From the outset, DID has noted that the Zumwalt Class might face the same fate as the ultra-sophisticated, ultra-expensive SSN-21 Seawolf Class submarines. That appears […]
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June 11, 2024

US Army Requests New Drones | Tunisian Army To Enhance Training | US, Philippine Army Launch Operations Center

Americas Raytheon won a $38 million modification to previously awarded contract for an option exercise and the award of a technical refresh of DDG-1000 Class Total Ship Computing Environment Hardware in support of Zumwalt Test Facility Ship Mission Center, peripherals and spares hardware. Work will be performed in Manchester, New Hampshire; Nashua, New Hampshire; Portsmouth, Rhode Island; and San Diego, California, and expected to complete by May 2027. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DS, is the contracting activity. The US Army has issued a request for information (RFI) regarding a new large drone that can support large-scale combat operations. The unmanned aerial system (UAS) should fall under Group 4 or 5 (more than 1,320 pounds/600 kilograms), or the same category as the MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle. It must be able to perform precision strike, surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, and command-and-control missions. Middle East & Africa The Tunisian Armed Forces are set to enhance their training capabilities with a comprehensive upgrade of their primary training area at Ben Ghilouf. This development comes following the publication of detailed plans on the US government’s System for Award Management (SAM) website on May 15. The upgrade project is currently in its third […]
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p 8a poseidon of vp 16 takes off from nas jacksonville 2013
June 10, 2024

P-8 Poseidon MMA: Long-Range Maritime Patrol, and More

P-8A Poseidon (click to view full) 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?
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aerial refueling of f 35 lightning ii joint strike fighters at eglin afb, fla.
June 10, 2024

F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program

F-35B: off probation (click to view full) The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer. The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, many of these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports during 2012-2013.
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June 10, 2024

Lockheed Tapped For F-35 Support | DoS Approves AIM-120 AAM FMS To Denmark | Thales Inked JV With PT Len

Americas Lockheed Martin won a $97 million contract procures aircraft armament equipment such as internal adapters and weapon umbilical cables required to employ long-range strike weapons, which allows for internal carriage and employment of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile – Extended Range weapon for F-35 Lightning II aircraft for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers, and non-US Department of Defense (DOD) program participants. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in February 2028. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. BAE Systems has secured a $95 million contract from the U.S. Navy to develop and produce electronic warfare (EW) pods for the P-8A Poseidon Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft. These pods will provide critical defensive capabilities for the Poseidon, enhancing its survivability in contested environments. The new EW pods are designed to detect and counter a variety of threats, including air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles. This will significantly improve the protection of the P-8A Poseidon and its crew, allowing them to operate more safely in potentially hostile airspace. Furthermore, the pods will expand the operational range of the Poseidon by enabling it to venture into areas previously […]
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fa 18c desert refueling
June 7, 2024

Super Hornet Fighter Family MYP-III: Contracts

Breakthrough… (click to view full) 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.
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June 7, 2024

Lockheed Showcases AI-Potential In Air Combat | US Orders Hero | US Announces Possible Sales Of F-16 Parts To Taiwan

Americas Lockheed Martin’s advanced projects division has demonstrated how artificial intelligence (AI) could aid air-to-air intercepts in a tactical environment. In a press release, Skunk Works said its AI agent was integrated into an L-29 Delfin aircraft to directly control the jet and execute tactical exercises. With the AI agent managing the aircraft’s heading, speed, and altitude, the Delfin was able to go against a virtual adversary in both offensive and defensive postures. According to the company, eight test cases were conducted per flight to evaluate the agent’s performance in standard head-to-head fights, off-aspect encounters, missile support, and missile defeat. Slingshot Aerospace has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system for DARPA to localize anomalous capabilities within large satellite constellations. The “Agatha” solution is part of an effort to screen low-earth orbit satellites to increase awareness in space. The California-based company explained the technology was developed through more than six decades of simulated constellation data and was tested to detect outliers in operational, real-world commercial constellations. Europe Finland has deployed seven F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets to Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania, marking their first participation in NATO’s Air Shielding mission. This two-month deployment signifies a crucial step towards Finland’s deeper […]
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c 130j 135th as maryland ang in flight
June 6, 2024

The C-130J: New Hercules & Old Bottlenecks

RAAF C-130J-30, flares (click to view full) The C-130 Hercules remains one of the longest-running aerospace manufacturing programs of all time. Since 1956, over 40 models and variants have served as the tactical airlift backbone for over 50 nations. The C-130J looks similar, but the number of changes almost makes it a new aircraft. Those changes also created issues; the program has been the focus of a great deal of controversy in America – and even of a full program restructuring in 2006. Some early concerns from critics were put to rest when the C-130J demonstrated in-theater performance on the front lines that was a major improvement over its C-130E/H predecessors. A valid follow-on question might be: does it break the bottleneck limitations that have hobbled a number of multi-billion dollar US Army vehicle development programs? C-130J customers now include Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, India, Israel, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United States. American C-130J purchases are taking place under both annual budgets and supplemental wartime funding, in order to replace tactical transport and special forces fleets that are flying old aircraft and in dire need of major repairs. This DID FOCUS […]
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June 6, 2024

Korea Offers K9 To US Army | Havelsan Delivered 5th Flight Simulator To Turkish Airline | Taiwan Air Force Upgrades C-130s

Americas South Korea is offering its K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer to the US Army to fill the capability gap created by canceling the Extended-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program. Launched in 2018, the ERCA program aimed to provide the service with a long-range artillery strike capability by having a Paladin M109 howitzer mounted with a 30-foot (9-meter) gun tube. However, the project was called off after several technical challenges prevented its first prototypes from meeting army requirements. The Palm Springs Air Museum (PSAM) has unveiled its latest restoration project – the unique Boeing Skyfox jet trainer prototype. Acquired by the museum in 2021, the Skyfox has undergone a comprehensive restoration and is now on display for the public. The Skyfox originated as a project by Skyfox Corporation, led by former Lockheed engineer Irven Culver. Designed as a cost-effective upgrade to existing jet trainers like the T-33, the Skyfox sported several modifications. These included externally mounted Garrett TFE731 turbofan engines, increased internal fuel capacity, and upgraded avionics. The sole prototype, a converted Canadian-built CT-133 Silver Star (N221SF), performed its maiden flight in 1983 at Mojave Air and Spaceport, California. Middle East & Africa Turkish flight simulator manufacturer Havelsan has delivered the 5th full flight […]
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June 5, 2024

E-2D Hawkeye: The Navy's New AWACS

(click to view full) Northrop Grumman’s E-2C Hawkeye is a carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft, designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. Secondary roles include strike command and control, land and maritime surveillance, search and rescue, communications relay, and even civil air traffic control during emergencies. E-2C Hawkeyes began replacing previous Hawkeye versions in 1973. They fly from USN and French carriers, from land bases in the militaries of Egypt, Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan; and in a drug interdiction role for the US Naval Reserve. Over 200 Hawkeyes have been produced. The $17.5 billion E-2D Advanced Hawkeye program aims to build 75 new aircraft with significant radar, engine, and electronics upgrades in order to deal with a world of stealthier cruise missiles, saturation attacks, and a growing need for ground surveillance as well as aerial scans. It looks a lot like the last generation E-2C Hawkeye 2000 upgrade on the outside – but inside, and even outside to some extent, it’s a whole new aircraft.
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June 5, 2024

NG Tapped For E-2 Support | Iraq Requested M-SAM-II From South Korea | Estonia Gets Scania Vehicles

Americas Northrop Grumman won a $119 million long-term, requirements contract for the repair of 17 weapon replaceable assemblies and shop replaceable assemblies in support of the E-2 aircrafts. Work will take place in Syracuse, New York; Duluth, Georgia; Woodland Hills, California (4%); Burnsville, Minnesota; and Ronkonkoma, New York. No funds will be obligated at time of award and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Appropriate fiscal year working capital funds (Navy) will be used as delivery orders are issued. Naval Supply Systems Command Weapon Systems Support, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the contracting activity. Lockheed Martin won a sole-source, firm-fixed-price contract modification under Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) weapon systems contract HQ085121C0002. The total value of this contract modification is $8 million. Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey, with an expected delivery date of June 1, 2025. The Missile Defense Agency, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity. Middle East & Africa Iraq has reportedly requested the M-SAM-II air and ballistic missile defense system from South Korea in a potential $2.56-billion deal. Eight M-SAM-II batteries have been included in Baghdad’s wish list to be delivered on an “urgent” basis, according to a report by Army Recognition, citing a […]
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USS Lake Champlain (CG-57), a Ticonderoga-class Aegis-equipped guided missile cruiser,
June 4, 2024

Serious Dollars for AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD)

AEGIS-BMD: CG-70 launches SM-3 (click to view full) The AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense System seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System for missiles, the SM-3 Standard missile, and the ship’s command and control system, in order to give ships the ability to defend against enemy ballistic missiles. Like its less-capable AEGIS counterpart, AEGIS BMD can also work with other radars on land and sea via Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC). That lets it receive cues from other platforms and provide information to them, in order to create a more detailed battle picture than any one radar could produce alone. AEGIS has become a widely-deployed top-tier air defense system, with customers in the USA, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Norway, and Spain. In a dawning age of rogue states and proliferation of mass-destruction weapons, the US Navy is being pushed toward a “shield of the nation” role as the USA’s most flexible and most numerous option for missile defense. AEGIS BMD modifications are the keystone of that effort – in the USA, and beyond.
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June 4, 2024

NG Tapped For E-2D Support | Israel Examines Vulcan To Counter Drones | Taiwan Plans Defense Innovation Unit

Americas Northrop Grumman won a $32.6 million modification, which exercises option years two and three for continued fabrication and installation support to retrofit the Delta System Software Configuration 4.0 (DSSC4) capabilities, to include Tactical Targeting Network Technology and the Beyond Line of Sight for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. Work will be performed in Melbourne, Florida; Carson, California; Menlo Park, California; and various locations within the continental US, and is expected to be completed in December 2027. Fiscal 2024 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $32,308,980 will be obligated at the time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. The US Air Force has awarded its first Joint Strike Missile (JSM) cruise missile contract to Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace for its F-35s. Kongsberg will produce the missiles for $141 million in Norway through August 31, 2026. The production Lot 1 contract includes JSM all-up rounds, containers, and test equipment, with $69 million being allocated for fiscal 2024. The number of missiles to be purchased was not stated. However, the service said in 2023 it was planning to procure 268 JSMs over the […]
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