Electric Boat Tapped For Virginia Class Support | DoS Approves FMS To Kuwait and Tunisia | Norwegian F-35s Face Issue With Drag Chute
Electric Boat Corp. won a 434.4 million deal for lead yard support and development studies and design efforts regarding the Virginia Class submarines. The Virginia Class replaces Los Angeles Class submarines as they retire. The Virginia Class has several innovations that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities, including in littoral operations. Virginia Class SSNs have a fly-by-wire ship control system that provides improved shallow-water ship handling. The class has special features to support SOF, including a reconfigurable torpedo room which can accommodate a large number of SOF and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. The class also has a large lock-in/lock-out chamber for divers. In Virginia Class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been supplanted by two photonics masts that host visible and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. Work under the contract will take place in Connecticut, Virginia and Rhode Island. Estimated completion will be by September 2020. The contract provides lead yard support for Virginia class submarines that will maintain, update and support the Virginia class design and related drawings and data for each Virginia class submarine, including technology insertion, throughout its construction and post-shakedown availability period. The contractor will also provide all engineering and related lead yard support necessary for direct maintenance and support of Virginia class ship specifications.
Northrop Grumman Systems won a maximum $24.3 million firm-fixed-priced delivery order for rudders in support of the F/A-18 aircraft platform. The F/A-18 Hornet is a single- and two-seat, twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases. The F/A-18 fills a variety of roles: air superiority, fighter escort, suppression of enemy air defenses, reconnaissance, forward air control, close and deep air support, and day and night strike missions. The F/A-18 Hornet replaced the F-4 Phantom II fighter and A-7 Corsair II light attack jet, and also replaced the A-6 Intruder as these aircraft were retired during the 1990s. The multi-mission F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter is an upgrade of the combat-proven night strike F/A-18C/D. The Super Hornet will provide the battle group commander with a platform that has range, endurance, and ordnance carriage capabilities comparable to the A-6 which have been retired. The F/A-18E/F aircraft are 4.2 feet longer than earlier Hornets, have a 25% larger wing area, and carry 33% more internal fuel which will effectively increase mission range by 41% and endurance by 50%. The Super Hornet also incorporates two additional weapon stations. This allows for increased payload flexibility by mixing and matching air-to-air and/or air-to-ground ordnance. The aircraft can also carry the complete complement of “smart” weapons, including the newest joint weapons such as JDAM and JSOW. Work for the rudders will take place in California with an August 31, 2026 expected completion date.
Middle East & Africa
The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Kuwait for 19 M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lifting Extraction System (HERCULES) recovery vehicles and related equipment and support for an estimated cost of $281 million. The Hercules is a full tracked armored vehicle used to perform battlefield rescue and recovery missions. The M88A2 is essential to the long-term sustainability of Kuwait’s new M1A2 tank fleet for national Defense. Hercules was the primary 70-ton recovery system during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And, US troops found other capabilities when they used it to pull down the Saddam Hussein statue in Baghdad on April 9, 2003. Hercules utilizes a hull designed for the recovery mission and thoroughly proven by US Army testing.
Tunisia has been cleared by the US government to buy 12 T-6C trainers worth an estimated cost of $234 million. The Government of Tunisia has requested a possible sale of twelve T-6C Texan trainer aircraft, spare engines, cartridge actuated devices/propellant actuated devices operational flight trainer, spare parts, ground handling equipment, support equipment, software delivery and support, publications and technical documentation, clothing, textiles and individual equipment, aircraft ferry support, technical and logistical support services, site surveys, minor modifications/class IV support, personnel training and training equipment. The proposed sale will replace Tunisia’s aging trainer fleet and allow the country to continue training pilots to support Tunisia’s counter-terrorism and border security missions.
Royal Norwegian Air Force chief Brig. Gen. Tonje Skinnarland said in an exclusive interview with Defense News that his F-35 fleet has an issue with its unique drag chute. Peculiar to RNoAF F-35A, the drag chute is mounted on a pod on top of the aircraft to help slow down the jet on icy runways. It was supposed to fail one per 10,000 uses. Nevertheless, the service is encountering a lower figure for the failure rate. F-35 JPO and Lockheed Martin say the first compliant parachute will be delivered to Norway next year.
Rolls-Royce won a $9.1 million contract modification, which exercises an option to procure three spare AE1107C engines in support of the V-22 Osprey program for Japan. The AE 1107C is mission-ready with improved ‘hot and high’ performance for enhanced capability. The Osprey is a multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft. In 2012, former Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto ordered an investigation of the costs of V-22 operations. The V-22 exceeds current Japan Self-Defense Forces helicopters in terms of range, speed, and payload. The ministry anticipated deployments to the Nansei Islands and the Senkaku Islands, as well as in multinational cooperation with the US. The first V-22 for Japan was delivered in August 2017.
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