Northrop Grumman won a $66.3 million modification in support of the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance – Demonstrator (BAMS-D) Program. The deal provides for operation and maintenance services and includes logistics and sustaining engineering support. The Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV was intended to provide persistent, maritime surveillance and reconnaissance capability. The demonstrator program supported real-world operations under US Northern Command (NORTHCOM). By June 2012, the BAMS-D aircraft continued to support more than 50 percent of maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in theater and had flown more than 5,500 combat hours in support of combat operations since 2008. Raytheon will perform work under the current modification in Patuxent River, Maryland as well as Rancho Bernardo, California and other locations and is expected to complete its work in June 2020.
The Navy tapped Colonna’s Shipyard with $9.3 million in support of the USS San Francisco or SSN-711. The contract is for
demilitarization of the exterior hull, internal equipment, bulkheads, decking, piping, and other fixtures. Work will take place in Portsmouth, Virginia and is scheduled to be finished by September this year. The San Francisco is a Los Angeles Class nuclear submarine. On January 8, 2005, the submarine collided with an undersea mountain southeast of Guam. The ship’s forward ballast tanks and her sonar dome were severely damaged, but her inner hull was not breached and there was no damage to the nuclear reactor. Repairs were made. San Francisco returned to Point Loma from her sixth deployment in October 2016.
Embraer is close to the end of its KC-390 military certification tests, Jane’s reports. The company’s goal is for the aircraft to enter service with the Brazilian Air Force at the end of the year. The KC-390 is medium-size, twin-engine jet-powered military transport aircraft. Embraer received a $1.3 billion development order from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) for its KC-390 medium-weight military transport jet in April 2009. The aircraft made its first flight in February 2015. KC-390 utilizes computed air release point technology integrated with fly-by-wire system to provide greater accuracy during air dropping, thereby reducing crew workload. The next step for the aircraft will be to complete continuous computed drop point (CCDP) certification, combat offload, and aerial refueling. Other tests will be for the KC-390’s self-protection system, both the chaff and flare and the direct infrared countermeasure (DIRCM) capability. However, it is possible that some tests may be pushed to 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The Belorussian 558 ARP company completed the deliveries of all 12 refurbished and upgraded Sukhoi Su-30K heavyweight multirole fighters ordered by Angola. Angola’s fighters had been upgraded to Su-30SM standard, giving them the ability to fire anti-ship and air-to-air missiles. They are also fitted with jammers. The SU-30 is a twin-engine, two-seat super maneuverable fighter aircraft. The Su-20SM has improved avionics including glass cockpit and Bars-R radar, amongst others. It has canards and AL-31FP engines with thrust vector control for improved maneuvrability.
Sikorsky responded to the German „Schwerer Transporthubschrauber“ STH Program’s call for competition. It is offering the CH-53K King Stallion. A formal request for proposals for the “Schwerer Transporthubschrauber” (STH) program is expected this summer to replace the older CH-53 the German Air Force currently flies. The CH-53K has flown more than 1,400 test hours and has met all the outer reaches of the test envelope, according to Sikorsky. The King Stallion’s test program so far has included high altitude, hot temperature, and degraded visual environment flights, maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms), forward flight speed of over 200 knots, 60 degrees angle of bank turns, altitude of 18,500 feet mean sea level (MSL), 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; and gunfire testing. Boeing’s CH-47F is another expected competitor for the program.
India’s investigation into the fatal crash of a Mirage 2000 fighter in February found that the incident was probably caused by an issue with the jet’s fly-by-wire flight control system. Reportedly, a glitch in the Mirage 2000’s flight computer that kicks in without warning, causes the aircraft to behave unpredictably. Apparently, Indian Air Force flight records examined by the Court of Inquiry show at least four such incidents in the past. In each incident the aircraft suddenly and without command from the pilot, jerked its nose towards the ground. Then, the nose would jerk upwards. Each time, the aircraft has continued these so called “pitch oscillations” for several seconds before resuming normal flight. Dassault supplies the flight computer. The company initially offered the explanation that the “pitch rate gyrometers”, which are sensors that tell the flight computer the aircraft’s attitude, were not securely fitted. However, the Mirage 2000s behaved perfectly for the rest of the flight when the incidents occurred. Dassault has yet to comment on the assumptions of a faulty flight computer.
The Australian Navy was tailed by the Chinese Military as it travelled towards Vietnam on the South Chinese Sea. The HMAS Canberra was ending a three-month-long tour of seven Asian nations involving three other Australian warships, aircraft and more than 1,200 defense personnel. The ships journeyed near islands controversially claimed by Beijing. Defense officials confirmed, that the ships had a “professional” and “friendly” interaction with the People’s Liberation Army during Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019, an Australian Defense Forces regional engagement mission.
Watch: IMDEX Asia 2019 – Iver Huitfeldt-class MRCV, VARD new LST & PMLV, Rafael C-Dome and Sea-Spotter