Engineering work needed to keep the Gray Eagle ‘jamming’ | PAC-3 protects Mecca | US Navy buys more torpedoes
The US Navy needs more support services to keep the fleet’s single combat system running. Lockheed Martin will provide additional engineering and technical services for the Submarine Warfare Federated Tactical Systems (SWFTS) program. This cost-plus-incentive-fee modification has a value of $13.5 million. SWFTS is an engineering and management program that consists of all submarine combat system subsystems, consultation, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence to aid in integrating all systems into a single combat system for naval battle group interconnectivity. SWFTS essentially is a common architecture for the Navy’s five different classes of submarines, transforming the submarines from stand-alone vessels to nodes in combat networks. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facility in Manasses, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by December, 2018.
The US Army is contracting General Atomics for further engineering services in support of its Gray Eagle UAS. The modification to previously awarded contract has a value of $11 million. The MQ-1C Gray Eagle is based on the MQ-1 Predator, but it is bigger, can carry more payload and has an engine that runs on the same kind of fuel that is used to power US Army vehicles. Its expansive mission set includes, but is not limited, to wide-area Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), convoy protection, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection and defeat, close air support, communications relay, and weapons delivery missions. The Gray Eagle, equipped with signal jammers, will likely be one of the Army’s primary electronic warfare platform. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Poway, California and is scheduled for completion by end of September, 2019.
Progeny Systems is set to supply the Navy and a number of US foreign military sales customers with a number of Mk-54 Mod 1 lightweight torpedo kits. The contract has a value of $40.6 million, but includes options which, if exercised, would increase the total face value of the contract to $303.2 million. FMS customers include Canada, Australia, the UK and Taiwan. The Mod 1 kit is an upgrade that adds a new sonar array assembly, and improved processing capability. The torpedo has a price-tag of $1 million per piece and is designed to work in both deep water and near-shore or shallow environments. Work will bet performed at multiple locations, including Charleroi, Pennsylvania; Salt Lake City, Utah and Manassas, Virginia.
Middle East & Africa
Jane’s reports, that Saudi Arabia is deploying one of its Patriot batteries to protect pilgrims in Mecca. Satellite imagery collected by DigitalGlobe shows that the missile launchers were aimed towards the Yemeni border, some 354 miles away. Houthi rebels have regularly launched ballistic missiles towards the kingdom, and targeted Mecca directly on October 9th, 2016. PAC-3 is the current standard, its enhanced capabilities allow it to be used for point defense against ballistic missiles. Saudia Arabia is believed to have ordered a total of 802 PAC-3 missiles at a cost of $7.15 billion since 2014.
The government of Bulgaria is inviting Russian and Belorussian companies to submit offers for a multi-million deal. The country urgently needs to overhaul its fleet of Russian-made Su-25s, a process that already is 10-years overdue. The Su-25 is a single-seat, close-support aircraft, known by the Nato reporting name Frogfoot. The plane is equipped with a 30mm twin-barrel gun, its wings have ten pylons for carrying a range of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon systems selected for the mission. Bulgaria currently operates a total of 35 Su-25s, which entered service 1988. The planes were grounded in December 2017 because the Ministry of Defense did not have the resources to conduct necessary maintenance work. The modernization efforts will likely cost $24.2 million.
The Ukrainian military is currently testing a new domestically developed 80mm unguided missile. Tests are held at Chernihiv firing-range, to date a total of 300 RS-80 Oskol missiles were fired from a Mi-8 helicopter. The country is in the midst of a low-intensity conflict with pro-Russian separatists in its eastern Donbass region.
The Austrian Ministry of Defense plans to procure a number of new helicopters for the Air Force. The new aircraft are needed to replace Austria’s fleet of Alouette-IIIs, which are already over 50-years old. The Ministry is looking into a variety of platforms suitable to fill the role of the Alouette. Possible successors could be Leonardo’s AW-109, Bell’s 429 or Airbus’ H-145M. In addition, the Army plans to buy three overhauled Blackhawks. To guarantee the necessary funding, Austria’s quite limited military budget of $2,6 billion will be boosted with a $463 million special investment program.
The Russian military will soon receive an upgraded variant of of the Mi-28NE Night Hunter combat helicopter. The Mi-28NE is designed to carry out search and destroy operations against tanks, armored and un-armored vehicles, and enemy personnel in combat, as well as low-speed airborne targets. Upgrades include an new external radar and the capability to fire new anti-tank guided missiles. The new ATGM is the latest variant of the 9M123M Khrisantema-VM, known by Nato as AT-15 Springer.
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