Even Zeus needs a software update | Will India build more Su-30s? | DTRA contract boosts Biological Engagement Program
- Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is being tapped for maintenance work on the C-5M Galaxy system. The awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract valued at $31.3 million provides for software maintenance and updates, as well as Systems Integration Laboratory maintenance and engineering support on the aircraft. When it was introduced, back in 1970, the C-5 Galaxy was the largest plane in the world. It also has the highest operating cost of any US Air Force weapon system. Due to its high cost and reliability problems the US Air Force introduced the Avionic Modernization Program (AMP) as well as the Reliability Enhancement & Re-Engining Program (RERP) which both aim to make the transporter fit for future missions. AMP puts a digital backbone into the aircraft. It replaces a lot of legacy analog dial systems that are no longer supportable and are getting unreliable and puts them into a digital format. AMP also allows the aircraft to interface with the digital controls on the new engines that come in the RERP phase. Work will be performed in Marietta, Georgia, and is expected to be complete by May 13, 2024.
- The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is contracting Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems Division in support of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. The awarded modification of $12.8 million allows for the procurement of material necessary to support the Aegis 6.0 modelling and simulation. Aegis, named after the legendary protective shield of Zeus, Aegis has become a widely-deployed top-tier air defense system. It is deployed on over 80 serving naval ships around the globe, with many more Aegis-equipped ships planned or under contract. The Aegis combat system software takes input from a number of systems in order to create a unified picture of the threat environment. Aegis equipped ships are key elements in modern carrier and battleship battle groups, providing fleet area defense and communicating an integrated air picture for more effective deployment of naval aircraft. Modeling and simulations are computer representations that simulate the system’s performance to assess the capabilities and limitations of how elements or the BMDS perform under a wider variety of conditions than can be accomplished through the limited number of flight tests conducted. Ground tests enable MDA to repeatedly conduct scenarios that may be too costly or subject to constraints as a flight test. The modification increases the total cumulative contract value to $2.8 billion. Work will be performed in Moorestown, New Jersey and is scheduled for completion by September 2018.
- The Naval Air Systems Command is awarding a contract modification to Lockheed Martin. The modification provides for the delivery of the F-35 In-A-Box (FIAB) software model, software license fees, and continued FIAB software model development, integration, and support. It is valued at $24,1 million. The F-35’s core software is written in C++ and runs on commercial off-the-shelf PowerPC architecture processors. The operating system is Green Hill Software’s Integrity DO-178B real-time OS, as used in a number of (mostly American) aircraft, both civil and military. The F-35’s processors are bundled into an “electronic brain” called the Integrated Core Processor (ICP). So far, the F-35 program has been plagued by various software problems seriously delaying the aircrafts declaration of Initial Operating Capability. Work will be performed partially in Fort Worth, Texas and in Marietta, Georgia, it is scheduled for completion by September 2018.
- Leidos Inc. is being selected by Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to exercise Option Period 1 for a time-and-materials contract with a ceiling value of $33.6 million. The modification provides for scientific and technical services in support of various projects under the Cooperative Biological Engagement program (CBEP). The program started during the Cold War when the Soviet Union was on the verge of becoming a biological superpower by weaponizing viruses and bacteria. CBEP involves several US agencies and aims to prevent the proliferation of expertise, materials, equipment and technologies that could contribute to the development of biological weapons. Weaponized biological and chemical weapons have gained international prominence recently, due to images emerging out of the Syrian war showing civilians being exposed to a chemical attack, and the public assassination of a former Russian spy with a nerve agent. Work will be performed at various locations throughout the world. The anticipated completion date is May 2019.
Middle East & Africa
- Israel has for the first time participated in RED FLAG-Alaska exercise, which aims to increase interoperability between the US and partner nations. More than 5.000 miles away from home the crew of an Israeli Air Force B-707 managed for the first time to be certified to fuel US Air Force F-15s and F-16s. The Israeli participation in RF-A allowed pilots to train in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which is more than seven times the size of Israel. The KC-135 Stratotanker has been in service with Israel’s Air Force for 60 years. The platform provides the core-aerial refueling capability for various nations around the world. Considering the recent geo-political tensions in the Middle-East means that, having qualified aircrews that are able to work together during combat missions becomes of ever increasing importance to the US and Israeli governments.
- The Royal Air Force will receive the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters within the next month. The warplanes will touch base at RAF Marham. The base has recently been reconstructed to accommodate the multimillion-dollar aircraft. The $336 million investment provided for the construction of new runways, hangars and a command center. Britain is the only Tier 1 partner outside the USA, and they have invested about $2 billion equivalent in the F-35’s development. Britain’s original plan involved buying 138 F-35B STOVL planes for deployment on land and on their new aircraft carriers, but that will now shrink to an undetermined number. The UK MoD has also switched back and forth between the F-35B and the catapult-launched F-35C. The F-35C’s range and weapon capacity give it significant time-over-target advantages in a Falkland Islands kind of scenario. Versions of the jets will eventually fly from the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers. They are due to fly across the Atlantic from the US, supported by several refueling top-ups
- The Indian defense contractor Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has voiced its interest to produce more Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets. The HAL manufactured Sukhoi makes up the backbone of India’s Air Force. Its fleet would grow to 312, if the company’s proposal to produce 40 more planes is accepted by the Ministry of Defense. India originally received standard Su-30MKs, while its government and industry worked with the Russians to develop the more advanced Su-30MKI, complete with innovations like thrust-vectoring engines and canard fore planes. The Su-30MKI ended up using electronic systems from a variety of countries: a Russian NIIP N-011 radar and long-range IRST sensor, French navigation and heads-up display systems from Thales, Israeli electronic warfare systems and LITENING advanced targeting pods, and Indian computers and ancillary avionics systems. HAL is currently producing the Su-30 at a cost of $62.6 million per unit, making it significantly cheaper than the competing Rafale that costs close to $165 million.
- Pair of Navy Growlers make an unscheduled landing on their way to Misawa.
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