HII on the way to redefine naval engineering | IAI plans to expand its business in North America | Will Taiwan opt for the Fire Scout ?
Rolls Royce is being contracted to support the US Air Force’s Advanced Turbine Technologies for Affordable Mission-Capability (ATTAM). The awarded IDIQ contract is valued at $100 million and enables the company to develop, demonstrate and transition advanced propulsion technologies as part of phase one of the ATTAM program. North American Technologies-LibertyWorks, a subsidiary of Rolls Royce, will provide the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with work on power and thermal technologies that “provide improvement in the service’s affordable mission capability.” Work will be performed the company’s facility in Indianapolis and is expected to be completed by October 2026.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is currently in the process of piloting new technologies that may redefine the future of naval engineering. The company plans to install the first certified 3D-printed metal part on an aircraft carrier. The Nimitz-class carrier USS Harry S. Truman will be fitted with a prototype piping assembly sometime next year. HII recently announced that its Newport News Shipbuilding division is working with the US Navy to develop methods of additive manufacturing of metal parts for its nuclear-powered warships. Additive manufacturing is a digitized process that layers metal powder to create three-dimensional parts, and was recently approved by Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). HII plans to use the process to potentially replace castings and fabricated parts such as valves, housings and brackets. Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design said “this is a watershed moment in our digital transformation, as well as a significant step forward in naval and marine engineering.”
Middle East & Africa
Turkish Aerospace is being tapped to provide the Turkish military with more MALE UAVs. The 22-unit order includes the delivery of 16 Anka-S drones and six Anka-Bs. The Anka-S made its maiden flight in September 2016 and entered serial production in 2017. The platform can carry a 200kg payload, making it suitable to perform a variety of missions, such as real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), communication relay, target acquisition and tracking. The S variant can also be fitted with Smart Micro Munition (MAM-L), developed by Roketsan. The drone’s fuselage is made out of composite materials, while some fittings and frames are built using high-strength material to withstand concentrated loads. Both variant will be equipped with Aselsan’s CATS HD electro-optical/infrared sensor. Turkey’s military currently flies eight Anka-S UAVs and will start receiving the additional drones in 2019.
Israel Aerospace Industries plans to expand its business in North America. IAI currently has two subsidiaries in the US, Stark Aerospace in Mississippi and Elta North America in Maryland. Israel’s Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile canisters for example are tagged with “Made in Mississippi”. As Defense New notes, Stark’s production of the canister is part of the indigenous production of IAI parts and programs that the company expects to expand. They are key to the Arrow-3 program that received $310 million in funding from the US in FY18 and FY19. The US currently accounts for about 75% of the market for IAI. The company now plans to build the necessary legal constructs, that would make it an American entity in the US. This would allow IAI to bring its intellectual property to the US, and pitch products at a level that would increase its market share.
Jane’s reports that Leonardo is making its first sales of the Osprey-50 radar. Leonardo’s Osprey is an operating in X-Band radar based on a flat-panel antenna design. It has no moving parts and up to four AESA antennas positioned around the platform aircraft, each providing 120 degrees of coverage. The system is can be fitted with a range of antenna sizes, depending on the azimuth coverage requirement. Osprey’s flat panel design opens up the potential for installation on a long list of aircraft previously deemed unable to carry such a class of radar, including UAVs. The company did not identify the radar’s customers, but confirmed that it received an initial two orders for the Osprey’s larger aperture variant.
Taiwan’s department of defense and the navy are currently evaluating the MQ-8B Fire Scout. Taiwan’s acquisition of the Fire Scout is part of a larger agreement with the US that includes more than ten individual military procurement projects. They include the acquisition of M777 155mm precision guided munitions, P-3C ASW aircraft and improved C-130s. Taiwan’s navy will soon need to retire its ageing fleet of MD500 anti-submarine helicopters that have been in service for over 40 years, the Fire Scout together with some MH-60Rs could be chosen as a replacement. The country’s navy needs a UAS that can operate at sea and start from a narrow ship deck. The MQ-8B could be used as a multi-functional weapon system that undertakes maritime patrol reconnaissance missions, and acts as an anti-ship and anti-mine warfare platform. If Taiwan will opt for the Fire Scout is still unclear because some essential steps in the formal procurement process have not been made. Taiwan plans to spend $646 million on its navy in the coming years.
China Daily reports that AVIC is ready to start batch production of its Z-19E export variant. This decisions follows a series of performance tests and verifications, demonstrating the model is capable of entering the production phase. The Z-19 is a light attack and reconnaissance helicopter developed and manufactured by Harbin Aircraft Industry Group, it is based on a license-built variant of the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin multi-purpose helicopter, and is able to conduct attack, armed reconnaissance and scout missions. While the Z-19 is operated by the Chinese army, it is not clear if AVIC has secured a customer for the Z-19E. Though not confirmed talks are said to be on with several countries in Africa, Middle East and parts of Asia to sell its military helicopters.
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