Huntington Ingalls: $152M for Aircraft Carrier Enterprise | Saab’s $1.27B UAE Deal Sees Biz Jets Become GlobalEyes | Netherlands First F-35As Land to Fanfare
- USAF commitments to maintain 1,900 aircraft beyond 2021 may be in trouble according to the Pentagon’s annual aviation, inventory, and funding plan for fiscal years 2017 through 2046. Budget constraints across the armed forces are requiring the Air Force to retire more aircraft than it procures; with the report predicting the fleet to reach its lowest in point 2031. The report notes that the service plans to sunset John McCain’s beloved A-10 between FY18 and FY22, but hints that those plans “are subject to change,” while Congress’s desire to restart the F-22 Raptor production line looks increasingly like a non-runner.
- Huntington Ingalls has been awarded a $152 million US Navy contact for advance planning for the construction of the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN 80). The third aircraft carrier in the Gerald R. Ford class was named in honor of the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Work to be carried out includes engineering, design, planning, and procurement of long-lead-time material, and will be performed at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division through March 2018. Construction is to commence in 2018 and be delivered to the Navy in 2027.
- Weapons testers upgrading the Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawk have commenced laser-printing simulated ice for ice-shape testing on the UAV. Using a process known as “selective laser sintering,” it is possible to characterize ice buildup on the aircrafts wings and V-tail, a common problem found on most aircraft. The testing will now allow operators to know the airframe’s exact tolerance to buildup when carrying different fuel loads. In use since the late 1990s, the USAF is looking to extend the UAV’s lifetime through to 2034 instead of early retirement.
Middle East North Africa
- Saab has announced increased interest in its configuration of a Bombardier 6000 business jet with the company’s GlobalEye system for the UAE. The $1.27 billion deal will see the heavily adapted Global 6000 to be capable of conducting airborne early warning and control (AEW&C), maritime and land surveillance, and electronic intelligence duties. Included in the package is Saab’s improved Erieye ER active electronically scanned array radar, now capable of a 70% greater detection range than its previous sensor, and the ability to spot challenging targets, such as cruise missiles, small unmanned air vehicles and hovering helicopters. Combining its below-fuselage mounted maritime search radar and electro-optical/infrared sensor will enable operators to locate surface threats and submarine periscopes, while its primary sensor’s synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indication modes will be used to locate land targets.
- The first two Dutch F-35As have successfully landed in the Netherlands, marking the Joint Strike Fighter’s first eastbound transatlantic journey. Dubbed AN-01 and AN-02, the fighters were welcomed by a crowd of 2,000 including Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. The aircraft will now spend the next few weeks conducting noise and environmental tests over the country, designed to determine the levels of noise disturbance the residents experience. The jets will perform flights over the North Sea range and then appear and fly at the Netherlands’ Open Days in June.
- After showcasing its Parabot super robot at this year’s SOFEX in Jordan, South Africa’s Paramount Group is setting its sights on increasing their defense collaboration with US firms. With partnerships already existing with Boeing, Airbus, and firms in Kazakhstan and Jordan, Paramount’s founder, Ivor Ichikowitz, believes the company has much to offer the US defense industry, not just in supplying technology, but in philosophy, as the US attempts to rethink how it acquires defense capabilities. Having known nothing but government budget restrictions since its foundation in early post-Apartheid South Africa, Ichikowitz said, “We’ve always had to come up with technologies that give our customers the most capabilities for the least amount of money.”
- The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) successful test-firing of an indigenous Advanced Air Defense (AAD) missile interceptor on May 15 is being called into question following claims that the launch didn’t occur in the first place. Initially it was claimed that the missile successfully tracked, engaged and destroyed a naval version of the Prithvi missile, which was fired to simulate an enemy target. However “informed sources” talking to The Hindu newspaper claim that the test was a failure as the interceptor was never launched. Perhaps its back to the drawing board for the DRDO, again.
- Recording of the F-35A’s arrival in the Netherlands:
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