General Atomics is being awarded with a modification to a previously awarded contract. The modification is priced at $192.6 million and provides for continued performance-based logistics services through April 23, 2019. The MQ-1C Gray Eagle is quite similar to the Predator, but it’s a little bit bigger, can carry more weapons, and has an engine that can run on the same “heavy fuel” that fills up the Army’s land vehicles. The drone can fulfil both surveillance and attack roles. The UAVs are now operated by the US Army and by SOCOM’s “Night Stalkers” regiment. Work will be performed at GA’s factory in Poway, California.
General Dynamics is being contracted to continue US, UK submarine fire control systems work. The cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract is valued at $18.5 million and covers research and development, and sustainment efforts for the US, UK SSBN Fire Control Sub-system (FCS) and the US SSGN Attack Weapon Control System (AWCS). The new SSBNs will start to replace the current Ohio-class by 2027. The FCS is part of the vessel’s strategic weapons system (SWS) that further includes the Trident II D5 Life Extension missile, launcher, navigation systems, and associated support systems. The SSGN AWCS consists of an integrated Launch Control System interfaced with the Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System and the Captain’s Information and Control Station, having the capability to launch up to 154 missiles from a maximum of 22 missile tubes. Work will be performed at multiple locations, including Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Kings Bay, Georgia and Dahlgren, Virginia.
Embraer’s KC-390 is now officially certified by the Brazilian aviation authority, Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil. This marks a major milestone in the program. Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, president and chief executive of Embraer notes “the certification of KC-390, the largest and most complex aircraft developed throughout Embraer’s history, expresses the high technological level achieved by the company”, and added “I would like to congratulate the teams that participated in the development of this program in partnership with the Brazilian Air Force.” The Brazilian Air Force currently has 28 multi-role tankers on order, with the first expected to be delivered in the first half of 2019. Embraer hopes that its new aircraft will rival Lockheed Martin’s C-130. There are currently 38 letters of intent from international customers, including six LOIs from Argentina, six from Chile, 12 from Colombia, two from Czech Republic, and six from Portugal.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is being contracted to supply India’s navy with additional air and missile defense systems. The deal is worth $777 million and covers the delivery of several Barak-8 systems for seven Indian warships. The navalised Barak-8 project aims to give India’s naval defenses a much longer reach, with the intention of eventually making it India’s primary naval SAM. The missile can fly to ranges of up to 42 miles, provides 360° coverage and can engage multiple targets simultaneously. State-owned IAI, Israel’s largest defense firm, said worldwide sales of the Barak-8 system now totalled more than $6 billion. India, which has longstanding territorial disputes with neighbors China and Pakistan, has signed several big-ticket defense deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
Saab is being awarded with its first contract for the T-X development phase. The $117 million contract covers Saab’s engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the US Air Force’s future trainer platform. The contract runs parallel to Boeing’s efforts in the program and will cover activities running through 2022. The contract is part of an initial $813 million deal for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) portion, which provides for five aircraft and seven simulators. The T-X is designed to bring pilot training into the 21st century, providing an aircraft to train pilots in the pipeline to fly the F-35 Lightning II. The complete program is valued at an estimated $9.2 billion for 351 aircraft.
Saab is introducing a new hypersonic mode to its Sea Giraffe naval radar. The new Hypersonic Detection Mode enables the radar to detect and track targets travelling at hypersonic speeds, a threat that is persistently increasing. As the company notes in its press release, the HDM capability builds on Saab’s next generation track while scan technology, which enables track start within a fraction of a second for any number of targets, including stealthy ones, in all conditions. “The hypersonic threat is credible and increasing. Navies around the world are asking for a capability to retain their dominant battlespace awareness and to give them crucial time to act. We are able to meet these requirements by using our existing technology, adapting it for the hypersonic challenge”, says Anders Carp, head of Saab’s business area Surveillance.
MBDA will soon launch a naval version of its proven MMP 5th generation missile system. MBDA’s Missile Moyenne Portee has been designed to be France’s next portable anti-armor missile for troops and vehicles. Its attack modes include fire and forget, man in the loop mode, re-assignment in flight, and even seeker lock-on after launch. As a medium missile, it needs to kill targets up to an including main battle tanks. The unveiling of the missile at Euronaval follows an operational evaluation campaign carried out at the end of the summer by the French armed forces in Djibouti to confirm the reliability and operational performance of the MMP system in a hot environment, both from the ground and also from a rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) moving at high speed. The new missile variant can be used on fast attack craft or semi-rigid boats for missions against hostile ships, coastal defenses or armored vehicles, especially in support of a landing of small units or Special Forces.
Jane’s reports that the Royal Australian Navy is one step closer towards fully qualifying the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) on board its Canberra-class amphibious assault ships. The service recently held a number of maintenance and flight trials on board HMAS Canberra, testing the helicopter as an embarked platform. Australia’s Tiger version is a modified Tiger in its French HAP variant, equipped with a Nexter 30mm cannon, and a laser designator incorporated in the roof-mounted Sagem Strix sight. The helicopter can fire Hellfire II, Stingers and 70 mm rockets. The Tigers will provide the amphibious assault ship with forward scouting, strike capabilities.
Watch: M1128 Mobile Gun & 30mm Stryker Dragoon (ICVD) In Action