Lockheed continues Hypersonic Booster research | Australia adds Type 26 to its fleet | SDB II to be integrated onto F/A-18
- Huntington Ingalls is being tapped to further support the Navy’s shipbuilding efforts. The un-definitized fixed-price, incentive firm target modification is valued at $200 million and provides for the purchase of additional long lead time material in support of USS Enterprise (CVN 80). The USS Enterprise will be the third Gerald F. Ford class carrier and will replace the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). The air wing of this new carrier will be capable of supporting more than 75 aircraft of varied kinds, including fixed-wing and rotary-wing systems. Moreover, an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) will be incorporated in the ship to replace the steam catapults of the older versions. Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia, is expected to be completed by February 2027.
- Lockheed Martin Corp. will continue its research on hypersonic technology. The $11.8 million contract awarded by Strategic Systems Programs provides for Hypersonic Booster technology development seeking to demonstrate technologies related to intermediate range capability through booster design, fabrication and validation testing. Strategic Systems Programs is a mainstay in the Navy’s development and procurement of sea-based deterrent missile systems. Hypersonic missiles are defined as those traveling at speeds between Mach 5 and Mach 10. That is, between 3,106 and 15,534 miles per hour, or one to five miles per second. China, Russia and the United States are all currently investing heavily in hypersonic systems, while a few other countries are also exploring the technology to a much lesser degree. Work will be performed at various locations, including Sunnyvale, California; Magna, Utah and Elma, New York. It is scheduled for completion by June 2019.
- The Air Force is contracting Raytheon in support of weapons integration on its fleet of F/A-18E/F fighter aircraft. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract is valued at $93 million and provides for the integration of the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II) onto the fighter jet. Raytheon’s GBU-53/B SDB-II is 7? in diameter around the tri-mode (laser, IIR, radar) seeker, with a clamshell protective door that comes off when the bomb is dropped. Range is expected to be up to 40 nautical miles when launched at altitude, thanks to a high lift-to-drag ratio in the design. Since SDB-II is an unpowered glide bomb, its actual range will always depend on launching altitude and circumstances. This contract provides for the testing, analysis, support and sustainment of SDB II weapon onto the F/A-18E/F platform with developmental and operational testing. Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by July 1, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
- The government of Azerbaijan is adding a new stand-off-missile (SOM) to its inventory. The cruise missile is being manufactured by Turkish defense manufacturer Roketsan. The SOM is highly effective against moving land / surface targets, high-value stationary targets, strategic assets, shelters, exposed aircraft, aircraft hangars, and command and control centers, as well as sea surface threats. It has resistance against countermeasures as well as clutter effects. The missile is capable of performing in-flight re-targeting as well as in-flight mission selection among pre-planned missions. Its rear section is fitted with control fins for providing lifting and improved maneuverability. This is the first known export of the SOM, which has a range of more than 250 km with a high explosive/blast fragmentation warhead weighing approximately 226 kg. The most likely launch platforms for Azerbaijan’s SOMs are its MiG-29 multirole fighters, although the Su-24 strike aircraft may also be an option.
- Jane’s reports that a UK Royal Air Force C-130J was seriously damaged in a heavy landing during an apparent special forces mission. he previously undisclosed incident took place last August during the height of coalition operations against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in northern Syria around Raqqa. The UK ordered 15 C-130J-30s in 1994, with the first delivery in August 1998. The Hercules is the RAF’s primary tactical transport aircraft and in its current C.Mk 4 and C.Mk 5 versions of the C-130J-30 and C-130J, respectively, has been the backbone of UK operational tactical mobility tasks since it was brought into service. It is frequently employed to operate into countries or regions where there is a threat to aircraft; its performance, tactics and defensive systems make it the ideal platform for such tasks. This is the first UK air loss during Operation ‘Shader’, the codename for its participation in the war against the IS.
- The German defense manufacturer RAM-System is being tapped by the US Navy for work on its Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system. The firm-fixed-price un-definitized contract is valued at $68 million provides for work on the RAMs MK 49 Guided Missile Launching System as well as associated shipboard hardware and spares. The Rolling Airframe Missile Guided Missile Weapon System is co-developed and co-produced under an International Cooperative program between the US and Federal Republic of Germany’s governments. The RAM system is a supersonic, lightweight, quick-reaction, fire-and-forget weapon, designed to attack enemy helicopters, aircraft, and surface craft. It uses passive RF and infrared guidance for engaging several threats simultaneously. The MK 44 guided missile round pack and the MK 49 guided missile launching system together hold 21 missiles. Existing shipboard sensors can provide the system with target and pointing information. Work will be performed at various locations in Germany and the US, including Louisville, Kentucky; Ulm, Germany and Schrobenhausen, Germany. Work is scheduled for completion by September 2022.
- Hungary is the second confirmed customer for the Airbus Helicopters’ HForce common weapons platform, with an order for 20 H-145M helicopters. The helicopter acquisition is part of Budapest’s military modernization program Zrinyi 2026. Together with the helicopters, Airbus will provide an extensive training and support package. With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tons, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation. The Hungarian fleet will be equipped with a fast roping system, high-performance camera, fire support equipment, ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support the most demanding operational requirements. The HForce system, developed by Airbus Helicopters, will allow Hungary to equip and operate their aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons. No details on the contract value or delivery timelines have been disclosed. The Hungarian armed forces currently operate a fleet of ageing Russian-built Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters.
- The Australian government is contracting BAE Systems for the production of the country’s next-generation, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) frigates. The $25.9 billion contract is Australia’s largest peace-time warship building program. The British designed Type 26 Global Combat Ship was selected in a lengthy comparative evaluation process over the ASW variant of the FREMM multi-mission frigate offered by Italy’s Fincantieri, and an ASW evolution of the F-100 Alvaro de Bazan-class design. Key Type 26 design criteria include multi-role versatility, flexibility in adapting to future needs, affordability in both construction and through-life support costs, and exportability. Intended to begin replacing the eight workhorse Anzac-class frigates of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 2027–28, the new Hunter class will be constructed by ASC Shipbuilding at Osborne on the outskirts of Adelaide.
- Russia’s SLBM enters operational service
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