The US Air Force is procuring more updated Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) from Raytheon. The awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee option is valued at $62 million and provides for more missiles that integrate the Form, Fit, Function Refresh (F3R) of the AMRAAM guidance section. Friday’s contract involves foreign military sales to Norway, Turkey, Japan, Romania, and Australia. The Air Force’s AMRAAM F3R project is a comprehensive effort to mitigate the effects of parts obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources in the missile’s guidance section to extend the missile’s lifetime well into the 2020s. The F3R effort includes the substantial redesign of subsystems that include a new ASIC design, new hardware and a new signal processor. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s factory in Tucson, Arizona, and is expected to be completed by December 2020.
Honeywell International is being tapped to support the Air Force’s fleet of C-5M Super Galaxy transport aircraft. Under this $7.8 million firm-fixed-priced order the company will be responsible to upgrade 85 Versatile Integrated Avionics/Avionics Integrated Units (VIA/AIU) to the 905 configuration. The upgrades are part of the Galaxy’s Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) avionics program. The VIA software system has six primary “partitions” or applications that include flight management, com/nav/surveillance/identification (CNSI), communication management, display services and all-weather flight control. The C-5M VIA/AIU repair and upgrade effort is a key component to the overall Core Mission Computer/Weather Radar aircraft modification/installation kit that replaces the current mission computer, and replaces the weather radar with a commercial off-the-shelf color weather radar. Work will be perfumed at Honeywell’s location in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is expected to be completed by June 14, 2020.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp will support the Directed Energy Directorate with Solid State Laser Effects and Modeling efforts. The awarded cost-reimbursement type contract is priced at $36 million and allows the company to develop innovative diagnostic and test methods, increase the fidelity, realism and confidence of predictive models, measure and consolidate laser vulnerability data and support the general high energy laser system research environment. The Directorate focuses on four research areas: Laser Systems, High Power Electro magnetics, Weapons Modeling, Simulation and Analysis, and Directed Energy and Electro-Optics for Space Superiority. Among other things, the Directorate develops future offensive and defensive laser concepts, and models the synergy of directed energy and kinetic weapons at mission level. Work will be performed at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Work under this contract is expected to be completed by October 2022.
Canada’s Surface Combatants program is picking up pace as Lockheed emerges as the preferred bidder to design the next fleet of Royal Canadian Navy ships. This brings Lockheed one step closer to land the potential contract worth more than $45 billion. The company pitched BAE’s Type 26 design to the government of Canada and Irving Shipbuilders, a Canadian firm that would actually build the ships. BAE and Lockheed are now set to negotiate the specific terms of the deal, which would cover the construction of 15 frigates and associated equipment and services. What follows now is a due diligence process, which includes negotiations with Lockheed on intellectual property rights, an assessment of combat systems performance an assessment of the company’s financial capability to deliver the project and verification of various other administrative matters. If all goes well the Canadian government could award the contract in 2019 with construction expected to be begin by the early 2020s.
Middle East & Africa
South Africa’s Denel Vehicle Systems is adding a new version of the RG31 Mk5 to its portfolio. The baseline of the 4 by 4 MRAP is usually used as an armoured personnel carrier (APC), the new version however integrates the Tactical Remote Turret 30 (TRT-30). The remodelled vehicle’s TRT-30 armament suite consists of a Russian 30 mm 2A42 dual-feed cannon and a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun. The gunner can remotely control the weapons via a flat-screen man machine interface (MMI) and twin control handles. The TRT is also fitted with an automatic target tracker (ATT) that gives the gunner more accuracy while the vehicle os moving. Dubbed the Ibululu, the platform is equipped with a 205 kW Cummins engine that accelerates the 16 ton vehicle to speeds of up to 62 mph, and an Axle Tech 4000 (5G) suspension that allows for cross-country mobility.
Aero Vodochody is taking first orders for its new L-39NG jet trainers. Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar recently announced that the country will buy six L-39NGs to replace its outdated fleet of L-39 Albatros aircraft. “The Ministry of Defence and the military are interested in these aircraft, negotiations are, of course, already taking place and we will acquire these aircraft,” Metnar told Ceska Televize. The NG is the latest multi-role, advanced jet trainer aircraft designed by the company and is intended to provide enhanced military flight training capabilities required for fourth and fifth-generation fighters. The company hopes to export the new platform to various global customers and estimates that it could deliver more than 100 L-39NGs over the next decade.
The Indonesian government plans to renegotiate its partnership with South Korea in the K-FX development program. The agreement between the two countries was formalised in 2014, and outlined that Indonesia will contribute about $1.9 billion to the project which has an overall value of $7.9 billion. Indonesia’s coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs is seeking to negotiate a way for Indonesia to pay its contribution, of which about $200 million is unpaid. Reuters says that “Indonesia’s request on the financial terms of the deal comes as it is trying to support the rupiah, which is trading near a 20-year-low, and to reduce the use of foreign exchange reserves.” The KF-X program will likely be South Korea’s largest defense acquisition program, that sees for the delivery of 120 jets for its own air force, and 80 to Indonesia.
Watch: AUSA 2018 Association U.S. Army defense exhibition