Lockheed Martin tapped for MLRS Recapitalization | Russian MiG-31 shot down by Friendly Fire | Australian Tiger deployed to Malaysia
Vigor Marine won a $14.3 million contract in support of the USNS Wally Schirra or T-AKE 8. The Lewis and Clark Class cargo ship has a length of 689 feet and was launched on March 8, 2009. The mission of Lewis and Clark Class ships is to deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to carrier battle groups and other naval forces, serving as a shuttle ship or station ship. The deal provides for regular overhaul and dry docking. Work will take place in Portland, Oregon and the estimated completion date is August 25, 2019.
The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $117.1 million contract modification for air vehicle initial spares to include a deployment spares package, afloat spares package, and associated consumables to support air vehicle delivery schedules for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. This contract comes after it was reported that the estimated total price for research and procurement in the F-35 program has increased by $22 billion in current dollars adjusted for inflation. The increase reflects for the first time the current cost estimates for a major set of upgrades planned in coming “Block 4” modifications. Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord and Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan have been pushing the program office and Lockheed to reduce projected operations and support costs. Work for the initial spares contract will take place within the US, the UK and the Netherland and is expected to be finished in August 2023.
Lockheed Martin announced in a press release that it had won a $362 million contract to recapitalize 50 of the US Army’s Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers. The US Army’s MLRS recapitalization effort will eventually upgrade its existing fleet of 225 MLRS M270A1 launchers, and 160 decommissioned M270A0’s slated for de-militarization, to M270A2s. The M270 is a 227mm Multiple Launch Rocket System designed to be used against troops and light equipment, air defense systems and command centers. In 1983, the first MLRS units entered service with the US Army. The MLRS M270 self-propelled launcher vehicle is a stretched version of the American M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. The Launcher Loader Module, mounted on the rear of the vehicle hull consists of a base, turret and cage.
Middle East & Africa
Raytheon won a $399.4 million contract from the US Missile Defense Agency to provide long lead hardware procurement and manufacturing, systems engineering and program management, obsolescence and reliability updates, maintenance planning, facility design support, country support and common software development to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Foreign Military Sales funds in the full amount will be used to fund the effort. Work will take place in Woburn, Massachusetts.
According to a leaked Russian government document, a Russian MiG-31 supersonic interceptor aircraft was mistakenly shot down by “friendly fire” during a training flight near the Telemba proving ground in Siberia almost two years ago. The incident in question had happened on April 26, 2017. At the time, the Kremlin said that the plane had been on a training exercise, but offered no additional details about the mishap. Both of the Foxhound’s crew survived the incident. In the leaked report, investigators concluded that the crew in the plane that got shot down had improperly followed procedures, allowing them to stray into the potential line of fire during the live-fire exercise. It also faulted aviators flying the other Foxhound for turning on their Zaslon-AM’s fire control function at the wrong time, cueing an R-33 missile right at their wingman.
Rheinmetall’s Rapid Obscuring System (ROSY) will protect armored vehicles of the Portuguese and Belgian Armed Forces. Deliveries of 126 systems to Spanish defense contractor URO Vehículos Especiales (UROVESA) will start this month and will run through March 2020. Rheinmetall, acting as subcontractor for Jankel, will also begin pre-series delivery of the system for the Belgian Army’s Light Troop Transport Vehicle (LTTV). All 199 vehicles are being prepared for integration of the system, in addition to the supply of control units and launchers for 167 vehicles. According to Rheinmetall, ROSY offers light military and civilian vehicles protection from unexpected attacks, for example during patrols or when traveling in convoys. Unlike the conventional smoke protection systems in use, ROSY is able to generate dynamic smoke screens as well as spontaneous, large-area and multispectral interruption of the line of sight.
Australia deployed its Airbus Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, Jane’s reports. On April 21, four Australian Army Tiger helicopters were airlifted to the Royal Malaysian Air Force Air Base at Subang on a Royal Australian Air Force Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter for joint training exercises with Malaysia. The Tiger is designed to perform armed reconnaissance, air or ground escort, air-to-air combat, ground fire support, destruction and anti-tank warfare, day or night and in adverse conditions. The exercises mark a major milestone for the helicopter given that until very recently Australian auditors were recommending that it not be operated aboard ships due to performance limitations.
Watch: RAF F-35B Jets Flying into RAF Marham Airbase