The US Department of Defense is ordering a new batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed Martin. The company is being awarded with a $23 billion contract modification that covers the procurement of 255 aircraft. About 106 planes will be delivered to US services, including 64 F-35As for the Air Force, 26 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps and 16 F-35Cs for the Navy. Another 89 JSFs will be delivered to non-DoD participants of which 71 are A variant and 18 are B variants. A number of Foreign Military Sales customers will receive the remaining 60 F-35s in their A version. This modification includes low rate initial production lot 12 for US services and LRIP 12, 13 and 14 for international partner countries and FMS customers. Lots 12 and 13 jets are set to be delivered in 2020 and 2021, respectively. The definitization of the final LRIP 14 contract is expected to take place in 2020, with deliveries expected for 2022. Work will be performed at multiple locations worldwide. They include, but are not limited to, Fort Worth, Texas; San Diego, California; Nagoya, Japan and Warton United Kingdom. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed in March 2023.
The US Navy is ordering more ‘workhorses’ for its troops from Lockheed Martin. The company is being tapped to provide the Navy with eight MH-60R rotorcraft at a cost of $382 million. The order also includes associated systems engineering and program management support. The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopter replaces SH-60B and SH-60F helicopters in the US Navy’s fleet and combines the capabilities of these aircraft. The helicopter can perform a multitude of mission ranging from anti-submarine warfare to naval gunfire support. Its two General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines give it a cruise speed of 168 km/h to a range of 834km. The Navy will eventually replace its entire fleet of SH-60B/F & HH-60H Seahawks, HH-1N Hueys, UH-3H Sea Kings, and CH-46D Sea Knight helicopters with the MH-60R. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s facilities in Owego, New York; Stratford, Connecticut and Troy, Alabama. The helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by September 2020.
L-3 Communications is being awarded with a multi-million support contract. Awarded by the US Air Force and priced at $35 million, the contract provides for logistic services in support of the service’s C-12 fleet. The C-12 Huron is a military version of an executive passenger and transport aircraft based on the Beech Model 200 Super King Air. Its primary functions include range clearance, embassy support, medical evacuation, VIP transport, passenger and light cargo transport. The support concept is based on total contractor support wherein a commercial contractor provides all FAA approved maintenance and material support. Services include engine repair/overhaul; propeller repair/overhaul; and airframe and avionics overhaul/repair. Work will be performed at global areas of operation including Madison, Mississippi; Buenos Ares, Argentina; Accra, Ghana and Gaborone, Botswana. The contract is set to run through December 31, 2018.
Middle East & Africa
The Royal Bahraini Air Force will receive several attack helicopters as part of a US Foreign Military Sale. The US Department of State approved the deal for 12 AH-1Z Vipers, worth an estimated $912 million, in April this year. Bahrain expects delivery of the helicopters from the second half of 2022 onwards. The Bell AH-1Z Viper is a modern version of the AH-1 Cobra, the first ever attack helicopter. It is one of the most powerful, capable and advanced helicopters, flying today. Bahrain’s fleet will be armed with 14 AGM-114 Hellfires, and 56 Advance Precision Kill Weapon System II. The Viper’s manufacturer Bell, alongside Textron and General Electric have been listed as principal contractors on the sale. Bell CEO Mitch Snyder said the “most advanced helicopter in production” would “help protect the country for decades to come”.
The British MoD doubles its fleet of F-35 JSFs with a new 17-jet order. The Royal Air Force currently has 16 F-35As stationed at its base in Marham and has an additional two aircraft on order. The new 17 aircraft will be B variants for the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth-class carriers. The planes are expected to be delivered between 2020 and 2022. Britain is the only Tier 1 partner outside the USA, and they have invested about $2 billion equivalent in the F-35’s development. They took delivery of their 1st IOT&E training and test aircraft in July 2012. “I am delighted to confirm that we are doubling the size of our F-35 force into a formidable fleet of 35 stealth fighters. This is another massive order in the biggest defence programme in history. Our military and industry are playing a leading role in the F-35 programme. We are now building this game-changing capability that will soon be ready for frontline action. This programme is set to bring an immense boost of £35 billion ($44 billion) into the British economy, and it will be welcome news to our firms that many more jets are now set for production,” British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a press statement.
The Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) is ordering two more FFX-II-class frigates from South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). DSME will construct two more Daegu-class guided-missile frigates at a cost of $558 million. The Daegu-class is a slightly larger than the FFX-I, or Incheon-class, but includes almost all of the same core systems. FFX-II vessels are powered by a single 36-40MW MT30 turbine, and propulsion is all-electric. Equipped with a 16-cell K-VLS Korean Vertical Launch System, the ships can employ a broad weapon array that gives the more flexibly and greater reach. The FFX-II class is armed with one 127 mm MK 45 MOD 4 naval gun and one Raytheon six-barrelled 20 mm Phalanx close-in weapon system mounted on the top of the aft superstructure. The RoKN expects to commission up to eight FFX-II vessels.
Australia’s new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) procured under its Sea 1180 program will be referred to as Arafura-class. The Arafura-class ships will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the thirteen Armidale Class Patrol Boats, by acquiring 12 new vessels. The primary role of the OPV will be to undertake constabulary missions and the OPV will be the primary Australian Defense Force asset for maritime patrol and response duties. The ships feature a common modular design. Modular mission payloads can be fitted into the vessel making it suitable to fulfil specific roles such as border patrol, mine warfare, and hydrographic survey. The 1,640 ton ships are powered by two 8,500 kW diesel engines giving them a maximum speed of 20kt. The OPVs are armed with a 40mm naval gun and two 12.7 mm MGs. In addition the ships have several systems installed which includes the Scanter 6002 air and surface surveillance radar system from Terma and the 9LV-based Situational Awareness System (SAS) from Saab Australia. The class’ first OPV is expected to be delivered by 2021.
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