Lockheed, Rockwell, tapped for ALCS replacement | Kongsberg schedule final JSM test for spring 2018 | DSCA clears AIM-120 sale to Japan
- Pratt & Whitney has landed a $2.7 billion US Air Force contract for F117 engine sustainment support. Awarded Wednesday, work will take place at United Airlines, San Francisco, California; Columbus Engine Center, Columbus, Georgia; and Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, with a scheduled completion date of Sept. 30, 2022. Foreign military sales are also covered in the deal, with the UK, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, India, Australia and Strategic Airlift Capability all listed as recipients for services.
- A team from the US Marine Corps have tested small 3D-printed drones in order to demonstrate their flexibility and usefulness to troops in the field. Supplied by the US Army Research Laboratory, the additive-manufactured vehicles can be produced quickly and en route to combat situations. Troops will be able to select an SUAS from catalogue of drones provided by researchers that is tailored to fit the needs of their mission, download information on the aircraft, and then 3D-print its parts before constructing a bespoke drone, all within 24 hours. The testing took place in late September at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
- Lockheed Martin and Rockwell Collins have both received USAF contracts ($81 and $76 million respectively) for the technology maturation and risk reduction phase of the Airborne Launch Control System Replacement (ALCS-R) program—the development of an airborne command-and-control system that makes it possible for the USAF to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile even if launch control centers on the ground are destroyed. The program will support intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) operations until 2075, meaning it will work with both the current Minuteman III system and its eventual replacement, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which will come online in the late 2020s. During ALCS-R, the service intends to replace all of the airborne mission equipment onboard the 16 E-6B Mercury aircraft equipped with the current ALCS system, as well as ground-based radios in 450 launch-control centers, which haven’t been updated since the 1960s.
Middle East & Africa
- The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is procuring one additional Gulfstream G550 business jet for special missions, according to a senior service official. The service currently uses two variants of the G550—the Eitam and Shavit— which are tasked as an airborne early warning and control system, and communications/electronic intelligence-gather respectively. With the current assets aged between 10 and 12 years, the new aircraft will be equipped with upgraded systems offering enhanced performance, however, its exact mission set was not confirmed.
- Norwegian defense firm Kongsberg expects to conduct the final flight test (FTM-5) of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) in the spring. The Norwegian Defense Ministry said the test, the program’s sixth, will take place in March 2018, bringing to an end a two-year flight-test campaign to qualify the missile for integration on Norway’s planned fleet of F-35A Joint Strike Fighters. The final flight test will be the first end-to-end test for the missile, and will see a JSM equipped with a live warhead and launched from a legacy F-16C/D Fighting Falcon from the US Air Force’s 445th Flight Test Group against a ‘realistic’ land target at the Utah Test and Training Range in the United States.
- Four nations have entered bids to supply Croatia with 18 aircraft for its MiG-21 fighter replacement program. Now, Zagreb will decide on whether to purchase new or secondhand Lockheed Martin F-16s, offered by the US, Israel and Greece, or buy Saab JAS-39 Gripens from Sweden. Commenting on the received bids, the defense ministry said it will conduct a detailed evaluation and validation process, expected to be wrapped up in two months, and key parameters for selection aside from the characteristics and capabilities of the aircraft, will include: intergovernmental contract, price, and the business-economic cooperation package. Croatia is once of several governments in the region at various stages of pursuing new fighter aircraft with Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria all being wooed by defense firms.
- The sale of 56 AIM-120C-7 air-to-air missiles to Japan has been cleared by the US State Department. Valued at an estimated $113 million, the sale also includes containers, weapon support and support equipment, spare and repair parts, US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. Raytheon will deliver the munitions to Tokyo after production at its plant in Tucson, Arizona.
- The Australian prime minister has announced the selection of Saab’s 9LV Combat Management System for integration on the future frigates, upgraded Air Warfare Destroyers, and selected offshore patrol vessels of the Royal Australian Navy. While no official order has been placed for the systems, Saab welcomed the decision, calling it an “endorsement of the advanced combat system capabilities we have developed for the RAN,” adding that they “look forward to working closely with the Australian Defense Force to deliver highly capable systems for the Future Frigates and other platforms.” Saab’s 9LV naval combat system provides C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) for every type of naval platform, ranging from combat boats and patrol boats, to frigates and aircraft carriers, and other vessels.
- Bell V-280 Valor turn its rotors for the first time:
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