Lockheed tapped for Hellfire II Procurement | Poland signs for AW101 Helicopters | IAF testfires Air-Launched BrahMos
Lockheed Martin won a $723.5 million contract modification to procure a variety of Hellfire II missiles for the US Army as well as three allies. The air-to-surface missiles will be produced for Lebanon, the Netherlands and France as part of Foreign Military Sales. All Hellfire II variants have been used successfully in Operation Iraqi Freedom, with more than 1,000 missiles fired to date. With more than 22,000 rounds delivered since production began in 1994, Hellfire II has been successfully integrated with a wide array of platforms, including the US Army’s Apache and Kiowa Warrior helicopters, the US Marine Corps’ Cobra, the US Navy’s Seahawk helicopter, the UK’s Apache attack helicopter, the Eurocopter Tiger and the US Air Force’s Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles. Lockheed Martin will perform work in Florida, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2022.
The US Navy awarded Boeing an $89 million contract to integrate various external stores and alternative mission equipment onto the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. The Super Hornet is a twin-engine, carrier-capable, multi-role fighter. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. Last month, Boeing won a $4 billion multi-year contract modification to build 78 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters. The Super Hornets would be the first new-build examples of the Block III variant of the F/A-18E/F. The Block III flies farther and carries more weapons than an older F/A-18E/F can and is stealthier than earlier Super Hornet models are. The Growler is a variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Work under the current contract will take place within the US and is expected to be complete in December 2022.
Middle East & Africa
The Israeli Air Force is authorized to issue a Letter of Request for two Boeing KC-46 refueling tankers, IsraelDefense reports. After a new government has been established and the next Minister of Defense has been appointed, the Israeli Air Force will likely face some changes. The most pressing decision to make is what heavy-lift helicopter will replace the CH-53 Yas’ur. In the matter of choosing a new refueling tanker, it is very likely that IAF will decide on the KC-46 as it already has reviewed the aircraft and flown in it. The KC-46 Pegasus was developed by Boeing from its 767 jet airliner.
Poland signed for AugustaWestland AW101 helicopters. The European country signed an agreement worth $428 million with Leonardo on Friday to to satisfy its anti-submarine warfare and combat search-and-rescue requirement. Part of the production will take place in Poland, which will help boost the country’s economy and technological sector. In Poland, work on the helicopters will be carried out at the Leonardo unit PZL-Swidnik. While the order announced is for four helicopters, there may be a follow-on order for a further four at a later date. As noted by Leonardo, the AW101 is well suited to the overwater ASW and CSAR roles in that it benefits from three-engine safety: a full ice protection system for flight in known icing conditions, long range and endurance, a range of 1,300 km, and a proven 30-minute ‘run dry’ gearbox as well as multiple redundancy features in the avionic and mission systems.
The Indian Air Force plans to testfire the air-launched version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from a Su-30MKI next week. BrahMos or PJ-10 is a short-range, ramjet powered, single warhead anti-ship land attack missile. It was jointly developed and manufactured by India and Russia. The missile has a reported supersonic speed of between Mach 2.0-2.8, depending on the cruising altitude used. The BrahMos has a range of between 300-500 km depending on which variant and launch platform is used. It was first flight tested in July 2018 from a Su-30MKI. Sources in the IAF said they are very keen for a fast track development of the air-launched missile, which can be used for Balakot-type air strikes where the planes won’t have to cross enemy borders for the hit.
The Royal Australian Air Force received the first of three Falcon 7X trijets. The RAAF will use the jets for government VIP service. According to Dassault Aviation, the Falcon 7X was destined to be a revolutionary aircraft, introducing business aviation to the industry’s first Digital Flight Control System. Today, over 270 Falcon 7X aircraft are in service in 41 countries. In all, more than 120 Falcon jets—of which more than 50 are 7Xs—are operated in Australia and other Asia-Pacific countries.
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