The US Air Force is stocking up its missile inventory. The service is ordering 50 long range anti-ship missiles (LRASMs) from Lockheed Martin. The Lot 2 production effort is priced at $172 million. The LRSAM program started in 2009 with to goal to develop a new generation of anti-ship weapons, offering longer ranges and better odds against improving air defense systems. The Navy needs the advanced anti-ship missile as an urgent capability stop-gap solution to address range and survivability problems with the Harpoon and to prioritize defeating enemy warships. The LRASM is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships using its sensors, encrypted communications and a digital anti-jamming GPS. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s factory in Orlando, Florida and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2021.
Raytheon is being tapped to provide the Navy with an integral component of the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) system. The company will produce and deliver several Common Array Block antennas at a cost of $34 million. CEC essentially brings together multiple sensors to provide high quality situational awareness and integrated fire control capability, improved battle force effectiveness and enables longer range, cooperative, multiple, or layered engagement strategies. The Common Array Block is a next generation Gallium Nitride (GaN)-based CEC antenna. This high-power Common Array Block antenna increases the system’s reliability and efficiency while also reducing its size, weight and cost. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s locations in Largo, Florida and Andover, Massachusetts. Performance is scheduled to run through October 2020.
Rolls Royce is being contracted to support the US Navy’s Ship-to-Shore Connector program. The company is being awarded with a firm-fixed-price modification worth $41 million. The contract provides for the procurement of 20 MT7 marine turbine engines used to power Landing Craft, Air Cushion (LCAC) 100-class craft 109 through 113. The program seeks to replace existing Navy landing hovercraft with the LCAC 100 due to current craft nearing the end of their service life. Each LCAC 100 craft mounts four MT7 engines. The MT7 combines modern turbine materials and technology to provide a state-of-the-art power system suited to a range of naval applications such as main propulsion and power generation. Work to be performed includes production of the MT7 engines and delivery to Textron Marine Systems for the assembly of the LCAC 100 class craft. Work will be performed in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expected to be completed by January, 2020.
Middle East & Africa
Turkish defense contractor Roketsan is reportedly working on a new short-range anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). According to Jane’s the company is currently accelerating development of the 125 mm manportable missile. Dubbed Karaok, the weapon is being designed for airborne infantry, amphibious assault units and special operation forces. It is a single-use, shoulder-launched weapon system that has an effective range of over 1100 yards. The 43 inch long weapon weighs close to 55 lbs and features an aligned, cruciform fold-out wing and aft fin assembly. The Karaok features a tandem warhead and a hybrid dual-stage rocket motor. This allows the weapon to be fired from an enclosed space. The guidance section consists of an integrated inertial measurement unit and an imaging infrared seeker. An official told Jane’s that the Karaok concept “provides for a new lightweight ATGM solution to meet the requirements of dismounted rapid response units, primarily special forces”.
French defense manufacturer MBDA successfully completes another milestone in its anti-ship missile development program. The company is currently developing a new version of its proven Marte platform. The Marte ER (extended range) is the third generation of the missile system that arms NFH90 and AW101 helicopters flown by the Italian Army. During a recently held test at an Italian test range the missile flew for about 62 miles on a pre-planned trajectory that included the passing of several waypoints and a sea-skimming flight. This new missile version meets the operational requirements of engaging targets well beyond the radar horizon. The Marte ER missile uses many of the technologies and has a great commonality with the standard Marte MK2 missile with the main difference lying in the turbo-engine propulsion system that provides a much greater effective range. Pasquale Di Bartolomeo, managing director of MBDA Italia said, “This test is a further confirmation of the robustness of the ER version of the Marte family of multi-platform anti-ship missiles that can be launched by ships, helicopters, coastal batteries and fast jets.
Australia is opting for General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper to fulfil its AIR 7003 requirement. Project AIR 7003 will see the delivery of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial system (UAS). Australian ministers for Defense, Christopher Pyne, and Defense Industry, Steven Ciobo, jointly announced the selection of the Reaper over IAI’s Heron TP on November 16. GA says that its MQ-9 is a system fully-interoperable with Australia’s allies, including the US, the UK and France. “These new aircraft will provide enhanced firepower and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support to a range of missions,” said Cristopher Pyne, adding, “The aircraft will be operated under the same laws of armed conflict, international human rights law, and rules of engagement as manned aircraft.” The Team Reaper Australia includes nine other companies: Cobham Australia, CAE Australia, Raytheon Australia, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Rockwell Collins, Ultra Electronics Australia, Airspeed, and Quickstep Holdings Ltd.
South Korea’s next-generation attack submarines will be fitted with newly developed lithium-ion batteries. The new batteries will almost double the operational hours of the vessel compared to submarines powered by lead-acid batteries. Announced by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, or DAPA, the batteries will be installed onto the KSS-III Batch II diesel-electric submarines which will be launched in the mid-2020s. Following 30 months of development, the batteries passed a technology readiness assessment, a step toward integration on a weapons platform, the agency said in a news release. Developed by Samsung, the lithium-ion batteries are a somewhat novelty in the naval sector. Once considered to be expensive and too unstable for submarines, Korean developers are taking the risk and strongly prioritize safety and reliability. The new 3,000-ton KSS-III sub is 83.3-meter-long, 9.6-meter-wide, and can accommodate a crew of 50. It is capable of operating underwater without surfacing for up to 20 days. Its maximum underwater speed is estimated at 20 knots with a maximum operational range of 10,000 nautical miles. KSS-III is expected to be produced in three batches, with the last submarine expected to be delivered in 2029.
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