More funding for Saudi MMSC acquisition | RAF F-35B completes new landing manoeuvre | Japan delays V-22 deployment
Space Vector and OrbitalATK are being contracted to support the Air Force’s Sounding Rocket Program-4 (SRP-4). Valued at $424 million the multiple-award IDIQ contract will be used to meet DoD’s and other government agency requirements needed to accomplish the Rocket Systems Launch Program’s (RSLP) sub-orbital mission. This includes sub-orbital research, development and test launch services, including prototype demonstrations and provision of missile defense targets. The RSLP program is responsible for providing suborbital launch capability for various DoD, DOE, and NASA organizations. The companies will use excess Minuteman rocket motors and other ballistic missile assets. Work will be performed at Space Vector’s facility in Chatsworth, California and at OrbitalATK’s facility in Chandler, Arizona. The contract includes a seven-year ordering period.
Lockheed Martin is receiving additional funding for work on the Trident II (D5) missile system. The two cost-plus-fixed-fee modifications are worth a combined $90.4 million and cover missile production and deployed system support. The Trident II D5 is the latest generation of the US Navy’s submarine-launched fleet ballistic missiles, and are found aboard Ohio-class and British Vanguard-class submarines. The D5 is a three-stage, solid-fuel submarine-launched intercontinental-range ballistic missile. The US Navy initially planned to keep Trident submarines in service for 30 years, but has had to extend their service life to 42 years until 2027. The Navy expects to spend $4.8 billion on Trident II modifications between FY2018 and 2021. Work will be performed at multiple location including, but not limited to, Sunnyvale, California; Denver, Colorado and Cape Canaveral, Florida. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by September 30, 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Lockheed Martin is being awarded with a contract modification to continue work on Saudi Arabia’s new warships. The undefinitized contract action modification provides for long-lead-time material and detail design in support of the construction of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships (MMSC). The order is valued at $282 million and includes Foreign Military Sales funding in the amount of $124 million. The MMSC is a derivative of the US Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship. Its mission capabilities include anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare, and special operations. Saudi Arabia’s new ships will be fitted with Mk-41 VLSs, Lockheed’s COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems, CIWS, a Mk-75 76mm OTO Melara Gun and several missile systems. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s locations in Marinette, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland; Herndon, Virginia; Moorestown, New Jersey; Manassas, Virginia and San Diego, California. Performance of the contract is expected to be completed by October 2025.
The Royal Navy achieves another milestone aboard Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. RAF test pilot Squadron Leader Andy Edgell recently completed a special landing manoeuvre with a F-35B. Edgell reportedly flew the STOVL aircraft facing the stern, not bow, before bringing the jet to a hover, slipping it over the huge flight deck and gently setting it down. This ‘back-to-front’ manoeuvre is intended to give naval aviators and the flight deck are more options to safely land the 5th generation fighter jet in an emergency. The wrong-way landing was a slightly surreal experience, said Squadron Leader Edgell. “It was briefly bizarre to bear down on the ship and see the waves parting on the bow as you fly an approach aft facing.”
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to start work on the second batch of E-2D aircraft for Japan. The FMS contract is priced at $33 million and provides for long-lead acquisitions related to the production of the fifth aircraft (JAA5) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The carrier-capable “mini-AWACS” aircraft is designed to give long-range warning of incoming aerial threats. The E-2D comes with enhanced operational capabilities including the replacement of the old radar system with Lockheed Martin AN/APY9 radar, upgraded communications suite, mission computer, displays and the incorporation of an all-glass cockpit. The aircraft will improve Japan’s ability to effectively provide homeland defence utilizing an AEW&C capability. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the United States, France and Canada including, but not limited to, Syracuse, New York; Marlborough, Massachusetts; Aire-sur-l’Adour, France and Falls Church, Virginia. The initial batch is due to be delivered to the JASDF between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020, while the fifth aircraft will follow before the end of 2022.
India’s Ministry of Defense has issued a letter of request to the US government bringing it one step closer in acquiring several MH-60R Seahawk helicopters. First announced in August 2018, the 24 unit order is part of larger defense acquisition program totalling at $6.5 billion. The Indian Navy will replace its ageing fleet of Sea King Mk 42B/C and Ka-28 helicopters with the Seahawks at a cost of $1.8 billion. The ‘Romeo’ is a next-generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter. It can carry two Mk-46, Mk-50 or Mk-54 light air-launched torpedoes, two AGM-119B Penguin anti-ship missiles or four AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. The R variant can also perform secondary missions such as SAR, CSAR, vertical replenishment, medical evacuation and insertion and extraction of special forces. If the deal is approved, India could receive the first aircraft by 2020 and the last by 2024
The Japanese government will delay a planned deployment of V-22 Ospreys amidst local opposition. The MoD initially intended to deploy 17 Ospreys to Saga airport in southwestern Japan in an effort to strengthen defense of remote islands in the southwest amid China’s increasingly aggressive posture. “It’s true that we are seeing a delay in the entire schedule. We’ll try to realize the delivery as soon as possible,” Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters, without elaborating on when the aircraft are now expected to arrive to Japan. Local residents are resisting the scheduled deployment because the tilt-rotor aircraft are considered to be noisy and accident-prone. Japan received the first of its 19 ordered Ospreys in August 2017.
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