Navy orders two more LCU 1700 | Rafael test-launches SPIKE NLOS | Australia transitions from Black Hawk to MRH90
The Navy contracted General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a $126.2 million contract for DDG 51 class integrated planning yard services. The DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. The ships were designed to fulfill the strategic land strike role with Tomahawk missiles, antiaircraft warfare role with powerful Aegis radar and surface-to-air missiles, antisubmarine warfare and antisurface warfare. Planning yard services include design, material kitting, logistics, planning and execution. The majority of the Planning Yard services work will be performed in Maine. Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, also currently manages post-delivery maintenance and modernization activities for DDG 1000-class ships and LCS-class ships.
The Navy awarded Swiftships LLC a $26.7 million contract modification to build two more Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) vessels. The newly-ordered LCU 1701 and 1702 are the second and third in their class. A contract for the first LCU 1700 was awarded back in April. Landing Craft Utility is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from assault ships to beachheads or piers. LCU 1700 is supposed to replace the existing LCU 1610 class of amphibious landing craft on a one for one base. The 1700 will be a rugged steel craft with a design life of 30 years. It will include a highly reliable and fuel efficient heavy lift platform whose capability will be complementary to the faster air cushion landing craft which have a significantly shorter range, smaller payload capacity, no habitability, and operating hour limitations. Work under the contract modification will take place in Louisiana and is scheduled to be completed by May 2021.
Canadian Commercial Corp. won a $11.4 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract from the Navy to support Navy ship and weapons systems test events like target presentations, planning and conducting of test, and analysis and evaluation of the assigned surface weapons systems during test events. The deal also includes systems engineering and program management support. Canadian Commercial Corp. (CCC) is mandated to facilitate international trade on behalf of the Canadian Industry. The company has two core lines of business: International Commercial Business and Global Defense and Security. CCC supports Canadian companies contracting into the defense sector primarily with the United States and Canadian exporters. Work under the contract is scheduled to be finished by February 2024.
Middle East & Africa
Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems test-launched its SPIKE NLOS air-deployable missile launcher from a Tomcar light buggy. The SPIKE NLOS missile, also know as Tamuz 5 is precision-guided and able to hit a target up to 30km away. It is part of the fifth generation electro-optical SPIKE family, used in 31 countries worldwide. NLOS stands for „Non Line of Sight“ and the NLOS is indeed significantly larger than other SPIKE variants. It weighs 70 kg and uses a fiber optic link similar to other Spike versions, but only out to 8 km, after which it employs a radio data link for command guidance. The Tomcar, which carries the air-deployable missile launcher, weighs 1,350kg and holds up to eight rounds. This technology gives armed forces a low-weight, maneuverable precision element that can be dropped into enemy territory and identify static and mobile targets with high precision and without the use of GPS.
The Russian Armed Forces are about to receive its first Tu-160M modernized strategic bomber in 2021. The Tupolev Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber designed by the Russian Aerospace and Defense Company Tupolev. It is the largest Mach 2+ supersonic aircraft ever built. For two decades the Tu-160 was the USSR’s, and later Russia’s, only supersonic, nuclear-armed strategic bomber. In the early 2000s, Moscow paid Kazan, a subsidiary of Tupolev, to finish assembly of two incomplete Tu-160 airframes. The Tu-160M will be equipped with advanced on-board defense systems, a modern communications system with enhanced anti-jamming capability and advanced weapons to enhance its combat capabilities. The aircraft will be powered by NK-32 second series engines, which will considerably increase its flight range and duration.
The British Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Tornado jets returned home for the last time after almost 40 years in service. The stalwart of Britain’s bomber force since the days of the Cold War carried out its last operational strike on January 26, when a pair of Tornados hit five positions in Syria, all of which were being used by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The last operational sortie by Tornado GR4s was on January 31. Two Tornados flew an uneventful patrol over Syria, recovering safely to base at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus after a mission lasting six and a half hours. The weapons capabilities of the soon-to-retire Tornados are now being delivered by RAF Typhoon jets. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, multirole fighter designed as an air superiority fighter.
The US Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $11.7 million contract modification in support of the Japanese government. The modification is for non-recurring engineering to incorporate the Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Joint Tactical Radio System into the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft. The Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Joint Tactical Radio System is a four-channel radio. It runs the Link 16 waveform and up to three additional communication protocols, including the Airborne Networking Waveform. The system enhances operational effectiveness without consuming more space, weight or power. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the latest version of the E-2 featuring the new AN/APY-9 radar, radio suite, mission computer, integrated satellite communications, flight management system, and improved T56-A-427A engines. In October 2018 Japan has greenlighted the purchase of nine E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft from the US. Work under the modification will take place within the USA and is expected to be completed in June 2020.
Australia is developing the special forces role of the NH90 or MRH90 transport and assault helicopter, Jane’s reports. The Australian Defense Force began cross-decking the social operations forces role from the Sikorsky S-70A Black Hawk to the MRH90. The NH90 is a medium-sized, twin-engine, multirole helicopter developed in response to NATO requirements for battlefield helos, which would also be capable of being operated in naval environments. It is the first production helicopter to feature fly by wire flight controls. A four-axis autopilot is also integrated with the fly-by-wire system, as are mission and navigation systems to enable greater autonomy during operations and to reduce pilot workload. The flight envelope of the NH90 is capable of all-weather day-and-night operations, ship-borne operations during high sea states, across a temperature range from ?40 °C to +50 °C, and up to a maximum altitude of 20,000 feet. The standing up of the MRH90’s SOF capabilities is part of a wider enhancement of Australia’s special operations helicopter forces.
Watch: RAFAEL’s SPIKE NLOS Air-Deployable Launcher ? Firing Test