The US Navy tapped General Electric for support of the F404 engine components used on the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft. The $77.6 million contract action provides for repair, replacement, and program support of 35 family groups of the F404. The General Electric F404 is an afterburning turbofan engine specifically developed for the Hornets. The F404 is based on the YJ101 engine, which General Electric had developed for the Northrop YF-17 but it enlarged the bypass ratio from .20 to .34 enabling higher fuel economy. More than 3,700 F404s are in service, including the engines on the Hornets operated by the Air Forces of Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland. The F404 has more than 10 million flight hours of outstanding operating experience and is combat-proven. A few days ago during the LIMA-19, the left F404-400 engine of a F/A-18D fighter of the Malaysian Air Force experienced a flameout 50 feet above the ground during a solo display. General Electric will perform work under the contract action in Jacksonville, Florida as well as at other facilities and will approximately be finished by March 2020.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center awarded Ultra Electronics Ocean Systems $46.8 million to support new construction of Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers. The deal has Ultra Electronics provide TR-343 Sonar Transducers shipsets, which is part of the AN/SQS-53 hull mounted sonar array assembly. The AN/SQS-53 is a component of AN/SQQ-89(V) acoustic sonar weapons system – a fully integrated surface ship undersea warfare combat system with the capability to search, detect, classify, localize, and attack submarine targets. The AN/SQS-53 is a computer-controlled surface-ship sonar that has active and passive operating capabilities providing precise information for ASW weapons control and guidance. It is a large bulb-like structure built into the bows below the water line of US Navy Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers, Ticonderoga Class Cruisers, and Japanese Navy Kongo Class destroyers. The contract has Ultra Electronics provide fabrication, assembly, inspection, test and delivery of TR-343 sonar transducer shipsets in Braintree, Massachusetts. Work is scheduled to be complete by March 2024.
Raytheon won an $18.7 million delivery order from the Naval Air Systems Command for 120 Navigation and Communication Advanced Communications Architecture Antenna Kits for the Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round recertification. The Tomahawk is the primary ship-based cruise missile in use by the US Navy, as well as many foreign allied fleets. It is a long-range, all-weather, sub-sonic cruise missile. The Block IV missiles have an improved turbofan engine allowing throttle control, in-flight speed changes, better fuel economy and quicker launch times. They have enhanced loiter capabilities and are equipped with a real-time targeting system for striking fleeing targets as well as onboard electro-optical sensors allowing for real-time battle damage assessment. Work for the Navigation and Communication Advanced Communications Architecture Antenna Kits will take place in Colorado and Arizona and will approximately be completed in September 2020.
Middle East & Africa
The US Navy contracted Northrop Grumman $104 million for the procurement of up to 503 technical refresh mission computers for the UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper, and UH-60V Black Hawk aircraft. The deal includes units, retrofit units, and spare units not only for the US Marine Corps and the US Defense Logistics Agency, but also for the government of Bahrain under the Foreign Military Sales Act. The Venom is a twin-engine, medium-sized utility chopper providing command & control and assault support under day/night and adverse weather conditions. The UH-1Y is the most significant upgrade ever made to the battle-proven H-1 helicopter. At the heart of the upgrade is a new four-bladed, all-composite and ballistically tolerant (up to 23 mm) rotor system. The Viper is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the AH-1W SuperCobra developed for the US Marine Corps. It features a four-blade, bearingless, composite main rotor system, upgraded avionics and a new target sighting system. In February, Bell Helicopter won $240 million to manufacture and deliver 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters to Bahrain. The UH-60V Black Hawk is the upgraded version of the UH-60L with the glass cockpit of the UH-60M. Upgrades feature a centralized processor with a partitioned, modular operational flight program enabling capabilities to be added as software-only modifications. Work for the technical refresh mission computers will take place in Utah, Maryland, and California and is scheduled to be finished in December 2023.
South African defense and aerospace company Paramount Group launched its Marauder AV and personal carrier with the Nigerian Air Force. The company did not disclose how many vehicles were delivered to Nigeria. According to reports, The country is bolstering its efforts to effectively tackle a range of threats posed by various terrorist and extremist groups. The 15-tonne Marauder is a uniquely designed armored land system. It can be reconfigured as either a troop carrier or combat vehicle, maintaining excellent cross-country agility while reaching a top speed of 120 km/hr over challenging terrains. The Marauder can carry a crew of two and eight dismounts. The vehicle has a blast protection of STANAG 4569 levels 3A and 3B standards, which can be increased to Level 4 standards with add-on kits. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is in the process of training its own force protection and special forces components. On March 15, the NAF announced that it had graduated the first class of Nigerian-trained special forces personnel.
As Jane’s reports, the Romanian Piranha 5 program is facing delays. General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag still needs to deliver the first batch of 30 vehicles. The Mowag Piranha 5 is a fighting vehicle that provides protection against current threats. According to General Dynamics, its integrated modular and adaptable survivability system can also be tailored to protect against future threats. The first eight Piranha 5s were delivered to Romania during the third quarter of 2018 and the first 36 products should have been delivered within 12 months of the signing of the contract. The delay is however still in the 60-day grace period, which mean the company still has time to deliver.
Insitu won a $10 million contract modification from the US Navy for the procurement of one ScanEagle Unmanned Aircraft System that consists of six ScanEagle Air Vehicles, technical services and related support equipment for the government of Indonesia. The ScanEagle is solidly based on Insitu’s original “Insight” platform, with different variants distinguished by their payloads and accompanying equipment rather than their aerodynamic design. The UAVs are launched by catapult, and autonomously recovered using a folding “skyhook” and catch-line. In July 2018 the Indonesian Navy announced it was establishing a new squadron called the Skadron Udara 700, primarily tasked with UAV maritime surveillance missions, that would operate the ScanEagle UAS. In 2018 the country has ordered four ScanEagles. Work under the current modification will take place within the US and is expected to be complete in May, 2022. Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $9,919,602 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
Watch: Finally: Royal Navy’s new vessel HMS Forth begins training