DDG-51 Destroyers: Raytheon has been selected by the US Navy to deliver AN/SPY-1 Radar for the unnamed Arleigh Burke-class DDG-127 US Navy destroyer. Valued at an estimated $48.6 million, the deal falls under an undefinitized contract action that modifies the terms of a previous award contract, with US Navy fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion funds of $22.6 million obligated to Raytheon at the time of the award, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will take place primarily at Andover, Mass., with a scheduled completion date of January 2020. More »
A planned developmental test of the Arrow-3 interceptor system was postponed on Monday after its target missile started acting unsafely. The target—an upgraded version of Rafael's Sparrow family of air-launched missiles—started to behave strangely shortly after launch in a way that was not conforming to safety parameters determined in advance, and resulted in testers calling a 'no test'. Engineers are now evaluating the data from the missile target to see what went wrong. Speaking on the incident, Israel’s Defense Ministry noted that Monday morning’s planned test was part of a series of tests periodically conducted by Israel and the US to continuously validate the nation’s multitiered defense network, while Boaz Levy, executive vice president for lead contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), insisted that the planned intercept test was a developmental test aimed at validating new capabilities planned for future block versions of the Arrow-3, and thus had no bearing on the operational capability of the Arrow weapon system or its continuously upgraded Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 intercepting missiles deployed by the Israeli Air Force. Arrow-3 is Israel’s highest layer of a multitiered and intentionally overlapping network of active defenses against rockets and tactical ballistic missiles aimed at intercepting advanced, possibly nuclear-tipped threats hundreds of kilometers in space. More »
Rapid Fire | Thursday, December 7, 2017, 05:00 UTC ()
It has been reported that Canada has scrapped an earlier plan to buy F/A-8 Super Hornets from manufacturer Boeing, and instead will sign next week a deal to buy second-hand models from the Australian government. A previous plan would have seen Canada obtain 18 new Super Hornet fighter jets as part of its interim solution to its CF-18 fleet replacement program, however, Ottawa’s anger at a decision by Boeing to launch a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier—which the US giant accuses of dumping airliners on the American market—caused the deal to be cancelled and has likely put future Boeing military sales to Canada in serious doubt. When asked about the second-hand deal, the offices of Public Works Minister Carla Qualtrough and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan—who share responsibility for Canada’s military procurement—both declined to comment. Boeing, and the Australian mission in Ottawa were also unavailable for comment, however, the Australian Department of Defense did confirm that Canada lodged a formal expression of interest for “a number” of Australia’s F/A-18 Classic Hornets on Sept. 29. Official requirements for a new CF-18 replacement program are expected in early 2019.
The US Navy expects to enter the initial operational test and evaluation phase of the MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter this spring, with sea-based testing onboard a littoral combat ship to follow later that summer. Derived from the four-bladed, single-engined Bell 407, the rotorcraft will replace the smaller MQ-8B based on the Sikorsky S-333, and offers a greater payload, range and endurance than its predecessor. While waiting for the MQ-8C to come online, the Navy continues to fix issues experienced with the B variant such as a capability for the advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), and is also working on an interim fix for its MQ-8B radar.
After a two week investigation, the US Air Force has lifted an operational pause on T-6A Texan II flights out of Vance Air Base, with students and instructors returning to the air on December 5. Aviation, medical, functional and industry experts all took part in the investigation but found no specific root cause for the physiological events experienced by a number of T-6A pilots during flights out of the base. The service said it will continue to gather technical and human performance data and the Vance team will temporarily apply local procedures to mitigate risk to flight operations and aircrew.
Raytheon’s next-generation military-code GPS receiver integrated onboard a B-2 Spirit bomber has been successfully tested by the USAF. Conducted out of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., the first ever M-code test onboard the B-2 is being regarded as an important milestone for the US Government-led GPS Modernization effort to enhance security, positioning, navigation and timing capabilities for US military and civilian applications. Military GPS User Equipment M-code receivers will give military aircraft, ships and ground vehicles access to the modernized GPS network. The firm said the test confirmed the viability of a risk-reduction prototype of Raytheon’s Miniaturized GPS Airborne Receiver.
Middle East & Africa
Azerbaijan has inked contracts with Pakistan, finalizing a deal to purchase 10 Super Mushshak trainers from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The signing took place during a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers from Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan, and hosted in the Azeri capital Baku. During the meeting, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif called for greater joint defense production between the three countries, something his counterparts were amenable to. Azerbaijan and Pakistan, being the smaller defence industry players of the three countries, will likely look to limit their hard currency outflows and increase support for their respective defence suppliers by linking to the supply channels supporting the Turkish Armed Forces. This could potentially be had by Islamabad and Baku partnering with Ankara in the latter’s development programs. Pakistan is also looking to sell its JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter to Azerbaijan, and manufacturer PAC is configuring Turkish firm Aselsan’s ASELPOD targeting pod to the JF-17. This, along with potentially other Turkish subsystems and air-to-surface weapons, could make their way to Azerbaijan should Baku select the JF-17.
The Swiss subsidiary of Saab Defense—Saab Bofors Dynamics Switzerland (SBDS)—will produce and supply 155mm training artillery ammunition for an unnamed customer. Valued at $14.4 million, deliveries will take place over the next two years and follows another contract executed for the client in 2015 and 2016. SBDS is involved in the design, development and production of mortar rounds, warheads and other energetic products, and regards itself as a specialist in total munitions life cycle management and provides servicing of different ammunition types, mainly for large-caliber products.
Russia’s newest fighter jet—the fifth-generation Su-57—has flown for the first time while being powered by the new NPO Saturn “Product 30” engine. Lasting 17 minutes, the flight was carried out by the second Su-57 aircraft prototype—T-50-2—from the Gromov flight test centre at Zhukovsky AB. The new engine is slated to become the production standard for the Su-57, after the nine flight test prototypes of the Su-57 fighter were powered by NPO Saturn Product 117 engine—itself based on the AL-41F-1S afterburning turbofans developed for the Su-35. Moscow said the Product 30 will provide more thrust and fuel efficiency, with reduced weight and maintenance requirements.
The last S-70B-2 Seahawk operated by the Royal Australian Navy has flown its last flight as the service completes its transition to the Sikorsky MH-60R. 24 models of the new anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter have been delivered since 2014 and are operated by the 725 Sqn from Nowra, New South Wales. The last Seahawk was flown to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, where it will be preserved. The departing model was used during operations in the Middle East from the 1990-1991 Gulf War onwards.
| The USAF will not have funding to re-engine its fleet of B-52 aircraft until 2020, Gen. Robin Rand, head of USAF Global Strike Command, told reporters at the Association of Old Crows conference in Washington. But the multi-year, multi-billion project to supply and integrate new engines to the service’s 76 1952-vintage B-52H bombers has already got industry interested, with Boeing and Rolls Royce already openly campaigning for the contract. However, some analysts are skeptical that the re-engine effort will ever happen, saying that while the "re-engining would save money from the O&M account (fuel and parts)" it "would cost money from the procurement account.” More »
| France is close to finalizing a deal with Qatar to supply additional fighter aircraft and armored vehicles, a source to the presidential office said. One deal is to exercise and option to purchase 12 additional Rafale fighter jets, adding to the 24 already on order with manufacturer Dassault Aviation. Additional deals being discussed include an order of 300 VBCI armored vehicles from French firm Nexter, and a non-military deal to manage the Doha metro for 20 years. The deals could be concluded by the end of the week.
| Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is considering an adjustment to the cost of its T-50A advanced jet trainer in order to win the US Air Force (USAF) T-X trainer competition. The announcement was made by the firm's new CEO Kim Jo-won, who added that transforming company management and cutting labor costs were among some of the cost saving measures being sought to help cover the discount. KAI's announcement came after program partner Lockheed Martin requested KAI cut costs to make the bid more competitive against a rival bid from Boeing-Saab. More »
| The Indian Air Force has successfully carried out its first air-to-air refeuling of its Embraer EMB-145-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The 'probe and drogue' refuelling was carried out by an Ilyushin Il-78 tanker, with only ten minutes of refueling necessary to keep the platform flying for an additional four hours. Ordered in 2008, New Delhi has received the first two of three new EMB-145 aircraft and have been fitted with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-designed Netra AEW&C systems, which the IAF claims provide 240-degree coverage as well as surveillance ranges between 250 and 375 km. More »
| Norway's Kongsberg has been selected by the US Army to deliver additional enhancements and upgrades on the service's M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank. The $3.9 million award, which dates back to an earlier August 2012 contract between the firm and the US Department of Defense (DoD), calls for additional deliveries of the Protector Low Profile Common Remote Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) System, as well as spare parts for sustainment. The Protector RWS allows for greater protector of US military troops and commanders by allowing them to fire and engage enemy targets from inside the Abrams tank, as opposed to exposing themselves while operating small- to medium-caliber weapon systems mounted on the outside of the vehicle. More »
| The DoD announced Friday the $353.2 million award to United Technologies Corp (UTC) subsidiary, Pratt and Whitney Military Engines, for performance based logistics and sustainment support of the F-135 propulsion system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. US Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants and foreign military Sales (FMS) customers are covered in the deal. Under the terms of the deal, P&W will provide maintenance of support equipment, common program activities, unique and common base recurring sustainment, repair of repairable, field service representatives, common replenishment spares, conventional take-off and landing/carrier variant F-135 unique maintenance services, and short take-off and landing F-135 unique services. Work will primarily take place at East Hartford, Connecticut (73 percent); but also Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (18 percent); Camari, Italy (3 percent); Eglin Air Force Base, Florida (2 percent); Edwards Air Force Base, California (1 percent); Hill Air Force Base, Utah (1 percent); Luke Air Force Base, Arizona (1 percent); and Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station, South Carolina (1 percent). Work will be completed by November 2018.