Raytheon to develop anti-ship Tomahawk for Navy | Pentagon declines Turkish-Pakistan F-16 training deal | King Stallion enters LRIP
- The US Navy has said that the inclusion of the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker on its aircraft carriers will extend the range of its carrier-borne fighters by 300 to 400 nautical miles. It is expected to be able to carry 15,000 pounds of fuel at 500 nautical miles from the carrier to the air wing’s strike fighters and capable of refueling between four and six aircraft at range. Navy brass expect the first MQ-25 to be flying mission tanking operations as early at 2019.
- Raytheon has been awarded a $119 million US Navy contract to develop an anti-ship variant of the Tomahawk missile. Work to be undertaken by the company for the Maritime Strike Tomahawk program includes analysis, trade studies, architecture, modeling, simulation development, evaluation, and prototyping activities for the integration of seeker suite technology and processing capabilities into the Tactical Tomahawk Block IV All-Up-Round missile system. The majority of the work will be undertaken at Tucson, Arizona, in addition to Dallas, Texas, Boulder, Colorado, and various other locations inside and outside the US. Completion is scheduled for August 2019. The Navy currently uses the Tomahawk on its surface combatants and submarines, but now wants Raytheon to modify the Tomahawk’s targeting system so it can strike moving naval targets, thus giving the service a long-range anti-ship capability.
- Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky has been awarded a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Lot 1 contract to deliver two CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters to the US Marine Corps (USMC). Valued at $304 million, the firm will deliver the models by 2021 in addition to spares and support, with work to be carried out in Stratford, Connecticut. The US Department of Defense’s Program of Record remains at 200 CH-53K aircraft, with the USMC intending to stand up eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron, and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements. Designed to lift three times as much weight as its predecessor, the CH-53E Super Stallion, its increased payload capacity can internally load 463L cargo pallets, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) or a European Fenneck armored personnel carrier while still leaving the troop seats installed.
- Future Littoral Combat Ship USS Little Rock (LCS 9) has completed its acceptance trials, attaining the highest score of the five Freedom-class LCS vessels completed to date. During the five-day trial, it completed a full-power run along with all associated steering and maneuvering events and also surface and air self-defense detect-to-engage exercises, as well as demonstrating the performance of the ship’s propulsion plant, auxiliary systems and the ship’s handling. Manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine are now preparing Little Rock for delivery to the Navy in the coming weeks.
Middle East & Africa
- The US government has denied a request by Turkey to recruit F-16 instructors from Pakistan in order to conduct in-house training of more pilots for the Turkish Air Force. According to the contract agreed when the F-16s were sold, Ankara needs to request permission from Washington if it is to order a third party to conduct maintenance or training with the aircraft, leaving Turkey with the only option of sending trainee pilots to the US for such training, after Washington further refused to send its pilots to Turkey. One of the reasons for being reported is that the majority of US jet pilots are already on active duty conducting missions against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, while cynics may point to the recent dip in relations between Turkey and its NATO allies as potential cause for the denial. Turkey’s low manpower problem stems from an ongoing military and civil service purge following last year’s attempted coup against the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the thwarted putsch, 25 coup pilots flew with F-16 jets and 11 of them bombed strategic sites, including its Parliament.
- Romania expects to receive delivery of three more F-16 fighter aircraft from Portugal by the end of September, fulfilling a $203 million 2013 contract to buy 12 of the fighters. Speaking last Thursday, Minister of National Defence Adrian Tutuianu said that Bucharest is also considering ordering 36 additional F-16s from the US, with orders to come as early as 2019-2020, depending on negotiations. Tutuianu added that they would also like at least one squadron of F-35 aircraft.
- The US State Department has cleared a $360 million upgrade program for Australian-operated MH-60R Multi-Mission Helicopters. Running for ten years, 24 Seahawks will receive upgrades, which aims to increase Canberra’s anti-submarine and surface warfare capability, provide an improved search-and-rescue capability, enhance its anti-ship surveillance capability, and will help it carry out international commitments for transport, surveillance, and search-and-rescue operations with the United States and other allies. Included in the deal are training devices, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, engineering and technical services, logistics support. Sikorsky, the helicopter’s manufacturer, will act as lead contractor.
- The Indian Navy has received delivery of the first locally produced unit of the Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Handing over to Indian Minister of Defense Arun Jaitley took place last week in Hyderabad, with IAI and Indian business officials in attendance. The LRSAM was made in India as part of the country’s indigenous manufacturing program. IAI and Rafael from Israel, together with India’s Baharat Dynamic, established a production line in India for the LRSAM program, which was backed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization. The production lines integrated Israeli-made and Indian-made assemblies for the weapon.
- Littoral Combat Ship USS Little Rock (LCS 9) acceptance trials :
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