Raytheon to repair APG-79 Radar | German SPD wants to allow Arms Export to Saudi Arabia | Aussie HMAS Brisbane completes Weapons Trials
The US Navy awarded Raytheon Space Airborne Systems $58 million for repair services for the APG-79 active electronically scanned array radar system used on the F/A-18 Super Hornets. The deal has Raytheon fix 25 weapon repairable assemblies for the AN/APG-79. The APG-79 AESA radar system utilizes active electric beam scanning, which provides nearly instantaneous track updates and multi-target tracking capability. It features an entirely solid-state antenna construction, which improves reliability and lowers the cost compared to a traditional system. The radar allows the Super Hornet crew to fire the AIM-120 AMRAAM, while at the same time guiding several missiles to several targets widely spaced in azimuth, elevation or range. Its X-band radar allows for higher resolution imaging, helping with target identification and discrimination. Raytheon delivered the first low rate production APG-79 radar set to Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Saint Louis on January 13, 2005. Up to 415 radar sets were expected to follow the first one to outfit US Navy’s Super Hornets beginning in September 2006. On 28 June 2005, Boeing awarded Raytheon a $580 million multi year procurement contract for 190 APG-79 radars to equip the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft. Raytheon will perform work in Forest, Mississippi and will approximately be finished by March 2022.
The Air Force tapped CAE USA with a $7.3 million modification to support the KC-135 Aircrew Training System. The KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft that features four turbofans, mounted on 35-degree swept wings. The tanker platform enhances the Air Force’s capability to accomplish its primary mission of global reach. The turbofans power the KC-135 to takeoffs at gross weights of up to 322,500 pounds. A cargo deck above the refueling system can hold a mixed load of passengers and cargo. Depending on fuel storage configuration, the KC-135 can carry up to 83,000 pounds of cargo. CAE USA is the prime contractor in the KC-135 Aircrew Training System program and connects the KC-135 simulator fleet to a virtual network where they can train with other aircrews in simulators representing various platforms to provide virtual air refueling. The KC-135 aircrew training devices help train more than 3,500 KC-135 aircrews annually. The current modification provides for collective bargaining agreement wage adjustments resulting from Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Act, and brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $464,618,081. Work will take place at Altus Air Force Base, Air Reserve Base, Pittsburgh Air National Guard Base and various other locations and is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.
Middle East & Africa
BlueForce won a $12.3 million task order from the US Air Force for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) English Language Training outside the continental US program. BlueForce is a global professional services firm focusing on Department of Defense and Department of State clients. Back in 2016 BlueForce won an award to provide English Language Training to RSAF military students. The company mobilized a team of 86 ELT instructors to Saudi Arabia. Work for the new task order will be performed at King Abdul Aziz Base, Saudi Arabia, and is scheduled to be finished by January 3, 2024. Foreign Military Sales funds in the full amount are being obligated at the time of award.
The US Department of State approved a deal for Belgium to procure General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9B SkyGuardian Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The proposed sale also includes related equipment and the cost is estimated at $600 million. The approval specifically covers four SkyGuardian medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and two fixed ground control stations (GCSs), as well as sensors, ancillary equipment, training, and a five-year support package. Belgium plans to use the SkyGuardian for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) in support of national, NATO, United Nation-mandated, and other coalition operations. The SkyGuardian is a next-generation, type-certifiable variant of Predator B (MQ-9B) multi-mission remotely piloted aircraft. It can carry out missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), maritime patrol, border surveillance and disaster relief.
According to Reuters, Germany’s social democratic and junior coalition party, SPD wants to allow some arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Germany had imposed a weapon embargo on Saudi Arabia due to the situation in Yemen as well as concerns about the country’s role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The ban was actually scheduled to end on March 9, but at the beginning of the month, it was reported, that Germany would extend the embargo until the end of March. Germany’s security council will decide whether to extend the ban on Wednesday. SPD’s wish to allow exports is not likely to be received well by its conservative coalition partners. The move would however ease concerns from Britain and France, that the ban may threaten joint tank, combat jet and drone development.
The Royal Australian Navy’s second Hobart-Class Air Warfare Destroyer, HMAS Brisbane, has completed trials to validate a number of its weapons systems including the Aegis combat system. The tests also included the Seaworthy Assurance Trials (SWATs) and lasted over a period of three weeks. The successful completion of the trials ensured Brisbane can now provide positive assurance to the Chief of Navy that she is capable of operating in a range of different scenarios. The Aegis Weapons Systems were tested in several areas, and functions of the ship were assessed, from the propulsion and organic services to the combat and weapons systems. The Hobart-class is the first class of Australian surface combatants to be built around the Aegis combat system. The Hobart-Class will replace the Adelaide-Class Frigates. They feature an overall length of 47.2 meters (483 ft), a maximum beam of 18.6 meters (61 ft), and a draught of 5.17 meters (17.0 ft).
The Royal Malaysian Air Force’s Sukhoi fleet won a new lease of life, for the next 15 years, under a $539.5 million full refurbishment package. Two squadrons of 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM, based at Gong Kedak in Terengganu, are being given a full refurbishment package which includes service life extension for the Flankers’ airframe, avionics, weapons systems and overhaul of its engines, until 2035. The SU-30MKM is a supermaneuverable fighter that carries missile approach warning sensor (MAWS) and laser warning sensor (LWS) manufactured by South African company Avitronics. It can carry up to 8,000 kg of weapons and payloads over 700 nmi unrefueled combat radius.
Watch: Finland’s HX F/A-18 Hornet replacement programme