Silent Archer – Aiming High | Pentagon places biggest F-35 order to date | When will France restart its PA2/CVF project?
The US Army is contracting Syracuse Research Corp to keep the Silent Archer System operational. The awarded contract modification is priced at $25.7 million and provides for logistics and engineering support services of the Counter-UAV systems in US Army areas of operation, as well as for continued development, production, integration, delivery and deployment. Silent Archer is a lightweight system designed to hunt down and neutralize enemy unmanned aerial systems of any size, it can be modified to fit on a tactical vehicle or even a commercial-model pickup truck. The system consists of an air surveillance radar system, an electronic warfare (EW) suite, a direction-finding unit and an electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) camera that helps to positively identify drone threats. Work will be performed at SRC’s factory in North Syracuse, New York, and is scheduled for completion by January 31st, 2019.
Raytheon’s SM-6 naval defense missile enters full rate production. The US Navy is awarding the company with a $395.6 million contract modification that provides for the missile’s procurement in FY17 and FY18. The SM-6 ERAM is a next-generation air defense missile, which will eventually supplement SM-2 missiles in the air/surface defense role against cruise missiles and aircraft. The SM-6 comes with an “over-the-horizon” targeting mode, where it’s cued by other ships or even aircraft, then uses its own seeker for the final approach. The missile incorporates technology from existing technologies such as the the airframe of the SM-2 Block IV, and advanced seeker technology derived from the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM). Work will be performed at multiple locations, including – but not limited to – Tucson, Arizona; Wolverhampton, United Kingdom and Anaheim, California. Initial production for this order is expected to be completed by September 2022.
Lockheed Martin announces a significant price drop of the F-35 JSF. The company recently received an $11.5 billion order for 141 F-35s from the Pentagon. This is the biggest batch ordered yet, and includes the purchase of 91 aircraft for US services, 28 for international development partners and 22 for FMS customers. The F-35A version sees a drop of 5.4%, now costing $89.2 million per unit. The F-35B, which is considered to be the most expensive variant of the JSF drops by 5.7% to a price of $115.5 million and the F-35C, designed for carrier operations, drops 11.1% to 107.7 million. The F-35 JSF fighter program is considered to be the most expensive procurement program in history and is expected to cost $1.5 trillion over its projected 55-year lifetime. Production of the aircraft started this year and deliveries will begin in 2019.
Middle East & Africa
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will receive continued support for the radars used to control its THAAD systems. Raytheon will provide the country with radar sustainment and technical support services as part of this $59.1 million contract modification. This modification brings the total value of the FMS contract to $800 million. THAAD is controlled by Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 X-Band, phased array, solid-state, long-range air defense radar. For THAAD, targeting information from the TPY-2 is uploaded to the missile immediately before launch, and continuously updated in flight via datalinks. The TPY-2 is always deployed with THAAD, but it can also be used independently as part of any ABM (anti ballistic missile) infrastructure. The UAE acquired THAAD in 2011 and uses it alongside the Patriot PAC-3 as a lower-tier ABM-capable complement. Work will be performed in United Arab Emirates and will run from now until September 2020.
The Jordanian armed forces will receive a repaired Integrated Fire Control System (IFCS) from Raytheon. The cost-plus-fixed-fee Foreign Military Sales contract is valued at $8.9 million and is expected to be completed by September 2021. The IFCS upgrade kits will be fitted onto Jordan’s fleet of M60 MBTs. The IFCS is a full director fire control and stabilized synchronized cannon sighting system, which features an advanced forward-looking infrared thermal sight, an eye-safe laser rangefinder, a digital ballistic computer and an improved turret stabilization system. Raytheon already upgraded 180 M60A3 tanks of the armed services of Jordan with the (IFCS), which took the tank to Phoenix level 1 standard. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in Indianapolis.
The French procurement office and the Navy are currently in the process of building a basic frame of reference for France’s future aircraft carrier. Defense News reports that the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) and the Navy have been working on a “reflection for definition studies,” with those studies required to launch the carrier project. The studies will outline the future carrier’s must have capabilities including the embarkment of Rafale fighter jets, its successors and UAVs. A first study was launched on August, examining lessons learned on aircraft carriers in operation and the second study will focus on technology and overall architecture. The overall dossier comprising the two studies is expected to be completed at the end of 2019 or early 2020, and will allow the authorities to decide the capabilities of the ship. Fance has been interested in building another aircraft carrier for many years, however it cancelled its promising PA2/CVF carrier project due to financial constraints back in 2013.
A China Central Television (CCTV) report suggests that China’s newly developed KLJ-7A radar is now fully operational. Developed by the No.14 Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, the light active phased array radar will be used to enhance the combat capacity of the FC-1 Xiaolong fighter jet. The KLJ-7A can detect and track multiple targets at ranges in excess of 170km. The report further claims that the radar has a similar performance to the radar used on US-made F-35s. It further states, that the upgraded FC-1 may now have an advantage over the F-16 C/Ds in mid-range aerial confrontations.
As Boeing wins the US T-X competition, Korea Aerospace Industries shares plunge. KAI had partnered with Lockheed Martin to offer the T-50A for the competition set to replace the nearly six-decades-old T-38 Talons. After having lost the bid to Boeing, KAI share plunged by 29.8% to $32. A KAI spokesman told Korea Times that “Boeing’s bidding price was unbeatably low,” but the company will strengthen its presence in overseas plane markets by pitching its multipurpose T-50 to countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa.
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