SOCOM buys more Chinooks | PAC-3 gets approval for German TLVS integration | India tests nuclear-capable missile
The US Special Operations Command is ordering additional helicopters from Boeing. The awarded contract modification is priced at $42.8 million and provides for four new build MH-47G Chinooks. The MH-47G is a new version of the helicopter platform that first flew in 1962 and has been configured to perform long-range day and night missions, in inclement weather at low levels. The Chinooks feature enhanced digital avionics and flight control systems, as well as a sturdier monolithic airframe increasing survivability. According to the DoD press release, SOCOM needs those additional rotorcraft to satisfy an urgent need for heavy assault helicopters. Work will be performed at Boeing’s factory in Ridley Park.
The Canadian government is entering the next stage of its fighter procurement program. In a draft bid package posted on October 26 procurement officials name five companies that could make the run in the upcoming tender. Canada needs to replace its ageing fleet of fighter aircraft with 88 new ones at a cost of $12 billion. Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale, Saab’s Gripen and the Boeing Super Hornet will likely be considered and the companies are expected to give their feedback by the end of this year. Ottawa plans to receive initial proposals from bidders between summer and winter 2019. A contract is anticipated to be awarded during the winter months of 2021-2022. Canada wants initial aircraft to be delivered in 2025, with IOC achieved by 2026. The Royal Canadian Air Force wants all aircraft delivered by 2031 or 2032, at which time the CF-18 fleet will be retired.
Raytheon is marking another milestone in its Ship Self Defense System (SSDS) program. During a recently held test one of the USMC’s F-35Bs made a successful digital air connection with the USS Wasp. SSDS uses software and commercial off-the-shelf electronics to turn incoming data from several systems into a single picture of prioritized threats. The system then recommends an engagement sequence for the ship’s crew, or (in automatic mode) fire some combination of jamming transmissions, chaff or decoys, and/or weapons against the oncoming threat. “Information is key for any Commander – and shared information from multiple sources and vantage points extends our battlespace and our advantage over enemy threats,” said U.S. Navy Captain Danny Busch, Program Executive Office – SSDS. “Now with the ability to link our sensors and weapons, from sea and air, SSDS is providing a level of interoperability and defensive capability never before available to the Expeditionary fleet.”
Boeing’s new KC-46 tanker receives more certifications as it successfully completes aerial refueling of two additional aircraft types. During recently held tests the KC-46 completed receiver certification testing for the B-52 bomber and the F/A-18 fighter jet, with the F-15 to follow next year. A Boeing spokesperson says that the certification test are in preparation for the start of Initial Operational Test and Evaluation work next year. KC-46A is a militarised version of the 767-2C. Modification include aerial refueling equipment, an air refueling operator’s station that includes panoramic 3-dimensional displays, and threat detection/ countermeasures systems. Boeing recently missed the delivery schedule for its first aircraft which was expected to take place on October 27. The KC-46 acquisition program sees for the delivery of 179 tankers at a cost of $44.3 billion, with the first aircraft expected to be delivered between April and June 2016.
Middle East & Africa
Boeing is being tapped to continue maintenance support for the Royal Saudi Air Force’s fleet of F-15 fighter aircraft. The company is being awarded with a $14.6 million contract that sees for the sustainment of the Aircraft Maintenance Debrief System (AMDS). The F-15 is an all-weather, extremely maneuverable, tactical fighter designed to achieve aerial superiority in combat situations. The contract allows Boeing to provide trained personnel to use and maintain AMDS equipment at six locations throughout Saudi Arabia. The company’s staff also train RSAF members on how to operate and maintain the equipment. Work will be performed at multiple locations in Saudi Arabia and is expected to run through November 4, 2023.
The Turkish government is contracting a team of three Turkish companies to build the country’s first indigenous long-range air and anti-missile system. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the National Long Range Regional Air Missile Defense System (SIPER) project on Wednesday. “This system is crucial for Turkey’s defense and they (the partners) are taking a new step with this project that will upgrade Turkey in the league of defense systems,” Erdo?an was quoted by Defense News’s Burak Ege Bekdil. The SIPER system will be produced by the Turkish state-run military electronics manufacturer Aselsan, state-controlled missile producer Roketsan, and Tübitak Sage, a state research institute. For the next 18 months the companies will conduct a definition study to prepare a a development and production contract for the future system. SIPER is expected to be completed by 2021.
Germany will be able to integrate Lockheed’s Patriot PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile into its next-generation TLVS missile defense system. TLVS is a highly mobile ground based air and missile defense system for protection against the current and future threat spectrum in the lower tier. TLVS is developed by an MBDA and Lockheed Martin joint venture. Build upon the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), TLVS is easily transportable, tactically mobile and uses the hit-to-kill PAC-3 MSE missile to defeat tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft, providing full 360-degree engagement. Since its final decision in 2015 the German government was unable to move forward on its new air-defense system because Lockheed needed US governmental approval to integrate the Patriot missile into the TLVS. A spokesman at the German defense ministry said, “There is new momentum. Both sides are clearly committed to successful completion of the TLVS program.” The new air-defense system was expected to cost about $4.56 billion, however current estimates suggest a cost overrun by several billion. Germany wishes to sign a contract for TLVS in 2019 and field the system in 2025.
India recently conducted a user trial night-time test of its Agni-I ballistic missile. The Agni-I is a short-range ballistic missile that was first launched in 2002. The Agni-I is a single-stage missile developed to fill the gap between 250 km range of Prithvi-II and 2,500 km range of Agni-II. Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-I, is designed to carry a payload of more than one ton, including a nuclear warhead. Its strike range can be extended by reducing the payload. The missile has a specialised navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision. During the user trial a randomly selected unit launches a test missile to prove the system’s overall performance and crew readiness. The trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships from its launch till the missile hit the target area with accuracy, the Indian military said. In recent months the decade long conflict Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan started to resurface.
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