SOCOM to continue MEUAS II-B | NMS continues to support Afghanistan | Taiwan wants the Centurion to protect its air bases
The Naval Air Systems Command is procuring system components for its F-35 Lightning fighter jets. Lockheed Martin will provide the service with essential Aircraft Management System (AMS) and Panoramic Cockpit Display (PCD) components at a cost of $19.3 million. The company will also be responsible for mitigating hardware risks as part of the program’s technical Refresh Phase 3 development. The F-35 is an advanced 5th generation fighter jet that that comes with a broad range of integrated missions systems and sensor fusion. The Aircraft Management System is the brain of the aircraft and integrates with the Automated Information Logistics System, or ALIS, a centralized fleet management system developed to reduce the F-35’s sustainment cost. The Panoramic Cockpit Display was designed by pilots for pilots. The 20 inch by 8 inch PCD incorporates an integral touchscreen that dominates the cockpit. The fly by wire system is controlled via an active side-stick on the right and an active throttle on the left. Active means these inceptors are under complete computer control and can be programmed on the fly. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Forth Worth, Texas and is expected to be completed by September 2019.
UAS manufacturer Insitu is being tapped to support the US Marine Corps. The awarded firm-fixed-price delivery order has a value of $9 million and provides for the procurement of spare and sustainment parts needed to maintain the RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft system. Insitu’s ScanEagle family combines versatility, endurance and small size. The RQ-21A system is modular, flexible and multi-mission capable, providing roll-on, roll-off transitions between land and maritime environments. The drone is a bigger, heavier and more capable version of the ScanEagle unmanned aircraft that has logged thousands of hours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States Marine Corps has ordered 32 systems each consisting of five air vehicles. Work will be performed at the company’s location in Bingen, Washington and is scheduled for completion by January 2019.
The US Special Operations Command is determined to keep its incumbent MEUAS II-B program running. Insitu is being awarded a $5000 minimum, $232 million maximum additional task order for maintaining its mid-endurance unmanned aircraft systems intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services. MEUAS II-B is a fee-for-service or “power by the hour” contractor-owned and operated UAV network deployed in support of SOCOM operations. The catapult-launched mid-sized ScanEagle provides SOF units on the ground with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information.
The Canadian Armed Forces are increasing their numbers of ‘smart’ soldiers. Rheinmetall will deliver 1,256 additional sets of the Argus Soldier System at a cost of $16.9 million. The order is part of the Canadian Army’s Integrated Soldier System, with 1,632 sets of the same equipment expected to be delivered this year. Argus provides soldiers with an enhanced situational awareness and enables them to perform functions such as navigation, detect, locate, identify and engage targets, and several other command and control functions. The system comprises of a hand-held Tactical User Interface with Battle Management Software (BMS), tactical soldier radio, connection hub, control unit, head set, active noise reduction earphones, and high capacity batteries. The system’s tactical radio provides simultaneous communication for voice and data between soldiers and their commander on multiple nets. The Argus Soldier System is a modular data display provider ranging from a light version to a medium and extended command-and-control version. Argus has been developed to assist the soldier to operate in the future battlefield. Being networked give troops a tactical advangtage in urban areas and when facing a number of asymmetric threats and attacks by irregular forces.
Middle East & Africa
The US Army is awarding a PAE Government Services with a contract modification for sustained vehicle support work. The $10.8 million modification enables the company to continue its efforts as part of the US National Maintenance Strategy – Ground Vehicle Support program in Afghanistan. Under NMS, PAE will provide training and mentoring to the Afghanistan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) in maintenance, supply chain management and warehouse support across 25 locations in Afghanistan. PAE will also provide Contractor Logistics Support to the ANDSF, which will include maintenance, supply chain management and parts support for vehicles and ground equipment. The ANA’s inventory consists of approximately 23.000 types of vehicles, that include Soviet-era T-55 tanks and MT-LB armored personell carriers, 150 rather new T-72 tanks and about 2.500 US-made Humvees. A key outcome of the NMS in Afghanistan is to develop a long-term capacity and a near-term readiness to ensure that the country is self sufficient. The strategy aims to bridge the gap between the dependence on US logistics support and the transition of all responsibility of the ANDSF. Work will be performed in Hkia, Afghanistan and is scheduled for completion by August 30th 2022.
The German Naval Yards (GNY) shipyard group joins forces with former competitor ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as means to land the contract for the German Navy’s future MKS 180 multirole combat ship program. MKS180 ships are expected to be capable of tackling targets above and below water in addition to supporting land missions. Armament should feature a 127 mm naval gun while surface to air missiles should be capable of hitting targets at a distance of 15 miles thereby enabling protection from air threats. The ships will be equipped with towed sonars for anti-submarine warfare and include sick bays or detention rooms for counter-piracy missions. The German Navy wants to acquire four MKS180s for $4.5 billion and wants them to enter service by the beginning of 2023. The newly formed German partnership will compete against Blohm + Voss, which is bidding with Dutch shipyard Damen.
Swedish defense manufacturer Saab will deliver its Integrated Defensive Aids Suite-2 (IDAS-2) to India. The order is being placed by India’s state-owned defense contractor Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at a cost of $39 million. According to the company IDAS-2 is an EW system designed to provide self-defence in sophisticated, diverse and dense threat environments. It integrates with a platform’s radar and provides the aircrew with radar-warning, lasar-warning and missile-approach warning funtion. IDAS-2 is also fully integrated with with the BOP-L countermeasures dispenser, which automatically dispenses countermeasures under the control of the EWC upon threat-identification. The system will be produced at Saab’s facility on Centurion, South Africa. IDAS-2 will protect India’s fleet of Dhruv light attack helicopter. First deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2019.
Taiwan wants to procure Phalanx style systems to protect its air force bases. The government’s public solicitation for the “Near Force Air Defense Fast Propeller System” requires the air-defense weapon to have high-precision, a high rate of fire, to be mobile and to operate automatically. It must be able to counter a number of airborne threats ranging from subsonic missiles to UAVs. The US military has used the Phalanx Centurion in Iraq to protect FOB Kalsu from incoming rockets, artillery shells and mortars. The Centurion can reach beyond its own array and use other target acquisition sensors to detect and track fired rounds. The Air Force plans to install the land-based Phalanx Centurion at the Jiashan, the Hualienjia and the Taidong Zhihang bases where large stockpiles of AMRAAM missiles are stored.
Watch: RAAF timelapse of medical facility deployed at Pitch Black 2018.