Thales set to repair the Navy’s ALFS | Belgium buys MQ-9B SkyGuardian | India opts for the Igla-S VSHORAD
Thales Defense and Security is being awarded with a delivery order for the repair of the airborne low frequency sonar system (ALFS) sonar dome installed on the Navy’s MH-60R helicopters. The undefinitized contract action is priced at $14 million and covers the repair of 58 sonar units. The AN/AQS-22 Airborne Low Frequency Sonar (ALFS) is the primary undersea warfare (USW) sensor of the MH-60R multi-mission helicopter. This integrated dipping sonar system enables the ‘Romeo’ to perform ASW missions. including submarine detection, tracking, localization and classification. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Maryland and Brest, France. Performance is expected to be completed by November 2020.
Boeing is being contracted to increase resilience of the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) communication system. The $14 million contract modification includes mitigation and anti-jam efforts and additional strings. The Wideband Global SATCOM satellite system is the successor to the Defense Satellite Communications System-III, and is the backbone of US military global satellite communications. The WGS constellation provides flexible, high-capacity high-data-rate and long-haul communications for the nation’s warfighters. Boeing’s experts will provide an X-Band anti-jam upgrade for the satellite constellation that increases resilience to unintentional and hostile electronic threats. Work will be performed at Boeing’s facilities in El Segundo, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by February 28, 2021.
Embraer is one step closer in achieving the Final Operation Capability (FOC) for its KC-390 transport aircraft. During recently held tests at Brasília Air Force Base, Embraer was able to successfully complete troop unloading, evacuation by hatch and evacuation tests through the front and rear doors of the multi-mission medium airlift. About 370 Brazilian Air Force and Brazilian Army participated in the tests. “By completing this important stage of the testing campaign toward final military certification with excellence, the KC-390 demonstrates compliance with the industry’s most stringent operating and safety standards,” said Walter Pinto Junior, vice-president of the KC-390 Program. The Brazilian Air Force currently has 28 multi-role tankers on order, with the first expected to be delivered in the first half of 2019. Embraer hopes that its new aircraft will rival Lockheed Martin’s C-130.
One of the Air Force’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters dropped for the first time a GBU-49 precision bomb. The converted “dumb” bomb was dropped during a combat training exercise at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II is a dual-mode GPS and laser-guided 500 pound bomb designed for attacking both stationary and moving targets. It is an improved derivative of the laser-guided GB-10 Paveway II. “It’s a really flexible weapon,” Lt. Col. Matthew Johnston said in a press release. “It was reliable, accurate, and effective.” The GBU-49 can be used in a variety of weather conditions.
Middle East & Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries can now offer a next-generation version of its Drone Guard counter-UAV system. Drone guard is able to detect, track and disrupt hostile UAVs. Developed by IAI subsidiary Elta, Drone Guard is comprised of 3-Dimensional (3D) radars and Electro-Optical (EO) sensors for detection and identification, as well as dedicated Electronic Attack (EA) jamming systems for disrupting drone flight. The radar setup includes the ELM-218M, ELM-2026B and ELM-2026 for short (3km), medium (5km) and long (6 km) ranges, respectively. The newly developed next-generation system adds a communication intelligence (COMINT) suite for more precise detection, classification and identification based on broadcast frequencies. The jamming disrupts the drone’s flight and can either cause it to return to its point-of-origin (‘Return Home’ function) or to shut down and make a crash landing.
The Belgium government is advancing in its MQ-9B acquisition program. The Belgian MoD will now start negotiations with the US Government to acquire the SkyGuardian UAS. The SkyGuardian is a NATO-standard variant of the B-model Predator. The Sky Guardian has a 13-foot longer wingspan than the Predator-B, a more damage tolerant composite airframe with double the service life, nearly twice the operational endurance and a greater payload capacity. “We look forward to providing our unmanned aircraft systems to meet Belgium’s mission requirements, while also supporting the NATO Alliance,” said Linden Blue, CEO of GA-ASI. “We are also eager to work with our industrial partners in Belgium on a host of activities ranging from manufacturing to maintenance.” The MQ-9B also flys for the UK Royal Air Force, where it is the main platform of the country’s Protector program.
Russian firm Rosoboronexport is being contracted to supply the Indian Army with a Very-Short-Range Air Defence, or VSHORAD system. The decision about the $1.5 billion delay comes after months of delays over complaints made by other competitors in the competition. The Russian company reportedly undercut offers by Sweden’s SAAB RBS-70 NG and France’s MBDA Mistral. Both Saab and MBDA have complained to the Indian army that the Russian firm was even allowed to be a finalist, as it had failed two initial technical tests. It is latest model of Russian MANPADS (Man-portable air-defense system) technology. It offers superior performance over earlier supplied SA-18 missiles to India. The Igla-S can be used to engage a variety of targets including tactical aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The new systems will replace India’s ageing inventory of Igla-M air defense systems.
Watch: Watch the Su-57 operating in Syria