The Growler is receiving AEA enhancements | Saudi Hawk jet trainer crashes ! | Germany is restarting the SMArt artillery shell program
Dyncorp is being contracted to support the Navy’s fleet of TH-57 Sea Ranger helicopters. The awarded contract is valued at $152.3 million and provides for logistics support services and depot level maintenance material for about 118 TH-57 aircraft. The TH-57 is more commonly known as the Bell 206 Jet Ranger, which was originally designed to meet the needs of the US Army’s 1962 Light Observation Helicopter competition as the YOH-4. It was defeated by the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse, but would later be adopted by the US Navy as the TH-57 Sea Ranger and used for pilot training. Work will be performed in Milton, Florida and is expected to be completed by November 2022.
Boeing is being tapped to enhance the AN/ALQ-218 Sensor System deployed on the EA-18G Growler. The company will add Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) System enhancements to the system’s hardware and the communication lines between assemblies at a cost of $24.4 million. The delivery order covers the modification of thirteen sets of WRA-7, WRA-8, WRA-9, and 18 AEA gun bay pallets. The AEA suite provides state-of-the-art selective-reactive and pre-emptive jamming capability. The majority of the AEA unique avionics are installed on a pallet in the gun bay and in two wingtip pods. The AEA communications receiver and jamming system provides electronic suppression and attack against communication threats. Work will be performed at Boeing facilities in Baltimore, St. Louis, St. Augustine, Bethpage, Patuxent River and China Lake. The modifications are expected to be completed in December 2020.
The Office of Naval Research is already starting to plan for the Navy’s next-generation of submarines. Electric Boat Corp will provide the service with work for the Next Generation Submarine Science and Technology Research program. The initial $14.7 million contract includes options, which if exercised, would bring the total value to $39.6 million. The Navy’s new submarines are still about two decades away from entering service, however the service is already looking towards the technologies that will allow future subs to become mother ships to entire fleets of unmanned underwater systems that find and sink the enemy. Work will be performed at Electric Boat’s facility in Groton, Connecticut, and is expected to be completed by either October 2019, or October 2023, depending if options are exercised.
Middle East & Africa
One of the Saudi Air Force’s Hawk jet trainers crashed on Monday, killing its crew. The crash happened during a training flight about 62 miles from Tabuk near the Jordanian border. BAE’s Hawk 100 trainer is an advanced two-seat weapons systems trainer with an enhanced ground attack capability. The aircraft provides fighter lead-in training and navigator and weapons systems operator training. The aircraft has seven hardpoints on the wings for weapon payloads. Short-range air-to-air missiles can be mounted on the wingtip missile launchers. Saudi Arabia acquired its first Hawks in the 1980s and purchased an additional 22 aircraft in 2016 in a $3 billion deal.
The Kenyan Air Force is continuing the build-up of its helicopter fleet. During a recent visit of President Uhuru Kenyatta at a base in Nairobi one H125 and one H125M were presented. Reports suggest that the Kenyan Defense Force has received about nine helicopters from the United Arab Emirates, including the delivery of 70mm rocket launchers and a M124D Minigun. The H125 is a cost-effective armed platform with a very small footprint and excellent maneuverability. The H125M is the most capable armed scout helicopter in its category. The H125M is tailored for locating and attacking targets of opportunity. It relies on the qualities of power, simplicity, firing stability and stealth to carry out a diverse range of demanding missions. Over the years, the Kenyan Air Force has been acquiring new helicopters to bolster its operations. Recent purchases include a $253 million deal for 12 Cayuse Warriors and a second-hand AH-1 Cobra.
Czech firm Aero Vodochody rolls out its first L-39NG jet trainer, four years after it announced the aircraft’s development at Farnborough 2014. The L-39NG is based on the aerodynamic concept of the current L-39 but utilizes the latest technologies and equipment. As Flight Global notes, one of the most significant changes the L-39NG brings over the company’s legacy L-39 Albatros is the introduction of a Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engine, in place of its previous, Ukrainian-supplied AI-25. The new generation aircraft will be used to train future pilots of 4th and 5th generation aircraft, and can be tailored to the customer’s requirements to a great extent. Andrej Babiš, the Czech Prime Minister told an audience at the launch event that Aero Vodochody’s aircraft were always used by the Czech army and that “I [he] will personally support Aero Vodochody to ensure this aircraft is a success and will ensure my fellow ministers will do the same.” First deliveries are expected in the third quarter of 2020.
The Gesellschaft für Intelligente Wirksysteme mbH (GIWS) is being contracted by the German Ministry of Defense to restart the SMArt 155 program. The SMArt 155 shells contain 2 active sub-munitions that deploy by parachute, using redundant radar/radiometer/infrared sensors to detect armored vehicles. They attack through the top armor, using explosively-formed penetrators that serve as a sort of instant tank shell. Redundant mechanisms will destroy the shell if it finds no targets, and a further backup will render it inert if they fail for some reason. More than 12,000 SMArt 155 artillery projectiles were manufactured for Germany and Switzerland, followed by Australia and Greece with final deliveries in 2006. GIWS will now source all elements and materials required to restart serial production of the projectiles, which is expected to commence in 2024.
Dassault is granting a first glimpse on Japan’s new Falcon 2000 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA). Japan has ordered a total of five Falcon 2000 MSAs for its Coast Guard. The aircraft is built in a partnership between Dassault, L-3 Platform Integration and Thales. The Falcon 2000 MSA is designed for a broad range of missions, including maritime surveillance, piracy control, drug interdiction, fishery patrol, law enforcement, search and rescue, intelligence and reconnaissance. It can also perform SIGINT, environment protection, monitoring of maritime approaches, over-the-horizon targeting (OTHT), surveillance of economic exclusive zone (EEZ) missions. The aircraft has underwing store stations for carrying a wide variety of weapons such as air-to-surface missiles, target towing equipment, electronic warfare and simulation pods. The first aircraft is due to enter service in the first half of 2019.
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