The Osprey fleet grows | USSOCOM is boosting its Griffin inventory | Singapore set to replace its F-16 fleet
- Bell Boeing is being awarded a contract conversion in support of the V-22 aircraft. The conversion into a fixed-price-incentive-fee multiyear contract is valued at $4.1 billion and provides for the manufacturer and delivery of 78 V-22s. Under the contract the Navy will receive 39 CMV-22Bs, 34 MV-22Bs are marked for the Marine Corps, the US Air Force will receive 1 CV-22B and the government of Japan will take delivery of 4 MV-22Bs. V-22 Initial Operational Capability didn’t begin until 2007, about 24 years after the initial design contract. A long series of design issues and mass-fatality crashes almost got the program canceled, but Congressional industrial lobbying preserved it. This modification combines purchases for the Navy ($2,8 billion); Marine Corps ($1,03 billion); Air Force ($75,7 million); and the government of Japan ($230,2 million), under the Foreign Military Sales program. Work will be performed at various locations inside and outside the continental US. Locations include Fort Worth, Texas; East Aurora, New York; Rockford, Illinois. It is expected to be completed by November 2024.
- The Air Force is contracting Boeing in support of its F-15 fleet. The firm-fixed-price contract provides for the production of F-15 vertical stabilizers and is valued at $23.6 million. The F-15A reached initial operational capability for the US Air Force in September 1975, and approximately 670 F-15s remain in the USAF’s inventory. Vertical stabilizers serve two basic purposes: flight stability and aircraft attitude alteration in yaw direction (i.e. yawing the aircraft left or right). In addition, they provide perfect mounting place for RWR and ECM antennae (located on the top of each stabilizers). Location of performance is at the company’s location in Missouri and is scheduled for completion by May 31, 2022.
- The US Special Operations Command is boosting its missile power. Raytheon is set to produce an un-specified number of Griffin missiles under an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract that is valued at $315 million. The contract also provides for related support for product improvements, operations and sustainment. Raytheon’s Griffin is a precision guided “mini-missile” and glide weapon that comes in three variants. The Griffin-A is currently in use as part of American roll-on armed kits for its C-130 Hercules transports. The Griffin-B is a powered missile can be a forward-firing weapon, and can be launched from land, naval, or aerial platforms. And the Griffin C attempts to compete against Lockheed’s Hellfire and MBDA’s Brimstone 2 by adding dual-mode laser/IIR guidance for a fire-and-forget missile that uses thrust-vectoring control for vertical launch compatibility, a datalink for retargeting in flight, and waypoint flight to maneuver around obstacles. Work will be performed at contractor facilities in Tucson. No completions date has been given at this point.
- General Electric is set to provide further work on the Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) program. The contract is valued $437 million and provides for designing, fabricating, integrating, testing and completing the flight-weight adaptive engines. The F-35 JSF will be required to not only fly farther than today’s aircraft but will also need more speed and power when engaging the enemy. But from a propulsion perspective, up until now these objectives have been mutually exclusive. Longer range and subsonic loiter require lower fuel burn and good cruise efficiency, while higher thrust for supersonic dash demands larger cores and much higher operating temperatures, neither of which is good for fuel burn or stealth. The Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) is aiming to solve this conundrum and is the successor to the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program. The contract modification is for the execution of next generation adaptive propulsion risk reduction for air superiority applications. Work will be performed in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by March 30, 2022. Total cumulative face value of the contract is $1,4 billion.
Middle East & Africa
- The Kingdom of Morocco is currently negotiating the possible purchase of Apache AH-64 attack helicopters. This announcement comes after reports pointed towards the likely acquisition of Turkish T-129 attack helicopters. The AH-64A/D Apache has become a dominant attack helicopter around the globe. The new AH-64E Apache Guardian version incorporates 26 new technologies designed to enhance the aircraft’s capabilities, including a better flight performance, sensor performance and UAV integration. If Morocco buys the Apache it would join countries like Egypt, Greece, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates. The North-African nation is currently involved in a regional arms race with Algeria.
- Israel Aerospace Industries is reportedly preparing a tender for Vietnam’s planned acquisition of three advanced reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles. The contract has a potential face value of $160 million. Currently, IAI Group has not specified the type of UAV they will over to Vietnam, however considering the value of the deal it seems likely that the Heron TP platform will be the main contender. The Heron-TP variant is larger than the Heron 1, with a bigger 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop to power it. Typical mission payload rises to 2204 lb., which can be carried to around 45,000 feet, and the UAV has a maximum flight time of over 36 hours in favorable conditions. As a large MALE (Medium Altitude, Long Endurance) UAV, it’s built to carry multiple payloads at a time for a variety of missions.
- Jane’s reports that the UK Royal Navy is currently upgrading its fleet of Type 45 destroyers. The HMS Defender is the first vessel to receive a datalink software upgrade for its CMS-1 combat management system (CMS). The UK Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers have replaced the Type 42 destroyers, which were in service since 1978. BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte) supplied the combat management system (CMS) and fast ethernet data transfer system for the destroyers. The Type 45 CMS integrates the PAAMS missile system and control all sensors and weapons. The new CMS-1 software (version 184.108.40.206) brings an improved version of the Cayman software application that interfaces with Defender’s Link 11 and Link 16 tactical data exchange networks and the ship’s satellite tactical data link (STDL) system. Cayman correlates information, including contacts, from these various systems. The ship’s communications bandwidth capacity was also increased, with the installation of the latest SCOT5 Full Maritime Terminal (FMT) to support the ship’s satellite communications capability.
- Singapore will soon announce its plans for replacing its ageing fleet of F-16 fighter jets. Singapore’s fleet of around 60 F-16 jets are at the tail end of their service. So far, the country is investigating different replacement options, including the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35s. Singapore’s F-16s first entered service in 1998. The country has typically used US-made aircraft in the past, making the F35s – a variant of which appeared at the city-state’s airshow back in February – a likely successor. The head of Lockheed’s international business said that initial talks with Singapore were centered on the F-35B short take-off and landing variant, which he described as “a nice fit for a smaller land-constrained environment”.
- The Royal Australian Navy presents its future Global Combat Ship
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