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The Pentagon is upgrading its GPS | Sniper ATP to Bahrain and Taiwan | Germany adds more Hercules aircraft to its fleet

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Americas Lockheed Martin is being contracted to build a next increment of space vehicles. The company will produce GPS IIIF Space Vehicles 11 and 12 at a cost of $1.4 billion. This contract also includes the provision of non-recurring engineering efforts, testing the Space Vehicles in simulators and an option for the production of up […]

Lockheed Martin is being contracted to build a next increment of space vehicles. The company will produce GPS IIIF Space Vehicles 11 and 12 at a cost of $1.4 billion. This contract also includes the provision of non-recurring engineering efforts, testing the Space Vehicles in simulators and an option for the production of up to 22 GPS III Space Vehicles. The Space Vehicles are part of the US Air Force’s GPS III Follow On (GPS IIIF) program, which will add enhanced capabilities to the most advanced GPS satellites ever designed. The GPS IIIF program intends to produce up to 22 next-generation satellites. GPS III will have three times better accuracy and up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities. GPS IIIF adds further power, resiliency and capabilities to GPS III. New features include a Regional Military Protection capability, a fully-digital navigation payload, a laser guided positioning system and a Search and Rescue payload. Work will be performed at Lockheed’s Littleton, Colorado factory and is expected to be completed by end of August 2027.

The Navy is ordering additional anti-ship missiles for its warships. Boeing will deliver 53 Harpoon Block II+ tactical missile upgrade kits under a $14.2 million firm-fixed-price delivery order. The sub-sonic, wave-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile. Block II was designed to improve the missile’s ability to attack targets in congested littoral environments, where nearby land masses and other ships can provide cover for would-be targets. The Block II+ upgrade adds a JSOW C-1’s Common Weapon Datalink for targeting updates and re-targeting to the missile. Work will be performed at multiple locations throughout the US including, St. Charles, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota and Lititz, Pennsylvania. Production of the missile upgrade kits is expected to be completed by December 2020.

The US Navy’s next Littoral Combat Ship is getting its last finishing touches. Austal is receiving a cost-plus-award-fee order valued at $16.5 million. The contract provides for material and work during the USS Charleston’s post shakedown availability (PSA). LCS-18 is an Independence-class ship. The high speed trimaran offers an especially large flight deck and internal mission volume. The hull is aluminum, but the trimaran design offers additional stability options, and may help the ship survive side hits. The PSA is assigned to newly built, activated or converted ships upon completion of a shakedown cruise. Work performed is focused on correcting defects noted during the shakedown cruise and those remaining from Acceptance Trails. Work will be performed at shipyards in Mobile, Alabama and San Diego, California. Work is expected to be completed by August 2019.

Bell presents a mock-up model of its brand new V-247 Vigilant. The Vigilant is an unmanned tilt-rotor aircraft combining the flexibility of a rotary-wing aircraft and the speed and range of a fixed-wing airplane. The drone is designed to meet the US Marine Corps’ MUX requirement, which envisages a drone capable of airborne early warning, command and control communications, digitally passing information, intelligence, reconnaissance and electronic warfare operations. The V-247 is powered by a single engine achieving a top speed of 300 knots for a duration of 11 hours and will be armed with Mk-50 torpedoes, Hellfire missiles or JAGMs.

Middle East & Africa

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will receive Skyfire radio systems as part of US Foreign Military Sales. Raytheon will produce a number of ARC-231 systems at a cost of $13.6 million. The AN/ARC-231 is a VHF/UHF, line-of-sight, demand-assigned, software-programmable, multiple access radio and satellite communication system. It improves the quality of voice and data radio communications. Upgrades are currently made to the system . They are designed to bridge the gap between the current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite systems, which is reaching the end of its lifecycle and the replacement system, a Mobile User Objective System satellite constellation (MUOS). This contract also includes sales to Australia, the Netherlands, and Thailand. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is scheduled for completion by January 31, 2021.


The German parliament is green-lighting the acquisition of six C-130J-30 transport aircraft. The Luftwaffe will spend about $1.14 billion on a package that includes the planes, spare parts, training and technical maintenance for the first three years of service. The German Air Force will use these aircraft to conduct airlift, air refueling, and air drop missions as part of a French-German allied squadron based in Evreux, France. This common air transport squadron will have unrestricted exchange of aircraft, air crews, and maintainers, as well as technical and logistical support based on a common pool of spare parts and a common service support contract.


Lockheed Martin will deliver several targeting pods to the government of Taiwan and Bahrain. The deals are part of two Foreign Military Sale (FMS) delivery orders that cover the procurement of 19 pods for the Royal Bahraini Air Force, and 18 pods for Taiwan. The Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) is designed as an affordable precision targeting system in a single, lightweight pod, that is fully compatible with the latest J-series munitions and precision-guided weaponry. The Sniper pod greatly improves an aircraft’s long-range target detection and identification via advanced image processing algorithms, combined with special image stabilization techniques. The Sniper will equips Bahrain’s F-16 Block 70 fighters, and will be integrated onto Taiwan’s mid-life upgraded F-16s.

BAE Systems is being contracted to supply the ships of US allied navies a number Mk 41 Vertical Launching Systems (VLSs). The firm-fixed-price contract modification is priced at $28.9 million and provides for the procurement of VLS Mk 13 MOD 0 canisters and coding plugs. The coding plugs will integrate the Standard Missile-2 to the VLS. The naval MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) hides missiles below decks in vertical slots, with key electronics and venting systems built in. A deck and hatch assembly at the top of the module protects the missile canisters from the elements, and from other hazards during storage. The tactical length Mk 41 can accommodate SM-2 Standard and RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow air defense missiles, and VL-ASROC anti-submarine missiles. This contract combines FMS to the governments of Japan ($19.6 million), Australia ($6.3 million), South Korea ($1.8 million) and the Netherlands ($1.2 million). Work will be performed at BAE facilities in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The systems are expected to be completed by June 2021.

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