The Navy is procuring support equipment for its MQ-8B Fire Scout UAV. Telephonics Corp will deliver a number of AN/ZPY-4 Radar supplies at a cost of $23.5 million. This includes the delivery of 14 complete AN/ZPY-4 Radar sets and associated equipment ranging from signal processors to Radar Command and Control Systems. The MQ-8B is an unmanned full-sized light naval utility helicopter. The AN/ZPY-4 Radar is an X-band radar that uses state-of-the-art ground clutter cancellation techniques to automatically detect and track moving targets. The enhanced radar is capable of supporting missions ranging from blue water to shoreline, and land operations. The radar is configured to uniquely enable the VTOL UAV to conduct broad area intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. Work will be performed at Telephonics’ Huntington, New York facility and expected to be completed in September 2019.
Northrop Grumman is being tapped to to support organizational level maintenance for the MQ-4C Triton UAS. The awarded firm-fixed-price delivery order is valued at $64.8 million and provides for the production of spares needed to keep the Triton’s Multi-Function Active Sensor (MFAS) operational. According to the company’s website the AN/ZPY-3 MFAS is a 360-degree field-of-regard AESA radar designed for maritime surveillance. The initial spares requirement includes six antenna group assemblies, six wideband receivers/exciters, ten radar signal processors (RSP), two antenna drive electronics and two RSP external power supplies for the MFAS. The MQ-4C Triton provides real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) including vessel detection, tracking and classification over vast ocean and coastal regions. Work will be performed at multiple locations inside and outside the continental US, including – but not limited to – Linthicum, Maryland; Exeter, New Hampshire and San Diego, California. The delivery order is scheduled to run through June 2022.
The Navy is contracting Bell for the delivery of essential parts for its fleet of V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. The company is being awarded with two firm-fixed-price delivery orders each valued at $48.4 million. They cover the procurement of V-22 PRGB right- and left hand aircraft assembly parts. The V-22’s propulsion system’s external link consists of dual counter rotating proprotors attached to gearboxes driven by two turboshaft engines. PRBG, or proprotor gearboxes are an integral part of the Osprey’s gearbox system, which also includes one mid-wing gearbox (MWGB), two tilt-axis gearboxes and the emergency reservoir system (ELS).
The Air Force is stocking up on aircraft parts. Harris Corp will provide the service with parts for its B-52 bombers and SOF configured C-130 transport planes. The fixed-price, requirements contract is valued at $255.4 million. The B-52H Stratofortress is the mainstay of the US strategic fleet. It provides both penetrating and standoff capabilities that allow the USAF to hit targets almost anywhere in the world. The aircraft is an essential part to the country’s nuclear and conventional posture. The C-130J is a combat proven aircraft system that served as the tactical airlift backbone since 1956. SOF configured airframes include the AC-130J, EC-130J, HC-130J, and MC-130J. Work will be performed at Harris’ New Jersey facility and will run through May 24, 2026.
Middle East & Africa
South African Paramount Group and Italian defense contractor Leonardo are planning to jointly develop a weaponised version of the M-345 trainer jet for the African market. The two companies recently signed a letter of intent during the Africa Aerospace & Defence exhibition. The M-345 is a training jet aircraft with costs comparable to those of a turboprop aircraft, however it features superior performances compared to other airframes. The aircraft is powered by one Williams International FJ44-4M turbofan engine accelerating it to speeds of up to 460 mp/h. The trainer is equipped with five hardpoints supporting up to 2.205 lbs of external stores in the form of drop bombs, rocket pods, and gun pods. Leonardo and Paramount, will evaluate cooperation for the development of an operational configuration of M-345 jet trainer marketed in the African market and will include the possible involvement of Paramount in the SF-260 program and its Logistic Support services.
The State Department is determined to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom. The UK is looking to purchase 50 Mk15 Phalanx CIWS upgrade kits at a cost of $75 million. The radar-guided, rapid-firing MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System serves as a last-ditch defense against incoming missiles and other targets. The Block IB Baseline 2 Upgrade Kits incorporate digital off-the-shelf signal processing electronics, a new signal source and mixer, and a “surface mode” software upgrade that improves performance against targets on or near the water’s surface. The deal would also include support equipment, test equipment, initial spare parts, technical documentation, training, and engineering technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support. Prime contractor will be Raytheon.
The French government is reaffirming that it will speed up the upcoming delivery of 12 aerial tankers to the French Air Force. The A330-200 MRTT is a derivative of the Airbus A330, and was designed from the outset to be able to function as an aerial tanker and a transport aircraft at the same time. The French Air Force wants the Phénix by 2023, two years earlier as initially envisaged. The new tankers will replace France’s fleet of ageing C-135FR and KC-135R aircraft, some of which are close to 60 years old. The acquisition is part of a number of equipment modernization measures included in the 2019-2025 military budget law.
The Russian Navy adds a second Project 667 submarine to its fleet. Russian media reports that the country launched a new Lads-class diesel-electric submarine in a special ceremony at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg on Thursday September 20th. The Kronstadt is a fourth-generation sub that succeeds Kilo-class vessels and offers a much quieter, powerful propulsion and new combat systems. The vessel can achieve speeds of up to 21 knots and is operated by a crew of 35. It carries club-S submarine launched cruise missiles and can fire a total 18 torpedoes, tube-launched anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles. The Lada-class submarines are intended for anti-submarine and anti-ship defense of naval bases, costal installations and sea lanes, as well as patrol and surveillance tasks.
Watch: Russia deploys 3rd S-400 air defense missile system in Crimea