Triton’s Herald gets a new sensor package | Who will protect Romania’s shores? | Australia’s Boxers will carry Spike LR2
Leidos is set to support the US Army’s Saturn Arch program. The company is being awarded with a $26.8 million contract modification that provides for a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) Aircraft. Saturn Arch is the Army’s answer to an ever evolving threat posed by IED’s. It essentially is an effort to implement ISR capabilities to a special aircraft fitted with state of the art sensor technology to identify and assist in removing explosives from the battlefield. Aircraft used under Saturn Arch often include Bombardier Dash-8 planes that are outfitted with radar, imagers, and signal intelligence capabilities. Work will be at the company’s facility in Bridgewater, Virginia and is scheduled for completion in September 2019.
Raytheon is being contracted by the US Navy for work on the MQ-4C Triton UAS. The cost-reimbursable job order is valued at $9.3 million and allows for the production and fleet integration of the Triton multi-spectral targeting system (MTS). The MTS is a turreted EO/IR sensor used in maritime and overland ISR missions. According to a DoD notice, the sensor system will augment existing sensors that will enhance navigation as well as CSR, observation and interception missions. The system also provides long-range surveillance, target acquisition, tracking, range finding and laser designation for the Griffin and Paveway missiles and other forms of munitions. The Triton will have a minimum mission radius of 3,000 nautical miles, with a 10 hour time to on-station at 2,000 nmi mission radius, and autonomous flight through moderate icing or turbulence. Work will be performed at Raytheon’s facility in McKinney, Texas, and is expected to be completed by August 2020.
PeopleTec is being awarded with a $33.6 million contract for engineering and support efforts by the Missile Defense Agency. The contract has a two-year base value o $9 million and covers advisory and assistance services for international programs in the Ballistic Missile Defense System. These services also cover BMDS development, test, operations, infrastructure and acquisitions. Work will be carried out at multiple locations including the company’s location in Huntsville, Alabama and in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel currently fields the Arrow-3 missile defense system that is a collaboration project between Boeing and IAI. The contract is set to run through September 2023.
Middle East & Africa
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the country is moving ahead with the purchase of advanced ground-to-ground missiles that can reach ‘anywhere in the Middle-East’. The project was announced by Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman back in February and included an initial budget of $500 million to set up a new unit within the IDF’s ground forces. The new missile system will fill an operational gap that cannot be bridged by the US-made MLRS. The project could cost up to $2 billion, spread out over a decade, depending on the number of missiles the Israeli military will acquire. The focus on developing new ground-to-ground capabilities stems from an ever increasing threat to Israeli aircraft by advanced air-defense systems deployed in Syria and elsewhere.
It seems that Turkey will be banned from purchasing the F-35s for the foreseeable future. The latest bill was put forward by Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen and prohibits the transfer of the fighter jets to Turkey as long as it cannot be guaranteed that the country will not be purchasing the S-400 air-defense system from Russia. As Jane’s notes, US defense officials are concerned that Turkey operating the S-400 in the vicinity of the F-35 would compromise the aircraft’s security, including its stealth capabilities, and represent a strategic threat to the United States. Turkey is a Tier 3 partner in the JSF program and initially planned to order about 100 F-35As as replacement for its 240-plane F-16 fleet. The overall program is expected to cost around $16 billion. Currently it is uncertain if the Van Hollen’s amendment will become law.
The Romanian government is moving ahead with its planned acquisition of anti-ship missiles that are to be deployed to the country’s Black Sea coast. Potential bidders include Boeing, MBDA, Kongsberg and Saab, which are offering the Harpoon, Exocet MM40, the NSM and RBS-15 Mk3 respectively. The sub-sonic, sea-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the standard anti-shipping missile used by the US Navy, and its variants are in service with 27 navies around the world. The MM40 missile is an upgraded version of the MM38 that began development in 1976, it has an inertial navigation system, an active radar seeker, and is equipped with a high explosive fragmentation warhead. The stealth-enhanced NSM aims to be a germination beyond the Harpoon, an air-launched version is being developed for the F-35. RBS-15 fire-and-forget missiles have a longer reach and heavier punch than counterparts like the Harpoon. The contract has a value of $159 million and is scheduled to be financed in the years 2018-2023.
European NATO members are currently stockpiling air-to-ground precision guided munitions with the help of the US. The project is being run by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) and will reduce dependence on the US in the case of prolonged air-operations. The initial order of $20 million JDAM and Paveway kits are part of a larger US FMS worth about $231 million. During the 2011 intervention in Libya several countries ran out of munitions and found it difficult to use those of other air forces.
The Australian Ministry of Defense is confirming that it will arm its Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles with the Spike LR2. The country is procuring a total of 211 Rheinmetall Boxers under its Land 400 Phase 2 program. The Spike LR2 is produced by Israeli defense contractor Rafael and is the latest member of the multi-purpose missile family. The missile has the capability to destroy a number of different targets including MBTs with reactive armor and fortified structures. The LR2 is equipped with a passive and uncooled multi-band seeker that integrates both thermal and HD imagery and includes a smart target tracker with AI features, allowing the missile to track and target automatically.
Watch: PAF JF-17 performs at Radom airshow