UK rejoins Boxer MRAV program | Lockheed tapped for F-35 pre-modernization effort | South Korea receives third tank-landing vessel
- Boeing has been awarded a ceiling increase modification to a previously awarded contract for the provision of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits. The modification is valued at over $311 million. The deal provides for JDAM strap-on inertial guidance kits with the capability to receive guidance updates from GPS which increases the weapon’s accuracy. JDAM tail kits turn previously unguided free-fall munitions such as the 2,000-pound BLU-109/MK 84 or the smaller 500-pound BLU-111/MK 82 warhead, into guided air-to-surface munitions. The awarding of the modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $1.23 billion. Work will be performed at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri, facility and is scheduled for completion by March 2020.
- Lockheed Martin Corp. has been awarded a contract for Block 4.1 common capabilities pre-modernization efforts in support of the F-35 Lightning II. This support includes a preliminary design review in support of the US Air Force and other international partners. It is valued at $211 million. The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter in 3 variants. The F-35 is designed as an “affordable stealthy” counterpart to the F-22 Raptor. The Block 4 modernisation, also known as Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, consists of 4 individual increments. Blocks 4.1 and 4.2 focus primarily on software updates, while Blocks 4.3 and 4.4 will consist of more significant hardware changes. The program is expected to cost $10.8 billion through FY2024. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed in July 2019.
- Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. has received a contract for the production of gun mission modules for the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships equipped with the Surface Warfare Mission Package. The contract is valued at $7.4 million. The Navy’s $35 billion “Littoral Combat Ship” program intends to create a new generation of affordable surface combatants that can operate in dangerous shallow and near-shore environments, while remaining affordable and capable throughout their lifetimes. The LCS can be equipped with different mission modules. The Surface Warfare (SUW) attack module makes use of 4 weapon stations. In addition to the 57mm naval gun, firepower would include the same Mk.46 30mm cannon system used in the Marines’ canceled Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. That level of armament makes the LCS a $550 million coast guard cutter in littoral regions filled with missile-armed fast attack craft, as well as motorboats with torpedoes. Work will be performed at facilities in Huntsville, Alabama and Bethpage, New York. It is expected to be completed by December 2019.
Middle East & Africa
- Turkish arms manufacturer Aselsan recently unveiled a new weapon’s system. The system belongs to the SARP family of which the company already produced 1.350 units, of which 350 have been exported. SARP enhances a gunner’s situational awareness through its surveillance and remote capabilities and drastically decreases vulnerability to attacks. The company currently works on two new versions. SARP-L is designed for low recoil weapons and SARP-Zafer allows troops to change ammunition without exiting the armored vehicle. The SARP weapon system can be integrated into land and naval platforms. Most recently SARP systems have been used during Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.
- The United Kingdom will again join the Dutch-German Boxer program, 14 years after deciding to opt out. The Boxer, a “Multi Role Armored Vehicle” (MRAV), uses a single chassis, with snap-in modules for different purposes from infantry carrier to command, cargo, ambulance and others. The base vehicle has a maximum road speed of 60 mph and an operational range of 600 miles. In its troop-carrying configuration, it has a crew of 2 and can carry 10 fully equipped troops. The UK left the program in 2003 over concerns that the vehicle would be too heavy for transport by RAF’s C-130s. For well over a year, British Army officials have been pushing for a deal with Artec, the Boxer producing Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann and Rheinmetall joint venture. The Boxer is supposed to fulfill the Army’s mechanized infantry vehicle requirement by 2023. Recently Australia tapped the German manufacturer for the provision of 200 vehicles with a total cost of $2.48 billion. Artec will cooperate with local partners including, BAE Systems, Pearson Engineering, Raytheon UK and Thales UK. Assembly, design, and manufacture in the UK would generate approximately 1,000 jobs and keep about 60 percent of the $2.7 billion contract within the UK.
- Jane’s reports that the Polish government will buy several Blackjack UAS’s from Boeing. The contract is valued at $11.4 million. The deal includes a number of air vehicles, a ground control station as well as a launch and recovery system. The system will be equipped with the GPS/Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM). The RQ-21A Blackjack is the military variant of the Integrator, which is essentially a larger and more capable version of the ScanEagle. The RQ-21A Integrator boosts endurance to over 24 hours and a maximum payload of about 50 pounds. Its versatile sensor package includes a TV zoom and mid-wave infrared cameras, plus an infrared marker and a laser rangefinder.
- The Republic of Korea Navy has received its third Cheonwangbong (LST-2)-class tank landing ship on the 2nd of April. The vessel is produced by Hyundai Heavy Industries, is named Ilchulbong and has the pennant number 688. South Korea’s defense procurement agency signed a contract for the provision of four LST-II ships in 2013. The contract is valued at $129 million. The LST has an overall length of 416 ft. and can attain a top speed of 23 knots, an economic cruising speed of 18 knots, and a standard range of 8,000 n miles at 12 knots. The ship can accommodate two mechanised landing craft on its foredeck that can be deployed via a 65-tonne capacity deck crane, and can embark up to 300 fully equipped soldiers, and eight amphibious assault vehicles. The platform’s flight deck can take up to two helicopters, such as the UH-60A.
- Watch: F-16 low level flight over Japan
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