USAF looking at hypersonic missiles for fighters | Sikorsky lands multi-billion Saudi Black Hawk contract | North Korean announces successful ICBM test
- Northrop Grumman has received a pair of contracts for the AN/ALQ-240 Electronic Support Measures system on US Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. With a cumulative worth of $30 million, the orders include depot level repairs and refurbishment of the AN/ALQ-240 and the spare parts necessary. Work will take place at various locations with an estimated completion time of October 2020. The system allows operators greater situational awareness and anticipation of enemy air and naval electronic defenses as it can detect and provide precise location data of enemy radars jammers, and other electronic threats to the P-8 and Navy ships.
- USAF plans to acquire an air-launched hypersonic strike weapon are moving forward after a Sought Sources notice was posted by the service’s Material Command. The statement called for vendors skilled in the design, qualification, and component/subsystem testing of the critical elements of the hypersonic missile to provide capability statements that show they are “capable of accomplishing systems integration of all the elements of a hypersonic, conventional air-launched strike weapon from existing fighter/bomber aircraft.” Known as the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), the program is a join effort between the USAF and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop weapons capable of hypersonic speeds of at least Mach 5. So far, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have both received $170 million in funding to go towards developing air-launched hypersonic weapons.
Middle East & North Africa
- Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky has landed a $3.8 billion contract for the multi-year production and support for Black Hawk helicopters to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The US DoD contract will run until June 30, 2022 and includes the provision of program management, systems engineering, and technical data on the aircraft. In use by over 27 nations, many variants of the Black Hawk have been developed in order to perform a wide variety of missions including troop and cargo transport, air assault, special operations, medical evacuation, search-and-rescue, aerial firefighting and other missions. The variant exported to Saudi Arabia is designated the S-70 Desert Hawk.
- The US Navy is to build a MQ-4 Triton air base in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Assist Consultants Inc have been contracted to conduct the work in a $18 million deal that includes the design and construction of an environmentally controlled hangar space sufficient for four Triton aircraft and a mission control system, as well as the provision of a communication tower and emergency generator. Construction of the facility is part of the Navy’s rolling out of Triton stations across the world to assist with surveillance operations in the Middle East and Pacific. Additional bases include Guam, and the island of Sicily.
- Belgium has approved the procurement of 199 Light Troop Transport Vehicles (LTTV) for use by the country’s Special Operations Forces. The $55.8 million purchase will replace Brussels’ current fleet of unarmored Unimogs and includes, in addition to the vehicles, 175 mission modules that can be installed on the standard platform, and 42 ballistic protection kits that will give troops increased protection. Ambulance versions of the LTTV and technical assistance will also be included in the sale. Deliveries are scheduled to be completed between 2019 and 2021.
- The UK MoD has ordered its first batch of three Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy. Valued at $4.81 million, steel for the first vessel will be cut in lead-contractor BAE System’ shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland in the coming weeks. London’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship program calls for the delivery of eight vessels for use as an anti-submarine warfare ship and will replace the current fleet of Type 23 frigates. The Type 26 will be the most advanced ship in its class around the world and we are exploring potential export opportunities where there is strong interest from international customers.
- An investigation into the failed fourth test of the Nirbhay cruise missile has found that a component used in the missile was manufactured out of recycled materials insufficient for use. The part, used on a component that operates the wings of the missile, was supplied by one of the program’s subcontractors and while the vendor is said to have followed all the specifications, the use of recycled-material was not disclosed. For their penance, the vendor has been told by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to produce a replacement component, freeof charge, and without any shortcuts.
- After years of failed tests, condemnations, sanctions, and sabre-rattling, North Korea announced that it has conducted its first successful test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). State-media reported the test as a glorious success, travelling 933 km (580 miles) reaching an altitude of 2,802 km over a flight time of 39 minutes, before landing in waters located in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Images of the test showed that the missile was transported and erected by a Chinese truck originally sold for hauling timber. Amongst the condemnation from regional neighbors and the wider international community, US president Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” in an apparent reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called for calm and restraint, reiterating Beijing’s opposition to North Korea’s violation of UN resolutions on missile tests, adding that China would continue to work hard and also hoped other parties would work hard too.
- Report on North Korea’s ICBM test:
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