USMC seeks info on new UAV for AEW, EW, and ISR role | Lockheed hails radar test success ahead of delivery to Latvia | Angola orders C295 from Airbus
- URS Federal Technical Services landed a $961 million contract Friday, March 9, for maintenance and support of the US Air Force’s unmanned aircraft fleet. According the agreement, the Maryland-based firm will cover support for MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft and covers an indefinite amount of organizational-level maintenance as well as support of the aircrafts’ launch and recovery activities, as well as their combat and training capability. Work will take place at locations worldwide with a scheduled completion time set for June 30, 2019.
- A request for information has been made by the US Marine Corps for an unmanned system capable of acting in the airborne early warning (AEW), electronic warfare (EW), and intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) role. The request has been made on behalf of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Expeditionary (MUX) project—a USMC effort seeking a “ship-based, extended range, long endurance, and multi-mission UAS” that “shall complement the long range capabilities of the F-35B/C, CH-53K, MV-22 and Future Vertical Lift (FVL).” It must be able to “start up, take off from L-Class (Amphibious Class Ships (LHA/LHD, LPD, LX(R), and ESB) ship” while having the same dimensions close to UH-1Y. It should cruise at “200-300 kts with full payload” out to a combat radius between 350-700 nm. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) is hoped for 2028.
- General Dynamics received Monday, March 12, a $696 million contract modification for additional material associated with fiscal 2019 Virginia-class submarines and fiscal 2020 Virginia-class submarines (SSN). Parts to be provided include steam and electric plant components; the main propulsion unit efforts and ship service turbine generator efforts; and miscellaneous hull, mechanical and electrical system components to support SSNs 802, 803, 804 and 805 ship construction commencing in fiscal 2019. Work will take place in Sunnyvale, California, as well as over a dozen other locations dotted throughout the continental US with a scheduled completion time scheduled for January 2019.
- A version of Israeli firm Rafael’s Tamir interceptor and Lockheed Martin’s Miniature Hit-to-Kill missile have been offered to the US Army as part of the service’s Indirect Fires Protection Capability (IFPC). Both missiles are being considered under the IFPC Increment 2 program, which seeks to add a second interceptor to the multi-mission launcher alongside the already chosen Raytheon-manufactured AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. The Army initiated a competitive solicitation last year for what its calling the Expanded Mission Area Missile (EMAM). The service chose three vendors to be eligible for a contract award and in fiscal 2019, it will choose a single vendor to proceed to a preliminary design review stage. An engineering and manufacturing development decision is expected in the first quarter of FY20 with a production decision due in FY23.
Middle East & Africa
- The Angolan Navy has announced plans to acquire three C295 aircraft for its maritime patrol mission. Funding for the purchase was authorized by a presidential order which allows the Angolan Ministry of Defence’s Simportex company to sign the EUR159.9 million ($196.7 million) agreement with manufacturer Airbus, with financing expected to be provided by the Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. In power since September 2017, President João Lourenço visited Airbus facilities during a visit to Spain in March 2017, when he was serving as defence minister.
- Latvia has received the first of three new surveillance radars from Lockheed Martin after the firm successfully completed a site acceptance test, calling it “a major step forward in strengthening [the country’s] national defense.” The TPS-77 Multi-Role Radar (MRR) is the latest version in Lockheed Martin’s successful product line of surveillance radars and was developed in response to the evolving needs of armed forces on the battlefield. The radar’s multi-role single scan technology allows operators to select multiple missions for the radar at a single time, such as long range or medium range low-level flight surveillance. It uses Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology which results in ultra-low power consumption and is the most transportable version of the TPS-77 series. Latvia’s TPS-77 MRR program has seen Lockheed engage with local Latvian industry for procurement and production and the firm says this will continue for long-term local maintenance and support.
- The state-run China Daily newspaper published an exclusive interview with the Chengdu J-20’s chief designer, Yang Wei, held on the sidelines of the 13th National People’s Congress. During the face-to-face, Yang said that the new stealth fighter will be modernized to gain new capabilities, with the fighter’s designers planning on developing variants of the radar-evading J-20, eventually opening research on its successor—a sixth-generation fighter jet. “We are not complacent about what we have achieved. We will develop the J-20 into a large family and keep strengthening its information-processing and intelligent capacities. At the same time, we will think about our next-generation combat plane to meet the nation’s future requirements,” Yang said. He added that while the J-20 will be a multi-role aircraft, executing those new missions will depend on the jet’s “production and deployment scale.” In addition to the J-20, manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) is testing the FC-31, another fifth-generation combat plane, and wants to use it to tap the international market for advanced fighter jets. However the air force has made clear that it will not allow exports of the J-20.
- Cockpit view of an A-10 Warthog doing aerial manoeuvres:
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